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

Indigo | Amazon | TBD
Barnes & Noble | Kobo

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.


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.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads


Review: Good On Paper by Jennifer Millikin

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Title: Good On Paper
Author: Jennifer Millikin
Series: Standalone
Publisher: SNM LLC
Publication Date: March 6, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review

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Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Rating: 4 stars

Natalie Shay never imagined a day like this would come. She did what she was supposed to do: graduate college and marry her handsome, popular college sweetheart. With the ink still drying on their divorce papers, Natalie tries to move on from an ending she thought would be happy.

When she feels a spark with her stubborn, charming best friend Aidan Costa, Natalie’s life becomes even more unrecognizable. Aidan has been her best friend for years, stood beside her when she got married, and has a notorious aversion to relationships. As confusion and denial overwhelm them, their spark grows.

Held back by a secret he has been keeping his whole life, Aidan decides to ignore his feelings for Natalie. Natalie’s discovery of his secret pushes them past the boundaries they’ve carefully constructed around their friendship.

For Natalie, this could be a second chance at her happily ever after. But when a person from Aidan’s past reappears, everything he has built with Natalie is threatened.


“Anyone who has ever said that love should only feel good, is a fool.”

Natalie and Aidan have been best friends since high school. They are two people who understand one another better than most. Fast forward to them a little more than 10 years later, and at 28 Natalie is finalizing her divorce from her college sweetheart and Aidan is still living a life of casual sex and no relationships.

Somehow this divorce sparks some feelings and some questions about this friendship between the two of them and they contemplate crossing that friendship line they’ve had in place for so long. And so begins a friends-to-lovers romance.

“Sometimes, the very best in life is what’s taking place in the background while we are busy focusing on what we think is right for us.”

For the most part this was a good book and I did enjoy it. However, I did take issue with the pacing. The first 60-65% of the book was pretty standard. Not much was happening except for one thing Natalie had said to Aidan. From then on though it was like one thing after another in quick succession and while I enjoyed the ending, it all happened so fast and I would have much preferred having all of those big life events explained in detail than a first half with nothing special going on.

The plot was good. Friends-to-lovers is usually a trope I’m into so it was enjoyable. I really liked the stuff with Aidan’s parents and the whole thing that threatened Natalie and Aidan’s relationship, but like I said, I would have loved for it to have been explored in more detail than it being so rushed.

Overall, this was a decent read. The pacing was off, but I still liked it. It was also a pretty quick read, so if you’re looking for a friends-to-lovers novel to fill a weekend, pick this one up.

About Jennifer Millikin:

Jennifer Millikin is a contemporary fiction author of five full-length novels and a contributor for Scottsdale Moms Blog. When she isn’t writing she can be found cooking, hiking, or in downward dog.

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Review: The Stand-In Boyfriend by Emma Doherty – Blog Tour

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Title: The Stand-In Boyfriend
Author: Emma Doherty
Series: Grove Valley High #1
Publisher: Self-published by Emma Doherty
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an ARC from the author/Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review for the purpose of this blog tour


Rating: 4 stars

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?


I just want to start this off by saying that the fake dating trope is the best trope of all time and I will go to my grave saying that. Not to be dramatic, but there’s a good chance those will be my last words. It’s my ultimate weakness. Nothing will make me buy a book faster than seeing that it involves fake dating. It always has just the right amount of angst. Enough to get you invested, but not too much that you want to throw the book across the room in frustration.

The Stand-In Boyfriend absolutely lives up to my love of the fake dating trope. I thought it was freaking wonderful and I will do my best to make this a popular book in the YA world.

I will say that there are a lot of similarities to To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before, the original fake dating story, but it’s not too similar that it feels like they’re the same. I’ve equally enjoyed both as much as I would equally recommend them.

I liked Livy, I liked the side characters, and I freaking adored Chase. He always tried to get Livy out of her comfort zone but respected her boundaries and her anxiety. He did so many things to look out for her and keep her as comfortable as possible within the craziness of their fake dating situation.

This book just made my heart so happy and if you love fake dating/To All the Boys, then I would highly suggest you pick this one up. It’s worth your time.

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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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Review: Remind Me by Samantha Chase – Blog Tour

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Title: Remind Me
Author: Samantha Chase
Series: Magnolia Sound #1
Publisher: Chasing Romance Inc.
Publication Date: March 12, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an ARC from the author/Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review for the purpose of this blog tour

Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble
Kobo | Google Play

Rating: 2 stars

It’s been years since Mallory Westbrook set foot in Magnolia Sound, but the death of her great-grandfather forces her back. Two weeks to get his affairs in order then she would return to her life in New York. The perfect plan, if not for Jake Summerford—her first love who broke her heart. 

Jake always regretted the way things ended with Mallory and now that she’s back in town, he’s hoping they can put the past behind them. As they reconnect, old feelings resurface and Jake realizes that friendship is only the beginning of what he wants from Mallory. 

With one foot out of the door, Mallory is looking for any excuse to leave Magnolia Sound behind. Forever. Will Jake’s plan to replace the old, painful memories help him finally show her their love deserves another chance?


When I read the prequel to the Magnolia Sound series, Sunkissed Days, I really didn’t enjoy it all the much because despite being 20 and 24, the story of Mallory and Jake read as two highschoolers to me. Because this novel takes place six years later, I was hoping that I would like this one more.

