Spotlight: Tractor by Ryan Uytdewilligen

tractorGoodreads/Amazon

Release Date: September 15, 2016

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Set in Oklahoma in 1961, a small town teen named John gets a spur of the moment job driving an old tractor across Arkansas to Oklahoma for a crotchety old farmer. John is about to enter his senior year of high school and has doubts about his future and the kind of man he wants to be. Unbeknownst to him, this trip will be just what he needs to figure all that out.

We follow John as he picks up the tractor in Arkansas, then makes his way across hot, crowded Southern highways, on which he experiences breakdowns, fights, mishaps, and even love. It is no easy task to complete this job, but the pitfalls and chance meetings along the way might just take him where he’s destined to go. 

John’s belief in God beats down on him like the hot sun, while the fantasies of a mysterious girl he meets along the way flash through his mind. John is lost both literally and figuratively, but the people he meets along the winding roads give him more direction than he ever thought possible. John just wanted to earn some money to buy his first truck. Instead, he discovered the meaning of life. 

For young adult readers who have an affinity for farm life—and grand adventures. 

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Born in Lethbridge, Alberta, Canada, Ryan Uytdewilligen was raised on a family farm where story ideas began to filter through his head at an early age. Like many young farm boys, he was a member of 4-H. After studying and working in television and radio, Ryan made the move to Vancouver where he studied film, produced short films, and optioned several movie scripts. His first book, 101 Most Influential Coming of Age Movies explores film history through his favorite storytelling genre. 
Pleasant reading, 
Jordan
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ARC Review: The Possibility of Somewhere by Julia Day

the possiblity of somewhereGoodreads/Amazon/B&N

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Together is somewhere they long to be.

Ash Gupta has a life full of possibility. His senior year is going exactly as he’s always wanted– he’s admired by his peers, enjoying his classes and getting the kind of grades that his wealthy, immigrant parents expect. There’s only one obstacle in Ash’s path: Eden Moore—the senior most likely to become class valedictorian. How could this unpopular, sharp-tongued girl from the wrong side of the tracks stand in his way?

All Eden’s ever wanted was a way out. Her perfect GPA should be enough to guarantee her a free ride to college — and an exit from her trailer-park existence for good. The last thing she needs is a bitter rivalry with Ash, who wants a prized scholarship for his own selfish reasons. Or so she thinks. . . When Eden ends up working with Ash on a class project, she discovers that the two have more in common than either of them could have imagined. They’re both in pursuit of a dream — one that feels within reach thanks to their new connection. But what does the future hold for two passionate souls from totally different worlds?

review

3.5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley & St. Martin’s Griffin

I was torn on how to rate this story because I thoroughly enjoyed it. I had to get up early this morning and stayed up until 3AM to finish. If you’re a follower of this blog, you may have noticed that I am not the biggest fan of contemporaries. Coming of age stories typically bore me to death and so when I found myself plowing through these pages, it was a shock to my system. What is it about this book that made me a contemporary convert? 

Eden is not always likable. She’s pushy, indignant, a snob, she pushes people away and has no room for anything but her dreams. She makes judgments as harsh as those hanging over her head and doesn’t think before she speaks…and yet, there’s something about her. She’s rude half the time, but patient, intelligent, kind, and thoughtful with some. She let’s public opinions tarnish her shine. Anyone who has ever felt like they had a past they couldn’t shake and that they are their parents’ mistakes (because no one can see past the prejudice and assumption), you’ll get Eden on a personal level. 

This is a modern Romeo & Juliet spin with Jane Austen odes. Class distinctions, racism, and Southern prejudice all combine to form a heartbreaking adversary for these young lovers. Everyone is against this match. He’s Indian, Hindu, rich, she’s white, on food stamps, lives in a trailer park, and Christian. Everyone in this small town sticks to their racial group cliques and stepping outside of the lines invites retaliation in the form of rumors, bullying, and even abuse.

Ash and Eden’s relationship is refreshing, you’ll hope against all odds that they can slay the prejudice and small-minded stereotypes and profiling of their town, but somehow are certain that it’s impossible. And that is the problem.

This is a story about recognizing that there are parts of everyone’s lives that will limit and diminish them; that there will always be someone who disapproves your choices, and that forces greater than you will always think they know better. So much in this world is working against you, but it takes perspective, fresh, creative, and honest to find what’s working FOR you. Opening your eyes, recognizing the hate, the prejudice, and those who only put you down when they should be lifting you up is half the battle.

