Books: The Cheapest Vacation You Can Buy











Shoveling SnowFrom Goodreads: Ben and Caroline barely recognize each other any more. Their once solid relationship now broken and beaten by unfathomable events, leaving only a shell of past promise. When pressure cracks the last vestiges of their bond, Ben hastily leaves their Southern California home, pointing the car east to what he hopes is the edge of the Earth. After driving until he can no further, he settles in the small, coastal town of Swintonport, Maine to lose himself in quiet and anonymity, renting the quaint guesthouse of Maggie and her ten-year-old daughter, Smoof. But when tragedy strikes his landlord’s family, Ben is confronted with a sobering truth reminiscent of the one he left behind.

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This is an intriguing novel in which our three dysfunctional main characters must learn to lean on one another in order to heal. A man, Ben, running from a relationship, a teacher, Rose, wishing for a connection with her estranged son, and a young girl, Smoof, wishing for her mother’s recovery all tie unlikely bonds to one another as the novel unfolds.

Initially, readers are only given the overview of each character, but as the novel progresses, we are given deeper insight, and as the truth comes out concerning the Ben’s reason’s for running, the Rose’s reasons for estrangement, and the Smoof’s heartbreaking family circumstances, the puzzle pieces begin to click and it leaves readers with feelings of hope for the future.

It’s a very well written piece, more so for those who enjoy adult fiction (not because of anything sexual–that’s just the genre) as the novel truly focuses on the adults in the story as they attempt to overcome their past in order to help young Smoof have a brighter future. It’s a story that will make you think, and while the end is a bit abrupt, leaving me with a yearning to know more/read more, based on the characters and all they’ve been through, it is indeed perfect. Four stars.

4 stars

I received this novel from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Amazon



Love Letters to the DeadFrom Goodreads: It begins as an assignment for English class: Write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain because her sister, May, loved him. And he died young, just like May did. Soon, Laurel has a notebook full of letters to people like Janis Joplin, Amy Winehouse, Amelia Earhart, Heath Ledger, and more; though she never gives a single one of them to her teacher. She writes about starting high school, navigating new friendships, falling in love for the first time, learning to live with her splintering family. And, finally, about the abuse she suffered while May was supposed to be looking out for her. Only then, once Laurel has written down the truth about what happened to herself, can she truly begin to accept what happened to May. And only when Laurel has begun to see her sister as the person she was; lovely and amazing and deeply flawed; can she begin to discover her own path.

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Love Letters to the Dead spans Laurel’s 9th grade year as she tries to sort through her life—her older sister May has only recently died and the circumstances behind her death remain shrouded in mystery as the novel unfolds, spurring readers on as Laurel relays many different facts about her life.  This is an extremely well written epistolary novel that captured my attention immediately.  I really adore novels told through letters, diary entries, and the like, and Dellaira does a superb job getting Laurel’s voice across using this writing style.

When the novel first picks up, Laurel is writing a letter to Kurt Cobain, and as she begins to relate to him through their shared experiences, she starts to tell the story of her sister, and soon finds herself working her way through multiple letters and truths about the past, present, and future.  With the death of May, Laurel’s family fell apart; her mother now lives in California, and Laurel splits her time between the homes of her father and aunt, yet none know the truth as Laurel does.  And as the story unfolds, readers learn that there are many heavy underlying truths that Laurel must eventually face in order to move from the past and begin living in the present.  I will admit that it took me a little while to warm up to Laurel, but as she pours out her heart, I found it impossible to not connect with her and her experiences, both trials and triumphs.

One aspect of this novel that I truly love is that, as Laurel writes letters to the dead, she connects the dead’s lives, music, accomplishments, and decisions with those that she is currently experiencing.  It flows together seamlessly, and helps bring validity and emotion to the novel as Laurel tells her story, asks her questions, and struggles with the answers.  The letters show how Laurel is on a downward spiral, and as it all comes to a head, we learn what Laurel really knows of the night her sister died, and why Laurel has slowly allowed herself to become someone else as the school year progresses.  It’s an intriguing, heartfelt read that I highly recommend.  Four stars.

4 stars

In exchange for an honest review, Macmillan Children’s Publishing Group and Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR) have been extremely gracious in allowing me to read an ARC of this novel, via Netgalley, prior to its release on April 1, 2014.

