#BookReview #Releasedayblitz : As Much As I Ever Could by Brandy Woods Snow @FillesVertesPub @brandy_snow #AsMuchAsIEverCould #YA #contemporaryromance

Hello Readers! It’s a release day of AS MUCH AS I EVER COULD by BRANDY WOODS SNOW and please to be part of Release Day Blitz. Check out book snippet and my review in this post.

Cover Designer: Jena R. Collins/JRC Designs

As Much As I Ever Could by Brandy Woods Snow
Publication Date : May 26th 2020
Publisher : Filles Vertes Publishing
Genre : YA Contemporary Romance
Stars : ★★★★★

Seventeen-year-old CJ Ainsworth doesn’t drive—not because she can’t, but because she won’t.

She’s been living with the guilt of being the sole survivor of the head-on
collision that claimed her mother’s and sister’s lives. It’s the reason she refuses to get behind the wheel. It’s the reason her father has nearly abandoned her. It’s the reason she’s sent to piddle the summer away at her estranged Memaw’s house in Edisto Beach. 

All CJ wants to do is isolate herself and make it to the trial at summer’s end, where she’ll testify against the stranger who couldn’t keep his car in its own lane.


She doesn’t expect to fall for a boy, especially not Jett Ramsey, a hotshot racing champion destined for greatness on the NASCAR circuit. 

CJ’s resolve crumbles when she loses a bet that puts her squarely in Jett’s
driver’s seat. While he patiently reintroduces her to driving, they confide in each other, and CJ learns she’s not the only one silently suffering through a loss.

As their connection deepens, Jett’s focus on the track is called into question. CJ can’t be the cause of another car crash, but her heart is broken either way. Can CJ learn to put her heart in drive? Or will she throw it in reverse?

Excerpt:

CHAPTER 1

A summer away at Memaw’s can’t rectify everything that fell apart in a single minute, but that won’t stop my dad from forcing it on me.

My fingers wrench tighter around the handle grip of Dad’s Ford Explorer as he hugs the center line, tires thumping over golden reflectors in waves and shooting vibrations through my seat. I glance over my shoulder to make sure the door lock is crammed to its neck into the tan vinyl interior. Not that it’d make a difference if he were to flip this thing head-over-end into the muddy goop of tidal flats along either side of the road. If a body’s going to exit a car in a hurry, it sure as hell won’t wait for an unlocked door.

These kinds of thoughts never shoved their way into my brain before the accident. Now they circulate like a washing machine stuck on the spin cycle.

I sigh and yank my phone off the dashboard. 4:15 PM. Only ten more minutes to get my summer of hell underway.

A notification blinks on the home screen. One new email from Trent Casey and all I can see of it is “CJ, things have changed so much this last year that I think…” Inbox preview cruelty at its finest. A little sneak peek of my on-again, off-again boyfriend kicking me to the curb because I’ve been too screwed up to screw him the past year. Not that I’d screwed him before, or anyone else for that matter.

I toss the phone in the cup holder and stare over at my dad in the driver’s seat, his eyes fixed and hooded as if in a trance. He hasn’t spoken in over a hundred miles, but I’ve strategically coughed from time to time to make sure there’s at least a reaction to the noise, and he’s not comatose or something. Plus, it’s easier than actually talking, and it warrants no response from him. Win-win.

Dad flips on the blinker, its dink-doonk, dink-doonk, dink-doonk signaling a right turn. Into where I have no idea, and unless Memaw has taken up living in a dilapidated open-air shack, he’s seriously misguided. He pulls into one of the ten open parking slots, demarcated by rows of conch shells instead of actual painted-on lines. How beachy of them.

Dad lets the engine idle, sliding his phone from the pocket of his polo and pecking out a text message without so much as a word or glance in my direction. I unlatch my seatbelt and open the door, easing out onto the hot, gritty sand, which creeps into my sandals and scratches at the skin.

“Where are we?” When he doesn’t respond, I step beside the open door, banging my hand on the window. “Dad, where are we?”

“Edisto Island, of course,” he mumbles, never looking up from his phone, his fingers still moving furiously over the screen.

