Raised by her single mother, seventeen year old Rachel has never met her father. Although she’s a big fan of his music. When her mother dies, leaving her to the foster care system, her father Frederick gains custody until she turns eighteen and goes away to school an adult. Rachel now has the chance to find out what happened between her parents and get to know her father and share her love for music.
Besides music, Rachel and her father have a lack of good communication in common. For the majority of the novel I was waiting for the big reveal over why he’d abandoned Rachel for eighteen years. This transgression has shaped who Rachel has become as an adult woman and the fact that she didn’t force that issue was so frustrating for me. She also hid that she was a singer songwriter. I’d think that would be the first thing a young girl would say to her father musician. However, the impact of when she revealed that piece of herself to her father really impacted the story well and propelled their relationship forward so I’ll forgive the author for my impatience! LOL
The second part of this novel was a love story with two possible love interests. #1- Rachel leaves a childhood friend, Haze, behind when she goes with her father. Haze has a rather rough background and I think Rachel has been the only good thing in his life. However, his feelings for Rachel are stronger than hers for him. At times he comes off as aggressive, trying to push her into a relationship that she’s not ready for. #2- Before she goes off to boarding school she’s assigned a pen pal, Jake. They get to know each other through texts and emails first, and then when she gets to school they strike up a friendship that quickly turns into something more. The contrasts between her two love interests seem to reflect the place she is in her life at that time. Kind of sad for Haze, but she leaves her rough upbringing behind when she meets her father and goes off to prep school.
I was more interested in the story between Rachel and her father than I was the romance. Not too surprising since I am way beyond school age, but the reasons for her abandonment and building that relationship was a lot more interesting. BUT, the story fell short of giving me what I wanted in the conclusion. Yes, she is now a part of her father’s life, she has a solid boyfriend and their future looks bright, but I still feel like Rachel didn’t get what she needed and was still searching for something more from her father. So, I liked this book, but it didn’t sweep me away. ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“The Accidentals is a masterpiece of feelings. It was also a different kind of romance, because the main story wasn’t about the romance – it was about family and loss. And it was also about finding what had seemed lost forever.” (Un)Conventional Bookworms
Starting off right where To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before ends, Lara Jean decides she wants to be a real girlfriend to her fake boyfriend Peter Kavinsky. Writing another letter, Lara Jean delivers it in person to Peter and finds him at home. They have a sweet reunion and their relationship is now cemented in reality. That doesn’t mean all of the drama has ended! Peter still talks to he ex, Genevieve, on a regular basis.
Admittedly, I read To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before and P.S. I Love You back to back and may be getting a few details between the two books mixed up, so please forgive me if I do!
P. S. I Love You’s Lara Jean is not quite as relaxed as the To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before Lara Jean. Peter is her first boyfriend and dealing with a boyfriend who won’t let go of his ex starts to undermine her self confidence and those doubts make her sound a bit whiny. In the first novel I wanted to crack Peter over the head for his obtuseness, and in this novel I switched over to wanting Lara Jean to stop being so whiny!
There are two key conflicts in this novel. The continued resolution of who shot the hot tub video, and another of Lara Jean’s past love’s responding to her letter. Peter’s response to who shot the hot tub video made me swing back into the “this guy’s a jerk, just let him go already” team. I was riding the edge already because he’s a bit cocky, but his defense of Lara Jean arrives a little late. When John Ambrose shows up, he seems like a white night in comparison to Peter. That contrast made me sit up and take interest in a novel that had started to feel a little flat.
Kitty, again, steals the show. That kid had such sass, she was great fun to read. I also really liked Lara Jean’s interactions at the senior living center, and in particular her conversations with Stormy. A resident of that community who could give Kitty a run for her money in sass and fun. The USO party Lara Jean threw with John Ambrose’s help only made me like him more and I wondered why Lara Jean had such a problem picking her leading man. In my eyes he was definitely the better pick!