The romance is fast. It happens late, really late in the story. The first half, maybe 3/4 of the book are pretty much everyday high school scenes with commentary on social class, didacticism, etc. I don’t know how she did it. Actually, that’s not true. Very much in the vein of Pride and Prejudice the explosive fighting, the nitpicking, the anger, through it all, only Ash and Eden have the ability to hurt each other because they care so deeply-you realize that the love has always been there. Always. It’s that sudden realization-that soft and comforting warmth like a ray of sunlight shining on your face right after a rainstorm-that fills you with certainty that Eden and Ash can do anything if they’re together. 

Autism also plays a part in this story. How some teachers can be dismissive of difference and push the child away as disruptive instead of making the effort to understand. While a little reductive, these scenes were poignant and memorable. 

The jealous popular girl was a familiar and disappointing aspect. Also the perverse and sexually aggressive jock who starts rumors. 

Ash has some serious swoon lines. He has a way with words that will have you dropping your defenses as quickly as Eden does. Holy sincerity and adoration. 

Mundy. Harsh. Crazy harsh and brutally honest. No filter on that girl and boy is it painful. Her words are like a slap to the face but a revelation. They force Eden to look at herself and be honest. It also bypasses on the awkward. There are no secrets and there is relief in that. Spontaneous, a little weird, Mundy is a unique bff. 

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Romantic reading, 

Jordan

ARC Review: You’re Still the One-Rachel Harris

Youre-Still-the-One-coverAmazon/B&N/iBooks/Kobo/Goodreads

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Love is one dare neither of them can take…

Arabella Stone, Nashville’s darling, is eager to shuck her prim-and-proper rep, and a few wild months spent checking items off her ” summer bucket list” is the way to do it. First up: kiss the man she’s crushed on since she wore a training bra, the bad boy of country himself, Blue bassist Charlie Tucker.

For Charlie, a beautiful woman flirting with him isn’t out of the norm–but a beautiful woman bolting after the hottest kiss of his life sure is. And when he finds out his kiss-and-run Cinderella is none other than Arabella Stone, daughter of his label’s CEO, he knows he’s in trouble. Because not only is she a Stone, she’s also his employee for the next few months at the recording studio he just bought.

Over the course of one thrilling summer, Arabella and Charlie chip away at her bucket list and fight the simmering attraction between them…knowing that once it’s all over, so is their time together.

review3.5/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via NetGalley and Entangled Bliss

You’re Still the One is a sweet and steamy romance featuring one Nashville country hottie and the boss’ daughter. What happens when your celebrity crush becomes a reality? Off the walls chemistry. 

PROS:

  • Charlie is a sweetheart with a bad boy rep. He loves women, knows he’s sexy, and has charm galore. He gets what he wants and due to seriously horrible bad luck, has a tarnished rep that he can’t seem to come back from. So he goes with it. Underneath the player visage and past the leggy blondes, Charlie has a heart of gold. He’s loyal, compassionate, and an advocate for using music to combat depression and bullying. The way he is with his niece is SWOON for centuries amazing. When he speaks…holy hotness. When he says, “baby girl” SLAYED. Seriously. 
  • Rachel Harris is incredibly skilled at balancing that playful flirting of new romance with sweltering attraction. Charlie and Arabella, that scene in the pool. Get ready to fan yourselves ladies. ALL THAT KISSING. 
  • Arabella feels trapped. She wants to make it on her own in the world but is constantly thwarted because of her famous father. Guys only want to date her to drop off demos for her dad or are too scared to risk his wrath. Anyone in the business would hire her one principle. It’s hard for a girl with a music degree and her daddy’s last name to get hired based on her own merits but she tries. Arabella desperately wants freedom and love. She’s terrible at flirting, to the point where it’s laughable, and discounts her attractiveness because of her gorgeous best friend. Her insecurities are relatable and her clumsy attempts at flirting are spot on for anyone who has ever stumbled to speak in front of their crush. 
  • Life and Lyrics is a beautiful idea. 

CONS:

  • You don’t really get an idea of what the band is actually like. There’s hardly any music making and that time in Nashville is so short that the sort of country star aspect of it fades into the background. This is the between time and that was occasionally a little slow. The pacing felt off. 
  • The plot was fairly predictable but engaging. The bucket list-style goals for the summer were laugh-out-loud wonderful and added spice to the plot. 

authRachel Harris 022 - compressed for webWebsite/Facebook/Twitter/Goodreads/Newsletter

New York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter, and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom,she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:

Happy reading, 

Jordan

Release Blitz & Giveaway: You’re Still the One-Rachel Harris

You're Still the One - RWB banner

 We are so excited to bring you the Release Week Blitz for Rachel Harris’s YOU’RE STILL THE ONE, the first novel in Rachel’s Country Blues Series! YOU’RE STILL THE ONE – a novel published by Entangled Bliss – is out now. 

