Monday, July 21, 2014

Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt


Title: Through to You
Author: Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date: July 8, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
Opposites attract—and then complicate—in this romantic, relatable novel from the author of Two-Way Street and Sometimes It Happens. It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smoulderingly sexy.

Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything. 

Oh, but it does. They hand out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings. 

Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…

Summer is the season for all the contemporary stories, and so far, I am loving all the ones I am reading. This was no different with Lauren Barnholdt’s Through to You. I sped through this story, and it was a book I highly enjoyed.

Harper never thought that Penn knew who she was. She was never the kind of girl who caught the hottest guy in school’s attention. But when Penn casually drops a note on her desk, Harper starts to wonder what it would be like to know Penn better. Penn is just as surprised as Harper that he would ever be dropping notes on Harper’s desk. Now Harper and Penn are spending time together, not knowing what is happening. Any relationship between Harper and Penn seems illogical, they are two people who should not be together. Yet they keep being brought together and neither one knows how to stay away.

So this is where I’m honest: until I read Through to You, I hadn’t read any books by Lauren Barnholdt. I do own three of her other books though. Why haven’t you read them, you ask? Beats me. Lauren Barnholdt is some of my friends’ favourite authors and apparently that still wasn’t enough to motivate me to read some of her books. So that’s to say that because of all this, I had some pretty high expectations as far as Through to You  was concerned. I’m not going to lie, I really enjoyed Through to You, but I wanted more from it. Even though I tend to be a person who will take interesting characters over plot any day of the week, with Through to You I kept waiting for the story to happen. Sure there were things happening, Harper and Penn were going about their business and growing closer, but it felt like I kept waiting for more to happen and it just didn’t. That didn’t stop me from enjoying the overall story. I enjoyed seeing both characters deal with their respective issues and learn to open up to each other. So why I may have been let down by the story itself, I really enjoyed the characters.

I really enjoyed reading this story from both Penn’s and Harper’s points of view. In a way, I could relate to Harper, to how she was just going through high school with one or two really good friends, never concerned with the popular crowd. In that sense, I also understood the way she was intrigued by Penn, especially when he began paying attention to her. Though as much as I enjoyed Harper, Penn kept my interest more than she did. The only thing is, I’m a little torn as far as Penn is concerned. Every time I was reading from Harper’s perspective, I wanted nothing more than for her to stay away from Penn because he kept being a jerk to her. But then the story would change to Penn’s perspective, and all of a sudden I would start liking him a whole lot more. I was able to understand why he acted the way he did, and in some respects, I would start to root for him. So I was conflicted. As much as I wanted Penn to stand up for himself and get away from his less-than-ideal family situation, I also wanted him to stop acting like a complete jerk to Harper. In a way this ties in to how I felt about the story never quite taking off the way I thought it would, because I wish I could have seen more of what made the characters how they were, especially when it comes to Penn. 

Though Lauren Barnholdt’s Through to You didn’t quite live up to my expectations, I was still able to enjoy the story. And after having read this book, I am convinced that I need to go back and read those Lauren Barnholdt books that are sitting on my shelf, unread.

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Friday, July 18, 2014

Blog Tour - Breathe, Annie, Breathe by Miranda Kenneally + Giveaway


Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks #5)
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: July 15, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / B&N / Kobo / iTunes
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more gruelling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint int he opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.

“Breathe, Annie, Breahe is an emotional, heartfelt, and beautiful story about finding yourself after loss and learning to love. It gave me so many feels. Her best book yet.” — Jennifer Armentrout, New York Times bestselling author of Wait for You.

You all know by now that I absolutely LOVE Miranda Kenneally and her books. With every book of her’s that I read, I just love her even more. It was no different with Breathe, Annie, Breathe. I devoured this story and it quickly became a new all-time favourite.

Annie never thought she would be training to run a marathon. But then again, Annie never thought her boyfriend would die and she would finish high school in a haze of grief. This marathon, Annie is running it for Kyle. To honour him since, he was the one who was planning to race in it. But training for a marathon is hard work. It’s more difficult than Annie could have possibly imagined. As she’s getting stronger and her heart starts healing, Annie meets Jeremiah Brown, an adrenaline junkie she can’t seem to stop thinking about. Before long, Annie is finding herself doing something she thought would never happen again: she’s falling for Jeremiah. But will Annie be brave enough open herself up to love and let Jeremiah in?

