I one-clicked Last To Know by Micalea Smeltzer for my Kindle because this book happened to be freeRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
I one-clicked Last To Know by Micalea Smeltzer for my Kindle because this book happened to be free when I was browsing and sounded like a fun story - first love, summer love, adventures, music. Willow Creek's Drummer, Maddox Wade, runs into the lovely-and-introverted Emma Burke one day after performing a show. He is drawn to her because she is beautiful but also because she has no idea who he is. While the rest of the country seems to be head-over-heels crazy over Willow Creek's emerging success, Emma prefers to listen to classical music and read. Maddox loves that he can sit and talk to her and just be himself, and Emma finds that the attraction is mutual. The two strike up a sweet, slow relationship that I found enjoyable to read.
Maddox does not disclose that he is famous. As time passes, it becomes harder and harder to tell her because she has no idea who he is - she doesn't listen to Willow Creek or any radio-music for that matter. Maddox knows he needs to tell her, but he also knows that she loves him for who he is, not his fame.
Maddox promises Emma an adventurous summer. He plans fun things to do, he encourages her to try new things like zip-lining, etc. She has a blast spending time with him and finds herself slowly falling for him. He has some odd behaviors here and there, like the way he seems to wear his hat pulled down low over his eyes when when in public and the way he seems to sometimes want to say something, but backs out at the last minute - Emma thinks that he may be keeping a secret, but she chooses to trust him, thinking that if there is something that she needs to know he will tell her.
The relationship grows, the two fall in love, it is lovely. I love the things about Emma that are uniquely her: the way she just doesn't care about television and social media, the way she is bookish but not overly-so like some written characters, the way that she still has that youthful naivete that comes with being on the very line between young person and womanhood. I love that she is both confident and a little insecure, but not too much. And Maddox: I loved that he is still a young person too, and acts like it. He respects his parents, but still acts like a teenage boy - his banter and joking around are on point, I think. He is respectful to Emma, which is super-swoony to me. And he has weaknesses and vulnerabilities that he allows Emma and his close friends to see - I love this about male characters, particularly when they are strong characters. We all make mistakes.
As readers, we know it is inevitable: the secret is going to come out - but how will it happen? How will Emma find out that her boyfriend is famous? How will she find out that YES INDEED he has been keeping a secret? And what are his reasons for that, exactly? Can she forgive him? Will they get their happily-ever-after?
I figured out before Emma did that Maddox was in the band Willow Creek. Of course, she was hurt by this secret. BUT! As with most of these stories involving the keeping-my-identity-a-secret-because-I'm-famous storyline, Maddox had a reason for keeping his secret -- the intentions are there and good, but the execution just didn't go well. Often in stories like this, I can get frustrated when it is time to forgive-or-forget, but in this case I didn't. Why? Because the secondary cast that I had already become attached to stepped up to the plate and were great friends to both Maddox and Emma, and they gave great support and advice. I liked the secondary cast even more in the last pages of the book. I'm looking forward to reading more about them in the coming installments of this series.
Overall, Last To Know was a quick, fun read for me. I loved the sweet, summer romance and I loved that it involved these exact leading characters because I loved exactly how they were written. I've seen this book categorized as a young adult book and while I would agree, I think it is also safe to say that it isn't a young-young adult book. I'm excited to see what is up ahead in the next book, Never Too Late, which focuses on Mathias Wade (lead singer of Willow Creek + twin brother to Maddox) because his character seems to be almost the opposite of Maddox plus the backstory to his romance looks interesting! It's so fun that an impulse one-click for my Kindle has turned into a new series for me to enjoy - so excited that I decided to download Last To Know and give it a try. ...more
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu is riveting. It's one of those in-your-face YA contemporaRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu is riveting. It's one of those in-your-face YA contemporaries that grabbed me by the shirt collar and didn't let go until I was completely finished with the book, and even now - days after I've shut the book - I'm still thinking about this story. What this author has done is taken a hard and fast approach to gossip by showing the ripple effect of rumors, how rumors can change the lives of their subject over time, and how they can also change the lives of the ones that spread them. This book is crazy-good.
There are six characters that make appearances in the story: Alice, Brandon, Josh, Elaine, Kelsie, and Kurt. In this group of people, there are popular people and unpopular people - some would do anything to hold onto the popularity that they have now, including walk away from a best friend that needs them now more than ever before. In this group of people, there are people that are comfortable with their sexuality and people that are struggling with sexuality, virgins and non-virgins, and people that are not really ready to pursue a sexual relationship at this point in their lives. Some of them feel pressured sexually, some do not. In this group of people, there are some that seem to give no thought whatsoever to the fact that words can crush the human spirit, so they use them flippantly and without caution. Sadly, there are some in this mix think about whether or not gossip is a bad idea, but they still do it, and there are also some that rise above it. This is a mixed group of young people, but they are all tied together by the one person at the center of the vicious rumors: Alice Franklin.
The two big rumors that started the whole thing -- that Alice slept with two guys at one party and that Alice was sending inappropriate text messages to Brandon when he died in a car accident -- those are bad enough, but the way these rumors spread and multiply is just horrific. The way that this story illustrates HOW this happens, the thought processes that these characters have, the way these people rationalized why they spread this gossip, it is just hard to read - hard, because at some point in our lives, we all are at the icky end of gossip and it never feels good. This is a vicious gossip, though, and the bullying toward Alice is basically nonstop once it starts. But it is also fascinating, really, because it is SO VERY REAL. This is real life, and it is what happens every day to people and by people, and even though this book is a YA contemporary book, this is very much a HUMAN problem, not necessarily a young adult problem. It was easy to imagine this as a situation happening to people that I know or have heard about because it felt so realistic and true.
I love what Jennifer Mathieu did here. I love the way she structured this story: four POV's telling the story of these six people, centering it around Alice. Did Alice do these things or not? Or how much of this stuff is true? As a reader, I was captivated by these pages, and it felt so strange to me. I wanted to know how things would turn out for Alice, because she was going through some sad changes as the entire school began to turn against her -- after all, she was totallyyyy responsible for the death of Healy High's greatest quarterback e-varrrr. But I was also so very mesmerized by the thoughts of these other students, these people that were stuck on talking about Alice! They spent such an unbelievable amount of time thinking about her and talking about her to one another and in their own inner dialogue - their insecurity was astounding, and it felt sad and pathetic. But I think it was also so very accurate based on my own high school experience, which is why I think this book is so incredible.
