Google+ YA Romantics: June 2012

Saturday, June 30, 2012

Before And After III: Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

I had so much fun doing my Love and Loss reviews back in May that I've decided to do a new June theme: Before and After. This series will look at three books that focus on a character whose life irrevocably changes after an accident.

The two books I reviewed so far this week were:
One Moment by Kristina McBride pic name

If you missed my review of One Moment, click here to read it.

If you want to read my thoughts on My Life in Black and White, click here.



Today's Feature:


Miracle
by Elizabeth Scott

Published by Simon Pulse
on June 5, 2012

Source: borrowed from the library






My summary: Megan is on a small plane headed home from soccer camp. The next thing she knows, she's lying in the hospital with no memory of what happened. Her parents fill her in: they were told that everyone on board died when Megan's plane went down. The fact that she came walking out of the woods from the crash site, seemingly unharmed, means that she's a miracle. But Megan doesn't feel like a miracle. She's numb, jumpy, and distracted. No one seems to understand. Can she come to terms with what happened to her?

My take: I am a huge fan of Elizabeth Scott. She's written in every YA genre, from gritty contemporary (Living Dead Girl) to lighter contemporary (Something, Maybe) to issue books (Between Here and Forever) to paranormal (As I Wake). I'll read whatever she writes.

As Miracle opens, Megan doesn't remember much about the accident. All she knows is that she used to be a fearless soccer star, and now everyone treats her like she's made of glass.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Happy Friday!

Photobucket


I'm on vacation starting today, so Freebie Friday will be on a brief hiatus. But I'm bringing back my comments contest for July. For every comment you leave on a July blog post (one per post) you get one entry to win. Open internationally!

And I will be posting from vacation about all the great books I'm reading. My books get their own suitcase!   Here are some of the books I'll be reading:

Team Human by Justine Larbalestier and Sarah Rees Brennan
The Thing About the Truth by Lauren Barnholdt
The Best Night of Your (Pathetic) Life by Tara Altebrando
Amelia Anne is Dead and Gone by Kat Rosenfield
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Don't You Wish by Roxane St. Clair
The Unquiet by Jeannine Garsee
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Tomorrow I wrap up my Before and After series!



Thursday, June 28, 2012

Golden Lily Trivia Answers


Rafflecopter has selected the winner of the Golden Lily -- congratulations, Tayte!

Want to check your answers?

1. Sydney Sage is assigned by the Alchemists to protect Jill Dragomir. Jill needs to be watched because: 
a) she is being stalked by vampire hunters
b) she got thrown out of St. Vladimir’s
c) she is Lissa’s only living relative
d) she almost killed someone while feeding


2. Sydney tells her new classmates at the Amberwood School that she’s from ____ but she is really from _____. 
a) South Dakota ... Salt Lake City 
b) Nebraska .... New York City 
c) New Mexico ... Atlantic City 
d) Nevada ... Park City


3. Sydney discovers that students at the Amberwood school have been getting tattoos that give them special powers. Sydney traces the tattoos to a place called: 
a)    Evermore
b)   Afterlife
c)    Nevermore
d)   Everafter


4. Jill desperately wants Sydney to allow her to do something. Sydney will only allow it if Jill wears a mask. What does Jill want to do?
a)    model in a fashion show
b)   go trick-or-treating
c)   attend a masquerade party with Micah
d) visit Lissa at court


5. Ms. Terwilliger, a teacher at Amberwood, asks Sydney to make a magic amulet that will do this when a secret phrase is chanted:
a) give the wearer invisibility
b) give the wearer invincibility
c) create a smokescreen
d) burst into flames 


6. What nicknames does Adrian use for Jill?
a) Chill
b) Jilly
c) Jellybean
d) Jailbait


7. Sydney is horrified when Adrian tells her he did this right before being interviewed for a job:
a) ordered a martini
b) asked the interviewer out on a date
c) wrote on his application that he needed $1000 to get out of bed before noon
d) lit up a cigarette in the waiting area


 8. When Adrian and Sydney go to investigate the tattoos, Adrian distracts the owner of the store by telling him that he wants to get a tattoo of: 
a) a lightning bolt
b) a skeleton riding a motorcycle 
c) the kanji character for "badass"
d) the word "Mom" and a heart

How did you do?