I appreciate that both Mallory and Jake had grown up a lot in those six years and acknowledged their past relationship and how they could have handled things better considering the fact that they both acted so immature that summer, but even with that whole issue of mine resolved, this novel still fell flat for me.

I don’t know what it is, but no matter what was happening or how sad it was, I just never got invested in the characters or their stories. I was never rooting for the romance or a happy ending or anything of the sort. There’s really nothing that I can pinpoint that makes me feel this way because it’s not like it’s a bad story or the writing is bad. I just didn’t have that connection to it. And I feel bad especially because there is no specific reason, but I didn’t enjoy it.

About Samantha Chase:

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Samantha Chase is a New York Times and USA Today bestseller of contemporary romance. She released her debut novel in 2011 and currently has more than forty titles under her belt! When she’s not working on a new story, she spends her time reading romances, playing way too many games of Scrabble or Solitaire on Facebook, wearing a tiara while playing with her sassy pug Maylene…oh, and spending time with her husband of 25 years and their two sons in North Carolina.


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Review: Fleeting by Carrie Aarons – Blog Tour

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Title: Fleeting
Author: Carrie Aarons
Series: Nash Brothers Series #1
Publisher: Self-published by Carrie Aarons
Publication Date: March 14, 2018
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an ARC from the author/Inkslinger PR in exchange for an honest review for the purpose of this blog tour


Rating: 5 stars

Presley McDaniel lives her life from moment to moment.

Making permanent decisions means obligation, and that would force her to stop being the family disappointment. Waitress, fitness instructor, dog walker … you name the hourly job and she’s probably held the position.

But when her grandmother can no longer run her book shop in Fawn Hill, a town so small it barely has its own zip code, Presley steps up to help.

The move from bustling city to green pastures may be exactly what she needs to sort out her life. But she didn’t ask for that happy ending to include a gorgeous veterinarian with an all-American smile and a penchant for snuggling puppies. The good doctor is reliable, responsible, and just the kind of man Presley has always avoided.

Love and commitment are predictable.
So why, the moment she lays eyes on him, are they all she wants?

Keaton Nash has never questioned his steady path.

His brothers may tease him about settling into his father’s passed-down role of small town veterinarian, but Keaton has never minded his rural roots. And after tragedy struck two years ago, he has a duty as the eldest Nash man to look after his family.

What he doesn’t need is the sexy, flighty stranger who shows up in town and gets his broken heart beating again. Presley McDaniel is a distraction, a red-headed temptation that is the definition of a bad idea.

He’s barely recovered from the love who left him to chase bigger dreams, and this woman is bound to do the same.

Except for the first time ever, he wants to abandon stability.
She makes him want to be reckless.


“Don’t worry, Presley. I’m not going to kiss you on this Ferris wheel. You’re not a cliché moment kind of girl, that much I can tell. And we haven’t even gone on a date yet. You should know I’m a gentleman. A gentleman who doesn’t play games. When I kiss you, we’ll both be ready for it.”

This was the second book that I’ve read by Carrie Aarons and I have to admit, I’m really becoming a fan of hers. She is a wonderful writer and definitely has a gift for it when it comes to writing in the contemporary romance genre.

Presley and Keaton are two people who are completely opposite from one another, but match together so well. Opposites attract, right? Presley is a (kind of) lost city girl from NYC who has moved to Fawn Hill to help her ailing grandmother with her bookshop/post office business. Keaton is a Fawn Hill native, the oldest of the four Nash brothers, and the responsible town vet. On paper this probably sounds like two people who should not be trying out anything resembling a relationship, but they do. And their story is pretty dang awesome.

“I’m still that girl, the spontaneous nomad who enjoys living without strings. Falling in love and staying in one place doesn’t have to change that. I can still have adventures. It’s just that now, I have someone who might want to adventure with me.”

Carrie Aarons, welcome to my list of auto-buy authors. This woman knows how to write an excellent contemporary romance that has all of the important elements executed perfectly. I flew through this novel so quickly. Every step of the way I was interested in the lives of these characters and invested in their romance.

One thing about the plot that I appreciated the most was how Aarons put in just enough information about the other three Nash brothers to make you excited about their stories without distracting from the main story of Presley and Keaton. It was the perfect set up of what is to come and each of the brothers, despite how close they are, seem like they’re all going to have very different stories from one another.

I appreciated the pacing. There was no overwhelming insta-love. Presley and Keaton had time to develop their feelings for each other and truly come to terms with how special their relationship was each in their own time.

Overall, I absolutely adored Fleeting and I can’t wait to read the stories of the other Nash Brothers. The second I can get my hands on the next one, featuring Bowen, you can bet large piles of money that I’m going to spend my entire day reading it in one sitting.

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About Carrie Aarons:

Author of romance novels such as Red Card and Privileged, Carrie Aarons writes books that are just as swoon-worthy as they are sarcastic. A former journalist, she prefers the stories she dreams up, and the yoga pant dress code, much better.

When she isn’t writing, Carrie is busy binging reality TV, having a love/hate relationship with cardio, and trying not to burn dinner. She lives in the suburbs of New Jersey with her husband, daughter and dog.


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