Google+ YA Romantics: 2013

Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing December 31-January 6

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Every Tuesday, I tell you about all the great new YA books you can grab in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!
New month and NEW YEAR!! The winner of this month's giveaway can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.) Enter by linking reviews, commenting on linked reviews, or tweeting :)  
Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA -- if I missed something, please let me know in comments. You are also welcome to link your reviews of YA books that were self-pubbed this month.  Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.


Book of Love The Offering Warrior

Book of Love (Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers #2) by Lynn Weingarten (Harper)
The Offering (The Pledge #3) by Kimberly Derting (Margaret McElderry)
Warrior (Dragon Chronicles #2) by Ellen Oh (Harper Teen)


Taste of Darkness Promise of Amazing
Taste of Darkness (Healer #3) by Maria L. Snyder (Harlequin)
Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine (Balzer + Bray)


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Monday, December 30, 2013

I (Finally) Read Six Months Later

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Six Months Later
by Natalie D. Richards
Published by Sourcebooks Fire
on October 1, 2013

Source: library

Summary from Goodreads: Chloe didn't think about it much when she nodded off in study hall on that sleepy summer day. But when she wakes up, snow is on the ground and she can't remember the last six months of her life. Before, she'd been a mediocre student. Now, she's on track for valedictorian and being recruited by Ivy League schools. Before, she never had a chance with super jock Blake. Now he's her boyfriend. Before, she and Maggie were inseparable. Now her best friend won't speak to her.
What happened to her?  And why can't she remember?

Welcome to the last 2013 installment of I (Finally) Read, in which I feature 2013 releases that I put off reading until the very, very end of the year. If you want to check out the previous posts, I also (finally) read The Program by Suzanne Young and Crash by Lisa Mc Mann.

How long did it take me to decide to read this book? Nearly two months -- not that bad!

Why did I put off reading it? Regular blog readers know that I am getting kind of tired of amnesia books -- this post explains it better.  On top of that, I don't think the cover and summary of Six Months Later reflect the book at all. To me, the book's summary (above) reads like one of those magical realism women's fiction novels by Allison Winn Scotch or Liane Moriarty in which the main character bumps her head and wakes up and is not married to her husband but some "what-if" guy from her past. (Not that there's anything wrong with those kind of books -- I enjoyed What Alice Forgot very much.) But my point is that the book's cover and summary give the impression that Six Months Later is some sort of amnesia romance.

What made me pick it up? I saw a review on Goodreads that revealed that this book is not some kind of what-if amnesia romance story. Six Months Later is a thriller, and a pretty good one! As the book opens, Chloe is an average student, checking out a cute guy named Blake and ever loyal to her BFF Maggie. Then she wakes up and everything has changed. Fall has turned to winter, but she can't remember the last six months at all. She's now Blake's girlfriend. Maggie won't speak to her.  She's suddenly an amazing student who just earned a near-perfect SAT score. And she has the feeling that something is terribly, horribly wrong.

Although I pieced together the clues that Chloe has and figured out much of the Big Secret pretty easily, that didn't diminish my enjoyment of the book. I really enjoyed watching poor Chloe try to figure out what happened to her. She's juggling a lot -- trying not to let on to Blake that she has no memory of their relationship, trying to adjust to her parents suddenly being proud of her, and missing Maggie like crazy.  In addition to the suspense, Six Months Later also had a romance that I really enjoyed. Chloe can't believe that she's suddenly the girlfriend of gorgeous, perfect Blake. But she keeps bumping into Adam, a gorgeous guy she knew from detention, and feels drawn to him for reasons she can't remember.

 Six Months Later does what a good thriller should do. It takes some things that are real sources of anxiety to teen readers -- stress over college and grades and pleasing their demanding parents -- and magnifies them into something truly terrifying.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Extra! Extra! Merry Bookmas!

Extra! Extra!

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

This weekend I'm linking to Stacking the Shelves @ Tynga's Reviews or to Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 


If you celebrate Christmas, I hope you found lots of great books under your tree!

NEW BOOKS FOR REVIEW -- Huge thanks to Random House and Macmillan!


