Review: In the Neighborhood of True by Susan Kaplan Carlton – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Title: In the Neighborhood of True
Author: Susan Kaplan Carlton
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Publication Date: April 9, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Historical Ficton
Source: Received an copy from NetGalley/the pubsliher/Fantastic Flying Book Club in exchange for an honest review on this blog tour

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Rating: 5 stars

A powerful story of love, identity, and the price of fitting in or speaking out.

After her father’s death, Ruth Robb and her family transplant themselves in the summer of 1958 from New York City to Atlanta—the land of debutantes, sweet tea, and the Ku Klux Klan. In her new hometown, Ruth quickly figures out she can be Jewish or she can be popular, but she can’t be both. Eager to fit in with the blond girls in the “pastel posse,” Ruth decides to hide her religion. Before she knows it, she is falling for the handsome and charming Davis and sipping Cokes with him and his friends at the all-white, all-Christian Club.

Does it matter that Ruth’s mother makes her attend services at the local synagogue every week? Not as long as nobody outside her family knows the truth. At temple Ruth meets Max, who is serious and intense about the fight for social justice, and now she is caught between two worlds, two religions, and two boys. But when a violent hate crime brings the different parts of Ruth’s life into sharp conflict, she will have to choose between all she’s come to love about her new life and standing up for what she believes.

Review:

From the moment I began this story, I was instantly hooked. It started with Ruth in a courtroom about to testify about the hate crime that occured during the novel. What was the hate crime? What was she specifically there to testify for? What was she going to say? So many questions popped into my mind in the first few pages, and I knew I needed to have all of them answered.

Ruth, her mother, and her sister have moved from New York to Atlanta to live with her grandparents after her father’s sudden and unfortunate death. Fontaine and Mr. Hank (the grandparents) are Christian, but Ruth and her family are Jewish. In Atlanta in 1958, being Jewish was not something that was very accepted. Ruth hides this part about her as she goes to a Christian school and is influenced by Fontaine to get involved in debutante life.

The glitz and the glamour capture Ruth, along with Davis, the boy with the lovely smile and cute dimple. In her infatuation, Ruth continues to hide the real her. Until a violent hate crime occurs, and Ruth must ultimately decide the person she wants to be.

This book was incredible. Incredible. I was sucked in from the very beginning and just couldn’t put it down. The writing really brought the setting of the 1950s to life. I could picture the fashion, the speech, and the manerisms so clearly in my mind. It was almost like watching a movie.

But what was most important about this book was how Susan Kaplan Carlton chose to tackle such a prevalent issue. Sure, this was book set in 1958 and schools and busses and movie theatres are no longer segregated and you won’t be turned away from a debutante ball if you’re Jewish, but you can’t sit there and tell me that people do not experience awful prejudices in 2019. It may not be as clean cut as 1958, but it sure as hell exists.

And just as it was important in 1958 for Ruth to decide whether or not to do the right thing, it is also important for us to absolutely decide to do the right thing in 2019.

Susan Kaplan Carlton has graced us with a lovely novel and I think you should all pick it up when you have a chance. Every single thing about it was great. When someone can present such a vital topic with a beautiful story and elegant writing, it’s not something you want to miss out on.

Check out the tour schedule here!

Enter the giveaway here!

  • Prize: Win (1) of (2) copies of IN THE NEIGHBORHOOD OF TRUE by Susan Kaplan Carlton (US Only)
  • Ends April 16, 2019

About Susan Kaplan Carlton:

Susan Kaplan Carlton, a longtime magazine writer, currently teaches writing at Boston University. She lived for a time with her family in Atlanta, where her daughters learned the fine points of etiquette from a little pink book and learned the power of social justice from their synagogue. Carlton’s writing has appeared in Self, Elle, Mademoiselle, Seventeen, Parents, and elsewhere. She is the author of the young adult novels Love & Haight, which was named a Best Book for Young Adults by YALSA and a Best Book by the Children’s Book Committee at Bank Street Books, and Lobsterland.

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Lanterns In The Sky by P.S. Malcolm – Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

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Title: Lanterns In The Sky
Author
: P.S. Malcolm
Series
: The Starlight Chronicles #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Release Date: April 2, 2019

Goodreads
Amazon | iBooks | Nook | Kobo | GooglePlay

Everything was normal for Lucy Maisfer until the day a star fell from the sky and knocked her out. Upon waking, she comes face-to-face with Jason Woods, who also happens to be the mysterious new guy in her best friend, Valarie’s, life.

