{Blog Tour} Playlist + Giveaway: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Plus One
Title: Plus One
Author: Elizabeth Fama
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Date of Publication: April 8, 2014

Divided by day and night and on the run from authorities, star-crossed young lovers unearth a sinister conspiracy in this compelling romantic thriller.

Seventeen-year-old Soleil Le Coeur is a Smudge—a night dweller prohibited by law from going out during the day. When she fakes an injury in order to get access to and kidnap her newborn niece—a day dweller, or Ray—she sets in motion a fast-paced adventure that will bring her into conflict with the powerful lawmakers who order her world, and draw her together with the boy she was destined to fall in love with, but who is also a Ray.

Set in a vivid alternate reality and peopled with complex, deeply human characters on both sides of the day-night divide, Plus One is a brilliantly imagined drama of individual liberty and civil rights, and a fast-paced romantic adventure story.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository


My love for this book is infinite and I know it sounds like a cop-out but I still can't put into words what I think of it (and all the messy feelings and giddy feelings and ALL THE FEELINGS PERIOD). But I do know this - these songs came into my mind right after reading PLUS ONE. And I think that's such a good sign of something so good bleeding over into my life that I immediately linked songs I coincidentally love to this novel. Hope you like my song selection! (You might only appreciate this playlist if you've read the book and spoilers are abound so you've been warned!)

I think I've found my best friend
I know that it might sound more than
a little crazy but I believe 

I knew I loved you before I met you
I think I dreamed you into life
I knew I loved you before I met you
I have been waiting all my life

This song wound its way into my brain while I was reading the book because it's just so apt. Both Sol and D'Arcy felt like this and don't you just love it when a song completely encapsulates a scene or an idea?

Until now, I knew this of myself
That if you had thrown yourself down
Into the lion's den
My brother I'd follow you in
Perhaps I lack some foresight (should have known)
But brother you were so right
Sure as the setting sun
You can't trust just anyone

That's what you want, but it's not what you're asking for
I said that's what you're asking, but you're gonna get more than you bargained for
I said that's what you had, but you don't have it any more
You had it coming

I never imagined you dead (I never)
But tell me, are you even aware
That all that we did, you undo?
Iscariot, you fool

Oh Jesus, the tears! Please stop the tears! If the previous song describes Sol's and D'Arcy's relationship perfectly, this song is Sol and Ciel's song. This song is the theme song to their sibling relationship and it shows how much love (and even all the messy emotions like resentment) is between them. That even if Ciel left Sol and their grandfather Poppu and that Sol has spent three years of her life hating Ciel, she still loves him that she'd follow Ciel down the lion's den. And that bit with "you can't trust just anyone" mirrors exactly what Ciel told Sol.

Then don't get me started with the chorus. I can totally imagine Sol telling Ciel that he had it coming but in the end, IN THE END, Sol and Ciel still love each other as family and I'M GOING TO STOP NOW BECAUSE I'M TEARING UP.

How long will I love you?
As long as stars are above you
And longer, if I can.

How long will I want you?
As long as you want me to
And longer by far.

So let's stop crying and get back to the romance. D'Arcy said something in the novel and I'll quote it:

"Do you know how much I love you? It's as big as the Milky Way. It's as wild as the murmuration. It's as stuck as the Morazan."
That passage made me think of this song and how it describes a love so infinite and a love that does not expect. D'Arcy never expected anything from Sol and neither did Sol. But they kept on giving each other pieces of themselves. SELFLESS EPIC LOVE OKAY I THOUGHT THIS WILL PREVENT THE TEARS. Next and last song please!

