ARC REVIEW + EXCERPT: It Started With Goodbye by Christina June + INT Giveaway!!

11

It Started With Goodbye

Christina June

Published May 9th 2017 by Blink/HarperCollins

YAContemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon | BN | TBD

4 ★★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Sixteen-year-old Tatum Elsea is bracing for the worst summer of her life. After being falsely accused of a crime, she’s stuck under stepmother-imposed house arrest and her BFF’s gone ghost. Tatum fills her newfound free time with community service by day and working at her covert graphic design business at night (which includes trading emails with a cute cello-playing client). When Tatum discovers she’s not the only one in the house keeping secrets, she finds she has the chance to make amends with her family and friends. Equipped with a new perspective, and assisted by her feisty step-abuela-slash-fairy-godmother, Tatum is ready to start fresh and maybe even get her happy ending along the way.

1

[tour schedule

 

REVIEW:

“I cried for the girl constantly trying to force a connection, to find someone who took her at face value and didn’t ask her to be something she wasn’t. cried out for the doors that had closed and cried for the ones that might never open..”

I didn’t even know this was a retelling! Come to think of it, while I was reading the book I have this bubble of thought that says ‘Gosh she’s so much like Cinderella with what’s happening to her lol’ I love how Christina June got a lot of the books scenarios and character attitudes from the original Cinderella and modernized it but not in a way that it will lost the FEELS of the original story.

What I love about ISWG is that it’s not a love story. But it’s full of love. It’s romantic. It’s swoony. And most importantly, it’s full of heart. It started With Goodbye starts with our main character having the baddest day of her life and I like that. Because it just says that everything happens for a reason and bad things happening are actually a sign that GREAT things are ahead. Which is what happened with Tatums story. And Christina June made such a readable story with a relatable set of characters. Tatum is quirky, sweet, funny and authentic. She’s not perfect. You’ll scratch your head by some of her actions sometimes but that is the most wonderful part of reading a story, right? Getting affected by the characters actions that you’re connected with them. Now, I’m not sure if I’m the only one who felt this way but Tate’s parents are the only characters who I didn’t like much (her father is present here unlike from the original and she also has a stepmother) but I guess the author really designed them that way. The important thing though was that they helped a lot with Tatums character development.

The book has a lovestory as well that will also make you think of the original Cinderella. I don’t want to tell here how they met (hella cute), how did their love story progressed (swooooony) and what happened to their lovestory. You need to read the story for that, but one thing I can tell you is that even though the romance is not the highlight of the book, you won’t stop talking and thinking about it (like what I’m doing right now) just because it was done beautifully. There are a lot of winning relationships that is also part of the book such as friendships and family relationship. I specifically love the bond of Tatum and her abuela which is so delightfully sweet.

My rating is missing one star because ISWG started slow for me but despite of that, I would still recommend this book for contemporary lovers like me. It Started With Goodbye is well written and full of charm that will just touch your heartstrings. The characters are authentic and the story will make you believe that you could be a Tatum as well who is still lovable and fearless despite the unfortunate circumstances surrounding her.

 

EXCERPT:

I started crafting a letter, each key cool and hard under my fingers.

Hi Ashlyn,

Would she get stabby if I was formal, or would she think I was being contrite? I took off the lyn.

Hi Ash,

I heard through the grapevine that you enrolled at Blue Valley. I checked out the website, and it pretty much looks too good to be true. Do you ride to class on horseback? I bet they feed you nothing but ambrosia and Perrier too. We miss your face around here.

We or I? I left it we.

You aren’t missing anything at all at Henderson. Three more finals and then hello, junior year.

Remember the logo I was working on for Abby Gold’s blog? I finished it, and it turned out pretty well. Abby thinks I should make this a regular thing and launch my own business. What do you think?

Maybe she’d bite and give me her opinion. I did actually want it—she was pretty savvy when it came to people-oriented things, Chase excepted. I really just hoped she’d write me back.

Anywho, hope things are going okay. Do you have a roommate? If yes, if she annoys you, you can always freeze her bra or something. My intel says that’s the kind of prank people pull at all-girls schools.