Amazon | Kindle | Barnes and Noble



For Everly by Raine Thomas

Released: May 27, 2013

For Everly Tour Sidebar Button_AToMR Tours

Publisher: Iambe Books, LLC

Age Group: New Adult (17+)

Genre: Contemporary Romance

Tour organized by: AToMR Tours

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EverlyecoversmallFrom Goodreads: **Mature Content Warning** This is a New Adult novel recommended for ages 17+ due to language, sexual content, and mature subject matter.

Determined to overcome a dark and tragic past, college student Everly Wallace is only months away from earning her degree in physical therapy. She’s consumed with school, caring for her ailing grandfather, and figuring out how to pay the next bill. The last thing she wants is a relationship, but it just might be the one thing she needs.

Major League pitcher Cole Parker hasn’t fought for anything in his life. He went from a privileged upbringing to a multimillion dollar All-Star career. But when his pitching shoulder starts to give him trouble at only twenty-four years old, he faces the possibility of his injury becoming public knowledge and costing him everything.

In a desperate bid to save his career, Cole decides to hire someone to treat his injury, someone who will keep things off the record and out of the media. He finds the perfect solution in Everly. As mysterious as she is beautiful, she provides an enticing distraction from his pain. Soon, physical therapy is the last thing on his mind.

When an act of betrayal brings the truths they both fear to light, Cole will have to fight for the first time in his life…not just for his career, but for Everly’s love.

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For Everly is an absolutely beautiful novel that pulled me in from the very beginning, wrapped me up tight between the pages, and kept me glued to the powerful storyline until the very last page.  Both Everly and Cole are vivid, real characters that hold a presence that’s impossible to ignore; it’s as if they lift off the pages and come to life before the reader’s very eyes, and long after the end they still resonate in our minds and hearts.

Raine Thomas has written a pure gem in this tale of love and redemption, investing readers in the story from page one as Cole comes tearing onto the scene in a very literal sense.  Though it took me a little while to warm up to Cole due to his numerous mistakes and occasionally dangerous actions, his heartfelt remorse made him likeable and real.  And as the story unfolds, and he learns the truth about Everly’s past and heartache, his love and will to protect her from all harm make him just shy of perfect in my eyes.

But Everly certainly isn’t a push over character in need saving.  She has a strong will, works hard for a living, cares for her grandfather, and puts other’s needs before her own.  She’s exceptionally smart, doesn’t fool around, and she has her head on straight, which makes her instantly likable in my eyes.  Yes, she has a rather abrasive past, though no fault of her own, and Thomas’ compelling novel also promotes extremely important themes concerning depression, suicide, and abuse.  These are difficult and heavy topics to address, yet Thomas lays their reality bare in such a delicate manner that it isn’t overbearing, yet it speaks loudly enough to capture the readers attention and root for Everly, Cole, and her grandfather as set back after set back lands in their path, some of which have deadly potential.  Five stars.

5 starsI received a review copy of novel from ATOMR Tours in exchange for an honest review.

Goodreads – http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/17835522-for-everly

Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/For-Everly-ebook/dp/B00D0TB1CE/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1375889867&sr=8-1&keywords=for+everly

Barnes and Noble – http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/for-everly-raine-thomas/1115426502?ean=9781939453051

For Everly Book Trailer Link: http://youtu.be/5P2oZJupu6U

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Raine ThomasAbout the Author

Raine Thomas is the award-winning author of a series of YA Fantasy/Romance novels about the Estilorian plane, including the Daughters of Saraqael Trilogy and the Firstborn Trilogy, and a New Adult Contemporary Romance, For Everly. She is a proud member of Romance Writers of America and is a contributing blogger to The Writer’s Voice. When she isn’t planning weddings, writing, or glued to social networking sites, she can usually be found on one of Florida’s beautiful beaches with her husband and daughter or crossing the border to visit with her Canadian friends and relatives.

Author Social Media Links:

Twitter (http://twitter/Raine_Thomas)
Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/rainethomas)
Goodreads (http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/5053436.Raine_Thomas)
Pinterest (http://pinterest.com/raine_thomas/)
Linkedin (http://www.linkedin.com/pub/raine-thomas/53/111/bb3)
Website (http://rainethomas.com)
Blog (http://RaineThomas.com/blog/)

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 Giveaway!

You could win:

$25 Amazon Gift Card

2 Print Copies

5 Ebook Copies (mobi or epub)

Click this Rafflecopter Link to enter!

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To see other stops on the tour for reviews, guest posts, and excerpt click here or the tour button below.

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