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We Were Liars by e. lockhart (Delacorte)

The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks is one of my favorite YA books ever, a book filled with boarding school antics, secret societies, and girl power. So I am beyond excited that  E. Lockhart has written a new book. And that I get to read it!

And We Stay by Jenny Hubbard (Delacorte)

I really enjoyed Rock Covers Paper by this author -- it was nominated for a Morris Award in 2012. I did not noticet that the book is written in prose and verse, but I think I can handle some verse!

Broken Hearts, Fences and Other Things to Mend by Katie Finn (Feiwel and Friends)

This looks like a cute summer-love-and-friendship kind of book!

Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee (Knopf)

I loved the Midnight Dress by this author and think she will write a great middle grade! Plus, The Snow Queen is one of my favorite fairy tales ever!

OTHER PRESENTS:


I was SO excited to get a package in my mailbox that included a beautiful boxed copy of The Winner's Curse. Thank you Macmillan for making my day, my week!!

Then, my amazing blogger friend Lauren from Love is Not a Triangle lent me Evertrue, which I can't wait to read!

I am plugging along on my Goodreads challenge. Only a few books left to go!  Hope I can make it…

What's new with you? Tell me in comments and leave me a link so I can visit you back!

Friday, December 27, 2013

Freebie Friday: My Favorite Series Books of 2013!


Since this is the last Friday in December, this is my last week of showcasing some of my Favorite Books of 2013. I have a hard time choosing, but my rules for these lists are that the books have to be  published in 2013 and also read by me in 2013 -- that helps me keep it manageable! They also have to be memorable and well-executed, books that stay with me even if I read them six months ago, books that I'd happily re-read again.  

There will be a giveaway at the end of the month -- the winner can choose any of my picks, or any book up to $15 on either Amazon or TBD. Open internationally, and you will have a new chance to enter each week!

Today I'm featuring six of my very favorite YA Series Books of 2013.  

My first category is my Favorite 2013 Middle Books in YA Series. For me, reading the first book in a series can be like a first date. Everything is magical and I'm dreaming that the series and I will have a beautiful future together. Then comes that tricky second book... 

Second books are where a series story can start to unravel, or really get revved up. And in all these four books below, there's a LOT of revving up -- heartbreak, fabulous new characters, shocking revelations, increased tension… if you aren't reading these four series, you should really try them!!

pic name Through the Ever Night Unravel Me pic name

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt)

Through the Ever Night (Under the Never Sky #2) by Veronica Rossi (Harper Teen)

Unravel Me (Shatter Me #2) by Tahereh Mafi (Harper Teen)

Scarlet (Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel and Friends)


Now, onto our next category, my Favorite 2013 Final Books in YA Series. Ah, the tricky series ending. Love triangles must be resolved, breaking the heart of the odd person out and breaking the heart of those who rooted for him. Loose ends must be tied up, goals reached or abandoned, foes confronted. As a reader my main criteria for series ending is that the ending must be true to the story and its characters. Also, the ending must have some sort of resolution -- not necessarily a happily ever after, but something that feels like a sense of closure. I should sigh as I turn that last page and close the book, a sigh of satisfaction that can also have a little wistfulness mixed in.

I loved the way that the two books below wrapped things up. Both of these books featured endings that were slightly bittersweet, but that honored the characters I'd come to know and love.

Champion In the Age of Love and Chocolate

Champion (Legend #3) by Marie Lu (Putnam)

In the Age of Love and Chocolate (Birthright #3) by Gabrielle Zevin (FSG)

Tell me in comments about some of your favorite series books!


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Thursday, December 26, 2013

I (Finally) Read Crash by Lisa McMann

Crash 
by Lisa McMann
Published by Simon Pulse
on January 8, 2013

Summary from Goodreads: Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that. What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow. The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.
Welcome to the second installment of my end-of-the-year feature I Finally Read This! If you missed the first installment in which I read the Program by Suzanne Young, the way it works is this: I pick a 2013 release that I have still not read, I interview myself about why I haven't read it, and then I tell you what I thought. Here goes….

How Long Did It Take Me To Read This Book? About eleven months and two weeks.

Why Didn't I Read It Sooner? I think I had Lisa McMann confused with another YA author named Lisa Schroeder, who writes books in verse. So I thought this was in verse. Also, I sort of have a love/hate relationship with covers that have giant eyeballs on them.