Tatum

Or should I sign it Tate? Ashlyn was the only person who ever called me that. Again with the formal name or not. I looked back up at the top of the email. I supposed they should match, so I changed it.

Tate

Oh crud. What about a closing? Did I say Love or Sincerely? Warmly? Yours truly? The cheeky but effective Cheers? Or, my least favorite of all because it was so sadly insincere and fake, Best? Why was this so difficult? I closed my eyes for a moment, the pores on my hands prickling. I googled “how to close a letter,” determined to find exactly the right way to show my friend that I missed her and wanted to talk with her, but that I wasn’t going to apologize because I’d done nothing wrong and acted out of self-preservation. Google would know the right answer.

I read the almighty Wikipedia page titled “Valedictions”—apparently, that was the fancy word that meant how to say goodbye—and laughed at some of the phrases people used to write in old letters. “Yours aye”—which meant “yours always”—made me think of a pirate. The list of more casual closings suggested TTFN. That was too childish. Yours hopefully? Plain desperate, and too obvious. Couldn’t give it all away. And then I saw it. Be well. It made the most sense, as I was innocently hoping she was settling in at her new school. It wasn’t reciprocal. With a simple Be well, I was offering my personal goodwill without asking for anything in return. And it wasn’t too stiff or laid-back. Just right, as Goldilocks would say.

Be well,

Tate

AUTHOR:

  Twitter | Website | Goodreads | Facebook | Instagram

Christina June writes young adult contemporary fiction when she’s not writing college recommendation letters during her day job as a school counselor. She loves the little moments in life that help someone discover who they’re meant to become – whether it’s her students or her characters.

Christina is a voracious reader, loves to travel, eats too many cupcakes, and hopes to one day be bicoastal – the east coast of the US and the east coast of Scotland. She lives just outside Washington DC with her husband and daughter.

Her debut novel, IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE, will be published by Blink/HarperCollins on May 9, 2017.

   

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

5 Winners will receive a Copy of IT STARTED WITH GOODBYE by Christina June

2

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR HOST:

Jean BookNerd Tours

Paula

ARC REVIEW&BOOK PLAYLIST: The Hometown Hazard by Dawn Lanuza + Giveaway!!

11

The Hometown Hazard

Dawn Lanuza

Published January 29th 2016 by Indie Sisiw Books

YA/NA > Romance | Contemporary

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Buqo 

 

4 ★★★★

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Jules Coronado has been away from her hometown for almost a decade but when an intruder breaks in to her childhood home, she finds herself coming back. Changes evidently took place in her small town, including her childhood best friend’s younger brother, Kip – now tall, slightly scruffed, all grown up and caught climbing into their garden wall.

Kip Villamor has a mission and despite Jules’ doubts, they team up: going on fieldtrips, tackling unsuspecting men, and trespassing offices to dig up dirt. But Jules has secrets of her own, one that might be exposed – unless she keeps her walls up. But climbing walls are Kip’s forte, remember?

Will her secrets keep her on his side, or will it force her to disappear again?

1

[tour schedule

 

REVIEW:

asdfjkl

 

Yep. That’s just me the whole time. Dawn Lanuza brings out the romantic side of me from my icy and snarky exterior. Well played Dawn! Well played!

 

 

 

 

“You ever felt like there are two versions of you, and they dont exist in the same place.”

 

I have bee a fan of Dawn Lanuza ever since I read her first book, The Boyfriend Backtrack, which by the way is a great life choice because not only did I enjoy that smart and sweet story but I also got the chance to meet our main character in The Hometown Hazard which is Jules. I have to say though, because we’re totally being honest here, that the blurb of this books caused some double taking from me. The girl-being-younger-than-the-love-interest (no matter how much the age gap) is something I avoid aggressively. So. If you’re like me, I’ll tell you right away that THIS IS NOT SOMETHING THAT SHOULD BOTHER YOU.