EDIT: I'm adding One Direction's You and I in here because the lyrics are just so apt GAH! It can be D'Arcy singing it to Sol to just believe that nothing can come between us in the end. AHUHUHU

I see what it's like,
I see what it's like for day and night
Never together
'Cause they see things in a different light
Like us
But they never tried
Like us

You and I
We don't wanna be like them
We can make it 'til the end
Nothing can come between
You and I
Not even the gods above
Can separate the two of us

You are the avalanche
One world away
My make believing
While I'm wide awake

Just a trick of light
To bring me back around again
Those wild eyes
A psychedelic silhouette

I never meant to fall for you but I
Was buried underneath and
All that I could see was white
My salvation
My, my
My salvation
My, my

Lastly, this can be from Sol or D'Arcy's perspective. In Sol's perspective, the meaning to this song is pretty obvious as D'Arcy was the one who saved her from being caught, helped her, "saved" her when she was alone without Ciel and saved her in all sorts of manners. However, I think Sol thinks too low of herself but she doesn't see that she changed D'Arcy from an uptight Medical Ray Apprentice into someone who sees love so pure and unconditional. Proof? When D'Arcy said this:
"Do you remember when you were feverish on the sofa in your apartment? You admitted you were throwing your life away so that Poppu could hold Fleur just once, and it was like the floor of your apartment opened under me. You had the balls to condense the whole screwed-up world into this one pure thing, this crazy act of love. Everything I was working for collapsed through that hole with me, and I went into a free fall. And then you kissed me on the prairie and I wanted it all -- I selfishly wanted what Poppu had."
He obviously doesn't believe in love anymore but then Sol comes crashing into his life. It's just so beautiful and GOOSEBUMPS.

So that's my completely cry-worthy playlist for PLUS ONE! Hope you liked it and as usual, my main goal is to promote these artists. Walk the Moon is my favorite band and Gabrielle Aplin has been my it girl for months now. Thank you!

About Elizabeth Fama

Elizabeth Fama is the author of Plus One (FSG, 2014), Monstrous Beauty (FSG, 2012), a YALSA Best Fiction for Young Adults selection and Odyssey Award honor winner, and Overboard (Cricket Books, 2002), an ALA Best Books for Young Adults. She is represented by Sara Crowe of Harvey Klinger, Inc.


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{Blog Tour} Spotlight + Giveaway: Written On Her Heart by Paige Rion

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Written On Her Heart (Callaway Cove #1)
Title: Written On Her Heart (Callaway Cove #1)
Author: Paige Rion
Date of Publication: April 23, 2014

Andi Callaway has dreamed of becoming a published author her entire life.

Ford Delaney has always wanted nothing more than to escape his past.

An opportunity of a lifetime. This is what Andi finds when she returns home to Callaway Cove on summer break. A chance to work for her literary idol Ford Delaney is up for grabs, and she’s willing to risk everything—her boyfriend, her best friends, and her education—to get it.

She’s positive this will be the key to reaching her dreams. But the moment she begins working for the reclusive author, Andi realizes there’s more to him than just a name. As attraction builds between Andi and Ford, she begins to discover consequences must come hand-in-hand with something great—which could loosen control over her tightly wound life. And once romantic sparks fly, Andi’s other relationships start to crumble, Ford’s fame comes back to haunt him, and the heat they generate will either forge a powerful, enduring love or threaten everything she holds dear.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N | Kobo | Smashwords


He went to pull away, but Andi caught his hand, holding it there.

He exhaled, breath caressing her skin. “How do you do it?” he asked.

She swallowed, a razor blade in her throat while his eyes searched hers. “Do what?”

His face became distorted and her vision blurred until she wondered if this all wasn't just a dream.

“Get under my skin,” he whispered.

The second the words left his mouth, he leaned in and crushed his lips over hers, kissing her as though it was going to be his last time kissing anyone. She blocked out the world, blocked out every thought except of him and the warmth of his touch. His fingers trailed over her jaw, her throat, and moved over her cool, damp skin, leaving her breathless.

She tipped her head to the side, deepening the kiss, reveling at how the pain in her throat and the throbbing in her chest vanished with his touch. Never before had she felt this. As if she was soaring and falling at the same time. As if she was witnessing something exotic and rare. As if she could die right now and not care, as long as it was in his arms.

She reached up to him, running her hands through his hair, something she had wanted to do from that first day in his office. He groaned and every nerve came alive with each second his lips danced with hers. All her worries slipped away. She was invincible.