I point to the rectangular banner draped atop the entrance with what looks like a hand-stenciled Welcome to Edisto Beach, SC! in blue paint. “No shit. I mean, what is this place?”

“Watch your mouth, CJ. I’m still your father.” He finally looks up long enough to glare across his steering wheel at the banner, squinting as if it’s written in some foreign language before looking back at me. He waves his hand around. “We’re obviously at the market.”

The entrance isn’t a single open-close door but one of those garage-style deals that pulls down from the ceiling. Oyster shell wind chimes tinkle in the breeze. I take a deep breath, the briny air expanding in my lungs and coating my skin, and somehow start imagining myself as one of those slugs we used to find on the back porch at home and pour salt over. Almost immediately, their slimy little bodies would foam up and implode, turning into a dried-up crispie we’d flick off in the grass the next day. Maybe that’ll happen to me, and I can simply shrivel up and disappear.

Dad gets out and lifts the back hatch, and I walk to meet him, giving an extra foot shake on each step to loosen the stowaway sand from my sandals.

“But why are we here?”

“This is where Memaw’s picking you up.” He hauls out my two large suitcases and sets them under the overhang. “She’s running late, but she’ll be here within the next twenty minutes.”

“And you’re just gonna leave me here?” I thumb over my shoulder.

He stares at me as if I’ve just asked for an explanation on the meaning of life, standing like a statue except for the front flip of his thinning auburn hair that tousles with the breeze. That hair, along with his chocolate brown eyes and freckles, are the only things we even share anymore. Everything else is gone. Evaporated.

“Don’t be dramatic, CJ. I have a long drive home.” He slams the hatch, walks to his still-open driver door and slides in behind the wheel. The passenger window rolls down part-way. “I’ll see you at the end of summer. Bye.” The words scarcely exit his lips before the window’s rolled up and he’s peeling out of the parking lot on two wheels as if he’s off to a five-alarm fire.

Wow. Truly heartfelt. I think he might miss me. I lock my jaw, forcing my quivering stomach back in its rightful place. Part of me loathes him for just dumping me here. The other part understands, though. He hates me for what happened and wants me gone too.

I can’t blame him for that.

  • Awards, Recognitions, and Reviews:
  1. Second Place, YA Contemporary – NEORWA’s Cleveland Rocks Romance Contest
  2. Second Place YA Contemporary – Music City RWA’s Melody of Love Contest
  3. “A swoonworthy summer read with a hopeful lesson about how to move forward without fear.” – Kirkus Reviews

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book, in exchange for an honest review. Many thank to publisher. ***

As Much As I Ever Could was wonderful YA contemporary romance that revolved around CJ grieving loss of mother and sister in accident. It was about getting over loss, giving second chance to life and love, learning to love yourself again, accepting the reality than running away, forgiveness, friendship, family, and racing.

Writing was smooth, gripping, and emotive. Loved the setting of Edisto Island, community, and Memaw’s sea themed house and its description. It made me want to pack my things and move in with her for whole summer. There was everything one want in YA contemporary. There was drama, family issues, friendship, car racing, rivalry, teenage angst, romance, misunderstanding, and development.

As Much As I Ever Could started with CJ’s father dropping her at Edisto Island with her grandmother for summer and left without even a goodbye. She was there until the date of trial in August. She expected to spend summer locked in room with her guilt and try not to think about accident. But it didn’t turn out as she thought. Within few minutes she made new friends (Gin and Bo), met hot dude (Jett) who was trouble, and grandma full of life who gave new house rules- Live life, get drunk, and fall in love. It made me instantly like her grandma. She was fun. When CJ lost bet with Jett, made her spend more time with him, and learning to drive again, slowly they formed a connection and fell for each other. I was curious to see where this new found relationship will take her, can she ever be confident to drive again and what will happen when Rachel’s, (Jett’s racing partner) threat comes true.

First of all I loved that cover and all characters’ name. They were all shortened but I l loved original names.

