Google+ Jen Ryland/YA Romantics

Thursday, July 31, 2014

Mini-Reviews: Everything Leads to You and Like No Other

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In today's Mini-Reviews, I'm looking at two YA books that feature a not-so-typical YA love story: one is an LGBT romance and the other is a cross-cultural, interracial Romeo and Juliet story.

Everything Leads to You
by Nina LaCour

Published by Dutton
on May 15, 2014

Source: library


Synopsis from Goodreads: A wunderkind young set designer, Emi has already started to find her way in the competitive Hollywood film world. Emi is a film buff and a true romantic, but her real-life relationships are a mess. She has desperately gone back to the same girl too many times to mention. But then a mysterious letter from a silver screen legend leads Emi to Ava. Ava is unlike anyone Emi has ever met. She has a tumultuous, not-so-glamorous past, and lives an unconventional life. She’s enigmatic…. She’s beautiful. And she is about to expand Emi’s understanding of family, acceptance, and true romance.

My take:  I absolutely loved Nina LaCour's 2012 YA book The Disenchantments and when I saw the cover of Everything Leads to You, I was dying to read it even though I had no idea what it was about.  I wasn't disappointed.  I thought that Everything Leads to You was a magical book -- a love story that deftly explores themes of illusion and reality in both movies and romance.

Emi was a fascinating character. She's the biracial daughter of two academics, brash and self-assured, and just knows she'll have a fantastic career in Hollywood. She's landed an amazing job assisting a well-known set designer. Her confidence gets her into trouble sometimes, and I loved the way that this story showed both the positive and negative side of that personality trait. She's trying to extricate herself from a not-great relationship with a co-worker. And one day, she gets a call from a friend who tells her about an estate sale of an actor, a Hollywood legend. That sale will lead Emi on a journey of self-discovery and love.

There was just something about this book that made me -- an HGTV addict -- want to climb inside it and live there. Emi spends her time hanging around cool flea markets, finding stuff to use for her design projects. While this is an LGBT story, it's not a coming-out-of-closet one.  Emi is completely comfortable with herself and her sexual identity. But the girl Emi falls in love with is having major identity issues -- can't say more without spoilers -- and I loved the way the story took Emi's job -- she has to take fictional film characters and figure out how to translate those characters into objects to be used on set -- and uses that job to explore issues of identity and social class.

Like No Other
by Una LaMarche

Published by Razorbill
on July 24, 2014

Source: ARC giveaway at ALA Midwinter

Synopsis from Goodreads: Devorah is a consummate good girl who has never challenged the ways of her strict Hasidic upbringing.  Jaxon is a fun-loving, book-smart nerd who has never been comfortable around girls (unless you count his four younger sisters).  They've spent their entire lives in Brooklyn, on opposite sides of the same street. Their paths never crossed . . . until one day, they did. When a hurricane strikes the Northeast, the pair becomes stranded in an elevator together, where fate leaves them no choice but to make an otherwise risky connection. Though their relation is strictly forbidden, Devorah and Jax arrange secret meetings and risk everything to be together. But how far can they go? Just how much are they willing to give up? 

My take:  I've always been drawn to those literary classics in which the main character feels trapped by a repressive social world and is desperately looking for a way out. In Like No Other, a contemporary Brooklyn Hasidic Jewish community almost feels like a nineteenth-century one, a self-contained community in which women's roles are carefully circumscribed and their freedoms limited. When a girl from this community has a chance encounter with a boy of a different race and religion, it leads her to question everything she knows. I've been fascinated by books that feature Jewish culture and traditions since I fell in love with the All of a Kind Family series as a kid. While I have no way to know if that aspect of Like No Other was accurate, it was definitely absorbing.

What I did struggle with was the romance. As much as I'm also a sucker for Romeo and Juliet tales, I felt this whirlwind romance had plausibility issues and a fair bit of insta-love. In Devorah's culture, spending time alone with any boy could mar her reputation, and being caught alone with a boy from outside her community could turn her into a complete outcast. It definitely took some suspension of disbelief to accept that Devorah would do something so impulsive and potentially life-altering -- something that could alienate her from her family and community forever -- to spend time with a boy she barely knew.

I did love the fact that Like No Other featured such a interesting (and under-represented in YA) a character as Jaxon -- he's a West Indian American kid who attends an elite, highly competitive urban public high school. However, at times I questioned the dual POV format. This really felt like Devorah's story. As much as I'd love to read a different book with a protagonist like Jaxon, I often found myself skimming his POV chapters to get back to hers, since his chapters were more often teenage-boy-in-love ruminations, and she was constantly on the brink of real danger. So while I enjoyed this book, to me it was more believable as a story about identity and independence than a YA romance.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing July 29-August 4

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can grab in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!

