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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing June 27- July 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 June 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.

Now I Rise Midnight Jewel Reign of Serpents
Now I Rise (Conqueror's Saga #2) by Kiersten White (Delacorte)
Midnight Jewel (Glittering Court #2) by Richelle Mead (Razorbill)
Reign of Serpents (Blood of Gods and Royals #3) by Eleanor Herman (Harlequin)

Aftercare Instructions The Beautiful Lost Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue
Aftercare Instructions by Bonnie Pipkin (Flatiron)
The Beautiful Lost by Luanne Rice (Scholastic)
The Gentleman's Guide to Vice and Virtue (Katherine Tegen)

Little Wrecks Impossible Vastness of Us Generation One
Little Wrecks by Meredith Miller (Harper)
The Impossible Vastness of Us by Samantha Young (Harlequin)
Generation One by Pittacus Lore (Harper)

Coming Up for Air Girl on the Verge If Birds Fly Back
Coming Up for Air by Miranda Kenneally (Sourcebooks)
Girl on the Verge by Pintip Dunn (Kensington)
The Birds Fly Back by Carlie Sorosiak (Harper)

Into the Hurricane Eden Summer The Silence
Into the Hurricane by Neil Connelly (Arthur A. Levine)
Eden Summer by Liz Flanagan (David Fickling)
The Silence by Mark Alpert (Sourcebooks)

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Monday, June 26, 2017

Just Finished Reading: Coming Up For Air

Coming Up For Air
by Miranda Kenneally

To be published by Sourcebooks
on June 27, 2017

Source: eARC from publisher for review

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Swim. Eat. Shower. School. Snack. Swim. Swim. Swim. Dinner. Homework. Bed. Repeat. All of Maggie’s focus and free time is spent swimming. She’s not only striving to earn scholarships—she’s training to qualify for the Olympics. It helps that her best friend, Levi, is also on the team and cheers her on. But Levi’s already earned an Olympic try out, so she feels even more pressure to succeed. And it’s not until Maggie’s away on a college visit that she realizes how much of the “typical” high school experience she’s missed by being in the pool. Not one to shy away from a challenge, Maggie decides to squeeze the most out of her senior year. First up? Making out with a guy. And Levi could be the perfect candidate. After all, they already spend a lot of time together. But as Maggie slowly starts to uncover new feelings for Levi, how much is she willing to lose to win?

My take: I think the thing I love the most about Miranda Kenneally's YA writing is her fearlessness. She's never afraid to tackle subjects that many YA authors shy away from: abortion, coming out as gay, class differences, and sex. (Yes, there are plenty of YA books with sex, but many of those feature romance novel sex, the kind of sex where everything is effortlessly perfect and wonderful.) This book tackles two other tricky subjects: female friendship and female ambition. And, again, I loved the way this book took on those topics in a fearless and non-airbrushed way.

Maggie is a competitive swimmer who has little time for anything besides schoolwork and swimming. She's headed to Berkeley in the fall and she's curious about sex. After a disastrous (and completely hilarious) encounter with a random guy, she convinces her close friend Levi to agree to hook up with her for practice. I've seen this trope before in Regency Romance, where the spinster gets the rake to give her lessons in love and of course they fall for each other. I liked the trope here; it reminded me a little of Jordan and Sam and the way they transitioned from friendship to romance.

I also loved the way the book looked at a trope that isn't always represented in YA:female friends-to-frenemies. Maggie has a former friend and now rival, Roxy. At first Maggie supported Roxy, but now they're fierce competitors and Roxy isn't all that nice. In fact, she's pretty mean. I'd like to say that women aren't like that but ... I can't.  I've had these weird friendships gone bad myself, and I still can't figure out what happened and if I could have done anything differently.

Finally, I loved the way this book looked at ambition. Maggie wants to be the best swimmer she can and doesn't want anything to stand in the way of that. But she also wants a full, balanced life. Isn't that the eternal female dilemma - how to have time for the relationships (romantic, friendship, family) that give our lives meaning without giving up on our dreams.

This book was a wonderful ending to the Hundred Oaks series - loved the cameos by Jordan and Sam and the mentions of Jesse and the mentions of the Racing Savannah characters. And the epilogue of this book was the icing on the cake!

If you haven't read these companion books, I highly recommend trying them! 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Freebie Friday: Be True to Me

Happy Friday!

Today I'm giving away an ARC of a just-released YA that I enjoyed a lot:

This giveaway is open to US/Canada!

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trending Thursday: Millennial Pink Book Covers: Drab or Fab?

Welcome to Trending Thursday, a periodic blog feature in which I look at some kind of trend in YA, be it cover trends, plot element trends, or something else that catches my eye...

