Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Waiting and Wishing On Wednesday: Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and Wishlist Wednesday is hosted over at Pen to Paper. These are weekly memes that are a chance to share new books that you're most excited about getting you hands on. 

                                      What I'm Waiting and Wishing For


Coin Heist by Elisa Ludwig -

The last place you’d expect to find a team of criminals is at a prestigious Philadelphia prep school. But on a class trip to the U.S. Mint – which prints a million new coins every 30 minutes – an overlooked security flaw becomes far too tempting for a small group of students to ignore.

United by dire circumstances, these unlikely allies – the slacker, the nerd, the athlete, and the "perfect" student – band together to attempt the impossible: rob the U.S. Mint. The diverse crew is forced to confront their true beliefs about each other and themselves as they do the wrong thing for the right reasons.


Elisa Ludwig's Coin Heist is a fun, suspenseful, and compelling thriller, told from the revolving perspectives of four teens, each with their own motive for committing a crime that could change all of their lives for the better—if they can pull it off. (Goodreads)


Why I'm Waiting and Wishing

I think by now I've established my love for heist and spy books, especially of the young adult variety. This one reminds me very much of one of my favorite series Heist Society by Ally Carter - granted her series featured a team of trained teens. Still, I love a good heist story and I'm excited to see how a team of amateurs handle a heist - I have very high hopes for this one!

***



Please feel free to share links to your highly anticipated reads below. It's so exciting to read about everyone else's picks and find new books to add to my TBR list!


Jenn
Tale of Two Doxies

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Books With Friendship (May 20)


Top Ten Tuesdays is a great weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, where you get to share fun book related topic top ten lists. It is also another great meme for finding great new books, authors and blogs! 

This week is 

Top Ten Books Featuring Friendship

So, in no particular order…


Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita - Best part of the book hands down: Harper and Lina. Loved this friendship and seeing it grow and develop.

The Art of Lainey = Lainey, Becca, and Micah. I loved Becca and Micah and how they helped Lainey grow as a person and come into herself. They also kept her down to earth, and they were just great: who wouldn't want those two as friends?


Stephanie Plum Series by Janet Evanovich - Stephanie and Lula, of course! I know most would say Stephanie and Ranger or Morelli - and that's cool but I love the Stephanie-Lula dynamic (and the lack of love-triangle is good too lol).

Harry Potter Series by JK Rowling - because if I can't find a way to plug my undying love for all things HP…no seriously, because this is where all the friendships are: the trio (Harry, Ron, Hermione), Hagrid, Dobby, Neville, Luna…the list goes on. And also cause I love HP!



 Heist Society by Ally Carter - Who doesn't love an amazing group of friends who also double as an amazing, and fully qualified heist team? Am I right? I loved the Kat - Hale friendship, and the Kat -everyone else friendships too: Gabrielle, Simon, the Bagshawes…

The Boy Next Door by Meg Cabot - Mel and Nadine (and Tony too!) I loved the two of them, their emails were hilarious and this remains one of my favorite books and favorite friendships. I also really enjoyed the friendship between John and Stacy.


Holly's Inbox by Holly Denham - I loved this book, laugh out loud funny! The dynamic between Holly, Aisha and Jason was priceless. Great example of friendship right there!

Alanna (Song of the Lioness series) by Tamora Pierce - Love the friendships in this one, Alanna or Alan had many great friends favorites of course included: George, Raoul, and Jonathan.


Gallagher Girls series by Ally Carter - Who doesn't love their friendships with a side of Espionage? The friendship between Cammie, Bex, Liz and Macey was what made this series so great. I loved the dynamic between the four of them.

Also Known As by Robin Benway - Yes, another book (/series) featuring spies and all that good stuff. However, once again, as fun as the spy world/espionage part was, the part I loved best about the book was watching the friendship develop between Maggie and Roux (love Roux!).

Pushing the Limits series by Katie McGarry - A central point of all the books in this series has been relationships yes, but more importantly friendships and the "family" this can provide. I love the original trio = Noah, Isaiah, and Beth. Their friendship has definitely been an interesting one to follow, and I've enjoyed seeing the group expand as each has brought in more Echo, Rachel, etc. And of course how could I ever leave out my fave character Abby? Abby came into the series with the book Crash Into You which is why I chose that cover to feature. I won't say any more, I'd hate to ruin the awesome surprise of her if you haven't read the book yet!