What (Finally) Made Me Pick It Up? Sara @ Forever 17 reviewed Crash, the second book in the series -- yes, another book in the series has come out in the time it took me to read the first -- and that convinced me that a) this book was not written in verse and b) I might like it.

My take: Crash was a snappy, fun little book. I say "little" because the book was 233 pages. (I won't lie -- that was also a factor in my picking it up -- I have a Goodreads challenge to finish in 5 days!)

Crash is a paranormal-ish suspense story about a girl who is seeing a vision of a terrible accident and wants to stop it before it happens. That's pretty much it, and I loved that. Sometimes it seems like YA books try to cram too much plot in -- twists and reveals and sleight of hand -- leaving me wishing for just a good, straightforward story. That's what Crash offered.

My absolute favorite thing about the book was the adorable yet realistic story world that the author has created. The main character, Jules, is the daughter of a pizzeria owner and in love with Sawyer, the son of a rival pizzeria owner. And by "rival," I don't mean friendly competitor. The two families hate each other.  I loved the fact that Jules and Sawyer are the Romeo and Juliet of the pizza world. I also loved Jules' family -- they definitely have their issues, but they seemed like a real family, bickering and loyal.  Jules was a hilarious character -- her narration had me laughing out loud, like when she keeps trying to crack jokes and they just fall flat. The one character who felt a little underdeveloped to me was Sawyer. Because of the whole rivalry thing, he can't be a big part of the book at first, and I had to take Jules' word for how amazing he was. By the end, I got a little better sense of him, but he didn't seem quite as charmingly flawed as Jules and her family. (And I am absolutely certain that his last name was Agnotti just so someone could call him Hottie Agnotti.)

Crash is a great book if you're looking for something that's the equivalent of a hot, cheesy slice of pizza -- a quick yet satisfying bite that might just leave you craving more. Crash could be read as a standalone, but, as I mentioned above, there is a second book, Bang, that takes the vision premise and puts a new spin on it. For more on that, check out Sara's review, linked up above!

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!




I see book trees all around the internet, but can't usually find photo credit for them. So I made my own! Thanks to the style blog mondocherry for the idea!

I'm taking today off, but if you're here, welcome!  You can enter my Favorite Books of 2013 giveaway here, and you can also check out new releases and enter to win a book of your choice here. Both are open internationally!

Wishing you a wonderful holiday season filled with books, family and fun!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Hot Off The Presses: New YA Releasing December 24-30

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Every Tuesday, I tell you about all the great new YA books you can grab in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!
The winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.) Enter by linking reviews, commenting on linked reviews, or tweeting :)  
Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA -- if I missed something, please let me know in comments. You are also welcome to link your reviews of YA books that were self-pubbed this month.  Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Another quiet week, and the LAST week for the December giveaway! (If I missed something, please let me know in comments.)


Roomies pic name pic name

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (Little, Brown)
Control (Control #1) by Lydia Kang (Dial)
Echo in Time (Erasing Time #2) by C. J. Hill (Katherine Tegen)


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Monday, December 23, 2013

I (Finally) Read: The Program





The Program
by Suzanne Young
Published by Simon Pulse
on April 30, 2013

Book summary from Goodreads: Sloane knows better than to cry in front of anyone. With suicide now an international epidemic, one outburst could land her in The Program, the only proven course of treatment. Sloane’s parents have already lost one child; Sloane knows they’ll do anything to keep her alive. She also knows that everyone who’s been through The Program returns as a blank slate. Because their depression is gone—but so are their memories.
Under constant surveillance at home and at school, Sloane puts on a brave face and keeps her feelings buried as deep as she can. The only person Sloane can be herself with is James. He’s promised to keep them both safe and out of treatment, and Sloane knows their love is strong enough to withstand anything. But despite the promises they made to each other, it’s getting harder to hide the truth. They are both growing weaker. Depression is setting in. And The Program is coming for them.
Welcome to my new, end-of-year feature I Finally Read This!

