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Tag Archives: author: lord

25663637When We Collided 
by  Emery Lord
Release Date: April 5, 2016
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: ALA 2015
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

Meet Vivi and Jonah: A girl and a boy whose love has the power save or destroy them.

Vivi and Jonah couldn’t be more different. Vivi craves anything joyful or beautiful that life can offer. Jonah has been burdened by responsibility for his family ever since his father died. As summer begins, Jonah resigns himself to another season of getting by. Then Vivi arrives, and suddenly life seems brighter and better. Jonah is the perfect project for Vivi, and things finally feel right for Jonah. Their love is the answer to everything. But soon Vivi’s zest for life falters, as her adventurousness becomes true danger-seeking. Jonah tries to keep her safe, but there’s something important Vivi hasn’t told him.

Perfect for fans of E. Lockhart and Jandy Nelson, When We Collided is a powerful story of two teens whose love is put to the test by forces beyond their control.– Goodreads


This book is openly going to be hard for me to review. I read it for a buddy read with my bookbff and ended up devouring it when I didn’t mean to. I read this during a point when I was dealing with my own anxiety and ultimately my own grief. During my read of When We Collided I lost my aunt and ultimately didn’t grief because denial is my middle name. I’m saying all of this because When We Collided was the right book at the right time. I bonded with Vivi and Jonah and will probably be offended when people say the characters are too much and didn’t work. I feel the same about Isla and The Happily Ever After because I feel Isla to my bones. Same with Vivi and Jonah. I feel them to my core. I understand their pain.

Vivi is a force of nature who comes into a coastal California town and changes everyone around her. What no one knows is that Vivi is fighting her own demons — which she deals with daily. It is clear from the beginning of the book that Vivi is unique and does not fit into whatever box you try to put her in. Including the labels that have been given to her.

“I keep thinking that I’m a different Vivi than I was just days ago, and I don’t know how to be the new version.”--pg 223 ARC

Then we have Jonah. Jonah’s father has recently died, his mother is falling apart and Jonah is trying to keep his shit together. Between his older siblings and himself they are trying to take care of the family and keep them all together.

“I want to tell her that I will with six heartbroken people, one of whom is catatonic. That kind of heartbreak smells like the aftermath of a car wreck, like hot metal. Oil. The chalky powder released by airbags.” –pg 149 ARC

What Lord did, which is no surprise to me, was pull the reader into a heart wrenching story of grief, love, but also finding yourself. This is one of those rare books that I saw myself in. Not just parts of me. But the sum of me. I saw that girl throughout When We Collided. The girl who debates taking her meds. The girl who loves food and the girl who is annoyed at her mother but still at the end of the day loves her mother with all of her heart. I even wanted to live in the beautiful Verona Cover.

When We Collided burrowed a hole into my cold bitter black heart to the point I’m very protective of it, Viv and Jonah. Both of whom would probably tell me they don’t need me. That they’re doing fine.

keeperThe Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: Library
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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? – Goodreads

There was once a time in my life that I avoided this kind of YA like the plague. I don’t even remember what happened to change that, but I’m glad it did. This book, though. I read it because it deals with loss, and I regretted reading it for the same reason. Loss and grief and guilt took over my life a little over 18 months ago, and though I think I’m myself again, or as much of myself as I can be now, the grief still sits there under my skin, waiting to boil over and consume me. Paige knew Aaron for a very short time, and she’s been grieving for only a little over a year, but everything she says still rings true. “The Look,” how people look at her and see Aaron, how when you’re at the beginning you don’t think you’ll ever feel anything other than this uncontrollable sadness ever again, even the fear that comes with the realization that you are still here. You really do have to give yourself permission to become a person again, to enjoy life and other people again. The big differences were what made this book so enjoyable though: Paige is still a teenager, she has so much left to accomplish, and she still approaches things with a teenager-like innocence. I wrote off Ryan Chase almost immediately, reading between the lines of not only the summary but the narrative itself. The only problem I have with YA now is that I’m impatient for them to just figure it all out, like I can somehow project my 30+ years of knowledge of boys onto them. Don’t be so shy! Don’t you understand that your “weird encounter” was meaningful? He’s just not that into you! Alas, as with in-the-flesh teenagers, you have to let them make their own mistakes.

I rooted for Max from the start. I’m always wary of popular boys in books, and even more so when they’ve just gotten out of a long-term relationship. Besides, who doesn’t want a guy who can argue the finer points of Jane Austen with you? That can’t just be me, can it? I got kind of mad at Paige for how she saw him. What’s wrong with a kid who builds model airplanes during recess? I think maybe part of it was getting that early glimpse of Max’s mom and wondering what it must have been like for her to have a son who had such a hard time with his peers. As a parent, you don’t want your child to go through any kind of pain, especially if you can’t stop it or explain it away. Has becoming a parent ruined me for YA? I really hope not. But really, I spent a lot of the time wondering where I can get my own Max Watson, or how I can raise my own son to be a Max Watson.