This month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.) Enter by linking your reviews, commenting on other people's linked reviews, or tweeting :)  

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA. You are also welcome to link your reviews of YA books that were self-pubbed this month. Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Silver Shadows Devil's Intern Grace and the Guiltless
Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5) by Richelle Mead (Razorbill)
The Devil's Intern (Devil #1) by Dana Hosie (Holiday House)
Grace and the Guiltless by Erin Johnson (Capstone)


Afraid Bridge From Me to You Let's Get Lost
Afraid by Jo Gibson (K-Teen)
The Bridge From Me to You by Lisa Schroeder (Point)
Let's Get Lost by Adi Alsaid (Harlequin)


Before You Young World Kalona's Fall
Before You (Before and After #1) by Amber Hart (K-Teen)
The Young World by Chris Weitz (Little, Brown)
Kalona's Fall by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast (St. Martin's)


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, July 28, 2014

Silver Shadows: Review and Trivia Answers

Silver Shadows (Bloodlines #5)
by Richelle Mead
To be published by Razorbill
on July 29, 2014

Source: bought
Synopsis from Goodreads: Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists. Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.  For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . . 
This review may contain mild spoilers for the Bloodlines series in general but NO SPOILERS for Silver Shadows.

My review:  Like the Vampire Academy books, Silver Shadows has a bit of a forbidden romance going on. In VA, Dmitri is Rose's teacher, and guardians are forbidden to date. But I love that the Bloodlines books take the whole forbidden romance thing to a completely new level. Sydney being with Adrian isn't just a little no-no -- it's a HUGE one. And I love the way that their forbidden relationship has developed slowly, over the course of four books. In the kind of relationship in which characters have to take huge risks to be together, the whole thing falls apart if the relationship is insta-lovey, and this relationship is decidedly not.

As I was reading both Fiery Heart and Silver Shadows, I was also thinking about the fact that the Vampire Academy books have an "all is lost" moment that is pretty much unparalleled in the YA paranormal genre. (If you can think of something more shocking than the end of Shadow Kiss, please let me know.)  So I was expecting a big, terrible thing to happen sooner or later. Something bad did happen at the end of Fiery Heart, but then Silver Shadows spins this series into a slightly different direction, one in which Adrian and Sydney are not only going to have to choose to be together, but to fight to be together.

Last week, my friend Lauren from Love is Not a Triangle texted me to ask how I was enjoying the book. I didn't want to say too much, but I did say that there were plot elements of Silver Shadows that reminded me of Spirit Bound. (Then she started guessing some things that were NOT the case, so don't read too much into this remark.) But if you've read Silver Shadows, email me and tell me what you think. Finally there were some plot developments in Silver Shadows that I did expect, and one big thing that I did NOT expect at all, but that put a big smile on my face. I know that's vague, but I really don't want to say anything that could possibly spoil this book for you. Just buy the book, enjoy, and then come back and tell me what you think!

Answers to the Silver Shadows Giveway Trivia Questions. Patrick and I want to thank everyone who enthusiastically participated in our trivia questions about Fiery Heart. We love those of you who were unafraid to make wild guesses -- and those wrong answers counted as entries too...

JULY 23 QUESTION:

When Sydney attends her initiation in The Fiery Heart, what secret name does she choose?

A) Ione
B) Iolanthe
C) Iris
D) Ianthe
E) Iona

Bonus: What is the meaning of this name, and what is the significance of that meaning?
The name means purple flower in Greek, and Sydney chooses it because Adrian tells her that there are sparks of purple in her aura.

JULY 24 QUESTION:

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney wants to expand Adrian's reading beyond a bartending dictionary and a copy of Esquire magazine.  What classic does he attempt to read?

A) Moby Dick
B) The Scarlet Letter
C) Tale of Two Cities
D) The Great Gatsby
E) Pride and Prejudice

Bonus: Adrian says reading this book made him want to what?
Adrian says: I was trying to think deep thoughts as I read Gatsby, but mostly I wanted to throw some parties.

JULY 25 QUESTION:

In The Fiery Heart, that wacky Malachi Wolfe reveals that he once had a tattoo that said:

A) Tlaloc (an Aztec god of rain, storm, water and thunder)
B) Tocllul (an Aztec princess)
C) Tonatiah (Aztec god of the sun)
D) Tlazolteotl (Aztec god of guilt)
E) Xipe Totec (Aztec fertility god)

Bonus: What does Malachy's tattoo say now?
His tattoo now says "tactful." As if!

JULY 26 QUESTION:

In The Fiery Heart, Adrian decides to cook dinner for Sydney on her birthday. What does he attempt to make?

A) gumbo
B) jambalaya
C) paella
D) risotto
E) chili


Bonus: What does he make for dessert, and who helps him cook the meal?
Cassie helps him. They make chocolate-peppermint cupcakes for dessert.

My questions are NON-SPOILERS...

JULY 27 QUESTION:

After Sydney's birthday dinner, Adrian quotes poetry. What was the quote?


A) Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...
B) She walks in beauty like the night...
C) Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
D) All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream...
E) Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...

Yes, things fall apart in Silver Shadows....
Hope you get to read it soon :)





Sunday, July 27, 2014

Silver Shadows Giveaway and Trivia -- Day Five


Welcome to the FINAL DAY of the  Silver Shadows Trivia and Giveaway, hosted by YA Romantics (me!) and my blogger buddy Patrick at The Bookshelves!  Patrick and I are giving away a brand-new copy of Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead, and this giveaway is open internationally.

