Google+ YA Romantics: 2015

Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Indie Inbox: Last of 2015 Edition


Welcome to my last My Indie Inbox of 2015! If you're new to this, the way it works is that I collect all the indie author review requests that pile up in my in-box and then ask those authors if they'd like to participate. (I define "indie author" rather broadly as a self-published or small publisher-published author.)

Next, I tell you about their books and you can vote on your favorite (and tell us why you picked it in comments). 

Finally, I will read and review the book that receives the most votes!

Here are the nine books you have to choose from:


Present Perfect by Alison Bailey

Synopsis (adapted from Goodreads): Amanda Kelly spent her entire life trying to control every aspect of it, while striving for perfection. Her obsession with being perfect, along with her feelings of worthlessness, consumed her. The one thing she thought was perfect in her life was the bond she shared with her best friend, Noah. Everything was going according to her life plan until she woke up one day and realized she had fallen in love with him. The one thing she couldn’t control was the affect he had on her. Noah had the power to give her one hundred lifetimes of happiness, which also gave him the power to completely devastate her. He was the one thing in her life that was perfect, but she couldn't allow herself to have him.Her life begins to unravel. Events take over and force her to let go of her dreams and desires. She needs to realize that a person cannot control the events in their life, only their reaction to them...but will it be too late for her to save her relationship with her best friend?

Collision by P.J. Byer

Synopsis (from Amazon): Angry and defiant, Stella runs away from home and lands in a small seaside village. It is overlooked by the forbidding ruins of Trial Bay gaol. Stella hides out in the town and is disturbed by her growing confusion about her identity. Her mysterious flashbacks to the gaol one hundred years before are even more frightening.  What is reality? What is fantasy? And is the guy next door the one to help her solve the mystery? Or will a stranger unlock the key to her past?




Mama Cried by Talia Haven


Synopsis (from Goodreads): Jenny was enjoying herself on the swings when Azula, one of the guardians of the playground came to take her away.
Together they journey to a cinder building where Jenny must make a powerful decision.


Olivia on The Brink by Tessa Palmeri

Synopsis (adapted from Goodreads): Olivia Miller is pretty sure she’d win the high school senior award “Most Likely to Never Figure Out What They Want To Do With Their Life.” She’s a model student with a big heart for community service, but her dad has belittled any ambition she ever had in pursuing something she’s interested in. But there’s a new guy at school, Cameron McClain, who becomes a fabulous distraction. Together, they navigate the exciting, though sometimes confusing, waters of a teen dating relationship that grows into first love. As she is poised to leave for college, she works up the nerve to confront her father. But will she ever be able to get him and his judgmental comments out of her head?


'89 Walls by Katie Pierson

Synopsis (from Goodreads): College is not in the cards for Seth. He spends his minimum wage on groceries and fakes happiness to distract his mom from the MS they both know will kill her. It’s agony to carry around a frayed love note for a girl who’s both out of his league and beneath his dignity. Quinn’s finishing high school on top. But that cynical, liberal guy in her social studies class makes her doubt her old assumptions. Challenging the rules now, though, would a) squander her last summer at home, b) antagonize her conservative dad, and c) make her a hypocrite. Seth and Quinn’s passionate new romance takes them both by surprise. They keep it a secret: it’s too early to make plans and too late not to care. But it’s 1989. As politics suddenly get personal, they find themselves fighting bare-fisted for their beliefs—and each other—in the clear light of day.


Next Stop: Nina by Robin Raven

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Nina never was one who felt comfortable in this world. As she struggles to cope with the pain of her present and past, the young girl's life is changed through the beauty of art. When Nina grows up and winds up in over her head in a dark place, she finds herself somehow transported to another time when nothing is quite what it seems. She must fight the horrors of her past all over again. Along the way, she faces greater challenges than she imagined. This is a character-driven novel with a heroine who faces life, love, and overcoming suicidal depression on her own terms.




