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Friday, September 30, 2016

Freebie Friday: Fall Titles Part II

Just like last week, I have some FANTASTIC Fall 2016 ARCS and hardcovers up for grabs. My second themed stack is up for grabs this week, and the winner can choose up to two books from the stack!

This week's theme: Heartbreak -- this one is for readers who enjoy poignant tearjerkers

For a peek at the titles I'm featuring, check out my Insta: jenryland

Enter below. US/Canadian mailing addresses only, please :)
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Just Finished Reading: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving 
by Caleb Roehrig

To be published on October 4, 2016
by Feiwel and Friends

Source: ARC for review from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own? Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something. But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

My take:  Flynn is dumbfounded when the police show up at his house one day. The cops tell him that his girlfriend, January, has been missing for nearly a week. (Flynn and January don't see each other as often as they used to since January's mom married a rich, up-and-coming politician and moved her to a fancy private school.)

Flynn doesn't want to tell the police the whole truth: the last time he saw January, they fought and broke up. He doesn't want to tell them what he and January fought about. But Flynn does want to know what happened to January, so he turns amateur detective. He talks to January's annoying co-worker, Kaz. He talks to the sort-of friends she complained about at her new school. He pokes around and asks questions until he discovers some surprising things about January -- but also about himself.

Loved Flynn's guy POV and his friendship with Micah. Loved the flashbacks where we got a better idea of Flynn and January's relationship. Loved Flynn's parents. Loved Flynn's personal journey. The solution to the mystery wasn't the most surprising, but it worked for me.

Last Seen Leaving is my favorite kind of mystery - the kind that develops on multiple levels. There's the literal mystery of what happened to January, and then there's a more existential mystery. How well do we know others? How well do we know ourselves and what we're capable of?

Definitely recommend this one for mystery fans!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Just Finished Reading: Metaltown

by Kristen Simmons

Published on September 20, 2016
by Tor Teen

Source: eARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does. Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right. In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

My take: Way back when, I read Kristen Simmons Article 5. I just looked up my review, which said (tl;tr) loved the story world; didn't love the characters and their romance.

Well, déjà vu all over again.  On the positive side, I thought the story world in Metaltown was really well-crafted. I'm not sure if this book is supposed to be alt-history or sort of dystopian-futuristic, but it takes place in a bleak, gritty world that feels turn-of-the-century industrial and post-apocalyptic all at once. Food and clean water are scarce, people are hungry, a lot of kids have been orphaned, and the poor work long hours in unsafe conditions. There's a war raging and one of the main employers is a huge weapons factory.

Metaltown is told from the points of view of three characters: Colin, a boy who works on the factory line, his (female) friend Ty, and Lena, the daughter of the owner of the weapons factory. The characters were a bit of sticking point for me. I never really warmed up to either Colin or Lena, and thus wasn't all that enthralled by their slow-burn, rich girl/poor boy romance. I really liked Ty, but as soon as Colin went all googly-eyed over Lena, poor Ty was kind of left on her own and ... let's just say that wasn't very good.

Does this book have a love triangle? Not technically, but I didn't love the triangular dynamic of the supposedly nice guy who all but ditches his loyal female friend to chase around after another girl. It wasn't exactly a love triangle, but it did feel to me that one character gets unceremoniously shoved out in the cold. So I couldn't really like Colin because of his crappy treatment of my fave character, Ty. The book tried very hard to make me like Lena, with her mean father and abusive brother, and did  succeed in making me feel sorry for her, but that was it. For whatever reason I just didn't connect to her, which is surprising, because since my childhood obsession with A Little Princess I have had a fierce and secret love for poor little rich girl characters.

If you like gritty, industrial settings, you should definitely try at least a few chapters of Metaltown, which will give you a good feel for the characters -- then you can decide for yourself!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing Sept 27-Oct 3

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 buy in the week to come.

LAST CHANCE to enter the September giveaway! Each month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!

