Breathe, Annie, Breathe (Hundred Oaks) by Miranda Kenneally

Title: Breathe, Annie, Breathe
Series: Hundred Oaks #5
Author: Miranda Kenneally
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: July 15th 2014

Summary from Goodreads:
Annie hates running. No matter how far she jogs, she can’t escape the guilt that if she hadn’t broken up with Kyle, he might still be alive. So to honor his memory, she starts preparing for the marathon he intended to race.

But the training is even more grueling than Annie could have imagined. Despite her coaching, she’s at war with her body, her mind—and her heart. With every mile that athletic Jeremiah cheers her on, she grows more conflicted. She wants to run into his arms…and sprint in the opposite direction. For Annie, opening up to love again may be even more of a challenge than crossing the finish line.


Breathe, Annie, Breathe is hands down my favorite Hundred Oaks book.  Everything about this book was what I was in the mood for and what I needed, which is saying a lot since I don't typically lean towards contemporary books.  BAB is Annie's story; Annie decide she is going to run a marathon is honor of her boyfriend who passed away.

The training and struggles Annie faces starting her training from ground zero and hating run was incredibly relate-able.  I have run a half marathon before (3 to be exact) and I don't like running; I mainly don't like it because my knees hurt, the long runs are hard on my joints, and I am not very good at it.  I have been told that long runs might not really be in my cards anymore but that feeling though, crossing the finish line and achieving a goal has me going back to try again.  When Annie faces struggles and has running pains I felt like I was right there besides her commiserating with her. I have felt the desire to get sick on a run and just collapse from exhaustion and I have only run half marathons so I can't even imagine doubling that. I just wanted to be at the finish line cheering Annie on!

Her drive and goals are impressive and motivating; after finishing this book, I wanted to get up and train again.  Aside from the running the romance was slow building and genuine.  I thoroughly enjoyed the dates and competitiveness in both Jeremiah and Annie.  Each individual had their own history to live with yet their back stories felt true and not contrived just for a plot point.

Breathe, Annie, Breathe has a cute athletic guys,  a motivating marathon training group, and a swoony love story.  Just read it :)


Stacking the Shelves (168) - May 28th

Stacking the Shelves - hosted by Tynga at Tynga's Reviews - features books that you bought, borrowed, rented from the library, received for review, etc.


Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop

Splash Into Summer Giveaway Hop! 

Reading outside and enjoying the warm weather is one of our favorite activities! We are excited to be participating in this Splash into Summer Giveaway Hop.

Winner get's their choice of book from image below!

- US residents only (sorry International friends :()
- Ends June 8th, 2016
- Fill out the Rafflecopter to enter
- Winners will have 48 hours to respond before someone else is selected
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Visit Some of the other Blogs on the Hop Below or Here


Exit, Pursued by a Bear by E.K. Johnston

Title: Exit, Pursued by a Bear
Author: E.K. Johnston
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
Release Date: March 15th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:
“I love you,” Polly says suddenly when I’m almost to the door.

“I know,” I say.

Hermione Winters has been a flyer. She’s been captain of her cheerleading team. The envied girlfriend and the undisputed queen of her school. Now it’s her last year and those days and those labels are fading fast. In a few months she’ll be a different person. She thinks she’s ready for whatever comes next.

But then someone puts something in her drink at a party, and in an instant she finds herself wearing new labels, ones she never imagined:

Victim. Survivor. That raped girl.

Even though this was never the future she imagined, one essential thing remains unchanged: Hermione can still call herself Polly Olivier’s best friend, and that may be the truest label of all.

Heartbreaking and empowering, Exit, Pursued by a Bear is the story of transcendent friendship in the face of trauma.

“I love you,” I say, because I really, really do.

“I know,” says Polly.


If I were to describe this book in one word it would be friendship.  The friendship between the main character Hermione and her best friend Polly is the friendship most people strive for.  It is a friendship that never fails and is there through every good thing and every terrible thing.  The relationship between these two girls is one to be cherished and it makes for a truly heart-warming read.

Hermione needs her friends and family after her traumatic life event.  The author does an incredible job of not shying away from the hard words and tough situations that follow Hermione's rape.  The emotions felt honest and while at times, passages were hard to read they felt real.  I thought I had parts of the story predicated but was proved wrong.