I loved CJ (Camelia Jayne). First losing mother and sister then estranged father who exiled her to live with grandma she hardly knew, guilt of overcorrecting her car that resulted in flip and ultimately death was gnawing from within and anxiety never left her fully whenever she was in car… She was going through a lot. No wonder she wasn’t ready to love herself or someone else or drive car again. I could feel her pain and fear but I loved it when she gave Jett and Memaw a chance to bring back happiness in life. I felt so sad when she once again had to face her fears, angry at Rachel for implanting that doubt and at Jett for not focusing on his racing properly and saying those nasty words. Her development was amazing. I admired her for listening to her father, reconsidering her belief, making right decisions, and living life once again.

Jett (Jarrett) was great throughout the book. He was handsome, confident and charming hero who loved racing and lived life at fullest. But unlike his racing partners he wasn’t haughty or showoff. He had trust issues because of his family and that caused a bit drama in the middle of the story and at climax. But I liked how he took CJ’s advice and learned from his father’s mistake.

All side characters were amazing. Gin (Ginny Lee) was lovely girl, I would love Bo (Beauregard) as brother and I want Memaw in real. I liked the way Jett’s parents and CJ’s dad changed at the end. I even enjoyed drama Rachel, Trevon and Tyler added to the story. The way CJ made up with Em and that surprising entry of Trent made it interesting. They all were perfect cast and made story refreshing, dramatic, fun, and lovely.

Chemistry between Jett and CJ was natural, hot and swoon worthy. They both felt connection very early in the book but romance built gradually. All moments they spent together, secrets and pain shared was heartwarming.

It was so sad to see fear, misunderstanding, and accident breaking them apart in climax.  The situation was written well. I couldn’t pick a side, they both were right in their own way. CJ’s dad surprised me in this part and I loved his last effort that ultimately break through CJ and helped her in facing the trial. I loved her speech there and what she decided to do. End was perfect. I wouldn’t want it any other way.

Overall, As Much As I Ever Could was compelling contemporary with refreshing characters, summery setting and amazing emotional rollercoaster. I highly recommend this book to fans of YA Contemporary.


About Author:

Brandy Woods Snow is a Young Adult author, journalist, wife, mama of three, Christian, and proud Southerner. Born and raised in the area of Greenville, South Carolina, she still resides in the rolling foothills of the Upstate region, though she plans to one day retire to the state’s famous Grand Strand. Brandy has a Bachelor of Arts in English and Writing from Clemson University. While creative writing pursuits have always held her heart, she’s built a career as a journalist and editor. Brandy has more than 19 years’ experience and a strong platform that includes articles and columns published in Delta Sky Magazine, Greenville Business MagazineColumbia Business Monthly and Home Design & Décor Magazine (Charlotte and Raleigh). Currently, she also works as the Marketing Manager and an Acquisitions Editor for Filles Vertes Publishing.


Her first novel MEANT TO BE BROKEN was published by Filles Vertes Publishing in May 2018, and she has a short story featured in FVP’s LOVE ON MAIN anthology, forthcoming in February 2020.

When Brandy’s not writing, reading, spending time with her husband or driving carpool for her three kids, she enjoys kayaking, family hikes, yelling “Go Tigers!” as loud as she can, playing the piano and taking “naked” Jeep Wrangler cruises on twisty, country roads.

Book Links:

Goodreads

What do you think about the book? Have you read it already or any book by the same author? Have you read any YA book dealing with loss and grief?

Happy Reading!

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New Waves by Kevin Nguyen #NewWaves #GeneralFiction @PRHGlobal #BooksTeacupnReviews

Publication Date : March 10th 2020
Publisher : Spiegel & Grau
Genre : General Fiction
Pages : 320
Stars : ★★★☆☆

Set in the New York City tech world, a wry and edgy debut novel about a heist gone wrong, a secret online life exposed, and a young man’s search for true connection….

Lucas and Margo are fed up. Margo is a brilliant programmer tired of being talked over as the company’s sole black employee, and while Lucas is one of many Asians at the firm, he’s nearly invisible as a low-paid customer service rep. Together, they decide to steal their tech start-up’s user database in an attempt at revenge. The heist takes a sudden turn when Margo dies in a car accident, and Lucas is left reeling, wondering what to do with their secret–and wondering whether her death really was an accident. When Lucas hacks into Margo’s computer looking for answers, he is drawn into her secret online life and realizes just how little he knew about his best friend.

