INTL Blog Tour + Review: “Stay a Little Longer” by Dawn Lanuza

Stay a Little Longer (Dawn Lanuza)

Title: Stay a Little Longer
Author: Dawn Lanuza
Publication Date: May 28, 2019
Publisher: Andrews McMeel Publishing
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
Pre-order: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Books-A-Million | Kobo | iBooks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley in exchange for an honest opinion.

 

A perfect romantic read, Dawn Lanuza’s Stay A Little Longer is sure to leave hearts beating faster and feeling just as full.

They were perfect strangers – all perks, no strings. Until they weren’t.

Elan wasn’t supposed to meet Caty. She lived halfway arounf the world, and he barely left Manila. Yet here he was, giving her a ride to the airport. Covinced that they would never have to see each other after that day, Elan and Caty started to bond over truths, dares, stolen kisses, and games in hotel rooms and bars.

With brief encounters that turned them from acquiantances to friends – tipping to the point of lovers, always – will Elan and Caty keep settling for a day, or will someone finally dare to stay long enough to discover: Is this love?

I have a confession.

I am just a little bit in love with Stay a Little Longer.

Okay, I lied. I’m in love with this book. Like a lot in love.

With a realistic storyline a lot of people would be able to relate to, likable and believable characters, and straightforward and succinct writing, there’s a lot to love in this little book. It was a quick read, with only 200++ pages. I managed to finish reading this within the same day I started it. But, even with its brevity, Dawn Lanuza made every page count. She wielded perfect control of the story’s pace, dropping hints for readers to pick up just enough to tease them and unloading revelations about the characters in all the right places. Maybe the third person perspective made me feel like there’s still somehow a transparent wall in between me and the characters, but nevertheless, it didn’t prevent me from enjoying the story.

As much as I loved the writing though, it was the characters – Elan and Caty – who were the stars of this book.

Stay a Little Longer Quote #1

When we first meet Elan and Caty they were both in love with other people. Living in opposite halves of the world, the two wouldn’t have met but chance brought them together.

Caty and Elan couldn’t be more different from one another. She’s loud and sometimes brash, while he’s quiet and closed-off. However, as they began to get to know one another, the two discover unlikely similarities until what started off as awkward became familiar, instinctual even – strangers becoming friends then evolving into something more, always hovering over an invisible line.

I loved Caty and Elan. I think most people will find a bit of themselves in both characters. They were real and relatable, and so, so easy to like. I rooted for them from the get-go. They had great chemistry and their attraction was very obvious right from the beginning of the story. It was truly a treat watching these two come together in the end, frustrating and tough as it was at times.

Stay a Little Longer Quote #1 (1)

Stay a Little Longer perfectly captures the push and pull of falling in love – its sweetness and urgency, its mess and complications. It didn’t discount the difficulties of maintaining a long distance relationship, which I, as a person whose own LDR burned out, appreciated. The ending was perfect and entirely satisfying, a balm to my jaded heart.

This book has my highest recommendations. Romance and NA readers will definitely find it easy to fall in love with this one, but I think everyone else will find something in Stay a Little Longer that they will enjoy. I will definitely explore other #romanceclass titles after this.

About the Author

Dawn Lanuza

DAWN LANUZA writes contemporary romance, young adult fiction, and prose poetry. She has two first loves – music and writing – and is lucky enough to surround herself with them. She currently lives with her family and a very loved cream toy poodle.

Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 

Follow the Tour

Check out the rest of these cool bloggers and their blogs for the rest of the Stay a Little Longer Blog Tour hosted by The Royal Polar Bear Reads and The Nocturnal Fey.

May 22

Erika @ The Nocturnal Fey

Rafael @ The Royal Polar Bear Reads

Jen @ Jen D Bibliophile

May 23

Angela @ Hiding Behind Books

Jenny @ Levicorpvs Blog

Alice @ Married to Books Reviews and Blog

May 24

Shaa @ Moonlight Pages

Cathrina @ Puggyreader Writes

Jennilyn @ Rurouni Jenni Reads

May 25

Ynnah @ The Youngvamp’s Haven

Bryan @ Bryan Hoards Books

Rachel @ In Between Book Pages

May 26

Naadhira @ legenbooksdary

Gerald @ Gerald the Bookworm

Danielle @ dmcireadsblog

May 27

Kat @ Reading After Ten

Princess @ Princess and Pages

Provocatrix @ Provocatrix

May 28

Kath @ The Last Reader

Jessica @ Endless Chapters

Rebecca @ Bookingway Reads 

And, to end this post, I’ll leave you with a song that reminds me just a little bit too much of Caty and Elan.

