6.21.2018

Mini Review: In Conclusion, Don't Worry About It by Lauren Graham

In Conclusion, Don’t Worry About It by Lauren Graham
Published: April 3, 2018
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Format: audiobook via Overdrive
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis
In this expansion of the 2017 commencement speech, she gave at her hometown Langley High, Lauren Graham, the beloved star of Gilmore Girls and Parenthood, reflects on growing up, pursuing your dreams, and living in the here and now. “Whatever path you choose, whatever career you decide to go after, the important thing is that you keep finding joy in what you’re doing, especially when the joy isn’t finding you.” In her hilarious, relatable voice, Graham reminds us to be curious and compassionate, no matter where life takes us or what we’ve yet to achieve. Grounded and inspiring—and illustrated throughout with drawings by Graham herself—here is a comforting roadmap to a happy life.

My Thoughts
As for as commencement speeches go this one was classic Lauren Graham, it light and funny with some inspirational things thrown in here and there. She tells us a few of her struggles trying to break into showbiz and how we shouldn’t let the stress of stuff get to us. It was short and sweet and gives us a view of adulthood that doesn’t weight us down, it gives us hope that things will work themselves out and if they don't then don't worry about it.

6.20.2018

Cover Reveal: Chaotic Love by Claudia Burgoa

Today we are celebrating the cover reveal of the CHAOTIC LOVE duet by Claudia Burgoa. The duet includes BEGIN WITH YOU (releasing July 26) and BACK TO YOU (releasing August 9).

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Begin with You by Claudia Burgoa

Chaotic Love, #1 - Coming July 26

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Synopsis

From the outside, Abby’s life looks like a fairytale. Loving family, wealthy lifestyle, education at a prestigious university. The truth? She’s barely managing to survive. Few know the nightmare she lived before she was adopted. And no one knows the secret agony that still haunts her nightmares. With a degree from Berkeley, she could have gone anywhere, but she’s back in Colorado. Not for a fresh start—fresh starts are only an illusion—but for Wes Ahern. Her protector, who throws around words like “therapy” and “talk to me.” Her brother in every way but blood. The one man she wishes could be so much more. Maybe, just this once, she can stop running from her demons. But does she dare let Wes see inside the darkest closets of her pain…or will love be the biggest mistake of her life? An inspirational and emotional contemporary romance Begin with You is a heartbreaking tale of fresh starts and old wounds. This jarring and dark novel will leave readers at the edge of their seats. This is part one of a duet, thus containing a cliffhanger that leads into the next installment. It contains references to childhood trauma, kidnapping, and PTSD.

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Back to You by Claudia Burgoa

Chaotic Love, #2 - Coming August 9

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Synopsis

Wes is in love with Abby—but she’s no longer with him. The loss of Abby is more than Wes can take. No drugs or drink will erase her memory… nothing will numb the pain. He knew she had to leave the past behind; he never thought she’d leave him, too. Wes’s fallen for Abby harder than ever before, and he needs her to fall in love with him. Wes will do whatever he has to get the girl of his dreams back and save her from her demons. It’s the only way he can save himself. They once were inseparable. But will the shards of the past continue to keep them apart? A tear jerking end to a beautiful duet, Back to You is a hopeful contemporary romance of second chances and kept promises. Enjoy this novel of never giving up on your first love while finishing this inspiring duet by Claudia Burgoa today!

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AUTHOR INFORMATION

 
Claudia is an award-winning, international bestselling author. She lives in Colorado working for a small IT company, managing her household filled with three confused dogs, two daughters wrought with fandoms and a son who thinks he’s the boss of the house. And a wonderful husband who shares her love for all things geek. To survive she works continually to find purpose for the voices flitting through her head, plus she consumes high quantities of chocolate to keep the last threads of sanity intact.  
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Review: The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang

The Kiss Quotient by Helen Hoang
Published: June 5, 2018
Publisher: NetGalley
Format: via Edelweiss
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis
Stella Lane thinks math is the only thing that unites the universe. She comes up with algorithms to predict customer purchases--a job that has given her more money than she knows what to do with, and way less experience in the dating department than the average thirty-year-old.

It doesn't help that Stella has Asperger's and French kissing reminds her of a shark getting its teeth cleaned by pilot fish. Her conclusion: she needs lots of practice--with a professional. Which is why she hires escort Michael Phan. The Vietnamese and Swedish stunner can't afford to turn down Stella's offer and agrees to help her check off all the boxes on her lesson plan--from foreplay to more-than-missionary position...

Before long, Stella not only learns to appreciate his kisses but to crave all the other things he's making her feel. Soon, their no-nonsense partnership starts making a strange kind of sense. And the pattern that emerges will convince Stella that love is the best kind of logic.

My Thoughts
The Kiss Quotient is a cute romantic read about Stella who is way more comfortable with numbers than she is with the opposite sex. After her mother keeps bugging her about meeting someone she sets her eyes on a fellow co-worker but before she can ask him out she decides that she needs more experience so she looks for an escort to help her out on that front.