Outspoken by Lora Richardson

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Penny Beck is a girl who says yes when she means no. She keeps to herself, follows the rules, and does what she's told. After a disastrous experience with her boyfriend, she's determined to change from the spineless person she's always been into the strong woman she wants to become. All she needs is a little practice. On a cross-country trip to check on her grandpa, she strives to become bolder and more outspoken with the strangers she meets. Penny's plan is to practice saying and doing what she wants without worrying about what anyone else thinks. Then she meets Archer, an introspective loner to whom she finds herself drawn. She realizes she does care what he thinks, very much. Will Penny be able to stick to her plan, or will she revert back to her people-pleasing ways?


Just a Few Inches by Tara St. Pierre

Synopsis (adapted from Goodreads): All Carrie Roberts wants is to be a little bit smaller. To fit into the perfect dress for the Valentine’s Day Dance. To look beautiful for her boyfriend. To keep his jealous ex-girlfriend, a rival cheerleader, away from him. Exercising and dieting don’t work, but an advertisement for weight loss pills promises a quicker solution to her problem. As time runs out, she takes more than the recommended dose until she’s just a few inches slimmer. Heads turn when she arrives at the dance, and the wonderful night with her boyfriend is beyond what she dreamed it would be. Days later, Carrie discovers that her body is changing in ways that should be impossible. While her doctor searches for a cure, she desperately turns to her friends and family for support. Everyone is noticing her now whether she likes it or not, and even the media is intrigued by her incredible story.  Getting everything she once wanted has created new problems—problems that are growing more terrifying every day. Because Carrie Roberts is shrinking.


Jivin' Tango by Connie L. Smith

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Lila and Austin have known each other since she befriended his younger brother when she was a toddler. In fact, since her parents moved from her hometown, Lila’s lived with Austin’s family. The two are friends, though more of the teasing, taunting breed than the BFF variety.  But all it takes is one moment for everything to change…  For Austin, that moment comes when Lila performs a rumba in the school’s auditorium to qualify for the state dance competition, the young woman on stage so far-removed from the little girl in his memories.  For Lila, the moment is a reflected image of Austin preparing for prom, the guy standing in front of his mirror hardly resembling the child that spent so much of his youth pestering her.  Will they find a way to admit to themselves and their families that their feelings are deeper than friendship? And can Lila focus on this building relationship – and deal with her unstable ex – and still win the dance contest?


Here are the contenders, in alphabetical order by title. You can also tell me in comments what appealed to you about the book you chose!

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing Dec 29-Jan 4

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. 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!

LAST CHANCE to enter the December giveaway!! Each month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Enter by linking your reviews of YA books that release this month or by commenting on other people's linked reviews.

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!


Thicker Than Water HEAR Endure
Thicker Than Water by Brigid Kemmerer (Kensington)
HEAR by Robin Epstein (SoHo)
Endure by Sarah B. Larson (Scholastic)


What's Broken Between Us Before Goodbye
What's Broken Between Us by Alexis Bass (Harper)
Before Goodbye by Mimi Cross (Skyscape)

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Books I Wish I'd Had Time to Read in 2015

 

 As the end of the year approaches, I've made my "Best of 2015" lists and am looking forward to new 2016 releases. But I'm also thinking about Books I Wish I'd Had Time to Read in 2015.  (I'm also trying to make my Goodreads goal.)

Are there books that you really, really meant to read in 2015 but, for whatever reason, just didn't get around to them? Here's my (short) list and my reasons that I didn't read the book. 

Six of Crows Winter Made You Up Challenger Deep


Six of Crows: Leigh Bardugo is one of my favorites. I have no excuse for not reading this yet, except that at the time I tried to read it I was really really tired. Going to try it again Now that I'm more rested.

 Winter: Okay, with this one it was the length. I am going to read it very soon. 

Made You Up and Challenger Deep: I have both of these on my kindle but needed a little break from YA mental health books. But I've heard amazing things about both of them and I'm going to read them soon! 

 In comments, please tell me about the 2015 books you didn't get around to!

Tuesday, December 22, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing Dec 22-28

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. 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!