You're Still the One -coverAmazon | Barnes & Noble | iBooks | Kobo

Add to your Goodreads
synLove is one dare neither of them can take…

Arabella Stone, Nashville’s darling, is eager to shuck her prim-and-proper rep, and a few wild months spent checking items off her ” summer bucket list” is the way to do it. First up: kiss the man she’s crushed on since she wore a training bra, the bad boy of country himself, Blue bassist Charlie Tucker.

For Charlie, a beautiful woman flirting with him isn’t out of the norm–but a beautiful woman bolting after the hottest kiss of his life sure is. And when he finds out his kiss-and-run Cinderella is none other than Arabella Stone, daughter of his label’s CEO, he knows he’s in trouble. Because not only is she a Stone, she’s also his employee for the next few months at the recording studio he just bought.

Over the course of one thrilling summer, Arabella and Charlie chip away at her bucket list and fight the simmering attraction between them…knowing that once it’s all over, so is their time together.teaserYou're Still the One - RWB Teaser

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ExcerptWhat would Charlie think, if he came in here and saw her like this? Would he approve of the way her body looked? Her small breasts, long legs, decent collarbone, and slightly jiggly behind? Or would he be disappointed?

Would she measure up to the scores of women he’d seen this way over the years?

Arabella’s mind wandered, imagining him suddenly appearing behind her in the mirror. He wouldn’t be shocked. No, he’d be turned on, his eyes molten and hungry, devouring her. He wouldn’t be able to stand still, either; he’d step up behind her and knock her hands away, replacing them confidently with his own.

A moan escaped. It echoed off the glass and the basin, and Ella’s head fell back, envisioning his rough, calloused palms molding her breasts, his fingers plucking the tips. Heat exploded under her skin as she imagined his golden eyes hooded and filled with sin.

“You ready, darlin’?”

Ella’s head snapped up as her heart leaped into her throat.

“Arabella? You about ready to go?”

Charlie’s heavy footsteps clomped down the hall, and in a panic, she slammed the bathroom door shut, her heart pounding in her ears. “Uh…just a minute!”

Those heavy footsteps stopped just outside the door, two seconds away from getting a shocking show, and Ella frantically spun around looking for something—anything—to cover herself with. Her gaze landed on the pink fingertip towel she’d hung near the sink, thick and lush, and far away from its matching larger friends who were stupidly waiting for her in the hallway linen closet. Way to go, Ella!

“H-how did you get in here?”

“Uh, I own the place, remember?” Normally, his low chuckle would’ve twisted her insides into goo, but now it only heightened her awareness of her supreme nakedness. “I’ve got a spare key…not that I needed it,” he added, shifting his feet, “since the front door was wide open. I did knock, though.” He paused for a second before adding, “Sorry to barge in.”

She heard what he didn’t say—that Ella had been barging her happy butt into his side of the duplex all week, assuming that as long as no women were around (which strangely enough, there never were) it wasn’t that big of a deal. And from what she could tell, it hadn’t been; Charlie hadn’t said so much as a peep. Which meant she was being a big fat hypocrite.

A very naked, slightly cold, incredibly freaked-out hypocrite.
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Rachel Harris - Author photoNew York Times bestselling author Rachel Harris writes humorous love stories about sassy girls-next-door and the hot guys that make them swoon. Vibrant settings, witty banter,
and strong relationships are a staple in each of her books…and kissing. Lots of kissing.

An admitted Diet Mountain Dew addict and homeschool mom,she gets through each day by laughing at herself, hugging her kids, and watching way too much Food Network with her husband. She writes young adult, new adult, and adult romances, and LOVES talking with readers!

Website | Facebook |Twitter | Rachel Harris Goodreads | Newsletter Sign Up

giveawaySigned copies of TASTE THE HEAT, SEVEN-DAY FIANCE, and ACCIDENTALLY MARRIED ON PURPOSE and $10 Amazon Gift Card for 1 Person

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Pleasant reading, 

 

Release Day Blitz & Review: Ryan Revisited-Sam Davis

cooltext1889161239 copy When you don’t have any idea who you are, how do you decide who you want to be?
Who is Ryan Ester? The Southern-belle-in-training her estranged father wants her to be? The laid-back Montana girl she became after her parents’ divorce? Or someone she has to discover on her own?When Ryan’s only shot at going to college is on her father’s dime, Ryan leaves Bluffs, Montana to return to the antebellum South she once called home. As if the move wasn’t hard enough, Ryan’s first love, who recently left her a broken-hearted mess, has a scholarship to none other than Ryan’s destination, the University of the South.