Before and After II: My Life in Black and White by Natasha Friend

I had so much fun doing my Love and Loss reviews back in May that I've decided to do a new June theme: Before and After. This series will look at three books that focus on a character whose life irrevocably changes after an accident.

The three books I'll be reviewing this week -- click on covers to get to Goodreads.

One Moment by Kristina McBride pic name Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Today, I'm reviewing:

My Life in Black and White
by Natasha Friend

To be published by Viking Juvenile
on June 28, 2012

Source: bought from independent bookstore


My summary: Lexi has always been certain of one thing: she's beautiful. Then one night at a party, Lexi is betrayed by two people she thought she could trust. Desperate to escape, she impulsively jumps in a car with the brother of a friend. The next thing she knows, she wakes up in the hospital, where people are looking at her with pity, not admiration. Her face went through the windshield of the car and will never look the same. After losing the one thing that made her special, can Lexi pick up the pieces and find a new version of herself?

My take: This book made an interesting counterpoint to One Moment, the book I featured yesterday. There's no mystery about what Lexi remembers: she knows exactly what she saw and what it means. After her accident, Lexi has to process two great shocks: the betrayal she endured and the drastic change in her appearance.

While One Moment focuses almost completely on the mystery behind the main character's accident, My Life in Black and White is all about Lexi's recovery. In the book, she progresses through all the stages of grief: shock, pain, anger, bargaining and, finally acceptance. At first, she's angry and bitter that she's forever lost her old self. She doesn't recognize the person she sees in the mirror, but if she's going to be ugly, then she's determined to be as ugly as she can be. At first, she pushes her friends away and becomes an angry loner. But eventually, she begins to discover the strong person who was always there beneath the blond hair and perfect face.

I absolutely loved the characters in My Life in Black and White. Lexi, or course, and Theo, the amateur photographer who encourages Lexi to look at herself in a whole different way. But the secondary characters were also fantastic. Unlike some characters in YA, Lexi has a supportive family. Her blunt, fearless sister Ruth, who always had to be compared to her beautiful sister, was a standout.

I thoroughly enjoyed being part of Lexi's journey-- it was heartbreaking, funny, and inspiring. If you love contemporary YA, definitely put this book on your list.

Yesterday's review of One Moment by Kristina McBride was part one of this Before and After series. If you missed that, you can click this highlighted text to read it.

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Before and After I: One Moment by Kristina McBride

I had so much fun doing my Love and Loss reviews back in May that I've decided to do a new June theme: Before and After. This series will look at three books that focus on a character whose life irrevocably changes after an accident.

The three books I'll be featuring this week are:
One Moment by Kristina McBride pic name Miracle by Elizabeth Scott

Today's feature:

One Moment by Kristina McBride

Published by EgmontUSA
on June 26, 2012

Source: e-ARC from NetGalley. Read my review policy/disclosure here.








My summary: Maggie and her boyfriend Joey are part of a close-knit group of high school friends. One day, the gang is gathers at a local gorge to swim and hang out. Joey wants Maggie to jump from the cliff down into the water below. Maggie's afraid of heights, but she loves Joey, and she knows she can trust him, so she reluctantly agrees. Then, at the top of the cliff, Maggie sees something that shocks her, triggering a terrible realization. Next thing she knows, she's alone at the top, confused and scared. Joey's dead at the bottom, and Maggie's the only person who knows what happened. Can Maggie piece together her memories and figure out what went wrong and what part she played?

My take: Amnesia plots have been a big trend in YA over the past couple of years. There were many things I enjoyed about reading One Moment. The dynamic between Maggie's group of friends was essential to the plot and felt very genuine. After the accident, watching the gang's friendship start to unravel was one of the most interesting parts of the book. For me, there was little mystery about what Maggie figured out on top of the cliff. I had a strong hunch based on the clues that were given, and my hunch was right. That said, I don't mind knowing more than the main character -- watching that character stumble toward the truth can create a lot of suspense.

I did wish the truth about what happened on top of the cliff had been revealed sooner in the story. I think that would have given Maggie more space and time to grow as a character. It was also hard to get any real sense of Joey, since he only appears in the first few pages of the book, then in flashback. 

Definitely try One Moment if you're a diehard fan of stories about amnesia. I have a copy of Kristina Mc Bride's first book, The Tension of Opposites, and I'm going to read it over the summer. 