I can’t even begin to explain how much I loved Breathe, Annie, Breathe. But I will do my best. Even if it won’t even come close to doing the book justice. Because this book was just SO PERFECT. I had been looking forward to reading it for such a long time, and when I finally got my hands on a copy, there was no stopping me. I was reading it RIGHT THAT INSTANT. And so I did and I loved it right away. I loved EVERYTHING about Breathe, Annie, Breathe. It was just a fantastic story. In a way, this story was a little different than Miranda Kenneally’s other stories. The sport aspect was there, and it was quite central to the story, but the person taking part in the sport was very much reluctant to do so. In a way, the story was more about getting over grief and opening yourself up to love after having been hurt.And the romance was definitely there in Breathe, Annie, Breathe. It might actually be my favourite out of all of Miranda Kenneally’s romances. The best part of it was that it started out as a friendship before it became more. Well, there was that one (hot) scene by the river that took me by surprise but was completely appropriate and fitting in the context of the story. But Annie and Jeremiah were friends. And I loved them. And they’re pretty much the reason that I loved this story as much as I did.

I absolutely loved Annie. There were so many reasons to love her and I could relate to her in so many ways. I’ve never run a marathon but I was a cross-country and track runner all through middle and high school. All those thoughts and feelings Annie has about running over the course of the book? I’ve had those and more. Because of that, Annie just felt very real to me. I could feel her pain, how much she was hurting because of Kyle’s death. But I could also see that she was trying to find a way to move forward, even if she didn’t realize it herself at first. And I loved the relationship she had with Jeremiah. And I ADORED Jeremiah. Out of all of Miranda’s boys, Jeremiah is officially my favourite, having replaced his older brother, Matt (who is still a close second…there’s just something about those Brown boys). I don’t even know if I can put Jeremiah into words. He was a player but he was also the sweetest person. He cared so much for everyone in his life, but at the same time he was willing to do just about anything to get an adrenaline rush, even if it meant putting his life in danger. All of Jeremiah’s flaws and imperfections are what made him so perfect. So there you have it, I might be a little bit in love with Jeremiah Brown. It couldn’t be helped. And like with all of Miranda Kenneally’s other books, I loved all the cameos by characters from the other books. I love the way I’m able to see them in each new book, just to make sure that they’re okay and are getting the happy ending they deserve. Hopefully, there’ll be glimpses of Annie and Jeremiah in future books. Especially Jeremiah (Yes, I have a one-track mind. Sue me).

If you hadn’t guessed it, I more than loved Miranda Kenneally’s Breathe, Annie, Breathe, I ADORED it. It was even better than I hoped it would be and I couldn’t help but fall in love with this story and these characters. If you haven’t yet read any of Miranda Kenneally’s books, you are seriously missing out.

Follow the rest of the tour!


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Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Slammed Trilogy by Colleen Hoover

Today I'm doing things a little differently. Instead of writing three separate reviews for the books in Colleen Hoover's fantastic Slammed trilogy, I give you a video review of all three books. Enjoy!




About the Books



Title: Slammed (Slammed #1)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover writes a romantic debut novel about a family shattered by a sudden death that leads to two unlikely lovers forming an intricate bond.

Following the unexpected death of her father, eighteen-year-old Layken is forced to be the rock for both her mother and her young brother. Outwardly, she appears resilient and tenacious, but inwardly, she’s losing hope.

On young man brings change to all of this. After moving across the country, Layken meets her attractive twenty-one-year-old neighbor, who has an intriguing passion or slams. Within days of their introduction, Will and Layken form an intense emotional connection, leaving Layken with a renewed sense of hope.

Not long after a heart-stopping first date, they are slammed to the core when a shocking revelation forces their new relationship to a sudden halt. Daily interactions become impossibly painful as they struggle to find a balance between the feelings that pull them together and the forces that tear them apart.



