Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Blog Tour: The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone...Review, Favorite Quotes, & Giveaway!

Today I have a fun summer read to tell you about.
Keep reading to learn more, read my thoughts, and see a few of my favorite quotes from the book!
Plus, there's a giveaway!

The Unlikelies

by Carrie Firestone
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Release Date: June 6th 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
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Five teens embark on a summer of vigilante good samaritanism in a novel that's part The Breakfast Club, part The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, and utterly captivating.

Rising high school senior Sadie is bracing herself for a long, lonely, and boring summer. But things take an unexpected turn when she steps in to help rescue a baby in distress and a video of her good deed goes viral.

Suddenly internet-famous, Sadie's summer changes for the better when she's introduced to other "hometown heroes." These five very different teens form an unlikely alliance to secretly right local wrongs, but when they try to help a heroin-using friend, they get in over their heads and discover that there might be truth in the saying "no good deed goes unpunished." Can Sadie and her new friends make it through the summer with their friendships--and anonymity--intact?

This rich and thought-provoking novel takes on timely issues and timeless experiences with a winning combination of romance, humor, and wisdom.

Carrie Firestone has lived in rural, urban, and suburban places, and, while she currently lives in the suburbs, she is decidedly a CITY person. She loves parties, and all kinds of music, and books about random people doing random things in random places. She loves to travel with her husband, and two daughters, Lauren and Emily. When she isn’t writing, you might find her reluctantly sharing her popcorn at the movies, trying to get people (or dogs) to do a conga line, or adding items to her loose ends list.

Title: The Unlikelies 
Author: Carrie Firestone
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Blog Tour

Filled with hope, love, and heartache, Carrie Firestone's The Unlikelies is a fun summer read that surprisingly is also very emotional.

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I first started The Unlikelies.  It has such a fun summer-y cover, however, the blurb hinted at some deep, emotional topics.  What I discovered was a nice mix of both and a story I won't forget any time soon.  The Unlikelies has the humor and levity you'd expect and want in a summer read, but there are also plenty of moments and characters that tug on the heartstrings.

After saving an infant from a terrible situation and getting injured in the process, Sadie, our narrator, finds herself being honored as a "homegrown hero"  by the local Rotary club along with other teens who inspire.  Soon Sadie and the other "homegrown hero" honorees get together and are inspired to do some anonymous random acts of kindness.  However, things don't always go as planned and there are some misunderstandings as well as some heartbreaking events.  But as the group grows closer together and connections are formed, they continue to do what they can to uplift others and learn some truly valuable life lessons over the summer.

As the blurb states, the story is a bit like "The Breakfast Club" in the fact that the very diverse group of main characters all come from various backgrounds, yet still find a way to bond together.  There is someone for everyone to relate to from the "good girl," to the artist, to the nerd, and so on.  But there is also a bit more depth to each character beyond the stereotypes as each one is all full of surprises. With their own distinct personalities and points of view, it's interesting to see them interact with and learn from one another as more about their personal lives is revealed. Despite their differences they all find common ground and close relationships develop as they learn more about one another and work together to improve the lives of others.  True, this is a little clich├ęd and some aspects of the plot might be a bit unbelievable, but yet it all somehow works for this particular book and I really enjoyed reading it.

In addition to the relatable characters with interesting and varied backgrounds, I also appreciated the fun and humor infused into the story despite some of the heavy topics introduced such as cyber-bullying, death, racism, and drug abuse.  There was a nice balance that kept the book from being too dark or too lighthearted considering some of the heavy topics the story tackles.  This is something that is sometimes difficult to do, yet Carrie Firestone found a way and her efforts are definitely appreciated by this reader.

In various ways throughout the book, the author also managed to highlight how important communication is between teens and their parents.  Different events in the book demonstrated just how clueless parents can be about their own kids and their friends and activities as well as how clueless kids can be also be about their parents' history.  A little communication can go a long way, which is something some characters learn the hard way.

Overall, I enjoyed Sadie and her group of unlikely friends and found their mission and individual stories to be interesting as well as inspiring. They aren't the only ones who can learn some important  life lessons from their experiences and it's all nicely done in a way that doesn't get too preachy, if you know what I mean.  really liked Carrie Firestone's writing style and look forward to reading more of her books.

*I received a free digital ARC of this book as part of a blog tour in exchange for an honest review.*

  • 3 Finished Copies of The Unlikelies by Carrie Firestone
  • US only
  • No P.O. boxes
  • Follow the tour for more chances to win
  • Runs through June 6
  • Please read Rules & Regs in Rafflecopter

Sunday, May 21, 2017

Blog Tour: The Best Kind of Magic by Crystal Cestari...Review, Quotes, & Giveaway!!!

