The Summer Before Forever By Melissa Chambers

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I am excited to be participating in the YA Reads Blog Tour for The Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers. Below is all the information about the book, followed by my review and a giveaway!

The Summer Before ForeverAbout the Book

The Summer Before Forever by Melissa Chambers
Published by Entangled Teen (YA Contemporary genre)
To be released August 22nd, 2016
Amazon
Entangled Teen
Barnes & Noble

Some boys break your heart. Others teach you how to heal it.

Chloe Stone’s life is a hot mess. Determined to stop being so freaking skittish, she packs up her quasi-famous best friend and heads to Florida. The goal? Complete the summer bucket list to end all bucket lists. The problem? Her hot soon-to-be stepbrother, Landon Jacobs.

Landon’s mom will throttle him if he even looks at his future stepsister the wrong way. Problem is, Chloe is everything he didn’t know he wanted, and that’s…inconvenient. Watching her tear it up on a karaoke stage, stand up to his asshole friend, and rock her first string bikini destroys his sanity.

But there’s more than their future family on the line. Landon is hiding something—something he knows will change how she feels about him—and she’s hiding something from him, too. And when the secrets come out, there’s a good chance neither will look at the other the same way again…

About the Author

melissa chambers

Melissa Chambers writes contemporary novels for young, new, and actual adults. A Nashville native, she spends her days working in the music industry and her nights tapping away at her keyboard. While she’s slightly obsessed with alt rock, she leaves the guitar playing to her husband and kid. She never misses a chance to play a tennis match, listen to an audiobook, or eat a bowl of ice cream. (Rocky road, please!) She’s a member of SCBWI and RWA including several local and online chapters thereof. She holds her B.S. in Communications from the University of Tennessee.
Website: http://www.melissachambers.com
Twitter: @MelChambersAuth

 

Librarian Laura’s Review

The Summer Before Forever is a classic forbidden love story, in which there seems to really be no way it can end well for the characters involved. The story line moves along quidkly, keeping the reader’s interest with alternating points of view between Chloe and Landon.

Chloe plans to spend the summer with her wild & crazy best friend, Jenna, at the beach in Florida without any cares or worries. Little does she know, her life is going to heat up in more ways than one in the Sunshine State. Upon arrival from her home in TN, she meets her dad’s fiance and future step-brother, Landon, for the first time. Rather than the geek she assumed he would be, Landon is instead an all-American heartthrob. He’s smart, gorgeous, gentlemanly, a football player and a wrestler. The total package. The only problem: he’ll be her step-brother later in the summer. Landon immediately takes notice in Chloe, and Chloe is drawn right to him even though she knows she should steer clear.

As they get to know one another oh so well, they begin to realize that summer will soon end. Landon will be off to college and Chloe will be back to her life in Tennessee. Will the end of the summer be the end of their heated, secret romance? Or, will they find a way to make things work before it’s too late. No doubt about it, Chloe’s summer in Florida will be a summer to remember.

Jenna’s character is hilarious – she’s the best friend that every girl wants – loyal to a fault, but crazy enough to keep life interesting. Jenna decides that Chloe needs to gain confidence so she makes is her personal mission, creating a confidence building list of tasks for Chloe to complete over the summer. As the summer wares on and Chloe’s confidence grows, she also becomes more comfortable with herself and her decisions. The novel is nicely combined with romance, humor, and coming-of-age elements.

The ending left me wanting more information on what would happen with Chloe and Landon, but I’m glad to see that it will be a series. I wonder what the next chapter will hold for them. I found some of the story to be predictable in parts, but all in all, I enjoyed it and would recommend it to fans of romance and contemporary YA fiction.

Click here for a chance to win a $25 Amazon gift card!

 

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Here’s to Us by Elin Hilderbrand

heres to us

Here’s to Us will be published on June 14, 2016 by Hachette Book Group.