Be sure to stop by tomorrow for part two of the series: my take on My Life in Black and White!

Golden Lily Giveaway Trivia Question 8



I love trivia. So I'm teaming up with my blogger buddy Patrick @ The Bookshelves and we are doing a weeklong trivia game AND giving away a brand-new copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.

Here's how it works:

Every day between June 20 and June 27 each of us will post a new question. My questions are about Bloodlines and Patrick's are about The Golden Lily. For every question you answer (mine or Patrick's) you get a chance to win. Rafflecopter will allow you to answer one of each of our questions each day.

If your answer is wrong, it still counts. This is just for fun!

Winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday June 28! Sorry that this giveaway is US only. If you are international, we hope you enjoy the trivia anyway!

Here's today's question -- my last one. Winner is drawn tomorrow morning!


When Adrian and Sydney go to check out the tattoo parlor, Adrian distracts the proprietor by telling him that he wants a tattoo of:
a)    a lightning bolt
b)   a skeleton riding a motorcycle
c)    the kanji character for “badass”
d)   the word “Mom” and a heart



Please don't put your answer in comments -- though you are welcome to leave a comment.

Please put your answer in the Rafflecopter by clicking here.

And don't forget to click here to go to Patrick's blog and answer his Golden Lily trivia question too!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

YA Hot off the Presses: New Releases June 26 to July 2

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Hot Off The Presses highlights great new YA releases for the coming week.

I'm reading these books that are coming out the week of June 26 to July 2.
Click on the covers to get to the Goodreads page.

Golden Lily Giveaway Trivia Question 7



I love trivia. So I'm teaming up with my blogger buddy Patrick @ The Bookshelves and we are doing a weeklong trivia game AND giving away a brand-new copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.

Here's how it works:

Every day between June 20 and June 27 each of us will post a new question. My questions are about Bloodlines and Patrick's are about The Golden Lily. For every question you answer (mine or Patrick's) you get a chance to win. Rafflecopter will allow you to answer one of each of our questions each day.

If your answer is wrong, it still counts. This is just for fun!

Winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday June 28! Sorry that this giveaway is US only. If you are international, we hope you enjoy the trivia anyway!

Second to last question! Okay, Sydrian fans. I know you've been waiting for Adrian questions:

Sydney is horrified when Adrian tells her he did this right before he was interviewed for a job:
a)    ordered a martini
b)   asked the receptionist on a date
c)    wrote on his application that he needed $1000 to get out of bed before noon
            d) lit up a cigarette in the waiting area


Please don't put your answer in comments -- though you are welcome to leave a comment.

Please put your answer in the Rafflecopter by clicking here.

And don't forget to click here to go to Patrick's blog and answer his Golden Lily trivia question too!

Monday, June 25, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... For Darkness Shows the Stars

For Darkness Shows the Stars
by Diana Peterfreund

Published on June 19, 2012
by Balzer + Bray

Source: received a finished copy from the publisher at BEA. Read my review policy/disclosure here.







My summary: After a genetic experiment gone awry results in a generation of mentally "Reduced" citizens, the nobility become Luddites, turning their backs on progress and technology. Luddite Elliot North runs her family's estate, manages the Reduced who work their land, and wonders if she missed her chance for happiness. When her childhood sweetheart Kai, a "Post Reduced," left the North estate to seek his fortune, he asked Elliot to join him, but she refused, choosing duty over love. Years later, the North family struggles to maintain their estate, so Eliot agrees to rent land to a group of Post-Reduced, one of whom is none other than Kai.

My thoughts: This book is a retelling of Persuasion by Jane Austen. In a nutshell, Persuasion is about Anne Elliot, a young girl whose snobbish friends and family convince her to reject a suitor because he is beneath her socially. Seven years later, Anne's family is reduced (hmm, perhaps a play on words here?) in circumstances and Anne re-encounters her former suitor, now wealthy and aloof.

Golden Lily Giveaway Trivia Question 6



I love trivia. So I'm teaming up with my blogger buddy Patrick @ The Bookshelves and we are doing a weeklong trivia game AND giving away a brand-new copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.

