Tag: Contemporary

Summer Constellations

Author: Alisha Sevigny
To Be Published: May 1, 2018

Reviewed By: Jessica
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Dates Read: April 12-17, 2018

Book Description:

Julia Ducharme is ready for a fresh start. Her little brother has finally recovered from a serious illness, and now she just wants to enjoy peak season at the campground her family owns. Maybe this will be the year her annual summer fling with Dan Schaeffer becomes something more?

But her summer dreams are quickly shattered. First, Dan arrives for vacation with a new girlfriend in tow, and then Julia discovers this may be her last summer in the only home she’s ever known.

Crushing medical bills have brought her single mom to the brink of bankruptcy, and a wealthy developer is sniffing around the campground. He sees what Julia sees: lush woods, a pristine lake, miles of trails for adventure. Unlike Julia, he thinks this is the perfect spot for a casino resort.

Heartbroken and afraid, Julia looks to the stars for some perspective. Taking her telescope down to the dock one night, she has a chance encounter with a guitar-playing boy who offers some helpful advice. Too bad this handsome stranger is the developer’s son, Nick Constantine.

As plans for a resort move forward, Julia is desperate to find a solution that doesn’t mean leaving the lake. Nick, in turn, is desperate to separate himself from his father’s aggressive business tactics. He promises that, together, they can thwart the sale.

But can Julia trust him to conspire against his own father? And could she ever she trust him with her heart?
Jessica’s Review:

If Summer Constellations  had been published when I was a teenager, it would have most likely been one of my favorite books! It is a perfect summer read for a teen girl, especially if she is going camping.  I am not the target demographic for this novel, but I still enjoyed it!

There is the whole summer romance involved  and Julia is just the ‘normal’ teenage girl. I would have identified with her as a teen.  When she finds out her mom may be selling the only home she has ever known she is not happy at all. She works to try to do everything she can to prevent the sale from happening.  And then there is Nick…. Oh wow: Should she trust him or not? Is he just taking advantage of her situation to get what he wants? And what does he really want?????

I am not a quick reader but had this one read in a few days.  It is a quick and enjoyable read and I wanted to know what was going to happen. Was mom going to sell the campground or not????   I was rooting for Julia to be successful in what she wanted.  The middle did drag a little for me, but the ending made up for it being bittersweet and it really gets moving in the last 50 pages.

Sevigny really captured everything I loved in this novel.  She even did well with the realism with how mom felt with the financial situation.  You could feel how torn mom is about selling.  If you have a teen daughter, let her read this novel.

Summer Constellations is recommended. Thank you KCP Loft for my ARC copy!

Pre-order Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK (Publication Day is May 3rd)

Someday, Somewhere

Author: Lindsay Champion
Published: April 3, 2018

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: March 28-April 11, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars

Book Description:

Dominique is a high school junior from a gritty neighborhood in Trenton, where she and her mom are barely getting by.

Ben is a musical prodigy from the Upper East Side, a violinist at a top conservatory with obsessive talent and a brilliant future.

When Dom’s class is taken to hear a concert at Carnegie Hall, she expects to be bored out of her mind. But then she sees the boy in the front row playing violin like his life depends on it — and she is transfixed.

Posing as an NYU student, Dom sneaks back to New York City to track down Ben Tristan, a magnetic genius who whisks her into a fantasy world of jazz clubs and opera, infatuation and possibility. Each sees something in the other that promises to complete them.

As Dom’s web of lies grows, though, so does Ben’s obsessive need to conquer Beethoven’s famous Kreutzer Sonata. But Ben’s genius, which captivates Dominique, conceals a secret, and the challenges of her life may make it difficult to help him.

Author Lindsay Champion’s deep roots in theater and music are evident on every page — structured like a sonata with hints of West Side Story, her debut novel hits all the right notes.

Jessica’s Review:

Someday, Somewhere is Lindsay Champion’s debut novel, and it is quite the debut! She takes what she knows of music in life and brings it to us on the page.  I was in band in high school, so I was looking forward to the musical aspect of the novel to ‘bring me back’ to that time.  And let me say this about the cover: It is beautiful!

We have two alternating points of view in Someday, Somewhere  and going between both Dom and Ben keeps you wanting to read the next chapter to see what happens next. You can’t help but like all the characters, but my favorite was Cass. I know the story is Dom and Ben’s but Cass stole the show for me. I wanted more of Cass and need a Cass in my life!

Yes, they are both teens and they make the mistakes that teens will most likely make.  You can’t help but root for Dom and Ben and want them to be happy though things are against them.  I pictured Ben as David Garrett, even though Ben’s hair is dark. It is the talent that both Ben and David have that made me compare the two.

Someday, Somewhere is more than a sweet YA romance; it deals with some serious issues including race, poverty, lies, and abandonment. Don’t think you are going into this novel with a sweet, pleasant outcome: It deals with real issues with a real ending. I applaud Champion for ‘going against the grain’ of having a happy ending. As long as you keep this in mind you should enjoy Someday, Somewhere. These are lifelike characters that make ‘real people’ mistakes.

Someday, Somewhere is recommended. Thank you to KCP Loft for sending me a copy to read and review.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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The Sun is also a Star

Author: Nicola Yoon
Published: November 1, 2016
Audiobook

Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: January 12-23, 2018
Jessica’s Rating: 5 stars

Book Description:

Natasha: I’m a girl who believes in science and facts. Not fate. Not destiny. Or dreams that will never come true. I’m definitely not the kind of girl who meets a cute boy on a crowded New York City street and falls in love with him. Not when my family is twelve hours away from being deported to Jamaica. Falling in love with him won’t be my story.

Daniel: I’ve always been the good son, the good student, living up to my parents’ high expectations. Never the poet. Or the dreamer. But when I see her, I forget about all that. Something about Natasha makes me think that fate has something much more extraordinary in store—for both of us.

The Universe: Every moment in our lives has brought us to this single moment. A million futures lie before us. Which one will come true?

Jessica’s Review:

This novel was perfect for me; in fact it is my first 5 star read of the year.  I listened to the audiobook version. There are two narrators, Natasha and Daniel.  We experience the story through each of them via alternating chapters. The novel takes place in one 24 hour period: The day that Natasha and her family are to be deported. Life goes in a direction she does not expect and that direction is Daniel.

This is a pleasant YA novel.  We know from the beginning of the novel what the end of this day will bring.  We see how Natasha tries to fight to keep that from happening. We see how Daniel is basically ‘the perfect son’ who seems to be fated to go to Yale and become a doctor because his Korean parents expect it.

Sun was refreshing for me. Unlike most YA reads, the girl is the skeptic of love and the boy is the romantic.  Natasha is math and science oriented, she does not believe in love. Daniel is the poet and falls easily for Natasha. I really liked Natasha and how different both of them were.

There are minor characters that Natasha and Daniel meet throughout the novel who are just as important as our main characters. I liked how we saw little snippets of their lives and how connected we can be to each other without realizing it, and how doing one minor thing can affect someone’s life forever. You never know what someone else is going through.

The ending was perfect for me.  It is not a happy ending nor a sad ending: it shows how life can be. Things happen and life goes on.

What drew me to Sun was both the author and narrator.  I enjoyed Yoon’s other novel Everything, Everything and I love the narrator Bahni Turpni (whom also narrated Everything Everything). This is the third novel I have listened to that she has narrated. She is becoming a favorite narrator of mine.  There is just something about her voice that I like.

The Sun is also a Star is 100% recommended.

Purchase Links:
Amazon US
Amazon UK

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