Ryan Ester may not know who she is, but she sure as heck knows who she doesn’t want to become. As she tries to navigate scandal, heartache, and the unbearable pressure to look and act perfect every waking second, she resents being pushed by everyone who wants to decide for her. For the sake of her own sanity and the hearts of those she cares most about, she will have to find a way to forge her own path.

RYAN REVISITED is the story of a young woman’s search for identity. For serenity. For the perfect landing spot for her aching heart.

Author’s Note: RYAN REVISITED is also suitable for Mature YA readers as it does not contain graphic sexual situations.

cooltext1889171582 copy3/5 Stars

***I received this eARC as a gift in exchange for an honest review via the author and with participation in this tour.

+++Slight trigger and content warning: violence, assault, drugs/alcohol

PROS:

  • Ryan’s trauma is crippling. It takes over her life in waves of depression and helplessness. Ryan struggles to figure out who she is and how to fix what she perceives as broken and not good enough because of a horrendous relationship with her father. Ryan’s thoughts and emotions are all over the place, a heady mix of sadness and heartache. Ryan’s pain is raw and brutal. She questions every action, every choice, trying to fit into a stereotypical image that wars with her moral conscience. Sometimes Ryan is beautiful, kind-hearted, she sees the world as a place that can be honest and light, where people can accept and be loved at face value. Other times, Ryan is so consumed with her own issues that she lashes out, she hurts, and tramples people’s feelings to cushion her heart. There were many times where Ryan’s blunt honesty was like a knife, gutting and painful. She thought only of what she needed to get off her chest and ignored how it impacted others. As a girl torn between two different worlds with no idea how she fits into either, Ryan’s harsh reactions, her emotions bottled up tight, her willingness to react before she thinks, and yearning for sisterhood makes perfect sense. 
  • Ryan Revisited reads both like a diary and two different books. The storyline is connected but as a person, Ryan is divided. Capturing the contrasts between worlds and Ryan’s tug towards both was really well done and unique. 
  • Each sorority sister, every character had a hidden depth and painful story. Everyone was going through something that changed them, that made them transform into the people they were. As the puzzle pieces began to fit together, key character insights and secrets were revealed. Each character was memorable and had distinct personality. Goody was hilarious, an outrageous, excessively Southern little fireball. I adored her. Tyler was the quintessential flirty frat boy who had a soft side under the playboy. His shameless flirting was incredibly cute. 
  • Manny is the full package. An athlete, sensitive artist, charismatic romantic, friendly, a guy that everyone can’t help but love. Manny is scarred by his past, by the loss of his father that devastated his family. Manny’s fear of history repeating itself is heavy and weighs down on him. He lives by the life lesson of if you love something let it go. Manny can’t lie to Ryan, he forces her to reevaluate, to really look at herself, to see what he sees. Manny is a bit of a tortured soul that doesn’t let his past hinder his joy and willingness to live life in the now. Sexy, deep, Manny and Ryan share moments that happen to be smoldering and sweet at the same time. The emotional connection is always at the forefront. 

CONS:

  • Sometimes Ryan’s emotions were suffocating and felt a little excessive, borderline manic. Her constant bursts into tears and near catatonic fits grated and sometimes made the plot drag. Ryan’s fragility, her pain is one of the things that makes her so easy to identify with but at the same time, I found myself struggling to understand her panic attacks, even with knowing her entire back story. Why she reacted so spastically and made the choices she did were puzzling. 
  • The whole story is based on Ryan’s struggle to find herself, who she wants to be, and what she wants out of life. Throughout the book she lives on whim and random ideas, she never stops to question what she wants, I felt like that crucial moment, that pause when Ryan should have sat down with a pen (literally or mentally) and jotted down some ideas was absent. For someone who was trying to figure things out, she went in with a tiny idea and winged it, there was no planning. It felt odd for someone whose sole goal was to sort herself out. 
  • There are a few scenes where Ryan is at the center of physical altercations and gets injured. Some scenes involve aggressive male contact, basically assault. Ryan’s fear is potent, her confusion more so, how things can flip in an instant startles her. After quite a few of these situations, Ryan continues to brush them off, basically shrugging of the precarious situation because she doesn’t want to cause issues with the frat. This infuriated me. Ryan drifts between too perceptive and oblivious. She closes her eyes to what’s important and sometimes her choices left me enraged. How do you associate with/let your guard down around someone who won’t take no for an answer and uses force?
cooltext1889172435 copy
cooltext1921345213 copy “You’re changing, Ryan. This isn’t you.”