Here's how it works:

Every day between June 20 and June 27 each of us will post a new question. My questions are about Bloodlines and Patrick's are about The Golden Lily. For every question you answer (mine or Patrick's) you get a chance to win. Rafflecopter will allow you to answer one of each of our questions each day.

If your answer is wrong, it still counts. This is just for fun!

Winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday June 28! Sorry that this giveaway is US only. If you are international, we hope you enjoy the trivia anyway!

Here's today's question:


What nickname does Adrian use for Jill?
a)    Chill
b)   Jilly
c)    Jellybean
d)   Jailbait



Please don't put your answer in comments -- though you are welcome to leave a comment.

Please put your answer in the Rafflecopter by clicking here.

And don't forget to click here to go to Patrick's blog and answer his Golden Lily trivia question too!

Sunday, June 24, 2012

Extra Extra 10!

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekly Sunday post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's coming up on the blog. I'm going to try mixing it up by linking to different weekend posts.

Today I'm linking to Stacking the Shelves @ Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post @ Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 


Stacking the Shelves pic name

What's new with me? Well, I got these two books this week:

Golden Lily Giveaway Trivia Question 5



I love trivia. So I'm teaming up with my blogger buddy Patrick @ The Bookshelves and we are doing a weeklong trivia game AND giving away a brand-new copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.

Here's how it works:

Every day between June 20 and June 27 each of us will post a new question. My questions are about Bloodlines and Patrick's are about The Golden Lily. For every question you answer (mine or Patrick's) you get a chance to win. Rafflecopter will allow you to answer one of each of our questions each day.

If your answer is wrong, it still counts. This is just for fun!

Winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday June 28! Sorry that this giveaway is US only. If you are international, we hope you enjoy the trivia anyway!

Here's today's question:

Ms. Terwilliger, a teacher at Amberwood, asks Sydney to make a magic amulet that will do this when a secret phrase is chanted:

a)    give the wearer invisibility
b)   give the wearer invincibility
c)    create a smokescreen
d)   burst into flames


Please don't put your answer in comments -- though you are welcome to leave a comment.

Please put your answer in the Rafflecopter by clicking here.

And don't forget to click here to go to Patrick's blog and answer his Golden Lily trivia question too!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

Golden Lily Giveaway Trivia Question 4



I love trivia. So I'm teaming up with Patrick @ The Bookshelves and we are doing a weeklong trivia game AND giving away a brand-new copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.

Here's how it works:

Every day between June 20 and June 27 each of us will post a new question. My questions are about Bloodlines and Patrick's are about The Golden Lily. For every question you answer (mine or Patrick's) you get a chance to win. Rafflecopter will allow you to answer one of each of our questions each day.

If your answer is wrong, it still counts. This is just for fun!

Winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday June 28! Sorry that this giveaway is US only. If you are international, we hope you enjoy the trivia anyway!

Here's question 4:


Jill desperately wants Sydney to allow her to do something. Sydney will only allow it if Jill wears a mask. What does Jill want to do?
a)    model in a fashion show
b)   go trick-or-treating
c)   attend a masquerade party with Micah
d) visit Lissa at court  



Please don't put your answer in comments -- though you are welcome to leave a comment.

Please put your answer in the Rafflecopter by clicking here.

And don't forget to click here to go to Patrick's blog and answer his Golden Lily trivia question too!

Friday, June 22, 2012

TGIF: Author sightings and signings

hot trends in fiction

I'm joining TGIF again today. This meme is hosted by GReads.  It's a chance to recap the week on our blog and answer a question.

Today's question: Tell us about an author you've met, contacted, stalked....

I've been to a few author signings. Last TGIF I showed you my stamped copy of Mockingjay.  I also got a bunch of books signed at BEA. I was telling Gretchen McNeil that I liked Possess and she said that some people thought that book was scarier than Ten.  So here's what she wrote in my ARC:





What happened on my blog this week? Click the highlighted text to check it out!

Monday I reviewed a great new YA contemporary, My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick 

Tuesday was Hot off the Presses!

Wednesday I kicked off a Golden Lily Giveaway with Trivia. Still time to enter! Check out today's trivia question here!

Thursday I tested my zombie tolerance by reviewing This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.

Giveaway winners this week:

Hannah @ PaperbackTreasures won the two YA contemporary titles by HarperTeen author Gwendolyn Heasley!

Be sure to scroll down and enter Freebie Friday AND the Golden Lily giveaway!