How about you: what books did you choose for friendship features?
 Please feel free to comment and link up so I can visit your Top Ten!


Jenn
 Tale of Two Doxies





Monday, May 19, 2014

YA Review: The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes

The Art of Lainey - by Paula Stokes

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.

What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be? (Goodreads)

The story picks up with the main character Lainey (popular girl and soccer player), who appeared to have her whole summer and senior year planned out, getting dumped by her popular boyfriend. And Jason isn't just a popular jock, no, he's also her first serious boyfriend and the older brother of one of her best friends! Well, what is a girl to do when her perfect life and all her plans seem to be crumbling around her? Wage a war to get him back of course!
The Art of Lainey is a fun, quick, and surprisingly layered YA Contemporary Romance read. I truly enjoyed getting wrapped up in Lainey's world, and feeling sixteen again, and breezed through the book in a day. This book is a sure win with fans of the YA Contemporary Romance genre, those who love a good breakup story, and fans of authors like Sarah Dessen, Jennifer Echols, Janette Rallison, and Susane Colasanti.
Highlights:
It's hard to figure out where to begin - I can honestly say that I found this book to be a unexpected and refreshing treat. I knew I would enjoy the book, but I didn't realize that I would enjoy it so much or find a book that took some tried and true plot pieces and made them feel original and new.
One thing that immediately stood out to me were the content and emotions of the story. I felt it was very realistic, and brought me right back to high school, being sixteen, and dealing with all the issues that go along with it: finding yourself, friendships, relationships, and breakups. I liked that the story was more than simply a romance, that it was also a coming of age story - it was about learning who you are and how to accept that person, it was about looking at the world around you with fresh eyes. Lainey had to learn to look beyond appearances and pre-conceived notions, she also had to learn about who she really was and what truly mattered to her. This really added depth to the story - the character growth and change we get to read about over the course of the novel.
I really liked the characters in this book - I was very pleased that each character felt well-developed, and that you got to see a glimpse of the meaning behind who they are and the choices they make. One thing that definitely stood out for me was the fact that the author chose to take the time to create 3 dimensional characters, all around and not just create "stock" bad guys and good. Even the Lainey's ex, Jason, is shown in this way - yes he's a teenage guy, yes he makes bad decisions, but he is not shown as a bad guy.
My favorite characters by far had to be Bianca (Lainey's best friend from childhood) and Micah (a boy who works with Lainey, and known her since they were kids). Both characters were fantastic in their own ways, and I enjoyed seeing them help Lainey to grow and also seeing their growth throughout the story as well. One thing that definitely stood out to me were some of the physical descriptions - I liked seeing some variety in the characters. Bianca is described as being pretty, but curvy and not super-appearance/fashion conscious. Micah has an alternative-punk type look, but despite being a main male character was not all "built" or super tan, he just sounded normal. Lainey herself, despite being a popular girl, is not described as perfect but instead is athletically built, strong, tall and with normal skin, etc. She's a bit of a tomboy but also has a feminine side she embraces as well, she's assertive but also insecure and unsure of herself at times. It was nice to see some variety - no super skinny, perfect teeth, hair, eyes, size etc.
I absolutely loved the friendship between Bianca and Lainey, it was a strong female friendship that endured over time. It was refreshing to see, and it was also nice to see this in contrast to Lainey's friendship with her other best friend Kendall.
I think one of the strong suits of this book is that it touches on universal issues, I think everyone will be able to find some part to relate to: the friendships, the identity issues, the relationships. It was great to see a book that tackled all these and made it feel real, I also enjoyed the fact that the book went about the changes slowly. A unique touch was the use of The Art of War, woven throughout the story.
Wishes
Normally, this would be the part where I lay the wishes on you...however, I didn't really have any with this book. I really enjoyed it start to finish, and for me - it worked.