This book will not be for everyone has it deals with some tough issues but it is well worth the read.  Exit, Pursued by a Bear is a book about a girl that is drugged and raped but survives with the help of family, friends, and cheer leading.  The story will pull you in and hold on to your heart strings until the very last page.


The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

Title: The Raven King
Series: The Raven Cycle #4
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Release Date: April 26th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:
Nothing living is safe. Nothing dead is to be trusted.

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.

Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.


There is so much to say about The Raven King yet so much that would spoil it.  The Raven King was an epic conclusion to a truly magical series.  In preparation for The Raven King, I re-listened to all the books on audio.  Will Patton does an amazing job of conveying the suspense, the magical world of Cabeswater, and the always evolving dynamics between all the characters.  The Raven King audio book was no exception; the audio truly transports the reader right into Henrietta, Virginia.

The Raven King is full of magical battles, tense and high stake situations, and a dynamic cast.  Small pieces introduced in previous books come back to play bigger roles in this one.  One of the things that makes The Raven King such a strong conclusion is that it weaves together all the story lines The Raven Cycle has been building upon in the last three books.  There are surprises all the way through the very last pages.  Just when I have an idea of where something might go, it takes a completely different turn.  The relationships, all of them- family, friends, and significant other- are always changing and always growing.  There is so much to the plot, it never slowed down!

I have re-read this series every time a new book comes out and I am still picking up on new things and quotes I missed the previous times.  If you have not started the series I highly recommend it!  The Raven King had all the plot, beautiful writing, and character development that makes a fantastic book.  I have no doubt that I will come back to this series again and again.


Love, Lies, and Spies by Cindy Anstey

Title: Love, Lies, and Spies
Author: Cindy Anstey
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Release Date: April 19th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:
Juliana Telford is not your average nineteenth-century young lady. She’s much more interested in researching ladybugs than marriage, fashionable dresses, or dances. So when her father sends her to London for a season, she’s determined not to form any attachments. Instead, she plans to secretly publish their research.

Spencer Northam is not the average young gentleman of leisure he appears. He is actually a spy for the War Office, and is more focused on acing his first mission than meeting eligible ladies. Fortunately, Juliana feels the same, and they agree to pretend to fall for each other. Spencer can finally focus, until he is tasked with observing Juliana’s traveling companions . . . and Juliana herself.


Love, Lies, and Spies was a fun nineteenth-century based loved story full of spying, secret missions, and ladybugs!  The writing style and dialogue fits the time period of the book which in turn had me rereading sentence every now and then. My only other reservation was the amount of characters. There are lots of characters and the author switches between using first names and last names that can get confusing if you are not great with names.   The plot started off a tad slow with quite a lot of build up but once the romance and courting season started I was hooked.

Juliana Telford is full of sassy comments, witty dialogue, and a mind of her one that goes against most of the ladies of her time.  She is into science and wants to get her natural science work published.  This strong female lead was well paired with Mr. Northam, who is a strong minded, smart fellow.  The connection and dynamic between the two characters is truly what makes the story. The spying aspects are a nice addition and felt like a welcomed secondary plot but never overtook the romance.

Love, Lies, and Spies was an enjoyable standalone that I would recommend if you are in the mood for old-fashioned English banter and a cute love story!


The Lonely Ones by Kelsey Sutton

Title: The Lonely Ones
Author: Kelsey Sutton
Publisher: Philomel
Release Date: April 26th 2016

Summary from Goodreads:
With parents too busy to pay her attention, an older brother and sister who would rather spend their time with friends, and peers who oscillate between picking on her and simply ignoring her, it’s no wonder that Fain spends most of her time in a world of her own making. During the day, Fain takes solace in crafting her own fantastical adventures in writing, but in the darkness of night, these adventures come to life as Fain lives and breathes alongside a legion of imaginary creatures. Whether floating through space or under the sea, climbing mountains or traipsing through forests, Fain becomes queen beyond – and in spite of – the walls of her bedroom.

In time, Fain begins to see possibilities and friendships emerge in her day-to-day reality. . . yet when she is let down by the one relationship she thought she could trust, Fain must decide: remain queen of the imaginary creatures, or risk the pain that comes with opening herself up to the fragile connections that exist only in the real world? Told in breathless and visual verse, THE LONELY ONES takes readers through the intricate inner workings of a girl who struggles to navigate isolation and finds friendship where she least expects it.

