Google+ YA Romantics: December 2011

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Reading Resolutions

I'm always excited by new beginnings. I guess I love the sense of possibility. It's like the feeling I get when I crack open a brand new book.

Here are my 2012 Reading Resolutions

Recommend at least one book a week on my blog.

Do a better job of updating Goodreads. I'm behind on that.

Start a brand-new "Books I Read in 2012" list on the blog. I wish I'd done that last year. I have no idea how many books I read in a year!

Read more e-books (Santa brought me a new Kindle :)) but not TOO many because I must also:

Keep giving away lots of books and ARCs on the blog. My shelves have never been tidier!

Friday, December 30, 2011

Are You Listening?

I'm back! And exhausted in only the way that walking around a theme park will leave you.
The subject of walking leads me to ... audiobooks. Once I was a book snob. I thought that audiobooks were a lesser form of book, inferior to the printed page. And I'm a super-fast reader, so the thought of listening to someone else read sounded excruciating to me.

Then I got a dog. An adorable dog who needs to be walked twice a day. So I decided to try listening to books while I walked him. Now I'm always on the lookout for good audiobooks to keep me company while I walk and walk and walk. And now I've learned that a good audiobook is simply amazing ... if the narrator is good. If the narrator isn't good, then snobby me was right. Excruciating.

Here are some of my audiobook favorites:

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Looking Ahead to 2012

I'm excited to be blogging into the New Year.

Here's some things I have planned for 2012:

**I'm going to start a "Books Read in 2012" page, with links to those I've reviewed.

**More trivia! More comments contests! (hint, hint) More great giveaways! More Steal My ARCs!

*I need to update my profile pic to show off my new 2012 ARCs before I give them away. Yay!

**I'll also try to participate more in memes -- I'm going to get organized and remember which memes are on which days.

What are you planning for your reading and/or blogging in 2012?

Monday, December 26, 2011

I'm On Blog-cation!


I'm on a trip and taking a few days off! I won't be checking in as obsessively -- I mean as often -- as usual.

If you've stopped by, thanks! Have a look around and enter my Kiss of Frost giveaway! Check out that Steal My ARCs page so you can be ready the next time something shows up. Leave a comment because you never know when there'll be a comments contest! I'll read them all when I get back, promise!

By Thursday December 29th, I'll be back to tell you about the great books I read while I was away.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Barnes and Noble Deals and Steals

I recently did a post on Amazon Deals and Steals.
Here are some amazing YA books that you can snap up for an amazing price at Barnes and Noble.com. Click on the red links to go straight to the web page.



Wither: Chemical Garden #1 by Lauren DeStefano
Hardcover 5.38


Memoirs of a Teenage Amnesiac by Gabrielle Zevin
Paperback 3.58


It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han
Paperback 3.58

AND We'll Always Have Summer by Jenny Han
Hardcover 5.38

There's more on this page at B&N.com.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Kiss of Frost Giveaway!

This giveaway is over, but you can still take my Touch of Frost series themed quiz:

1. Nike is:
A. Goddess of the Olympics
B. Goddess of Running
C. Goddess of Strength, Speed and Victory
D. Goddess of Air

2. Loki is:
A. A Native American trickster figure
B. The Norse God of Chaos
C. The Sanskrit worf for "world"
D. A Character in Super Mario

3. True or false: Amazons can only be female?

4. A Laconophiliac is
A. Afraid of public speaking
B. A Follower of the 2nd century philosopher Lacan
C. Someone obsessed with all things Spartan
D. Someone who loves milk

5.  Which of the following is NOT a talking sword?
A. Lilarcor
B. Vic
C. Saba
D. Kit

Got your answers?  Here are the correct choices:

1-C, 2-B, 3-T, 4-C., 5-D

Monday, December 19, 2011

99 cent YA for Kindle

Wow!
Harper Collins is selling a bunch of great YA books on Kindle for only 99 cents. Click on the link to purchase. Thanks to Chick Loves Lit for the heads-up.



Unearthly by Cynthia Hand



Hereafter by Tara Hudson



Bumped by Megan Mc Cafferty


The others are Ten Things We Did and Probably Shouldn't Have by Sarah Mlynowski, Entwined by Heather Dixon, Unidentified by Rae Mariz, Vesper by Jeff Sampson, The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood, Withering Tights by Louise Rennison, and Lucky by Rachel Vail.

Just Finished Reading: Kiss of Frost


Kiss of Frost
by Jennifer Estep
Kensington, November 2011
Source: purchased from indie book store

I've had Jennifer Estep's two YA books on my to-read list for quite some time. When I came across a copy of Kiss of Frost, I knew I had to get reading.