The book started off with Jules waking up because of a phone call from her parents saying that somebody broken inside of their house and apparently, the intruder was very interested at Jules’ room. Could Jules know who the culprit is? Jules being the caring daughter decided to go home to her hometown which she left long time ago because of an incident. From here we meet her loving parents and of course the swoony daredevil, Kip. All grown up and enjoying his new hobby: sneaking into offices and running from people. Just like from Dawn Lanuza’s first novel, she made another set of characters that are authentic and fun. They are a bunch to let go. Jules is the definition of a likeable character. I like the fact that she’s matured and her background story agrees with her. I mean, you don’t expect me to like a character who says she graduated from law school but don’t act like it. Stuff like that are very important. You can see though from the first part of the story that Jules’ character is pretty flawed. She have fears and issues that she needs to overcome. Plus the fact that she’s running away from something that happened years ago and it’s affecting her future. And this is where Kip comes in. Kip is.. wow how do I describe Kip? Well he’s my favorite guy by Dawn Lanuza. He’s the right amount of dangerous and swoony. He’s all mysterious but I liked the fact that with every page, the author keeps peeling off a layer from Kips mysterious personality.

The romance is set in a pace that is believable and its just my favorite thing! No instalove. No love triangle. No unnecessary dramas. I think what makes The Hometown Hazard stands out from other love stories out there is that ITS NOT JUST A LOVESTORY. There’s also a mystery that is going on plus a huge revelation about our main characters pasts. It’s truly such an incredible story!

Written in a very easy and witty atmosphere, The Hometown Hazard is written not to only entertain but to tug at your heartstrings. Dawn Lanuza just keeps getting better and better! Hilarious, romantic and real.. Readers need to make room for The Hometown Hazard in their shelf. 

 

BOOK PLAYLIST:

I actually have playlist for the story while I was writing it on Spotify. But these are the top tracks:

The Naked and the Famous – No Way (Quiet)

This is actually the first song that came to mind when I was writing the book. It’s a beautiful track and I think it matches a certain part of the book. If you read the book, I think you’d know where it fits.

Chicago – If You Leave Me Now

This song just reminds me of lazy Sunday mornings and I feel like that’s how Jules pictured her childhood home and her hometown.

Raleigh Ritchie – The Chased

Just because there’s a lot of running and chasing.

Tom Waits – I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You

In the book, I made Kip and Jules dance to a James Taylor song but when I was writing it, I was imagining it with Tom Waits’ “I Hope I Don’t Fall in Love with You.”

Tegan and Sara – Drove Me Wild

This is my Kip song. I think about him when I listen to this song.

The Head and the Heart – Let’s Be Still

This is the song that’s playing in my head when I imagine the beach scene.

Colony House – Learning How to Love

I think this song’s lyrics is spot on with Jules.

Imogen Heap – Entanglement

Last scene. I’ll leave it with that. 

– DAWN

 

 

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads 

Dawn Lanuza started writing stories when she was just a kid (they weren’t good or even finished). She works for the music industry by day and writes meet cutes and snappy comebacks by night. ‘The Boyfriend Backtrack’ is her first book. She currently lives with her family and an adopted dog.

     

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR HOST:

BOOKISH DIARIES BOOK TOURS

Paula

ARC REVIEW: Arrows by Melissa Gorzelanczyk + Giveaway!!

11

Arrows

Melissa Gorzelanczyk

Published January 26th 2016 by Delacorte Press

YA > Fantasy | Mythology

Purchase links: Amazon | BN 

4 ★★★★

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 A modern cupid story set in present-day Wisconsin combining the fantastical elements of Greek mythology with the contemporary drama of MTV’s Teen Mom.

People don’t understand love. If they did, they’d get why dance prodigy Karma Clark just can’t say goodbye to her boyfriend, Danny. No matter what he says or does or how he hurts her, she can’t stay angry with him . . . and can’t stop loving him. But there’s a reason why Karma is helpless to break things off: she’s been shot with a love arrow. Aaryn, son of Cupid, was supposed to shoot both Karma andDanny but found out too late that the other arrow in his pack was useless. And with that, Karma’s life changed forever. One pregnancy confirmed. One ballet scholarship lost. And dream after dream tossed to the wind.

A clueless Karma doesn’t know that her toxic relationship is Aaryn’s fault . . . but he’s going to get a chance to make things right. He’s here to convince Danny to man up and be there for Karma. But what if this god from Mount Olympus finds himself falling in love with a beautiful dancer from Wisconsin who can never love him in return?