I have to admit to wondering about some of Alice's behaviors - I wanted her to take more action against the people that were bullying her...but I had to remind myself that unless I've been in that situation, I have no idea what I would do. I had to stop judging Alice early in the story because she went through so much as a character.
ALSO: there is a heartwarming plotline involving Alice and one of the other characters. Very quirky interactions, very slow and intentional, very fun. I held my breath throughout this character's point-of-view, all the way until the end, because I wanted good resolution for these two.
GOSH, this is such a great book. Young girls NEED to be reading this book - and young boys too, because this book has young boy characters. It has no gender. Parents need to be reading this book, for obvious reasons. Teachers and school administration need to be reading this book so they can look out for the behaviors and changes that occurred with these students. Basically, anyone that has anything to do with young people could benefit from reading a book about bullying, don't you think?
I recommend The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu to everyone. Every. One. I realize that issues contemporaries aren't the type of book that everyone likes to read, but I'm not sure that everyone has that luxury - if we are in positions to work with young people and have young people in our lives, we need to be reading amazing work like this. Outside of that, this book is just a flat-out incredible story, and I love the way that this author did it. I was brought to my knees and I have her next book, Devoted, on my nightstand. I honestly don't know why I waited so long to pick this one up, but I'm so glad I did. ...more
Shooting for the Stars by Sarina Bowen starts out on a day that is a big one for Stella - she wins a pretty big competition for freestyle snowboarders. She's happy with her friend Bear and brother Hank by her side to see her win, she wants to celebrate. Her pro-snowboarder brother Hank has to leave immediately after her competition to compete in his own event, which leaves Stella alone with Bear...who has had probably the worst day in his entire career. Hank has asked Bear to keep an eye on his little sister - Bear has agreed. With Hank gone, Bear and Stella are free to have fun and talk and let loose a little bit, which means that they both can explore the feelings that they have for one another. Things are going really, really well for them until they get a devastating phone call saying that Hank has been badly injured during his pro-competition.
Immediately, things change. Immediately the two go to Hank's side. But it is a really long time before they talk about what happened. And hearts are broken.
I think it is so interesting to read books and see movies with that guy-code-thing that says little sisters are off limits. This is an underlying theme with Bear and Stella. They both have had a thing for one another for their entire lives - it started out as a crush and it runs pretty deep now, but Bear isn't able to do much about it because he doesn't want to jeopardize his friendship with Hank. Stella, being the fiercely independent gal that she is, thinks that sucks.
Stella comes from an influential family, but she isn't concerned about that. She is a great athlete, a tough competitor. She is shielded from things by her parents, though, and this really ticks her off. They want to protect her from...everything. They really suffocate her, and she is very much a free spirit. I have to admit that Stella's behaviors annoy me a little every now and then, not only in this one book, I saw this in her in the other parts of this series. It isn't really because of who she is -- it's because she feels so squashed that she is reactionary, but I can't say that I blame her. She wants room to breathe a little and be herself and experience life without confines. And she completely knows what she is doing when her mood is a little off. I GET THAT. So, I really like her, but she does things that make me squish my nose up every now and then.
Bear, though - oh, this guy. Bear has always had it harder than his friends. His family life was tougher than Hank's probably was, but he was able to get by with hard work and also because his friends were supportive. Bear has an appreciation for hard work, for everything really. He loves deeply and is loyal, sometimes to a fault. He is innovative and creative and hardworking, particularly when he has to make some big career decisions for himself and his friends, and he is serious in this book because he has to be. I really want good things for him because I like him so doggone much.
Bear and Stella almost drove me crazy with their super-slow burn romance, but not really. I actually really, really loved it. They were just-under-the-surface for a while here and there because they were stubborn about their feelings for each other, but I loved this about their story. These two had the hardest time communicating, and Bear's added guilt about loving his friend's little sister made for a story that I fell in love with. I loved their love, is that dorky? These are the type of characters that I want to squish together and make them kiss, which are some of my favorites, because when they finally do -- I felt fireworks and explosions in my heart.
I love the way other characters from the Gravity Series show up in this story. I also loved the way snowboarding was shown from a filmmaking perspective - that's really cool! I've heard of these action films, but I've never seen them and I've certainly never read anything that spoke of this side of this sport before - I loved it.
This is a series of standalone books - I've read them out of order, which is okay. I don't feel lost at all with characters or events or anything like that. I recommend Shooting for the Stars (and the rest of this series) by Sarina Bowen to readers that enjoy contemporary romance and stories/series involving athletes and sports. This author is auto-read for me, her stories are delicious, and I'm almost sad that I only have one book to go in this series (but not really because these are reread status for sure)....more
I think what I loved the most about Life By Committee was the fact that it felt so much like part oRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
I think what I loved the most about Life By Committee was the fact that it felt so much like part of my high school experience, minus the big scene at the end (thankfully!). Even though Tabby was not the most likable character that I've ever read, I did love her, and I think that's because I felt compassion for her. Let me explain what I mean exactly:
1. Tabby has changed. Tabby's teenage body is changing. She is experimenting with new clothing styles and caring more about how she looks. Her clothing is accentuating her features, sure, and others are noticing, sure - this is sort of a problem for Tabby. Her ex-BFF has begun to pull her aside and offer snide, unsolicited "advice" about how she should look and what others are saying about her - her teachers have also done this. Tabby's friends are snubbing her because they're jealous, and Tabby is grieving the loss of these relationships. She doesn't understand why people can be so mean - and honestly, this is something that I have never figured out myself, even as an adult.
2. Tabby likes Joe - a lot. The problem with this is that Joe has a girlfriend, and this is very public knowledge. Joe and Sasha are one of the it-couples around school. Tabby and Joe are spending lots of time having these really great online chat sessions on the side, though, and Joe makes Tabby's heart flutter wildly. Joe is dreamy, Joe is popular, Joe says the right things. But Joe is also aloof, emotionally distant at times, and not even considering breaking up with his actual girlfriend. Tabby could use someone trustworthy to talk to about this, but remember that her friends have abandoned her and her parents are entirely other issue that I'll get to in a second. The Tabby + Joe thing could very easily BLOW UP if not handled with care.
