The Whimsical Mama

<3 Such is the life of a stay at home mommy and Army wife (:

*ARC Review* The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord May 25, 2015

***mild spoilers may follow***

***affiliate links are used***

Rating:  5 stars
Pub date: 31 March 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Genre: Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Format: e-ARC provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review, ARC provided by OTSP ARC tour
Status:standalone

Summary:
Following her pitch-perfect debut Following her pitch-perfect debut Open Road Summer, Emery Lord pens another gorgeous story of best friends, new love, & second chances.

Brimming with heartfelt relationships and authentic high-school dynamics The Start of Me and You proves that it’s never too late for second chances.

It’s been a year since it happened—when Paige Hancock’s first boyfriend died in an accident. After shutting out the world for two years, Paige is finally ready for a second chance at high school . . . and she has a plan. First: Get her old crush, Ryan Chase, to date her—the perfect way to convince everyone she’s back to normal. Next: Join a club—simple, it’s high school after all. But when Ryan’s sweet, nerdy cousin, Max, moves to town and recruits Paige for the Quiz Bowl team (of all things!) her perfect plan is thrown for a serious loop. Will Paige be able to face her fears and finally open herself up to the life she was meant to live?

My thoughts:
I received this ARC as part of the ARC tour hosted by On The Same Page. I also received a digital ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Neither of these copies swayed my opinion in any way.

Following in the vein of Open Road Summer, The Start of Me and You is full of best friends and second chances. As her second book, Emery ran the risk of the “sophomore slump,” by The Start of Me and You is anything BUT a slump! The Start of Me and You starts strong and ends stronger.

My absolute favourite thing in The Start of Me and You is the power of friendship. Paige and her group of friends are the perfect example of a great friendship. It’s not perfect by any means, but what friendship is? They know and understand each other through thick and thin. There’s one phone call that brings to mind an important friendship defining moment in my life. I won’t spoil the situation though! If you want to know my moment, send me a message on twitter! (@armywife2310)

As Paige grows and starts her life anew, her group of friends grows and changes to include guys. This group is reminiscent of my group of friends in high school – only we were in band! I think Emery did a great job of showcasing that teen guys and girls CAN have a relationship with zero romance. I’m a firm believer that friendship isn’t influenced by gender. One of my best friends in high school was a guy. Yes, we did try dating. No, we didn’t magically fall in love. Yes, we were MUCH better friends than a romantic item!

That being said though, Emery does a spectacular job weaving in the path to romance. I love that this pair starts their relationship based on friendship. They get to know the real side of each other and the affection slowly shifts from friend to romantic interest. I was totally shipping them before the ship even sailed!

Another thing I applaud Emery for is showing the nerdy side of life. That the nerd and the jock can get along and even be best friends. Beauty is not the only thing to attract a mate. I loved the geeking out. I was all about some Quiz Bowl in The Start of Me and You! I loved the breaking out the big guns by Max with Pride and Prejudice. Brava Emery for showing a guy can be well read too! I loved how passionate Max was about his interests and not being ashamed over them. Love what you love! I also loved the Open Road Summer shout out. (:

I loved getting to see Paige grow and change as she worked her way through her grief and her new chapter in life. I couldn’t relate on a personal level other than a fellow classmate succumbing to cystic fibrosis complications as our senior year started. I didn’t know Erin well, but her death still had a huge impact on me. Paige’s courage and determination were inspiring. Each step was hard fought, but also won. She knew she could never go back to the way things were, but she worked hard to get things to where she wanted. Eve if a thing or two was not how she originally planned it to be.

A bit heavier than Open Road Summer, but still a quick and enjoyable read for this non-contemporary fan! I definitely recommend adding Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You to your spring/summer reading list and Emery Lord to your authors to always read list!

About the Author

I’m Emery, and I write books about flawed girls who are really trying, complicated families, friends who show up even when everything’s going down in flames, the boy who Gets You even when you don’t expect it, and the summer that changed everything.

Open Road Summer is out now, and The Start of Me & You releases March 31st, 2015.