With a fresh voice, biting humor, and piercing observations about human nature, Kevin Nguyen brings an insider’s knowledge of the tech industry to this imaginative novel. A pitch-perfect exploration of race and start-up culture, secrecy and surveillance, social media and friendship, New Waves asks: How well do we really know each other? And how do we form true intimacy and connection in a tech-obsessed world?

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

New Waves was general fiction that revolved around two friends Margo and Lucas, Lucas discovering more about Margo after her death, and coping with grief and loss. It was about technology and start up tech companies in 2000s, music, work and living in New York, and mainly friendship, loss and grief, racism at workplace and in society.

Writing was crisp and intriguing, both serious and witty at some point while trivial on another. It felt like I was reading documentary. Now from synopsis I guessed this might be a mystery, a techno thriller, (who tagged it mystery on Goodreads!) I thought Margo died because of data they stole or to keep Lucas safe or something. But that’s misleading. There is no mystery in this book, not anything like thriller. So don’t just get the book thinking you will have a mystery to solve. It is a pretty simple fiction about loss and grief and companionship.

New Waves was narrated from Lucas and Jill’s perspective. Both characters connected through Margo after her death. Lucas’ perspective told about how he met Margo, how they started working together, how he was coping after her death, how he met Jill and what they found in Margo’s laptop. Jill’s perspective showed her emotions, her writer’s block, her life before she met Margo and Lucas, what she talked to Margo, how she felt after Margo died, and what she thought about her and Lucas, how she found inspiration once again.

Characters were interesting and realistic but not exactly likable and were hard to connect. The plot and scenario actually made them interesting. The only interesting character died in first chapter.

Lucas didn’t have degree and still found job but didn’t appreciate it. He was aimless and passionless. Only thing he liked to do was chat with Margo, later sex with Jill, drink excessively, and wallow in loneliness and grief. I didn’t like his attitude and his mindset. I felt sorry for him that he had to face and experience racism at every level of his life. I know how it feels to be different from majority, not just in looks but in all other things but that doesn’t mean you hurt even those who cared for you or gave you opportunity. He messed in everything and with people who tried to help him and then turned all the failure in anger towards them. Most of the time he was boring character but some dry-wit scenario made him entertaining enough to keep reading.

Jill was full time author and was experiencing writer’s block. I liked her a little, she was at least better than Lucas. She had aim and goals, all she needed was inspiration and motivation that she received from Margo and after her death through her audio files. One thing I don’t understand about her is how she has money to waste on drinks if she claims to be broke?!

Her and Lucas’ relationship was okay. They lacked seriousness and love. They liked each other but it was not enough. At some point I thought, they might be together and help each other grow but they messed it too.

Margo was most interesting character. We know her from Lucas’ memories of her, from her chat with Jill and her audio files and all these three medium showed different side of Margo they weren’t aware of.

Lucas and Margo’s relationship showed what real friendship is and it takes whole life to know them and still there will be things about person that surprise you. You only know a person from what they share with you.

Grief isn’t just the act of coping with a loss. It’s reckoning with the realization that you’ll never discover something new about a person ever again.

I didn’t know the meaning of title until I read it in book and googled it – popular pop music in 1970s and 1980s. There was a lot about music, piracy and TV shows and characters’ thought on it was interesting.

There were many layers in this booktechnology and startup tech companies, misuse of internet and social media (This part was both serious and entertaining); Asian-American culture and discrimination they faced, gender inequality and companionship.

I loved some facts included in the book about face recognition technology and later its military funding (but here the year founded and its takeover was different. What I liked was Jill’s thoughts behind it. I don’t agree with her that the technology was racist in this but I agree the way government wanted to use it was racist), internet messaging that started in 2009, The longest record for running a marathon with the time of 54 years 246 days 5 hours 32 minutes 20.3 seconds (Lucas told whole story behind this longest record which was fascinating and real. What he was trying to say through it made me chuckle), and great Kanto earthquake (142,800 died in this earthquake, more than people died in Hiroshima and Nagasaki, combined! I didn’t know that and I liked what characters said about it).