Enter the December giveaway!! Each month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Enter by linking your reviews of YA books that release this month or by commenting on other people's linked reviews.

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!

It's a VERY slow week, but I'm using this time to try to make my Goodreads goal and maybe catch up on a few 2015 books that I never got around to...

Reduced to Dust This Raging Light
Reduced to Dust by Gabrielle Arrowsmith (Clean Teen)
This Raging Light by Estelle Laure (HMH)

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Saturday, December 19, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2015: Mysteries and Thrillers + Giveaway


Welcome to my last and final installment of My Favorite Books of 2015. If you've missed my prior posts, be sure to scroll down and read them all. 

And be sure to enter my stop on the Best Books of 2015 Giveaway Hop -- ends tonight (Dec 19) at midnight! You can win any of my favorites OR any book up to $15. And it's open internationally!

Today I'm taking about another favorite genre of mine: Mysteries and Thrillers. These books can be really tricky to write and when I get a good one, I'm ... thrilled!



The Fixer Lock & Mori Every Word

Why did I pick these as my favorites?

Here's some of what I said about The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes (Bloomsbury)

"The Fixer was a fun, fast-paced story that had me flipping the pages like crazy. The story has a fish-out-of-water set-up and a Washington DC setting that brings in political elements.  Plus, Tess' big sister, Ivy, is a "fixer" like Olivia Pope in Scandal (or real life fixer Judy Smith, the woman Pope was reportedly based on.) The Fixer is also a story about family, as Tess and her big sister Ivy have to address their strained relationship. The Fixer was fun, gripping -- an all-around good read!"
Read my full review here

Here's (part of) what I said about Lock & Mori by Heather W. Petty (Simon & Schuster)

"Most Sherlock inspired spin-offs focus on the wonderful pairing of the quirky, brilliant Holmes and the underappreciated, long-suffering Watson. But this diabolical book focuses on Holmes and Moriarty (a criminal mastermind and Holmes' mortal enemy, if you're not familiar with the guy). In fact, Lock & Mori is told from the point of view of Moriarty (who in this book happens to be a teenage girl!) and Holmes is relegated to the role of love interest and sidekick. The game is afoot!
Though a Holmes-Moriarty ship suggests "iceberg ahead," if you're a true Sherlockophile, you should check this book out. I'm really intrigued as to where this story is headed..."
Read my full review here!

Here's what I said about Every Word by Ellie Marney (Tundra)

"Every Word, A Sherlock-inspired YA, does everything a second book in a mystery series should do -- it has a self-contained mystery but also adds to the overall series plotline, which revolves around the murder of James Mycroft's parents. I often complain that YA mysteries and thrillers are a little too PG to be truly thrilling, but Every Word was gritty and suspenseful while still seeming like YA. The mystery -- involving a suspicious carjacking and a missing rare book -- was really well-crafted, with all the clues laid out for analysis. And there was a pretty gruesome autopsy scene that was both poetic and disturbing -- the writing in these books is really excellent."
Read my full review here!


Don't forget to enter to win any of these books, any of my other favorites, or ANY book of your choice up to $15!

Friday, December 18, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2015: Realistic Fiction + Giveaway!


Welcome to my third installment of My Favorite Books of 2015! So far I've talked about my favorite Fantasy books and my favorite Science Fiction and Dystopian books (you can scroll down to read those posts)

Today I'm here to present one of my favorite categories: Realistic Fiction!  It was really hard to narrow my list to three and there were a few other books (Dumplin', Everything Everything) that almost made the cut...



Emmy & Oliver Simon vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda Weird Girl and What's His Name

Why did I pick these three books?

Here's some of what I said about Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway (Harper):

"It seems to me that some writers tackling realistic YA worry that the genre needs to be jazzed up with paranormal twists or wildly unreliable narrators or people who peel their faces off and are actually someone else (okay, I made that last one up, but still..) I'm not opposed to those things (except the last) but I firmly believe that reality can be enough, that realistic YA without bells and whistles can still capture readers' attentions and their hearts. With a simple premise of a missing boy who returns, Emmy & Oliver is able to explore a multitude of issues and themes and do so in a way that was moving, funny, and memorable.  I loved the way family and friendship were portrayed -- real, funny, and sometimes messed-up."
Read the full review here!