This fast-paced debut novel explores the internal & external conflicts of a girl who finds herself inexplicably drawn to a boy who seemingly doesn’t reciprocate her  feelings, touching on the issues of love, sex and responsibility, with a heroine struggling to control her destiny–perfect for fans of Katie McGarry’s novels and MTV’s 16 and Pregnant.

1

[tour schedule

 

REVIEW:

OMG YOU GUYSSSSS!!!

description

Oh my heartttt. Arrows is such a perfect book for this season. Don’t get me wrong, I would recommend Arrows anytime of the year but reading it at this month, when it’s all about love and… Love.. it’s just perfect. I wouldn’t exactly call ARROWS a retelling of the famous tale of Cupid and Psyche but I can say that the book was based on that particular mythology story. Only here, our main character is Cupids son himself, Aaryn.

The story opens up with Aaryn and his trainer, Phoebe, doing some love arrow shooting to the clueless couples in a highschool dance. It would’ve been perfect, Aaryn will pass his test and be an official cupid and then the couple will fall madly in love but… Aaryn messed up and now he has to clean up that mess.

What I liked the most about Arrows is it’s refreshing plotline. I can confidently say that I have never encountered a storyline like this before. I was anticipating every page while slowly absorbing every word. The pacing helped a lot too because I didn’t find any dull moment throughout the book. The book caught my attention the moment I started reading because it’s very easy to follow and Melissa’s writing is simple and beautiful at the same time. Of course I finished it in one day!

I don’t know about you but I adore the book even more when I can read the thoughts of the two main characters, in other words, if it has two POV’s. The characters are rich and vibrant. I wasn’t only fond of the leads but also with the secondary characters. Melissa effectively destroyed the conceited good looking greek god tradition with Aaryn. He’s such a swoony love interest. I honestly can’t think of anything bad to say about him. I’m not saying he’s perfect though, far from it. Even with his god-ness, the story revealed how flawed he is. Karma definitely belongs to my favorite heroines list. I adore this girl to bits! She made me feel a lot of things compared to Aaryn. Everytime I read her thoughts, I’m torn between hugging and crying with her and smacking and shaking some sense to her. In short, Melissa writes such authentic characters that will totally affect the readers hearts. They’re a hard bunch to let go, here’s me hoping for a second book!! I feel like the last chapters were a little rushed as well and that’s another reason why I am demanding for a follow up and that’s why I didn’t give a complete 5. Arrows ending is far from being a cliffhanger so no on should worry about that. Whatever the author decides abour Aaryn and Karmas journey, I’ll be fine with it.

And lastly, what is this book without its romance? This book is written to melt your heart and for you to explode of FEELS. What a magnificent debut by Melissa Gorzelanczyk! This novel clearly knows how it feels to fall in love, what it means to get your heart broken and how important it is to move on. With a Gorgeous writing, a dash of mythology and a heartwarming romance.. you don’t need to be shot by an arrow to love this novel.

AUTHOR:

 Caroline-Patti-225x300 Twitter | Website | Goodreads 

Melissa Gorzelanczyk is a former magazine editor and columnist who believes love is everything. A dreamer for life, Melissa has been writing books since she was nine years old when she penned her first story about a beloved black horse. She is a member of the Class of 2k16, the SCBWI and The Sweet Sixteens. She lives in Green Bay, Wisconsin, with her husband and family.

She is represented by Carrie Howland of Donadio & Olson.
See more at: www.melissagorzelanczyk.com

 

     

GIVEAWAY:

2

a Rafflecopter giveaway

TOUR HOST:

THE FFBC TOURS

Paula

ARC REVIEW: Level Up by Cathy Yardley

11

Level Up

Cathy Yardly

Published January 3rd 2016

A > Contemporary | Romance

Purchase links: Amazon

4 ★★★★

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

Geeky introvert Tessa Rodriguez will do whatever it takes to get promoted to video game engineer– including create a fandom-based video game in just three weeks. The only problem is, she can’t do it alone. Now, she needs to strong-arm, cajole, and otherwise socialize with her video game coworkers, especially her roommate, Adam, who’s always been strictly business with her. The more they work together, though, the closer they get…

Adam London has always thought of his roomie Tessa as “one of the guys” until he agreed to help her with this crazy project. Now, he’s thinking of her all the time… and certainly as something more than just a roommate! But his last girlfriend broke up with him to follow her ambitions, and he knows that Tessa is obsessed with getting ahead in the video game world.

