Thursday, June 5, 2014

Review: Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2) by Jessica Park

Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2) by Jessica Park

Blurb from Goodreads:

Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.

Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.

Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.
My Review:

Flat-Out Love was my favorite YA of 2012 and Flat-Out Matt was one of my favorite books last year even though it was a novella!  Obviously, I had high expectations for Flat-Out Celeste but I can wholeheartedly say that Jessica Park is not only brilliant but that Flat-Out Celeste was PERFECT!!  The characters were so well written and the story was exactly what I wanted -- no insta-love, Celeste still being the Celeste we all fell in love with in FOL and FOM but also Celeste finding exactly who she was supposed to find when she was supposed to find him (as well as finding herself and learning to love herself).  Such a wonderful first romance but also a wonderful story about self-discovery and self-love.  I love Celeste and Justin so, so much!!

I absolutely loved this book -- maybe even more than Flat-Out Love (my review) and Flat-Out Matt (my review), which I certainly never thought possible!  Please read this series!!!
"I want to destroy anyone who has hurt you for a dumb reason like just being yourself.  What?  Do we want the entire universe made up of people who are all clones of each other?  How damn boring would that be?  You know the expression love makes the world go 'round?  That might be true, but love come from the way differences interact.  How personalities interact.  How we bounce off each other, challenge each other, and how we push and pull.  It's through those tensions that we connect with others and with ourselves.  And it's how we fall in love.  Because there is magic in diversity.  Without the Celestes, the world wouldn't go 'round.  Do you see that?"                         

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on:  
Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5) by Miranda Kenneally!



Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.
This is one of my all-time favorite series!!  If you haven't read Catching Jordan, Stealing Parker, Things I Can't Forget or Racing Savannah, you are seriously missing out!!  Breathe, Annie, Breathe is scheduled for release on July 15, 2014 and you can pre-order HERE!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Monday, June 2, 2014

Top Ten Books That Should Be In Your Beach Bag


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fab ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!



1.  Every single book by Elin Hilderbrand is the perfect book for your beach reading!  They are all set on Nantucket (or nearby) and usually have the most idyllic summer scenes.  My favorite of hers is The Blue Bistro.  

2.  The Silver Strand series by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt -- no reason necessary!!

3.  Even though the Rock Chick series is set in Denver, they are so good, so funny and you will read them so quick, which makes them perfect beach reads!


4.  Rosalind James' Escape to New Zealand series is probably my favorite contemporary romance series out there right now!  Just This Once is the first book but the entire series is great for beach reading -- all set in NZ and involving hot rugby players!!

5.  Jennifer Crusie's books are more of my favorite contemporaries and Crazy For You is a hilarious, quick read that I devoured.

6.  If you are looking for a series with more adventure and suspense than a typical contemporary, I definitely recommend the Troubleshooters series by Suzanne Brockmann about a team of Navy Seals.  The first book is The Unsung Hero.


7.  Continuing on the suspense romance trail, Kill and Tell by Linda Howard is perfectly thrilling and set in New Orleans!


8.  If you are more interested in solving a crazy puzzle, Cypress Point by Diane Chamberlain will not disappoint.  Plus it's set in Big Sur, one of my favorite places in the world (and one of the most beautiful!).

9.  Things I Can't Forget is set at summer camp -- and it includes pretty much everything one could hope for in such a setting.
  


10.  For those of us that truly love to read, this book is about that sort of addiction to reading, especially when you want to escape real life.  I loved reading Literacy and Longing in L.A., if only because it was the first reference I remember to going on a book bender.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2) by Jessica Park

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on Flat-Out Celeste (Flat-Out Love #2) by Jessica Park!



Whether you were charmed by Celeste in Flat-Out Love or are meeting her for the first time, this book is a joyous celebration of differences, about battling private wars that rage in our heads and in our hearts, and—very much so— this is a story about first love.

For high-school senior Celeste Watkins, every day is a brutal test of bravery. And Celeste is scared. Alienated because she’s too smart, her speech too affected, her social skills too far outside the norm, she seems to have no choice but to retreat into isolation.

But college could set her free, right? If she can make it through this grueling senior year, then maybe. If she can just find that one person to throw her a lifeline, then maybe, just maybe.

Justin Milano, a college sophomore with his own set of quirks, could be that person to pull her from a world of solitude. To rescue her—that is, if she’ll let him.

Together, they may work. Together, they may save each other. And together they may also save another couple—two people Celeste knows are absolutely, positively flat-out in love.
This is one of my all-time favorite series!!  I absolutely loved Flat-Out Love and Flat-Out Matt.  When I read that Jessica Park was writing Celeste's story, I almost cried because I am so in love with these characters.  Flat-Out Celeste is scheduled for release within the next two weeks and I CANNOT WAIT!!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??