About Kelsey Sutton

Kelsey Sutton is the author of teen novels SOME QUIET PLACE and GARDENIA. She is also the author of two novels for middle grade readers, THE LONELY ONES and BENJAMIN. She lives in Minnesota, where she received a dual bachelor’s degree in English and Creative Writing from Bemidji State University. She is currently working on a master’s degree from Hamline University. Her work has received an Independent Publisher Book Award, an IndieFab Award, and was selected as a Kirkus Reviews Best Teen Book of 2013. When not writing, Kelsey can be found watching too much Netflix, ordering a mocha at the nearest coffee shop, or browsing a bookstore. You can like her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter @KelseyJSutton.


"I want to inform them that I am not silent because I have nothing to say.  I am silent because no one is listening." *

The Lonely Ones was not quite what I was expecting but in a very surprising way.  Some how I missed that The Lonely Ones is written in verse.  I cannot remember the last time I have read something written in verse but it worked for me.  I devoured this middle grade book in one sitting. The verse not only makes the writing beautiful but it also pulls the reader into the lyrical world until the story ends.  

Fain is visited by monsters during the night, monsters that visit the lonely ones.  Fain's feels isolated from both her peers at school and her family at home so her adventures with the monsters are her escape and her adventure.  Throughout the course of the book, Fain slowly makes friends and begins to need the monsters less and less.  

The beauty of this book is the elegant verse used to describe the sometimes hard family situation Fain has to live with and the personal journey Fain is going through.  As I was reading I kept highlighting different passages where the emotion and thoughts were so real it was hard to not stop and pause and stare at the words.  I am not typically drawn to verse but am glad I picked up The Lonely Ones.  If you are willing to give verse a try then I am sure you will enjoy this powerful and beautiful story of a lonely young girl who finds the happiness in herself and others.   

* Quote taken from uncorrected proof


2 Signed copies of The Lonely Ones (US & Canada)


March & April 2016 Recap

Nicole Read

Ashley Read

  March & April Favorites

Nicole's Pick

Ashley's Pick

March & April Reviews

      What's New With Nicole

      March was a calmer month than January and February but it was still a great one being a month of celebrations - my birthday, my mom's birthday, Easter, a book club baby shower, and more. Ashley and our friend Caroline drove up to Philly for my birthday and we spent the weekend exploring the city and hanging out with friends. It couldn't have been more perfect. And I made my first Tres Leche cake and it was a huge success! Aside from that, my Broad Street Run training is intensifying so I've been running A LOT. I also played Trampoline Dodgeball and tried what is reputably the best burger in Philly (and it was pretty damn tasty).

      April flew by, in part because I spent 17 days traveling through Germany, Belgium and The Netherlands. It was an AMAZING trip and we got so fortunate with weather and everything we have planned going pretty smoothly. Some of my favorite destinations were Rothenburg, Germany, Heidelberg, Germany, Ghent, Belgium, and Amsterdam, Netherlands - but everywhere we went was really spectacular. I miss Belgium Waffles and Kinder chocolate like nobody's business though. I also started my reread of Harry Potter and it's probably the best decision I ever made reading wise. I am LOVING being back in this magical world that had a huge impact on the reader I am today. I also hit the peak of my Broad Street Run training and will be running 10 miles on May 1st! Wish me luck!

      What's New With Ashley

      March was a busy month.  I was traveling all month for birthdays!  I went to Pittsburgh for my college roommates birthday then the following weekend I went to Philly to visit Nicole :) And finally I went to see my parents for my dad's birthday. All the celebrations were great.  I also decided to color my hair so the under side of my hair is currently shades of purple and blue.  I love it and hopefully plan to keep it throughout the summer.

      April has been a spring filled month, I have liked that the closer we get to May the nicer the weather is getting; the back and forth of cold and hot days has not been great.  Aside from enjoying the nice days, other big things are that my husband and I found a new church that we are trying out and so far it has really been working for us, so that has been wonderful.  As for bookish news, The Raven King came out this month and I got the opportunity to see Maggie Stiefvater on tour and get some books signed! OH, I also have finally opened an Etsy store: Sew Novel Shop. Right now I only have some key chains but I have some bookish fabric coming and plan to post some scarfs and bags soon!

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