3. Tabby finds a secret website community: Life By Committee. Of course Tabby checks it out. Of course she becomes a part of LBC. With a giant, gaping hole in her life in the shape of friends and family, Tabby finds solace in the anonymous people there, the ones that patiently listen to her secrets and problems. There are rules that go along with being a part of LBC: when you share a secret, you then get advice (aka an assignment), and you have a certain amount of time to complete it, or -- well, maybe your secret isn't safe anymore. Tabby feels comfort in the advice offered to her. She also becomes attached to some of the other members and even wonders if she could possibly know some of them in real life. Soon, Tabby seems to care more about the attention and interaction of LBC than real, honest interaction, and this is another problem in and of itself.
Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu is such a different, great book. In some ways, it felt like being back in high school with some of these characters and situations. I loved the sometimes-unlikable-Tabby, but I also felt almost-protective over her; she did some things that made me cringe but I always rooted for her and wanted the very best for her. If I knew Tabby only in real life, I don't know if I would have felt this same way. I love the wake-up-call that this book gave me both times that I've read it: there is more to a person than appearance plus we never really know what people are going through until we take the time to get to know them. Tabby is much more than tight shirts and short skirts, more than someone that fell for another girl's boyfriend. In the story, the LBC community helped Tabby grow some as a person (so yes there is character development) but ultimately I think that it was something much better than the LBC community that helped her to be the person she is at the end of the book.
I love that Tabby still has growing and improving to do when the story ends. That's how life is! One short moment in time does not define all of the growing and changing we have to do as individuals. At the end of this story, there is resolution to the specific time period of this story, but Tabby's story of growth and change is not over.
That's high school and the teenage years. I LOVED IT.
Regarding Tabby's thing with Joe: so tricky, because nobody likes a cheater. I don't necessarily think it is wrong to find yourself with a crush on someone else if they have a girlfriend/boyfriend. But that isn't exactly what happens here, and Tabby doesn't help her case any with what's going on with Joe. AND PLEASE, let's not give Joe a get-out-of-jail-free card. What an excellently-written character, here. Joe's actions, unlikable as they are, are very important to the story because they support and spur-on so much of what Tabby says and does, which ultimately progresses to the big ending. I cannot say that I like Joe very much, but I CAN say that I have known people just like him, and I'm so interested in WHY behavior like Joe's exists. This guy contributed to making things hard for Tabby. Boo to him, but he certainly helped tell this story.
Regarding Tabby's parents: they don't suck and they aren't really the 'unavailable' type. The author has given this character parents that are present, but that have some very specific life circumstances that they need to handle. So interesting, and this is a real-life thing: good parents that become a little preoccupied at times, perhaps needing to recheck their priorities. Tabby knows she is lucky to have her particular parents, but she also realizes that this is one of the times in her life that she needs them and they're wrapped up in other things. I loved the 'Tabby + her parents' part of the story, gosh I LOVED it. This subplot is so rich, and I appreciate the way that it was written so, so much.
Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu is a really great cross-section of a small part of Tabby's life. It's neat that Tabby is the type of character examined here, because WOW the perspective we get to see by looking at her thoughts and online communications vs. JUST her appearance? Awesome. Fantastic book, so much to think about here. Great, great character that caused me to think, not once but twice! It's great to read about characters that aren't cookie-cutter, that aren't always perfect and likable, because THESE are the real-life stories that are actually the people that are going to school with us and that may be our kids one day, that we may be teaching in our classrooms, that we may be seeing walking down our sidewalks. This is my first book by Corey Ann Haydu. NO WAY, no way will it be my last.
I recommend Life By Committee by Corey Ann Haydu to readers that enjoy young adult contemporary with real-life issues, with tricky situations, with character development. Great coming-of-age story here, very discussable. Loved it. I will definitely read it again, and YES I want my young girls to read this one day soon, absolutely. ...more
Falling From The Sky features Doctor Callie Anders and Snowboarder Hank Lazarus. When the book openRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
Falling From The Sky features Doctor Callie Anders and Snowboarder Hank Lazarus. When the book opens, Callie is with her friends at a big snowboarding event up in Vermont when tragedy strikes. Hank "Hazardous" Lazarus is injured while performing a snowboarding jump. Callie is assigned to his case and sees him regularly while he is an inpatient in the hospital. Hank is broken over his injury - now wheelchair bound, no longer able to do the thing he loves most. Callie knows that it is unethical to have feelings for a patient so she maintains her distance although she cannot deny that there is something attractive about Hank. They have a great doctor-patient relationship, great rapport, and mutual respect. When Hank is discharged, life goes on, but they still think of one another.
Then Hank's affluent family makes a proposal to the small hospital: they will fund a major study that could help Hank and other patients like him. Patients that are paralyzed could possibly gain some mobility back with this therapy, and they would like to bring that therapy to their area in hopes, of course, that Hank will benefit from it. The catch? Hank wants Callie to run the study. Callie knows she probably shouldn't because of her attraction to him, but Hank refuses to participate unless she also does, so she agrees.
The study helps everyone, right? She isn't doing it just so she can see Hank? No, no way!
Up until the accident, Hank dates beautiful women, he always has parties and events to attend, very sure of himself and his place in the world. After his accident, his girlfriend breaks up with him plus he now has some limitations on what he can do. He loses some big corporate sponsorships because of his inability to snowboard and he falls into a depression. So, sure, Hank is dealing with some coping issues and some anger, and he has a hard time for a little while. While he is dealing with these things, his house is remodeled into a wheelchair-accessible home and he purchases and modifies a sportscar that he is able to drive comfortably, but he does these things with the assumptions that he will enjoy them alone. Who wants to love a man that isn't even whole, a man stuck in a wheelchair? Even though Hank is always happy to see Callie at therapy, he is reluctant to actually go to therapy because he realizes that he may not walk again.
Callie, on the other hand, is opposite of Hank. She prefers to stick to the rules, she is a people-pleaser - she can't afford to lose what she already has. She's worked hard for everything and money has never been easy to come by. When Callie meets Hank, she sees past his money and fame and his accident, and my gosh how he loves that about her. She is also able to see past his depressed "funk" - she not only treats him as a physician would but she treats him as a friend. This is one reason that Hank trusts her, and this helps their relationship move from doctor-patient to slowly, slowly more than that.