Deacon Thorpe, celebrity chef and well-known bad boy with a healthy appetite for living life to the fullest, has passed away unexpectedly at his summer cottage in Nantucket. Left behind are two ex-wives, his widow, and three children (one from each marriage). The only connection between Laurel, Belinda, and Scarlett is their love and devotion for Deacon, even after his many faults, addictions, and poor decisions. His three wives couldn’t be any more different. Laurel was his high school sweetheart, Belinda is a high-profile actress who won him over with money and glamour, and Scarlett was the younger, bombshell nanny which he couldn’t resist.

Deacon’s will designates that the whole family gather at the Nantucket cottage to spread his ashes at sea, which brings us to the story. His family, along with his best friend, Buck, begrudgingly head for Nantucket to spend the weekend together. As if the story needed to be livened up even more; Buck has always had his eyes on Deacon’s first wife, Laurel. There is also a bit of drama going on with each of Deacon’s adult children, Angie and Hayes. Throwing these headstrong, grieving family members together in cramped quarters (with a lot of wine and whiskey, of course) makes for some interesting confrontations, to say the least. As memories of Deacon are shared and secrets are uncovered, tensions run high and some surprisings things occur. The plot moves along rather quickly, all taking place during one weekend, with flashbacks to the past mixed in to give readers background information on each of the women’s relationships with Deacon.

Sound like a crazy plot? It is! But, as always, Elin Hilderbrand makes it work oh so well, with just the right amount of humor, drama, romance, and cat fights. She has created the recipe for a great romantic drama which readers will absolutely love until the very last page. Another really cool addition to this book are the actual recipes that are included, such as Deacon’s famous Fluffy White Champagne Cake with Champagne Candied Strawberries and Clams Casino Dip, to name a few. As with all of her novels, Elin set this story in her hometown of Nantucket, causing readers such as myself to long for the quaint streets and beautiful beaches. I would love to visit Nantucket some day and catch a glimpse of some of the places mentioned in her novels. I loved this book, and I can’t wait for it to be released this summer.

Family Tree by Susan Wiggs

9780062425430_2354bFamily Tree will be published on August 9, 2016 by William Morrow. This is a perfect romantic story for Fall, set mostly in Vermont during maple sugar collection season. Finishing it on the first day of Spring made me long for Fall a bit.

Anna Rush Harlow is living in Manhattan, enjoying married life and her successful career. She is the producer of a hit cooking show starring her celebrity chef husband, Martin. She is unexpectedly surprised and ecstatic when she realizes she is pregnant. However, her life changes in the blink of an eye when there is a freak accident on the production set. A year later, she wakes up from a coma a divorced woman who has lost everything she built her life on in Manhattan. She moves back home with her mother, older brother and his wife, and her nieces and nephews on the family’s maple sugar farm in Vermont. As she tries to pick up the pieces and move forward with a plan in life, she realizes that the place she couldn’t wait to get away from when she was young might just be the place she is happiest. It also happens that Fletcher, her former love still lives in their hometown and is also divorced. Is it too late for Fletcher and Annie, or will they be able to get past the hurt they caused each other when they were younger and life’s plans got in the way?

The story switches between present day after Annie’s accident to when she first met Fletcher, her college years, when she first met Martin and started the cooking show, when she and Fletcher rekindled the flames years later, and finally to her marriage with Martin. Through the flashbacks, readers get to know the real Annie, smart as a whip, fun-loving, and dedicated to her lifelong dream and love of cooking.

Much of the story is heavily centered on family, forgiveness, and second chances. The ending is a little predictable, but I loved the story so much that I didn’t really care. Readers will feel like they are working alongside Annie and her brother as they harvest the maple sap, boil it, and make Sugar Rush, their famous maple syrup. Food and cooking play a big part in the novel as well, as many mouthwatering dishes are prepared and described in detail. I really loved this book, and I know you will too. Fans of romance, contemporary women’s fiction, and regular fiction rejoice – this novel has a little something for everyone.