Michael is the escort that Stella is set up with and soon Stella can't help but fall for him. Michael is a good guy who takes care of his mother and sisters and is getting tired of doing what he does but does it because the money is good and it helps him help his mother. Michael slowing starts to help Stella get out of her shell and while he has always been a professional he can't help falling for Stella also, she sees him for more than what he does she sees his potential and no one has done that before.

While Stella tries to understand her feelings for Michael, her Asperger’s makes things challenging she knows that she wants more from him, meaning sex and deals with how she can do that and not let her Asperger’s stop that. Michael, on the other hand, has his own issues, mainly with dealing with his past with his father. He has to come to terms with the fact that he isn’t him and that he is a good guy with a great heart. He also begins to find out about Stella’s Asperger’s and wants to understand it and tells her that it doesn’t change how he feels about her. These are two characters that you would never think could be together but they fit so well that they are the missing puzzle piece in each other's lives. Their road isn’t an easy one and things challenge them along the way but in the end, you can't help but root for them and want them together despite everything telling them they shouldn’t be.

I loved and adore everything about this read. I loved the representation of Asperger’s and how it shows that people with it can live full lives and also find love, and  I also loved the diversity of all the characters. This book was fun, flirty, romantic and steamy without being trashy which is a fine line to do. This is a quick and easy read that will make you have all the feels and it’s a great book for these long summer days. So if you want something that will put a smile on your face look no further than The Kiss Quotient.

Blog Tour: Rainy Day Friends by Jill Shalvis

RAINY DAY FRIENDS
Following the USA Today bestseller, Lost and Found Sisters, comes Rainy Day Friends, Jill Shalvis’ moving story of heart, loss, betrayal, and friendship.

Six months after Lanie Jacobs’ husband’s death, it’s hard to imagine anything could deepen her sense of pain and loss. But then Lanie discovers she isn’t the only one grieving his sudden passing. A serial adulterer, he left behind several other women who, like Lanie, each believe she was his legally wedded wife. Rocked by the infidelity, Lanie is left to grapple with searing questions. How could she be so wrong about a man she thought she knew better than anyone? Will she ever be able to trust another person?  Can she even trust herself?

Desperate to make a fresh start, Lanie impulsively takes a job at the family-run Capriotti Winery. At first, she feels like an outsider among the boisterous Capriottis. With no real family of her own, she’s bewildered by how quickly they all take her under their wing and make her feel like she belongs. Especially Mark Capriotti, a gruffly handsome Air Force veteran turned deputy sheriff who manages to wind his way into Lanie’s cold, broken heart—along with the rest of the clan. Everything is finally going well for her, but the arrival of River Green changes all that. The fresh-faced twenty-one-year old seems as sweet as they come…until her dark secrets come to light—secrets that could destroy the new life Lanie’s only just begun to build.

ABOUT JILL SHALVIS
New York Times bestselling author Jill Shalvis lives in a small town in the Sierras full of quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books is, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill’s bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website, www.jillshalvis.com, for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountains adventures.

Connect with Jill

BUY LINKS for RAINY DAY FRIENDS

Chapter 1

Anxiety Girl, able to jump to the worst conclusion in a single bound!

Most of the time Karma was a bitch, but every once in awhile she could be surprisingly nice, even kind. Lanie Jacobs, way past overdue for both of those things, told herself this was her time. Seize the day and all that, and drawing a deep breath, she exited the highway at Wildstone.
The old wild-west California town was nestled in the rolling hills between the Pacific Coast and wine/ranching country. She’d actually grown up not too far from here, though it felt like a lifetime ago. The road was narrow and curvy, and since it’d rained earlier, she added tricky and slick to her growing list of issues. She was already white-knuckling a sharp turn when a kamikaze squirrel darted into her lane, causing her to nearly swerve into oncoming traffic before remembering the rules of country driving.
Never leave your lane; not for weather, animals, or even God himself.
Luckily the squirrel reversed direction, but before she could relax a trio of deer bounded across the road. “Run, Bambi,” she cried, hitting her brakes, and by the skin of their collective teeth, they all missed each other.
Sweating, nerves sizzling like live wires, she finally turned onto Capriotti Lane and parked as she’d been instructed.
It took a moment for her pulse to come down from stroke level. She’d been taught anti-anxiety techniques, but she’d never quite figured out how to make any of them work while in the actual throes of an anxiety attack.
It’s all good she told herself but because she wasn’t buying what she was selling, she had to force herself out of the car like she was a five-year-old starting kindergarten instead of being thirty and simply facing a brand new job. Given all she’d been through, this should be easy, even fun. But sometimes adulthood felt like the vet’s office and she was the dog excited for the car ride -- only to find out the real destination.
Shaking her head, she strode across the parking lot. It was April, which meant the rolling hills to the east were green and lush and the Pacific Ocean to the west looked like a surfer’s dream, all of it so gorgeous it could’ve been a postcard. A beautiful smoke screen over her not-so-beautiful past. The air was scented like a really expensive sea-and-earth candle, though  all Lanie could smell was her forgotten hopes and dreams. With wood chips crunching under her shoes, she headed through the entrance beneath which was a huge wooden sign that read:

Capriotti Winery, from our fields to your table…

Her heart sped up. Nerves, of course, the bane of her existence. But after a very crappy few years, she was changing her path. For once in her godforsaken life, something was going to work out for her. This was going to work out for her.
She was grimly determined.

