Google+ YA Romantics: November 2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

Freebie Friday 27: My Favorite YA Paranormal and Historical Reads of 2012

Welcome to Freebie Friday!

2012, where have you gone? Tomorrow is the first day of December. The holiday carols are already playing in stores. I decided it's time to start looking back on my favorite YA books of 2012.

I'll be doing a Top Ten of 2012 post later on, but for the next three Fridays, I'll be telling you about some of my favorite reads of the year as I try to narrow things down. 
Today, I'll list my favorite YA Historical Fiction and YA Paranormal books published in 2012.
On December 7, I'll turn to the YA Dystopian/Post-Apocalyptic and Fantasy genres
On December 14, I'll look at Realistic/Contemporary YA Fiction.

And, of course, you're encouraged to tell me what you think in comments. And win :) The contest portion will run a little differently. I'll use a Rafflecopter and keep it open for the next three weeks. You can enter once each week by commenting. Then on Monday, December 17, I'll draw two winners who can choose ANY one book from the three lists. Open internationally!

Historical Fiction: I love historical fiction. As I was looking through my list, I zeroed in on books that had the right blend of historical detail, vivid characters, and a page-turning plot. I like enough research so that I learn something new, but not so much that the story bogs down under the weight of it.

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein The Diviners by Libba Bray pic name

Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (Hyperion)

Wow -- this is a powerful book. It's the story of a spy plane that crashes in Nazi occupied France with two best friends aboard. Code Name Verity has a creative narrative structure, tons of historical detail, and characters that will win -- and break -- your heart.
My review of Code Name Verity is here!

The Diviners by Libba Bray (Little Brown BYR)

This book could also go in the Paranormal category below, but I think this story of a party girl with paranormal abilities really shines as historical fiction. You know those historical novels that seem dry as dust? The Diviners is not one of them. Yes it's wickedly long, but also wickedly fun.
 I reviewed the audiobook of The Diviners here.

Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers (Houghton Mifflin)

The story of Ismae, a teen assassin nun in fifteenth-century Brittany. Yes, I said assassin nun. Need I say more?
 Grave Mercy -- my review here.

Paranormal Romance: Ah, the swoony pararnomal romance. I don't care what anyone says -- these books are SO much fun to read! What do I want to see in my paranormals? Characters that move me, at least a little romance, and some mindbending paranormal skills.

Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan Everneath by Brodi Ashton Slide by Jill Hathaway
The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin Hallowed by Cynthia Hand Golden Lily by Richelle Mead

Brides of Rollrock Island by Margo Lanagan (Random House)
This is the most literary of my paranormal choices -- a beautifully written story of selkie love and revenge.
Brides of Rollrock Island -- my review is here. 

Everneath by Brodi Ashton (Balzer + Bray)
I'm a sucker for underworld stories, angry girls and angst. Everneath has all three!
 My review of Everneath 

Slide by Jill Hathaway (Balzer + Bray)
One of my favorite YA mysteries of the year! It has a super-cool premise, an appealing heroine, and a friends-to-romance relationship.
Slide -- check out my review here!

The Evolution of Mara Dyer (Mara Dyer #2)  (Simon and Schuster)
Whoa -- this book is off the rails -- just crazy, spooky fun.
Read my review of The Evolution of Mara Dyer here!

Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand (HarperTeen)
I'm not always so keen on angels, but this heavenly series has won me over!
I reviewed Hallowed by Cynthia Hand here.

The Golden Lily (Bloodlines #2) by Richelle Mead (Razorbill)
Oh, Sydrian. How I adore you.
My review of Golden Lily is here.
And want to challenge yourself to some Bloodlines trivia? The questions start here.
So, to enter my three-week Favorites of 2012 Freebie Friday Extravaganza, leave a comment. Do you agree with any of my choices? Want to make your own list?  Open internationally and as explained above, two winners will be drawn on December 17 and they can each pick any one of the books I've featured over the three weeks.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Books Like the TV Show Nashville


I'm SO excited to debut my new occasional blog feature .... Bookalikes!