And then their lips parted and Ford breathed her name. But when she blinked her heavy eyelids open, seconds later, he was gone.

About Paige Rion

Paige Rion is a contemporary romance author. She’s a mother, wife, blogger, hopeless chocoholic, coffee-addicted, wine-lover. Her debut, novel—a new adult romance—Written On Her Heart, is the first in the Callaway Cove series. The next in the series is to be released this summer. She loves connecting with readers on her blog and social media.

Website | Twitter | Facebook


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{Blog Tour} Review: The Hunt by Stacey Kade

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

I've been waiting for this day to arrive because ever since reading THE RULES last year, all I wanted was for THE HUNT to come out. But now that I've read THE HUNT, all I can say and think about is WHERE IS THE THIRD BOOK?????

The Hunt (Project Paper Doll, #2)
Title: The Hunt (Project Paper Doll #2)
Author: Stacey Kade
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date of Publication: April 22, 2014

Ariane Tucker has finally escaped GTX, the research facility that created her. While on the run, Zane Bradshaw is the only person she can trust. He knows who-and what-she is and still wants to be part of her life.

But accepting Zane's help means putting him in danger.

Dr. Jacobs, head of GTX, is not the only one hunting for Ariane. Two rival corporations have their sights set on taking down their competition. Permanently. To protect Zane and herself, Ariane needs allies. She needs the other hybrids. The hybrids who are way more alien and a lot less human. Can Ariane win them over before they turn on her? Or will she be forced to choose sides, to decide who lives and who dies?

Purchase from Amazon | B&N | The Book Depository


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Cassie of Disney-Hyperion and NetGalley for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel. (There will be some spoilers for The Rules but none for The Hunt so if you haven't read the first book, stay away, dearie!)

I read The Rules last year and certifiably loved it. It surprised me with being more of a contemporary read than a sci-fi one, which I surprisingly enjoyed. A lot. Especially that great first kiss. I still remember it even after a year and I even named it the best kiss of 2013. While the ending to The Rules wasn't that big of a cliffhanger, I still longed and needed The Hunt in my life. And it didn't fail me. In fact, in my opinion, it even exceeded The Rules.

The Hunt picked up right where The Rules ended, with Ariane and Zane escaping from GTX. Reeling from the betrayal of her father, Ariane wasn't so sure if his promised emergency bag is really under the Dumpster. But then it's there, along with everything she could ever need to survive on the run. But what Ariane didn't expect is her father's letter in the bag, WHICH WAS HEARTBREAKING AND SWEET AND I CRIED. But there's no time to cry over what's lost because Mark reveals that GTX's two rival corporations, with their own human-alien hybrid experiments, have always been out to get Ariane. That GTX was the safest place she could ever be was such a disgusting irony. Now, on the run with a target on their backs, Ariane and Zane are in their most dangerous state.

As with THE RULES, THE HUNT was written in both Ariane and Zane's perspective which was again, AWESOME. Stacey Kade nails both perspectives. With the plot of THE HUNT shifting to a more fast-paced, action-packed and thrilling conflicts, we get to see more of Ariane's alien side - the cold, calculating and very logical side. We also get to know that Mark has trained her when she was a kid for breaking and entering and that she can totally do that superhero move wherein she can assess every exit in the building. A master strategist, she is. At first, Ariane pushes away Zane because she doesn't want him harmed. But Zane is persistent and insists that it's his decision to make. With all that's happening, we even get to see more of Zane's mind - in how he overthinks everything as well. Ariane's alien characteristics show more prominently in this installment and here's where Zane realizes that she is indeed different. Not that it affects how he thinks and wants her but given Zane's inferiority complex brought upon by his father, he thinks that Ariane wouldn't want him soon enough. On the other hand, Ariane worries that Zane won't want her anymore because she's truly different.

