Book Review: I’ll Be Yours by: Jenny B. Jones

If you’ve been a reader here for any length of time you know that Jenny B. Jones is one of my favorite authors! She writes humorous, intelligent YA Fiction that is TOP NOTCH!

Among some of my favorites are the Katie Parker Production series, the Charmed Life series, and A Sugar Creek Christmas to name a few.

I was given the opportunity to read her newest YA novel, I’ll Be Yours in exchange for an honest review…I’ll Be Yours hits shelves on March 22, and trust me, you’re going to want to get yourself a copy!

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She’s the coach’s brilliant daughter, clueless about love.
He’s the dethroned football star, ready to teach Romance 101.
When dark secrets and sparks collide, there’s no playbook for what happens next.

Harper O’Malley is a self proclaimed band geek (boy can I relate to that),she has scars, she has a troubled past, but she has a family that loves her. Her dad is the local university’s head football coach – life seems close to perfect and then it all falls apart.

Ridley Estes is a star football player with a past of his own; he needs tutoring in order to get to college and play college football…Harper is the girl for the job…on the condition that Ridley will teach her how to flirt.

One of the things I absolutely love about Jenny’s books is how relatable her characters always are; its as though you are sitting down with a cup of coffee and chatting with an old friend! Her books are laugh out loud funny, thoughtful, and sometimes heartbreakingly (it’s a word) real. She knows how to tug at your heartstrings in one sentence and have you rolling on the floor laughing in the next.

Harper is a character that I can identify with (for the most part); a band geek, academically minded young woman with no idea how to flirt with a boy….hello high school Meg! She rescues mistreated animals, deals with torment from her older brother and the boys on her dad’s football team (who are collectively one of the funniest characters in the book!)…but she has a past; she has scars that she tries to hide – both physical and emotional. She has dreams that torment her, and when her…I don’t want to use the word perfect because it has kind of a sarcastic connotation sometimes…maybe ideal is the right word….

When her ideal world…nope perfect works…

When her perfect world falls apart, her past comes back to haunt her – the scars, the dreams, the pain….it got to a point while reading (and yes, I am an emotional person even on a good day so…) where I couldn’t help but cry! I wanted to scoop Harper up like an overprotective big sister and hug her and cry with her! (Again, this is what Jenny’s books do! They make you feel things!)

Ridley is a character that is not quite so easy to identify with – tall, dark, and handsome football player, forced by his circumstances to grow up rather quickly, with a bit of a troubled history.

Ridley and Harper’s relationship initially is all business – she helps him with his academics and he helps her win the second chair trumpet player’s heart.

I want to keep this review relatively spoiler free so I’m going to leave the above statement as is….just the facts : )

As Harper and Ridley face their own challenges, they grow closer together (making Mr. Second Chair a bit jealous). Harper can open up to Ridley about things she doesn’t tell anyone else….and let me just be honest, I prefer Ridley to Mr. Second Chair too : )

Here’s the thing — while not explicitly Christian Fiction, this novel has a few great story lines that deal with forgiveness and redemption…Harper and her bio-mom, Harper and her (adopted) Dad, even one of Harper’s rescued dogs gets a new lease on life.

There is this little thread of redemption that weaves its way throughout the whole book; it brings the characters together in ways you won’t expect, and shows that even in some of the most awful situations – forgiveness is still possible given enough time. Not just forgi

Chalk this one up as another homerun…or touchdown from Jenny B. Jones!

Remember, I’ll Be Yours hits the shelves on March 22nd, or you can pre-order it right now on Amazon.

10/10, would recommend! Check it out, you’re going to love it!

Blessings,

Meg

 

 

Book Review: Just One Summer

I was sent a copy of Just One Summer in exchange for an honest review…review writing is tough for me because I tend to revert to high school english class, literary analysis writing and I need to not do that…okay, enough babble…here’s the review : ) 

Just One Summer: A Romance Novella Collection by Nicole Deese, Tammy L. Gray, Amy Matayo, and (one of my favorite authors) Jenny B. Jones.