Again, this series totally reminded me of the insecurities of my own youth. I never had two guys fighting over me, but that is a fantasy that all girls and women have that despite it being stereotypical always adds a nice tension to a story. In this case it was definitely needed. I haven’t yet read the third and final novel in this series, but have it on my TBR and I know I’ll get to it sooner rather than later. I am invested in reading Lara Jean’s story and want to see her mature and grow into the awesome woman she’s on her way to becoming.
Explicit Ranking: I’d give this novel a 3 out of 5 based not on Lara Jean’s own actions, but on conversations about sex. The hot tub video and how her peers reacted differently to both Peter and Lara Jean is a conversation starter in how women are perceived if they’ve had sex versus men. I think this is a great lesson learned early and appreciate how it was displayed in this novel, even if I didn’t like every reaction.
Piper Calloway works as her father’s right hand as an executive in his real estate development firm. Born with a silver spoon in her mouth, she has fought for the approval of her father and the other executives in a mostly male world. When she see’s her girlhood crush, Kyle, working at the front desk of her building as a security guard all of her life’s ambitions get pushed aside and memories of her first love takes over. Will this be her second chance at love?
I have enjoyed K.A. Tucker’s books in the past and while Say You Still Love Me isn’t my favorite of hers it’s still an interesting and kind of different style of romance. Piper and Kyle’s story was told through a series of flashbacks to when they fell in love while camp counselor’s over a summer when they were teenagers. The innocence and fun of that story contrasted well with the more adult version of their re-connection. The minor problem for me was that I was much more interested in them when they were teenage camp counselors than I was with them as adults.
Piper’s mom wanted her to have the experience she did as a “normal” girl at camp. Normal meaning middle class I guess. Rather than being a fish out of water because of her moneyed background, Piper actually fit right in, made friends and caught the eye of the rather rebellious and tattooed teenage Kyle. While her personality was pretty consistent from teen Piper to adult Piper, Kyle did a 180º. He was flirtatious, fun and kind of a mystery as a teenager, but adult security guard Kyle? Not as much fun….
I did enjoy the emotional punch of their re-connection but didn’t buy into a fantasy romance with a high powered executive woman and a building security guard. Well, at least a security guard that wasn’t part of an ex elite military squad who would swoop in and rescue his damsel in distress. This just wasn’t that type of romance. So, it became a little vanilla for me. Huh. I’m a little surprised, but I have to go with that statement.
Since this was both a YA Contemporary and an adult Contemporary Romance built into one book, I’m going to give it two scores. The YA Contemporary novel gets a 4.5 and the Contemporary romance a 3.5, which rounds this one out to a four. A good solid book, but didn’t hit it out of the park for me.
I received a free copy of this ARC through NetGalley for my honest review and it was honest! ❤️❤️❤️❣️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“This has been quite a negative review, but I obviously liked the book if I gave it 4 stars. I fell in love with teenage Piper and Kyle. I loved their innocence and sweetness, I just wasn’t a fan of their adult selves. It’s as simple as that.” Sapphic Library
“Overall, I just couldn’t suspend my disbelief for this book. I know romances are sometimes over the top, but I prefer ones that are more grounded in reality. I didn’t think this book had a whole lot going for it outside the romance and since that didn’t cut it for me, it didn’t have a lot to offer.” The Paperback Princess
Lara Jean’s sixteenth year is full of many changes. One of three girls, her home life gets shaken up when her older sister Margot goes off to college in Scotland, breaking up with her boyfriend Josh, the boy next door. Normally sitting on the outside of the drama between her classmates, she finds herself in the center of attention when popular guy Peter approaches her about a letter she wrote and was mailed to him a few years ago. When she looks for her stash of letters she realizes that every letter she’s ever written to a boy she’s loved has been mailed out. Including one to her sister’s boyfriend Josh.
To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before has such a cute premise and Lara Jean was the funny, sweet heroine who could pull off all of the hijinks that ensue from having her private feelings shared with the boys who were never supposed to know about them. I really enjoyed how different each character was and how Lara Jean’s interaction with them showed a different side to her personality.