Climax was unexpected. I didn’t expect Lucas mess things this bad. I couldn’t understand what he wanted in life. Jill’s development was good and I liked how she finally moved on in life and with her dead project. I liked reading what happened to Lucas after he messed things and what he did at the end. That last chapter, last story and insight of it was great.

Why 3 stars-

Plot and pace was bumpy. I lost interest in the middle of the book. I didn’t care about characters until climax. Characters were not impressive and I didn’t like them.

Though I liked those audio files they felt disjointed with the main story. There was no character development until climax. Lucas’ development was not full even after climax. He grew but not totally. I still don’t like him.

I don’t know why Jill was given whole chapter (and I tell you chapters are long, there are total 8 chapters in this book) in the middle of the book telling about her ex and her life with him. I would have preferred her story short and in conversation with Lucas, there was no need to switch narration. Again second last chapters with 6 detailed weeks of Jill’s life was too much.

Overall, New Waves was different read than usual. Some things I like, some I didn’t but definitely very observant fiction. This can be hit or miss so read excerpt first.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Links: Amazon.(IN) | Amazon (US) | Amazon (UK) | Book Depository

What do you think about the book? Have you read it already or any book by the same author? Have you read a book(s) featuring Tech companies?

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#CoverReveal : Lyrics & Curses by Candace Robinson @Literarydust @FillesVertesPub #lyrics&curses #fvpbooktours #YA #yaparanormal #yaromance

Hello Readers! Today is cover reveal for Lyrics & Curses by Candace Robinson and happy to share beautiful cover and synopsis of this new YA paranormal romance.

Lyrics & Curses by Candace Robinson
Series: Cursed Hearts Duology
Publisher: Filles Vertes Publishing
Publication date: November 10th 2020
Genres: Paranormal, Romance, Young Adult

Synopsis:

Lark Espinoza could get lost in her music—and she’s not so sure anyone in her family would even care to find her. Her trendy, party-loving twin sister and her mother-come-lately Beth, who’s suddenly sworn off men and onto homemaking, don’t understand her love of cassette tapes, her loathing of the pop scene, or her standoffish personality. For outcast Lark, nothing feels as much like a real home as working at Bubble’s Oddities store and trying to attract the attention of the cute guy who works at the Vinyl shop next door—the same one she traded lyrical notes with in class.

Auden Ellis silences the incessant questions in his own head with a steady stream of beats. Despite the unconditional love of his aunt-turned-mother, he can’t quit thinking about the loss of his parents—or the possibility he might end up afflicted with his father’s issues. Despite his connection with lyric-loving Lark, Auden keeps her at arm’s length because letting her in might mean giving her a peek into something dangerous.

When two strangers arrive in town, one carrying a mysterious, dark object and the other playing an eerie flute tune, Lark and Auden find that their painful pasts have enmeshed them in a cursed future. Now, they must come to terms with their budding attraction while helping each other challenge the reflection they see in the mirror. If they fail, they’ll be trapped for eternity in a place beyond reality.

Add to Goodreads: 

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/52759702-lyrics-curses

Now the Cover….

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Cover Designer: Jena R. Collins/JRC Designs

Excerpt:

Chapter One

To Lark: Lyrics from “Under Pressure” – Queen, David Bowie

“Just One Kiss” pulsed through Lark’s headphones as she hopped onto her bike and headed to work. A motorcycle would’ve been ideal, but her old-fashioned, rusty bicycle worked just as well. She preferred the term rustic.

Halfway out of the trailer park, she slammed on the brake pedal and plopped her feet to the cement to keep from tipping. Her mop of curly brown hair swung forward as she reached into her large jacket pocket to pull out her second-hand store Walkman. She pressed the stop button, bringing the band’s chanting to an end.

“Sorry, boys, this won’t do it for me today.”

Lark shifted her backpack, and her cluster of tapes clacked. She performed a mystery grab and quickly exchanged The Cure for The Pretenders.