And guys, this amazing book is $1.99 on Kindle, so if you haven't read it...

Here's some of what I said about Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Balzer + Bray) 

"Not only does Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda feature one of my favorite new guy narrators of all time, it's just such a fantastic, feel-good book that's also funny, relatable and moving. All the story elements are balanced beautifully together into a story that's just sheer YA perfection: awkwardness, humor, adolescent angst, friendship, romance... this book has it all!"
Read my full review here!

Here's some of what I said about The Weird Girl and What's His Name by Meagan Brothers (Three Rooms):

"I'm always on the lookout for diverse books. Also high on my list are YA books that draw on universal experiences and emotions. Weird Girl and What's His Name is both: an LGBTQ title that deals with issues everyone can relate to -- family, friendship and heartbreak. I loved all the relationships in this book and there were so many great ones. If you're a fan of moving, emotionally complex books about identity and self-discovery, books like Will Grayson, Will Grayson or This Song Will Change Your Life you've got to try this!
Read my full review here!

Don't forget to enter to win any of these books, any of my other favorites, or ANY book of your choice up to $15! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, December 17, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2015: SciFi + Dystopian + Giveaway!



Welcome to My Favorite Books of 2015 post series! If you missed yesterday's post on Fantasy titles, scroll down and check it out after reading this one.

And be sure to enter to win any of my favorite titles OR any book of your choice up to $15 on my stop the Best of 2015 Giveaway Hop!

Today I'm talking about Science Fiction and Dystopian books. I can't say I read a lot of those this year -- I don't read a ton of SciFi and I've been feeling like I needed a break from Dystopians for the past year or two.



Ten Thousand Skies Above You Soleprint Wolf by Wolf

Why did I choose these three titles?

Here's what I said about Ten Thousand Skies Above You By Claudia Gray (Harper)

While I really enjoyed the first book in this trilogy, I think I liked Ten Thousand Skies Above You even more. I loved that it used the parallel universe concept to serve up some truly surprising plot twists. And that some of those plot twists involved Marguerite having a moral crisis when she's faced with the repercussions of some of the things she did in book one. The book ends with a very fun twist, one that makes me look forward to the final installment!
Read the full review here!

Here's what I said about Soulprint by Megan Miranda (Bloomsbury)

Soulprint is an excellent sci-fi thriller with a super-cool premise, but it's also a story with philosophical themes, well-developed characters, and a touching romance. There are science-y aspects, but if you're not a fan of that, the science isn't a huge part of the story. I loved the way the book ingeniously blends something age-old -- the idea that souls can be reincarnated -- with something speculative and high-tech -- the idea that souls can be analyzed like DNA and then tracked when they are reborn in a new body. Soulprint has a little something for every reader: an intriguing scientific premise, a daring prison break, some interesting philosophical questions, and a sweet romance. Ashley's right -- give it a try!
Read the full review here!

Here's what I said about Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin (Little, Brown)

Wolf by Wolf is an interesting mash-up: a little bit alt-history, a little bit sci-fi/paranormal, and a lot of revenge story. The book plays into the whole YA twin/doppleganger trope that I've discussed on the blog in a big way. Yael is impersonating Adele, who is herself a twin -- fraternal, thankfully, or my head would have exploded... There was also a touch of romance -- just a little bit, because, you know, a breakneck motorcycle race doesn't leave much time for that. This is the kind of plot-driven book that I like, one that makes me really care about the main character and her story goal."
Read the full review here!

Stay tuned for my favorite Mystery/Thriller and Realistic Fiction books!

Be sure to tell me about your favorite 2015 SciFi and Dystopian books in comments. 

And DON'T FORGET to enter the Best of 2015 Giveaway!