I absolutely loved that the conflict is on so many levels. We have them on the run, we have Ariane wanting to know more of who she is, her wanting to know the other hybrids, Zane not wanting that at all because she might leave him, Zane wanting that too because he wants to support her, the upcoming fight of the hybrids looming over all companies, the problems of the other hybrids, SO SO MANY CONFLICTS. We have surface conflicts and we also have those that are only in Ariane and Zane's mind.

I won't discuss most of the plot because I think I already revealed too much so I'll get on to the romance. HOLY HELL THAT WAS HOT. All I could ever think was "PLEASE, SIR, CAN I HAVE SOME MORE?" over and over again. There were only two hot scenes but SERIOUSLY, Stacey, you are gifted in writing these make-out sessions and all. JUST, MORE PLEASE!

I also found myself laughing at some scenes and moments in here. Stacey said she indeed put more comic moments in this sequel although I think I'm just too attuned to these characters that I get them.

Lastly, the ending. That was HOW CAN I WAIT FOR A YEAR FOR THAT? I was so scared of what was happening and then it ended with THAT. Yes, to answer your question, it's a MASSIVE CLIFFHANGER. A really big one where you just want to hound Stacey what stage is Book 3 currently. (I did. Apparently, it's under edits!) I'm soooooooooooooooooo looking forward to the next book like it's my baby during delivery. I just want it to be out!!!

Huh, what an incoherent and spazzy review. But that's just it. THE HUNT made me flail then wrecked me with anticipation for what's going to happen next. For me, THE HUNT is an even better outing than THE RULES, with its action-packed (Strategies! Breaking! Entering! Hiding! Spying! Running!), thrilling, addicting plot. We also get to know our beloved characters even deeper and better. We get new antagonists and all sorts of new possibilities.

Just, if you liked THE RULES, you'll love THE HUNT even more. All stakes are even higher than ever, the danger rocketed to the roof and the need and excitement for the next book even greater. THE HUNT did not suffer from the meh second book syndrome and in fact, even surpassed its predecessor. Certi-effin-iably amazing.

About Stacey Kade

As a former award-winning corporate copywriter, Stacey Kade has written about everything from backhoe loaders to breast pumps. But she prefers to make things up instead.

She lives in the Chicago suburbs with her husband, Greg, and their two retired racing greyhounds, Tall Walker (Walker) and SheWearsThePants (Pansy).

The Ghost and the Goth is her first YA novel.

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Spotlight + Giveaway: Summer on the Short Bus by Bethany Crandell

Summer on the Short Bus
Title: Summer on the Short Bus
Author: Bethany Crandell
Publisher: Running Press Kids
Date of Publication: April 1, 2014

Spoiled, Versace-clad Cricket Montgomery has seventeen years of pampering under her belt. So when her father decides to ship her off to a summer camp for disabled teens to help her learn some accountability, Cricket resigns herself to three weeks of handicapped hell.

Her sentence takes a bearable turn as she discovers the humor and likeability of the campers and grows close to fellow counselors. Now, if she can just convince a certain Zac Efron look-alike with amazing blue eyes that she finally realizes there's life after Gucci, this summer could turn out to be the best she's ever had.

Summer on the Short Bus is a very non-P.C., contemporary YA with a lot of attitude, tons of laughs, and a little life lesson along the way.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N

Praise for Summer on the Short Bus

"Crandell creates a wonderful and relatable protagonist with Cricket but even better than that, she surrounds her with equally relatable, flawed, and real characters...This book is an absolute winner!" – Feathered Quill Book Reviews

“A novel oozing with heart and humanity.” - Ken Baker, E! News correspondent and author of Fangirl and How I Got Skinny, Famous and Fell Madly in Love

“A hilarious and heartwarming ride.” – Jennifer Salvato Doktorski, author of How My Summer Went Up in Flames and Famous Last Words

About Bethany Crandell

Bethany lives in San Diego with her husband, two kiddos (one of whom is differently-abled), and a chocolate lab who has no regard for personal space. She believes that prayer solves problems and that Jake Ryan is going to show up at her door any minute now…. She is represented by Rachael Dugas of Talcott Notch Literary Services.