I used to participate in The Reclusive Bibilophile's "If You Liked" feature on Mondays. Then Melanie put her blog on hold :(

So, welcome to my new "Books Like" feature, in which I pick a topic  (a book, or TV show or some other pop culture phenomenon) and try to come up with YA books that I think will appeal to fans of that topic. Bloggers spend a lot of time focused on the latest and newest, and this is also a way for me to show the love for some different books.

Today, my inspiration will be .... Nashville!

Have you seen Nashville? It's on ABC on Wednesday nights. The show focuses on two singers, country legend Rayna James (Connie Britton) and scrappy young pop-country singer Juliette Barnes (Hayden Paniettiere.) Rayna has a stuffy husband and a broody ex-boyfriend. Juliette has a wild streak and a mother with addiction issues. Then there's too-sweet-to-last aspiring songwriter Scarlett, her aspiring musician boyfriend Avery, and Gunnar, the nice guy slash third wheel.

So, the show's formula is....

Country Music
Reigning Queen Bee vs. Ambitious Upstart +
Politician's Daughter and associated political intrigue +
Sweet Young Thing+
Unrequited Love 

Here are my YA book recommendations for fans of Nashville. Click on the covers to get to the book's Goodreads page!

Paradise by Jill Alexander (Macmillan, 2011)

Country music + Unrequited Love 

Paisley, a drummer in a country rock band, dreams of making it to the Texapalooza music festival. To do that they need a lead singer. Now. 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. 
This book!  I'm not even the world's biggest fan of country music, but this book just encapsulates all the heartbreak and longing of a country song.

Queen of Kentucky by Alecia Whitaker (Poppy, 2012)

Sweet young thing +Unrequited love

Ricki Jo is worried that the country club girls at her school will think she's a hick. She falls for the absolute wrong boy and doesn't realize it. She has the absolute right boy under her nose and doesn't realize it.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick (Dial, 2012)

Politician's daughter + associated political intrigue

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, 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.

Okay, a book set in the Northeast might seem like a less obvious choice. But  part of Nashville's plot revolves around a political campaign. Rayna is the daughter of a powerful politician. Sam is the daughter of an aspiring politician. Both the show and the book deal with a political campaign and a lot of conniving and scandal.

Okay, what do you think? About the show, my new feature, and the books I chose? Do you have other books to suggest?

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting On Wednesday: Splintered by A. G. Howard

Waiting on Wednesday is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Guys, I have to tell you that WoW is giving me good luck. Last week, I wrote my post and the night before it went up, I got approved on NetGalley for the titles I was featuring.

This week ... the same thing happened. Yesterday afternoon, I got an email that I'd been approved for...

 Splintered by A. G Howard

Splintered by A. G Howard

Gorgeous cover? Check. Pretty + sinister = awesome!

Cool premise? Check. It's an Alice in Wonderland retelling. Here's a shortened version of the Goodreads blurb:

Alyssa Gardner hears the whispers of bugs and flowers—precisely the affliction that landed her mother in a mental hospital years before. This family curse stretches back to her ancestor Alice Liddell, the real-life inspiration for Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland. When her mother’s mental health takes a turn for the worse, Alyssa learns that what she thought was fiction is based in terrifying reality. The real Wonderland is a place far darker and more twisted than Lewis Carroll ever let on. There, Alyssa must pass a series of tests. She must also decide whom to trust: Jeb, her gorgeous best friend and secret crush, or the sexy but suspicious Morpheus, her guide through Wonderland, who may have dark motives of his own.

Tons of buzz? Check. Two weeks ago, I attended a panel on YA Bestsellers and this book was mentioned.

Interested? You can add it to Goodreads by clicking my cool new button :)

Add To Goodreads Button

If you're participating in WoW, leave me a link. Otherwise, tell me about a book you're dying to read!

Waiting On Wednesday: Opal by Jennifer Armentrout

I know a lot of you are waiting for Opal by Jennifer Armentrout.  Yeah, don't you wish you could just reach through the screen?

She's giving away copies on her blog through the next two weeks. To enter, you can like her Facebook page, tweet, etc.

Good luck :)

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releases Nov 27-Dec 3

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

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

Wondering what new YA books are coming out November 27-December 3?

Check them out below and enter to win your choice from a selection of November releases.

Click on the covers to find out more about this week's releases and add them to Goodreads!