I’m having a hard time articulating my feelings about this book. I have been through what Paige has been through, not an accident, but a death all the same, and it changed me and my life. And yet, at the same time, it didn’t change me. Paige and I are the same at our centers, though a storm rages around us. What I appreciated most about this book was the clear (and very true) portrayal of grief, and how Paige’s friends rallied around her. I swooned when Max called her “a Jane,” and when the big reveal happened at the end, I sobbed. Like truly sobbed. This book is so not me, but it ended up being exactly what I was looking for.

TINA: I set my Goodreads goal at only 6 books this year (a huge departure from when I used to read 75 or more…) since children and reading aren’t generally something that goes hand in hand. And yet, I managed to go way over my goal, meaning I overshot by about 15 books. This was partially due to the required reading in my literacy class, but also due to me just needing to read. Books are my happy place, and it was just


necessary for me to get back there. And with that, here’s my list!

  • The Girl on the Train by Paula Hawkins
  • A History of Glitter and Blood by Hannah Moskowitz
  • The Accident Season by Moira Fowley-Doyle
  • Missing May by Cynthia Rylant
  • Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
  • Inside Out & Back Again by Thanhha Lai


ASHLEY: I am the opposite of Tina (in so many ways) but mostly the fact I set my Goodreads goal to be one more than the amount I read last year. I have little going in my life and am constantly reading (NO REGRETS!) As of writing this I have read 306 books out of my goal of 272. Out of those 306, I have chosen 13 books that were my top of the top. About 4% of what I’ve read, which is interesting because this means I’ve become a little more picky in my reading. Out of those 13, 11 are by women (YAY LADIES!). Out of those 12, 10 came out this year. One came out in a previous and one comes out next year! Here is my list in no particular order.Devoted_cover image

  • If I Was Your Girl by Meredith Russo
  • The Fill in Boyfriend by Kasie West
  • The Start of Me and You  by Emery Lord
  • None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
  • I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
  • Audrey, Wait! by Robin Benway
  • Everything, Everything by Nicola Yoon
  • Kissing in America by Margo Robb
  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
  • George by Alex Gino
  • Devoted by Jennifer Mathieu
  • Dumplin’ by Julie Murphy
  • What We Saw by Aaron Hartzler

22429350The Start of Me and You by Emery Lord
Release Date: March 31, 2015
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Source: ARC provided by publisher. Thanks Bloomsbury!
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

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? – Goodreads


The Start of Me and You is the story of Paige, or as she is known in high school, the girl who’s boyfriend died. That’s the type of town Paige lives in, the one where everyone has a nickname, even if it one that they don’t enjoy. So here Paige is with this nickname hanging over her, and while she misses her boyfriend, they really didn’t date long enough for her to properly feel his loss. It was the beginning of a relationship, not the meaty middle, but this doesn’t stop her neighbors, and people that she sees from giving her the sad sympathetic eyes that make her feel guilty for trying to live again.

You think, given the diversity of the human population, that we would have come up with multiple facial expressions for sympathy. But no. There’s one: eyebrows and mouth downturned, head tilted like a curious bird. —p3, printed ARC.

The guilt entered my bloodstream like a toxin —p3, printed ARC.

While I have not had a great death in my family (that I can remember) I know that feeling of guilt. I know that feeling well. On the third page of The Start of Me and You I was hooked. What I didn’t expected was how hooked I was going to be in Paige’s story. I devoured this book. My BookBFF and I have started a handwritten bookclub and I expected to write my letter while reading this book. But nope. No one has time for that. I read this so fast that I didn’t have time to take notes. I did use tons of tabs because Ashley. Ashley has the feeeeels.

Although I loved so many aspects of The Start of Me and You, what worked for me was the concentration on friendships and how much they can help you when you have the right friends. For part of the novel Paige is frustrated with her friend Kayleigh because Paige can see that she is making a poor life choice, but Paige knows nothing  she says will make Kayleigh see it. We’ve all been there, or at least I know I have been there. And it’s painful and it doesn’t always work out in the “right” away but never once wavered being friend with Kayleigh she was always there for Kayleigh, even if Paige wanted to rip her hair out. Friendship wasn’t wrapped in a neat bow here, particularly because Paige doesn’t understand why her friends say with her.

Tessa (Paige’s closest friend) lived through losing Aaron right beside me. It seemed unfair that she was always the one supporting me. Her life would have been so much lighter if it weren’t entwined with mine.–p172, printed ARC.