There are lots of ways to enter, but one of them is to challenge yourself with our Fiery Heart trivia.  Patrick and I will each have a different question up each day, and for a trivia entry, all you need to do is leave a comment on the post. Then in the Rafflecopter, let us know the name you commented under.  You don't have to answer the question in comments or get the question right!

(If you enjoy trivia and want to find my Bloodlines and Golden Lily trivia, just click here...)

My questions are NON-SPOILERS...

JULY 27 QUESTION:

After Sydney's birthday dinner, Adrian quotes poetry. What was the quote?


A) Two roads diverged in a wood, and I took the one less traveled by...
B) She walks in beauty like the night...
C) Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
D) All that we see or seem is but a dream within a dream...
E) Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold...

No bonus, but this quote will be very important in Silver Shadows... we'll draw the winner tomorrow and the book comes out in TWO DAYS :)

Thanks for stopping by! Rafflecopter is below, and button code below that. If you want to grab a button and post it, that's an extra entry :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway




The Bookshelves

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Silver Shadows Giveaway and Trivia -- Day Four


Welcome back to the Silver Shadows Trivia and Giveaway, hosted by YA Romantics (me!) and my blogger buddy Patrick at The Bookshelves!  Patrick and I are giving away a brand-new copy of Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead, and this giveaway is open internationally.

There are lots of ways to enter, but one of them is to challenge yourself with our Fiery Heart trivia.  Patrick and I will each have a different question up each day, and for a trivia entry, all you need to do is leave a comment on the post. Then in the Rafflecopter, let us know the name you commented under.  You don't have to answer the question in comments or get the question right!

(If you enjoy trivia and want to find my Bloodlines and Golden Lily trivia, just click here...)

My questions are NON-SPOILERS...

JULY 26 QUESTION:

In The Fiery Heart, Adrian decides to cook dinner for Sydney on her birthday. What does he attempt to make? 

A) gumbo
B) jambalaya
C) paella
D) risotto
E) chili

Bonus: What does he make for dessert, and who helps him cook the meal?

Thanks for stopping by! Rafflecopter is below, and button code below that. If you want to grab a button and post it, that's an extra entry :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway




The Bookshelves

Friday, July 25, 2014

Silver Shadows Giveaway and Trivia -- Day Three


Welcome to Day Three of the Silver Shadows Trivia and Giveaway, hosted by YA Romantics (me!) and my blogger buddy Patrick at The Bookshelves!  Patrick and I are giving away a brand-new copy of Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead, and this giveaway is open internationally.

There are lots of ways to enter, but one of them is to challenge yourself with our Fiery Heart trivia.  Patrick and I will each have a different question up each day, and for a trivia entry, all you need to do is leave a comment on the post. Then in the Rafflecopter, let us know the name you commented under.  You don't have to answer the question in comments or get the question right!

(If you enjoy trivia and want to find my Bloodlines and Golden Lily trivia, just click here...)

My questions are NON-SPOILERS...

JULY 25 QUESTION:

In The Fiery Heart, that wacky Malachi Wolfe reveals that he once had a tattoo that said:

A) Tlaloc (an Aztec god of rain, storm, water and thunder)
B) Tocllul (an Aztec princess)
C) Tonatiah (Aztec god of the sun)
D) Tlazolteotl (Aztec god of guilt)
E) Xipe Totec (Aztec fertility god)

Bonus: What does Malachy's tattoo say now?

Thanks for stopping by! Rafflecopter is below, and button code below that. If you want to grab a button and post it, that's an extra entry :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway




The Bookshelves

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Silver Shadows Giveaway and Trivia -- Day Two


Welcome back to the Silver Shadows Trivia and Giveaway, hosted by YA Romantics (me!) and my blogger buddy Patrick at The Bookshelves!  Patrick and I are giving away a brand-new copy of Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead, and this giveaway is open internationally.

There are lots of ways to enter, but one of them is to challenge yourself with our Fiery Heart trivia.  Patrick and I will each have a different question up each day, and for a trivia entry, all you need to do is leave a comment on the post. Then in the Rafflecopter, let us know the name you commented under.  You don't have to answer the question in comments or get the question right!

(If you enjoy trivia and want to find my Bloodlines and Golden Lily trivia, just click here...)

My questions are NON-SPOILERS...

JULY 24 QUESTION:

In The Fiery Heart, Sydney wants to expand Adrian's reading beyond a bartending dictionary and a copy of Esquire magazine.  What classic does he attempt to read?

A) Moby Dick
B) The Scarlet Letter
C) Tale of Two Cities
D) The Great Gatsby
E) Pride and Prejudice

Bonus: Adrian says reading this book made him want to what?

Thanks for stopping by! Rafflecopter is below, and button code below that. If you want to grab a button and post it, that's an extra entry :)

a Rafflecopter giveaway




The Bookshelves

 
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