Callie is stubborn throughout this process, she is slow to admit what she knows is true - her true feelings - she has so much at risk, see. But I like her stubbornness. When mixed with Hank's stubbornness (which is totally different), it is so much fun. They complement each other well both as friends and more than friends. I loved watching Callie loosen up over the course of the book, with Hank's help plus a friend or two, but I have to say that it is Hank's character and story that really won me over. Hank is a super-strong character that showed weakness and vulnerability, he couldn't help it, and watching him build his self-esteem and his stamina and his motivation was very cool. I loved his thought processes, the highs and even the lows. I loved being inside the head of this character because I've never had this particular reading experience before. (One of Sarina Bowen's characters in her other series is in a wheelchair, but she is further along in the grief and acceptance part, further along after her accident, so this really is a different reading experience.) Hank ends up with a great ending. I love experiencing his HEA and his return to the mountain.
Okay, so here's the deal about Falling From The Sky by Sarina Bowen: There is so much more than romance in this book. There is an athlete that falls from the heights of his career, loses "everything" and gains it back. There is a man that has to rewrite his definition of what it means to be a man. There is a woman that has to step back and decide exactly what she wants out of life, because maybe she is spending too much time trying to run from a life that she might love. I'm amazed at the things I learned about wheelchair-bound folks while reading this book - I'm a nurse for crying out loud and I learned more about someone with this type of injury from reading this book than I have in my entire career! What I mean is that this book is so realistic and I got so caught up in it that I had the hardest time putting it down. My eyes were burning from reading for so long without breaks and I just want to know these people. They seem like great people and boatloads of fun.
Don't be fooled by me talking about this accident - this character is hilarious, he has great banter and cracks great jokes. This book isn't a heavy read at all. Equal parts romance and issues = THESE are my favorite types of romances, the ones that feel like they could be just any person that I meet out in town with a story that could be very real. I recommend Falling From The Sky by Sarina Bowen to everyone, but especially readers that enjoy adult/new adult contemporary romance that feature athletes and issues. This author is one of my favorites, you guys, so if you trust my recommendations I would love for you to read her stories. ...more
I'm not sure that words on a blog are adequate to express how much I love Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark. It just isn't a good-enough representation. What I can tell you is that I've read it straight-thru once, then I picked it back up and almost-read-the-entire-thing again an additional two times. So, a total of three times in a period of just a few weeks. And I'm going to read it again so I can underline and mark up my new second copy. You guys, you guys.
You can see from the summary (above) that what happens before the book begins is one of those things that makes you wrinkle up your nose and grimace, so awkward: her mom + his dad, an affair, both die together in a car accident. Now Juliette + her dad and Abram + his mom are living in the same neighborhood, trying to cope, while running into each other every now and then. OH! And Abram has a real, honest crush on Juliette that he has had for ages, from before the dreaded event-that-changed-everything. They don't speak, but they're aware of one another. Well, they don't speak, until THEY DO. When they run into each other at CVS, of all places. Because they both need to get their prescriptions filled. Life is hard, see, when you go through hard things. Sometimes you have to go pick up your meds. At CVS. At the same time. Even when the whole entire point is to not be seen. Funny how life works sometimes, though, when people cross paths. It's exactly what these two needed.
This book! This book! Why did it mean so much to me? WHY!
1. The Characters. Abram is easy to love with his awkwardness and Paxil-induced sleepiness, his love for Taco Bell, television shows about whales, and popcorn snacks. Juliette is a little bit harder to love, sometimes dangerously close to unlikable, but OH MY how she is perfect for exactly this story. She is addicted to running and maybe even Adderall, and she sadly has low self-esteem. She has a hard time seeing her worth and her beauty, while that is just about all Abram sees. Abram is laid-back; Juliette is a bit of a control freak. They are such a quirky pair but they complement each other so well. They could not complement each other any better, really. But it's not only the characters that I loved.
2. The Situation. Well, I didn't love the fact that Abram and Juliette each lost a parent in a car accident during an affair. That's sad! What I loved about this situation is that it is a plausible one. The fallout experienced by each family: the discomfort and embarrassment they endured around one another and out in the community is something that felt so very real. It changed them as people and it changed how they interacted with one another. It left doubts in their minds about life and love, and these things are so palpable and important in real life. How can I not love this as a reader? I easily saw this as a real thing, the way this played out, which is so interesting because some of what I'm talking about happened before the book even began! Also, I can imagine that I could know these families in my own life. I think that how Abram and Juliette responded to everything - both before the story began and during the duration of the book - was authentic and gosh I just loved that. This felt like a hard situation, but one that was made better by these people joining forces and becoming friends during a chance-meeting at CVS. I love real-life-happens stories, and this felt like one. But it's also not only the situation that I loved.
3. The Romance. Abram and Juliette are the entire point of this story, which means that we are scrutinizing their relationship throughout its lifespan. Seriously the romance isn't really everything because their story begins before romantic feelings. The story is bigger than the romance alone but it is there, and it is doled out perfectly. I love this. I love that Abram has the crush on Juliette before the book begins, and I even love that he thought the accident-that-changed-everything ruined any chance that he had with Juliette. This is what made the crazy chance run-in at CVS such a BIG HUGE DEAL when ordinarily it wouldn't be, and that's when the really awkward friendship began. It was so hard for these two to take the step, do the hard thing, and talk to one another - their families were crushed and bruised by the big disastrous event...yet they did it anyway, followed by the story, the story, the one-liners, really great writing by this author, some great scenes, sigh sigh, aaaannndd scene. LOVE LOVE LOVE. But it's also not only the romance that I loved.
The structure is alternating points-of-view between Abram and Juliette, short little pieces of their interactions and inner dialogue (I laughed so often!). I loved the way I could see both perspectives on the same thing, events, etc. because these two are really completely different, total opposites. BUT THAT'S OKAY. Sometimes life and love and everything like it happen that way - sometimes people that are totally different come together for friendship or love, and it just works. Abram was so easy to me, so easy to read, I just adored pretty much everything about him. Loved his relationship with his mother and his aunt. Such a patient young guy, but I know from my own experiences that a life that throws unexpected curveballs can sometimes bring out the calmer, quieter traits and qualities in people. Juliette was a little tougher to me, but only because she's really a tough cookie. I understand it! She's been through something awful, and she's left with a ton of unresolved feelings about it, and she has no one that she can talk to because -- she's almost a caretaker for her father, who is also reeling from the fallout. Again, a life with unexpected curveballs can often bring out the other side of a person - I know this too. Grief is hard! So I can see where Juliette comes from and I have some patience for her character, not as much as Abram, but enough to see that these two help each other out and YES, that's what friends do - support one another. They really GET one another, and I loved how the author infused humor into this book to bring that out. (I peeped on some of Author Jay Clark's profile info - there is so much of the author in this book, which I love.)