6.19.2018

Review: When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri

When Katie Met Cassidy by Camille Perri
Published: June 19, 2018
Publisher: G.P. Putnam’s Sons
Format: via Edelweiss
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis
Katie Daniels is a perfection-seeking 28-year-old lawyer living the New York dream. She’s engaged to charming art curator Paul Michael, has successfully made her way up the ladder at a multinational law firm and has a hold on apartments in Soho and the West Village. Suffice it to say, she has come a long way from her Kentucky upbringing.

But the rug is swept from under Katie when she is suddenly dumped by her fiance, Paul Michael, leaving her devastated and completely lost. On a whim, she agrees to have a drink with Cassidy Price-a self-assured, sexually promiscuous woman she meets at work. The two form a newfound friendship, which soon brings into question everything Katie thought she knew about sex—and love.

When Katie Met Cassidy is a romantic comedy that explores how, as a culture, while we may have come a long way in terms of gender equality, a woman’s capacity for an entitlement to sexual pleasure still remain entirely taboo. This novel tackles the question: Why, when it comes to female sexuality, are so few women figuring out what they want and then going out and doing it?

My Thoughts
Katie and Cassidy have a kind of met cute at work when both are opposing lawyers on a case. Katie who has recently just been dumped by her pretentious fiancée is down in the dumps and is just trying to get her life back on track when she takes an interest in Cassidy. She doesn't know what it is exactly but all she knows she that she hasn't felt this way for anyone in a long time, including her ex.

Cassidy is a known ladies girl who hasn’t met a girl she can't hook up with.  So when she sees Katie she is instantly attracted to her but doesn’t know if Katie is into her in that way. They keep meeting up so Cassidy decides to ask her out and while Katie at first says no she soon decides why not she could use a friend. Cassidy soon brings Katie into her favorite gay bar and into her close group of friends and while Cassidy’s friends think Katie is just the flavor of the month, Katie feels at home there and Cassidy soon finds herself having real feelings for someone which she hasn’t in a long time. Katie is beyond confused, she tries to deny her feeling for Cassidy, all while she tries to decide who she is. Is she gay or bi and while she tries to push her feeling away she realizes after an incident between them that she does love Cassidy and all those questions she has about herself and them don’t matter, she is simply in love with someone.

I really enjoyed this cute and crazy at times book. It shows us that sexual orientation shouldn’t matter and that labels don’t mean a thing. Love is simple love, to be able to find someone in this wild and crazy world that you can talk to and be real with is something that is a gift and that we all should be blessed to have. If you are lucky enough to find your other half in the universe then who or what they are shouldn’t matter. And while I will admit Katie did get on my nerves at times, Cassidy was my favorite character she was the one who let herself go and allowed herself to truly love again after all these years.  She took a chance on Katie and no matter what she thought or what others said she knew what they had and knew that she wanted to explore that. This is one novel that was funny yet touching and taught us a simple lesson in love and that it is worth fighting for when you find the one.

Release Day Blitz: Tattered by Devney Perry


     
Thea Landry has always known her place in modern-day society. It’s somewhere just above the trash can her mother dumped her in as a newborn but below the class where much comes easy. With her tattered shoes and bargain-bin clothes, her life has never been full of glamour. So when a rich and charismatic man takes interest, she doesn’t fool herself into thinking their encounter is anything more than a one-night stand. Months later, she’s kicking herself for not getting his phone number. Or his last name. She’s given up hope of seeing him ever again. Until one day, years later, Logan Kendrick waltzes into her life once more and turns everything she’s built upside down. This time around, she won’t make the same mistake. She’s going to fight to keep him in her life—not for herself. But for their daughter. 
        

AVAILABLE NOW

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Thea and I had agreed on just one night. One incredible night. The next morning, we’d walked away from each other with no strings attached. She’d gone back to her life. I’d gone back to my hectic work and social schedule, just glad that I’d had the chance to meet her. What I hadn’t expected was for Thea to pop into my thoughts so often after that night. I’d think of her smile whenever I was at a hotel bar. I’d think of her laugh when I was at a boring fundraiser. I’d think of her whenever I saw a woman with long, sleek dark hair. After months of her on my mind, I’d finally given in. I’d gone back to the bar to see her one more time. Except she’d been gone. With my child. I’d waited too long.      
      
Devney is the USA Today bestselling author of the Jamison Valley series. She lives in Montana with her husband and two children. After working in the technology industry for nearly a decade, she abandoned conference calls and project schedules to enjoy a slower pace at home with her kids. She loves reading and, after consuming hundreds of books, decided to share her own stories. Devney loves hearing from readers! Connect with her on social media. 

