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

Goodreads
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.

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.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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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

Goodreads
Amazon

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.

Review:

“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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Review: Everything’s Better with Kimberly by Lucy Eden

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Title: Everything’s Better With Kimberly
Author: Lucy Eden
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Self-published by Lucy Eden
Publication Date: January 31, 2019
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Received an ARC in exchange for an honest review

Goodreads
Amazon | Apple | Barnes & Noble | Kobo

Rating: 5 stars

Kimberly Simmons is gorgeous, brilliant, and way out of my league. She’s definitely not the type to fall for a guy who walked away from his family’s fortune to become an architect. Good thing, too, because she works for Wolfe Industries, making her completely off-limits. Nailing this pitch to Wolfe’s CEO is exactly what I need to make my bosses forget about the last time I mixed business with pleasure. Too bad she has the most beautiful brown eyes and dazzling smile I’ve ever seen. Too bad I can’t stop staring.

Adam Price is a talented rising star architect at Will and Peking Designs. His newest design submission for The Wolfe Industries Caribbean Expansion is set to dazzle my CEO. If Adam’s design wins, with my help, I could get promoted, which means his big strong arms and gorgeous lips are strictly forbidden. It’s a good thing, too, because he has a reputation for leaving a trail of broken hearts all over Manhattan and I’m pretty sure I couldn’t survive a second heartbreak. Too bad every word he says makes me smile. Too bad he gives me a sense of calm I haven’t felt in a long time.

Keeping their relationship strictly professional for the sake of their jobs was the perfect excuse to stay away from each other. Too bad fate and undeniable chemistry have other plans…

Review:

Kimberly is a strong badass woman who doesn’t take any shit from anyone. She was such a fun character to read about and I admire her so much. If there is anyone I should probably be striving to be like, it’s her.

Adam Price is the man we all want and need and deserve. From the moment he entered this story and calmed Kimberly’s severe anxiety about flying, he shot straight up that book boyfriend list. He was such a sweetheart and looked out for Kimberly in so many different ways. The things he did to take care of this woman. I feel like the Grinch when his heart grew three sizes while reading this book.

Kimberly’s family is one of my favourite families to ever grace a novel as side characters. They were hilarious. I’ve definitely lost count of how many times they made me laugh out loud with their down to earth/funny moments.

Lucy Eden is such a great writer. Both the romance and the sex scenes were all written so well. The chemistry between Kimberly and Adam was also excellent. Everything about this book was so good and it basically comes down to the fact that Lucy Eden can write one hell of a swoon-worthy romance.

To conclude, if you guys are looking for the perfect romance that is cute and sexy and funny, then you absolutely need to pick up this book.

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About Lucy Eden:

Lucy Eden is the nom de plume of an romance obsessed author who writes the kind of romance she loves to read. She’s a sucker for alphas with a soft gooey center, over the top romantic gestures, strong & smart MCs, humor, love at first sight (or pretty damn close), happily ever afters & of course, steamy love scenes.

When Lucy isn’t writing, she’s busy reading—or listening to—every book she can get her hands on— romance or otherwise.

She lives & loves in New York with her husband, two children, a turtle & a Yorkshire Terrier.

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Review: The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater

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Title: The Raven Boys
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Series: The Raven Cycle #1
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Publication Date: September 18, 2012
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
Source: Purchased

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Rating: 5 stars

“There are only two reasons a non-seer would see a spirit on St. Mark’s Eve,” Neeve said. “Either you’re his true love . . . or you killed him.”

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive.

Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her.

His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble.

But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little.

For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

Review:

“Fate,” Blue replied, glowering at her mother, “is a weighty word to throw around before breakfast.”

If you’re looking for the perfect cold season read, then look no further than The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater. It’s the book to be curled up with in the dark while the cool, autumn rain or the calming winter snow falls outside. It’s scary but not in the horror movie way that makes you jump out of your seat in a fright. It’s the kind of scary that plays games with your mind, which I personally think is the much better version of scary.

Blue is by far one of the best female protagonists I’ve had the pleasure of reading in YA. She knows she’s quite different because of her upbringing but she doesn’t have a ‘not like other girls’ mentality. She is who she is and she owns that without bringing anyone else down in the process. It’s admirable and makes the story infinitely more enjoyable.

I know that everyone else who has read the series has probably said the same thing, but I want to protect each of those boys from all the bad things in the world. Especially Ronan. That boy is nothing but trouble (although secretely soft as soft can be) and he needs to be wrapped up in copious amounts of bubble wrap.

Blue’s family was also incredibly wonderful to read about. I love how Blue is surrounded by all of these women with strong personalities who embrace life and the gifts they have been given.

“She wasn’t interested in telling other people’s futures. She was interested in going out and finding her own.”