This collection of novellas centers around four friends and their summer plans – four friends who promised each other as young girls that they would meet at the same cabin every summer to come – then life happens.

Family conflict. Unhealthy relationships. Seeking adventure. A failed internship.

As much as life changes, one thing remains constant and that is the lifelong friendship between Joss, Darby, Avery, and Sydney.

Laugh out loud funny, heartwarming, and oddly nostalgic.

I usually try to avoid these types of anthologies for multiple reasons – not the least of which being that there is often little to no continuity between the novellas….that was NOT at all the case here.

The four friends were present in each of the four novellas in some form or another – either narrating their own story, or communicating with each other via text, email, call, etc.

I have also found that in most anthologies the writing suffers from one to another and that did not happen here. All four women are wonderful writers (and honestly if you haven’t checked out Jenny B. Jones yet you are MISSING OUT my friend!!), and though each had their own distinct style and voice, the flow between novellas was engaging and kept you wanting to read more and more.

I also find that in these tend to lack character development because the novellas are so brief but I was delightfully surprised by this collection and how the characters grew along the way.

It takes a special kind of book to hit me emotionally and this one got me square between the eyes. By the end I was reminiscing about summers spent camping with my friends, spending weekends together, and I realized that I need to reach out to them now that life has drawn us apart.

If you are looking for a great summer read, a beach read, or just a wonderful book I would highly recommend that you check out Just One Summer: A Novella Collectionwhile you’re at it check out Jenny’s other books (because they are all wonderful, and hilarious, and I know that you will love them)!

Vacation Reading Round-Up

For road trips I always pick 3-5 (depending on time spent in the car) physical books to pack in my bag along with my Kindle because come on, 3-5 books, yeah that’s about two days in the car for me.

The first book I chose (and finished on the drive from Michigan to Kentucky was Amy Poehler’s Yes Please.

Amusing, heartfelt, and at times surprisingly serious. This book made me laugh, cry, and learn…the mark of a great book if you ask me.

One part memoir, one part handbook for life 100% enjoyable and endearing. She talks about her life getting into comedy, her various writing pursuits, time spent on Saturday Night Live….being a mom, going through a divorce, ;being the best you that you can be.

I was pleasantly surprised by Amy’s serious side. I also have the audio version that she reads herself with several of her friends including Seth Myers, Carol Burnett, and Mike Schur.

The second book I had in my bag was Melanie Shankle’s newest book Nobody’s Cuter Than You: A Memoir About the Beauty of Friendship.

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This book is all about why female friendships are important and it made me grateful for my wonderful girl friends. It made me appreciate the effort we put in with long distance friendships, the joy of having a friend that is just a text away when I need her, and a friend that keeps me accountable.

I laughed out loud, cried, and thanked God again for me dear friends. Mel has such a way with words that I was captivated from the first page and couldn’t put this book down….which is why I’m glad I was in the car. I read this from Kentucky to Dallas and finished it in the hotel that first night in texas.

The third book I chose was Sophie Hudson’s new book Home is Where My People Are. 

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This book made me want to move down south as soon as I could. Sophie has such a unique writing style and voice you feel like you are sitting in the room with her as she relays the stories of her life. The importance of family, faith and friends (and of course fried chicken). I’d recommend reading both of her books as they are equally amazing.

I picked up a few books on vacation as well, Laura Bush’s memoir Spoken from the Heart, and Lilly Koppel’s Astronaut Wives Club…I look forward to reading them both in the coming weeks!

As always, thanks for stopping by!

Blessings,

Megan

Summer Reading List

When this summer started (I know that technically it is still Spring, but I’m on “Summer” break until September), I had a very long list of books to read for the Summer, a large stack of them on my floor, and a Kindle full of new titles….here is my Summer Reading List.