EXCERPT
Thea and I had agreed on just one night. One incredible night. The next morning, we’d walked away from each other with no strings attached. She’d gone back to her life. I’d gone back to my hectic work and social schedule, just glad that I’d had the chance to meet her.
What I hadn’t expected was for Thea to pop into my thoughts so often after that night. I’d think of her smile whenever I was at a hotel bar. I’d think of her laugh when I was at a boring fundraiser. I’d think of her whenever I saw a woman with long, sleek dark hair.
After months of her on my mind, I’d finally given in. I’d gone back to the bar to see her one more time.
Except she’d been gone.
With my child.
I’d waited too long.

6.18.2018

Review: Any Man by Amber Tamblyn

Any Man by Amber Tamblyn
Expected Publication: June 26, 2018
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Format: via Edelweiss
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis
A violent serial rapist is on the loose, who goes by the name Maude. She hunts for men at bars, online, at home— the place doesn’t matter, neither does the man. Her victims then must live the aftermath of their assault in the form of doubt from the police, feelings of shame alienation from their friends and family and the haunting of a horrible woman who becomes the phantom on which society projects its greatest fears, fascinations and even misogyny. All the while the police are without leads and the media hound the victims, publicly dissecting the details of their attack.
What is extraordinary is how as years pass these men learn to heal, by banding together and finding a space to raise their voices. Told in alternating viewpoints signature to each voice and experience of the victim, these pages crackle with emotion, ranging from horror to breathtaking empathy.

As bold as it is timely, Any Man paints a searing portrait of survival and is a tribute to those who have lived through the nightmare of sexual assault.

My Thoughts
Any Man is like no novel I have ever read. In this read, we met men victims who are left assaulted by a female they named Maude. We get to know each victim and we hear of the assault that they dealt with by Maude. Some cases are worse than others but nevertheless, each one is gruesome and we are left to wonder why did she do this? Did she do this as revenge, was it personal, or was this just some sick and twisted individual who did this for kicks.

This novel really brings up some great questions, it shows us that sexual assaults towards men happen more than we realize. Due to the stigma, they are even more unaccounted for because of the shame of it. People tend to think how can a woman overpower a man like that and rape him. He must have wanted it and enjoyed it. Society can't begin to understand and comprehend that a man could possibly be a victim.

I cant begin to shine enough praise on this read. It opened by eyes to what goes on, this isn’t a pretty read its raw, uncomfortable and at times hard to read but its one we all need to read. We have to open up our eyes to whats going on and know there are more victims that hide in shadows and we must let them know that they shouldn’t be afraid to report these crimes.

Maude has to be the most diabolical character I have ever read. Even though we don’t really get to know her until the end and at that, it’s a small insight into her she is pure evil in my eyes. The things she does and how she gets her victims is just… I honestly don’t have the words to express it. I do know though she is so complex that she is intriguing at the same time. Amber Tamblyn gives us a novel that is so on point for this moment in time but with a twist that makes us see things differently. This is one read that while is a hard subject is one that we all need to learn more of and understand. This is a topic that definitely needs more discussion and this novel can be the thing to get the ball rolling.

6.14.2018

Review: By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank

By Invitation Only by Dorothea Benton Frank
Published: May 15, 2018
Publisher: William Morrow
Format: via Overdrive
Rating: 4/5

Synopsis
The Lowcountry of South Carolina is where By Invitation Only begins at a barbecue engagement party thrown by Diane English Stiftel, her brother Floyd, and her parents to celebrate her son’s engagement. On this gorgeous, magical night, the bride’s father, Alejandro Cambria, a wealthy power broker whose unbelievably successful career in private equity made him one of Chicago’s celebrated elite, discovers the limits and possibilities of cell phone range. While the mother of the bride, Susan Kennedy Cambria, who dabbles in the world of public relations and believes herself deserving of every square inch of her multimillion-dollar penthouse and imaginary carrara marble pedestal, learns about moonshine and dangerous liaisons.

Soon By Invitation Only zooms to Chicago, where the unraveling accelerates. Nearly a thousand miles away from her comfortable, familiar world, Diane is the antithesis of the bright lights and super-sophisticated guests attending her son Fred’s second engagement party. Why a second party? Maybe it had been assumed that the first one wouldn’t be up to snuff? Fred is marrying Shelby Cambria, also an only child. The Cambrias’ dearest wish is for their daughter to be happy. If Shelby wants to marry Frederick, aka Fred, they will not stand in her way—although Susan does hope her friends won’t think her daughter is marrying more than a few degrees beneath her socially. At the same time, Diane worries that her son will be lost to her forever.

By Invitation Only is a tale of two families, one struggling to do well, one well to do, and one young couple—the privileged daughter of Chicago’s crème de la crème and the son of hard-working Southern peach farmers.