I'm trying to make my 200 book Goodreads goal, and I'm going back to some books that I passed on as ARCs or immediately after publication. First, I will interview myself about why it took me so long to read this book:


  • How Long Did it Take You to Read This Book: Over a year! I had a chance to get an ARC back in October 2012, but I passed on it.
  • Why? I wasn't sure the book was for me. Dystopian fatigue. And I didn't love the cover.
  • What Made You Change Your Mind? The book was getting great reviews!


My take: I enjoyed The Program from the first page to the last. I was immediately drawn into Sloane's world -- a world in which suicide has become a teen epidemic. As a result, teens are watched carefully for any sign of depression or unusual behavior. Sloane, whose beloved brother killed himself, is deemed at high risk. But Sloane has her boyfriend James and close friends Miller and Lacey, so she'll be okay. Or will she?

Before reading The Program, I thought the book was a straight dystopian, but now that I've read it, I'd call it more of a creepy medical thriller. And I don't think I've read many (any?) creepy YA medical thrillers, but I'm all for the idea now. The book's premise is that an oversupply and overuse of mood stabilizing drugs permanently changed the bio-chemical make-up of an entire generation of kids. As a result, these teens are more prone to suicide and need to be carefully monitored. At first, sending kids to the Program seems like a well-meaning way to help them, but it becomes pretty clear that is not the case at all. I'm still not sure what the real purpose of the Program is, but I'm curious to find out.

I loved the way that the book set up a gripping"Us vs. Them" paranoia between kids and adults. Which, if you think about it, is a perfect set-up for a YA book. The book also raised some very interesting philosophical issues raised about love and grief and memory. Could erasing a bereaved or depressed person's memories make them happy again, or are our memories what make us …. us? I thought a lot about these things as I was reading.

Finally, The Program is a love story. The way this love story played out was very interesting, with lots of unexpected twists and turns along the way. And it's still playing out, because The Program isn't the end of the story. Because I've been so slow to read The Program, I won't have nearly as long to wait for….


The Treatment, coming out in April 2014.

Have you read The Program? Tell me what you thought in comments! 

Friday, December 20, 2013

Freebie Friday! My Favorite Books of 2013: Fantasy/SciFi/Dystopian/Paranormal


For the rest of the Fridays in December, I'll be showcasing some of my Favorite Books of 2013. I have a hard time choosing, but my general criteria is that the books have to be memorable and well-executed, books that stay with me even if I read them six months ago, books that I'd happily re-read again.  

There will be a giveaway at the end -- the winner can choose any of my picks. Open internationally, and you will have a new chance to enter each week!

Today I'm featuring six of my very favorite YA Fantasy/Sci-Fi/Dystopian/Paranormal Books of 2013.  Everyone makes their own rules for these lists -- mine are that the book came out in 2013 AND I read it in 2013.

I also decided to lump these categories together because there are so many hybrids these days: sci-fi/fantasy, dystopian/sci-fi, sci-fi/paranormal… you get the idea… Next week I will look at series -- best ending to a trilogy, etc.



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The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic)
Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund (Balzer + Bray)
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill  (Disney-Hyperion)



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Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt)
The Midnight Dress by Karen Foxlee (Knopf)
Antigoddess by Kendare Blake (Tor Teen)


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Thursday, December 19, 2013

Just Finished Reading … Going Rogue by Robin Benway

Going Rogue (Also Known As #2)
by Robin Benway
To be published by Bloomsbury
on January 14, 2014

Source: Thanks to Bloomsbury for approving me for an e-ARC on NetGalley.

Connect with the author: website |  Facebook | Twitter.

Summary from Goodreads: Being permanently based in a local New York City high school as an undercover operative has its moments, good and bad, for 16-year-old safecracker Maggie Silver. Pros: More quality time with her former mark-turned-boyfriend Jesse Oliver and insanely cool best friend, Roux. Getting to spend quality time with her semi-retired and international spy honorary uncle, Angelo. Cons: High school and the accompanying cliques, bad lunches, and frustratingly simple locker combinations. But when Maggie's parents are falsely accused of stealing priceless gold coins, Maggie uses her safecracking skills to try and clear their names. Too bad it only serves to put her and everyone she loves in danger. Maggie and her "new team" flee to Paris where they must come up with a plan to defeat their former allies.