The Lucky Ones by Anna Godbersen The Believing Game by Eileen Corrigan Touched by Corrine Jackson

The Lucky Ones (Bright Young Things #3) by Anna Godbersen (HarperTeen)

The Believing Game by Eireann Corrigan (Scholastic)

Touched by Corrine Jackson (Kensington Teen)


Lullaby by Amanda Hocking (St Martins)

Since there are so few books this week, you can link to a review of ANY November YA release to enter the giveaway! Want to know what titles are eligible? Click on the highlighted text to check out my Hot Off the Presses for November 6, November 13 or November 20. If you think I missed something, let me know in comments.
If winner resides in US/Canada, they can choose any one of the eight November releases listed below. International winners can choose one of the five asterisked * titles. I may be adding more choices, so watch this space!

Click on the highlighted titles to check the books out.

Black City by Elizabeth Richards
Miss Fortune Cookie by Lauren Bjorkman
Ashes of Twilight by Kassie Tayler
*Touched by Corrine Jackson
*Undeadly by Michelle Vail
*Greta and the Goblin King by Chloe Jacobs
*Deity by Jennifer Armentrout
*Luminosity by Stephanie Thomas a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, November 26, 2012

Cyber Monday Deals and Steals


Love it or hate it, the 2012 holiday shopping season is upon us. What makes a greater gift than a book? Forget those lines and crowds -- you can shop for books in your PJs with some hot chocolate!

Today, I'll fill you in on some Bookish Deals and Steals.

Then, starting Friday for the next four weeks, I'll be running down my favorite YA books of 2012 -- great gift ideas!

Before we get started, don't forget to enter to win my $50 book shopping spree.  I draw the winner on December 17, so you'll still have plenty of time to shop :)

So Close to You by Rachel Carter
Smart Girls Get What They Want by Sarah Strohmeyer
Insignia by S. J. Kincaid

Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
The Gathering by Kelly Armstrong
The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting

PenguinTeen is offering free shipping and 20% off when you use the code HOLIDAY12 at checkout.

What can you buy? Reached by Ally Condie, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, Legend by Marie Lu, or Black City by Elizabeth Richards.

Amazon has some great deals on the Kindle Fire and on great YA books -- click on the title to order!
Kindle Fire is $30 off --- use code FIREDEAL; one per customer.

Pretty Amy by Lisa Burstein -- 3.00 for the paperback or 2.86 for Kindle

Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier -- 6.80 for the hardcover

Bitter End by Jennifer Brown -- 7.20 for the hardcover

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington -- 6.80 for the hardcover

The Eternal Ones by Kirsten Miller -- 7.20 for the hardcover

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger -- 6.80 for the hardcover

Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta --  4.67 for the hardcover

Bumped by Megan McCafferty -- 6.80 for the hardcover

Pink by Lili Wilkinson -- 6.80 for the hardcover

Audrey, Wait by Robin Benway -- 6.80 for the hardcover

Barnes and Noble has a selection of kids and teens' books marked 50% off, including the Maze Runner series by James Dashner, the Infinity Ring series (with books written by James Dashner and Carrie Ryan) and the Lorien Legacies series by Pittacus Lore.

Have you found any more great book deals? Let me know in comments!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Extra! Extra! 32

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekly post featuring any and all exciting blog news.

This weekend I'm linking up to Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer

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What happened on the blog this week? Here's a quick rundown:

Monday I kicked off my $50 Shopping Spree Giveaway! You can enter that here.

Tuesday was Hot Off the Presses Day, where I showcased new YA releases. And, yes, there's a giveaway!

Wednesday I told you about The Diviners by Libba Bray -- the audiobook version. It was the longest book I've ever listened to -- what did I think of those 18 hours?

Thursday I took the day off to cook Thanksgiving dinner!

Friday I held a special Freebie Friday in honor of Small Business Saturday. There's still time to drop by and tell me about your favorite indie bookstore for a chance to win a book of your choice (up to $20) from Books of Wonder!

Saturday I told you about Elemental by Antony John. Did this book about the elements blow me away?

