Blog Tour: Small Town Hearts by Lillie Vale [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY]

SmallTownHeartsTourBanner-1.png

STH

Book Title: Small Town Hearts
Author: Lillie Vale
Series: None (Standalone)
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: March 19th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Romance, Young Adult
My Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Rule #1 – Never fall for a summer boy. 

Fresh out of high school, Babe Vogel should be thrilled to have the whole summer at her fingertips. She loves living in her lighthouse home in the sleepy Maine beach town of Oar’s Rest and being a barista at the Busy Bean, but she’s totally freaking out about how her life will change when her two best friends go to college in the fall. And when a reckless kiss causes all three of them to break up, she may lose them a lot sooner. On top of that, her ex-girlfriend is back in town, bringing with her a slew of memories, both good and bad.

And then there’s Levi Keller, the cute artist who’s spending all his free time at the coffee shop where she works. Levi’s from out of town, and even though Babe knows better than to fall for a tourist who will leave when summer ends, she can’t stop herself from wanting to know him. Can Babe keep her distance, or will she break the one rule she’s always had – to never fall for a summer boy?


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

MY THOUGHTS

Hi! I would like to apologize for my consistent absence both here on my blog and on Twitter because of academic reasons, ugh. But now, our midterm exams are finally over so I get to do more reading, which is always good!

I’ve just started this earlier today and finished it in a day. And considering that I’m a painfully slow reader, that says a lot about how much I adored this book!

Let me start off by saying that the characters are spectacularly-written. If you know me, then you probably know that I am a character-driven reader which means my reading experience largely depends on the characters of the book. So it came as no surprise that I would rate this so highly. Granted, a couple of characters were superficial and “just-there” but I feel like they weren’t really valuable to the main story. The ones that are, though? They were so realistic and I loved every single one of them.

I instantaneously liked Babe Vogel, our main character, mainly because I feel like we’re very similar individuals in the sense that we both fear change, however minuscule it may be. She is also mind-numbingly sweet and loyal to her friends, even though she ends up getting hurt most of the time. But most of all, I liked her since she developed so well through the course of this story. I actually felt like a friend, so proud of who she’s become by the time the book came to a close! Not to mention, she also cares for the environment as she still picked up her trash to throw away even in the middle of a thunderstorm! AND she bakes!!! If all those reasons didn’t convince you in the slightest that she’s one of the best main characters there is, then I don’t know what will.

Poppy, Babe’s best friend, is a character with many flaws which grew on me. I was initially aghast at how Babe managed to be on good terms with Poppy for so long because it seems to me like Poppy was a selfish and manipulative person. However, I understood that she had her reasons and came to realize that she was one of the most realistic characters among them all.

And then there’s Levi. I can’t stop swooning over Levi while reading, and as I’m typing this, I’m falling head over heels in love with him once more! He is definitely the epitome of a perfect book boyfriend. Aside from being extremely talented, he knows exactly how to treat a girl [Babe] right. He was very mature in the entirety of the story and I admire him for that, especially considering that he’s eighteen.

On the other hand, as if the fantastic characters weren’t enough, the storyline of Small Town Hearts is breathtakingly genuine and the romance so heartwarming that I just couldn’t get enough of it!

Small town. Coffee shop. Friendships. And a summer boy. Those are four of my soft spots so seeing them all in one book and be executed properly? Lillie Vale has outdone herself on this debut novel.

Oar’s Rest indeed sounds like paradise, plus the food, coffee and baked pastries mentioned made my mouth water numerous times! The romance was everything I could have hoped for too! It was equal parts charming and honest, which was made extra special since it was the only thing that was mostly going right in Babe’s summer that turned upside down. And although it didn’t touch upon much familial aspect, this book shined because it deals with problems on close-knit friendships as everything seems to change the summer before college. 

Overall, I absolutely recommend Small Town Hearts because aside from being such a sweet and romantic read, I think this is an important book for young and new adults such as myself. This book has definitely made its mark on my heart! I would definitely be on the look out for more of this author’s works!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Lillie.jpgLillie Vale, upon discovering she could not be one of Santa’s elves or attend Hogwarts, decided to become a writer to create a little magic of her own. Enjoying the romantic and eerie in equal measure, she’s probably always writing a book where the main characters kiss or kill. Born in Mumbai, she has lived in many U.S. states, and now resides in an Indiana college town where the corn whispers and no one has a clue that she is actually the long-lost caps lock queen. She can be reached on Twitter @LillieLabyrinth and Instagram @labyrinthspine. Small Town Hearts is her debut novel.