Overall, I would definitely recommend this book - I read it in one day, and stayed up waaaay too late to finish it. It's one I hope to get my younger sibling (who is in high school) to read, I think it touches on a lot of great topics and would be a great read for her and her friends. So, if you're looking for a fun, realistic, Contemporary YA read - look no further, give The Art of Lainey a try.
Recommendations:

What Happened To Goodbye - Sarah Dessen
Stealing Heaven - Elizabeth Scott
Dare You To - Katie McGarry
Summer State of Mind - Jen Calonita
When It Happens - Susane Colasanti

Rating - 

5 out of 5 Doxies - Loved it, definitely a reread and own it book!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Chick Lit Review: The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter


The Convenient Groom by Denise Hunter

I am a big fan of Contemporary reads whether they are of the YA, Chick Lit, Romance, or Christian variety, sometimes you just need a nice getaway feel good story. This book is a Christian Romance novel, by author Denise Hunter - who I have read novels by before, and I always enjoy. Ms. Hunter's style is a bit different than many Christian authors I have read, her Christian elements are a lot more subtle and tend to be woven in to the story as more of an allegory than an overt message. I know that for some, this makes the story more enjoyable. When I read the summary, it definitely appealed to me, as it hits upon one of those plot-lines I'm always a bit of a sucker for: the arranged/marriage of convenience that becomes something more. I think fans of Denise Hunter's other works, of clean Romances, and of Contemporary Romance type reads will enjoy this one.
Highlights
Some things I usually find to be an appealing plot device in a romance were present in this novel: the marriage of convenience, a slow building romance, and opposites attracting. I really enjoyed Lucas and his family, especially his siblings and his relationship with them. It was also nice to read a romance that I could recommend to my mom or aunt without worrying about certain scenes.
I found the novel to be one that was easy to read and feel good. I wanted to see what would happen next and how things would work out for Lucas and Kate. It was also a nice switch to see the male character as the one who has developed feelings and is waiting for the woman to realize. The love story was definitely an uphill battle, and it was interesting to see their feelings grow and change- as well as to see how Kate changed.
One thing that I've always enjoyed about Denise Hunter's novels personally is the fact that they are sweet, clean romances. Her novels are Christian, but the message is more subtle and in the subtext instead, which I don't mind. This novel for instance, is a great clean, romance read that follows the story of Lucas and Kate - but is meant to represent the love God has for each of us. I think it's nice when the story is done with subtlety like his one, as it can be easier to recommend to a wider audience and will appeal to those who want a Christian novel and/or just a nice, clean romance read.
Wishes
Kate was a bit of a hard character to get used to, she was not always very likeable, and I often wanted to shake her. It didn't help that in contrast you have super sweet, caring, and patient Lucas. However, I think given the message of the novel - I understand that Kate's abrasiveness to start is kind of the point. It did make this Denise Hunter novel a bit harder for me to get into than others I've read though.


Overall, I enjoyed the book and though it was not my favorite of Ms. Hunter's works, I still found it a fun way to spend an afternoon. I look forward to reading more by her, and for those that enjoy these same plotlines and romances, I'd say it's definitely worth checking out.

Recommendations:  

If you enjoyed this book and are looking for more Contemporary Chick Lit reads try:

Just Breath – Susan Wiggs
Something Borrowed – Emily Giffin
There’s Cake in My Future – Kim Gruenenfelder
Unpredictable – Eileen Cook
When In Doubt Add Butter– Beth Harbison

For more Contemporary Christian Romance reads try:

The Princess by Lori Wick
Once Upon A Prince - Rachel Hauck
Secrets - Robin Jones Gunn
Seaside Letters  - Denise Hunter
           

Rating (for both of the above romances):

 3 out of 5 Doxies –   Really enjoyed it, definitely worth a read!


Jenn
 Tale of Two Doxies


Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Waiting and Wishing On Wednesday: The Crystal Heart (May 13)




Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine and Wishlist Wednesday is hosted over at Pen to Paper. These are weekly memes that are a chance to share new books that you're most excited about getting you hands on. 

                                      What I'm Waiting and Wishing For



A girl in a tower. An underground kingdom. This retelling of Rapunzel offers a gripping blend of magic, romance, adventure, fairytale, and mystery.