For this to be such an unconventional little story, it's such a huge story. It's a huge dose of happy, which is something I personally need in my life. I need a book that I can grab off of my shelves and smile, guaranteed. I love that I can laugh out loud at so many great one-liners that are tucked-away in there. I love that I now have a second-copy so that I can underline and highlight and star favorite passages, because YES I WILL BE DOING THAT ASAP. For me, this book is a big, big deal, and it is for a combination of reasons. YA contemporary can be real-life-happens stories with slowly-developing romance that doesn't fit into one particular mold, and it can be awesome. World, I present to you Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark.
I recommend Finding Mr. Brightside by Jay Clark to readers that enjoy young adult contemporary with romance, quirky characters, and books about sometimes-tricky real-life issues. There is a road trip, for those of you that love those. And you could probably even sit this book in an addiction or mental awareness/grief category for the readers that enjoy those types of stories. ...more
I just love Melissa C. Walker's stories. I've been excited to read Ashes to Ashes since it was giftRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
I just love Melissa C. Walker's stories. I've been excited to read Ashes to Ashes since it was gifted to me, not only because I love this author but because I was curious about how she would transition from contemporary young adult stories to paranormal.
Callie lives with her Dad in Charleston, South Carolina. She loves her Dad, but their relationship is a teensy bit strained as they were never able to make a great connection her mother died. She has an amazing best friend that she absolutely adores, and she loves her boyfriend Nick. Callie is on her way to see Nick one day when she is involved in a tragic car accident - Callie ends up in Prism, which is an in-between place between earth and eternal afterlife. Since Callie is now a ghost, she is paired with a guide, Thatcher, who will help her haunt her friends and family. This sounds kind of awful, but what it means is that she actually helps bring them comfort which helps them move toward accepting her death and moving on with their lives in a healthy way; in this way she can also move on to her own peaceful eternity in what appears to be the book's version of Heaven, called Solus.
So Callie takes to haunting her friends and father, slowly, appropriately, with the help of Thatcher...and then she befriends the wrong crowd while she's in Prism, which sets things on a bad course. She is attracted to these people because they remind her of herself, always looking to have a good time and seeming to enjoy (after)life. They teach her some haunting techniques that Thatcher has already warned her against, they show her some fun places, everything they do is fun. Callie doesn't listen to Thatcher when he advises her to stay away from these ghosts, she doesn't listen when he tells her not to do the haunting that they teach her, she doesn't listen to him on several different counts. She actually breaks quite a few of his rules, with Thatcher coming to her rescue time and time again. It seems like she's almost constantly toying with the grieving processes of the people she loves and risking her entry into Solus. When Callie was living, she was a risk-taker and rule-breaker, always pushing the limits on things to get an adrenaline rush. This was not my favorite characteristic of hers while she was living, but it was a part of who she was, so it did not come as a shock to me that she would push and bend the rules over and over while she was in Prism and place others around her at risk. Callie does not have the best track record on thinking through things. She is impulsive, but it is not in the way that I usually love about characters.
SO...her attraction to trouble didn't surprise me. Callie's impulsiveness blinds her to some of what these new "friends" of hers have planned for her, and it is Thatcher to the rescue again when these poltergeists stir up trouble that she cannot get out of alone. These particular ghosts, the poltergeists, have an interesting backstory and while they're the bad guys and I didn't particularly love them - I do have to admit that they did add much to the story and I think their placement there is needed.
Callie does end up mellowing out by the end of the book, which is twisty by the way! After everything she goes through in Prism working to help her friends and her father to accept her death, and realizing that some of her methods of doing so weren't the correct way - the process chilled her out a bit, which is SO GOOD. The Callie at the end of the book is calmer, not the same risk-taker, just different. Some of this is probably attributed to the romance, I would have to guess.
See, before Callie dies, she is crazy about her boyfriend Nick. After she dies, Nick is one of her main concerns - she is constantly wanting to check in on him, to be near him. He isn't coping well back on earth and she wants to soothe him with her presence, to haunt him into being okay. I love her care for him and her attentiveness to his well-being. Thatcher helps her, but now that Callie has moved into Prism because she isn't alive anymore, she knows that she can't be with Nick...this leaves room for a natural development of feelings for Thatcher. Thatcher feels similarly, he cannot help it, but he does try to hold his feelings back for a time. So here we have this sticky love triangle with one girl that loves and grieves for a living boy back on earth and yet is also falling hard for a ghost-boy in Prism. I always wonder about these love triangles, how they will play out in future installments - obviously someone has to be the losing guy, but there is the whole paranormal vs. living situation playing out here. Interesting to see how this one will end. (Personally, I do like both Nick and Thatcher - I do not have more feelings toward one than the other!)
Also note: this book has a fantastic friendship between Callie and her best friend. I love this. Writing great friendships is something that this author does very well.
I liked Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker. I am an instant-read fan of her books, so this makes me happy. It is fun reading a non-contemporary story written by an author that I love, so fun to see how she branches out. It's easy to see the contemporary-ness in there, but this is definitely paranormal. I absolutely love the Charleston setting, so charming to this Southern girl, and I also love the way the author places an underlying spirituality in the story without making it a book about religion. This author has a knack for being able to do this perfectly, and I adore that about her. I recommend Ashes to Ashes by Melissa C. Walker to readers that enjoy young adult stories involving ghosts and great friendships. ...more
Jenna Lacombe: Fiercely independent, scared of commitment, has a need for control. Jenna has a plan for her life and if you aren't a part of it, then you may as well give up. She likes having a good time, but can't help but hold herself back just a little in everything - this is because she just can't allow herself to fall completely in love with the one guy she wants to love. Everything in her life basically revolves around her fear of loving love Jack.
Jack Oliver: Big handsome guy with tattoos, but not the stereotypical bad boy. He's so nice and genuinely kind and he has his eyes on Jenna, only Jenna. He makes it no secret that he wants her as more than a friend. He is frustrated and a little angry that Jenna is so stubborn about her "life plan" that does not include him, even though she's more than happy to be his best friend and spend tons of time with him.
