Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Release Day Launch: The Witch of Painted Sorrows by MJ Rose

TWoPS RDL Banner   

We are absolutely captivated by THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS and so excited to bring you the Release Day Launch for M.J. Rose's amazing new novel. THE WITCH OF PAINTED SORROWS is a historical gothic romantic suspense published by Atria, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Check out the excerpt below, buy a copy for yourself (and a friend!), then  check out the giveaway M.J. Rose is holding to celebrate the release!!

 The Witch of Painted Sorrows - cover

Amazon ** Barnes and Noble ** iBooks ** IndieBound


Four months ago I snuck into Paris on a wet, chilly January night like a criminal, hiding my face in my shawl, taking extra care to be sure I wasn’t followed. 

I stood on the stoop of my grandmother’s house and lifted the hand-shaped bronze door knocker and let it drop. The sound of the metal echoed inside. Her home was on a lane blocked off from rue des Saints-Pères by wide wooden double doors. Maison de la Lune, as it was called, was one of a half dozen four-story mid-eighteenth- century stone houses that shared a courtyard that backed up onto rue du Dragon. 

I let the door knocker fall again. Light from a street lamp glinted off the golden metal. It was a strange object. Usually on these things the bronze hand’s palm faced the door. But this one was palm out, almost warning the visitor to reconsider requesting entrance. 

The knocker had obsessed me ten years before when I’d visited as a fifteen-year-old. The engravings on the finely modeled female palm included etched stars, phases of the moon, planets, and other archaic symbols. When I’d asked about it once, my grandmother had said it was older than the house, but she didn’t know how old exactly or what the ciphers meant. Where was the maid? Grand-mère, one of Paris’s celebrated courtesans, hosted lavish salons on Tuesday, Thursday, and many Saturday evenings, and at this time of day was usually upstairs, preparing her toilette: dusting poudre de riz on her face and décolletage, screwing in her opale de feu earrings, and wrapping her signature rope of the same blazing orange stones around her neck. The strand of opal beads was famous. It had belonged to a Russian empress and was known as Les Incendies. The stones were the same color as my grandmother’s hair and the high- lights in her topaz eyes. She was known by that name—L’Incendie, they called her, The Fire. 

We had the same color eyes, but mine almost never flashed like hers. When I was growing up, I kept checking in the mirror, hoping the opal sparks that I only saw occasionally would intensify. I wanted to be just like her, but my father said it was just as well my eyes weren’t on fire because it wasn’t only her coloring that had inspired her name but also her temper, and that wasn’t a thing to covet. 

It wasn’t until I was fifteen years old and witnessed it myself that I understood what he’d meant. 

I let the hand of fate fall again. Even if Grand-mère was upstairs and couldn’t hear the knocking, the maid would be downstairs, organizing the refreshments for the evening. I’d seen her so many nights, polishing away last smudges on the silver, holding the Baccarat glasses over a pot of steaming water and then wiping them clean to make sure they gleamed. 

Dusk had descended. The air had grown cold, and now it was beginning to rain. Fat, heavy drops dripped onto my hat and into my eyes. And I had no umbrella. That’s when I did what I should have done from the start—I stepped back and looked up at the house. 

The darkened windows set into the limestone facade indicated there were no fires burning and no lamps lit inside. My grandmother was not in residence. And neither, it appeared, was her staff. I almost wished the concierge had needed to open the porte cochère for me; he might have been able to tell me where my grandmother was. 

For days now I had managed to keep my sanity only by thinking of this moment. All I had to do, I kept telling myself, was find my way here, and then together, my grandmother and I could mourn my father and her son, and she would help me figure out what I should do now that I had run away from New York City. 

If she wasn’t here, where was I to go? I had other family in Paris, but I had no idea where they lived. I’d only met them here, at my grandmother’s house, when I’d visited ten years previously. I had no friends in the city. 

The rain was soaking through my clothes. I needed to find shelter. 

But where? A restaurant or café? Was there one nearby? Or should I try and find a hotel? Which way should I go to get a carriage? Was it even safe to walk alone here at night? 

What choice did I have? 