JOSH- the boy next door and Lara Jean’s close friend. It was this relationship that showed her youthfulness the most. He was trying to deal with her sister’s break-up and keeping the Song family in his life. This letter kind of threw a wrench in things.
PETER- the popular boy at school who just broke up with his long time girlfriend Gen. I liked how his interactions were a little more mature than Lara Jean’s but thought he was a bit cocky and didn’t really feel like he was a great love interest for her.
KITTY- by far my favorite character in the series. She is only 10, but outsmarts everyone around her, is wily, and a master manipulator. Lara Jean tries to be the authority figure but really, Kitty’s in charge.
This was a fun sweet ya contemporary. It reminded me of when life was so innocent. On the scale of 1 to 5 on the explicit scale this was a 3. There was talk of sex and how girls are viewed vs boys if they do have sex. I thought it was handled really well. Lara Jean is pretty innocent and her POV about the topic seemed pretty true to life. It’s definitely a topic that needs to be discussed in YA novels.
If you’re looking for a quick summer book, and this one has slipped past you give it a try! Fair warning though, it ends on a cliffhanger and you’ll immediately be reaching for the second novel in the series.
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“..To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before read like real life. Despite such a preposterous premise, the details felt so authentic. I adored the little bits about every day life. Making sandwiches, bake sales, where you go before school, riding the bus. The way even small moments feel so huge when you’re young.” Never Not Reading
Ava Diaz needs saving. She just doesn’t know it yet. Just like she doesn’t know a thing about the boy she sits next to on the first day of senior year. He thinks she’s a brat. She thinks he’s entitled. Maybe first impressions don’t always last… Because Connor Ledger’s about to save her. He just doesn’t know why.
When Connor starts at his new school and gets seated next to Ava in Psych class he immediately wants to get to know her. Unfortunately, Ava’s checked out. Her mother’s home from Afghanistan with a severe injury and Ava is trying to hold it all together. She doesn’t have time to care anymore about friends, boys, or any social niceties. Connor breaks through her barriers and becomes the person she doesn’t want to need, but needs too much.
Connor is struggling to keep all of his own responsibilities in line. Moving to this new school with the purpose of getting noticed by college scouts is his father’s main concern. He’s not too thrilled with Connor’s infatuation with Ava, and when he hears about all of her problems? His son doesn’t have the time for a girl with all of that baggage.
Heartache and Hope had an interesting premise and two main characters who had really interesting, conflicting back stories. I was curious to see how all of their drama would fit into a high school setting. Ava’s situation with a mother who has PTSD was so adult and yet her love story with Connor was kind of youthful it provided an interesting contrast in her character. Connor was also struggling with adult decisions about his future that when he acted out as a normal teenager it was a little jarring. I had to remind myself that this is actually a YA novel.
I can’t say I was riveted to every page in this novel, but it did have moments that captured my interest and kept me reading. If I’d known it ended in a cliffhanger I don’t think I’d have picked it up at all because now I’ve been left a little dissatisfied. Luckily I don’t have to wait very long for the next novel because it comes out only three weeks after the first novel. This bait and switch seems to be a kind of new way to entrap readers to continue on with the series and gains the author a couple extra bucks. However, in this case I’m not sure if I will remember these two characters and give them four or five more hours of my valuable reading time. ❤️❤️❤️❣️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“At the end of Heartache and Hope, readers will absolutely be emotionally drained because while the hope is still hanging on in the final pages of book one, the heartache seems far more overreaching and far more tangible…” Fairest of All Book Reviews
“This book packs that punch. Connor has been through something awful, Ava is pretty much living her own personal nightmare, but somehow they manage to find peace within each other. There’s something so beautiful and powerful about that.” Romance Book Binge
Finally back together, Ella and Reed can be happy. Wait, what? No of course they can’t! Book 3 and the final episode of the love story of Ella and Reed has so many more obstacles to overcome.