Dorothea Benton Frank offers a funny, sharp, and deeply empathetic novel of two very different worlds—of limousines and pickup trucks, caviars and pigs, skyscrapers and ocean spray—filled with a delightful cast of characters who all have something to hide and a lot to learn. A difference in legal opinions, a headlong dive from grace, and an abrupt twist will reveal the truth of who they are and demonstrate when it truly counts, what kind of grit they have. Are they living the life they want, what regrets do they hold, and how would they remake their lives if they were given the invitation to do so?

My Thoughts
I don’t know about you but I’m a seasonal reader, during the Summer I usually want something light so when I saw By Invitation Only I thought this would be perfect for a Summer read, boy was I right! I really enjoyed this tale of Shelby and Fred who got engaged and now their families must come together to celebrate and as you can figure out nothing goes as planned.

When Fred’s Southern family invites Shelby’s Northern family for an engagement BBQ Shelby’s mom Susan is in for a culture shock she soon won't forget. Let’s be honest she is a plain snob if it doesn’t cost hundreds of thousands of dollars it isn’t worth her time unless it’s Fred’s uncle who she takes a good shining to. However Fred’s mom Diane refuses to let Susan look down at her and just wants to make her son happy and just wants to stay true to herself and her family. Meanwhile, Susan as taken over the wedding plans and making it all about her and her reputation, claiming to want the best for Shelby but honestly just wanting to show up to all her high and mighty friends. Susan doesn’t realize it but soon her world will be crashing down all around her and showing off will be the least of her worries.

Soon Shelby realizes that while she has grown up with all the privilege in the world she envies Fred because he grew up in a very close-knit family who enjoyed family traditions and would do anything for one another. They soon decide they want to just get married without all the hoopla and of course this doesn’t sit well with Susan. Disaster soon strikes on both sides of the family and everyone soon finds out what is truly important in life. These things make they stronger and closer as a family and they come together like they never would’ve imagined.

This was a truly great novel one that totally exceeded my expectations. I listened to the audio which was fantastic! As a person who loves her Southern reads this is how it should be done, it was true to how we are and it wasn't overdone and didn't make us seem like some joke like other novels can do. I truly enjoyed this novel that focused on family, it was heartfelt and funny at times everything I wanted and needed in a book right now. This is one book that I will be telling everyone to read this Summer, so if you need something that will make you laugh and something you really want to enjoy I highly recommend By Invitation Only you won't be disappointed.

6.13.2018

Review: Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris

Bring Me Back by B.A. Paris
Expected Publication: June 19, 2018
Publisher: St. Martin’s Press
Format: via NetGalley
Rating: 3.5/5

Synopsis
A young British couple are driving through France on holiday when they stop for gas. He runs in to pay, she stays in the car. When he returns her car door has been left open, but she's not inside. No one ever sees her again.

Ten years later he's engaged to be married; he's happy, and his past is only a tiny part his life now. Until he comes home from work and finds his new wife-to-be is sitting on their sofa. She's turning something over in her fingers, holding it up to the light. Something that would have no worth to anyone else, something only he and she would know about because his wife is the sister of his missing first love.

As more and more questions are raised, their marriage becomes strained. Has his first love somehow come back to him after all this time? Or is the person who took her playing games with his mind?

My Thoughts
This started out as a promising novel about a young couple who stop at a rest stop and then the female disappears. Flash forward ten years and we see the man living happily with another female but soon he starts getting these strange little nesting dolls and knows of only one person who had those same dolls… he’s presumed, dead girlfriend. At this time we find out his new girlfriend is her sister. WTF??!! How crazy is that?

So the search is on as to who is sending these dolls and what do they want? We get two timelines in this read, the present and how the couple met which was interesting and kept the book moving along.
 I was really getting this storyline it was intriguing and it kept my attention some twists were really good but the “main” twist towards the end what so far fetched in my opinion I couldn’t believe it! Like really?? Like how could something like that happened and the person didn’t know? While I didn’t really like this part, story-wise it was great plotwise. I didn’t see it coming and that’s what I look for in a good read.

While there were parts that I kind of rolled my eyes at, overall the parts I enjoyed outweighed the others. While this wasn’t my favorite B.A. Paris read the story is a good one. This is definitely something you could take to the beach or poolside and enjoy it for what it's for.

6.12.2018

Spotlight: The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotwood

The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls by Jessica Spotswood
Released: June 5, 2018
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

Praise for The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls

“Told in alternating perspectives, this is a character study steeped in summer nostalgia and small-town life. Guaranteed to tug the heartstrings of teens familiar with crossroads.”—Booklist

“Forward thinkers will embrace the book’s strong feminist message, while romantics will relish the all’s-well-that-ends-well conclusion.” —Publishers Weekly

An engaging, richly nuanced and heart-warming story of four sisters and the summer they find themselves and each other.” —Huntley Fitzpatrick, author of The Boy Most Likely and My Life Next Door
                                                              
                                                               Summary

One summer will challenge everything the Garrett sisters thought they knew about themselves—and each other in this captivating new novel by Jessica Spotswood.