Picking up my suitcase, I turned, but before I could even step into the courtyard, I saw an advancing figure. A bedraggled-looking man, wearing torn and filthy brown pants and an overcoat that had huge, bulging pockets, staggered toward me. Every step he took rang out on the stones. 

He’s just a beggar who intends no harm, I told myself. He’s just look- ing for scraps of food, for a treasure in the garbage he’d be able to sell.  

But what if I was wrong? Alone with him in the darkening court- yard, where could I go? In my skirt and heeled boots, could I even outrun him?


Make sure you visit M.J. Rose's website to enter to win this gorgeous necklace to celebrate her release! 


Possession. Power. Passion. New York Times bestselling novelist M. J. Rose creates her most provocative and magical spellbinder yet in this gothic novel set against the lavish spectacle of 1890s Belle Époque Paris. 

Sandrine Salome flees New York for her grandmother's Paris mansion to escape her dangerous husband, but what she finds there is even more menacing. The house, famous for its lavish art collection and elegant salons, is mysteriously closed up. Although her grandmother insists it's dangerous for Sandrine to visit, she defies her and meets Julien Duplessi, a mesmerizing young architect. Together they explore the hidden night world of Paris, the forbidden occult underground and Sandrine's deepest desires. 

Among the bohemians and the demi-monde, Sandrine discovers her erotic nature as a lover and painter. Then darker influences threaten--her cold and cruel husband is tracking her down and something sinister is taking hold, changing Sandrine, altering her. She's become possessed byLa Lune: A witch, a legend, and a sixteenth-century courtesan, who opens up her life to a darkness that may become a gift or a curse 

This is Sandrine's "wild night of the soul," her odyssey in the magnificent city of Paris, of art, love, and witchery.  

 Witch small teaser

"Haunting tale of possession." —Publishers Weekly

"Rose's new series offers her specialty, a unique and captivating supernatural angle, set in an intriguing belle epoque Paris — lush descriptions, intricate plot and mesmerizing storytelling. Sensual, evocative, mysterious and haunting." —Kirkus

"Mixes reality and illusion, darkness and light, mystery and romance into an adult fairy tale. [Rose] stirs her readers curiosities and imaginations, opening their eyes to the cultural, intellectual and artistic excitement that marked the Belle Epoque period. Unforgettable, full-bodied characters and richly detailed narrative result in an entrancing read that will be long savored."—Library Journal (Starred Review)
  TWoPS Teaser 1  

Author photo About M.J. Rose: New York Times Bestseller, M.J. Rose grew up in New York City mostly in the labyrinthine galleries of the Metropolitan Museum, the dark tunnels and lush gardens of Central Park and reading her mother's favorite books before she was allowed. She believes mystery and magic are all around us but we are too often too busy to notice... books that exaggerate mystery and magic draw attention to it and remind us to look for it and revel in it. Rose's work has appeared in many magazines including Oprah Magazine and she has been featured in the New York Times, Newsweek, WSJ, Time, USA Today and on the Today Show, and NPR radio. Rose graduated from Syracuse University, spent the '80s in advertising, has a commercial in the Museum of Modern Art in NYC and since 2005 has run the first marketing company for authors - Authorbuzz.com The television series PAST LIFE, was based on Rose's novels in the Reincarnationist series. She is one of the founding board members of International Thriller Writers and currently serves, with Lee Child, as the organization's co-president. Rose lives in CT with her husband the musician and composer, Doug Scofield, and their very spoiled and often photographed dog, Winka.  

Website | Twitter| Facebook | Author Goodreads | Novel Goodreads| Newsletter| Pinterest

The Witch of Painted Sorrows sounds amazing. Plus that cover - holy swoon! I can't wait to read this one.  What do you think? Will you be reading it?

Friday, March 13, 2015

Review: Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson

Trust the Focus by Megan Erickson 
Series: In Focus #1
Published: March 17th, 2015
Publisher: Intermix
222 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary NA/LGBTQ
Acquired this book: From the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

With his college graduation gown expertly pitched into the trash, Justin Akron is ready for the road trip he planned with his best friend Landry— and ready for one last summer of escape from his mother’s controlling grip. Climbing into the Winnebago his father left him, they set out across America in search of the sites his father had captured through the lens of his Nikon.