Then the strange dreams begin, and she learns about the Starlight Princess— who must not under any circumstance be reawakened. Driven to uncover the meaning of it, she finds herself caught up in a strange twist of events that eventually lead to bigger danger than she ever anticipated. Before long, Lucy is forced to make a choice between saving the world, or saving her best friend; only to discover that Valarie cannot be saved… that she has an even darker secret, and that her supposed star-crossed romance with Jason might not be so destined after all…

Enter the giveaway here

  • Prize: a paperback copy of Lanterns In The Sky
  • It’s international so any of you guys can enter!!

About P.S. Malcolm:

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P.S.Malcolm (Pagan) grew up in Proserpine, Queensland– a small, Australian country town on the edge of the Great Barrier Reef. She was a storyteller from a young age and spent years perfecting her craft.

For two years, she juggled waitressing in tourist filled coffee shops while undertaking two degrees in Creative Writing online. She has always had an interest in writing, but never saw herself working in the industry until she made the choice to self-publish her debut novel, STUCK ON VACATION WITH RYAN RUPERT. Realizing that she loved the process of publishing her book, she pursued an internship at a publishing house and snagged a spot as Pen Name Publishing’s Marketing Assistant.

In between interning and writing, Pagan opened her first business working as a freelance Marketing Strategist for Paperback Kingdom– which helps indie authors with all aspects of their author careers.

Pagan also enjoys reading– particularly fantasy and paranormal– and is a passionate blogger. She reviews books that she has read on her personal website, and indie books on her business blog. Some of her favourite and most influential authors include Amanda Gernentz Hanson, A.G. Howard, Marissa Meyer and Michele Jaffe. She is a cat enthusiast, tea lover, and floral fanatic.

Her newest book, LANTERNS IN THE SKY, is set to be released by The Parliament House Publishing in Spring 2019.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

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The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty – Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

 

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Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend
Author
: Emma Doherty
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: March 12, 2019

Goodreads
Amazon

Livy Chapman is in love with Jessie Stephenson. It’s that simple. She has been for years but he only see’s her as his best friend. His best friend who copies her homework, relies on her to bail him out of trouble and who he hooks up with other girls in front of.

Enough is enough and when Chase Mitchell, star of the soccer team, and all round Mr. Popular steps in and convinces her that they can do each other a favour by pretending to date, Livy is just crazy enough over Jessie to agree to it.

I mean, Chase is just her stand-in boyfriend. Nothing could go wrong. Right?

Enter Emma’s giveaway here!

Prizes: two $20 Amazon giftcards and an ARC of The Stand-In Boyfriend

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About Emma Doherty:

Emma Doherty was born in Yorkshire, England. She attended university in Newcastle before moving to London. She loves to travel, write, spend time with friends and family and hear from her readers.

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Best Laid Plans by Lauren Blakely – Release Day Blitz + Giveaway

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What happens when the nice girl wants to give naughty a go?

Find out in BEST LAID PLANS, the brand new, sexy friends-to-lovers, lessons-in-seduction romance from #1 New York Times bestseller Lauren Blakely! And these lessons come with a twist!

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Title: Best Laid Plans
Author
: Lauren Blakely
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 22, 2019

Goodreads
Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo | Google Play

That time I had the brilliant idea to ask my good friend for lessons in seduction…

Awkward? Maybe. But how else is a good girl going to find out if she likes being naughty? I might be sweet as cherry pie, but I’m also bold and damn curious. And Gabe is charming, trustworthy, aces at seduction (or so I hear) and—bonus!— willing to give me lessons. But to guarantee it won’t ruin our friendship, I have some specific requirements for his instruction. I want these classes to be hypothetical more than hands-on. So what if he’s hella sexy? I can handle that, no problem.

***

I have it bad for Arden. She’s bright, brilliant, insanely fun, and I want to take her home and spend all night together—and then spend the day with her, too. When she asks for my help, I see my chance to win her sweet heart by showing her how much fun we can have getting spicy. Trouble is, she has a different idea of what “bedroom exploration” should mean. Now I’m going to have to get really clever to win her over.

Good thing I know exactly how to upend her best laid plans.

“Best Laid Plans is hands down my favorite. This book is funny, sensual and has a heart of gold. It brought the friends-to-lovers trope to a brand new level.”
– Becca at Wicked Quests of a BookNinja

“A fabulously sweet, sexy, funny and hot friends to lovers story.” – Melissa at Booked All Night

“This is my favorite Blakely book to date. I loved absolutely EVERYTHING about this story!!”
LittleJen on Goodreads

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✮✮✮Let us help you plan your day with this BEST LAID PLANS giveaway! ✮✮✮

The Ultimate Reader Package including a Kindle Paperwhite, $50 Gift Card to your Favorite Book Retailer,and a $50 Gift Card to your Favorite Beverage Retailer (wine, coffee, soda, etc.)!