Kat lands the lead in the community theater's summer play, but the drama spills offstage when her ex and his new girlfriend are cast too. Can she get revenge by staging a new romance of her own?

Bea and her boyfriend are heading off to college together in the fall, just like they planned when they started dating. But Bea isn’t sure she wants the same things as when she was thirteen…

Vi has a crush on the girl next door. It makes her happy and nervous, but Cece has a boyfriend...so it's not like her feelings could ever be reciprocated, right?

As the oldest, Des shoulders a lot of responsibility for her family and their independent bookstore. Except it’s hard to dream big when she's so busy taking care of everyone else.

Told through four alternating points of view, readers will laugh, cry, and fall in love alongside the Garrett girls.


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About the Author
Jessica Spotswood lives in Washington, DC, with her husband and works as a children’s library associate. Visit jessicaspotswood.com.

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Rafflecopter Giveaway Link for 2 Copies of The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls

Runs June 8th -30th (US & Canada only)

Excerpt from The Last Summer of the Garrett Girls

Chapter One
DES
Des has a morning routine. Des likes her morning routine. Her sisters slamming doors and screaming at each other is not part of that routine. Neither is the broken dishwasher, being out of sugar for her tea—-she grimaces as she takes another still--scalding sip—-or sleeping through her alarm.
“Des!” her youngest sister, Vi, screeches. “Kat locked me out!”
There’s a loud thumping as Vi pounds on the bedroom door that she and Kat share. A moment later, she rushes into the kitchen, her auburn hair still tangled from sleep, her freckled face flushed with anger. “Did you hear me?”
“I’m busy,” Des snaps, reaching into the sudsy sink. She needs to call Mr. Stan to come take a look at the dishwasher. And of course, no one bothered to touch last night’s dishes. It’s Kat’s week, but it’s easier for Des to do it herself than to nag her sister.
“I got up to go to the bathroom, and Kat locked me out, and now she’s FaceTiming with Pen about what to wear to their audition,” Vi fumes. “Tell her to let me back in! I was sleeping!”
“Why don’t you go sleep on the couch?” Des suggests. She isn’t sure when she became the arbiter of all her sisters’ squabbles. They used to go to Gram with every skinned knee and hurt feeling, but lately—-especially since Gram’s knee replacement a few weeks ago—-it’s been on Des. It’s all been on Des: shopping for groceries, picking up Gram’s prescriptions, cooking supper, washing the dishes, and doing the laundry—-all that on top of running the bookstore. She thought things would go back to normal once Gram was home from the rehab center, but they haven’t.
Maybe this is the way things are now. Forever. Dread washes over her at the thought.
“Why do I always have to give in?” Vi demands, twisting her hair into a ponytail. “You just don’t want to fight with Kat.”
There is some truth there. Kat has been extra venomous since her breakup. “I don’t have time for this right now, Vi.” Des tosses the clean silverware into the dish drainer. “I have to leave in five minutes if I want to open the store on time.”
“Okay, okay.” Vi yawns. “Where’s Gram?”
“Miss Lydia picked her up and took her out for breakfast.”
Vi points at the baking dish next to the stove. “Is that a strawberry crumble?”
Des nods. That’s why there’s no sugar for her tea. Des woke up when Bea came to bed at two in the morning after her late-night stress baking. That’s been happening often enough lately that Des is starting to worry. She thought after Bea’s acceptance to Georgetown—-or at least after being named valedictorian—-Bea would be able to chill out a little. She hasn’t. If anything, she seems more tense than ever.
Des feels stretched in so many directions right now and inadequate in all of them.
Vi grabs the strawberry crumble and a clean fork. “Yay, breakfast!”
“Use a plate. And wash it when you’re done.” Des drains the sink, gulping down the rest of her bitter tea. God, when did she become their mother?
Footsteps pound down the wooden stairs, and then Kat saunters in, wearing high--waisted white shorts and a black The Future Is Female T-shirt. “What do you think? Do I look like a modern--day Jo March?”
“That’s my shirt!” Vi protests.
Kat smirks. “It looks better on me.”
Vi plants her hands on her slim hips. “You’re going to stretch it out! Des!”
Des closes her eyes. Maybe if she closes her eyes, they’ll go away.
“You’re calling the sister with the eating disorder fat?” Kat scowls, tossing her red curls over her shoulder. “Nice, Vi.”
“I was talking about your ginormous boobs, and you know it,” Vi retorts.
“Okay, no talking about Kat’s body.” Des frowns. She’s been worried about Kat relapsing since her douchebag boyfriend broke up with her last month. Is Kat’s lack of appetite normal teenage heartbreak, or does she think Adam would still love her if she had a thigh gap? Des isn’t sure.
“Fine. Wear the shirt. But you are my least favorite,” Vi spits. It’s their worst sisterly insult, ever since Gram banned them from saying I hate you.
Vi’s right. She is always the one to give in. It’s not fair, but at the moment, Des is grateful for it.