Spotlight + Giveaway: Girl Lost by Nazarea Andrews

Monday, April 21, 2014

Girl Lost
Title: Girl Lost
Author: Nazarea Andrews
Date of Publication: May 1, 2014

Northern was supposed to be a fresh start—a place where people didn’t know who I was or how I had spent years in and out of mental institutes. People didn't know about my parents death or the island no one heard of. But when Peter sits next to me in lit class, I can’t stop the memories, and I don’t want to. He looks too much like the boy from the island, and despite my best intentions, coaxes my secrets from me.

He’s gorgeous, irresistible, a little mad, and completely lost—we are a pair of broken cogs in a world neither of us truly fits into. He is somehow gentle and fierce, heartbreaking in his devotion and savage in his defense.

When Belle, his best friend, shows up, pale and lovely and sick, Peter pulls away from me, a startling withdrawal. It’s a relationship that scares and confuses me. She is at times warm and friendly, and other times is violent and unpredictable.

Peter says that he wants me, but refuses to let himself get close. And there are secrets, surrounding both of us, that border on nightmares. As the memories close in, as Belle gets sicker and more violent, I’m torn between what is true and what I believe, and what this magical boy knows about my mysterious past.

*Suitable for 17+. A romantic contemporary retelling of the boy who never grew up.


I have two because EEEEEEEEEEKKKK

So so excited! I will be reviewing this on May 16 so please drop by then!

About Nazarea Andrews

Nazarea Andrews is an avid reader and tends to write the stories she wants to read. She loves chocolate and coffee almost as much as she loves books, but not quite as much as she loves her kids. She lives in south Georgia with her husband, daughters, and overgrown dog.


Share Nazarea's post on Facebook in order to enter to win. Just leave a comment on that post to enter and one person will get a Girl Lost paperback and a necklace.

Tahereh Mafi, Ransom Riggs and Veronica Ross Philippine Tour

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs book signing tour in National Book Store

National Book Store brings three New York Times bestselling authors—Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs—for book signing events on April 26 at 2 pm in the Glorietta Activity Center and on April 27 at 2 pm in The Gallery of Ayala Center Cebu.

Veronica Rossi is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Under the Never Sky trilogy, a post-apocalyptic young adult series. Foreign rights to the trilogy have been sold in over 25 territories and film rights have been optioned by Warner Bros. entertainment. Described by as “an unforgettable dystopian masterpiece,” and deemed as one of the Best Books of the Year by School Library Journal, Under the Never Sky follows the story of Aria, who meets Perry after being exiled from the enclosed city of Reverie because of a terrible incident. Their unlikely alliance forges a bond that will determine who will survive the Death Shop, a place full of cannibals and violent energy storms. Aria’s journey continues in Through the Ever Night and Into the Still Blue.

Tahereh Mafi first visited her Filipino fans in 2013. She is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Shatter Me, the first book in a trilogy, which has received positive reviews from Booklist, Kirkus Reviews and Publishers Weekly among others. Shatter Me is currently being sold in over 25 foreign territories and has been optioned for a movie adaptation by Twentieth Century Fox. Ostracized and incarcerated her whole life, seventeen-year-old Juliette is freed on the condition that she use her horrific abilities in support of The Reestablishment, a post-apocalyptic dictatorship, but Adam, the only person ever to show her affection, offers hope of a better future. The story of Juliette continues in the sequel Unravel Me, and the heart-stopping conclusion Ignite Me.

Ransom Riggs is the author of the bestselling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, which became part of the New York Times bestsellers list for 52 consecutive weeks. The movie adaptation is currently in production which will be directed by Tim Burton and penned by X-Men: First Class writer Jane Goldman. Sixteen-year-old Jacob journeys to a remote island off the coast of Wales as he tries to recover from the tragic death of his grandfather. There he discovers and explores the ruins of Miss Peregrine’s home where he meets the peculiar children who once lived there and finds out that they may still be alive and in danger. The sequel to the book, Hollow City, continues the journey of Jacob and his friends as they flee to London, the Peculiar capital of the world.