I don’t think I’ve ever read something where the writing matched the tone of the story so perfectly. Every sentence was dreamy and dark in the best way possible. Throughout the time I was reading the book, I kept taking pauses to fully absorb what I had just read. Some lines were so magical and it’s amazing that someone’s mind could be that awesome. Sometimes you can feel the author trying to hard to put in lines that will obviously be quoted in abundance, but at no point did it feel like Stiefvater was trying too hard. Everything she wrote felt so natural and so right.

The plot of The Raven Boys is one of the most unique plots out there. It’s filled with Welsh mythology, fortune tellers, dream cars, a magical forest, mystery, and boys/men with a slew of issues. Alright so boys with issues may not a new plot point but they are interesting issues that add to the story immensely and make you love it even more.

The pacing did seem a little slow at first, but the more you get into the book the more you understand that it needed to start that way. There are a lot of characters and she takes the time to develop them properly. Not only that, but the plot itself has a great deal of things to get through in order to understand the mythology and how it ties in with everything else going on. If you’ve ever read this and weren’t sure if you should continue because of a slow beginning, don’t stop. Do not put it down. It’s an extraordinary read you don’t want to miss out on.

To sum this up, pick up a copy of The Raven Boys immediately. If you’re looking for a dark and magical story filled with Welsh mythology and mystery, this is for you. Even if these may not be your preferred genres, you should still pick it up to be honest. Stiefvater’s writing is so perfect that I promise it’s worth the read.

Review: This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher – Blog Tour + Giveaway

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Today I am so excited to present to you my review of This Lie Will Kill You by Chelsea Pitcher. A million thanks to Fantastic Flying Book Club for letting be a part of this book tour. You can check out the schedule here.

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Title: This Lie Will Kill You
Author: Chelsea Pitcher
Series: Standalone
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publication Date: December 11, 2018
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Thriller
Source: Received an advanced copy from the publisher and Fantastic Flying Book Club for the purpose of this book tour

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Chapters | Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound | iBooks

Rating: 5 stars

Tell the truth. Or face the consequences.

Clue meets Riverdale in this page-turning thriller that exposes the lies five teens tell about a deadly night one year ago.

One year ago, there was a party.
At the party, someone died.
Five teens each played a part and up until now, no one has told the truth.

But tonight, the five survivors arrive at an isolated mansion in the hills, expecting to compete in a contest with a $50,000 grand prize. Of course…some things are too good to be true. They were each so desperate for the prize, they didn’t question the odd, rather exclusive invitation until it was too late.

Now, they realize they’ve been lured together by a person bent on revenge, a person who will stop at nothing to uncover what actually happened on that deadly night, one year ago.

Five arrived, but not all can leave. Will the truth set them free?
Or will their lies destroy them all?

Review:

One year ago, at a party in December, a series of events happened that led to the death of a teenager. Five teens had played a part in that death, but no one really knew what happened. Fast forward one year, and each of these students receive an exclusive invitation to compete for a $50,000 scholarship. After the events of last year’s party, they could each use that money for college so they all attend.

Once there, they realize they may have been a little hasty in accepting that invitation. Someone is hellbent on revenge and determined to find out the truth of what happened that night, and they will do whatever is necessary to know the entire story from start to finish.

Each of the characters were so strongly developed. I adored each persons’ chapters and being able to get into their brain to see exactly how they were feeling about the events that transpired at last year’s party, as well as the events at the revenge party. Ruby’s chapters were by far my favourite though. She was such a complex and interesting character with an insane life. No joke, I have no idea how that girl is still standing.

The writing was easily my favourite part of the book. Like I just mentioned, the characters were written beautifully. Not only that, the descriptions threw you into both the past and the present so clearly. I could picture everything as it was happening, and my god, if I never even have to think of a porcelain doll ever again, it’ll be too soon.

I was constantly on the edge of my seat wanting to know what was going to happen. While it was pretty obvious from the prologue who organized the revenge party, I was engaged all the way through wanting to know every single detail of both the past and present.

Overall, I would highly suggest picking up this book. While, yes, it is obvious who the party is organized by, I think the book is so thrilling and mysterious that it’s easy to look past that and have a wonderful reading experience.

Enter Chelsea Pitcher’s giveaway here:

  • 1 of 10 copies of This Lie Will Kill you, US only
  • Ends December 19, 2018

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About Chelsea Pitcher:

Chelsea Pitcher is a karaoke-singing, ocean-worshipping Oregonian with a penchant for twisty mysteries. She is the author of THE S-WORD, THE LAST CHANGELING & THE LAST FAERIE QUEEN.

Watch for her new YA thriller, THIS LIE WILL KILL YOU, coming December 11, 2018 from S&S/McElderry!