“Brass in Pocket” drifted through her ears. The singer, Chrissie, knew just how to get Lark in a focused mood. And focused was what she needed today since she was going to impress a boy named Auden by wearing something outside of her baggy comfort zone. Besides that, today was her best friend Imani’s last day at work.

Maybe “Under Pressure” would’ve been a better song choice.

She pedaled her way through the scorching heat to the store—beads of perspiration gathered on her forehead and hands, more so from nervousness than the temperature. It might’ve only been the end of June, but in Texas, the sun’s rays liked to go ahead and start frying people a little early. Lucky for Lark, she didn’t get hot so easily.

Her bike wheels vibrated over the uneven parking lot as she pulled up to the gray-and-white painted strip mall. A large black sign with the name Bubble’s Oddities scrawled across, along with a picture of a skull and bubbles, loomed from in between the other stores. The owner, Jimbo, had originally named the store Oddities when he’d opened it a few years ago, but had thought adding the name Bubble’s to the title would draw more people in.

He was right.

Lark supposed people were attracted to the idea of happy, soapy spheres floating majestically through the air as opposed to having zilch—she sure was.

She pressed the brakes once she made it beneath the overhang. With a hard push on the rusty kickstand, she glanced up at her shop’s window, catching sight of the Help Wanted sign. The glass was black on the outside, yet clear on the inside. No one could peer in, but whenever she was inside the store, she could see all. A lot of people did interesting things when they thought no one was looking.

Lark stepped off the bike and slid her hands in the pockets of her heavy black jacket. The single piece of cloth was her security blanket, and she felt naked without the thing—whether the world was hot or not, she’d be seen wearing it.

Biting her lip, she avoided glancing at the music store for the time being because she wasn’t ready to face a certain boy just yet. Her heart pumped a little harder. “Calm down, you troublesome heart,” she whispered.

Before she could head inside Bubble’s, something caught her eye from the right. She slowly turned her head in the direction of the laundromat, just past the music store where Auden worked. Her stupid heart accelerating even faster as she thought it could be him. Instead, her brows lowered a fraction when her eyes focused on a man wearing all black—a pork pie fedora hat, ski mask, trench coat, and gloves.

Pre-order: Starting Monday-

https://www.fillesvertespublishing.com/product/lyrics-curses

Author Bio:

Candace Robinson spends her days consumed by words and hoping to one day find her own DeLorean time machine. Her life consists of avoiding migraines, admiring Bonsai trees, watching classic movies, and living with her husband and daughter in Texas–where it can be forty degrees one day and eighty the next!

Website | Bookbub | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads | Newsletter

Giveaway:

The author is also hosting a giveaway to celebrate the reveal.

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What do you think about the book and the cover? Are you going to add it to TBR? have you read any book by the same author?

Happy Reading!

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Best Laid Plans cover pic

#SneakpeekReview : The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund #TheBestLaidPlans #YA #Contemporary @PRHGlobal #BooksTeacupnReviews

Hello Readers! I received the sneak peek of this book from the publisher. It was pre-approved NetGalley widget so I thought why not try it and give it star prediction. Here is a little about book and what I thought about it after reading few chapters.

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The Best Laid Plans by Cameron Lund
Publication Date :  April 7th 2020
Publisher : Razorbill
Genre : YA / Contemporary / Romance

High school senior Keely Collins takes on firsts, lasts, and everything in between in this sweet, sex-positive rom-com for fans of Meg Cabot and Jenny Han.

It seemed like a good plan at first.

When the only other virgin in her group of friends loses it at Keely’s own eighteenth birthday party, she’s inspired to take things into her own hands. She wants to have that experience too (well, not exactly like that–but with someone she trusts and actually likes), so she’s going to need to find the guy, and fast. Problem is, she’s known all the boys in her small high school forever, and it’s kinda hard to be into a guy when you watched him eat crayons in kindergarten.

So she can’t believe her luck when she meets a ridiculously hot new guy named Dean. Not only does he look like he’s fallen out of a classic movie poster, but he drives a motorcycle, flirts with ease, and might actually be into her.