  • Something Other Than God by Jennifer Fulwiler – The story of a staunch atheist’s conversion to Christianity. Jennifer has a way of telling her story that is just so compelling. Once I started this book I could not put it down. 
  • The Fault in Our Stars by John Green – I was pretty late to the party with this one, but after getting a free sample of it for my Kindle, I just had to read the rest, and I was not disappointed (have tissues nearby just in case)
  • Paper Towns also by John Green – I have completely fallen in love with John and Hank Green. I picked up a copy of Paper Towns after binge watching the original Brotherhood 2.0 videos that John and his brother Hank put out on YouTube in 2007. I haven’t read this one yet, but after John read a chapter of it in one of his videos I was hooked! 
  • The Expats by Chris Pavone – recommended by Modern Mrs. Darcy, this is another one that I have not read yet, but am planning to get to it when I go out of town. 
  • Attachments by Rainbow Rowell – I absolutely loved this book! It was the first one I had on my list and I finished it in two days. Just like with TFiOS, I was so wrapped up in the story that I couldn’t put it down. 
  • Can You Keep a Secret by Sophie Kinsella – I’d never read anything by this author, but I picked this up at Barnes and Noble from their “Blind Date With a Book” table. I was not disappointed! (the language can be a little salty sometimes…beware)
  • Twenties Girl by Sophie Kinsella – recommended by Janssen at Everyday Reading this book had me laughing so hard the whole way through! (It’s Kinsella, again the language can be a bit iffy)
  • I’ve Got Your Number also by Kinsella – another one that Janssen recommended. I am only a few chapters into it, and I think I should have read Twenties Girl first…that’s not to say I don’t like this one though, so far it’s great!
  • Growing Up Duggar: It’s All About Relationships by Jana, Jill, Jesssa, and Jinger Duggar – this one was so good! It was (as the title suggests) all about relationships; your relationship with yourself, your family, your parents, your friends, guys, and the Lord. Very well written, and very interesting to hear some of the struggles that the four eldest Duggar girls have faced. 
  • Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige – a twist on the classic Wizard of Oz story, I couldn’t pass this one up! 
  • D-Day: June 6, 1944 The Climactic Battle of WWII – it’s a little heavy, both in content and actual physical weight, so more than likely this one will be going on the roadtrip! One of my dad’s favorite books, and I love the history of WWII and am always looking for something to read on the subject. 
If you have any recommendations after looking through this list leave ’em in the comments, I am always open to book suggestions!
Blessings, 
Megan 

All About Jane: A Book Review

I had the distinct honor of receiving a free copy of All About Jane (in exchange for a GoodReads review) directly from the author, a friend, mentor, and former teacher of mine: Carrie Mattern. She sent me this piece of her heart to read and review.

photo source: http://manasunriser.blogspot.com/2013/06/978-09892303-1-5.html

All About Jane is a pretty heavy read, and it isn’t one that should be taken lightly. It covers a pretty heavy topic, and normally wouldn’t be one in my reading list. The main characters have to deal with the suicide of a classmate, and Carrie handles this topic with enough restraint, and enough compassion so to keep the reader comfortable….for the most part.

A big part of this novella has to do with bullying, and suicide as a result of bullying. What can happen when bullying isn’t stopped. The narrator of the story is Cassie, and she takes us through Jane’s story. Carrie has written it in a way that you feel as though you are sitting in a room with Cassie hearing this come from her, and not reading it from the pages of a book. I was immediately drawn into this story…and I was riveted from beginning to end.

I can’t really tell you too much without spoiling the book, but I would like to tell you how to purchase a copy! You can make your way to Carrie’s website, and check out All About Jane, and her children’s books.

I don’t want this to turn into a PSA, but here it is: Bullying is an epidemic. Not all bullying is recognized for what it is, or even seen at all. This is something that is within our power to stop. Stand up, say something, and let’s put an end to it together! When I said at the beginning that this was a piece of Carrie’s heart, I was being completely honest with you. She has been instrumental in implementing Anti-bullying policies, and awareness groups at the High School where she teaches, the school that I attended. She has dedicated herself to this cause, and to her students….Please consider supporting her, and buy a copy. (And I can personally attest to the fact that her children’s books are AMAZING as well!). Please join me in supporting this awesome local author!

Blessings,
Megan