As an aspiring photographer, Justin can think of no better way to honor his father’s memory than to scatter his ashes at the sites he held sacred. And there’s no one Justin would rather share the experience with more than Landry.

But Justin knows he can’t escape forever. Eventually he’ll have to return home and join his mother’s Senate campaign. Nor can he escape the truth of who he is, and the fact that he’s in love with his out-and-proud travel companion.

Admitting what he wants could hurt his mother’s conservative political career. But with every click of his shutter and every sprinkle of ash, Justin can’t resist Landry’s pull. And when the truth comes into focus, neither is prepared for the secrets the other is hiding.

For years I’ve been looking for the perfect LGBTQ+ book. That one quintessential book that when people asked me for a recommendation, it would be the first one that came to mind (well, second…if I’m in a self-promo mood, my f/f NA would probably be my first rec, let’s face it *wink*). I’ve read a few decent LGBTQ books and a few really good ones, but none of them have felt like THAT book - the one that had everything I wanted: real emotion, humour, romance, sex, sweetness, adventure, and a happy ending. When I read the first half of Trust the Focus in one sitting (which may not seem like a big deal, but considering a) I was in a huge reading slump and nothing was holding my interest, and b) I’m a super slow reader, so it’s no small feat to read that much at one time), I was pretty sure I had finally found THAT book. By the time I finished reading it the next day, teary-eyed and with a huge smile on my face, I knew I’d finally, finally found that book. 

Trust the Focus is such an authentic book. There were so many times I found myself nodding along when Justin was thinking or talking about his fears regarding coming out, being out, dealing with the possible backlash from family and friends, and just his feelings for Landry in general. I connected with him almost instantly, and on so many levels. Having lost my own father, I appreciated his desire to take this grand adventure to honour his dad. The sentiment of it and his obvious love and respect for his dad was just beautiful. Road trips are one of my favourite things in the world, and I’ve always dreamed of taking one in an RV, so I felt like I was right there with Justin and Landry. Throw in the photography element and several other similarities between myself and both boys (including the fact that my last name is Landry) and I felt like this book was written for me.

There were so many beautiful, poignant moments throughout Trust the Focus. I ran the gamut of emotions while reading - I’d be giggling one minute, swooning the next, tearing up the next, needing a cold shower the next, and then I’d be back to laughing. It had such a great mix of everything. There were also moments that frustrated me and made me want to yell at Justin and/or Landry, but even those moments felt so genuine and real that it didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the story. These characters were wonderfully, realistically flawed, and had so much depth and experienced so much growth. I enjoyed every moment of their story. Also, I won’t lie - I loved that there were actual sex scenes in this book. So many LGBTQ books have fade-to-black sex scenes or no sex at all; it doesn’t bother me if it feels like it fits with the story and the characters, but I often feel disappointed because I want more. There were no ‘behind closed doors’ sex scenes in Trust the Focus and I loved that honesty and bravery from Erickson for writing those (totally freaking hot) scenes.

I can’t say enough good things about Trust the Focus. These characters and their journey took hold of my heart from the very beginning and never let go. Justin and Landry will stick with me for a long time to come. I laughed with them, cried with them, swooned over them, and cheered them on. If you’re a fan of sweet, swoony, sexy, raw, emotional stories with depth, character growth, heart, and humour (plus an epic road trip!) you need to read Trust the Focus.
Have you read Trust the Focus? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Have you read Megan's Bowler University series (I read the first book, which was super cute, and I own the other two)? Have you found that 'perfect' LGBTQ book? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

 Dive Into Diversity Reading Challenge

Wednesday, March 11, 2015

Wanderlust Wednesday: 14 years ago now...14 weeks from now

Fourteen weeks from now, I’ll be embarking on one of the biggest, most incredible journeys of my life. Fourteen weeks from today I’ll be spending my first full day in London, England after an overnight flight across the Atlantic Ocean. *insert me doing a crazy happy dance here*

Fourteen years ago now I was on a different adventure. My first big adventure, the trip that awakened my wanderlust. In 2001 I spent March 7th - 10th in France. My high school partnered with another school a few hours away, and about 25 of us, including me and my then-best friend went on an incredible trip. It was the first time I’d been away from home for more than a few days, my first time flying, and so many other firsts. We started out in Nice, visited Monaco for a day, headed up to Nimes by bus, then flew from there to Paris. We got to see and experience a lot in those ten days. I was on sensory overload the whole time, but I enjoyed every minute of it. 