Hey, Jenna, your walls are coming down, little lady. Just give up, already!
Okay so what happens in Right Kind of Wrong by Chelsea Fine is we see Jenna continuously try to push away Jack, who pursues her calmly and with intention. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Ahem. Let me start over.
At the beginning of the book, Jenna gets a call from her grandmother in Louisiana that she is dying, please come home. Now this isn't a new thing, her grandmother cries wolf like this from time to time. Frankly, Jenna is a little over it. Traveling from Arizona to Louisiana is expensive and she always finds that her healthy-and-fit grandmother is as healthy as ever. Jenna decides that this time, she's going to save money by driving cross-country instead of flying, no big deal that she has to drive herself. No one is happy about her decision, particularly Jack (who is in love with her). It works out well that Jack's family needs him to come home too and oh hey guess what, they also live in Louisiana. Jack invites himself along on Jenna's road trip, giving safety and saving money as the reasons, and Jenna can't really refuse. Jenna doesn't take kindly to him inviting himself, but she doesn't have much of a choice because of Jack's persistence. (She also doesn't put up a huge fight because she really secretly loves him too even though she doesn't want to admit it.)
This road trip was one that I knew I would love from the very beginning. LOVE LOVE LOVE.
To say there is tension is putting it lightly. Jenna is one tough chick. She gives Jack a hard time, but he is so cool with her. It's obvious that his feelings for her are real and run deep. What makes this trip even more interesting is the reason that Jack is heading back to see his family. As readers, we know that Jack's brother has gotten himself into some trouble - dangerous trouble - and big brother Jack has to come save his life, but Jenna doesn't find this out until later.
Why? Because Jenna is being Jenna, trying to keep up her walls, trying to stay hard. But it's difficult when she is stuck in small spaces with Jack Oliver, see. And when she hears him talking to his family, such love and concern. But then when she sees him interact with his family, his forced and faked calm easing their biggest fears, JENNA CAN'T HELP IT. She begins to break. It's awesome, it's wonderful, it's the best.
Right Kind of Wrong is the third book in this series, but you can read these books in any order, no problem. The characters in each book appear here and there in all three books, but it isn't a big deal at all, no confusion. This book was a little more serious than the other two although there are some funny parts in it (the other two are a laugh-out-loud at times), but the story in this one is so, so good. Here you have a couple that fights hard for the love that they finally get, you have the guy fighting hard for the girl's love, and you have a little bit of action and holding your breath while Jack has to take care of some family stuff to rescue his younger brother. It's great to see character development in Jenna, who is fiercely independent and strong in the beginning but still has some things she needs to work on - she is so much better off at the end of the book when some softer edges! And Jack, just a great all-around character. You think you have him figured out within minutes of meeting him, but NOPE NOPE, there's really so much to his character.
I have devoured these three books, the Finding Fate Series. They're so fun, they're happy-ending stories, no-triangle books. They're rereads for me. I want more contemporary from this author. I recommend Right Kind of Wrong by Chelsea Fine to readers that enjoy romances with happy endings, no triangle, and swoony-swoony romances. (All three of these love interests have been so great, good gracious.)
I wanted to read Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider immediately when I saw the cover because, oRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
I wanted to read Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider immediately when I saw the cover because, oh how lovely, and it also goes along with the book so well. I think that books with very sick characters sometimes make readers hesitant and while I understand that, it also makes me sad sometimes, especially in this case when the book is so great and hopeful even with the sickness diagnosis. But not reading this book means absolutely missing out on something special because it is so full of smile-inducing moments and life.
Lane: Super-smart , second in his class, plans on early admission to an Ivy League school. Spends all of his time studying and prepping for college entrance exams, very little social activity. Arrives at Latham House prepared to continue his current heavy course load in order to maintain his GPA and second-place rank in his regular high school. Plans to leave as soon as he is healthy - in other words, very soon. Plans have to change when he works himself into a weakened state and his books are confiscated, he is forced into more rest and relaxation in order to recuperate.
Sadie: Has been at Latham House for about 15 months when Lane arrives. Loves making people laugh, often sneaks out and makes mild trouble around campus. Has a great group of friends, participates in as many social activities as possible at Latham. Been at Latham House so long she never really acts like she cares to leave.
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider is the story of a group very different teens that are thrust together under the same scary, sick circumstances. It's a great story of how they all cope with this sickness that plops itself into their lives while also trying to maintain normalcy, foster their interests, and leave their mark in a world that sometimes doesn't remember they exist. Lane and Sadie would not likely be friends outside of Latham House, but their friendship blossoms within the the sanatorium and soon turns into this really sweet romance.
There is so much I loved about this book, too much to say without elling you everything, so I will list a few things:
1. Lane and Sadie are great. They are so different, yet they complement each other very well. Outside of Latham House, both would likely have been less social but for different reasons. Over the course of the book, Lane learns to loosen up a bit and embrace life, aided by Sadie, and it is amazing to watch this transformation. He is so hesitant in the beginning, like coming out of a shell, but I loved that he began to really live and to love life, and this is due to Sadie and her circle of friends. Before Latham House, he probably would not have experienced life to the fullest.
2. Lane and Sadie have a backstory that predates their arrival at Latham House, when they were at summer camp together. Something happens that has affected one of them and it has clouded so much about his/her life since that camp experience. Both recognize one another immediately as fellow campers, but it takes a while for both sides of the story to come out and for the air to be clear. There are several themes to this part of the story: forgiveness, judgment, etc. and I loved that the author included it into this book.
3. Sadie's circle of friends are an eclectic bunch. They have different interests and are diverse. Sadie loves them wholeheartedly. They embraced Lane wholeheartedly. I think that they have a healthy dynamic to offset their unhealthy conditions. (There is a lot of this healthy/unhealthy in the book, so neat.) When they bring Lane into their fold, I feel likes them too, but I feel like it was initially more a thankfulness and a "Phew, I made friends!" before it grew into the same genuine love the rest had with one another. This isn't surprising to me because Lane was not very social before arriving at Latham House. It wasn't long before he was able to find deep connections with each of these characters, he grew to love them tremendously. I could feel how much this circle of friends meant to each other when I read their scenes together. It was important because of how they clung to each other during their stressful and scary times and also relied on one another for stress relief during fun and happy times.