Going from friends to something more is one hell of a challenge. Can Tessa and Adam level up their relationship to love?

 

image

[tour schedule

 

 

 

REVIEW:

eea8392b7c0ddd221d06534d922b00c3

 

 

“You’re worth it. And I’m not just going to quietly let you go. I’m fighting for this one…”

 

If you want a romance book that would fit to any young adult reader and above, this one is for you. Level Up is the definition of Romantic Comedy. Cathy Yardley just mixed the right ingredients to make a RomCom that stays away from cliche but stays close to absolutely readable. I’m so lucky that this is the first book I get to review because as I’m writing this down, I have nothing but smiles, feels and swoons.

This is my first from Cathy Yardley and if this is how she works with every single one of her books then I’ll confidently say that I will love it as well. If you think about it, the plot of Level Up is not at all new. A guy and a girl roommates, something really is bound to happen. But Yardley made the typical plot-line exciting and refreshing with her quirky and real characters, witty dialogues and realistic turn out of the story. First of all, the interracial couple is what drawn me in to this book. Although it wasn’t such a big deal in the book, I feel like I haven’t read enough stories with interracial couples. It was such a huge reason why I adore this book so much.

Second is the undeniable chemistry of our main characters, Tessa and Adam. Tessa is the kind of heroine that every reader will like. Yes, I just said that. I mean, HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE A HEROINE WHO LIKES SHERLOCK, HARRY POTTER AND DOCTOR WHO? It is not possible. I was rooting for her throughout the whole story. She just don’t have fandoms, she’s a feminist too. Yep. You read that right. In her field where men are dominating, all she wants is to be recognized, respected and to reach her personal goal. I don’t want to say anything anymore because it might be a spoiler but the way she did all that was with flying colors! Adam in the other hand, was endearing. A total alpha guy but adorable too. I always thought that if an author can write a hero like that, I will be happy and impressed. Cathy Yardley nailed it! Adam is that love interest who deserves all the swoon. Now the two of them together? You get a hilarious and sweet geeky story.

The romance was just the right amount. Not too much that the reader will find it cheesy and unrealistic but just enough to say that everything is genuine. You really won’t help but ask for more when you turn the last page.

You don’t want to miss Level Up by Cathy Yardley. It’s hilarious. It’s real. It’s a love story that melt hearts! The memorable characters will climb inside your heart while you’re caught by Yardley’s smooth and terrific writing. I highly encourage you to read this RomCom page turner, that way you can fangirl with me and we get to ask for a second book. Trust me, you’ll want it.

 

AUTHOR:

 

 Caroline-Patti-225x300

Twitter | Website | Facebook

Cathy Yardley needs to get out more. When not writing, she is probably cruising the Internet, sleeping or watching D-list movies and adding to her unnatural mental store of character-actor trivia. She is a closet fangirl for Supernatural, Sherlock, Doctor Who, and too many others to name. Her family is considering performing an intervention for her addiction to pop culture. Want to read more of her writing? Sign up for her notification list, and get a free novella, Hooked, from the Fandom Hearts series!  http://www.cathyyardley.com/notification-sign-up

 

 


   

GIVEAWAY:

$25 Amazon gift card (INT) | Ends Jan. 27, 2016 | Prizing is provided by the author, hosts are not responsible. Must be 13 or older to enter and have parental permission if under 18. Void where prohibited by law. No purchase necessary to win.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

TOUR HOST:

CBB BOOK PROMOTIONS

Paula

ARC Review: My Secret To Tell by Natalie D. Richards




My Secret To Tell

Natalie D. Richards

Published October 6th 2015 by Sourcebooks Fire

YA >  Mystery

320 pages

eARC for Review

 

 4 ★★★★

 

Purchase links: Amazon | Nook

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

There was blood on his hands. Where was the guilt in his eyes?