When 17-year-old army conscript Kasper Bator is chosen to join the elite guard that keeps watch over a dangerous prisoner in a tower, he believes what he's been told: the prisoner is a powerful witch. But when he meets the prisoner, Kasper's life will change forever—for the prisoner is no witch, but a beautiful young girl. The daughter of the country's enemy, the Prince of Night, Izolda has been held hostage since she was three. And she is in imminent danger, for a prophecy says she must die on her 16th birthday if Krainos is to be saved from the Prince of Night. Kasper decides to help her escape. As the days pass, their friendship turns into real love, but their hiding place won't stay safe forever. 
 - (blurb from Goodreads)


Why I'm Waiting and Wishing

Okay, so I haven't heard much about this release, but I did happen to run across it on one of the blogs I read and I was immediately captured by the cover. (That's right *gasp* I am guilty of being a dirty-little-book-cover-judger!). 

Anyway, so I didn't have a lot to go on or tons of early praise, and I haven't read anything by the author…but here are two reasons I'm excited for this one:

 1. Have you read that blurb? I mean seriously: fairy tale retelling, rapunzel, love story, intrigue - this books got it all. 
2. Look at that cover art - beautiful! I must have it! 

***



Please feel free to share links to your highly anticipated reads below. It's so exciting to read about everyone else's picks and find new books to add to my TBR list!


p.s. please feel free to check out the Giveaway and my review for The Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols as part of it's pre-release Blog Tour 

Jenn
Tale of Two Doxies

Monday, May 12, 2014

Book Tour Review - Biggest Flirts by Jennifer Echols


Title:      Biggest Flirts                                                              Series:   The Superlatives #1
Author: Jennifer Echols

Release date: May 20th 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pre-order: AMAZON


I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to participate in the Blog Tour for the release of this title. The tour is being run by Shane over at Itching for Books, and for in exchange for an honest review - Edelweiss was kind enough to provide a free e-arc for me to read.

Biggest Flirts is a YA Contemporary Romance novel, which focuses on the story of Tia Cruz and Will Matthews. Tia and Will are high school seniors, about to embark on their final year of high school in Florida. Tia, who has lived in the area her whole life, comes from a broken family - a family with issues that result in a fear of commitment and responsibility. Tia has trouble picturing, wanting or trying to plan a future for herself. Will, is new to town and has always been the "perfect" guy - having recently been uprooted, he's attempting to figure out how to reconfigure his life and his plans. When Tia and Will meet, there is an instant attraction, and a flirtation develops. Can Tia and Will be more than friends? Can they move forward together?

This was my first read of a Jennifer Echols book, but I have had her on my radar for awhile now - and I was very excited to give her a try. I'm happy to report that I wasn't disappointed - I very much enjoyed reading Biggest Flirts and I finished it in one day. I'll definitely be checking out her other titles - though I am most excited for the next book in the Superlatives series (and hope that it will be titled Most Likely To Succeed). I think this book is definitely a read for fans of Echols, or those who enjoy Contemporary YA novels that are relationship oriented.

Highlights 

I happen to really enjoy Contemporary YA books, and I enjoyed the approach of this one. Although I didn't like all the choices the characters were making, it was part of what made them relatable and real to me. I found the characters to be true to life in that they were flawed and they were making impulsive choices, they didn't always use sound judgement or reasoning, and they were very focused on the present. To me that is high school - you are very focused on the social aspects, the present, and worried about what comes next. Everything feels so big and important. You make impulsive choices, you make mistakes, you create regrets - emotions rule and not everything you do or say is well thought out or executed. 

I liked Tia, she was very flawed and relatable - I thought her choices made sense with what she had experienced. I was happy to watch her develop, fail and grow during the story. I enjoyed learning her backstory, and I enjoyed seeing her interactions. Did she make some choices I didn't agree with? Sure, but she's seventeen and we all make some bad choices at seventeen, and we all used some weird justification and logic too. 

I also really enjoyed Will - he was interesting to get to know, I liked seeing his struggle with moving and what that meant. I enjoyed seeing how he interacted with Tia and how he changed over the story and learned about himself. Additionally, I also really enjoyed all of the secondary characters in the story as well. 

