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Rules of Summer (Rules of Summer #1) by Joanna Philbin | Bring the sunscreen

Rules of Summer (Rules of Summer #1) by Joanna Philbin | Bring the sunscreenRules of Summer (Rules of Summer, #1) by Joanna Philbin
Published by Poppy on June 4, 2013
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eBook
Goodreads
four-stars

There are two sides…to every summer.

When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it’s as if she’s entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She’s signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules—a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion. Upon arrival, she’s warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Stifled by her friends and her family’s country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It’s the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride.

But will Rory’s own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, will the Rules’ picture-perfect world ever be the same?


Headed to the beach this Summer? This is the perfect book to bring along!

Unlikely friendships. Isabel and Rory come from completely different worlds. Isabel has a few siblings, no responsibilities, and is handed just about anything she wants. Rory is an only child, with a needy, selfish, immature mom, and has to work hard for everything. I liked how Isabel helped Rory gain more confidence and step out of her comfort zone. In return, Rory helped Isabel, well, become less of an entitled b*tch.

Isabel’s not the greatest. I hated her the moment she was introduced. She was that classic, rich, snobby, mean girl, who had it all, and appreciated none of it. Thankfully by the end of the book, I hated Isabel a little less, because she had started to mature.

Jarring POV swaps. The POV swaps between Rory and Isabel were rough.  The switches happened pretty sudden, and by the time I got re-acclimated with one of the girls, another switch would happen, and I was thrown off again.

Why should you read this book? Because it’s the perfect Summer read! There’s forbidden romances, family drama, flawed characters, and so much more!

Side note: I’m really looking forward to book two and how it skips a year.

four-stars
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The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista Blog Tour | Excerpt & Giveaway!

The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista Blog Tour | Excerpt & Giveaway!The Boyfriend Bracket by Kate Evangelista
Published by Swoon Reads on June 19, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 240
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads

Stella has had a hopeless crush on Will, her older brother's best friend FOREVER, but now that Cam and Will have graduated and are going off to college, this year is her chance to really strike out on her own. Without her overprotective brother and his sidekick around to distract her, she can focus on having all the typical high school experiences that she's always dreamed of—starting with finding a boyfriend! With the help of her best friend Franklin, she comes up with the perfect plan to have a boyfriend by Christmas: The Boyfriend Bracket.

Or it seems like the perfect plan...right up until Will starts showing up again. How is she supposed to find the perfect boyfriend when none of her dates measure up to the one boy she can never have?

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Excerpt

          “Oh, there’s pie!” Stella said. The excitement in her voice pulled him away from his thoughts. “My treat!”

          She opened her bag and grabbed her wallet. A small book fell out as she did so. Will was about to call her attention to it, but she had already scampered away to buy dessert. Curious, Will reached out for the book. It was handmade, and on the cover it said BOYFRIEND BRACKET in glittering letters.

          “What the hell?” He grimaced as he flipped through the book.

          Inside were pictures and information on eight guys. If Will remembered correctly, they all went to Oak Hills High. One of them had even been on the football team with him. The guy she was with at the frat party. On the back of the first four pages were notes in Stella’s cursive writing.

          For Tommy Larrabee, she’d written, “Give Tommy another chance. He’s a nice guy. Passionate.”

          For Kevin Marquez, she’d written, “Cute, but too self- involved. Totally no connection.”

          For Daniel Connors all she’d written was “Pervert.”

          And for the fourth guy, Joey Esposito, she’d written, “I like him.”

          Those three words were the worst of them all. They were three stabs in the gut for Will. Not only was she dating, but she had a roster of guys she had placed in a bracket so she could pick a boyfriend. Most of the guys in the book were total idiots. The kind he and Cam had worked hard to scare away from her.