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About Lauren Blakely:

A #1 New York Times Bestselling and #1 Wall Street Journal Bestselling author, Lauren Blakely is known for her contemporary romance style that’s sweet, sexy and witty. Her heroines are strong and smart and her heroes have hearts of gold and fantastic funny bones. She lives in California with her family, including her smoking hot and hilarious husband and her two brilliant and kind children. She has plotted entire novels while walking her dogs — she might have four dogs, or maybe five. If she’s lucky, she’ll soon have six dogs. With fourteen New York Times bestsellers, her titles have appeared on the New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal Bestseller Lists more than 100 times, and she’s sold more than 3 million books. In February she’ll release BEST LAID PLANS, in March THE FEEL GOOD FACTOR, and in May THE DATING PROPOSAL. To receive an email when Lauren releases a new book, sign up for her newsletter!

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Newsletter | Goodreads

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The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty – Excerpt Reveal + Giveaway

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Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend

Author: Emma Doherty

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Release Date: March 12, 2019

Goodreads

Livy Chapman is in love with Jessie Stephenson. It’s that simple. She has been for years but he only see’s her as his best friend. His best friend who copies her homework, relies on her to bail him out of trouble and who he hooks up with other girls in front of.

Enough is enough and when Chase Mitchell, star of the soccer team, and all round Mr. Popular steps in and convinces her that they can do each other a favour by pretending to date, Livy is just crazy enough over Jessie to agree to it.

I mean, Chase is just her stand-in boyfriend. Nothing could go wrong. Right?

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Excerpt:

“What’s wrong? Everything going okay with you and Jessie?”

“I don’t know where he is.” My eyes flash around the room, but he’s not in here either. Where the hell did he go? He wouldn’t just leave would he?

“I’m sure he’s around. He must have gotten stuck talking to someone.”

I shake my head. For some reason, I have a bad feeling about this, but I don’t know why. I mean, yeah, I was gone for half an hour so of course he’s not just going to stand there on his own and wait for me, but there were a lot of people in the kitchen—he could have just joined them, and he said he’d wait for me. We had a connection, didn’t we? He wouldn’t just walk away. “Have you seen him?”

Sophie shakes her head. Her eyes narrow in concern and she takes a step closer to me. Anyone else would laugh and tell me I’m being stupid, but Sophie knows me too well for that. She knows I’m getting anxious and panicky. “Should I come look for him with you?”

I shake my head, glancing behind her at Mark and Jackson, who have been joined by more of their crowd. “No, no. You’re right, he’s probably back in the kitchen by now and I just missed him.” I force a smile then back out of the room. I turn back in the direction I came from, intent on returning to the kitchen and even trying subtly to do some of those breathing exercises the child psychologist I saw in middle school told me to do when I start to get anxious. I walk past the huge spiral staircase in Aaron’s hall.

I pause, my heartbeat hammering my chest, and I don’t know what makes me do it but I step up onto the first step, and then the next, and the next, until I’m heading upstairs with my eyes locked ahead of me. I know what goes on in the upstairs bedrooms at these parties. Every Monday morning, the Grove Valley High rumor mill is in full swing talking about who hooked up with who. 

But Jessie was waiting for me!

Jessie was looking at me like I was special, like he was finally seeing me differently and something was definitely happening, but that doesn’t stop the sickening feeling in my gut. Despite the fact that my heart is pounding and I can feel my hands shaking, I know I need to rule this out.

I get to the top and look down the hall just as a girl in my trig class emerges from the first bedroom on the right with a boy I don’t recognize. She smiles sheepishly as she passes me, the cocky grin on the guy’s face making it clear what they’ve been up to. I force myself to smile, ignoring the dead weight in my stomach as I take a couple of steps farther along the hallway.

I suddenly feel stupid. What the hell am I going to do now that I’m up here? I’m certainly not going to go knocking on any doors just to check if Jessie is behind one of them. The thought alone makes me blush bright red. He’s probably downstairs in a corner talking about his latest video game obsession and I’m stalking the halls of Aaron’s mansion. I almost laugh out loud at the sheer ridiculousness of the situation. I decide to try to find a bathroom now that I’m up here, hoping it’s obvious from the outside that it’s a bathroom and not a bedroom, and continue walking, assuming the bathroom will be at the end of a hallway. I take a right at the end (seriously, that’s how big Aaron’s house is—the hallway leads onto another), and that’s when I stop dead.

