Google+ YA Romantics: October 2015

Friday, October 30, 2015

Freebie Friday Oct 30 and THREE more giveaways :)



Happy Friday!


Today I have another ARC Grab Bag. Check out my Instagram for a sneak peek at the titles up for grabs! (US only)

1.  While you're on Instagram, be sure to check out my first Instagram giveaway -- you can win a hardcover ARC of Illuminae! (US only)

2. You can also enter my stop on the Spooktacular Hop -- ends soon! (INT!)

3. I'm also about to pick a winner of the October Hot Off the Presses -- so be sure you're entered!
 (INT!)


Enter Freebie Friday below:

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Trending Thursday: Wild Horses!



Until recently, YA horse stories felt kind of old school and dated:

Black Beauty Misty of Chincoteague My Friend Flicka

Then came ... The Scorpio Races. At first I was like: huh? A race with flesh-eating water horses? But I really enjoyed the book. Fantasy + horses = something that clearly works.

Now I see that in 2016 there are not one but two YA books that seem to involve horses. Titans features mechanical horses. Maybe a sort of steampunk horse race? Riders has something to do with the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse. Both sound intriguing.


Scorpio Races Titans Riders

How do you feel about horse books? Do you have any favorites?

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Just Finished Reading ... The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens

The Lies About Truth
by Courtney C. Stevens

To be published on November 3, 2015
by Harper Teen

Source: eARC for review from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max. As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.
My take:  I missed out on Courtney Stevens's debut novel, Faking Normal, but after reading The Lies About Truth , I'm going to go right out and remedy that. I'm not saying this book was perfect for me, but I really loved Stevens's writing and the interesting ways she chose to tell her story.

What I loved: Sadie. Wow, she had a horrible year. Her close friend was killed in a car accident that also left her scarred. A year later, she's contemplating heading back into the world again -- leaving her house, returning to high school, and spending time around her former best friend and former boyfriend, both of whom were peripherally involved in the accident. I also loved Sadie's mom and their mother-daughter relationship, which more than once got me a little teared up. Again, I really liked the writing. Sometimes these forward-backward kind of stories -- in which an event in the past has major importance- - can be awkward, but this book did a great job of filling the reader in about what happened a year ago without being clunky or info-dumpy.

What I liked: the romance. At first, I couldn't figure out the age difference between Sadie and Max. There was a line in the book about them being twelve and fifteen that made me think that there was a three-year age difference between them, but that wasn't the case. At first, I also wasn't crazy about the whole "fall in love with dead guy's brother" thing, but I was (mostly) won over in the end.

What I was a bit skeptical of: all the secrets. Every character was keeping a secret, and that felt a bit over the top to me. (There was also someone leaving Sadie mysterious notes.)  In the end, the secrets worked, but I didn't love the way the book kept having the characters almost confess and then chicken out. To me, the grief story and the romance were completely enough, and all the melodrama surrounding the secrets wasn't necessary.

Will you love this? Yes, if you're a fan of super emotional books. To me, this book felt a little like those NA books with the two characters with the tragic pasts who find each other. But I'm also a new fan of this author and I look forward to trying her prior (and future!) books.

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing October 27-November 2

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 WEEK to enter the October 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 reviews of YA books that release that 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!
These Shallow Graves Death and Life of Zebulon Finch Dark Heart of Magic Underneath Everything
These Shallow Graves by Jennifer Donnelly (Random House)
The Death and Life of Zebulon Finch by Daniel Kraus (Simon & Schuster)
The House by Christina Lauren (Simon & Schuster)
Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul (Balzer + Bray)


Unspoken Fathomless Gabriel
Unspoken (Shadow Falls After Dark #3) by C.C. Hunter (St. Martins)
Fathomless (Redemption's Heir #2) by Anne Pillsworth (Tor)
Gabriel (Styclar Saga #2) by Nikki Kelly (Feiwel and Friends)


Diamonds are Forever Frosted Kisses Placebo Junkies
Diamonds are Forever (Secret Diamond Sisters #2) by Michelle Madow (Harlequin)
Frosted Kisses (Cupcake Queen #2) by Heather Hepler (Point)
Placebo Junkies by J. C. Carleson (Knopf)


The House What We Left Behind Winter Place Persuasion
The House by Christina Lauren (Simon & Schuster)
What We Left Behind by Robin Talley (Harlequin)
The Winter Place by Alexander Yates (Atheneum)
Persuasion (Heirs of Watson Island #2) by Martina Boone (Simon Pulse)