Title: Point of Retreat (Slammed #2)
Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: September 18, 2012
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
In the second book in the Slammed series by New York Times bestselling author Colleen Hoover, Layken and Will’s relationship has endured through hardships, heartache, and a cruel twist of fate, further solidifying the fact that they belong together. But the two lovers could not have expected that the things that brought them together may ultimately be the things that tear them apart. Their connection is on the brink of being destroyed forever and it will take an extraordinary amount of willpowers to keep their love afloat.

Layken is left questioning the very foundation of which her relationship with Will was built. Will is left questioning how he can prove his love for a girl who can’t seem to stop “carving pumpkins.” Upon finding the answers that may bring peace back into their relationship, the couple comes across an even greater challenge—one that could change not only their lives but the lives of everyone who depend on them.




Title: This Girl (Slammed #3)

Author: Colleen Hoover
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: August 13, 2013
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
There are two sides to every love story. Now hear Will’s.

Colleen Hoover’s New York Times bestselling Slammed series has brought countless readers to their knees with a whirlwind of love, passion, and heartache.

Layken and Will’s love has managed to withstand the toughest of circumstances and the young lovers, now married, are beginning to feel safe and secure int heir union. As much as Layken relishes their new life together, she finds herself wanting to know everything there is to know about her husband, even though Will makes it clear he prefers to keep the painful memories of the past where they belong. Still, he can’t resist his wife’s pleas and so he beings to untangle his side of the story, revealing for the first time his most intimate feelings and thoughts, retelling both the good and bad moments, and sharing a few shocking confessions of his own from the time when they first met. 

In This Girl, Will tells the story of their complicated relationship from his point f view. Their future rests on how well they deal with the past in this final installment of the beloved Slammed series.

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Monday, July 14, 2014

Wildflower by Alecia Whitaker


Title: Wildflower
Author: Alecia Whitaker
Publisher: Poppy
Release Date: July 1, 2014
Source: ARC from Publisher
Buy the Book: Amazon / Book Depository / Indigo
The best songs come from broken hearts.

Sixteen-year-old Bird Barrett has grown up on the road, singing backup in her family’s bluegrass band, and playing everywhere from Nashville, Tennessee to Nowhere, Oklahoma. One fateful night, Bird fills in for her dad by singing lead, and a scout in the audience offers her a spotlight all her own.

Soon Bird is caught up in a whirlwind of songwriting meetings, recording sessions, and music video shoots. Her first single hits the top twenty, and suddenly fans and paparazzi are around every corner. She’s even caught the eye of her longtime crush, fellow roving musician Adam Dean. With Bird’s star on the rise, though, tradition and ambition collide. Can Bird break out while staying true to her roots?

In a world of glamour and gold records, a young country music star finds her voice.

This summer has been great for contemporary stories, and I have been reading as many as I can get my hands on. When I first heard about Alecia Whitaker’s Wildflower, I was really excited to read it. And though the story didn’t end up being what I thought it was going to be, it was still a story I really enjoyed.

Bird has always loved playing fiddle in the Barrett Family Band. For half her life, Bird has been living on the road, playing shows every night with her family’s bluegrass band. But when she sings lead one night when her father is sick, Bird’s life changes. Now that she’s officially been “discovered,” Bird finds herself going from meetings, to photo shoots and spending endless hours writing and recording new songs. But it’s what she wants. Or so Bird tells herself. As much as Bird loves being able to share her music with the world, she can’t help but feel like everything around her is changing. The Barrett Family Band is done, her brothers are thinking of going to college, and just when she thought she was going to be able to be with Adam, that changes too. While everything is changing, can Bird find a way to stay herself in a completely new world?

After having read Open Road Summer earlier this summer, I was really looking forward to reading Alecia Whitaker’s Wildflower. How could I not be? It sounded like it was going to be another story with country music and the potential for romance and that’s just what I wanted. If I’m being honest, there were certain things I expected from this story but not all those expectations were met. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed Wildflower. I loved reading about Bird navigating the world of country music and finding herself and her voice. I loved seeing all the family dynamics in the Barrett family. I loved seeing the role music played in this story, seeing how the music was tied into all aspects of the story. Where I was a little disappointed was in the romance department. From the synopsis, I’d been led to believe that romance would definitely be a part of this story, and as I started reading all signs seemed to be pointing to budding romance. But the more I kept reading, the more apparent it was becoming that the romance was falling a little bit flat. In the context of this story, the romance was not needed in the least, but it just felt like it should have been there, especially when all signs seemed to be pointing to a romance. Even though I was a little disappointed that the romance fell flat, I still really enjoyed the overall story.