We had way more freedom than I expected we would. We would head somewhere on our coach, do something as a group, and then we’d have free time, often for hours. We had a curfew at night (I think it was about 11 o’clock, which, for a bunch of 15-18 year-olds was pretty late, considering we were in a foreign country thousands of miles from home). My friend and I bought so many souvenires, we ended up buying an extra suitcase just to carry everything (this was in the days before you had to pay an insane amount of money for extra checked luggage). That trip was one of the best experiences of my life, and I’ve been dreaming of going back to France, as well as visiting many other European countries ever since. 

And now that dream is finally coming true. On June 16th, I’ll be leaving with a friend to spend two weeks in London, Paris, and Rome. 14 weeks seems like forever, and yet it doesn’t seem long at all. The weeks are flying by. It feels like just a few days pass between the weekly countdown my friend and I do (which basically consists of me texting her every Tuesday morning in all caps with a bunch of exclamation marks, and the two of us proceeding to squee and giggle).

It’s funny how much things can change in 14 years. I haven’t flown since 9/11 (we went 6 months before it happened), so the thought of getting through airport security kind of freaks me out. You could basically bring anything on the plane back then. I know the rules now (I’m already planning my 3-1-1 bag of toiletries), but it still freaks me out. Also, pretty much the only way you could research a place back then was through books. I didn’t have the internet at home, so I bought a bunch of guide books and did my research that way. This time, I’ve been doing research online. I can’t tell you how often I get sucked into Pinterest, looking for packing tips, money-saving tips, and things to do in the places we’re going. I’ve read hundreds of blogs, infographics, and articles over the last few months, and I still have a ton bookmarked to read.

We don’t plan to have every moment of the trip mapped out, but I’m the type of person who likes to be prepared and know what to expect, so doing all this research makes me feel better and keeps my anxiety somewhat in check. Plus, we have a limited time in each place, and there’s obviously no way we can see and do everything, so I want to make sure we get to do everything we really want to do…and there’s a lot we want to do, with the list growing constantly.

Over the next 14 weeks, I'll talk more about what's included in the tour we're doing and what we plan to do on our own. I hope you'll check back! For now I'll leave you with a 'Letter to my 17-year-old Self' blog post I wrote three years ago (!!) on the anniversary of my France trip. 


Monday, March 9, 2015

Review: Between Everything and Us by Rebecca Paula

Between Everything and Us by Rebecca Paula
Series: Sutton College #1
Published: January 20th, 2015
Publisher: Self-published
271 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary New Adult
Acquired this book: From the author in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

Matisse Evans is determined to make her sophomore year of college successful after failing out of a prestigious art school and spending a horribly boring gap year at home. Despite her focus, time isn't on her side as she struggles to hold down three jobs so she can afford her first apartment while juggling course work. In the chaos of it all, Beau Grady moves in and shakes up her world. A college dropout and tattooed bad boy, the rumors about Beau mean one thing for Matisse—trouble. Paralyzed by the fear that she's missing out on life, Matisse discovers plans may unravel, but what rises in their wake can be worth the uncertainty.

After spending the summer couch surfing, Beau Grady moves into an empty room at his ex-girlfriend’s Portland bungalow, skipping his senior year of college to spend his days working at a Vietnamese food cart instead. Once a star hockey player and gifted student, he’s put his life on hold after receiving a life-altering diagnosis, complacent to live in the moment. Hiding behind false rumors and bad habits, Beau falls for Matisse, letting her believe the worst until their relationship blooms into something they both can’t ignore. Falling for her means having to face a future he’d rather forget, but loving her just might be worth it.

After reading Rebecca Paula’s debut novel, Everly After, and seeing some of her tweets while writing Between Everything and Us, there’s one thing I’ve come to expect from her books: things don’t come easy. There will be times when you want to smack the characters, knock their heads together, or yell at them to pull their heads out of their asses. But there will also be a lot of emotion, swooning, character growth, and moments so beautiful they take your breath away. It’s the rough moments that make Rebecca Paula’s stories and her characters realistic (often painfully so). The characters are flawed, they make mistakes, they do and say stupid things, but it’s all so authentic, you can’t help but get invested and root for them. The characters could be you or your best friend or a family member - that’s how real they are.