This gutted me. Because although I have not suffered that great loss, I understand what it’s like to have friends and not believe that I deserve them. From blogger friends, to friends that live near me in Phoenix, to online best friends that have become in person friends that happen to live thousands of miles away from me. All of them have something in common, besides being my friend, is that when I have my lowest of lows, I don’t get why their lives are entwined with mine. Why they stay. When Paige said this I wanted to crawl into the book and hug her so hard.

I also enjoyed the use of not only the High School English class, but also quiz bowl and how Lord made it not only work for Paige, but also made Paige grow outside her comfort zone which was interesting to see. There of course is an adorable boy named Max, who Paige ignores for the longest time, because it’s just Max and she cares for his cousin Ryan. What I enjoyed was how Max and Ryan joined Paige’s fold of friends. They were all welcomed quirks and all. If anything they made the four girls stronger and it was refreshing to see.

I found The Start of Me and You to yes be a story of moving on, but also about finding your true self, second chances, and that group of friends that have your back even when you think no one should. While The Start of Me and You is the follow up to Emery Lord’s debut standalone Open Road Summer it does not suffer from the dreaded second book slump of an author. Not one bit. While I love and adore Open Road Summer I believe I actually enjoyed Start of Me and You even more. I wasn’t aware it was possible to love a book more than I loved Open Road Summer but I guess it is! I originally tweeted in the middle of reading Start of Me and You“Reading an @emerylord book is like coming home from vacation. It’s the best feeling.” And I stick by that, because she has a way with words which involves me almost being nostalgic for my teen years.

Everyone does best of the best lists on blogs. It is one of my highlights of blogs because I love seeing what hit books I missed during the year. Or what books someone loved and I loathed (because this happens). In no particular order here are my favorite 10 books of the year:

  1. Anything by Oliver Jeffers. I read everything and anything by him and enjoyed it. While not everything was five 18298225stars, most was and if anything I would give it more than five stars if possible. From The Hueys to Once Upon the Alphabet you can not go wrong with Jeffers.
  2. On The Fence and Split Second by Kasie West. Although I am friends with West, this does not effect my  rating on her books. I love her books and the fact that On the Fence made me cry says something. Mostly that she’ll mock me about it. But really, West gets that part of being a teenager that no one talks about and isn’t always fair. But also the sweet moments, the little moments, the falling in love moments.
  3. Everything Leads to You by Nina LaCour. I’m about 99.9% sure that I have flailed about this book to everyone this year. It was sweet and it’s just a really nice love story. It’s heart breaking and real and I wanted to live in this novel. Even talking about it now, is making me want to re-read it.
  4. Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson. This is one of the few books I truly devoured this year. I loved the emphasis on friendship and making people go outside of what makes them comfortable. And yes, this is coming from me. A very predictable person. But I love Matson’s writing and that was affirmed in this book.
  5. Rapture Practice by Aaron Hartzler. Do I really need to flail about this book? You all know how much I love it. Read it. Cry. Come talk to me so we can flail together.
  6. Landline by Rainbow Rowell While this was far more of an adult book and I didn’t relate to it on the level that I 16081202related to Fangirl I still loved and adored Landline. I get emotions reading Rowell’s writing that I don’t get from everyone else.
  7. Open Road Summer by Emery Lord. Flawed, real girls that you related to? Yes please. I adored this book. Hearts in my eyes.
  8. Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. We all waited so long for this book and it did not disappoint me. The way I related to Isla is just a tad embarrassing.
  9. The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand. I’m still crying right? The tears have they stopped? Oh this book. It was so. so. so. good.

What have you read and loved this year?

firstloves_blogtour_a (4)


Today,  we are happy to bejoining Bloomsbury in the First Loves blog tour, celebrating five authors and their new summer books. We hope you enjoy the question I (Ashley) decided to ask!

Side note: tonight, I am lucky enough to go to my local indie and hang with three of the lovely authors: Jillian Cantor, Lindsey Leavitt, and Emery Lord. One of whom is a local author and friend (hi Jillian!), one who’s books I have always loved (hi Lindsey!), and a brand new author who has recently become my friend and I joke with her “came for the book, stayed for the feminism and snark! (Hi Emery!) When Bloomsbury asked us to host this blog tour, I say “yes” so fast, I may have scared the lovely person I was emailing!

Thanks ladies for answering my question!

Authors Included, if not clickable, review coming soon!


The Question: What do you wish you could tell yourself about your first love?