I really enjoyed reading Bird’s story from her perspective. Everything that was happening to her was pretty crazy when you stop and think about it. I could tell that she was struggling with how to balance her newfound fame with the life she had before everything all became so crazy. Bird was just a very likeable character. I loved her seeing her amazement over everything that was happening to her, like even she couldn’t believe it. Most of all, though, I loved her relationships with all the other characters. I really enjoyed seeing the relationship she had with her father, how he was by her side through it all, helping her navigate everything that was happening. I also really enjoyed seeing her friendship with Stella develop in the midst of everything else that was going on. The one character I wish I could have seen more of, and this ties in to my slight disappointment with the romance, is Adam. Every time Adam made an appearance, I really enjoyed seeing him and I could tell that he was someone Bird really cared about. So if he could have been more present, I would have been a very happy reader. As it was though, I was still quite happy reading about all these characters.

Though it didn’t quite meet all my expectations, I still really enjoyed reading Alecia Whitaker’s Wildflower. It was a fun summer contemporary read and if you like those and country music, than this is the story for you.

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Thursday, July 10, 2014

4 Years of Blogging

This post is a few days late. Looking through my blog archives, this should have been published on Monday. But, hey, I’m doing better than I have the last three years considering I actually remembered my blogiversary this year. As you might have guessed from the title of this post, I have officially been blogging for 4 years. And that alone blows my mind.

In the past, I never really did anything to mark the day that I first started this blog. Life always got in the way, or I simply forgot. But I feel like I need to do something for 4 years. If you don’t count the sports teams I wan on in middle and high school, this is the longest I’ve ever stuck to anything. I’ll be the first to say that when I first started, I didn’t know I would be sitting here four years later still writing blog posts. 

I started this blog on a whim. It was the summer after my first year of university, the three girls I was going to be living with had gone back home for the summer, I was unemployed and I had A LOT of time on my hands. Before I really realized it, I was going to the bookstore any chance I got, which was often. And I was reading a lot. Reading was always something I had done, but never quite as much as I was that summer. I had no one to talk to about what I was reading and after having discovered a few book blogs, I figured why not? If other people were doing this, I totally could do this. And that’s how Emilie’s Book World came to be. 

This is going to sound cliché, and everyone says this, but I never expected that people would actually read what I had to say, much less would feel like commenting on my reviews. Those first comments on reviews, no matter how short, meant the world to me. It meant that someone actually cared enough to not only read through what I had to say but wanted to show me that they read it. So I kept with it and my blog grew to become what it is today. And I am proud of that.

In four years of blogging I’ve learned a lot. I knew next to nothing about the publishing industry when I started blogging. Now I know the ins and outs of the industry and it’s a field I hope to one day be working in. I’ve also gotten to talk to some of my favourite authors, even meeting some of them in person. Had you told me that was a possibility in four years ago, I wouldn’t have believed you. I’ve had the opportunity to go to amazing events, travelling to New York City to attend one of the biggest publishing conferences in the world. It’s been an incredible four years to say the least. 

The best part of the last four years, though, has been all the people I’ve had the chance to meet. I’ve always had friends, but I never had friends I could discuss books with the way that I can with the people I’ve met through blogging. I’m lucky enough to live in a city where there are other bloggers and these people have become some of my best friends. Sure, books are what brought us together, but though friendships have grown so much past that. I am so happy to have met all these amazing people.

So what’s the point of this rambling post, you ask? It’s so say thank you. Thank you to anyone who has ever read one of my posts, commented on one of my posts, talked to me on Twitter. I probably would have stopped blogging a long time ago if it weren’t for you. I don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, if I’ll even be in a position to write another one of these posts next year. But I know that so long as I’m still enjoying it, I’ll be blogging.

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