First Comes Love by Emily Giffin

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The bad news is that we have to wait until June 28th for this beauty to be published! The good news is that it is totally worth the wait! I love, love, LOVE this book. I’ll try to do it some justice with my review.

First Comes Love is filled with highly relatable family situations and candid conversations among the characters. The characters are likable, despite their flaws. They seem real, and Giffin goes a wonderful job of making them come to life. At times, the scenes are hilarious, while at others tender and heartfelt.

The story begins as the family is approaching the 15 year anniversary of Daniel’s tragic and untimely (at the age of 25) death due to an auto accident which was of fault to no one. Each character’s outlook on life and circumstances for the past 15 years demonstrate the different ways loss & grief can affect relationships between siblings, spouses, parents/children, and even best friends.

Sisters Meredith and Josie are about as opposite as can be, with regard to their personality and life choices. Yet, their tumultuous relationship is refreshing, as it proves that they can put love first despite their differences and overcome some major rough times. They likely wouldn’t have a thing to do with each other, save for Josie’s love for her younger sibling Meredith’s 4 year old daughter, Harper. Meredith is a high profile lawyer and busy mother, living with constant stress and strain in her marriage to Nolan, her late brother Daniel’s best friend. Josie is a 1st grade teacher, life of the party, but worried about finding “the one” because she is getting closer to 40 and has always wanted to be a mother.

Nolan & Meredith’s marriage is particularly true-to-life, because in reality no marriage is perfect. Marriage takes work by both parties, whether the parties love each other or are “in love,” or both. Giffin makes a point that with social media, everyone seems even more worried about keeping up appearances and appearing perfect in front of the world. It is mentioned by one of the characters that everyone assumes that everyone else has the perfect life and marriage, when in reality most everyone struggles at some point – and that’s ok. Life wasn’t meant to be perfect. It’s meant to be lived. Much of the beauty found in life is revealed in times of tragedy and struggle. Everything about this book is relatable, which makes me love it more.

Emily Giffin has a knack for realistic fiction and she slams a home run with this one. I truly loved The One & Only (released May 2014), but I enjoyed this story so much more because of the message it sends – love truly does come first.

I already miss these witty characters, and wish I could spend more moments in their lives. I want to be there for Josie and Gabe, but also for Nolan and Meredith as they are all about to experience a major life change when the story comes to an end. Sequel, please? 

 

 

Rogue Lawyer by John Grisham

Though I enjoyed the new John Grisham novel very much, it wasn’t one of my favorites from Grisham and not his finest work, in my personal opinion. My favorite was Gray Mountain, which was released last year.

This story reminded me quite a bit of Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly. The book doesn’t read like a typical legal narrative suspense thriller. Each section focuses on a different case being handled by the main character, Sebastian Rudd. Rudd takes cases which other lawyers would not dream of handling, and he does a great job for his clients. He’s been thrown in jail, threatened by past clients, and even setup by the police department. He believes everyone is entitled to a fair trial, even if he has to pull some strings or bribe the right people to get one. He works out of a customized bulletproof van, driven by his one and only friend and bodyguard type, named Partner. Partner isn’t a big talker, but he is there for Rudd at all times, supporting him through all the crazy trials and murder threats. Some of the cases that Rudd handles are unbelievable, which make this book hard to put down. Rudd distrusts the government, and despises the corruption within the police department and judicial system. He’s not a very happy character, and his love life, or lack thereof is evidence of this fact. However, during the course of the story, Rudd happens to meet a girl while dealing with some trouble with his young son, a second grader. Along with drinking bourbon and playing pool, Rudd’s favorite past time is watching and betting on cage fighting. Oh, and he doesn’t enjoy it too much; but he spends a lot of time fighting his ex-wife Judith, also a lawyer, who keeps trying to take away his parental rights to their son, Starcher. Rudd sponsors a young, talented cage fighter and serves as his corner in the ring. When the cage fighter snaps after a match and kills the referee, Rudd must defend him. This case could proof to be the toughest case he has dealt with yet, and may be his last. This is a great book for fans of suspense, legal thrillers, or fiction in general. Not too much romance, and not too much language or graphic violence. Just enough to keep things interesting.