After Gwen Frost's police officer mother dies in a car accident, she's sent to Mythos Academy, a boarding school for kids with special powers. Gwen is a gypsy with the gift of psychometry, the ability to read the energy field of an object or person by touch. When Gwen touches a person or one of their possessions, she experiences some of their memories and emotions.

Gwen's conflicted about her gift. Not only does it seem to pale in comparison to the awesome abilities of the Spartans, Amazons and Vikings she goes to school with, she also can't help but feel that her talent led to her mother's untimely death.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

TBR Intervention time


I'm finally joining the TBR Intervention, hosted by Refracted Light Reviews, Whatever You Can Still Betray and Books for Juliet.

My TBR pile is actually pretty small these days, but there are a few books on it that I need to read. I'm so embarrassed to admit that one of these books is by one of my favorite authors, Melina Marchetta. I loved Saving Francesca, Waiting for Alibrandi, and Jellicoe Road.

When I got an ARC of The Piper's Son, I was thrilled.

So why is this book still on my pile?? For a few reasons. Piper's Son features characters from Saving Francesca, so I was debating whether or not to re-read that first. Also, I know that Marchetta's books require my full attention and often a box of kleenex to boot.

But, seriously, what have I been waiting for? I'm diving into this book now!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Blog Hop: Showdowns and Pure Pandemonium!

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Lori at Pure Imagination is having an amazing giveaway to celebrate her blogoversary AND her birthday. Get over there and check it out!

Tayte at Reading in Paradise reviews Sweet Venom. I really liked that book!

In the YA Heroine Tourney we have Mara from Unbecoming of Mara Dyer vs. Karou from Daughter of Smoke and Bone and also Izzy from City of Ashes vs. Calla from the Nightshade trilogy.

And the Follow Friday question is a good one: What do you do with all your books? Keep them, sell them, give them away, etc.

Well, you guys know my answer: I really do love to give stuff away. My family calls me the Big Thrower Outer because they're always afraid that I will come after their stuff. But I find that nickname very unfair -- I rarely throw something away unless I have tried (and failed) to find someone else who wants it. And I've never thrown a book away -- the horror!

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What do you want from me?

I'm thinking ahead to 2012 and making plans for the blog.

I'd love it if you'd fill out my very short poll. Only 4 easy questions. If you have other stuff to say, you know I always read my comments :)

Thanks so much!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Winners!

Congratulations to Kelley J. for winning my $25 Holiday Gift Hop Giveaway

And a double congrats to Ari, who has sharp eyes and noticed that I have a brand new page on my blog called ...

STEAL MY ARCS



Every so often, I'll be listing an ARC I have that's up for grabs. First one to tweet me and say they want it can have it.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Just finished reading ... A Beautiful Dark

Click here to enter the Holiday Gift Card Hop or just scroll down to my Dec 8 post.


A Beautiful Dark
by Jocelyn Davies
HarperTeen, September 2011
Source: library ebook on Kindle

"They were so different. Light and dark. Peace and chaos."

Skye has only vague memories of her parents, who died in a car accident when she was young. Now she's being raised by her late mother's best friend in a small Colorado town. Around her seventeenth birthday, strange things begin to happen. Her eyes, usually grey, begin to flash silver.

Things really heat up when two quarreling cousins appear at her surprise party, then enroll at the local high school. Devin and Asher seem like polar opposites: Devin is fair and calm, while Asher is dark and intense.

Skye is drawn to both of them. When they tell her the truth about her identity, she is confused and disbelieving. She'll have to explore new powers and decide whom to trust.

I loved the setting of this book -- a Colorado mountain town -- and also enjoyed watching Skye pinball between two appealing guys. There's quite a twist at the end of the book, leading me to believe that a sequel's on the way.


Definitely pick this up if you're a fan of:

Monday, December 12, 2011

Best Kept YA Secrets of 2011

If you're here to enter my Holiday Hop Gift Card Giveaway, click on the highlighted text to enter and then hustle back here :)

Every year there are YA blockbuster books, and I love those as much as the next reader.
But I decided to make a list of Best YA Books of 2011 That You Might Not Have Read. And Should Read.

This is what the books on my list have in common:

Strong female lead/strong characters
Vivid sense of place/setting
Beautiful writing
Unique concept, or unique twist on a familiar concept

Here's my list:

1. Moonglass by Jessi Kirby


I got an ARC of this last year and it sat on my TBR pile for months. I assumed it would be a light, frothy, summer-romance-on-the-beach read. (Not that there's anything wrong with that!) When I finally picked it up, I wondered why I waited so long. In the book, Anna moves back to the beach community where her parents first met and fell in love -- and where her mother drowned. Before she died, Anna's mother loved collecting sea glass. Years later, Anna collects bits and pieces of her mother's life, trying to piece together her secrets.