The events are made possible in partnership with Raffles Makati, Glorietta and Ayala Center Cebu. Books by Veronica Rossi, Tahereh Mafi and Ransom Riggs are available in National Book Store and Powerbooks. Shop online and buy eBooks at Follow National Book Store on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (@nbsalert) for updates on the latest events, promos and contests.

Spotlight + Giveaway: Dancing With The Devil by Katie Davis

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Dancing With The Devil
Title: Dancing With The Devil
Author: Katie Davis
Publisher: Diversion Books
Date of Publication: April 15, 2014

To move on from her past, an extraordinary girl must tear down the walls she has built to protect herself.

Mackenzie Douglas seems to have it all: good looks, a great boyfriend, a passion for biking, and a little sister who worships her. But under the veneer of perfection lie the emotional scars of her childhood, inflicted by her father. Though her memories have faded with time, the wounds on Mac’s subconscious remain.

Having vowed to never be a victim again, Mac focuses on a journey she’s always wanted to take: a summer bike trip on her amazing new RoadCap bike. But as the excursion finally gets underway, memories Mac long ago buried start to claw their way back to the surface, forcing her to confront a past she has done everything she can to forget.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N


Earlier Tonight
July 4th

She never knew police cars had such small back seats. Mackenzie’s knees ached from being jammed into the hard plastic that separated her from the cops up-front. There was another black and white leading them around the pretty little streets of her neighborhood. The backseat was empty in the first car. At the stop sign Detective Smith twisted around and glanced through the bulletproof window.

“We’ll be there soon.”

Mackenzie already knew that. She knew these streets, this neighborhood. Her father had bought the beach house when she was born, and she spent the last sixteen summers listening to him telling her how lucky she was to spend two whole months on Cape Cod every year.

What she didn’t know was what would happen when they arrived. She didn’t know who would be there. And she didn’t know what they would find.

The first car pulled up to the house, but the one Mac rode in stopped across the street. The home was surrounded by a rainbow garden of flowers, though she couldn’t differentiate the colors through the dusky light. The only discernable hue was the red and blue from the police car beacon swirling around and around, illuminating the white beach house, giving it a garish glow. She stared at the sign in front of the picket fence, transfixed.

“The Douglas Family” was painted in the center, vines and flowers encircling the words. Flickering, a bad home movie. Red, blue, red, blue.

Both officers got out of the car and hitched up their heavy belts weighed down with metal and bullets. The one who had driven opened Mac’s door—she couldn’t; there were no handles in the back seat—and leaned in.

“I’ll leave the windows open ’cause it’s hot out, but you wait here while we go see. Got it?”

She nodded.

He slammed the door shut.

The questions she’d been trying to avoid now pounded in her head.

Could anything be done now?

Was it already too late?

Could she have done something to stop it?

And the one she feared most: Was it all her fault?

About Katie Davis

Katie Davis has written and/or illustrated 10 books for children, and two marketing guides for writers.
Katie’s a "writerpreneur," a writer in business helping other writers. She does this through her newsletter, products, and #1 podcast, Brain Burps About Books.

After winning the School Library Journal Trailee Award, Katie launched Video Idiot Boot Camp: For People Who Think Videos Are Hard To Create. She's passionate about the power of video to connect writers to their communities.

Katie has been honored to speak everywhere from a maximum security prison, to schools around the world, to keynotes at conferences and fundraising galas.


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{Blog Tour} Review: The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

The Geography of You and Me
Title: The Geography of You and Me
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Headline | Poppy
Date of Publication: April 15, 2014

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.


My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thank you to Frances of Headline for the review copy! This in no way affected my views of the novel.

So for those of you who don't know, I'm the founder administrator of Jennifer E. Smith PH, the Philippine street team for Jennifer E. Smith,  her books, and the community for fellow Jen fans and lovers. That's how much I adore Jen's books! That's why it's totally not surprising that I loved THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME.