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Monday, October 26, 2015

Just Finished Reading .. The Anatomical Shape of a Heart by Jenn Bennett

The Anatomical Shape of a Heart 
by Jenn Bennett

To be published on November 3, 2015
by Feiwel and Friends

Source: ARC for review from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads:  Artist Beatrix Adams knows exactly how she's spending the summer before her senior year. Determined to follow in Leonardo da Vinci’s footsteps, she's ready to tackle the one thing that will give her an advantage in a museum-sponsored scholarship contest: drawing actual cadavers. But when she tries to sneak her way into the hospital’s Willed Body program and misses the last metro train home, she meets a boy who turns her summer plans upside down. Jack is charming, wildly attractive . . . and possibly one of San Francisco’s most notorious graffiti artists. On midnight buses and city rooftops, Beatrix begins to see who Jack really is—and tries to uncover what he’s hiding that leaves him so wounded. But will these secrets come back to haunt him? Or will the skeletons in Beatrix’s own family’s closet tear them apart? 
My take: What a heartwarming, heartfelt -- okay, you get the idea -- book! I'll admit to some skepticism at first, as this couple initially seemed a little too ... manufactured to me. They're quirky for sure: she's a Wednesday Addams lookalike who spends her spare time drawing cadavers. He's a mystery man with a rockabilly fashion sense and a whole lot of secrets. After they meet cute, their relationship progresses in a refreshingly leisurely manner.

Another thing I loved about The Anatomical Shape of a Heart were the strong family elements. Both Bex and Jack have some family issues, but I loved the way both of their families were an integral part of the story. And I loved the way the story captured the foggy, gritty atmosphere of San Francisco.

This book was just charming from start to finish -- an ideal YA contemporary romance. I thought it had a similar vibe to Lola and the Boy Next Door, so if that's a favorite of yours, give this one a try!

Friday, October 23, 2015

Freebie Friday: ARC Grab Bag!



Happy Friday!


Today I have another ARC Grab Bag. Check out my Instagram for a sneak peek at the titles up for grabs!  While you're there, be sure to check out my first Instagram giveaway -- you can win a hardcover ARC of Illuminae!

Open to those with a US mailing address.




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Thursday, October 22, 2015

Just Finished Reading ... Need by Joelle Charbonneau

Need
by Joelle Charbonneau

To be published on Nov 3, 2015
by HMH Books for Young Readers

Source: eARC for review via Netgalley

Synopsis from Goodreads: Teenagers at Wisconsin's Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.

My take:  This was one of those books where I read the first few chapters and was like: "well, I see exactly where this is going."  I mean, take a mysterious website that grants people's wishes and add in a character with a brother who needs a kidney to survive and it doesn't take a rocket scientist to figure out what's going to happen.

While I was essentially right in my predictions, the story did go off a lot of other directions. A lot. NEED featured at least eight or nine POV characters, which for me is about six or seven too many. The narration is in third person present, which at least helped me keep everyone's name straight, but I still I had trouble remembering who did what to whom, and after a while, I just stopped trying. All of them had needs they wanted fulfilled, and most of these needs (when compared to the kidney) were only things that a sixteen year old could consider a desperate necessity.

The story did do something a bit interesting (spoiler)which was that it required the wishers to do shady stuff in exchange for getting their wishes fulfilled. But then, in my opinion, the book didn't take this far enough:  I mean, was I the only person who thought that whoever was behind need was going to kill someone to come up with a kidney for DJ. Or try to make Kaylee kill someone to get him that kidney?(end spoiler)

For me as a reader, NEED would have been much stronger if some of those POVs had been eliminated and the plot had been stripped down to a few people who REALLY needed stuff and would do anything to get it. For me, it was also problem that what teenagers think they "need" (a good grade on a test or some concert tickets) seemed important to them, but pretty superficial to me, and certainly not important enough to compel them to do shady stuff for a stranger. Also, I think things fell apart toward the end -- the villain became pretty ridiculous and I thought the book veered way off the rails.

For me, NEED was a book with unfulfilled potential. It was a bit of a mix for me, but if you don't mind a story with a bunch of POVs, you might want to give it a try!


Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing October 20-26

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 October giveaway below -- you can scroll down to last week's post to do that --& AND you can enter the new October giveaway below. 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 reviews of YA books that release that 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!