To me, this was a fun, light, summer read. Not to serious, but still with a nice balance of the more serious issues too. I enjoyed how the story was written, and watching the characters develop and change. I also liked seeing another side to each character as the story went on and revealed more about them.

Wishes 

One big wish I had was the timeframe - I wish the author had chosen to present the story over the course of the school year or several months at least. That part felt a bit rushed to me, although at the same time I do know that things move quickly when you're at that age. One day you're friends, the next you aren't - they could be dating one day, exes the next, etc. Part of the drama of high school. 

I know some might complain about the insta-love - but to me in rang kind of true. I remember in high school being instantly attracted and/or infatuated with a guy. I know how quickly relationships can develop and how important/big and all-consuming it all feels at that time. I think when you're young it is easy to confuse love and infatuation, and we do fall quickly and hard for people. 

***
Overall, I really enjoyed the book. I went into it wanting a fun, light, romantic spring read - I wanted something that would take me away and distract me, wrap me up in the world of the book. This book did it for me, it made me think: about the characters and their choices, about high school, about my own experiences, and about how things feel as an adolescent. I enjoyed getting wrapped up in the characters and their high school experiences- I read the book over the course of a day and when I finished I was satisfied. I know I enjoyed my experience over all, and I will definitely try other titles by this author. 

Recommendations -

Perfect You - Elizabeth Scott
Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen
Something Like Fate- Susane Colas anti
My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick
Taking the Ex Out of Ex Boyfriend - Janette Rallison

Rating -

4 out of 5 Doxies - Definitely worth a read, I can't wait to try another book by the author!









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Saturday, May 10, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (May 10)


Stacking the Shelves
- Hosted by: Tynga’s Reviews
Description: Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

Amazing, Super Exciting Book for Review:

Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

From the author of the “real page-turner” (Seventeen) Such a Rush comes an unforgettable new drama that follows friends-turned-lovers as they navigate the passions, heartbreaks, and intrigue of country music fame.

Bailey wasn’t always a wild child and the black sheep of her family. She used to play fiddle and tour the music circuit with her sister, Julie, who sang and played guitar. That ended when country music execs swooped in and signed Julie to a solo deal. Never mind that Julie and Bailey were a duet, or that Bailey was their songwriter. The music scouts wanted only Julie, and their parents were content to sit by and let her fulfill her dreams while Bailey’s were hushed away.

Bailey has tried to numb the pain and disappointment over what could have been. And as Julie’s debut album is set to hit the charts, her parents get fed up with Bailey’s antics and ship her off to granddad’s house in Nashville. Playing fiddle in washed-up tribute groups at the mall, Bailey meets Sam, a handsome and oh-so-persuasive guitarist with his own band. He knows Bailey’s fiddle playing is just the thing his band needs to break into the industry. But this life has broken Bailey’s heart once before. She isn’t sure she’s ready to let Sam take her there again… (Goodreads)

I am ridiculously excited to read another Jennifer Echols book, I was so completely overjoyed to have been chosen as a reader for one of the new paperback editions. It's also a signed copy so, pretty much I'm over the moon and this book holds a revered spot on my shelf. Can not wait to read it - I mean, look at that cover! Amazing right? :)


Edelweiss E-Arcs for Review:


The Art of Lainey - by Paula Stokes

Soccer star Lainey Mitchell is gearing up to spend an epic summer with her amazing boyfriend, Jason, when he suddenly breaks up with her—no reasons, no warning, and in public no less! Lainey is more than crushed, but with help from her friend Bianca, she resolves to do whatever it takes to get Jason back.

And that’s when the girls stumble across a copy of The Art of War. With just one glance, they're sure they can use the book to lure Jason back into Lainey’s arms. So Lainey channels her inner warlord, recruiting spies to gather intel and persuading her coworker Micah to pose as her new boyfriend to make Jason jealous. After a few "dates", it looks like her plan is going to work! But now her relationship with Micah is starting to feel like more than just a game.