But Dean’s already in college, and Keely is convinced he’ll drop her if he finds out how inexperienced she is. That’s when she talks herself into a new plan: her lifelong best friend, Andrew, would never hurt or betray her, and he’s clearly been with enough girls that he can show her the ropes before she goes all the way with Dean. Of course, the plan only works if Andrew and Keely stay friends–just friends–so things are about to get complicated.

Cameron Lund’s delightful debut is a hilarious and heartfelt story of first loves, first friends, and first times–and how making them your own is all that really matters. 

The Best Laid Plans started with Keely’s birthday party, organized by her best friend Andrew at his home that ended with only other virgin girl from Keely’s friend circle losing her virginity. Now Keely was only virgin left in high school and everyone including Keely were making it big issue. Apparently parents found out about party and as punishment they told Andrew and Keely to find a job for summer before college start. Andrew secured one at his uncle’s office that left Keely finding one for herself with help of Hanna- her second best friend. Luckily they found a sign of employee needed at video store where the hottest college junior of the town worked.

From first 6 chapters I read and from synopsis, I can tell where this was going, how messed up and complicated it will get.  Probably this is friends-to-lover trope and is about Keely’s plan to get laid before college starts.

I liked Hanna and Andrew. Danielle was not likable. She was proud and didn’t value her friends. I didn’t like her comment on virginity. She said “virgin in college is like having a disease”, just because she now regretted losing it and didn’t even noticing it was making Keely uncomfortable. It was strange Keely felt so insecure and left out in these initial chapters. I understand her doubts and question but at the same time I wish she didn’t think it as something one should achieve before attending college. I hope there is development in rest of the book and she realize it shouldn’t be a checkbox in list and understand love and respect should come first.  

So far, The Best Laid Plans sounds interesting and entertaining YA contemporary romance. Star prediction for this book – 4.

Book Links:

Goodreads

Affiliate Link: Amazon.in | Amazon US | Amazon UK | Book Depository

What do you think about the book? Have you read it already? Have you read any book with friends-to-lovers trope?

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The Lucky Ones cover pic

#BookReview : The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson #TheLuckyOnes #YA #Contemporary @PRHGlobal #BooksTeacupnReviews

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The Lucky Ones by Liz Lawson
Publication Date :  April 7th 2020
Publisher : Delacorte Press
Genre : YA / Contemporary
Pages : 352
Stars : ★★★★★

How do you put yourself back together when it seems like you’ve lost it all?

May is a survivor. But she doesn’t feel like one. She feels angry. And lost. And alone. Eleven months after the school shooting that killed her twin brother, May still doesn’t know why she was the only one to walk out of the band room that day. No one gets what she went through–no one saw and heard what she did. No one can possibly understand how it feels to be her.

Zach lost his old life when his mother decided to defend the shooter. His girlfriend dumped him, his friends bailed, and now he spends his time hanging out with his little sister…and the one faithful friend who stuck around. His best friend is needy and demanding, but he won’t let Zach disappear into himself. Which is how Zach ends up at band practice that night. The same night May goes with her best friend to audition for a new band.

Which is how May meets Zach. And how Zach meets May. And how both might figure out that surviving could be an option after all. 

*** Note: I received e-copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review. Many thanks to PRHGlobal for free copy. ***

The Lucky Ones was poignant YA contemporary that revolved around May who lost her twin brother in school shooting and Zach whose life turns upside down when his mother took shooter’s case as defense lawyer. It was about grief, loss, guilt, depression, trauma, hope, friendship, family, and love.

Writing was great, easy to follow, and so gripping that I finished it in one sitting (of course, it took me more hours than fast readers but I didn’t sleep until I finished the book). Author put me in the middle of May and Zach’s life and made me to observe their emotions and what was going on in their mind without letting me hug them and talk to them or provide a hope and motivations they needed so much. Alternative first person narrative from May and Zach give this story personal and more emotional touch.

As synopsis said, both characters were struggling with how shooting changed their life. It had been almost a year, most difficult year for May and Zach. May was still not ready to start a school but she had to, she didn’t believe her parents and therapist that socializing, talking to someone, or by going to school will help her. She was walking panic bomb that might blast and break her down anytime. Only person who was helping her cope with school and life was her best friend Lucy. She wouldn’t talk anyone else until she met Zach at Lucy’s audition for band.