Illuminae Murder of an Angel Many Lives of John Stone
Illuminate by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff (Knopf)
Confessions of a Murder Angel by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro (Little, Brown)
The Many Lives of John Stone by Linda Buckley Archer (Simon & Schuster)


Red Girl Blue Boy If You're Lucky Dead Investigation
Red Girl, Blue Boy by Lauren Baratz-Logsted (Bloomsbury)
If You're Lucky by Yvonne Printz (Algonquin)
Dead Investigation by Charlie Price (FSG)


Signs Point to Yes Losers Take All Velvet Undercover
Signs Point to Yes by Sandy Hall (Swoon)
Losers Take All by David Klass (FSG)
Velvet Undercover by Teri Brown (Balzer + Bray)


Wolf by Wolf Willful Machines Distance From Me to You
Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin (Little, Brown)
Willful Machines by Tim Florin (Simon Pulse)
The Distance From Me to You by Marina Glessner (Putnam)



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Monday, October 19, 2015

Just Finished Reading ... Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin

Wolf by Wolf
by Ryan Graudin

To be published on October 20, 2015
by Little, Brown BFYR

Source: ARC giveaway from the publisher at Book Expo America

Synopsis from Goodreads: The year is 1956, and the Axis powers of the Third Reich and Imperial Japan rule the world. To commemorate their Great Victory over Britain and Russia, Hitler and Emperor Hirohito host the Axis Tour: an annual motorcycle race across their conjoined continents. The victor is awarded an audience with the highly reclusive Adolf Hitler at the Victor's ball. Yael, who escaped from a death camp, has one goal: Win the race and kill Hitler. A survivor of painful human experimentation, Yael has the power to skinshift and must complete her mission by impersonating last year's only female victor, Adele Wolfe. This deception becomes more difficult when Felix, Adele twin's brother, and Luka, her former love interest, enter the race and watch Yael's every move. But as Yael begins to get closer to the other competitors, can she bring herself to be as ruthless as she needs to be to avoid discovery and complete her mission? 
My take: What a surprise! I was handed Wolf by Wolf as I browsed around BEA, and I tucked it into my tote bag with that fake smile I use at a cocktail party when someone hands me an hors d'oeuvre with an anchovy on it. I mean, the cover (a wolf and a motorcycle and camo) all screamed Not For Me.

But I'm also a firm believer in stepping out of my book comfort zone, so I gave this a try. And I literally did not set it down until I finished it. It's not completely a Jen book -- it's fairly plot driven, with its whole across-the-globe-motorcycle-race-where-competitors-try-to-sabotage-one-another set-up. But it's the kind of plot-driven book that I like, one that makes me really care about the main character and her story goal.

Wolf by Wolf is an interesting mash-up: a little bit alt-history (what if Hitler had prevailed in World War II?) and a little bit paranormal (main character Yael can shape shift after being a victim of Nazi medical experiments) and a lot of revenge story (in flashbacks, the book shows some of the atrocities that Yael was subjected to and the people she lost along the way.) 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. When I got to the end, I was a little perturbed at the abruptness of it -- I didn't realize this was the first part of a duology. It seems that both the romance and Yael's quest will continue in the second and final installment.

So here's my takeaway: if you look at this book and are dying to read it, you should. But if you look at it and think "eh," you should also give it a try. Then come back and tell me what you think!

Friday, October 16, 2015

Giveaway of Through the Dark by Alexandra Bracken

Thanks to the generosity of Disney-Hyperion, I am giving away a copy of Through the Dark by Alexandra Bracken. This book includes In Time and Sparks Rise, two novellas that were previously only published electronically, plus a brand new novella and a sneak peek at Alexandra Bracken's new book, Passenger.

IN TIME
Gabe's life has been devastated in the wake of the economic crash. The only option left for someone like him to escape his tragic past is to leave his small town behind and to attempt to become a skiptracer. This already almost-impossible task is made all the more difficult by his first "score,"a young girl who won't speak, but who changes his life in ways he could never imagine.

SPARKS RISE
Sam didn't think things could get worse at Thurmand rehabilitation camp. Then the Reds arrive. Everyone assumed the kids with firepower had been killed years ago. Instead they were taken away, brainwashed, and returned as terrifyingly effective guards. To her horror, Sam recognizes one of them: Lucas, the one spark of light in Sam's dark childhood.

Lucas has a deadly secret--he beat the brutal training that turned his fellow Reds into mindless drones. When Sam defends herself against an attack by a vile PSF guard and faces a harrowing punishment, Lucas must risk everything to save her.

BEYOND THE NIGHT 
The government-run "rehabilitation camps" have been shut down, but kids with Psi powers are anything but free. Sam would rather be on her own than put in the care of a foster family and given the "cure"--a dangerous procedure that unclaimed kids across the country are being forced to undergo. But there's more at stake than just her own safety. Sam once made someone a promise, and the time has come to fulfill it.

Now that she's out of her camp, Mia only has one thought in her head: finding Lucas, her beloved older brother. She hasn't seen him since they were separated and taken to different camps years ago, before Mia even became Psi. When Sam, Lucas's childhood best friend, rescues Mia from the government's inept care, Mia learns that nothing is as simple as she thought--and the past that she's so desperate to salvage may not be possible to recover.

.

Alexandra Bracken is the New York Times bestselling author of The Darkest Minds and Never Fade. Born and raised in Arizona, she moved east to study history and English at the College of William & Mary in Virginia. Alex now lives in New York City, where you can find her hard at work on her next novel in a charming little apartment that's perpetually overflowing with books. Visit her online at www.alexandrabracken.com and on Twitter @alexbracken.