Here are some new e-ARCs I got from either Edelweiss or NetGalley. Thanks to the awesome publicity/marketing teams at HarperTeen and KTeen! Can't wait to read these!

Just click on each cover to find out more and add them to Goodreads!

Taken by Erin Bowman Pivot Point by Kassie West MILA 2.0 by Debra Driza Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep

Taken by Erin Bowman
Pivot Point by Kassie West
Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza
Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4)by Jennifer Estep

This Week's Winners:

Rebecca from Reading Wishes won Freebie Friday: Fiction to Film and chose Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

Jenn from OwlReadIt won the November 13 Hot Off the Presses and Chose Black City by Elizabeth Richards.

Thanks so much for stopping by. Tell me what's new with you and leave me a link!

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Elemental by Antony John

by Antony John
Published by Dial Books
on November 20, 2012

Source: bought

My summary: On Roanoke Island, a scrappy band of survivors fled a plague on the mainland and built a community. Sixteen year-old Thomas is impatiently waiting to receive his Elemental power -- people over sixteen in his group have the ability to control one of the elements. But when a storm hits and all the adults in his community mysteriously disappear, the island's kids will have to battle pirates, including the man who killed Thomas's mother.

My take: I was thrilled to discover that this book is set on Roanoke Island, a place rich in history and intrigue. In case you're not a US history buff, the island was the site of the Lost Colony -- a group of British colonists settled there in the 1580s and then mysteriously disappeared.

In the book, a small community has settled on Roanoke island after some sort of unspecified plague began to spread in the United States. The settlers have special powers. Thomas' father and brother can control fire, and he's anxiously waiting to see what his special talent will be. After a storm separates the adults from the rest of the group, Thomas and the other kids try to reunite the group and evade capture by pirates.

I loved the setting of Elemental, and the book's premise is an intriguing one. Elemental has a lot of action, some moderately scary pirates, a PG-rated love triangle, and the fun sort of "kids against the world" esprit de corps that you see in movies like Home Alone or Spy Kids.

I really enjoyed reading Elemental even though, as an adult reader of YA, I don't feel like part of this book's target audience. I enthusiastically recommend Elemental to fans of the Percy Jackson series by Rick Riordan or Savvy by Ingrid Law -- another fantastic book about kids who receive a special power when they turn thirteen.

If you're intrigued by the idea of books about characters who can control the elements, also check these choices out. Click on the covers to find out more.

Circle of Magic by Tamora Pierce Carrier of the Mark by Leigh Fallon Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

If you're intrigued by Roanoke Island and love historical fiction, also try this one!

Friday, November 23, 2012

Freebie Friday 26: Indie Love!

This weekend is Thanksgiving here in the U.S., which means that today is Black Friday -- the big first holiday shopping day. But you might not know is that tomorrow is....

Small businesses are the heart and soul of many communities across the US and around the world. 
To enter Freebie Friday, please tell me about your favorite independent bookstore. I hope you have one in your community, but if you don't, you can tell me about any indie bookstore that you've visited or would like to visit.
I don't know about you, but when I travel, the first thing I do is check out the bookstore situation. Some of my favorites are King's English in Salt Lake City, Utah; Powell's Books in Portland, Oregon; and Hatchards Books in the UK. I'd love to visit Blue Willow Books in Houston!

If you'd like to try to find your nearest indie bookstore, use the Indie Bound Store Finder.

I'd like to tell you about Books of Wonder

Books of Wonder is the oldest independent children's bookstore here in New York City. It was the inspiration for Meg Ryan's bookstore in You've Got Mail. And the store has been a huge supporter of YA literature and authors. They hosted the midnight launch for Mockingjay, attended by Suzanne Collins, as well as dozens of other great events.

The store has been having financial difficulties and has been fundraising. I'd love to support them by buying my winner ANY book they have in stock up to $20. And, yes, I'll also mail it to you :)

Check out the store's selection of signed books here. You can pick one of those and I'll do my best to run down and grab it. At the time this post was written, those signed choices included books by Lauren Oliver, Holly Black, David Levithan, and Maggie Stiefvater.

But you don't have to pick a signed book. There's a great selection on the BoW website, from picture books to YA.

As the store charges $35 for international shipping, this part of today's giveaway is U.S. only unless an international winner wishes to pay for shipping while I pay for the book.

