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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Indigo | Amazon | TBD
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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.

Website | Twitter | Instagram | Goodreads

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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

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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.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | BookBub | Pinterest | Goodreads

Review: The Allure of Dean Harper by R.S. Grey

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Title: The Allure of Dean Harper
Author: R.S. Grey
Series: The Allure #2
Publisher: Self Published by R.S. Grey
Publication Date: September 28, 2015
Genre: New Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Purchased

Goodreads
Amazon

Rating: 4.5 stars

From: LilyNBlack@Gmail.com
To: JosephineKeller@VogueMagazine.com
Subject: You’re a flippin’ idiot

Good morning my dear, naive friend, I hope you’re enjoying a breakfast of regret and sorrow

Why?

Because you sent me to work for Dean Harper, aka a control freak in a tailor-made suit. Sure he owns the trendiest restaurants in NYC, but c’mon Jo, his ego makes Kanye West look like the Dalai Lama.

He’s the type of guy that only hears the word “no” when it’s followed by “don’t stop.”

Working for Dean Harper would be like selling my soul to the devil… and before you say anything, I don’t care if the devil has punch-you-in-the-gut brown eyes and an ass to match. My soul isn’t for sale.

Regretfully yours, Lily

Review:

“When was the last time I’d had a relationship like that? I think I had shown that much affection to a Snicker’s ice cream bar once, but it had been a tragically one-sided affair.”

If you’re in the market for the perfect enemies to lovers story, then look no further. The Allure of Dean Harper is exactly what you need if that trope is right up your alley. Two stubborn characters who dish it back and forth at a rapid rate, and who also have some crazy good sexual tension. Now come on and tell me that doesn’t sound like an excellent read.

Lily was such an admirable character and the perfect kind of best friend. Whenever Dean gave it to her (verbally!!! Get your minds out of the gutter!), she gave it back just as much. She was the kind of character who did not take any crap from anyone and I loved her for it. Also the fact that she moved from Texas to New York to make her culinary dreams come true. That takes a lot of courage and determination to go out on your own like that with no guarantees of succeding.

Dean. Oh my god, Dean. First of all, let me just say I want one for myself. Everything about him made him sound like the kind of man we’re all dying to have. He’s driven, he’s a little stubbon (ok… a lot stubborn), and hot as all hell. And despite all the back and forth between him and Lily, he totally had her back in a protective but not overly possessive kind of way. What a damn man.

The few times other characters were in the book, I enjoyed it. Josephine and Julian from The Allure of Julian Lefray made a few appearances in the book. It was nice to see two characters from another book of R.S. Grey’s that I also enjoyed. Especially because Lily and Jospehine and Dean and Julian are two sets of really good friends.

“If only she and I could shut up for ten minutes, the sex would be the best of our lives. Angry. Hard. Fast. Not love. Not even close. War.”

Again, another book knocked out of the park with R.S. Grey’s writing. I swear this woman can do no wrong when it comes to writing romantic comedies. She manages to achieve the perfect blend of fun, hilarious, and sexy with every book I read. And even when the characters inevitably end up together, it doesn’t become this huge sap fest. From begining to end, the characters she writes are always true to themselves and it makes it that much more fun to read.

I loved loved loved the plot. The whole restaurant scene in New York City as the setting and focus of their careers was captivating. I don’t know if R.S. Grey has ever been to NYC, but I felt like I could imagine the setting she created with the plot so well.

R.S. Grey knows how to pace a book. Of course, there’s a crazy amount of tension, but it’s always the right amount of tension. There is never a moment where I feel like it’s going too fast or too slow. Everything flows in a way that feels natural and it really adds to the enjoyment of the story.

Long story short, read the damn duology. Both The Allure of Julian Lefray and The Allure of Dean Harper are inredible reads. They are soooooo worth your time and money. R.S. Grey is the literal queen of romantic comedies. They’re laugh-out-loud funny with the perfect amount of sexual tension mixed in there. What more could you possibly want?