Even if you're not a winner, Disney is also offering up a FREE e-sampler of Passenger for Kindle, Nook and iBooks!



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Thursday, October 15, 2015

Just Finished Reading ... If You're Lucky by Yvonne Printz

If You're Lucky
by Yvonne Printz

To be published on October 20, 2015
by Algonquin

Source: eARC for review from the publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads:  When seventeen-year-old Georgia’s brother drowns while surfing halfway around the world in Australia, she refuses to believe Lucky’s death was just bad luck. Lucky was smart. He wouldn’t have surfed in waters more dangerous than he could handle. Then a stranger named Fin arrives in False Bay, claiming to have been Lucky’s best friend. Soon Fin is working for Lucky’s father, charming Lucky’s mother, dating his girlfriend. Georgia begins to wonder: did Fin murder Lucky in order to take over his whole life?  Determined to clear the fog from her mind in order to uncover the truth about Lucky’s death, Georgia secretly stops taking the medication that keeps away the voices in her head. Georgia is certain she’s getting closer and closer to the truth about Fin, but as she does, her mental state becomes more and more precarious, and no one seems to trust what she’s saying.
My take: If You're Lucky was a book I requested, downloaded, forgot about, and then went into without refreshing my memory about the story. And I think that approach may have increased my enjoyment of this book. The story begins on a tragic note, with Georgia's family learning of the death of her older brother. So at first I thought I was reading a grief book. But as Georgia began to seem more and more unhinged and paranoid, I began to wonder: was she just suffering from grief or if there was something else going on?

As the synopsis reveals, Georgia does have some mental health issues, so I'd call If You're Lucky a psychological suspense story. As Georgia becomes more and more determined to get to the bottom of what happened to her brother, she starts going off her meds and seems to start to spiral downward.  I felt a lot of compassion for her, but couldn't help wondering: was she right? Did someone murder her brother?

I enjoyed this book -- I thought it created a great sense of suspense and uncertainty and really kept me guessing about Georgia's sanity. I'm a big fan of suspenseful old movies like Gaslight and Suspicion and classic suspense novels like The Talented Mr. Ripley and this book reminded me a lot of those.

Wednesday, October 14, 2015

Win a book of your choice: Spooktacular Hop 2015 -- INT!


I love Halloween and the Spooktacular Giveaway Hop hosted by Inspired Kathy is one of my favorite giveaway hops. 

Because I don't know how much scary you like in your books, my winner can choose ANY book up to $15.  Here are some suggestions of recently released books that might get you locking the door and hiding under the covers....

Blood and Salt Daughters Unto Devils We'll Never Be Apart


My stop on the hop is open internationally, so enter away!


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Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing October 13-19

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 October giveaway below! 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 reviews of YA books that release that 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!


First & Then A Song for Ella Grey Beast of Cretacea
First & Then by Emma Wills (Henry Holt)
A Song for Ella Grey by David Almond (Delacorte)
The Beast of Cretacea by Todd Strasser (Candlewick)


Devil and Winnie Flynn No True Echo Newt's Emerald
The Devil and Winnie Flynn by Micol Ostow (Soho)
No True Echo by Gareth P. Jones (Amulet)
Newt's Emerald by Garth Nix (Katherine Tegen)


Emperor of Any Place Dark Tide Black Widow
The Emperor of Any Place by Tom Wynne-Jones (Candlewick)
Dark Tide (Waterfire Saga #3) by Jennifer Donnelly (Disney)
Black Widow: Forever Red by Margaret Stool (Marvel)


Blue Voyage Martians Darkthaw
Blue Voyage by Diana Renn (Viking)
Martians by Blythe Woolston (Candlewick)
Darkthaw (Winterkill #2) by Kate A. Boorman (Amulet)


Weird Girl and What's His Name Happily Ever After Masked Truth
Weird Girl and What's His Name by Meagan Brothers (Three Rooms)
Happily After (The Selection Companion) by Kiera Cass (Harper)
The Masked Truth by Kelley Armstrong (Doubleday)


Juba The Rose Society Immortal Heights
Juba! by Walter Dean Myers (Amistad)
The Rose Society (Young Elites #2) by Marie Lu (Putnam)
The Immortal Heights (Elemental Trilogy #3) by Sherry Thomas (Balzer + Bray)


Truly Madly Famously Ice Like Fire Trust Me I'm Trouble
Truly Madly Famously (Famous in Love #2) by Rebecca Searle (Poppy)
Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch (Balzer + Bray)
Trust Me, I'm Trouble by Mary Elizabeth Summer (Delacorte)


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