“It’s your turn to clean the bathroom, Kat,” she says. “Today, please. It’s gross.”
Kat doesn’t even acknowledge her. She’s too busy squealing and fending off Vi’s attempts to stab her with the strawberry--stained fork.
Des grabs her tote from the back of a chair and whirls around the kitchen for her phone, planner, and keys to the store. “I’ve got to go. See you two later.”
There’s probably a better way to handle this, but it would take time and patience and an authority she doesn’t have. She’s only nineteen; she’s not their mom.
Lately, she really misses their mom.
ß
The purple--haired waitress is back.
Des watches as the girl outside paws through her enormous black leather bag. She pulls out a sketchpad, a pair of headphones with three colored pencils caught in the tangled cords, a bottle of Diet Coke, a wallet, and a set of keys. The bottle falls to the brick sidewalk, followed by the keys. The girl drops her bag and cusses. Des can’t hear the words from inside the store, but she can read the shape of the girl’s dark--lipsticked mouth. The girl looks up and down the street hopefully. The past two days, she’s bummed change from kind passersby.
That’s how people in Remington Hollow are: kind. And curious, especially about strangers.
Des is no exception. She doesn’t have any customers, so she grabs a dollar in quarters from the register and strolls outside.
“Hey,” she says. “Do you need change for the meter?”
“Oh my God. Yes. Thank you so much.” The girl takes the quarters from Des’s outstretched hand. “Why can’t I pay with the app on my phone? What kind of stupid hick town still requires actual quarters for parking meters?”
Des laughs. “Welcome to Remington Hollow. We peaked during the Revolutionary War.”
“Ugh.” The girl leaves her stuff splayed across the sidewalk and starts feeding the meter next to her beat--up silver Hyundai. “I guess. I have to remember I’m not in the city anymore.”
“Where are you from? Annapolis? DC?” Des guesses.
“Baltimore,” the girl says. “I go to MICA. Maryland Institute College of Arts?”
Des hasn’t heard of it, but she feels as though she should have. She’s an artist too, isn’t she? That’s the kind of thing she should know. Her not knowing feels like proof that Remington Hollow is a stupid hick town and, having lived here all her life, having no real plans to go anywhere else, she is a stupid hick too.
Of course, this girl is an artist. She looks like one, with her vivid purple hair and mouth and the bright tattoos spiraling up and down her pale arms. Des feels embarrassingly plain in her ripped blue jeans and faded, worn--soft Pride and Prejudice T-shirt. She’s not wearing any makeup, and her red curls are pulled back in a simple ponytail. Everyone in Remington Hollow already knows how she looks—-how she looked at four and nine and fourteen too—-so there’s usually no point in trying very hard.
“I’m here for the summer. Staying with my grandmother.” The girl confesses it like a prison sentence.
Des looks at the bookstore on the corner, at Tia Julia’s next door, at the SunTrust and the pharmacy farther down Main Street. At the wooden benches spaced along the uneven brick sidewalks, and the U.S. and Maryland flags flapping in the wind outside the post office. Down the hill, four blocks away, the river sparkles in the sun. The briny scent of the water carries on the breeze, hidden beneath espresso beans from the Daily Grind and the fragrant blue hydrangeas in Mrs. Lynde’s window box.
Des loves Remington Hollow. Yeah, it’s small. But she has never been desperate to escape, to get away from college like some of her classmates. Like her best friend, Em. Like Bea and Kat and sometimes even Vi.
It’s a good thing Des doesn’t want to escape because Gram is counting on her. Most people are retired at seventy, not running their own business and raising four teenage girls. Gram needs Des, and honestly, Des has always liked being needed.
She looks up. The girl is watching her. She’s pushed her sunglasses to the top of her head, revealing smoky eyes and long, black lashes. Des flushes, knowing that she’s going all blotchy--pink from the vee of her V--neck all the way up to her cheeks. It’s the downside of being a fair-skinned, freckle-faced redhead: she can never hide her mortification.
“I’m Paige,” the girl says, holding out a hand with lavender nails.
“Des. Desdemona, but everybody calls me Des.”
“Desdemona?” Paige raises two perfectly winged dark brows.
Des winces. She’s not used to having to explain. Everyone in Remington Hollow already knows the Garrett sisters and their tragedy.
“My mom really loved Shakespeare,” she explains. “My sisters are Beatrice, Katharina, and Viola. She named the bookstore too.” She gestures behind her at Arden Books. “As in the forest of, from As You Like It.”
“That’s some serious literary devotion. So your mom owns the bookstore?”
“My grandmother.” After the accident, Gram remortgaged the house, quit her job as an English teacher up at the middle school, and devoted herself to the store. She thought it was important for the girls to have that part of their mom. Maybe it was important for Gram to have it too.
Thankfully, Paige doesn’t press. “Are you working here for the summer? I’m waitressing next door. Grandma Lydia got me the job.”
Des isn’t a college student home for the summer, working at Arden to pay for books and extras; she’s been working there full--time since she graduated last June. Even before that, she worked after school and every weekend. Arden Books is her past, her present, and her future. She’ll take over when Gram retires.