I think it was fitting that I started reading it in the airport, waiting for my flight. Then I read it on the plane and I finished it before going to sleep. And it was such a lovely reading experience and I shouldn't have doubted Jen. I've been hearing some so-so reviews and comments on TGoYaM because apparently, it was "slightly boring". While I do get why some people might have been bored with this book (e.g. third-person perspective, the protagonists weren't even in the same continent most of the time, why are they sending postcards - there's technology, etc.), I still found the book magical with Jen's trademark writing. I will defend this book with the best of my ability!

Lucy and Owen met when New York experienced a blackout, leaving them stuck in the elevator. Lucy has been living in the same apartment building all her life and she can be considered an expert in being stuck in the elevator. But never during a blackout. Owen just moved into the basement of Lucy's apartment building, as he's the son of the building's new manager. He feels so out of place in New York City and never imagined he'd be stuck in an elevator so soon.

That night, after they were rescued, they share this one-of-a-kind night where there's no electricity all over the city, when ice creams are free and an exodus of people are walking back home. Subways are down, there's no light except for emergency lights and flashlights and the heat suffocating. Two interesting people meet in an interesting situation but when everything goes back to normal, they don't know how to act around each other. Simply, the magic of the blackout was gone. Before they even get to fix what's between them (or might become something between them), they're trajectories are both moving away. Lucy moves to Edinburgh while Owen moves west with his father in search of a stable job. So even before the romance could develop and start, they were chucked out of each other's reach, only communicating via postcards and the occasional email.

So why postcards? Is it me but don't you think postcards are sentimental and sweet? Lucy and Owen talked about the banality of postcards but they ended up realizing how postcards actually convey what they want to say to each other. "Wish you were here" when they truly wish the other's with them. Plus, (and Owen explains this) postcards take time to arrive, unlike the email which you receive in just a ping. With their undefined relationship, it just rang true and sensible to me that they'd just send postcards to each other. With email, they might be starting something while they're continents away, which isn't exactly smart. But postcards are casual and to receive one, isn't that so joyous? (I know I love postcards.) In my opinion, them sending postcards, while not conventional, wasn't just a plot device.

Then we have those who aren't much fans of this because Lucy and Owen weren't together physically most of the time. While I also wish for more personal physical interaction between the two of them, that isn't the plot of the novel. The novel shows us that a relationship can materialize even if you're halfway across the globe. That even if you have someone near you and you like them, your heart and mind can be thinking and yearning for another person far, far away. That was the sweetest thing for me in this novel. It felt like Lucy and Owen are moving farther and farther away from each other but in reality, their hearts were moving even closer. And their relationship was far from perfect; they were far from perfect themselves. Lucy had a guy in Scotland and Owen had a girl too but when they met again, it was just undeniable that what they had was something different. Then they fought multiple of times but they just couldn't shake each other off their lives. Then they're separated yet again. They definitely have a challenge mapped out in their future and while the odds are stacked against us, it's the kind of romance you just savor. Even if they don't end up together HEA-style in the far future, for me, the peek we got of their intertwining lives and their journey (however impossible it was), was a journey I'll never ever exchange.

As with Jen's other novels, Lucy and Owen have their own hang-ups and problems, usually of the familial kind. Owen's mother died and Lucy's pretty much living in her apartment alone. They have different backgrounds and as they travel and share postcards to each other, they also share a bit of themselves every time. They reveal what they feel, their problems and what things they wish for. 

I find third-person perspective hard to get into but even with just the first page of TGoYaM, I sighed with relief because I just love Jen's writing. It sounds playful, with some hidden comic and light tones, but simply written. Yet, when you read it, it's just different. I hate using the word magical but I just can't think of a word that encapsulates what I feel when I read her novels. It takes me into a different place, that's for sure. It feels wistful, like I'm in a different world where I'd rather be stuck in an elevator during a blackout. It's just, you have to read it for yourself.

Jennifer E. Smith cements her place in the contemporary YA landscape with THE GEOGRAPHY OF YOU AND ME, yet another solid novel on her belt. The Geography of You and Me will take you to London, Paris, Scotland, California, Michigan and everywhere else, grabbing your heart without you knowing it. At the end of it, you'll feel the urge to travel, live and love. Such a great read.