GoodreadsTwitter


GIVEAWAY

Win a print copy of Small Town Hearts (US/CAN)

 a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Tour: Meet Me in Outer Space by Melinda Grace [REVIEW + GIVEAWAY!]

MeetMeInOuterSpaceTourBanner-1 (1).png

OuterSpace.jpg

Book Title: Meet Me in Outer Space
Author: Melinda Grace
Series: None (Standalone)
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: March 12th 2019
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads / Amazon / Barnes & Noble / iBooks / Kobo

Smart and unflinching, this #OwnVoices debut contemporary novel stars an ambitious college student who refuses to be defined by her central auditory processing disorder.

Edie Kits has a learning disability. Well, not a learning disability exactly, but a disability that impacts her learning. It isn’t visible, it isn’t obvious, and it isn’t something she likes to advertise.

And for three semesters of college, her hard work and perseverance have carried her through. Edie thinks she has her disability under control until she meets her match with a French 102 course and a professor unwilling to help her out.

Edie finds herself caught between getting the help she needs and convincing her professor that she isn’t looking for an easy out. Luckily for Edie, she has an amazing best friend, Serena, who is willing to stitch together a plan to ensure Edie’s success. And then there’s Hudson, the badly dressed but undoubtedly adorable TA in her French class who finds himself pulled into her orbit…

Chosen by readers like you for Macmillan’s young adult imprint Swoon Reads, Meet Me in Outer Space is a sweet, heartachingly real story of love and college life by debut author Melinda Grace.


I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour hosted by Xpresso Book Tours.

MY THOUGHTS

Good day, friends! I’m so happy to say that it’s finally my tour stop for Meet Me in Outer Space and I’m beyond ecstatic to be bringing you my review on this beautiful book. Having read this #ownvoices book really made me want to learn more about auditory processing disorder as I wasn’t really aware of it before.

I loved every single character in this one. They are all three dimensional and are written spectacularly, like they can jump right out off the pages at any time. I especially loved Edie, the main character. Sure, I didn’t agree with some of her decisions but that’s what made me like her even more. Her pure passion and determination for her ambition was really inspiring. She didn’t let her APD hinder her success, instead, she put in extra work on her studies and I really did see her efforts.

Hudson is a sweetheart as well! From the start of the story, he wasn’t perfect at all but as the story progresses, you can really see his genuineness. He felt this pull on Edie from the very beginning and from there on, he has been nothing but endearing; it warms my heart so much.

The romance in this book is so sweet, it got me smiling like an idiot one too many times. And can you believe that I finished this in only one sitting?? Considering that I read painstakingly slow, I’d say that having read this so fast says a lot about how much I’ve enjoyed it.

I could have easily given this a 5-star rating if it wasn’t for the ending. The last chapter was spectacular and everything I could have hoped for but… Man, the ending got me sooo put off. I’ve been longing to find out how the story would be wrapped up but it finished with an open ending and I’m not just one for those. (But I do know that there are readers who do love open endings!)

Anyway. I highly recommend you read this book, especially if you love contemporary!


ABOUT THE AUTHOR

MelindaMelinda Grace wrote her first piece of fiction in middle school, but didn’t write a complete story until an introduction to creative writing course at SUNY Oswego, where she earned a BA in human development. She went on to earn a MS E.D. in counseling and currently works as a school counselor. When she’s not guiding the youth of America, she’s planning her next vacation to Disney World, laminating anything she can get her hands on, and binge watching Netflix. MEET ME IN OUTER SPACE is her debut novel, publishing March 2019.

Website / Goodreads / Instagram / Twitter


GIVEAWAY

Win a print copy of Meet Me in Outer Space (US/CAN)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Book Review: The Expedition by Chris Babu

40584496Book Title: The Expedition
Author: Chris Babu
Series: The Initiation #2
Publisher: Permuted Press
Publication Date: December 4th 2018
Genres: Science Fiction, Young Adult
My Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Goodreads Amazon Book Depository

THEY SURVIVED THE INITIATION. NOW THE REAL TEST BEGINS.

Drayden and his friends thought nothing could be harder than the Initiation. Little did they know it had only been a warmup for the challenge that lay ahead.