I enjoyed watching Mati and Beau learn and grow together and separately. They both had set ideas about how their lives were going to be because of their circumstances, and neither of them was happy about their prospects for the future. They did what people expected of them, and were sometimes content to let people think the worst of them if it meant they didn’t have to deal with tough decisions. There were parts of the book that were really painful to read, either because they broke my heart, or because they got me so riled up I wanted to scream. Despite that, I appreciated the characters’ growth and that they both found ways to be happy and do what was right for them.

Between Everything and Us is an emotional coming of age story. While it had its fair share of angst, there was also a nice mix of humour, sexiness, and sweetness. I’m eager to see what Rebecca Paula writes next!

~Favourite quote~

"Good days are a special kind of magic, but even they can’t fight against the bad ones that come swooping in to ruin everything."
~ Between Everything and Us ARC @ 85% 

Have you read Between Everything and Us? Or Everly After? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Review: Losing at Love by Jennifer Iacopelli

Losing at Love by Jennifer Iacopelli
Series: Outer Banks Tennis Academy #2
Published: February 24th, 2015
Publisher: Coliloquy
206 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary NA
Acquired this book: From the publisher in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

Read my review of Game. Set. Match.

Grass courts, tennis whites and the fiercest competition in the world. Wimbledon. After two crazy weeks in Paris, the girls of the Outer Banks Tennis Academy are headed to London with just one thing on their minds: winning.

Indiana Gaffney is fresh off a surprise win at the French Open junior tournament. Sponsors are clamoring for her attention, but what she wants more than anything—aside from a wild card to Wimbledon—is to be with Jack Harrison, but international fame and a secret relationship rarely mix well.

When Penny Harrison dreamed of playing at Wimbledon she never imagined agonizing pain shooting through her ankle with every step. With just a month until the tournament and the whole world expecting her to win, she’s determined to play, with or without the support of her coach or the love of her life, Alex Russell.

For the first time ever, no one expects anything from Jasmine Randazzo. After a crushing first-round defeat in the French Open juniors, the tennis world has given up on her, but worse than that, so have her parents, her best friend Teddy and maybe even her coach. With everyone writing her off, can she find it within herself to go after her dreams?

I read and loved Game. Set. Match. two years ago and have been waiting (im)patiently ever since for Losing at Love. In my review of the first book, I said that I went into it not expecting to love it. I have no interest in tennis, plus I often find it hard to keep multiple POVs straight, especially when a lot is going on. I was pleasantly surprised, and ended up loving not only the tennis stuff, but also the three main characters, Indy, Penny, and Jasmine. Iacopelli succeeded in capturing my attention from the very beginning, and she did that again in Losing at Love.

It was so great reconnecting with these characters. It felt like meeting up with old friends, and I was eager to see what they were up to. I love that Indy, Penny, and Jasmine have stuff in common beyond tennis - they’re all strong, independent, smart girls - but they also have their own distinct personalities, interests, and goals. Throughout the book, the boundaries of their friendships (and other relationships) were tested, and it was nice to see them go through real life stuff even though their lives are far from most peoples’ idea of normal. I also appreciated that the relationship stuff wasn't always easy. I love the boys in this book as much as I love the girls. There were some steamy, sexy moments that were great, and they were mixed in nicely with the emotional stuff and some cute, funny moments.

I’d love to see this series as a TV series. I can picture it clearly, and I think it would make a great teen drama. It has all the elements of a hit TV show - friendships, romance, humour, sexytimes, competitive characters, action. It’s not often that I can picture a book translated to the TV or movie screen, but I’d watch a TV show about the OBX girls in a heartbeat.