54


About the author

        

When Kate Evangelista was told she had a knack for writing stories, she did the next best thing: entered medical school. After realizing she wasn’t going to be the next Doogie Howser, M.D., Kate wandered into the Literature department of her university and never looked back. Today, she is a graduate of De La Salle University – Manila with an Bachelor of Arts in Literature. She taught high school English for three years and was an essay consultant for two. Currently she writes full time and is based in the Philippines. To learn more about Kate, please visit her website at www.kateevangelista.com or follow her on Twitter @KateEvangelista


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Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry | A spicy romance

Nowhere But Here (Thunder Road #1) by Katie McGarry | A spicy romanceNowhere But Here (Thunder Road, #1) by Katie McGarry
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 26, 2015
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 496
Goodreads
four-half-stars

An unforgettable new series from acclaimed author Katie McGarry about taking risks, opening your heart and ending up in a place you never imagined possible.

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she's curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn't mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They're the good guys. They protect people. They're…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club's most respected member—is in town, he's gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it's his shot at his dream. What he doesn't count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.


This book surprised me. I liked it a lot more than I thought I would! 

I’m glad I took a chance. When I read the description for this book, and saw Motorcycle gangs, I was like – eh, no thanks. Then I saw forbidden romance, and I was like – heck yeah, let’s do this.

Bad Lauren. I’m ashamed to say that this is my first McGarry book. But believe me, it’s not going to be my last. Now I know why so many readers love this author.

Real characters. All the characters in this book were complicated and felt so real. They all had their own issues to work through, and I enjoyed following them on their personal journeys.

The MCs had great chemistry. I immediately loved Emily and Oz because of the zingers they shot back-and-forth. From the moment they met, there was  a lot of sexual tension, and it was agonizing waiting for them to acknowledge their strong attraction.

I’m a hungry reader. This is yet again, another book I started listening to, and then switched to reading, because I wanted to devour it quicker than the narrator allowed me to.

I plan on reading the rest of the books in this series eventually, I just don’t know when, because my TBR is huuuge. I’m sure my fellow bloggers can relate. #thestruggleisreal

four-half-stars
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Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller Blog Tour | Review & Giveaway!

Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller Blog Tour | Review & Giveaway!Your Destination Is on the Left by Lauren Spieller
on June 26, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Goodreads
four-stars

Dessa Rhodes is a modern day nomad. Her family travels in an RV, their lives defined by state lines, exit signs, and the small communal caravan they call home. Among them is Cyrus, her best friend and long-time crush, whom she knows she can never be with. When your families are perpetually linked, it’s too dangerous to take a risk on romance.

Instead, Dessa looks to the future. She wants to be a real artist and going to art school is her ticket to success and a new life. There’s just one problem: she hasn’t been accepted…anywhere. Suddenly her future is wide open, and it looks like she’s going to be stuck traveling forever.

Then an unexpected opportunity presents itself: an internship working with a local artist in Santa Fe. Dessa struggles to prove to her boss—and herself—that she belongs there, but just as she finally hits her stride, her family suffers an unexpected blow. Faced with losing everything that she has worked for, Dessa has a difficult decision to make. Will she say goodbye to her nomadic lifestyle and the boy she loves? Or will she choose to never stop moving?

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My thoughts

A distinctive setting. Dessa and her family are modern day nomads. For the last five years they’ve traveled around the US in a tiny RV with a small caravan of other families. I’ve never traveled cross-country. Heck, I’ve never even traveled more than 6 hours in either direction of my house. So I had a hard time imagining what it would be like to constantly travel, never settling down in one place for more than a few weeks. Your Destination Is on the Left helped me gain a better understanding of what constant life on the road looks and feels like.

A relatable heroine. Dessa has many fears and struggles with low self-esteem. She’s passionate about art, but is too afraid to really express herself through it, because she doesn’t think what she creates is good enough. I think most, if not all of us, have been able to relate to Dessa in some way at some point. I’ve definitely missed out on good opportunities in the past, because I let my fears get the best of me and hold me back.

Not the greatest romance. I adore love stories that feature best friends slowly realizing their feelings run deeper for one another. Those relationships are slow-burning, and usually end up being so worth the wait, therefore I started Your Destination Is on the Left with huge romance expectations. Unfortunately, I couldn’t stand Dessa and Cyrus together, because I really disliked Cyrus. He was selfish, vindictive, and not very supportive of what Dessa wanted to do with her life. Thankfully their romance wasn’t the main focus of the story.