Moonglass is a beautifully written book. The author clearly loves the beach -- as I read, I could almost feel the wind in my hair and the sand under my feet. There's romance, but that's not the main point of the book. It's a book about coming to terms with the past, and with the present.

2. Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler


I knew I wanted to read this book -- I just couldn't get hold of a copy. When I finally did, I wasn't disappointed. Chelsea, the main character, is a basketball star who was seriously injured during a game. [When I was in high school, I would have done anything to get out of gym, but I love the idea of a tough female athlete as a YA character.] Chelsea's parents take her to Minnesota for a vacation and hire Clint, an ex-hockey player, to help Chelsea with her rehab. Yes, Clint and Chelsea fall in love, but there are complications. Chelsea has a boyfriend. Clint has an ex who died under tragic circumstances. Chelsea and Clint are each wounded, both physically and psychologically. I found their story beautiful and vivid and honest.

3. And Then Things Fall Apart by Arlaina Tibensky


Sylvia Plath. Chicken Pox. An old-fashioned typewriter. This sounds like a party game: pick three things out of a hat and make them into a story. But it works. Keek is quarantined at her grandmother's house with a case of the chicken pox and this mysterious device called a typewriter. She's pissed at her boyfriend. Her parents are splitting up. And she's obsessed with Sylvia Plath. This book is clever, poignant and funny. Keek has a strong, hilarious voice. If you haven't read this book, why not?

4. Paradise by Jill Alexander


"Of all the airplane hangers in all the small towns in the world, he walks into mine." Oops, wrong story. This one takes place in small-town Texas, not 1940s Morocco. The main character is Paisley, a drummer in a country rock band. Paisley's band practices in her Uncle L.V.'s airplane hangar. If her band is going to make it to the Texapalooza music festival, they need a lead singer. Now. Suddenly, in strolls Paradise. Not only does he complete the band, he turns Paisley's head. Which is great, except that Cal, the band's quiet lead guitarist, is also secretly in love with Paisley. Each chapter from Paisley's point of view alternates with a song written by Cal. About his feelings for Paisley. Okay, just writing this makes me want to go read this book all over again.

Tell me your best kept YA secret of 2011...

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Welcome New Followers ... and a Surprise!


I'm so excited to be participating in the Holiday Gift Card Hop! Click on that highlighted text to enter, or just scroll down one post. Good luck to everyone who entered. The drawing is less than 48 hours away!

I hope that many of you will come back to my blog after the giveaway! If you have a book blog listed on your Google profile, I'll follow you back, so I can find out what you're reading.

Before I draw the name of the gift card winner on Tuesday, I'm having a surprise giveaway.

As excited as I am to have new followers and discover new blogs and meet new book lovers, I want to show my appreciation to those of you who have supported this blog by stopping by for no other reason than to say hello and comment on a post. Thank you! There's nothing scarier than putting a new blog post up and then seeing ... comments: 0.

So ... I did a drawing for all my blog followers who stopped by to leave a comment on a non-giveaway post in the past month.

And the three winners are:

First place: Shanan from Shanan the Book Addict

SHANAN PICKED TOUCH OF POWER BY MARIA SNYDER.

Second place: EBaker

EBAKER PICKED SHATTER ME BY TAHEREH MAFI

Third Place: Jess from Books and Sensibility

JESS PICKED THE FUTURE OF US BY JAY ASHER AND CAROLYN MACKLER

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Holiday Gift Card Hop -- through midnight 12/13

I'm participating in the:Photobucket sponsored by I am a Reader Not a Writer and Attack of the Book.

My prize: the winner can choose either a $25 Barnes and Noble Gift card OR a code worth $25 on Amazon.com. Open internationally. You can use the prize to do your holiday shopping, or you can spend it on yourself...

There are several ways you can enter, each worth one chance to win. You can follow this blog or follow me on Twitter. You can tweet about the contest. And I hope you'll choose to comment on this post and tell us something you might buy with a B&N or Amazon gift card. Next week, I'll tell you what I'd buy when I reveal my Best Kept YA Secrets of 2011.

Enter using the Rafflecopter form below. (When asked to enter your name, please enter it as you'd like announced if you win. You can use a nickname, a first name and last initial, etc. Also, you do NOT need to put your email in blog comments. Rafflecopter will give you a spot to enter your email address where only I can see it if you win.)

The contest ends at midnight on December 13 and the winner will be drawn and notified on Dec 14. As soon as I hear back from the winner, I'll send out their prize!