I don’t check my GR inbox, but feel free to get in touch via ways listed on my website!
http://www.emerylord.com/p/site-qs.html

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Character Reveal: Wilhelmina Korte from The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows March 2, 2015

OQ-tour2

Today, I am SO excited to be a part of the Character Reveal part of The Orphan Queen blog tour! I absolutely love Jodi and her books! As much as I loved her Newsoul trilogy, I love The Orphan Queen THAT MUCH MORE!

Now, before I introduce you to my girl, Wil, I want to show you the beautiful cover (I mean really, I want to frame it for my office when I remodel this spring!) and the summary!

18081228(Gorgeous, right?!) The Orphan Queen

Pub date: 10 March 2015
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books, HarperTeen
Genre:Young Adult Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
Status: Book one of The Orphan Queen duology

 

FIND IT: GOODREADS || AMAZON || BARNES & NOBLE || INDIEBOUND || BOOK DEPOSITORY

Summary:

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others,

Jodi Meadows introduces a vivid new fantasy full of intrigue, romance, dangerous magic, and one girl’s battle to reclaim her place in the world.

 

oq-wil-fact1

I am here to introduce to you the incredible Wilhelmina “Wil” Korte! Here’s the full fact that I’m sharing with you today:

Almost ten years ago, Wilhelmina and the Ospreys were kidnapped to the kingdom that conquered their homeland. They stayed in an orphanage for a year until they orchestrated a breakout, then took over an old, abandoned castle in the mountains. Wil and the other older Ospreys raised the younger ones, hiring tutors to further their education and combat training. 

Now, I’ve already had the chance to jump into this strange new world Jodi has created, but just for fun, I’m going to play along that I haven’t!

I can’t even imagine being kidnapped from my homeland to the kingdom that conquered mine. I could draw parallels with a certain group kidnapping Americans, but I’m not getting into that. Not drawing the focus away from Wil & the Ospreys!

Why were the Ospreys kidnapped in the first place? With magic being such an important part of Wil’s world, it leads to a lot of strain between nations. I think that magic plays a big part in the Ospreys being kidnapped. (Obviously, I’m not going to TELL you why, just some thoughts I had before I read.)

How do they get the nickname Ospreys? Again, this is a big spoiler, but I find the backstory fascinating! There isn’t a detail too small for Jodi to flesh out and leave to chance.

I think it speaks volumes of the character of Wil and the other Ospreys to take the younger kids under their wings and make sure they get a full education. (Plus some combat training, cause you know a battle is going to go down!) When I was Wil’s age, I  was concerned with MY education. I wasn’t concerned with anyone else. The older Ospreys are basically parents to the younger kids. That’s A LOT of pressure on this group as it is.

What kind of education do you think these orphans are getting? One thing Wil learns is calligraphy! I think it’s amazing that to fully understand Wil, Jodi learned calligraphy herself. Check out her Instagram (unicornwarlord) to see just how talented she is! She was doing an awesome pre-order gift, but I’m not sure if you can still get that or not. Either way, you should pre-order and then ask if Jodi is still doing the calligraphy cards!

If you could pick one combat skill to learn with the Ospreys, what would you want to learn? I definitely would want to learn some hand to hand fighting and maybe even some dagger skills.

This is just a small glimpse into Wil and not even really scratching the surface on the Ospreys. For more character reveal information, make sure you check out the character tour leading up to release day week! The stops are as follows:

3/2 – The Whimsical Mama

3/3 – Aphonic Book Reviews

3/4 – Adventures in Reading

3/5 – Step Into Fiction

3/6 – Read Write Love 28

3/9 – Just a Broke Bookworm

3/10 – Love is Not a Triangle

3/11 – Jenuine Cupcakes

3/12 – The YA Book Traveler

3/13 – Katie’s Book Blog

Keep an eye out for my review on release day too! Now the mastermind behind Wil & The Orphan Queen! Jodi Meadows herself!

11Meadows-0051-240x300

Jodi Meadows lives and writes in the Shenandoah Valley, Virginia, with her husband, a Kippy*, and an alarming number of ferrets. She is a confessed book addict, and has wanted to be a writer ever since she decided against becoming an astronaut. She is the author of the INCARNATE Trilogy and the forthcoming ORPHAN QUEEN Duology (HarperCollins/Katherine Tegen).

*A Kippy is a cat.

FIND JODI AT: WEBSITE || TWITTER || GOODREADS || TUMBLR || FACEBOOK

 

 
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