Can we have a companion novel? Pretty please ♥ This book unsurprisingly ended on a bittersweet note. I would really love a companion novel or novella someday. One that takes place a couple years later, showing us where Dessa’s path led after the big decision she made in Your Destination is on the Left. I’m not going to hold my breath.. but a girl can dream right?!!


A few of my favorite quotes

That’s the irony of living in a mobile home. You can travel anywhere you want, but as soon as you need space, there’s nowhere to go. 

Maybe it’s time to try being the laid-back traveler kid my parents always wanted me to be, instead of an uptight artist with a freaking pipe dream.

I was happy before, but it isn’t until now, with his arms around me, that I feel so completely alive.



About the author

    

Lauren Spieller is a literary agent who lives in New York with her husband. When she isn’t writing, she can be found drinking lattes, pining for every dog she sees, or visiting her native California. YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @laurenspieller.


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four-stars
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Love Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz |Blog Tour| Review & Giveaway

Love Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz |Blog Tour| Review & GiveawayLove Me, Love Me Not by S.M. Koz
Published by Swoon Reads on June 19, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
four-half-stars

When Hailey Brown is removed from her home and put into foster care, all she wants is a safe, comfortable place where she can finish school and move on with her life. It’s not easy adjusting to a new school and a new life, but Mr. and Mrs. Campbell and their teenage son, Brad, welcome Hailey with open arms.

As Hailey begins to adjust to her new life, she and Brad grow closer. For the first time, Hailey feels like she might have a real shot at a future. Soon, however, Hailey realizes her relationship with Brad has crossed the line from friendship into something more. But being with Brad would mean giving up the perfect life that Hailey has waited so long to have.

Can Hailey and Brad resist the feelings that are developing between them—or will they risk it all to be together?

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My thoughts

This book was glued to my hands. On a late Sunday morning I sat down and started reading Love Me, Love Me Not, by the evening I was finished with it. I couldn’t put it down! The moment Hailey was introduced, I wanted to know more about her. I wanted to know how she landed in foster care, and why she was with a guy named Chase, who was clearly a loser, and not good for her.

The short stick. My heart hurt for Hailey, because she had to grow up with a mother that abused her verbally, emotionally, and occasionally physically. Hailey’s boyfriend Chase was no better. He was always putting her down by telling her that she was nothing more than his property. Hailey’s upbringing prior to living with the Campbells was a nightmare, and I wanted to constantly give her hugs because of it. The Campbells, along with her new classmates, helped Hailey start to see that good people exist in the world, ones that want to build you up, not just knock you down.

K-I-S-S-I-N-G. Hailey and Brad had great chemistry and I was rooting for them wholly. I was also super nervous for them. Their romantic relationship is something they have to keep a secret, because dating your foster sibling is a big no-no. Hailey was constantly afraid that they’d be caught, and that she’d be kicked out of, yet again, another foster home. She was especially afraid because the Campbells were the best foster parents she’d ever had. They made her feel secure and wanted and treated her like a real member of their family.

So many feels. This book just really tugged at my heartstrings. I felt so much while reading. I felt joyous when Hailey started to feel safe and loved. I felt proud when she started to work harder in school, to bring up her gpa, and increase her chances of getting accepted into college. I felt scared when Chase started showing up unannounced, threatening to ruin Hailey’s new, good life. I felt sad, when pieces of Hailey’s horrible upbringing were revealed. Like I said, so many feels! The feels were overwhelming, and made me want to read and read, until I devoured every sentence in this book.

One bone to pick. The only thing I didn’t love about Love Me, Love Me Not was the ending. I thought it was a little anticlimactic. The emotions were always running high in Love Me, Love Me Not, and I was expecting an explosive ending. What we got was bittersweet, and emotional, but not quite the fireworks I thought the story was heading towards.


About the author

SM KOZ is a medical writer from North Carolina, where she lives with her husband, two sons, and numerous pets. She has a BS in Biology from Duke University and a Doctorate in Veterinary Medicine from North Carolina State University.

When she isn’t writing, she enjoys reading, photographing nature and her family, gardening, travelling, and attempting, usually unsuccessfully, to decorate birthday cakes. Love Me, Love Me Not is her first traditionally published novel.


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four-half-stars