Lindsey Leavitt, The Chapel Wars

He isn’t and never is going to be perfect. Throw out perfect. Find the good in him and in yourself and celebrate that. Also, yeah, you’re going to make babies with your first love someday. SOMEDAY. 🙂






Jillian Cantor, Searching for Sky

My first love was my high school boyfriend, who is now my husband. He’s two years older than me, and I spent a good portion of the summer before he left for college (and I was still stuck in high school) worrying about how and when we were going to break up. But, we actually never did. We continued dating, even long distance while he was at college and I was in high school. Eventually I went to the same college as him, we both graduated, he moved with me across the country for grad school and we got married. So I guess what I wish I could tell myself was not to worry so much and that everything was going to work out.



Emery Lord, Open Road Summer

That it will all be okay. That it’ll turn out exactly the way it’s meant to. It can be so hard to see, when you’re in the thick of any relationship, what direction you’re even headed in—let alone where you’ll end up. In my case, I’d say: you are lucky he came into your life. That will always be true.


Kristen Rae, Wish You Were Italian

You picked a good one. (I married him, hee hee)






Mandy Hubbard, Fool Me Twice

Oyyyy. That’s a messy one. I guess I’d warn myself that most of what he’s said about himself is a lie. He’s not homeschooled—he dropped out. He’s not waiting to get his license because he was traumatized by a family member’s car accident—he just hasn’t gotten around to it. He’s not always the victim—in fact he’s got a hell of a temper problem.  That’s probably a bit dark/serious in contrast with my novel, but my first love was one heck of a roller coaster!


16081202Open Road Summer by Emery Lord
Release Date: April 15, 2014
Publisher: Walker
Source: ALAMW2014
Rating: starstarstarstarstar
Buy It: Amazon | IndieBound

After breaking up with her bad-news boyfriend, Reagan O’Neill is ready to leave her rebellious ways behind. . . and her best friend, country superstar Lilah Montgomery, is nursing a broken heart of her own. Fortunately, Lilah’s 24-city tour is about to kick off, offering a perfect opportunity for a girls-only summer of break-up ballads and healing hearts. But when Matt Finch joins the tour as its opening act, his boy-next-door charm proves difficult for Reagan to resist, despite her vow to live a drama-free existence. This summer, Reagan and Lilah will navigate the ups and downs of fame and friendship as they come to see that giving your heart to the right person is always a risk worth taking. A fresh new voice in contemporary romance, Emery Lord’s gorgeous writing hits all the right notes. – Goodreads


No review of this will give this book justice. It is important I state that right away because this book gave me all the ericafeels. I’m not even joking. When I finished this book I proceeded to email my friend the following. That was it. No “hi.” No “bye.” Just feeeels. To be fair, this friend did recommend this book to me, and knew I was reading it but that was the whole email to her because, and I still agree, it sums up Open Road Summer extremely well.


This is the story of Reagan, who happens to be BFFs with Lilah, the hottest pop country singer of the moment and Lilah’s summer tour. Lilah is known for her squeaky clean image and her heart being in her music. Lilah has been there for Reagan and Reagan is always there for Lilah. Here’s what I loved about this book (besides everything): Reagan is a flawed person and owns the fact she’s flawed. She has had run-ins with the law, her best friend leaves her for most of the year, her mother left her and she doesn’t get along with her step-mother at all because her and her father were fine on their own.

When Reagan has the chance to tour with Lilah and become a better person Reagan, and her cast leg jump at the chance. What Reagan doesn’t see coming is the fact that Lilah’s image takes a hit and the record label asks musician, and Lilah’s friend to come along, be the opener and be her “fake” boyfriend. Matt Finch, all the hearts in my eyes for you. Matt used to be part of a boyband with his family, and he is trying to branch out and be himself, and oh how he is himself. Because Reagan is used to the bad boys in her life, she doesn’t know what to. Matt is nothing that she expected or is even used to. She also is very blunt and to the point and that makes him laugh. Often.

Between the love story and the story of friendship, and growth, Lord’s writing shines. I finished this book and after my email freak out I wanted to open it again and start again. I wanted to be friends with these characters and tell them everything will be okay. Even though I didn’t know. They were that real to me. They’re all messy, they’re not perfect, there is anger, and hurt, and stubborn characters who are a wee bit sarcastic that I may have related to and mean words and the ending wasn’t wrapped in a neat perfect bow. do with Matt, but slowly Matt finds himself a place in Reagan’s heart.

That lack of a neat perfect bow slowly did kill me though, because the only thing I want is to know more between Lilah and her first love. And even Matt and Reagan. Will they be okay? WHAT HAPPENS?! I understand that open end ending are nice and they have their place, but I want to make sure they’ll be okay forever. Who knew I was such a romantic? I promise, I do understand that this is a YA novel and it had to end at some point, but really I wanted it to never end.