If the winning name I draw is international, that person will win a swag pack (pictured below) that includes a Crewel World bracelet and an assortment of cool YA bookmarks, one of them signed by Diana Peterfreund. Then I will draw again until I have a U.S. winner. 

I'm sorry about the disparity in prizes, but most of my giveaways are open internationally. And the point of this giveaway is to support this great independent bookstore :) Thanks for understanding!

Okay, time to show some love for your favorite indie bookstore. And don't forget those small businesses when you do your holiday shopping!

If the account you comment under does not link to a blog or email address, please leave email in the Google Doc below!

Accepting entries until Monday, November 26 at 9:00 am EST.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

It's Thanksgiving Day here in the U.S. and I'm excited to spend the day with my family.

I'm thankful to be part of the book community and thankful to have so many fantastic blogger friends and blog readers. You guys are the best!

As the year draws to a close, I'm starting to look back on the great books I read in 2012 and also look forward to all the books that are coming out in 2013.

So. Many. Amazing. Books. So don't forget to enter to win my...

 Book shopping Spree

You can do that right here.

If you're celebrating Thanksgiving, I hope you have a happy one!

I'm going to try to be offline today, but see you tomorrow!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Audiobook Review: The Diviners

audiobook review photo audiobookreview.jpg

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The Diviners
by Libba Bray
Published by Little, Brown BYR
on September 18, 2012

Length: 18 hours, 14 min
Narrator: January LaVoy

Source: bought the audiobook from

Clicking the covers will take you to Goodreads. What do you think of the different covers? I think one is UK and one is Australian. International readers, if you have the scoop, tell me in comments.

My summary: It's the roaring 20's, and party girl Evangeline "Evie" O'Neill causes a scandal in small  town Ohio and gets shipped off to Manhattan to live with her Uncle Will, who runs a museum focused on the supernatural and occult. When gruesome murders begin to occur all over the city, the police ask Will for his expert opinion. But Evie has a secret. She has a paranormal ability that might help crack the case -- or put her within the killer's reach.

My take: The Diviners is impressive on so many levels. It's a hefty (nearly 600 page) historical mystery featuring a large cast of characters, a great deal of historical detail, and that tricky "intersecting lives" kind of plot structure, in which a bunch of different storylines slowly merge into one.

Libba Bray is one of my auto-buy authors. She has the most amazing imagination and I always enjoy getting a little peek into it. The Gemma Doyle books are one of my favorite YA series and it made me happy that The Diviners also features a historical setting and paranormal elements. I also enjoyed Bray's off-the-wall contemporary satire Beauty Queens. (I listened to Libba Bray read it herself on audio and she was awesome. The audiobook even won a "best of 2011" award from AudioFile magazine in the YA category.)

Odd as it might sound, I also see parallels between Beauty Queens and The Diviners, namely the big casts of characters from all walks of life, and the multiple third person POVs that slowly begin to converge. January LaVoy, the narrator of the audio version of The Diviners, was a phenomenal reader. She made each and every one of the literally dozens of characters sound unique and authentic.

To me, the most amazing part of The Diviners was the amount of historical detail included in the story. This isn't one of those books about the 1920s that just throws in a few flappers and a couple of Prohibition references and calls it a day. It's clear that an enormous amount of research went into The Diviners, which not only features slang of the time but incorporates a lot of history -- from the aftereffects of World War I to the Eugenics movement to1920s Harlem nightlife. The story also features a very unexpected and cool steampunk-ish twist that I was not expecting at all.

The fact that The Diviners includes so many points of view and so much historical detail does mean that the book's plot moves at a fairly deliberate pace -- it takes some time and patience on the part of the reader before all the various strands of the plot begin to weave together. For this reason, I think the book is probably a good fit for older teens and adult readers of YA.

Speaking of time and patience, after listening to nearly 600 pages read over the course of eighteen hours, I would have been a little peeved to be left dangling on one of those ever-popular YA cliffhanger endings. I am happy to report that I was not. The killer is apprehended and the police investigation wrapped up, while the book still hints at more intrigue to come. Yes, this book will take up a big chunk of your time, but it is time well spent!
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