4. The sneaking out and shenanigans provide plenty of smiles and chuckles and happy times, which is fantastic because there is always the underlying knowledge that these characters are sick. Yes, they are surviving right now, but the odds are that everyone won't survive. It's important to the story when certain sad things are explored, but the book did not feel overwhelmingly sad to me.
5. The world outside of Latham House is afraid of tuberculosis, so afraid. (Our real world is too, it's afraid of any sickness that easily spreads.) There are a few parts of the book where we are reminded of the potential for hysteria even though it isn't really present in the book. A minor character presents with fear, there is talk of potential fear back home, etc. This is something that is interesting to think about while reading. If a teacher at your child's school lived with a person that had been diagnosed with drug-resistant tuberculosis, how would you feel, what would you do? Would you demand the teacher step down from their job? Would you want the teacher to send their family member away to protect your own child? OR...what if you had no idea that the person coughing beside of you had a diagnosis of drug-resistant tuberculosis? Scary, right? This is something that these teens worry about, integrating back into society after the world has been afraid of them, when they're no longer sick.
Towards the end of Extraordinary Means, something happened that I was not expecting and a little cascade of events took place. I loved the end, how everything unfolded, but to tell you why means to spoil things that you really aren't expecting.
I think that if people don't pick up this book out of fear of heartbreak, it will probably be because of what they fear for the ending BUT the ending has some surprises. And it is hopeful. This story is a tragic one, yes, but there is so much in this book and it is a favorite of the bunch that I've read so far this year. I'm so happy that I stumbled upon such a lovely cover (it totally represents this book, by the way) and that I read this one. And I found a new-to-me author, that's always fun! I need to go backward now and read previous work by this author. I recommend Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider to readers that enjoy young adult contemporary fiction with issues, alternating points-of-view, and romance. ...more
I was first smitten with the cover of My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp, then I fell in love with thRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
I was first smitten with the cover of My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp, then I fell in love with the Appalachian setting. The summary for this book is interesting, right? Since I've been in such a reading slump lately, I was excited to find that I was immediately pulled into this story. RIGHT AWAY, I was there, as Lulu is talking directly to Mason in the form of a letter. He words are filled with so much emotion, immediately I wondered what would be their story.
Lulu Mendez is a recent high school graduate, super excited about the prospect of leaving her sleepy small town and heading to San Diego and a new life at college. She plans for a summer filled with hanging out with her best friend, and then Lulu is G-O-N-E from Dale, Virginia. She can hardly wait. But this dream comes to a screeching halt when Lulu finds out from her Dad that she can't go to San Diego, no college this fall, the money just isn't there, sorry but you'll have to stay home. No, no, no, no, she thinks. No.
Lulu comes up with a great, super-easy plan to make good cash, quick money. Moonshine.
Okay, so YES, the story of young people making moonshine in the Appalachian countryside is appealing to me - especially when there is also the promise of desperation and love woven throughout. Lulu is so ready to leave home, so very ready, and this made me love her immediately. I remember feeling that way myself, so eager, high school and the days immediately after were just too long. Lulu's mother is a shut-in with a crippling anxiety that keeps her from leaving the house - this is so stressful to Lulu. Her travels almost constantly with his job, so he is never home, which means that it falls on Lulu to care for her mother. She has an un-glamorous job at a junkyard and she just wants to get away from small-town life because nobody ever becomes anything if they stay around there. The idea that Lulu would have to put aside college is not something that she is willing to entertain - I understand this, and so I connected with her because of it.
We meet Mason early in the book. Lulu is easily smitten by him, but I think her interest in his moonshine-making abilities is almost equal to her attraction to him, at least for a time. There is a mutual crush or attraction that turns into a really neat romance as these two grow more acquainted and make moonshine together. Mason helps Lulu with things, and Lulu helps Mason with things - they are good for one another. Mason is not the typical young adult love interest; he is a recovering alcoholic, his family's name is stained in the community, and he has a reputation from his younger days. But Mason isn't like that anymore, he isn't anything like people judge him to be. Lulu sees a side of him that nobody else does, and because of this we grow to as well as we read her thoughts to him in her letter. I loved getting to know him through her eyes and thoughts and heart. He's one of the best young adult male characters that I've read in a long time, a favorite.
There are other noteworthy characters: Roni and her boyfriend Bucky, for example. Roni is Lulu's best friend, with no plans to leave Dale, Virginia. No plans for college. Bucky does have plans for college and this has created a small strain in his relationship with Roni. Both agree that they could use some money, however, so they join in with Lulu and Mason to help with the moonshine-making. I love how things unfolded with Roni and Bucky and I have to admit that things took turns along the way that I didn't expect.
I love how things unfolded with all of the characters, actually. Beginning the story, I had a feeling that something was coming up, but I didn't really know that it would be. Why is Lulu writing to Mason in the first place? Also, I initially wondered if the story structure (Lulu speaking directly to Mason) would prevent connection with Mason, but it did not. If anything, I felt more of a connection with both characters, and this is probably because Lulu felt everything she was saying so passionately. Lulu spoke her heart to Mason in these pages.
Do you know the books that are a pleasure to read because the author uses lovely language? This is one of them. Sarah Tomp wrote My Best Everything with such a lyrical language, but not too much so, and the story easily made such a great movie in my head. I recommend My Best Everything by Sarah Tomp to readers that enjoy young adult contemporary stories and contemporary romance. Readers that enjoy a unique story structure or premise may also enjoy giving this one a shot. I'll be rereading this one and I'm thinking it will be one of my favorites this year. ...more
I was so fortunate to have stumbled upon Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist when I did. I actually founRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
I was so fortunate to have stumbled upon Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist when I did. I actually found this book during a sale for Kindle books a couple of weeks ago, and this was at a time when I felt like I was kind of crumbly under the weight of so many different things going on in my life. I'm absolutely one of those people that - when there is something specific in my life that is an issue, I find a book to read that tackles that subject. I love non-fiction books, I love reading about things that challenge me, books that can teach me things, things that are real.