Freebie Friday 10!




Welcome to another fantastic Freebie Friday!

Summer's officially here, so I picked some books that would make great beach reads. Here are the choices for this week:



A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger (finished copy)
The Disenchantments by Nina LaCour (finished copy)
This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers (finished copy)
Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris (ARC)
The Selection by Kiera Cass (ARC)

Today's Freebie Friday question: tell me about your perfect beach read. It can be a great book you have enjoyed at the beach, a book you'd like to read at the beach, or you can just describe what kind of book would be your perfect summer read.

If you need to leave me an email addy, please fill out the Google Doc below. But a comment is what enters you! Winner will be drawn by Random.org on Saturday morning and the book will be mailed as soon as I receive a response from my winner!

OPEN INTERNATIONALLY!
THIS FREEBIE FRIDAY IS OVER, BUT CHECK BACK FOR FUTURE GIVEAWAYS!

ETA: The winner was .....

Commenter #9 -- Brookea_2006. 

She chose This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers. If you were dying for that book (no zombie pun intended) I have two more copies to give away, so stay tuned!

Golden Lily Giveaway Trivia Question 3



I love trivia. So I'm teaming up with my blogger buddy Patrick @ The Bookshelves and we are doing a weeklong trivia game AND giving away a brand-new copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.

Here's how it works:

Every day between June 20 and June 27 each of us will post a new question. My questions are about Bloodlines and Patrick's are about The Golden Lily. For every question you answer (mine or Patrick's) you get a chance to win. Rafflecopter will allow you to answer one of each of our questions each day.

If your answer is wrong, it still counts. This is just for fun! My questions are designed to help you remember Bloodlines in preparation for reading The Golden Lily!

Winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday June 28! Sorry that this giveaway is US only. If you are international, we hope you still enjoy the trivia!

Here's Question 3:
Sydney discovers that students at the Amberwood school have been getting tattoos that give them special powers. Sydney traces the tattoos to a place called:
a)    Evermore
b)   Afterlife
c)    Nevermore
d)   Everafter

Please don't put your answer in comments -- though you are welcome to leave a comment.

Please put your answer in the Rafflecopter by clicking here.

And don't forget to click here to go to Patrick's blog and answer his Golden Lily trivia question too!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... This Is Not a Test

This Is Not a Test
by Courtney Summers

Published by St Martin's Press
on June 19, 2012

Source: bought from independent bookstore



My Summary: When the world seems like it's coming to an end, six teenagers take refuge inside their high school. Outside, chaos reigns as family, friends and neighbors fall prey to mindless, rampaging zombies or -- worse yet -- become unrecognizable monsters themselves. Sloane Price finds herself among the teens barricaded inside her school. She watches as they worry about their loved ones, argue about how best to survive. Before this disaster struck, Sloane wanted to die. Now she'll have to decide how much she wants to live.

My thoughts: Okay, I'll say it one more time. Hate zombie books. Love Courtney Summers.

I could not put this book down. Yes, there were scrabbling, milky-eyed, flesh-eating zombies for those of you who are into that kind of stuff. But This Is Not a Test was so much more than zombies. I'd say this book was about the will to live. What gives us that will, what can take it away, and how it might be reignited.

Courtney Summers excels at writing characters who are wounded, vulnerable, and emotionally raw. Sloane, her protagonist in This Is Not a Test,  is no exception. Without giving too much away, I'll just say that Sloane is borderline suicidal when the whole zombie thing hits. As the book opens, she's also reeling from the loss of her security blanket -- her sister, who ran away from home. Sloane watches the whole zombie thing play out with a sort of detached interest. She's amazed at how much people can care -- about each other, about life.

That's not to say that this book is nothing but a bunch of navel-gazing philosophizing about life and death. I mean, there are rampaging zombies right outside the school. Inside the school there is also a lot going on: conflict, suspense, and nail-biting moments of tension. As the story unfolds, each of the six kids comes into sharper focus. Each is dealing with feelings about their lives outside, feelings of anger, guilt, sadness, longing.

I don't want to say too much, because I want you to be able to enjoy every twist and turn that this book offers. I still don't like zombie books. But I do like good books, and this book happens to be both.

I'll be offering up an extra copy of this book tomorrow on Freebie Friday!

