Are you an avid reader looking for your next "fix"? Can't bear to be without some form of reading material in your spare time? Welcome to my world! Whether you are seeking a new book to "feed your need", or you are an author seeking an unbiased point of view on your own recent masterpiece, this is the place to be. With life as with books, you never know where the next step might take you...

Monday, August 21, 2023

BOOK Start Your Week with a DOUBLE REVIEW!

It’s that crazy hectic end of the weekend (for some...others are already working, hello retail life!), back to school, back to the uber busy daily schedule that is life, and with everything we already have going on, adding one more thing to the mix can feel like that proverbial straw on the camel’s back. I know for me, recently, the factors I mentioned weren’t the weight, but having a parent under the weather, another in the hospital, catching the VID myself, and the work world, the beautiful land that is blogging could feel like that bit of straw. Yep, I said it, but what with the plethora of books, I want to cover, let alone read, it can get that way sometimes...but it doesn’t mean I’m not reading, enjoying the adventures, or that the book isn’t worth your time; more often than not, it’s quite the opposite.

So today, I’m taking a moment to highlight in review a title that jumped into print at the end of last month, and one that’s about to hit bookstore and virtual shelves this week. They are both Young Adult Fiction titles, no magic involved other than that which live can provide, but the other similarity they share is a deep seated message regarding the importance of MENTAL HEALTH. Don’t worry, there are other tropes aplenty running freely throughout, but this is one STRONG vein they share, and I think it’s very important for the audiences that will be consuming it. Ladies and gents, let get the bookish fun started...

Amelia Diane Coombs
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 25th, 2023

About the book…
Eloise Deane is the worst and doesn’t care who knows it. She’s grumpy, prefers to be alone, and is just slogging through senior year with one goal: get accepted to USC and move to California. So when her guidance counselor drops the bombshell that to score a scholarship she’ll desperately need, her applications require volunteer hours, Eloise is up for the challenge. Until she’s paired with LifeCare, a volunteer agency that offers social support to lonely seniors through phone calls and visits. Basically, it’s a total nightmare for Eloise’s anxiety.

Eloise realizes she’s made a huge mistake—especially when she’s paired with Austin, the fellow volunteer who’s the sunshine to her cloudy day. But as Eloise and Austin work together to keep Marianne Landis—the mysterious former frontwoman of the 1970s band the Laundromats—company, something strange happens. She actually…likes Marianne and Austin? Eloise isn’t sure what to do with that, especially when her feelings toward Austin begin to blur into more-than-friends territory.

And when ex-girlfriends, long-buried wounds, and insecurities reappear, Eloise will have a choice to make: go all in with Marianne and Austin or get out before she gets hurt.

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😒   Eloise and Austin... 😃
...grumpy sunshine dynamic... say the VERY least.

She's...just trying to reach her goals for college. He's trying to spread a little sunshine into the lives of those who need it. They're both trying to unintentionally drive the other insane, well, at first, but sometimes "like" starts off that way. 😉 

I loved how REAL these two felt, along with the cast of characters.  You felt like they were your friends too, like their triumphs included you for the high fives, and their failures sank you into that same pit of despair. The vibrancy of each of them was palpable, making it easy to step into their shoes, but I also loved the story WITHIN the story regarding Marianne, who was definitely a huge part of those larger than life vibes! You cared for each of them equally, hoped for the best regardless of the missteps they took, and, in the end, were happy to see things come together just like you always knew... okay, so I didn't ALWAYS know, but I hoped, and sometimes that's just enough!


Maxine Rae
Flux (an imprint of North Star Editions)
Release Date: 09/22/23

About the book…
Eighteen-year-old Rory Quinn-Morelli doesn’t want to die; she wants refuge from reality for even a minute: the reality where she survived the car crash eight months ago, and her best friend, Liv, didn’t. Yet her exasperating mother won’t believe the Xanax incident was an accident, and her therapist is making it increasingly hard to maintain the detached, impenetrable “cold girl” façade she adopted from Liv. After she unintentionally reconnects with Liv’s parents, Rory must decide: will she keep Liv’s and her secrets inside, or will she finally allow herself to break? And if she breaks, what will she unearth amid the pieces?

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Rory and Liv…
...the best of friends, and yet…
...and yet.

This book had so much darkness to get through, so much guilt to shed, so much light to let in, and yet, we reach some of those points, but not all...and THAT’S OKAY. It’s okay to not have the perfect life. It’s okay to have things to work through. It’s okay to need others, ask for help, and let people in. It’s okay even if you don’t just so long as you don't let yourself get so lost you miss out on LIVING. Loss hits everyone differently for various reasons, but it hits hard nonetheless. 

I appreciated seeing Rory's journey from the inside (before the accident) and the outside (afterwards). It gave a new perspective for those that haven't been as closely touched by tragedy, while making it easier to relate to for those that have yet allowing them to also see that falling down doesn't mean you stop trying to get back up. Aside from the heartache, there were other "me too" moments for readers. From the hallowed experience of high school to the triumphs and challenges of discovering just who you are, who you love, and where you fit in, there's something that everyone can touch with a modicum of understanding... making it a surprisingly powerful read!


Special thanks to the publishers for the ARCs for review. (THANKS!) For more information on these titles, the authors, or the publishers, feel free to click through the links provided above. The first is available now, the second is just about to be, so plan a stop by your local brick and mortar or click on over to your favorite online retailer today for a purchase and/or pre order!

Until next time, remember...if it looks good, READ IT!

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