Emmie’s had a crush on her best friend’s brother forever. Deacon is the town bad boy who’s always in trouble, but she sees his soft side when he volunteers with her at the local animal shelter. She doesn’t think he’s dangerous…until he shows up in her bedroom with blood on his hands.

Deacon’s father has been violently assaulted and Deacon is suspect number one. Emmie’s smart enough to know how this looks, but she also knows Deacon’s biggest secret—he’s paralyzed by the sight of blood. She’s sure he didn’t do this. Or did he? Because even Deacon’s own sister thinks he’s guilty…

 

 

REVIEW

My Secret To Tell was a book that I enjoyed from start to finish—I’m not really a mystery or thriller genre lover, so for me to really want to finish that genre as soon as I’ve started it? RARE. But that’s just how it was with this particular book and me. My Secret To Tell pulled me in from the prologue and I found myself constantly on my toes, trying to think and think back and keep thinking with the whole Whodunnit vibe that this story gave off!

My Secret To Tell follows the voice of Emerson May, (Emmie/Eddie) and her “journey” in trying to find out who exactly violently assaulted and almost killed her best friend Chelsea Westfield’s father. Things get more complicated when Chelsea’s brother, Deacon, turns up at Emma’s house, completely covered in blood. Everyone in town is convinced that the rebel that Deacon is, he’d find no fault in almost murdering his won father, but Emmie knows better. Emma knows that Deacon almost turns catatonic at the sight of blood so he couldn’t possibly have done it. But of course, she’s had a crush on him forever, so the reader is led to believe that there might a conflict of interest there.

Emmie was a very unreliable narrator, simply because she knew almost nothing about the inner workings of Mr. Westfield’s business, or if people had motive to harm him for whatsoever reason. And because she was clueless, so was I. And it was bloody brilliant because that is precisely how you want to go into a book like this. As a character, Emmie was kind of a hot mess. She had all these unfair expectations of herself, and add to that the fact that she was a brilliant girl already, she made her own life a bit miserable. I liked how she was responsible and caring, but she also was naive and people too heady advantage of that. Nonetheless, Emmie was smart and if there are characters in books that I’m genuinely proud of, Emmie is right up there with them! She took control, she helped her friends, and she dealt with her parents in a way that was much too mature for her age.

Deacon, on the other hand, was a guy I was confused about. My feelings toward him were hot and cold, owing to the fact that he was one person I couldn’t figure out up until the end. The guy is swoony in all ways that count, and of course, I’m a sucker for bad guys, but Deacon was just a complete mystery to me. His contribution to the story line, however, is important, and since the book essentially revolves around him and his apparent innocence in a game that is far bigger than he realises, whether you like it or not, you’re going to be seeing a lot of Deacon! And in all honesty, my only issue with him was the mystery allure around him. It was a little hot—a lot hot—and it was new to me, so I’m going to give an overall good response to Deacon! Plus, he’s fast and smart, you guys. No two ways about it. I was hella impressed by his agility :p

The Emmie-Deacon romance I’d have liked to see more of. But if I’m being completely honest to myself, the romance that was present here was completely perfect. Why? My Secret To Tell isn’t about the romance! It’s about the thrills and chills and romance taking a backseat is the way to go. I’m a complete pile of mush when it comes to the romance, but this book was completely chill even without too much of the feels. The little snippets of “Emmie and Deacon time” that we do see are plenty satisfying, because I assure you—you’re going to be so involved and consumed with the action in the book, you’re going to want to skip the slower, touchy feely part completely!

I’ve read Gone Too Far by Nat Richards, and no surprises here, but I loved it ❤ It’s plenty awesome to fall in love with a Mystery book by an author I’ve read for the first time, but two Mysteries? Fucking great! The writing style is slow and almost sensual in the way that it grabs you and doesn’t let you go until you are completely immersed in its universe. I found myself thinking a lot, like I mentioned earlier, about the possible suspects and stuff and in hindsight, I got pretty close to the real thing, but I was also always in doubt, so if you’re one of those people that like to be kept guessing, I’ve found a winner for you!

 

Rhea[1]