Still not interested in zombies? Okay. Later today I'm guest-posting at YA Bookmark about books that evoke the carefree spirit of summer. Take a look at my recommendations by clicking this highlighted text! Guaranteed zombie-free!



Golden Lily Giveaway Trivia Question 2



I love trivia. So I'm teaming up with my blogger buddy Patrick @ The Bookshelves and we are doing a weeklong trivia game AND giving away a brand-new copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.

Here's how it works:

Every day between June 20 and June 27 each of us will post a new question. My questions are about Bloodlines and Patrick's are about The Golden Lily. For every question you answer (mine or Patrick's) you get a chance to win. Rafflecopter will allow you to answer one of each of our questions each day.

If your answer is wrong, it still counts. This is just for fun!

Winner will be drawn and notified on Thursday June 28! Sorry that this giveaway is US only. If you are international, we hope you enjoy the trivia anyway!

Here's Question 2: 

Sydney tells her new classmates at the Amberwood School that she’s from ____ but she is really from _____. 


a) South Dakota ... Salt Lake City 
b) Nebraska .... New York City 
c) New Mexico ... Atlantic City 
d) Nevada ... Park City 


Please don't put your answer in comments -- though you are welcome to leave a comment.

Please put your answer in the Rafflecopter by clicking here.

And don't forget to click here to go to Patrick's blog and answer his Golden Lily trivia question to get another chance to win!

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Golden Lily Giveaway and Bloodlines Trivia 1



I love trivia. So I'm teaming up with my blogger buddy Patrick @ The Bookshelves and we are doing a weeklong trivia game AND giving away a brand-new copy of The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead.

Here's how it works:

Every day between June 20 and June 27 each of us will post a new trivia question. My questions are about Bloodlines and Patrick's are about The Golden Lily.

For every question you answer (mine or Patrick's) you get a chance to win. Rafflecopter will allow you to answer one of each of our questions each day.

If your answer is wrong, it still counts. This is just for fun!

Winner will be drawn and notified the morning of Thursday June 28 and the book will go out immediately via Priority Mail.

Sorry that we have to limit this giveaway is US only. If you are international, we hope you enjoy the trivia -- and remember, Freebie Friday remains international!

Here's today's question:

Sydney Sage is assigned by the Alchemists to protect Jill Dragomir. Jill needs to be watched because: a) she is being stalked by vampire hunters
b) she got thrown out of St. Vladimir’s
c) she is Lissa’s only living relative
d) she almost killed someone while feeding Please don't put your answer in comments -- though you are welcome to leave a comment.

Please put your answer in the Rafflecopter by clicking here.

And don't forget to click here to go to Patrick's blog and answer his Golden Lily trivia question to get one more entry today!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

YA Hot off the Presses: New Releases June 19-25

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Hot Off The Presses highlights great new YA releases for the coming week.
These books are coming out the week of June 19-25.

Last week, a lot of us were complaining about our rising TBR piles and shrinking cash flow. You'll be happy to see that this week is a little calmer.

But ... there are two books coming out today that I'm excited about. Click on the cover for details.


This Is Not a Test by Courtney Summers.

I'm reading this right now and .....whoa!

If you're a regular around here, you know I do NOT like zombies. At all. But I have loved every Courtney Summers book I've ever read -- I think I've read all her books. So for her, I'm reading this. And if I get too scared, I'll hide the book under a pile of pajamas and then put it into Freebie Friday.



Something Like Normal by Trish Dollar

I've heard nothing but amazing things about this one, so I've got to read it!

There are a few other YA books releasing in the coming week. Click the highlighted titles to check them out on Goodreads.

The Wild Queen by Carolyn Meyer


The Violins of Autumn by Amy McAuley

Just Flirt by Laura Bowers

If I missed something, please let me know in comments and I'll add it with your name!




Monday, June 18, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick

My Life Next Door
by Huntley Fitzpatrick

Published by Dial Books for Young Readers
On June 14, 2012

Source: e-ARC provided by the publisher through NetGalley. Read my review policy and disclosure here.