On Spoilers and Sneak Peeks

I just posted my thoughts about a book that I thought is set to release on January 3. That's what my ARC said. When I double-checked, I learned that the book actually comes out on January 17.


Did I post an early review? It doesn't seem so early to me. Reading Teen recently posted some interesting thoughts about early reviews.

I actually like hearing about books a couple months early. I can put them on my TBR list and look forward to them. If early reviews (or ANY reviews) have a spoiler, I appreciate a heads-up so I can decide whether to read on. Luckily, most bloggers are very considerate.

There was one time I actually looked for spoilers. I read a very popular book this past year and was a little confused by one aspect of the plot. None of the reviews I read mentioned this particular plot point, so I had to resort to Googling "Name of Book + Spoilers." Yep, they were out there.

But this blog is a...

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I Just Finished ... Fracture


Fracture
by Megan Miranda
Walker Books, January 2012

When I heard about this book, I was very excited to read it. I love suspense!

My summary: After Delaney Maxwell falls through the ice on a frozen lake, she should be dead. After all, her best friend Decker wasn't able to pull her out of the icy water for a full eleven minutes. Delaney's lucky to be alive. But then things get strange. She keeps seeing a mysterious man, then senses that terrible things are going to happen. Is she just suffering psychological trauma from the accident, or is something else going on?

My thoughts: I'd call this book a psychological thriller. The kind of book you're reading while looking over your shoulder. My favorite thing about this book was the relationship between Delaney and Decker. They had that friends-but-longing-to-be-more chemistry. This book really kept me guessing. Grab a copy if you loved:

Monday, December 5, 2011

Winner of Shattered Souls Giveaway

Thanks so much to everyone who entered. And the winner is

... Angie.

Congratulations, Angie!

I just sent you an email and I'll tweet you too!

Hope you love the book :)

If you didn't win :( stay tuned! My next giveaway will start later this week.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Here We Go Again: Reincarnation in YA

Reincarnation: the belief that the soul or spirit, after the death of the body, returns to live in a new body.

My current giveaway book, Shattered Souls, features the concept of reincarnation.

TO ENTER TO WIN, CLICK HERE

I’ve recently read a few other YA paranormal novels that incorporate this idea.

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Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (2010)
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The Eternal Ones (2010) and All You Desire (2011)
by Kirsten Miller
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Mercy by Rececca Lim (2010)

The concept of reincarnation can help heighten suspense and/or add plot complications to a book. Lovers might be separated, often for decades, then reunited. The fact that a character has been reincarnated can help explain love at first sight, as characters who seem to be meeting for the first time may actually have a long and tangled romantic past. Love between reincarnated characters also deemphasizes the importance of physical appearance, because their attachment to one another transcends the physical.

What’s your take on reincarnation in YA? Do you have any books to add to my list?

Just for fun: take this reincarnation quiz and find out who/what you’ll be in the next life. I’m going to be a giraffe. Hmmph. At least I’ll be tall…

Scratch that reincarnation quiz. I designed my own. Take the YA Reincarnation Quiz.

Great movies that involve reincarnation:

I watched this one last year on Netflix streaming. I loved it! Photobucket

And, while temporary body switching isn't really the same as reincarnation, this is one of my favorite movies as well. Photobucket

Thursday, December 1, 2011

GIVEAWAY -- Shattered Souls Ends 12:01 am on 12/5

I'm giving away a finished copy of


From Amazon:

Lenzi hears voices and has visions - gravestones, floods, a boy with steel gray eyes. Her boyfriend, Zak, can't help, and everything keeps getting louder and more intense. Then Lenzi meets Alden, the boy from her dreams, who reveals that she's a reincarnated Speaker - someone who can talk to and help lost souls - and that he has been her Protector for centuries.

Now Lenzi must choose between her life with Zak and the life she is destined to lead with Alden. But time is running out: a malevolent spirit is out to destroy Lenzi, and he will kill her if she doesn't make a decision soon.

My 10 second take:

Gorgeous cover -- the rose petals even made sense once I read the book. I loved reading about Lenzi's struggle to understand her new powers. Good blend of suspense, romance and action.
A definite must-read of 2011!

To enter: Fill out the Rafflecopter form below. (This is my first time trying Rafflecopter!) When asked to enter your name, please enter it as you'd like it announced if you win. Your email will only be visible to me if you are selected as the winner. YOU DONT NEED TO PUT YOUR EMAIL IN BLOG COMMENTS.

I'll draw the winning entry the morning after the contest ends, contact the winner immediately, and mail the book out as soon as I receive the winner's address.

THIS GIVEAWAY IS OVER. PLEASE CHECK THE TOP BAR OF MY BLOG FOR A NEW ONE!
 
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