Zach was son of shooter ‘s defense lawyer. It caused him lose everything. His girlfriend left him, his best friend wouldn’t miss a chance to taunt and belittle him and started dating his girlfriend. Nobody at school would look at him or talk to him except Conor.  Conor helped him to cope with school and hate he was getting from the world, encouraged him to live little until he met Lucy at Conor’s band audition.

Problem was Lucy was vandalizing his house. She hated his mother for taking shooter’s case. It was difficult for Zach to protect his little sister from it. He didn’t like his mother for taking case and he blamed her for what happened to him and his sister at house and at school but at the same time he didn’t like the person who terrorized their life, for giving his sister nightmare.

I was curious to see when they will learn about each other’s last name, how Lucy will react when she learns he is son of the person she hates most at the moment, how Zach will find out the person behind vandalism was Lucy, can they forgive each other, not blame themselves and other for what happened, if there is hope for them to find peace and solace with each other, and mostly what was in letters May kept receiving ever since the tragedy.

“As you get older, I hope you can remember that people aren’t the sum of their mistakes. The world isn’t black- and- white – the best thing you can do for yourself is to look at the spaces between those poles, to see that extremes aren’t useful to anyone.”

May was going through hell. It’s not easy to get over twin sibling’s death with whom you have shared everything since you were a tiny embryo and it gets even more difficult when you don’t get a chance to say goodbye, last few weeks or months before loss one spend fighting with twin, drunk in parties. The guilt of it, anger and regret don’t let anyone live and May was no exception. She didn’t feel she was ‘The Lucky One’ who survived. She felt she was coward and should have died with her sibling. The anger of it was thrown on whoever tried to come near her, get back the memory of her brother. My heart went out to her. I was shocked seeing her parents were never there and on reading what put distance between the twins. Her development was great and I loved the way she came out of her grief.

Zach was great throughout the book. He was sweet, cute, and caring guy. I didn’t like how everybody taunted him, intimidated him and hated him for something he wasn’t responsible for. I loved him the way he cared for his sister and took responsibilities when his parents failed to fulfill. Though it was sad what happened in climax, I feel he should have understood. But I still like him. I liked how he changed his mind.

I liked all characters in this book. Most of all Lucy and Conor, especially Lucy. They were the symbol of friendship. Nobody would stays in time like this, with the way May and Zach behaved and reacted throughout the book, especially May. If it was someone else they would have walked away from them within few weeks but not Lucy. It was Lucy and her words at the end that pierced through me, made me cry and everything that happened from climax to end.

Parents were not exactly likable but we were seeing them through grief ridden lenses of May and Zach. I agree with them and at some point I do blame them for everything but as parent I could feel their pain (not May’s dad). I could see how it might have been for both May and Zach’s moms and for Zach dad. It surprised me along with him when I read perspective of Zach’s mother. I wish she had said all those things earlier. It showed mistakes of parents and how they could have made things better by not pushing their kids, sharing equal love and more time and by just talking.

Relationship, which was more like friendship, was great. I’m glad author didn’t label it. Both were tentative with this new feeling and change, still spiraling in the tornado of grief and loss and yet holding onto each other that helped them to fight it, make it bearable and slowly coming out of it. They found solace with each other, brought smile and happiness back that they lost in that tornado. I was sad to see them drifting apart back to their grief and loss, especially Lucy, when she finally opened those letters, how it made her guilt and pain stronger than it ever was and what it caused between her and Zach.

Climax was heartbreaking and poignant. It scared the shit out of me. I was worried and thought worst might happen. But I was glad it didn’t go in the direction of my thoughts. I cried and smiled and felt hope along with characters. I loved how climax changed everything both in Zach and May’s life and how they found each other back at the end.

Overall, it was powerful, emotional and poignant YA contemporary with heavy topic that recommend to all.

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What do you think about the book and my review? Have you read this book already? Are you going to add it to TBR? Which book you read was about grief and loss and finding hope again through love.

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