My summary:  Samantha Reed is the perfect politician's daughter: pretty, high-achieving and scandal-free. While her mother is all tied up with a political campaign, Sam's eye wanders next door to the Garrett family. They're everything Sam's family is not -- loud and disorganized. When Sam begins to fall for Jase Garrett, she keeps her new relationship secret from everyone in her well-ordered life. But then something terrible happens, and Sam has to choose between Jase and her family, between what's right and what's easy.

My take: Huntley Fitzpatrick does a great job setting up a gripping fictional collision course: Sam and her control freak single mother, the lovable yet chaotic Garrett family, plus the pressures of a cutthroat political campaign.  The characters in this book are vivid and complex. The Garrett children steal the show, from surly Alice to adorably neurotic George to baby Patsy. Love interest Jase is a caretaker of family and pets-- he has a bedroom chockful of gerbils and snakes -- making him a perfect foil to high-strung Sam.  

The two characters I was most skeptical about from the get-go were the Mason twins, Sam's ambitious friend Nan and drunken screw-up Tim. But by the end of the book, the twins proved to be two of the most surprising and interesting characters in the book.  

I also loved the political plot line of this book -- the pressure Sam's mother feels as her campaign heats up is palpable. Her mom's slick campaign manager, the opportunistic Clay Tucker, is always stirring the pot. As I read, I knew that some huge, juicy scandal was brewing -- and it was! Sam, who has a hard time speaking up for herself, faces a loss of innocence and an impossible decision: duty or love.

Watching tightly-wound Sam and laid-back Jase slowly fall in love was also a pleasure. Their relationship was far steamier than I was expecting, complete with a frank discussion of birth control and a trip to the drugstore. When unexpected circumstances threatened to tear them apart, I honestly wasn't sure their relationship would survive.

I won't tell you whether or not true love prevailed. But I will say that if you enjoy contemporary YA with colorful characters, a compelling plot line, and a hefty dose of romance, My Life Next Door should definitely be on your summer reading list.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Extra Extra 9!

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekly Sunday post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's new on the blog.

I'm linking to Stacking the Shelves @ Tynga's Reviews and Sunday Post @ Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. Check out the great blogs that have posted their Sunday news over there....

Stacking the Shelves pic name


I bought three new books this week!

The Golden Lily by Richelle Mead
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
Black Heart by Holly Black




Here's what's on my reading pile for the coming week:

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Shift by Em Bailey




Winner of Freebie Friday 9 was Darling Nikki, and she chose....
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry!

What's new with you? Tell me in comments!



Saturday, June 16, 2012

Just Finished Reading .. Keep Holding On by Susane Colisanti

Keep Holding On

by Susane Colisanti

Published by Viking Juvenile

on May 31, 2012

Source: received e-ARC from the publisher through NetGalley. Read my review policy/disclosure here.




My summary: Noelle is counting down the days until the end of high school. She's not doing the countdown because she can't wait to put on a cap and gown, or pack up for college. It's because she can't stand another day at school, can't bear another week of living with her emotionally unstable, neglectful mother. Noelle struggles with being bullied, with her feelings for a boy who only wants to hook up with her in private, and with her confidence. Can she keep holding on?

My take: Noelle has a lot of awful stuff to face. Her mom barely bothers to keep food in the house, a guy at school says he likes her but won't acknowledge their relationship in public, and she's relentlessly bullied by two classmates.

There are bright sides to Noelle's life, though: a caring physics teacher, a best friend who seems to understand what she's going through, and a new guy she'd love to go out with if she weren't so certain that he'd reject her if he knew the truth about what her life was really like. 

While the bullying Noelle suffers is terrible, I found Noelle's neglectful mother even more disturbing.  Noelle is lucky that some adults in her life do eventually stand up for her, which doesn't always happen in such situations. 

After reading blurbs of Keep Holding On, I was expecting an issue book about bullying. Now that I've read the book, I'd say that's not exactly accurate. Keep Holding On is more a book that advocates having the courage to be yourself, to change the things about your life that are in your power to change, and to tough it out through bad times. 

Other YA books like Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson or Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers definitely pack a stronger emotional punch in their portrayal of the life of high school outcasts.  Keep Holding On seems to take more of an inspirational approach, reminding teens that while high school might sometimes seem like endless torture, there's a whole wide world waiting on the other side.

Other books you might enjoy -- click on the covers to get to the Goodreads page:

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
Sweethearts by Sara Zarr
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher


Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers Sweethearts by Sara Zarr Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
 
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