Crooked Kingdom Immortal Throne Color Blind
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt)
The Immortal Throne by Bree Despain (Carllrhoda)
Color Blind by Sheila Sobel (Merit)

Falling Over Sideways Like a River Glorious Women in the Walls
Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick (Scholastic)
Like a River Glorious (Gold Seer #2) by Rae Carson (Greenwillow)
The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics (Harlequin)

Interference Swarm Fever Code
Interference by Kay Honeyman (Scholastic)
Swarm (Zeroes #2) by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti (Simon & Schuster)
The Fever Code (Maze Runner Prequel #2) by James Dasher (Delacorte)

Becoming Darkness Dead Boyfriend Bright Smoke Cold Fire
Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Brambles (Switch)
The Dead Boyfriend by R. L. Stine (St Martins)
Bright Smoke Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge (Balzer + Bray)

A Taste for Monsters Chasing Truth Resurrecting Sunshine
A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby (Scholastic)
Chasing Truth by Julie Cross (Entangled)
Resurrecting Sunshine by Lisa Koosis (Aw)

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Monday, September 26, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie and Book GIVEAWAY #StayPeculiar

Enter here to win a fantastic Miss Peregrine Prize Package! Whether you're a fan of the book by Ransom Riggs or a fan of the wildly imaginative Tim Burton --  or both -- you probably already know that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (directed by Burton and based on Riggs's book) opens in theaters this week. 

Thanks to the generosity of 20th Century Fox, I am hosting a giveaway for:
--a $25 VISA gift card to buy a movie ticket for you and a friend
--a copy of the movie tie-in version of the book

Here's some more information about the film:

From visionary director Tim Burton, and based upon the best-selling novel, comes an unforgettable motion picture experience. When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is.
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O'Dowd, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, with Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed By: Tim Burton

And check out this set tour hosted by Ransom Riggs!

Hope you'll enter the giveaway below!

This giveaway is open to those age 13 and older. Prizes are provided and mailed by 20th Century Fox and can only be sent to a US mailing address. One winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter.  Full rules on the Rafflecopter or under "policies" on my blog header. I received no compensation or freebies for hosting this giveaway.

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Friday, September 23, 2016

Freebie Friday: Fall 2016 Titles!

Hi everyone!  Hope your September is going well. I really wish some fall weather would blow my way, but things seem to be improving. 

I have some FANTASTIC Fall 2016 ARCS and hardcovers up for grabs. I have two themed stacks and will be featuring one stack this week and one next. Winner can choose up to two books from the stack!

One theme:  Suspense -- this one is for those of you who love to be kept guessing
Another theme: Heartbreak -- this one is for readers who enjoy poignant tearjerkers

For a peek at the titles I'm featuring, check out my Insta: jenryland

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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Just Finished Reading ... Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

by Jennifer Mathieu

Published on September 20, 2016
by Roaring Brook Press

Source: ARC from publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.
My take:  This was the first book I've read by Jennifer Mathieu but it will not be my last! Afterward was subtle and deeply moving! This is the second book I've read this month about kids who were kidnapped and then returned home (the other was The Lost and the Found.) Similar premises, but completely different stories -- and I enjoyed them both.

While The Lost and the Found was more of a suspense story, Afterward was about two families recovering from an unimaginable trauma: each had a son who was abducted, then returned to his family. The story is told in two POVs: that of Ethan, the first kidnapping victim, and also Caroline, whose autistic younger brother was later taken by the same kidnapper.

There were many things to appreciate about this book. Ethan's POV was so very moving -- he started out fragile and broken but after time and a lot of therapy, gained so much perspective and confidence. His therapy sessions were fascinating and heartbreaking (his therapist reminded me of Dr. Berger in Ordinary People). Caroline has her own challenges. She was supposed to have been watching her brother when he was kidnapped, and harbors a lot of guilt and self-blame about what happened. While Ethan's family is upper-middle class, Caroline's family is struggling both financially and emotionally. Neither she nor her brother has the luxury of therapists or a lot of familial support.

Caroline and Ethan develop an uneasy bond that develops into a friendship that helps them both process and recover from what happened to them.

Highly recommend this to readers who like stories with a lot of subtlety and psychological depth!
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