I’m completely hooked on this series. I didn’t want the story to end, because I want to know what will happen next for Indy, Penny, Jasmine, and their sexy love interests. I just hope we don’t have to wait another two years for the next book! ;-)

Have you read Losing at Love or Game. Set. Match? What did you think? If you haven't read them, do you plan to? Do you like books about sports? Let's talk here or on Twitter!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Losing at Love Release Day Blitz

L@L RDL Banner 2
It's release day for Jennifer Iacopelli's Losing at Love. This is the second book in Jennifer's Outer Banks Tennis Academy series, and I am so excited to be sharing it with you! Check out all the fantastic release day info, and be sure to enter Jennifer's giveaway.

Grass courts, tennis whites and the fiercest competition in the world. Wimbledon. After two crazy weeks in Paris, the girls of the Outer Banks Tennis Academy are headed to London with just one thing on their minds: winning.

Indiana Gaffney is fresh off a surprise win at the French Open junior tournament. Sponsors are clamoring for her attention, but what she wants more than anything—aside from a wild card to Wimbledon—is to be with Jack Harrison, but international fame and a secret relationship rarely mix well. 

When Penny Harrison dreamed of playing at Wimbledon she never imagined agonizing pain shooting through her ankle with every step. With just a month until the tournament and the whole world expecting her to win, she’s determined to play, with or without the support of her coach or the love of her life, Alex Russell. 

For the first time ever, no one expects anything from Jasmine Randazzo. After a crushing first-round defeat in the French Open juniors, the tennis world has given up on her, but worse than that, so have her parents, her best friend Teddy and maybe even her coach. With everyone writing her off, can she find it within herself to go after her dreams? 

~Exclusive Excerpt~
La Metropolian Hotel 
Paris, France 
Indiana Gaffney gasped, her eyes flying open and locking on the glistening object across the hotel room. It reflected the muted television behind her, the French Open final, the red of the court, blurry in the polished silver. A large, round plate, innocuous to the untrained eye, with the sizeable laser carved logo of Roland Garros at the center, was braced against the mirror hanging on the hotel room wall. The mirror reflected the match clearly, the broad steps and fierce rallies of two men battling it out for the French Open Men’s title. But those men were mere afterthoughts as her eye caught a set of shoulders stretching the material of his t-shirt thin, not a mere image from the television, but broad and warm and real. Strong hands slid down her back, fingers twining into the ends of her long blonde hair, tugging on it gently, drawing her gaze away from the mirror and back to the green eyes of the man in her bed. 
He kissed her soundly, sending shivers down her spine and making her hips rock against his and her legs tighten around his waist. “It’s not gonna disappear if you take your eyes off it,” Jack Harrison muttered into the skin of her neck, nipping at it lightly with his teeth.  
“Feels like it will,” she whispered back, tilting her head to give him better access. Most of her mind was focused on what he was doing with his hands and mouth, but that plate, the one that declared in no uncertain terms that she was the new French Open junior champion, would not be ignored. Not even for the guy who made her heart pound like no one else ever had before, the guy who, up until a few days ago, could barely look at her without his shoulders slumping with guilt. Their age gap hadn’t shrunk in the days full of soft kisses and nights far more intense — though perhaps not as intense as she’d like — but he wasn’t fighting their attraction anymore. She hadn’t chased him, not really, but he’d known she wanted him, almost from the moment they first met. Then he’d found out how old she was and he started treating her like a flashing red SEVENTEEN was stamped across her forehead, every year between them creating an accompanying foot of distance. In the end, the attraction had been too much, even for someone as painfully good as Jack Harrison. 
“Hey, Champ, you in there?” Jack’s voice brought her back, his lips spelling out the words against her shoulder. 
“Champ?” Indy hummed and smiled. “I like the sound of that.” In fact, she liked the sound of it so much she planned on winning again the next chance she got, on the grass courts at Wimbledon. 
“I bet you do. Get used to it, baby,” Jack said, his whole face lighting up as he shifted his weight forward, tilting her back onto the bed. A shriek bubbled up through her throat and the giggles followed as he leaned over her, bracing himself on his elbows and then smothering her laughter with the press of his mouth. As his tongue slid against hers, she turned herself over to it, letting herself revel in the dreams of future victories and the celebrations that would follow. 