Did You Ever Have a Family by Bill Clegg

This is a work of fiction that certainly lives up to all the hype and anticipation prior to its publication. I absolutely loved the book. I normally don’t think about books being turned into movies right after I read them, but I felt like these characters are so interesting and that this would be great movie material.

On the eve of her only daughter’s wedding, June Reid loses her entire family in an instant in a horrible explosion. Her daughter and her fiance, her ex-husband Adam, and her boyfriend Luke are all inside the house and are killed instantly. In a moment, her entire world is turned upside down and she remains in a state of shock thereafter, almost as if she is on autopilot to a destination she feels will bring her closer to her daughter. After June takes off, the gossip and rumors begin to circulate in the small town and many speculate as to where she has gone. June was no stranger to gossip, often the subject of gossip because Luke was half of her age. Some townspeople even claim that Luke caused the explosion, because he had a past record with drugs. Luke and his mother were not close and were just beginning to patch up their relationship when the explosion stopped all progress at reconciliation in its tracks. His mother is left to deal with the rumors in town, and she becomes a recluse who speaks to no one and only leaves her house for groceries every so often. The story is told through different character narration. Each chapter is a different character, some very close to June and the family, and some acquaintances who have made connections with them in some way or another. June ends up at a motel by the ocean in Seattle, Washington. The owners of the hotel do not ask questions, but can sense that she is grieving or hiding from something. They, along with Cissy, who cleans the motel rooms, become sort of protectors and watch over June as she keeps to herself for months. Meanwhile, back East in June’s hometown, someone knows what really happened the night of the explosion, but he is too scared to say anything. When he finally talks to Luke’s mother, the story takes a major turn. Though June has no remaining blood relatives, it is clear by the end of the story that she certainly does a family who loves her very much, because family can be what you decide it to be. My favorite part is the last chapter, narrated by Cissy, because it is so beautiful and touching. Bill Clegg has a way with creating characters, and he has written a fabulous first novel. I would highly recommend it. It is wonderful!

Who Do You Love by Jennifer Weiner

Who do You Love is a touching love story, and a well-written book about second chances and how the past can truly shape the present. It is the story of Rachel and Andy, who happen to meet in a hospital waiting room when they are 8 years old. Rachel is no stranger to hospitals, because she was born with a congenital heart defect and spends a lot of time in the hospital for multiple surgeries and tests. Her Jewish family is by-the-book, and affluent and she hasn’t ever had to do without much in her life. On the flip side, Andy is a sullen, mixed race boy who lives with his single mom in a poor neighborhood and acquires all of his clothing second-hand. After spending a few hours together sharing stories and laughing, both Rachel and Andy made lasting impressions on each other. Eight years later, Rachel and Andy happen to be on the same mission trip building a house together. Now they are no longer innocent 8 year olds, but hormone-raging teenagers who remember each other like they just met the day before. And Rachel thought the mission trip was going to be boring! Think again. The story continues to switch back and forth between the lives of Rachel, once snippy, sorority girl turned adult social worker and mother, and Andy, an avid runner who becomes an Olympic medalist and then a hardware store manager after an unfortunate, irreversible decision he makes. Each time Rachel and Andy meet up through the years, it’s clear that they are meant to be together but something always seems to get in their way. As the reader on the outside looking in at their relationship, I was even upset because I loved their characters and I wanted them to be together. Obviously, if a boy made me a heart out of a red paperclip, I would swoon and follow him to the ends of the earth!  Seriously though, I couldn’t put this book down. I really enjoyed the story line and the ending.