Author Shauna Niequist penned Bittersweet as a set of short essays about various things that occurred in her life, changes in her life. Prior to the release of this book, she had experienced a large move back to her home city and this was something that was stressful for her family - there was a change in jobs, and there was a sense of loss in moving away from a city she loved but also a sense of joy at moving closer to family. This is such a bittersweet and mixed-up feeling - I know it, because I'm feeling the same feeling right now. With a change like this is the loss of the geographic closeness of the relationships from the previous city, which is like a big empty void. There is also a time of confusion and adjustment while you try to figure out where your place will be in your new city (again, I know this). Because this move has been sort of an over-riding theme in my life throughout the past year, and has had its hand on everything I've done, everywhere I've been, everything I've bought or not bought, EVERYTHING EVERYTHING - I feel a little bit like I could be this author's best friend or at least her family member. I feel like I know her that well. (I don't, okay? I'm not weird or anything like that. It's just nice to read about someone going through something like me. That's all.) This author also lived in a temporary place until she could get her family settled, which is THE THING. It is THE THING. Everything is temporary right now, and this is a change. I need to learn to roll with this and give myself grace for both loving it and hating it, and this is one reason why this book spoke to me so much.
Moving on from "the move" --
The author had also experienced other things like loss in the form of miscarriage, so devastating, and loss of the geographic closeness of friendships as friends moved away, as she moved away. She writes about her struggles and apprehension with finding closure in these areas, and her words are beautiful.
I began to feel, as I read, that there was someone here that understood some of the things that I know to be true, on at least some level. True, I haven't experienced the same things as this author but I feel grief and despair and hope and reluctance and everything else that she feels in the same way, except with regard to my own life issues. I can relate to her stories, even if I haven't experienced them, because she has made them relatable. She has made them relatable by incorporating bits of life into them.
It's amazing how it happens, really, that we can find comfort in the words of other people. I do this so often in fictionalized stories and I love to tell you all about this. But there is something so very different about being able to picture another someone that is trying to sell a home that she is no longer living in while having to also make massive repairs on it that she will never get to enjoy, the financial strain of it. To read about how she was intentional about trying to not let these things strain her marriage, but oh my how life's stresses did anyway, and here's how we were even more intentional about getting things back on course. I read the accounts from the author's experiences, I read about the things that helped her and the things that did not help her, about the things that she realized along the way, and the ways she prayed and changed her routines, AND THIS HAS HELPED ME.
*NOTE: You do not actually have to be going through anything hard or any "changes" at all to enjoy this book. It is really a great book to go into if you just want to read it and enjoy the author's work. It just worked well for me because I identify with the author and I love that.
I really think that I'm living in the hardest time of my life right now, the most stressful time. This isn't the worst thing ever, it isn't a bad thing at all really. It's hard, yes. But I'll be fine. It's just some icky things mixed in with the good, you guys. That's what Bittersweet is about. I appreciate that this author chose to document her bittersweet times because this has comforted me.
And her words are lovely, they really are. This lady has a great knack for writing and telling stories. A teensy bit repetitive at times, but that's okay. She is gifted in essay-writing, and was able to make me smile and even chuckle while I also clutched at my heart for what she had experienced in her life. Shauna sort of makes the point that life is full of the good mixed with the bad, and it's okay to experience all of it, to feel each way when life throws these bittersweet moments at us.
You guys, I highlighted so many things. So many quotes that I want to remember because I want to carve them on my heart and also so many because they just sound pretty. There are some non-fiction books that I read because I want to feel challenged to better myself, and while I wanted to come out better on the other side of this book, what I really wanted was to find the grace to feel the bad and the good and everything in between when I'm feeling the tough stuff in life, because it is there - thrown in when you least expect it. That goal was achieved, and I am thankful.
Bittersweet by Shauna Niequist is a book that I will read again. Actually, I would love a print copy so I can mark it up and fold pages over, because this is how I end up treating the non-fictions books that I own, the ones that make me feel this way, the ones that I come to over and over to feel better or to learn things. I've seen that this author has written some other books, a happier book that appears to be in a style similar to this one and also some cookbook and devotional-type books. I'd love to get my hands on them all. ...more
When I was young, I used to love to read Choose Your Own Adventure stories. I'd read them over andRead my full review HERE at Into the Hall of Books.
When I was young, I used to love to read Choose Your Own Adventure stories. I'd read them over and over, making sure to arrive at the different endings each time. I wanted to see what adventures were possible within the book. One just wasn't enough. The concept of this type of story was so exciting to me, one where I was in control of how things turned out. This is what Jill Santopolo has done with Love On The Lifts, except we're not choosing adventure - we're choosing a chance for love.
As the story begins, you and your sister Angie are at the airport, on your way to a ski vacation with your parents. Your boyfriend Nate has broken your heart, and you just aren't feeling the fun of the upcoming vacation. Angie tells you that she has a plan - you need to kiss someone you meet on the ski mountain, you need to fall in love on the lifts.
Hmm, you're not so sure! You'd rather ski and hang out with your sister and just not think of romantic things. BUT Angie convinces you that it takes a boy to get over a boy, and you eventually agree to try out her plan. The "choose your own adventure" part of the story begins once you both make it out on the slopes.
When Love On The Lifts by Jill Santopolo arrived, I read it immediately because it sounded like so much fun - and it was. It was a quick read that left me smiling and flipping pages, but in a really fun way. There are something like eleven choices for an ending - a ski instructor, a handsome twin, deciding to hang out with sister Angie instead of finding a guy, hanging out alone - so, yeah, several possibilities. AND true to what we all know of these types of "choose your own adventure" books, the opportunity to decide what to do next pops up every few pages, which made me feel in control of what was going on.
I ended up "finding love" with Charlie - he's a nice guy out on the slopes that I spot and decide to spend the day skiing with. He is hilarious and charming and loves old movies. It's a good match and helps me take my mind off of my awful ex-boyfriend.
*SO while I've been taking care of my Dad recently and because this book was so fun to read, I picked up Love On The Lifts and read it again - twice. I ended up with two very different endings, both a lot of fun. I ended up hanging out with my sister Angie, which is always a good time of course (YAY sisters, I absolutely love mine) and I also found love with a guy named Orion, who happens to be the son of the ski resort owner.
Love On The Lifts by Jill Santopolo is fun. It isn't a long read or a heavy read. It's perfect for someone that is looking for something light, cute, and happy - EXACTLY what I've needed in my life right now, actually. I haven't made it through all of the options for endings yet but there does not appear to be any love triangles so far. The book is written from a perspective of YOU being the main character, YOU are looking for love, YOU are choosing your own adventure. I recommend Love On The Lifts by Jill Santopolo for fans of young adult contemporary with romance that enjoy fun story structures. ...more