With New America’s situation dire, Drayden and the pledges venture out into the unexplored world outside the walls, escorted by a team of elite Guardians. The group seeks to contact another civilization in what remains of Boston, but Drayden has secret goals of his own.

Dangers abound in the real world, including Aeru, the deadly superbug that wiped out humanity. While they battle the elements of a desolate landscape, a power struggle emerges within their ranks. The Guardians seem to be carrying out a covert mission themselves, and the quest turns everything they thought they knew about New America upside down.


I received a copy of this book from Netgalley (thank you!) in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence my thoughts in any way.

MY THOUGHTS

I have read and loved the first book in the series, The Initiation, which was spectacular in multiple aspects (you can read my review here) so I was so excited to read this next one! I was also a bit skeptical at first since I barely remember the nitty-gritty about the previous book due to my severe forgetfulness, but I pushed through, hoping for the best. Fortunately, everything came back to me and I got to really enjoy this book.

The Expedition was a fast-paced book that is equal parts action and strategics. This allowed the group of privates to maximize their own individual strengths during their mission, and I loved seeing, in the little things, how they have grown closer compared to the first book.

I still very much liked Drayden as a character. If I were to think about an expedition, I’d probably immediately think that physical strength is a prerequisite for undertaking such. I had my doubts as to how Drayden might cope in the expedition, yet it proved to be unnecessary. What Drayden lacked in physical strength, he made up for in quick thinking, wit and intelligence. And frankly, I admire the latter far more than the former.

The challenges that the group faced in the expedition were much more different and difficult than the ones in the initiation. In this books, the struggles that the privates experience were much more crucial since they deal with unexpected troubles now, in the part of their world they’ve never set foot on. So seeing them all work together, and contribute each their own skills for their collective objective was really invigorating since, as you can tell, I’ve really grown attached to this group of brave kids.

And although I did kinda foresee one aspect in the book that is supposed to be shellshocking, I did doubt myself more times than I would care to admit. Thus, the book really has some unexpected twists and turns that would make you second guess yourself multiple times.

But despite all those, I still ticked off a star from my rating since I was not keen on how the sentences in dialogues sometimes run waaaaay too long, as if they’re each doing monologues. Aside from that though, I think my mood contributed a lot on this decision as well since I was pretty distracted with life when I read this.

Overall, if I were to pick this book up some other time, when I really am in the mood for a post-apocalyptic-ish adventure, this really would have the potential of earning a 5-star rating from me. I highly recommend this series, especially if you’re a fan of the genre. I can’t wait for the next book!

Disclaimer: By clicking on the book covers above, you will be redirected to my Amazon affiliate link for the corresponding book. Purchase from that link and you’ll be able to help me and my blog out tremendously at no additional cost for you!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com

Wrapping It Up: JANUARY 2019

HI FRIENDSSSS! If it isn’t clear enough from the title, I’m doing an much overdue wrap-up. Man, I haven’t done this kind of post in ages, I’m pretty sure I forgot how to write this. But anyhoo, what’s important is that I’m trying. wink wink. So here it is!!


BOOKS

Before anything else, I would just like to give huge thanks to Kaleena @ Reader Voracious Blog for a wonderful spreadsheet tracker that proved SOOOO useful for me. The chart graphics that I will be including here are from the results of that spreadsheet as well! If you’re anything like me, who wants to keep track of everything in life because being forgetful sucks, I highly recommend using the 2019 Book Blogger Spreadsheet Template.

For the month of January, I’ve read a total of 7 books which is a lot in my perspective. I’m usually a very slow reader due to a hectic academic schedule so I’m very satisfied with my progress for this month.

32333303  17698022  39863558  22886113
s           42088730  37534266  38724452

Disclaimer: By clicking on the book covers above, you will be redirected to my Amazon affiliate link for the corresponding book. Purchase from that link and you’ll be able to help me and my blog out tremendously at no additional cost for you!

My favorite book for January 2019 would have to be The Silver Queen because I just adore that series. I’m so stoked to read the third book but in the meantime, you can check my review of The Silver Queen here.

PROGRESS GRAPHS

Books by Release.png

I’ve been meaning to cut down on my backlist TBR for a while now and I’m so glad that I’m making progress since half of the books I’ve read in January were backlist titles. There’s still a lot of ARCs I need to get to but I like mixing up my reading with backlist ones.