What's a girl to do when what she wants is totally different from what she needs? How do you figure out the person you're meant to be with, if you're still figuring out the person you're meant to be? (Goodreads)

 Bookstore Buys:

Deception's Princess - by Esther Friesner                                

Some lies lead to true adventure...


Maeve, princess of Connacht, was born with her fists clenched. And it's her spirit and courage that make Maeve her father's favorite daughter. But once he becomes the High King, powerful men begin to circle—it's easy to love the girl who brings her husband a kingdom.

Yet Maeve is more than a prize to be won, and she's determined to win the right to decide her own fate. In the court's deadly game of intrigue, she uses her wits to keep her father's friends and enemies close—but not too close. When she strikes up an unlikely friendship with the son of a visiting druid, Maeve faces a brutal decision between her loyalty to her family and to her own heart.

Award-winning author Esther Friesner has a remarkable gift for combining exciting myth and richly researched history. This fiery heroine's fight for independence in first-century Ireland is truly worthy of a bard's tale. Hand Deception's Princess to fans of Tamora Pierce, Shannon Hale, and Malinda Lo. (Goodreads)



Entwined by Heather Dixon

Come and mend your broken hearts here. In this retelling of the classic tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses," the eldest princess must fight to save her family—and her heart—from an ancient dark magic within the palace walls. "Full of mystery, lush settings, and fully orbed characters, Dixon's debut is both suspenseful and rewarding."—ALA Booklist

Just when Azalea should feel that everything is before her—beautiful gowns, dashing suitors, balls filled with dancing—it's taken away. All of it. And Azalea is trapped. The Keeper understands. He's trapped, too, held for centuries within the walls of the palace. So he extends an invitation.

Every night, Azalea and her eleven sisters may step through the enchanted passage in their room to dance in his silver forest, but there is a cost. The Keeper likes to keep things. Azalea may not realize how tangled she is in his web until it is too late. "Readers who enjoy stories of royalty, romance, and magic will delight in Dixon's first novel."—Publishers Weekly  (Goodreads)




Expiration Day by William Campbell Powell
  
What happens when you turn eighteen and there are no more tomorrows?

It is the year 2049, and humanity is on the brink of extinction….

Tania Deeley has always been told that she’s a rarity: a human child in a world where most children are sophisticated androids manufactured by Oxted Corporation. When a decline in global fertility ensued, it was the creation of these near-perfect human copies called teknoids that helped to prevent the utter collapse of society.

Though she has always been aware of the existence of teknoids, it is not until her first day at The Lady Maud High School for Girls that Tania realizes that her best friend, Siân, may be one. Returning home from the summer holiday, she is shocked by how much Siân has changed. Is it possible that these changes were engineered by Oxted? And if Siân could be a teknoid, how many others in Tania’s life are not real?

Driven by the need to understand what sets teknoids apart from their human counterparts, Tania begins to seek answers. But time is running out. For everyone knows that on their eighteenth “birthdays,” teknoids must be returned to Oxted—never to be heard from again.  (Goodreads)


My Life With The Walter Boys by Ali Novak


Sixteen-year old Jackie Howard knows nothing about her new guardian Katherine Walter when she moves from New York to Colorado. After discovering that Katherine has twelve boys, Jackie fears that living in the Walter house isn't going to be easy. It's just icing on the cake that the boys look like Abercrombie models... (Goodreads)











Kindle Buys:

What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick    

From the author of My Life Next Door comes a swoony summertime romance full of expectation and regret, humor and hard questions.


Gwen Castle's Biggest Mistake Ever, Cassidy Somers, is slumming it as a yard boy on her Nantucket-esque island this summer. He's a rich kid from across the bridge in Stony Bay, and she hails from a family of fishermen and housecleaners who keep the island's summer people happy. Gwen worries a life of cleaning houses will be her fate too, but just when it looks like she'll never escape her past—or the island—Gwen's dad gives her some shocking advice. Sparks fly and secret histories unspool as Gwen spends a gorgeous, restless summer struggling to resolve what she thought was true—about the place she lives, the people she loves, and even herself—with what really is. (Goodreads)


 Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita                             

Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper's parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.


Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can't climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp "Lifer" Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends--and stay out of trouble--she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.

A fresh and funny summer-camp companion novel to Jen Calonita's hit Sleepaway Girls. (Goodreads)




How about you? What were your finds this week? 
Please feel free to comment and share a link to your new reads below. 


Jenn
 Tale of Two Doxies

Thursday, May 8, 2014

YA Review - Summer State of Mind by Jen Calonita

Summer State of  Mind by Jen Calonita
Summer has finally arrived and fifteen-year-old Harper McCallister intends to spend her days at the mall shopping or by the pool at her country club. But after receiving her latest heart-stopping credit card bill, Harper's parents makes other plans, and ship her off to camp.

Suddenly, the clueless yet ever-popular Harper is the new girl at the bottom of a social ladder she can't climb in wedge sandals and expensive clothes. She seems to be winning over super-cute camp "Lifer" Ethan, though, and if she can manage to make a few friends--and stay out of trouble--she just might find a whole new summer state of mind.

A fresh and funny summer-camp companion novel to Jen Calonita's hit Sleepaway Girls. (Goodreads)



A fun, light YA Contemporary read just in time for the spring/summer season - Summer State of Mind will definitely please fans of Calonita's as well as be a great choice for others who enjoy YA Contemporary. This Contemp YA novel takes place at a sleep away camp over summer break, and explores teenage identity, fitting in, and friendships.
Highlights
Having already read Calonita's Belles series, I was immediately interested when I heard she had a new offering available and I went and ordered it from Amazon right away. Having only ever heard of Calonita in reference to her Belles series, I wasn't aware until after I read the book that this is technically the second in the Whispering Pines series. However, if you haven't yet read the first book have no fear - this one reads like a stand-alone and from what I've been told features mostly new characters and an independent plot. I always enjoy a "series" where each book might take place in the same world, and overlap characters, but each can stand as an independent read - so right away that gets points from me.
I really enjoyed the read - it was just what I was looking for: light, fun, quick, and summer-y. Having never been a summer sleep away camp attendee (the most I've ever done was Girl Scout camps) - I can say the book paints a pretty fantastic picture - I definitely wanted to go back and do a summer session in high school at Whispering Pines! The author does a great job of making it sound pretty fantastic, even with a main character who dislikes the outdoors, camping, bugs, anything athletic, etc. - and as a girl who isn't overly athletic myself, it still sounded fun!
I think what stood out for me the most while I was reading (and makes me want to force my high school aged little sis to read this) would be the topics that are the focus of the book. The story's central themes involve friendship, identity, fitting in, and learning what you value. I enjoyed that the main character, Harper, is on a journey (whether she realizes and/or wants to be) of self-discovery and growth. Harper starts off pretty annoying, she has some clearly redeeming qualities (you can tell her hearts in the right place), however she is pretty superficial and waaaay to focused on all the wrong things.
I enjoyed watching Harper progress and learn to adapt to new experiences, try new things, and begin to find herself in the process. It was nice to watch her develop a friendship with Lina at camp, and see how their friendship grows and what Harper learns about being a friend from this. It was also refreshing to read a YA Contemp where the primary focus was not on the romance, although romance did play a small role as well.
Wishes
Generally, I really enjoyed this read and it fit with what I was expecting and looking for. A few wishes I might have had about the book would have to be around Kate and Margo (Harper's friends from home). I really didn't like Kate (for the entire book!), but Margo I felt was more like Harper: likable if given a push away from people like Kate. I wish we had gotten more closer around what Harper's next move was in terms of her 'friendships' with Margo and Kate and how the realizations she had made at camp would impact her at home. It would have been nice to have some closure around that situation.
***

Overall, I'd say it's a great summer read and I would definitely recommend picking it up if you're looking for a fun beach read. I know I'll definitely be looking into this other book that takes place at Whispering Pines.

Recommendations:
The Art of Lainey - Paula Stokes
Belles - Jen Calonita
My Life Next Door - Huntley Fitzpatrick
Biggest Flirts - Jennifer Echols

Rating:  
4 out of 5 Doxies - Definitely worth a read, an author you can count on for a satisfying read!