Warning: Spoilers for book one, Also Known As. But if you read the blurb above, you know most of them already. 

My take:  I was thinking back to those things I loved about Also Known As, which was the first book in this series. Here goes: 1) watching Maggie attend high school for the first time. 2) watching Maggie fall for Jesse but not be able to tell him that she's a spy and spying on his family.  3) Maggie having to hide the spy thing from everyone, including her new BFF, Roux.  4) Her new BFF, Roux

Going Rogue only retains one of these elements, Roux. Maggie doesn't spend much time at school in this book. She and Jesse are now together and (mostly) all lovey-dovey. Both Jesse and Roux know that she's a spy.

I'm still a fan of this series, and still liked Going Rogue, even though it felt like a less thrilling book than Also Known As. It seemed to me that many of the story elements that worked to create suspense and tension in book one had evaporated in book two, but there was nothing new to take their place. (But thank you, Robin Benway, for not manufacturing some stupid lovers' quarrel between Jesse and Maggie, which often happens in second books.)

The plot of Going Rogue is pretty straightforward and can be gleaned from the synopsis above: Maggie's parents are accused of stealing priceless gold coins and Maggie has to prove their innocence by locating and stealing gold coins back from the bad guy. That about sums it up. There's a trip to Paris, which is never a bad thing, but which was also mostly a "fleeing the bad guy"kind of trip.

The good news is that Maggie and Jesse are pretty cute together, Roux is still pretty funny, and Angelo is as cool and mysterious a mentor as ever. There are also some last-minute new characters, but I felt pretty lukewarm about them. I hope that the next book a) gets Maggie back into school, or into some other undercover "fish out of water" scenario, b) lets Roux be more outrageously Roux, and c) lets Jesse shine a little. That's all I ask!

One last thing. In my e-ARC, Maggie and Roux are doing a SAT prep class arranged for them by Roux's parents. I was pretty excited about this, because sometimes as I am reading YA, I wonder when these crazy kids study. How do they get into college? In their class, Maggie and Roux study analogies, which have not been part of the SAT since 2005. This SAT prep class is clearly a fraud, and I hope that Maggie can get to the bottom of it...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Waiting on Wednesday: My Last Kiss





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

What am I waiting for this week? SO many things! Here's one:

My Last Kiss
by Bethany Neal
To be published by FSG in July 2013



Summary: What if your last kiss was with the wrong boy? Cassidy Haines remembers her first kiss vividly. It was on the old covered bridge the summer before her freshman year with her boyfriend of three years, Ethan Keys. But her last kiss—the one she shared with someone at her seventeenth birthday party the night she died—is a blur. Cassidy is trapped in the living world, not only mourning the loss of her human body, but left with the grim suspicion that her untimely death wasn’t a suicide as everyone assumes. She can’t remember anything from the weeks leading up to her birthday and she’s worried that she may have betrayed her boyfriend. If Cassidy is to uncover the truth about that fateful night and make amends with the only boy she’ll ever love, she must face her past and all the decisions she made—good and bad—that led to her last kiss.
 My take: Well, most of you know I'm tired of amnesia plots, but I always love a good ghost story, so I'm excited for this one. I'm even up for a ghost love triangle, if that's where this is going! I'm also adding this to my Lookalike Covers: Shattered Faces Pinterest board.

What are you waiting for this Wednesday? Leave me a link so I can check it out!

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing December 17-23

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Every Tuesday, I tell you about all the great new YA books you can grab in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!
The winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.) Enter by linking reviews, commenting on linked reviews, or tweeting :)  
Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA -- if I missed something, please let me know in comments. You are also welcome to link your reviews of YA books that were self-pubbed this month.  Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Another VERY quiet week in a very quiet month. But that's okay, we have more time to catch up on great books from the prior 11 months. (If I missed something, please let me know in comments.

Cy in Chains Fireblood What We Lost in the Dark Ashes to Ashes

Cy in Chains by David L. Dudley (Clarion)
Fireblood by Trisha Wolfe (Spencer Hill)
What We Lost in the Dark (What We Saw at Night #2) by Jacquelyn Mitchard (SoHo)
Ashes to Ashes (Ashes #1) by Melissa Walker (Katherine Tegen)


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