“If you’re so disgusted with my choices and you think I’ve changed so much, then why do you
even keep talking to me?”

 “Because I keep thinking …” Manny looked into my eyes. “I keep hoping I’m wrong.”

 ***
“You just don’t understand. You don’t understand how it is,” I told him.
“I’m not trying to interfere in your life, Ryan. I get that you have a life at U South that doesn’t include me, one I don’t fit into.”
“No, you don’t get it. I don’t live a double life.”
“Don’t worry about it, Ryan. I’ll stay in the life where I belong—I won’t try to find a place in
your other one.”
“Don’t be so dramatic.” Before I could stop my father’s words, they came out at Manny.
“Who are you, Ryan?”
How could he say that to me? After everything I was so honest about with him, how could he? “Goodbye, Manny.” I turned around and walked to my room, slamming the door behind me. Refusing to ever hear Manny ask me that again.
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Sam Davis loves to write tucked away in her cave with a large sweet iced tea and the occasional (grossly understated) chocolate vice. She lives in Texas now with her hunky husband and three young daughters, but she was born in Georgia and went to high school under the beautiful Big Sky of Montana. Due to Sam’s nearly alarming obsessive personality and lack of gumption to act her age, she spends too much time reading YA and NA books, watching the CW, using emoticons and hashtags, shopping at Nordstrom BP, and writing anything and everything,
anywhere and everywhere. She loves to eat, Jillian Michaels (in that order), Nutella, going to the movies, the written word, Jesus, Auburn football, Ron Pope, Big Sky Country, and every kind of person.
  
If you like any of the following, you’ll enjoy this:
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Release Day Blitz: Until You Fall in Love-Lyssa Layne

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Single mom Jordan Glastetter doesn’t know how she’d survive without her best friend, Abram Tomko. He’s the father her son never knew and he’s the rock she’s always leaned on. When Abram’s father suffers a heart attack, it’s Abram’s turn to depend on Jordan, finally seeing her as the woman she’s become and not the little girl he grew up with. Will they risk their friendship for a chance at love?
cooltext1921345213 copyAbram’s breath is warm on my neck and he’s closed the space between us. I turn around to face him, only for us to be less than a couple inches away from each other. Looking up into his chocolatey brown eyes, my heart races. Get it together, Jordan, this is only Abram Tomko. Your best friend. Your husband’s best friend.
“I’ll handle it, thanks for letting me know.” I try to sound confident, like the fearless, single mom that I pretend to be.
 
Abram frowns, his hand moving to my waist and I feel his rough fingers on my bare skin between my peach tank top and low rise jeans. “Don’t, Jordan. Don’t act like you’re in this alone. I’m right beside you, just like I’ve always been.”
 
I open my mouth to speak, but Abram puts his finger to my lips. He’s right, he knows my mannerisms better than I do. Now that he’s brought it to my attention, this is typical me. When something is difficult, when I don’t want to impose on him, I push Abram away, but he knows I need him as much as R.J. does.
 
“Jor, for the past five years it’s just been me, you, and R.J. We’re a family, just like the other kids in his class. There’s nothing to hide, nothing to be afraid of.”I nod, he’s right. He’s our family and just like every obstacle since Robby died, Abram will stick by my side. His finger moves away from my mouth and I start to speak again when I realize he’s lowering his head toward mine. Not sure what else to do, I nuzzle my face against his neck and he lets out a sigh, blowing my hair. His mouth finds my forehead where he plants a kiss. Without thinking, I brush my lips across his neck, my pulse racing erratically. One of his hands squeezes my waist while the other fists a handful of my hair. An unfamiliar desire rips through my stomach and I lower my mouth, kissing further along his neck. Abram tilts my chin up, looking into my eyes and I suck in my breath.

 
“Mommy…” 
 
Abram and I jump apart, partially as to not be caught, but more so because my five-year-old only calls me “Mommy” when something’s wrong. Abram takes a few steps toward R.J. and picks him up. “What’s wrong, buddy?”
 
My almost-kindergartner is frightened, his lips pressed into a straight line and the fear in his eyes lets us in on his secret. “Pop’s sick, real sick.”

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