Books by Genre.png

This one’s exciting as well! I have always loved Fantasy but I found myself not reading as many books as I would like from that genre. I mostly turn to Mystery and Contemporary as they are my favorite, so one of my resolutions for the year is to widen my horizons when it comes to genres! Well, so far so good for my progress in reading Fantasy, in my opinion!

BLOG

For the month of January, my blog statistics have been much more than what I’ve expected when I came back from my hiatus and I can’t thank you all enough for that!! The feedback I’ve received from all of you guys at my blog posts are so mindblowing and very heartwarming. Mindblowing because, frankly, I did not expect that anyone would care enough to read my blog posts, much less like and comment on them! So that really inspired me to write and post blog posts more than I have before for the next months to come!!

Here are all the blog posts I’ve published in January 2019:

I’ve realized that I really do love making book reviews and I don’t plan to stop anytime soon LOL. And I’m trying to participate in more events like blog tours, cover reveals and book blitzes. But the most exciting (and my favorite blog post in January) is my first discussion post in a looooong whileLuxe’s Thoughts: UK vs US Book Covers and YOU GUYS ARE SO SWEET AND AMAZING with your responses!

Image result for i love you guys gif

PERSONAL LIFE

Last January, I went back to school from our holiday break and so far, everything’s miraculously alright. I’m actually so proud of myself for doing quite well academic-wise, having no emotional breakdowns so far. My anxiety hasn’t been too bad lately and it is actually quite manageable most of the time!

On other news, I’ve acquired a bunch of lovely blogger friends—which are all Filipinos as well, might I add! This just means so much to me because they’re the first actual blogger friends who I constantly talk to. I JUST LOVE THEM, OKAY??

PSA: You should definitely follow their blogs because, as I’ve said and will say again and again, they’re fantastic, kind, gentle hoomans that deserve all the love in the world!


I now have a positive feeling for both my blog and personal life! I feel like I’m truly heading in the right direction and I can’t wait for what the future (for both my personal life and blogging) awaits for me.

For February, I didn’t set a particular TBR since I have a bold one for my Year of the Asian Reading Challenge sign-up and I think that it may be too much pressure for me if I had another TBR for February.

So, I guess that’s it for this wrap-up. I haven’t achieved much in retrospect but I’m pretty happy with myself nevertheless. How about you? How was your January? What other things do you put on wrap-ups? (Please help I am CLUELESS!) Let’s chat!

Book Review: Don’t Get Caught by Kurt Dinan

24157427Book Title: Don’t Get Caught
Author: Kurt Dinan
Series: N/A (Standalone)
Publication Date: April 1st 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Humor, Mystery, Young Adult
My Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

button (3) button (4) button

 

10:00 tonight at the water tower. Tell no one. -Chaos Club

When Max receives a mysterious invite from the untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, he has to ask: why him? After all, he’s Mr. 2.5 GPA, Mr. No Social Life. He’s Just Max. And his favorite heist movies have taught him this situation calls for Rule #4: Be suspicious. But it’s also his one shot to leave Just Max in the dust…

Yeah, not so much. Max and four fellow students-who also received invites-are standing on the newly defaced water tower when campus security “catches” them. Definitely a setup. And this time, Max has had enough. It’s time for Rule #7: Always get payback.

Let the prank war begin.


MY THOUGHTS

This book was so much fun! As students, my friends and I occasionally pull harmless pranks to divert our attention from all the stress that is school. I’ve always been drawn to the art of silly pranking and this book is the epitome of silly pranks. Their antics, however unrealistic, were creative and bold. I really enjoyed reading about how they execute each prank and how they get away with it.

I liked all the characters from the start, even the mean ones like Mr. Stranko, except for one. I won’t tell you who it is just because. 😉 But you’ll know what I mean when you read the book, hopefully. Anyway. I enjoyed reading from the point of view of the main character, Max. He is a funny guy and he has a very kind personality. Also, as the book progresses, his character development becomes more evident. He went from alternating between Just Max (his normal, boring side) and Not Max (his outgoing, brave side) to being himself.

Plot-wise, I didn’t exactly love it. It was quite predictable and that pretty much blew the fun experience a bit for me. With that being said though, I still had fun reading Don’t Get Caught, an entertaining quick read for when you want a little mischief.

 


DISCLAIMER: By clicking the Amazon and Book Depository buttons, you will be directed to my affiliate links for the respective sites. If you purchase the book using my link, you have supported me and my blog since I will get a small commission at no additional cost to you. Thank you!

Buy Me a Coffee at ko-fi.com