That’s when I feel my heart crack in two.

That’s when I find Jessie.

With Courtney. Making out against the wall.

Somehow I manage to not say a word as I watch them kissing…as I watch his hand under her top, groping at her body…as she makes these ridiculous noises like she’s in some sort of adult film, dropping her hands to his belt buckle and starting to undo it.
I feel like I’m going to throw up.

I start to back away, tears already in my eyes, and I swear, I swear Courtney looks my way for a split second and a smirk covers her face when she sees me standing here. Then Jessie reaches for the handle of the door she’s leaning up against and they both tumble into the room, slamming the door behind them.

I am so stupid. I am so, so fucking stupid. My body starts shaking and fresh tears roll down my face. How could I think tonight was going to be it? How could I be dumb enough to think Jessie might actually like me back? I swipe away at the tears, heartbroken that he’s just dismissed me after what felt like a new beginning, but at the same time angry at myself. I should have known. I should have known better than to think I might actually get what I want, and I can’t cover up the sob that escapes from my throat.

“Uh…” I jump out of my skin at the voice behind me. “Are you okay?”

I whirl around to see Chase Mitchell standing there, looking the most awkward I’ve ever seen anyone look. I turn my back to him and swipe at my face, trying to get rid of the tears, which won’t stop falling.

“Yeah,” I reply. “I’m fine.” It’d be more believable if my voice wasn’t cracking as I speak. I wait to hear his footsteps back away, sure the sight of a crying girl is enough to make him run for the hills, but instead he steps around me while I stare at my feet.

“Livy.” I shake my head frantically. I can’t look up. I can’t face anyone right now, not when it feels like I’ve just had my heart ripped in two. “Livy,” he says again softly, and something about his voice, the way there’s no mocking lilt and the concern in his tone make me look up at him. He’s standing by the door opposite the one Courtney and Jessie are in, and he pushes it open. “Come in here. It’s Aaron’s room—no one will see you in here. It’s been locked so there’s no one inside.”

I nod, because honestly what else can I do at this point? My body won’t stop shaking and I’m having no luck stopping the tears. I just need to sit down for a couple of minutes and pull myself together before I have to face the party again.

Once inside the room, I sink down onto Aaron’s bed and look down at my hands, twisting my fingers together in a desperate attempt to stop them from shaking. I can’t believe how stupid I am. I can’t believe I let Sophie convince me this time might actually be different. I’m in here feeling like my world has ended while Jessie is across the hall having sex with his ex.

“Are you okay?” Chase asks again.
I startle slightly at his voice. I wasn’t expecting him to stick around. I wish he’d disappear; I don’t want anyone seeing me like this.

I force a smile and look up, but it wobbles as fresh tears tumble down my cheeks at the memory of Courtney looking at me. She must have been at the party all along and seen me with Jessie in the kitchen. She clearly took my absence as her opportunity, and Jessie certainly didn’t look like he had any objections.

“Honestly, I’m fine. Something happened earlier at home and I was just thinking about it,” I lie.

Chase doesn’t look away from me. “I saw Stephenson go into that bedroom with Courtney,” he tells me.

And there it is. My humiliation is complete. Chase Mitchell is witnessing my meltdown after watching my best friend hook up with his ex.

I look away, swiping my hand across my face. God knows what I look like right now. My makeup is probably running everywhere. I let out a sigh and feel my shoulders sag even farther.

“He doesn’t see you, Livy.”

“I don’t know what you’re talking about,” I whisper. “I told you, I was just thinking about something that happened earlier.”

“Liv—”

“Chase, please,” I plead, another errant tear streaking down my face. “Just leave me alone, okay? I can’t deal with anyone seeing me like this.”

He doesn’t reply as I squeeze my hands and try to focus on pulling myself together, but after what feels like an eternity, I hear the door open then click shut behind him. I burst into tears all over again because not only is Jessie back with Courtney, now everyone in school will know what a pathetic loser I am.

Enter Emma’s giveaway here!

Prizes: two $20 Amazon giftcards and an ARC of The Stand-In Boyfriend

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About Emma Doherty:

Emma Doherty was born in Yorkshire, England. She attended university in Newcastle before moving to London. She loves to travel, write, spend time with friends and family and hear from her readers.

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