About Jennifer E. Smith

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master's degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into 28 languages.

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Theme Song: By Referral Only by Lyla Payne

Monday, April 14, 2014

By Referral Only (Whitman University, #2)
Title: By Referral Only (Whitman University #2)
Author: Lyla Payne
Date of Publication: July 1, 2013

After being unceremoniously dumped freshman year because of her family’s “new money” status, Ruby Cotton has taken care not to put her heart on the line. No matter how enticing Emilie and Quinn make it look, relationships are scary and hard—while a string of flings is easy and fun. That’s what Ruby wants. Easy and fun. The only problem is, when it comes to satisfaction in the sack, most of the boys at Whitman are nothing but pretty window dressing and false advertising.

Ruby takes it upon herself to make campus life more fulfilling, creating a referral database that allows female students to rate their sexual experiences, thereby informing girls of what they’re getting into before agreeing to a date.

When her acting partner, Liam Greene, finally shows some interest, Ruby figures she won’t need to utilize the helpful gossip. He’s handsome, fun, and most importantly, not a guy she’d ever fall for hard enough to let him break her heart.

Not only that, but dating Liam gives Ruby the perfect excuse to say no to Cole Stuart.

As a star swimmer and heir to honest-to-God Scottish royalty, Cole sits at the top of Whitman’s A-list—but he’s also the lowest rated referral on Ruby’s website. The ratings make rejecting his repeated requests for a date a no-brainer, but her real reason for avoiding Cole runs deeper than a string of unsatisfied exes.

He’s gorgeous, he oozes sweetness and charm, and the electricity between them could power half of Whitman, but Ruby knows it will only last until his family or friends convince him she’s not good enough.

Before she knows it she’s falling anyway, waiting for the other shoe to drop but clinging to a tentative hope that Cole might be as different as he seems. When the secret behind his low ratings comes to light, that hope is torn apart, and Ruby wonders if she was right to give him her heart…and whether she has the strength to let him keep it.

Purchase from Amazon | B&N 

"As Cole Stuart would say, By Referral Only is "pure dead brilliant"! You HAVE to read this!"

Theme Song

Ever since I read and loved BY REFERRAL ONLY, I linked this song to it. In reality, there's just this scene in the book where Ruby and Cole were having a picnic (and some) in the beach and this song's second verse just perfectly chronicles that. Moreover, the lyrics to this song is SO SWEET  so I promptly included the lyrics so you can judge for yourself. I can imagine Cole saying/singing it to Ruby (but maybe the acoustic version which is so damn freakin' great). I chose the original version though because it's upbeat and happy and totally dance-able and students from Whitman love to party. (Plus, the acoustic version is very sentimental to listen to because hey, the lyrics are SO SWEET. Can't stress it enough!) So what song is this? I present to you, QUESADILLA by WALK THE MOON!

I must've tumbled out of a plane
Cause I free-fell all year
My chute is blooming out like spring
And I'm nowhere now, but here

But I've seen your long hair come down
It turned my head inside out
And I want you, I want you
I still do

Your wrists were bound in my hands
Water washed around our naked feet
Your blue jeans over in the sand
And we were wrestling in our picnic blanket sheets

But I've seen your long hair come down
(seen your long hair come down)
It turned my head inside out
(turned my head inside out)

And I want you, I want you
I still do
I still, I still do

I've seen your long hair come down
And it turned my head inside out
When I've seen your long hair come down

Turned my head inside out

About Lyla Payne

I’ve long had a love of stories. A few years ago decided to put them down on the page, and even though I have a degree in film and television, novels were the creative outlet where I found a home. I’ve published Young Adult under a different name, but when I got the idea for Broken at Love (my first New Adult title), I couldn’t wait to try something new – and I’m hooked. In my spare time I watch a ton of tennis (no surprise, there), play a ton of tennis, and dedicate a good portion of brain power to dreaming up the next fictitious bad boy we’d all love to meet in real life.

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