Review: “The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls” by Anissa Gray

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry GirlsTitle: The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls
Author: Anissa Gray
Publisher: Berkley
Publication Date: February 19, 2019
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐ ½
TW: Eating disorders, body hatred, child abuse, neglect
Get it: IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

Debut author Anissa Gray presents a startling oftentimes harsh picture of a family in The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls.

The Butler family has had their share of trials – as sisters Althea, Viola, and Lilian can attest – but nothing prepared them for the literal trial that will upend their lives.

Althea, the eldest sister and substitute matriarch, is a force to be reckoned with and her younger sisters have alternately appreciated and chafed at her strong will. They are as stunned as the rest of the small community when she and her husband Proctor are arrested, and in a heartbeat the family goes from one of the most respected in town to utter disgrace. The worst part is, not even her sisters are sure exactly what happened.

As Althea awaits her fate, Lillian and Viola must come together in the house they grew up in to care for their sister’s teenage daughters. What unfolds is a stunning portrait of the heart and core of an American family in a story that is as page-turning as it is important.

If you follow my blog then you’ll know how I feel about family dramas. They either work for me, like in the case of Tara Conklin’s The Last Romantics (which I reviewed a couple of weeks ago) or, well, lull me to sleep. But even with the genre’s track record I still, somehow, picked up another family drama to read hoping that I’ll once again hit the jackpot like I did with The Last Romantics.

It didn’t quite work out the way I wanted to.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls was a well-written story about the complex entity that is family. It dug deep into the core, dragging secrets, betrayals and shifting alliances into the surface.  Anissa Gray created a deeply flawed, utterly believable set of characters. There’s Althea, the eldest of the Butler siblings. She takes on the matriarch role when her mother dies at a young age, taking care and raising her siblings almost on her own. Then there’s intelligent Viola, the middle child who harbors a deep secret of her own. Last is Lilian, the baby of the family. Nervy, flummoxed, and unsure of herself, Lilian seemed to be the opposite of her formidable older sisters.

I greatly appreciated the way Gray wrote these three characters, these sisters who are so connected to one another. They are her narrators and movers both. These three women – Althea, Viola, and Lilian – were so effectively written, their voices and personalities so distinct that a reader would be able to easily tell who is who. Together, these three women carry the whole story on their shoulders, moving and dictating its flow, pace and direction with their every choice and decision.

This is one powerful story about family and all its complexities, and I appreciate that. I love that Anissa Gray tackled the topic of incarceration, giving us readers a glimpse into what the families of felons go through with the use of the Butler family. It’s something that you don’t see so much of.

That said, even with how amazingly well-crafted this story was, I still couldn’t connect with the characters. They felt far away. Reading this story was like watching from a distance as things happen to strangers. There isn’t much emotion involved.

Another part that could have used more work were Althea’s daughters Kim and Baby Vi. I felt like they were underutilized and only partly explored, a missed opportunity for the author. I honestly think these two characters could have added so much more to the story, maybe provide a contrasting image to their mother and aunts. Gray’s portrayal of bulimia though was particularly jarring and so realistic.

Overall, The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls was an excellent literary work. Anissa Gray is a promising new author. Her writing was beautiful and she created complex and very human characters. I’m definitely looking forward to reading more from her. However, I’ll be an outlier and say that while I enjoyed this book it didn’t quite stir my emotions. It could simply be a matter of personal preference, but this is my honest opinion of the book. I would still definitely recommend this to other readers, especially those who appreciate reading about complex family relationships.

Author Q&A (2)

Anissa GrayANISSA GRAY was born and raised in western Michigan. She graduated from Western Michigan University and received her Masters in English from New York University. After graduate school, Anissa went on to work as a print reporter at Reuters in Manhattan, covering global financial news. That was followed by a move to Atlanta and the initiation of her career in broadcast journalism at CNN, where she has held roles as writer, editor, and producer, receiving Emmy and DuPont awards for contributions to the network’ coverage of major stories.

After more than 20 years as a journalist, Anissa, a lifelong book lover and voracious reader, pursued fiction writing, applying her love of storytelling from the realm of real-life, newsworthy happenings to the events and encounters that shape our lives.

Website | Facebook | Instagram

 

Review: “The Last Romantics” by Tara Conklin

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Title: The Last Romantics
Author: Tara Conklin
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: February 5, 2019
Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐
IndieBound | Book Depository | Barnes and Noble | Amazon | Kobo | iBooks

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/39863498-the-gilded-wolves

ARC provided by the publisher through Edelweiss in exchange for an honest opinion.

 

Poetic and at moments heartbreaking, Tara Conklin’s sophomore offering tackles the love between siblings in The Last Romantics.