Living in the same house doesn’t seem to create any challenges for Ella and Reed. The biggest surprise is that Ella has retained her virginity. Yep, you heard it right! I’ve informed you of all of the sexually explicit scenes, and boy, there certainly are some doozy’s, but Ella and Reed have not done the actual deed itself. Kind of a nice surprise, right? But a good part of this book seems to be about how they will go about solving that problem and where. The more interesting part of that scenario is that Ella’s returned from the dead father does not want her dating Reed and creates all sorts of obstacles for them- one of them being moving her out of the Royal house. Ah the good old days of out smarting your parents. Fun!
Reed’s brutal nature of getting into fights down at the wharf and keeping the kids at school in line comes back to bite him in the butt. Despite having tons of money, Reed seems to be going down for the fall of a murder he may not have committed although he certainly wanted to at times! Ella, desperately trying to keep him out of jail investigates on her own and what she finds out is pretty shocking and makes for some great reading and a rather remarkable ending.
I really enjoyed these first three books in The Royals series. Paper Princess was still my favorite, but Twisted Palace did a good job of wrapping up some loose ends. I know the series continues but it shifts focus to Easton in book 4 which I’m really looking forward to. Hopefully his story matches his funny personality and is a little lighter. So far it’s been a pretty dark, drama filled ride!
If you haven’t read these books, be warned! There are some very sexually explicit scenes that I think aren’t appropriate for some YA readers. If you’re a mature reader, love soap opera’s, and romance- you will have a ton of fun reading these books! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
After the Paper Princess cliffhanger Broken Prince starts right up with Ella on the run again. When she’s found and brought back home things have changed. Reed takes all the blame for Ella’s disappearance, his family no longer sticks by him, and his life is out of control. He does not give up on getting Ella back but she no longer trusts him and he’s got a long road ahead.
Broken Prince is just as riveting as Paper Princess, but the tone is a little more desperate. Because Reed no longer gives a damn his high school peers start to spin out of control. Normally a nasty bunch, they are downright evil now. Easton doesn’t have it in him to be in charge as he’s one of the kids spiraling downward, his only interest getting drunk and laid. The sexual activity in this book amps up to another level adding to the dark tone of the novel.
I really do like Reed as the hero. He’s doesn’t have the humor and charm of Easton being a guy who fixes things with his fists. His alpha male-ness gives his actions conviction and his single mindedness in winning Ella back struck a chord. I liked that the two of them were brutally honest with no gray areas. It fit the style of this billionaire high school novel. Even though none of it was very realistic (at least I hope not!) I found the book really hard to put down.
Did I like Broken Prince as well as Paper Princess? No, but only because I liked Ella’s POV as the poor girl who gets found and is thrown into the rich life. It didn’t change who she was and I liked that honesty in her. Reed is honest too, but he’s more brutal and is better in smaller doses. Really, the Royal who steals the show is Easton, every time, but I haven’t gotten to his books yet. I like knowing his story is out there and will be reading them soon.
The Royals series has a LOT of adult situations and sexually explicit scenes. The covers of these novels make you think you’re reading Disney princess books, but The Royals series is on the opposite end of that princess spectrum. Be warned! However, once you pick one of these novels up? You won’t be able to put them down until you are finished. They are action packed and like any good soap opera they leave you wanting more. Yep, another cliffhanger! ❤️❤️❤️❤️
Opinions from around the Blogosphere
“Lots to love about this book, and definitely will carry on to the next. Um, how can I not with the two bombs… yes, that’s right… TWO bombs dropped on us right at the end. Wowza!” Nerding Out With Nicky
At seventeen Ella Harper has lived harder than most girls her age. She’s had to come up with unconventional ways to take care of her dying mother and pay off her hospital bills. Stripping is the easiest way to make a buck and she can still go to school for her GED. When a strange man shows up at school saying he’s her guardian Ella does what comes easiest and runs, but unfortunately for her this guys has a ton of money and tracks her down- hauling her out of the strip club she’s in and back to his home to live with he and his five teenage sons. Those teenage sons? Handsome, built, and angry that she’s been brought into their lives.