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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

My Favorite Books of 2015: Fantasy Titles + Giveaway


Finally I get started on my Favorite Books of 2015 posts!! If you enter my stop on the Best of 2015 Giveaway Hop, you can win any of my favorites OR any book up to $15. It's open to US and International residents!

I'm a somewhat reluctant fantasy reader, so I'm excited that I found titles that I loved this year. Here are my absolute favorites (note: I have not yet read two books that may have been contenders for this list: Six of Crows and Winter...)


Bone Gap A Court of Thorns and Roses Winner's Crime


Why did I love these books?

Here's some of what I said about Bone Gap by Laura Ruby (Balzer + Bray)

"Bone Gap is a beautifully written book that takes some time to reveal itself. There's this quirky, somewhat sinister town. Two motherless boys. A teenage beekeeper. A mysterious girl who may or may not have been kidnapped. And yes, a horse. I wasn't really sure what was going on for quite a while. Like Jellicoe Road or Where Things Come Back, Bone Gap features beautiful writing, and a plot that doesn't quite make sense ... until it does."
Read the full review here.

Here's some of what I said about A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah Maas (Bloomsbury)

"All the main elements of A Court of Thorns and Roses -- the writing, world-building and plotting -- were strong. As I was reading this book, I was thinking about why Beauty and the Beast is the superior Disney fairy tale. Unlike Cinderella and Sleeping Beauty, which feature insta-love and women being rescued by men, Beauty and the Beast has more intriguing story elements: 1) a slow burn romance, 2) a main character who falls in love with a man despite his outward appearance and 3) a heroine who has to save the guy, instead of the other way around. A Court of Thorns and Roses is compulsively readable and highly enjoyable. I highly recommend it!"
Read the full review here.

Here's some of what I said about The Winner's Crime by Marie Rutkoski (Farrar Strauss Giroux)

"My favorite kinds of books are those that are psychologically complex -- the kinds of stories that really dig deep and see what makes the characters -- and by extension, people in general -- tick. The Winner's Crime has romance and intrigue and psychological depth. What else? Really well-drawn characters. Just when I'd meet a new character and think I'd met that type of character before, they'd say or do something that surprised me. Some ... gruesome scenes. Some lovely turns of phrase. A ton of emotion. And a truly excruciating cliffhanger."  Read the full review here.

Stay tuned over the next few days for my favorite SciFi/Dystopian, Mystery/Thriller and Contemporary books!

Be sure to tell me about your favorite 2015 fantasy books in comments. 

And DON'T FORGET to enter the Best of 2015 Giveaway! a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing Dec 15-21

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. 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!

Enter the December giveaway!! Each month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Enter by linking your reviews of YA books that release this month or by commenting on other people's linked reviews.

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!

Unbound Frozen Tides Untamed
Unbound (Unwind #4.5) by Neil Shusterman (Simon & Schuster)
Frozen Tides (Falling Kingdoms #4) by Morgan Rhodes (Razorbill)
Untamed (Splintered #3.5) by A. G. Howard (Amulet)


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Thursday, December 10, 2015

Best of 2015 Giveaway Hop! (INT)


Welcome to my stop on the Best of 2015 Giveaway Hop!

I'm making my list and checking it twice -- not just my Christmas list, but also Best Books of 2015 list.  

I'll be running posts about my favorite books of 2015 over the next two weeks, so be sure to check them out.

My winner, who can live anywhere that Amazon US and/or the Book Depository ships, can pick any book on my "Best Of" list OR any book they want up to $15 USD from Amazon (if they live in the US) or TBD (if they live elsewhere.)
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Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing Dec 8-14

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. 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 December giveaway!! Each month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Enter by linking your reviews of YA books that release this month or by commenting on other people's linked reviews.

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!

Instructions For the End of the World Trouble With Destiny Come Back To Me Wandering Star
Instructions for the End of the World by Jamie Cain (St. Martin's)
The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill (Delacorte)
Come Back to Me by Mila Gray (Simon Pulse)
Wandering Star (Zodiac #2) by Romina Russell (Razorbill)


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