Monday, May 19, 2014

Ten Books About Friendship


Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the fab ladies at The Broke and the Bookish!



1.  I absolutely love the platonic friendship between Thatcher and Fiona in The Blue Bistro.  My favorite book of hers and the BEST beach read!!

2.  Even though Firefly Lane is super sad, it really is about friendship and a pretty amazing friendship, at that!

3.  I loved The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes and it involves a super strong friendship and redemption.


4.  Even though the House of Night series jumped the shark after the sixth or seventh book, what drew me to the series in the first place was the friendship between Zoey and the other members of her circle, especially Damian and Stevie Rae.

5.  Jennifer Crusie's books almost always have awesome friendships in them and Bet Me is my favorite.

6.  The friendships in The Secret History may be a bit . . . unusual . . . but I always loved how close the group was, even in the end.  


7.  No better (more intimate?) friendship than The Raven Boys!  


8.  You know you have a good friend when, like in The Liar Society, they try to find your killer, even at their own peril!

9.  Things I Can't Forget addresses a question we all have faced:  what do you do when you friend does something that you fundamentally disagree with -- do you shun them or help them?
  


10.  In Left Drowning, no one needs friends more than Blythe.  And, boy, does she get a whole family of them!

Friday, May 16, 2014

TAGGED: THE BOOK BLOGGER TEST!


I was tagged by Megan from Reading Books Like a Boss to answer some fun questions!   Thanks Megan!!
Check out the end of the post to see who I’VE TAGGED!

What are your top 3 book hates?
  1. Like Nereyda, the OOPS! pregnancy is a BIG turn-off for me!  So predictable and never good.  Almost always a DNF for me.
  2. World-building -- it's just not for me.
  3. Lack of communication / break-ups because of a simple misunderstanding in which neither character just emits a simple truth!  I can't stand (and it is so common lately, especially in NA) when half of a book is devoted to the love interests in turmoil because of a communication breakdown and/or simple misunderstanding.  So frustrating -- TALK IT OUT!!
Describe your perfect reading spot:

I know this was asked in a Feature and Follow Friday.  My post is here.  Essentially, I love reading outside, on the beach with a view, or under a blanket by the fire, depending on the weather.  I have a great chair by one of our stoves and I read there every morning before work!

Tell us three book confessions:
  1. I never read print books anymore.  EVER. I am a kindle addict and I seriously have no use for print books.
  2. I've never read anything by John Green.  I own three of his books but I can't bring myself to read them.
  3. I am terrible at reviewing books -- I love reading and I love reading reviews of books I've read but I have such a hard time writing meaningful reviews.  If I love a book, it's really hard for me to communicate why I loved it.  It's much easier to tear a bad book apart and write a negative review, but who wants to do that all the time?
When was the last time you cried while reading?

I am definitely not a big crier while reading!  I think I have only cried twice while reading -- the last time was the ending of The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher.  The only other time was while reading Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah, which I didn't even enjoy that much but it was such a sad and depressing ending.

How many books are on your bedside?

A big fat ZERO.  Just my kindle!

What is your favorite snack while reading?

I don't love to snack while reading, honestly.  I usually am drinking sparkling water but I don't really snack while reading.

Name three books you would recommend to anyone?

That is so difficult since everyone I know really has certain genres that they love but I would say:
  1. The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher.  This series has no equal for me although Mud Vein was absolutely incredible and indescribable.   
  2. The Goldfinch by Donna Tartt.  I thought no book could top The Secret History but The Goldfinch did it.  I recommended this to everyone from my law partner to my mother in law and to my brother, and they all loved it!
  3. When You Are Engulfed in Flames by David Sedaris.  I have read and/or listened to all of his books and they are all phenomenal but this one is probably my favorite.  So funny and so true regarding family.
Show us a picture of your favorite bookshelf on your bookcase:

This is so sad but I seriously have so few print books anymore.  I will update this with a picture of the ones I do have (almost all Linda Howard) when I get home.

Write how much books mean to you in three words:

Can't. Stop. Reading.

What is your biggest reading secret?

No one in my real life knows I have a book blog (even if I am so bad at updating it!)

I'm TAGGING:

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday: Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5) by Gayle Forman

 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that you are eagerly anticipating.

Today, I am waiting on Just One Night (Just One Day #2.5) by Gayle Forman!



After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace. Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective. Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.
This is one of my favorite series and I am so excited for one tiny glimpse into Willem and Allyson finally coming together!  Just One Night is scheduled for release on May 29, 2014, and you can pre-order HERE for just $0.99!

What books are you waiting on this Wednesday??