Paper Princess is so many things! It’s irreverent, fast paced, dramatic, sexy, and really just a lot of fun to read. The contrast between Ella’s poor upbringing and the spoiled rich kids she encounters at home and school makes this a compelling read. It would be so easy for Ella to conform and yet she remains the same girl despite the easy access to sex, drugs, and money. The Royal boys are the biggest obstacle to Ella’s happiness. They control the school and whether someone is accepted or not and they all look to Reed for how to treat Ella. Let’s just say it doesn’t go in her favor. At first.
My public school upbringing was nothing like what I read in this novel, it was really fantasy life at it’s best. The normal cliques you typically read about were present but over dramatized 100%. The mean girls? They didn’t just bad mouth her they stuffed her locker with garbage and used tampons. Most of these scenes were not true to life, well at least not true to my own life but a fun escape from reality.
The Royal boys were the most fun to read about. Reed was tough, mean, beautiful, and brutal. Easton was funny, sarcastic, over-sexed, and ambivalent. Sawyer and Sebastian (twins) were not as large a part of this novel, but they looked to their older brothers for how to act and react. There is also an older brother, Gideon, who is off at school and makes several appearances, but all the brothers seem to look to Reed as the leader of the group. Ella realizes this quickly and doesn’t even try to play up to him, instead antagonizing and remaining true to her roots, but deep inside she wants to belong.
I really liked this book and thought it was entertaining and fun, but when I think about how this is directed towards teens I cringe a little. Some of the references and situations seem a little adult and I wonder if young adults think this is how they should be acting? Of course it’s not, it’s a fantasy world, but I worry that it will be taken seriously by some too young to understand the authors intent. If you don’t take it seriously, it’s great fun to read!
I would advise anyone who plans to read this series that there is a lot of mature content with some pretty explicit scenes. Be warned!
Opinions from around the Blogosphere!
“In general I don’t think it’s a bad book. I finished it in two days, it’s entertaining and very fast paced. I didn’t care much for the abuse and rudeness in the first part of the book, but I did began to like it when the relationship between Ella and the brothers started to lighten up and they treated her like a sister. ” My Bookish Rambles
“This series is geared for more of a mature audience because there are sexual scenes throughout all of the books. This was such a fun read and kept me on my toes through not just the first, but all of the books throughout the series. I would recommend this to anyone likes contemporary!” The Book Instruments
It’s summer! With the change in season summer vacations are being planned all around the world. Along with those vacations we book lovers are planning how to bring all of the books we want to read. Pack an extra bag chickadee’s, these are my most anticipated books being released in June ’19. I know you’ll want to add a couple of these to your own reading plans.
MY MOST ANTICIPATED JUNE 2019 RELEASES
5) Waiting for Tom Hanks by Kerry Winfrey
Release date: 6/11/19
A rom-com-obsessed romantic waiting for her perfect leading man learns that life doesn’t always go according to a script in this delightfully charming and funny novel.
Annie Cassidy dreams of being the next Nora Ephron. She spends her days writing screenplays, rewatching Sleepless in Seattle, and waiting for her movie-perfect meet-cute. If she could just find her own Tom Hanks—a man who’s sweet, sensitive, and possibly owns a houseboat—her problems would disappear and her life would be perfect. But Tom Hanks is nowhere in sight.
When a movie starts filming in her neighborhood and Annie gets a job on set, it seems like a sign. Then Annie meets the lead actor, Drew Danforth, a cocky prankster who couldn’t be less like Tom Hanks if he tried. Their meet-cute is more of a meet-fail, but soon Annie finds herself sharing some classic rom-com moments with Drew. Her Tom Hanks can’t be an actor who’s leaving town in a matter of days…can he?
Emma Saylor doesn’t remember a lot about her mother, who died when Emma was twelve. But she does remember the stories her mom told her about the big lake that went on forever, with cold, clear water and mossy trees at the edges.
Now it’s just Emma and her dad, and life is good, if a little predictable…until Emma is unexpectedly sent to spend the summer with her mother’s family that she hasn’t seen since she was a little girl.
