Monday, June 5, 2017

Thanks to the fabulous publicity team at Bloomsbury, I have an excerpt from one of my top reads so far this a chance to win all of the books being featured on the Boldly Bookish Blog Tour this June! First, here's a bit more about the book I'm featuring:

Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: n/a
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

I legit loved Letters to the Lost when I read it earlier this year. I loved the pen pal aspect but also the depth of the story and the characters' grief. It really was just an all-around great wonder it's on my list of favorites for 2017.

Behold, a snippet from Letters to the Lost...and yet another reason you should pick up this book ASAP:

The hallways are empty, which seems impossible. Where are the rest of the slackers? Why am I always the only late one?

Besides, it’s not like I wasn’t here. I’m physically in the building. It’s not like I’m going to turn into a model student once a teacher starts doing the Charlie Brown at the blackboard.

By the time we reach the language arts wing, we’re half running, skidding through turns. I grab hold of the corner to help propel me down the last hall.

I feel the burn before I feel the collision. Hot liquid sears my skin, and I cry out. A cup of coffee has exploded across my chest. I slam into something solid, and I’m skidding, slipping, falling.

Someone solid.

I’m on the ground, eyes level with scuffed black work boots.

In a rom-com, this would be the “meet-cute.” The boy would be movie-star hot, first-string quarterback, and class valedictorian. He’d offer me his hand, and he’d coincidentally have an extra T-shirt in his backpack. I’d change into it in the restroom, and somehow my boobs would be bigger, my hips would be smaller, and he’d walk me to class and ask me to prom.

In reality, the guy is Declan Murphy, and he’s practically snarling. His shirt and jacket are soaked with coffee, too, and he’s pulling material away from his chest.

If the rom-com guy was the star quarterback, Declan is the senior-class reject. He’s got a criminal record and a frequent seat in detention. He’s big and mean, and while reddish-brown hair and a sharp jaw might turn some girls on, the dark look in his eyes is enough to keep them away. A scar bisects one eyebrow, and it’s probably not his only one. Most people are afraid of him, and they have a reason to be. Rowan is simultaneously trying to help me up and pull me away from him.

He looks at me with absolute derision. His voice is rough and low. “What is wrong with you?”

I jerk away from Rowan. My shirt is plastered to my chest, and I can guarantee he’s getting a great view of my purple bra through my pastel-green shirt. For as hot as the coffee was, now I’m wet and freezing. This is humiliating and horrible, and I can’t decide if I want to cry or I want to yell at him.

My breath actually hitches, but I suck it up. I’m not afraid of him. “You ran into me.”

His eyes are fierce. “I wasn’t the one running.”

Then he moves forward sharply. I shrink away before I can help it.

Okay, maybe I am afraid of him.

I don’t know what I thought he was going to do. He’s just so intense. He stops short and scowls at my reaction, then finishes his motion to lean down and grab his backpack where it fell.


There probably is something wrong with me. I want to yell at him all over again, even though all this was my fault. My jaw tightens.

Temper, Juliet.

The memory of my mother hits me so hard and fast and sudden that it’s a miracle I don’t burst into tears right here. There’s nothing holding me together, and one wrong word is going to send me straight off an edge.

Declan is straightening, and that scowl is still on his face, and I know he’s going to say something truly despicable. This, after the chastising letter, might be enough to turn me into a sopping me.

But then his eyes find mine, and something he sees there steals the dark expression from his face.

A tinny voice speaks from beside us. “Declan Murphy. Late again, I see.”

Mr. Bellicaro, my freshman year biology teacher, is standing beside Rowan. Her cheeks are flushed and she looks almost panicked. She must have sensed trouble and gone running for a teacher. It’s something she would do. I’m not sure whether I’m annoyed or relieved. A classroom door hangs open behind him, and kids are peering into the hallway.

Declan swipes at drops of coffee clinging to his jacket. “I wasn’t late. She ran into me.”

Mr. Bellicaro purses his lips. He’s short and has a round gut that’s accentuated by a pink sweater-vest. He’s not what you’d consider well-liked. “No food is allowed outside the cafeteria—”

“Coffee isn’t food,” says Declan.

“Mr. Murphy, I believe you know the way to the principal’s office.”

“Yeah, I could draw you a map.” His voice sharpens, and he leans in, glowering. “This isn’t my fault.