When the renowned poet Fiona Skinner is asked about the inspiration behind her iconic work, The Love Poem, she tells her audience a story about her family and a betrayal that reverberates through time.

It begins in a big yellow house with a funeral, an iron poker, and a brief variation forever known as the Pause: a free and feral summer in a middle-class Connecticut town. Caught between the predictable life they once led and an uncertain future that stretches before them, the Skinner siblings—fierce Renee, sensitive Caroline, golden boy Joe and watchful Fiona—emerge from the Pause staunchly loyal and deeply connected. Two decades later, the siblings find themselves once again confronted with a family crisis that tests the strength of these bonds and forces them to question the life choices they’ve made and ask what, exactly, they will do for love.

I’m not much for family sagas. Truthfully, I try to avoid them as much as possible because they either (a) bore me, or (b) too complicated to be believable. Most of the time, it’s a combination of the two for me. So I don’t know why I picked this book up, but whatever it was, I’m glad it made me click on that request button.

The Last Romantics was an emotional read – heartbreaking and illuminating both at the same time. It’s a story that tackles love, not the romantic kind despite the title, but the one shared between siblings.

Told from the point of view of poet Fiona Skinner, The Last Romantics follows the Skinner siblings: Renee, Caroline, Joe and Fiona. The lives of the four children drastically changes when their father suffers a heart attack, falling dead on the floor of his dental clinic in the summer of 1981. This one incident will ripple throughout their lives, changing each young child and affecting the adults they eventually will become.

The Last Romantics was a well-written, evocative story, and I enjoyed reading it. Sure, there were parts of it that felt off, things that didn’t make much sense: Fiona somehow knowing and then narrating her sisters’ and brother’s thoughts, ones they didn’t share with her; the use of the never-explained, partially-integrated future world devastated by climate change which, in hindsight, felt more and more like a ploy to explain Fiona’s longevity. Normally, these illogical bits would have been enough for me to put down any book, but what made me stuck through with this one were the characters.

Conklin drew completely realized characters, fleshed out and realistic, starting from her main character Fiona right down to the supporting casts. You can just imagine the other Skinner siblings doing their own stuff, living their own lives even if they aren’t on the page with Fiona, and that is a feat to pull off.

Great characters and writing aside though, what I loved the most about this book is how it explored sibling relationships. This book is so full of emotions, all throughout the story you’ll read about the ups and downs of the Skinner sibings much like how it is in real life. It was realistic how Conklin portrayed the siblings’ relationship, developing it and letting it evolved as the four Skinners grow older.

The Last Romantics made me think about my own siblings and there were definitely times when I saw a bit of myself in the characters. Much as I loved all of the characters though, I think I’m most partial to Renee probably because we’re both firstborns and we kind of have to grow up faster than our peers.

Overall, The Last Romantics was a terrific contemporary family drama. It was a beautiful exploration of the strong connections between siblings, and just how much each could and would do for one another. I definitely recommend this to contemporary lovers who love a heavy dosing of drama in their reading.

🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂

About the Author:

Tara ConklinTARA CONKLIN was born on St. Croix in the US Virgin Islands and raised in Stockbridge, Massachussetts. She is a graduate of Yale University, the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy, and New York University School of Law. A joint US-UK citizen, Tara now lives in Seattle. Her first novel, The House Girl, was a NYT bestseller, #1 IndieNext pick and Target book club pick.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram

First Line Fridays: “The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls” by Anissa Gray

First Line Fridays (feature photo)

First Line Fridays is a weekly feature hosted by Hording Books.


Happy Friday!

Today I’m going to be sharing to you the first couple of lines from my most recent read The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls.

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Althea
You do a lot of thinking in jail. Especially when you’re locked in the box that’s your cell. Mine is about as big as the walk-in closet I had back at home, but in place of leather bags and slingbacks and racks of clothes, I’ve got bunk beds, a stainless-steel sink-and-toilet combo, and a compact, padlocked cabinet. The cabinet’s where you keep your valuables, like family pictures, commissary and letters, including the one from your daughter that’s not addressed to you. The letter that, truth be told, you just can’t bring yourself to read, so you’ve got it tucked inside the Bible that belonged to your dead mother.

I just finished this book a day ago and I’m still thinking about it. The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls was an emotional read, and a great debut at that. But, having read this right after I finished Tara Conklin’s The Last Romantics, it kind of fell a bit flat to me. Don’t get me wrong, it was an exceptionally written novel, the problem’s on my end. I’d talk about this more in my review, which I’m hoping to get posted within next week.

The Care and Feeding of Ravenously Hungry Girls releases next week, February 26.

Have a happy weekend!

💗💗💗

Rachel

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