When Emma arrives at North Lake, she realizes there are actually two very different communities there. Her mother grew up in working class North Lake, while her dad spent summers in the wealthier Lake North resort. The more time Emma spends there, the more it starts to feel like she is also divided into two people. To her father, she is Emma. But to her new family, she is Saylor, the name her mother always called her.
Then there’s Roo, the boy who was her very best friend when she was little. Roo holds the key to her family’s history, and slowly, he helps her put the pieces together about her past. It’s hard not to get caught up in the magic of North Lake—and Saylor finds herself falling under Roo’s spell as well.
For Saylor, it’s like a whole new world is opening up to her. But when it’s time to go back home, which side of her—Emma or Saylor—will win out?
A modern-day Muslim Pride and Prejudice for a new generation of love.
Ayesha Shamsi has a lot going on. Her dreams of being a poet have been set aside for a teaching job so she can pay off her debts to her wealthy uncle. She lives with her boisterous Muslim family and is always being reminded that her flighty younger cousin, Hafsa, is close to rejecting her one hundredth marriage proposal. Though Ayesha is lonely, she doesn’t want an arranged marriage. Then she meets Khalid, who is just as smart and handsome as he is conservative and judgmental. She is irritatingly attracted to someone who looks down on her choices and who dresses like he belongs in the seventh century.
When a surprise engagement is announced between Khalid and Hafsa, Ayesha is torn between how she feels about the straightforward Khalid and the unsettling new gossip she hears about his family. Looking into the rumors, she finds she has to deal with not only what she discovers about Khalid, but also the truth she realizes about herself.
2) Storm and Fury (Harbinger #1) by Jennifer Armentrout
Release Date: 6/11/19
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Enter a world of gargoyle protectors, rising demons and one girl with an explosive secret.
Eighteen-year-old Trinity Marrow may be going blind, but she can see and communicate with ghosts and spirits. Her unique gift is part of a secret so dangerous that she’s been in hiding for years in an isolated compound fiercely guarded by Wardens—gargoyle shape-shifters who protect humankind from demons. If the demons discover the truth about Trinity, they’ll devour her, flesh and bone, to enhance their own powers.
When Wardens from another clan arrive with disturbing reports that something out there is killing both demons and Wardens, Trinity’s safe world implodes. Not the least because one of the outsiders is the most annoying and fascinating person she’s ever met. Zayne has secrets of his own that will upend her world yet again—but working together becomes imperative once demons breach the compound and Trinity’s secret comes to light. To save her family and maybe the world, she’ll have to put her trust in Zayne. But all bets are off as a supernatural war is unleashed…
From the New York Times bestselling author of An Enchantment of Ravens comes an imaginative fantasy about an apprentice at a magical library who must battle a powerful sorcerer to save her kingdom.
All sorcerers are evil. Elisabeth has known that as long as she has known anything. Raised as a foundling in one of Austermeer’s Great Libraries, Elisabeth has grown up among the tools of sorcery—magical grimoires that whisper on shelves and rattle beneath iron chains. If provoked, they transform into grotesque monsters of ink and leather. She hopes to become a warden, charged with protecting the kingdom from their power.
Then an act of sabotage releases the library’s most dangerous grimoire. Elisabeth’s desperate intervention implicates her in the crime, and she is torn from her home to face justice in the capital. With no one to turn to but her sworn enemy, the sorcerer Nathaniel Thorn, and his mysterious demonic servant, she finds herself entangled in a centuries-old conspiracy. Not only could the Great Libraries go up in flames, but the world along with them.
As her alliance with Nathaniel grows stronger, Elisabeth starts to question everything she’s been taught—about sorcerers, about the libraries she loves, even about herself. For Elisabeth has a power she has never guessed, and a future she could never have imagined.
It looks like my most anticipated releases are heavy on the Young Adult genre. Unfortunately 6/4 is this week! Yikes! I better get reading!
What is your most anticipated June release? I’d love to add to my TBR!