Rowan flinches back from his tone. Her hands are almost wringing. I don’t blame her. For an instant, I wonder if this guy is going to hit a teacher.

Mr. Bellicaro draws himself up. “Am I going to have to call security?”

“No.” Declan puts his hands up, his voice bitter. His eyes are dark and furious. “No. I’m walking.” And he is, cursing under his breath. He crumples his paper cup and flings it at a trash can.

So many emotions ricochet around my skull that I can barely settle on one. Shame, because it really was my fault, and I’m standing here, letting him take the blame. Indignation, for the way he spoke. Fear, for the way he acted.

Intrigue, for the way the darkness fell off his face when his eyes met mine.

I wish I had a photograph of his face at precisely that moment. Or now, capturing his walk down the shadowed hallway. Light flashes on his hair and turns it gold when he passes each window, but shadows cling to his broad shoulders and dark jeans. I haven’t wanted to touch my camera since Mom died, but all of a sudden I wish I had it in my hands. My fingers itch for it.

“For you, Miss Young.”

I turn, and Mr. Bellicaro is holding out a white slip of paper.

Detention. Again.

Well, after reading that unfortunate meeting again, I kind of want need to re-read this yesterday. Think I'll try out the audiobook next. ;0)

About the author:

BRIGID KEMMERER is author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

Find Brigid:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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Be sure to check out the rest of the Boldly Bookish tour! (Links to each blog are below the graphic.)

Enjoy the rest of the tour! Happy reading! =D

Friday, June 2, 2017

Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Series: n/a
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publication Date: May 30, 2017
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

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A laugh-out-loud, heartfelt YA romantic comedy, told in alternating perspectives, about two Indian-American teens whose parents have arranged for them to be married.

Dimple Shah has it all figured out. With graduation behind her, she’s more than ready for a break from her family, from Mamma’s inexplicable obsession with her finding the “Ideal Indian Husband.” Ugh. Dimple knows they must respect her principles on some level, though. If they truly believed she needed a husband right now, they wouldn’t have paid for her to attend a summer program for aspiring web developers…right?

Rishi Patel is a hopeless romantic. So when his parents tell him that his future wife will be attending the same summer program as him—wherein he’ll have to woo her—he’s totally on board. Because as silly as it sounds to most people in his life, Rishi wants to be arranged, believes in the power of tradition, stability, and being a part of something much bigger than himself.

The Shahs and Patels didn’t mean to start turning the wheels on this “suggested arrangement” so early in their children’s lives, but when they noticed them both gravitate toward the same summer program, they figured, Why not?

Dimple and Rishi may think they have each other figured out. But when opposites clash, love works hard to prove itself in the most unexpected ways.

That. Was. Adorable! Like a sparkly unicorn farting rainbows and wearing fuzzy slippers adorable. I didn't know that much cute was possible in one little book, but I couldn't help but smile stupidly the entire time I was reading this story. I probably looked deranged to anyone who saw me, but who freaking cares?!?

When a book makes you this unabashedly happy, well...there's just nothing quite like that feeling. Sure, there was tension in the story -- it would have been pretty tame otherwise -- but it was well-placed and was genuine and made everything else that happened worth it. And for me, any story about #nerdlove is TOTALLY worth it.

I loved Dimple's rebellious streak. I adored Rishi's easy manner and his dedication to family and tradition. In fact, I loved the emphasis on that, in general, because Dimple also had to deal with familial expectations and also how to remain true to herself without disappointing her parents. I also enjoyed the glimpse we're given into Indian-American culture. At times, perceptions were brutally honest and I applaud that.

The romance was unbelievably sweet. The friends and side characters only added to the story. And that ending was truly precious. I pretty much adored When Dimple Met Rishi, and I can't wait to read the author's sophomore novel.


GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Hi, hi!

My name is Sandhya Menon, and I write books for teens. I currently live in Colorado, where I’m on a mission to (gently) coerce my husband, son, and daughter to watch all 3,221 Bollywood movies I claim as my favorite. Also, I love my cat a little too much, as you can probably tell.

My YA novel WHEN DIMPLE MET RISHI will be out on May 30, 2017 from Simon Pulse (Simon & Schuster).

Find Sandhya:

WebsiteGoodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Pinterest

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