Lately I've been talking about covers a lot. Maybe that's because I've recently become more active on Instagram.  Please follow me here -- I will follow you back!

In any case, I find that I am really inspired to photograph some book covers and others ... not so much. I'd noticed a certain trend in blah-pink book covers but didn't know what was behind it until I was flipping through a fashion magazine and discovered: Millennial Pink. A bit of background: something called Rose Quartz was announced an "it' color of 2016 by Pantone:

Then Rose Quartz became Millennial Pink  -- apparently because the color has become trendy all over social media, from lip gloss to iPhone cases.

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For the record, I love pale pink as a nail polish, a sweater, paint on a bedroom wall, or a glass of rosé ... but I'm really not crazy about this shade of pink on book covers. Book covers need to pop, and to me, this color just sits there meekly, waiting to be noticed.

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I do think the black heart and silhouette improves the Alex & Eliza cover, and the confetti helps jazz up Juniper Lemon, but I'm not loving this muted pink on book covers. 

Thoughts? Tell me your opinion of Millennial Pink Covers in comments!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Just Finished Reading: Walk of Shame

Walk of Shame
by Lauren Layne

Published on April 18, 2017
by Loveswept

Source: library

Synopsis from Goodreads: Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams. Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.
My take: I've never tried a book by Lauren Layne, so I don't know if this one is typical, but it was a rom-com style romance between a frivolous socialite and an uptight lawyer. Every morning at 5 am, the two of them meet in the lobby of their apartment building - he's headed to the gym while she's heading back in after a night of clubbing.  She makes fun of his all black workout wear, he disdains he unhealthy box of doughnuts she brings in to the doormen each morning. Of course, under all that they are wildly attracted to each other. Georgie is less superficial than she seems and of course, underneath Andrew's stodgy suit beats the heart of a true romantic.

The problem I have with rom-coms in general is that my mind is always churning, trying to figure out where things are going. There was something about the plot that didn't quite add up, until I figured out that it had to do with a coming plot twist.

 So there was that -- this was predictable, but most romances are predictable, which is actually why I like them: you can pick them up, counting on that HEA.

Bottom line: a cute odd-couple romance with a rom-com feel. And I'll definitely try another book by this author!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing June 20-26

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.

Enter the June 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.

pic name Trusting You and Other Lies Shattered Pack
Such a Good Girl by Amanda K. Morgan (Simon Pulse)
Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams (Harper)
Shattered Pack (Alpha Girl #6) by Aileen Erin (Ink Monster)

Maybe in Paris The Girl In Between Two Roads From Here
Maybe in Paris by Rebecca Christiansen (Sky Pony)
The Girl in Between by Sarah Carroll (Kathy Paulson)
Two Roads From Here by Teddy Steinkellner (Simon & Schuster)

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Just Finished Reading .... Until It Fades by K. A. Tucker

Until It Fades
by K. A. Tucker

To be published on June 27, 2017
by Atria

Source: eARC for review from publisher

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling. Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage.  But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust. Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

My take: K. A. Tucker says in her acknowledgements for this New Adult romance that some people might consider Until It Fades a trope-y book. I am one of those people. If a celebrity romance book and a Harlequin single parent story had a baby, it would be this book ... but I'm not saying that's a bad thing! She also calls Until It Fades "light (for me.)" I agree that this is much less angsty than her prior titles.

Catherine -- a waitress and single mom who has overcome a lot of hate in her small town after a high school affair with a popular teacher that got him arrested --is driving home after a bad blind date when she comes across a car that's smoldering after a recent accident. She calls 911 and drags the surviving victim to safety.

Unbeknowst to her, the man she saved is a hockey star and the son of a movie star (covering all the celebrity bases here...) Catherine, fearful of media attention after being slut-shamed by town gossips years ago, doesn't want to be identified to the press or to the hunky guy she saved, who is not only gorgeous but seems desperate to thank her.

Until It Fades was fun to read. I'm a big fan of most romance novel tropes, but interestingly, I thought this book would have been fine without many of them. The book keeps flashing back to Catherine's past. I didn't think was necessary to do that quite so much, as for me it slowed the action down in the present. It also slowed down the romance - this is definitely the slow-burn kind and more PG-13 than her prior books.

The story puts a bunch of obstacles between these two -- her fear of notoriety, her fear of another heartbreak, her child, his fame, her strict parents, their differences in social class -- but to me the strongest parts of the book were just a few of these obstacles: her fear of being used and discarded by him and his gratitude to her and fear that his accident will end his career. At times I wished the book had spent more time on the emotional connection between them rather than having her obsess about her past quite so much.

Still, this is a great summer read. If you like slow burn, hunky hockey stars, and single parent romances, definitely give this a try!

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