But she decides not to get into all that. “Grandma Lydia? Lydia Merrick?”
“Oh my God, does everybody in this town know everybody else?” Paige crouches on four-inch black heels and starts tossing everything back into her bag.
“Pretty much, yeah. My gram is friends with yours.”
Paige covers her face with one hand. “Grandma Lydia is the most—-she’s so—-I mean, I love her, but—-”
“She’s a character,” Des agrees charitably. Lydia Merrick is one of the town matriarchs, owner of the Tabby Cat Café, and an enormous gossip. “Why aren’t you working for her?”
Paige’s big gray eyes dart up and down Main Street like she’s checking for spies. She lowers her voice to a husky, secret--telling whisper. “I told her I’m allergic. Have you been inside that place lately? I loved it when I was, like, five, but as a grown--ass adult, it gives me nightmares. Those porcelain plates are going to come to life someday. And all those cat figurines? They’re going to form an alliance with the real cats and organize a mutiny and take over the town.”
“You don’t like cats?” Des asks dryly.
“I think Snowflake is their general,” Paige whispers.
Des throws her head back and laughs. Snowflake is Mrs. Merrick’s finicky, long-haired Persian. “Not Cinnamon?” Cinnamon is the original tabby the café was named after. He’s fat and affectionate and super spoiled.
“Oh my God, you know all my grandma’s cats. This town is so small!”
“Haven’t you ever visited?” Des doesn’t remember her, and she feels like she would. Even without the purple hair, Paige stands out in Remington Hollow.
“Not since I was ten. Mom and Grandma had a falling--out.” Paige turns toward the river. “Last time I was here, we went to a Fourth of July raft race. Do they still do that? And the reenactment on the old ship?”
“Definitely.” The Fourth of July is a huge deal in Remington Hollow. Townspeople reenact the Remington Hollow Tea Party, a smaller and less publicized version of the Boston Tea Party, in which a group of intrepid citizens boarded the ship anchored at the town dock and dumped crates of tea in the river to protest the British tax. Remington Hollow was kind of a big deal in colonial times. Now, men dress up in Revolutionary War-era costumes and march with old muskets down Main Street. The high school band plays, and the color guard twirls red, white, and blue flags. After the parade and the reenactment, there’s music and food and vendors in the park. Then, the next afternoon, everyone watches the big race across the river on homemade rafts. People get extremely creative—-and extremely competitive. Last year, Bea’s team built the raft that won, and Kat’s raft sank but got the most applause, because she and her drama club friends were singing songs from Hamilton as it went down. “That’s tradition. Remington Hollow is very big on tradition.”
“Oh wow.”
Des can’t tell whether Paige means wow as in cool or wow, what a totally stupid tradition.
“Yeah.” Des doesn’t say that it’s her favorite weekend of the whole year. “So, how come you’re staying with Miss Lydia for the summer?”
“It wasn’t exactly my decision,” Paige explains, winding her purple hair into a neat bun and checking her phone. “Damn. I’m going to be late—I’ve got to go.” She flashes Des a dark--lipped smile and hurries toward Tia Julia’s. “Thanks again for the quarters. See you around, Desdemona.”
Des doesn’t correct her, even though literally no one else calls her Desdemona.
It’s the third week of June, and the whole summer stretches out before her, lonely as hell, except for her endless to-do list. Her best friend—-former best friend?—-is too cool for watching old British murder mysteries or decorating their planners or anything else they used to do together. She’s barely texted Des since she’s been home from college. What is there to look forward to? Everything—-all the work at Arden and at home—-will keep falling on Des, at least until Gram can get around better.
Des bites her lip, remembering the conversation they had about Gram’s living will and her funeral wishes. Just in case, Gram had insisted. The doctor and the physical therapist said she’s making good progress. But Des can’t help worrying. Gram has always seemed young and strong and indomitable. It’s been hard to see her weak, in pain, looking…old. It hurts Des’s heart, and it makes her wonder how their family will function, moving forward.
What if all her new responsibilities aren’t temporary?
The Garrett girls’ roles have long been established among themselves and around town. At fifteen, Vi is the sensitive, bookish one. At sixteen, Kat is the diva: emotional, theatrical, and never afraid to make a scene. Eighteen--year--old Bea is the brilliant, ambitious one, off to Georgetown in the fall. And Des? At nineteen, Des is the oldest. The responsible one.
The boring one, maybe. Next to glamorous, artistic Paige, she felt hopelessly dull.
But Des wants things for herself beyond running the bookstore. Beyond taking care of her sisters. Maybe she needs to try to carve out more time for her illustrations. For making new friends. For figuring out who she is now, a year after high school graduation.
What if she isn’t boring, responsible Des this summer?
What if she tries being Desdemona? That’s what Mom named her, after all. Maybe it’s past time she tried it on for size.