Today I have a really fun and magical book to tell you all about!
Keep reading for more info on the book, the author, and my thoughts on the book!
And don't forget to enter the giveaway!

The Best Kind of Magic

by Crystal Cestari
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Release Date: May 16, 2017
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal, Fantasy

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Amber Sand is not a witch. The Sand family Wicca gene somehow leapfrogged over her. But she did get one highly specific magical talent: she can see true love. As a matchmaker, Amber's pretty far down the sorcery food chain (even birthday party magicians rank higher), but after five seconds of eye contact, she can envision anyone's soul mate.

Amber works at her mother's magic shop--Windy City Magic--in downtown Chicago, and she's confident she's seen every kind of happy ending there is: except for one--her own. (The Fates are tricky jerks that way.) So when Charlie Blitzman, the mayor's son and most-desired boy in school, comes to her for help finding his father's missing girlfriend, she's distressed to find herself falling for him. Because while she can't see her own match, she can see his--and it's not Amber. How can she, an honest peddler of true love, pursue a boy she knows full well isn't her match?

The Best Kind of Magic is set in urban Chicago and will appeal to readers who long for magic in the real world. With a sharp-witted and sassy heroine, a quirky cast of mystical beings, and a heady dose of adventure, this novel will have you laughing out loud and questioning your belief in happy endings.

With rainbows in my hair and stories in my head, I am a writer drawn to magic in the everyday world.

My debut novel, The Best Kind of Magic, arrives May 16, 2017 from Hyperion. Follow Amber Sand, a magical matchmaker who can actually see true love, as she takes off on a fun and romantic adventure toward happily ever after.

Title: The Best Kind of Magic 
Author: Crystal Cestari
Format: Digital ARC
Source: Blog Tour/Netgalley 

The Best Kind of Magic is a fun read filled with magic, wit, and a bit of romance. I thoroughly enjoyed myself as I read Amber's story and even laughed out loud a few times (literally).

Amber is such a fun, snarky character that I found quite relatable and entertaining. You see somehow Amber didn't inherit the gene that would make her a witch like the rest of her family.  However, she still has a mystical talent of her own as a matchmaker who can see true love.  As she struggles to fit into a family full of witches who don't fully appreciate her specific talents, she also has to deal with pesky classmates hounding her about their true love matches.  She does this all with plenty of sass and humor that had me smiling as it was almost exactly what how I would (or hope I would) react.

And after the mayor comes to her mother's magic shop, Windy City Magic, for help, she somehow manages to become involved in the search for a missing person.  She soon finds herself falling for Charlie, the mayor's son, despite the fact that she knows she's not his true love match.  But sometimes you have to make your own happy ending...right?  Well, you'll just have to read for yourself to find out what happens.

If you do read the book, you'll find a very interesting and colorful cast of characters each with their own distinct qualities and personalities that make them stand out from one another.  And while the characters may come across as a bit formulaic, I have to say, the characters of this story are really what made me keep reading.  From our narrator, Amber, a snarky, humorous character who struggles to fit in to her sassy, clairvoyant best friend, Amani, to mean girl/ siren Ivy, each character added a little something to the story that I could appreciate and enjoy.  I really enjoyed the friendship and other relationships in the book as well.  And I can't forget about Charlie...he is such a sweetheart (who just happens to share my fondness for dragons and the film, Pete's Dragon...a favorite from childhood). I could easily see how Amber could fall for him (and not just because of the dragon thing).  And thanks to their distinct personalities and the author's writing, I could easily picture each character as I read the story.

Crystal Cestari has also managed to create a fun, magical world that I wish I could be a part of in this urban fantasy set in Chicago.  While it's similar to our own world, it still has enough magical realism to make it a different and fascinating place to read about.  There are all kinds of magical beings living there and an interesting history to this place which really added to my enjoyment.

But if I had to nitpick, my one complaint would be the pacing of the story and plot.  It just seems to move a tad slower than I'd prefer.  Despite this, The Best Kind of Magic was very entertaining and I look forward to reading more about Amber and her adventures in the next book.

*I received a digital ARC of this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*
There were so many to choose from (Amber is a fun character filled with a snark sense of humor, and plenty of charm), but I narrowed it down to these:

One lucky winner will win a copy of The Best Kind of Magic!

  • 1 Finished Copy of THE BEST KIND OF MAGIC by Crystal Cestari
  • US/Canada Only
  • Each tour stop will be giving away a copy of the book
  • Each winner is only eligible to win one book on the tour (You may enter on as many stops as you like, but if you have won on another tour stop, please be honest and let me know. Failure to do so will result in disqualification).
  • Runs through May 28th

Don't forget to follow the Tour for more chances to win!