Catch up on the series now with Game. Set. Match:

Screen Shot 2014-08-07 at 3.09.39 PMJennifer Iacopelli was born in New York and has no plans to leave...ever. Growing up, she read everything she could get her hands on, but her favorite authors were Laura Ingalls Wilder, L.M. Montgomery and Frances Hodgson Burnett all of whom wrote about kick-ass girls before it was cool for girls to be kick-ass. She got a Bachelor's degree in Adolescence Education and English Literature quickly followed up by a Master's in Library Science, which lets her frolic all day with her books and computers, leaving plenty of time in the evenings to write and yell at the Yankees, Giants and her favorite tennis players through the TV. 

  a Rafflecopter giveaway


Friday, February 20, 2015

Review: The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes

The Distance Between Lost and Found by Kathryn Holmes
Series: N/A
Published: February 17th, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
320 pages (eARC)
Genre: Contemporary Young Adult
Acquired this book: From the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review
Warning: May contain spoilers
{GoodReads || Buy this book: Amazon || Chapters/Indigo}

Ever since the night of the incident with Luke Willis, the preacher’s son, sophomore Hallelujah Calhoun has been silent. When the rumors swirled around school, she was silent. When her parents grounded her, she was silent. When her friends abandoned her … silent.

Now, six months later, on a youth group retreat in the Smoky Mountains, Hallie still can’t find a voice to answer the taunting. Shame and embarrassment haunt her, while Luke keeps coming up with new ways to humiliate her. Not even meeting Rachel, an outgoing newcomer who isn’t aware of her past, can pull Hallie out of her shell. Being on the defensive for so long has left her raw, and she doesn’t know who to trust.

On a group hike, the incessant bullying pushes Hallie to her limit. When Hallie, Rachel, and Hallie’s former friend Jonah get separated from the rest of the group, the situation quickly turns dire. Stranded in the wilderness, the three have no choice but to band together.

With past betrayals and harrowing obstacles in their way, Hallie fears they’ll never reach safety. Could speaking up about the night that changed everything close the distance between being lost and found? Or has she traveled too far to come back?

The Distance Between Lost and Found is a hard book to peg down. I felt so many different things while reading it. My mental rating of it went up and down throughout, but by the end, it was easy for me to give the book 4 stars. It was told in third person present tense, which I normally don’t like, and it had religious themes, which I tend to avoid. Something about this book made me curious, though, and I’m glad I gave it a chance because I ended up really enjoying it.

Normally, for me, third person present tense feels stilted and impersonal; it’s like reading a play, and it can be hard to get a sense of who the characters really are on a deeper level. With The Distance Between Lost and Found, I was pleasantly surprised. The characters were really well developed, and I felt like I got a good sense of who they were. There was also a surprising amount of character development, especially considering the book took course over such a short period. It felt very authentic to me, probably because of the characters’ circumstances, and I enjoyed watching the characters, especially Hallie, learn and grow. By the end, I felt a deep connection to her, which I honestly wasn’t expecting. I was proud of her, and I wanted the best for her.

The religious themes were handled well. I appreciated that Hallie was honest about her feelings regarding feeling God’s presence, wondering if and why he’d abandoned her, why it seemed like some people were never punished for things, and that maybe not everything could be attributed to God - maybe she should be able to take credit for certain things. Sometimes books with religious themes make me uncomfortable, and some of them have even made me see red (which is why I tend to stay away from them), but when religious themes are handled as well as they were in The Distance Between Lost and Found, I can appreciate and even enjoy them.

The story wasn’t necessary draggy, but there were parts that felt too long. I found myself wishing a few times that they’d just be rescued already, or that Hallie would just spit out her story and stop drawing it out. A lot of times when a character has this huge secret to tell and it takes them forever to spill, it ends up feeling anticlimactic. While I thought it took too long to get the whole story, I was pleased with the story itself - it was appropriately rage-inducing and made me really feel for Hallie and her situation and the unfairness of it. I liked that it brought her closer to Rachel and Jonah, and that by telling her story for the first time, she was able to heal part of herself.

Overall The Distance Between Lost and Found was a very enjoyable read. It was an interesting mix of contemporary and survival story. I loved the characters and feel like Hallie, Rachel, and Jonah will stick with me for a while. 


Have you read The Distance Between Lost and Found? What did you think? If you haven't read it, do you plan to? Do you like wilderness survival stories? Let's talk here or on Twitter!


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...