Google+ YA Romantics: September 2016

Friday, September 30, 2016

Freebie Friday: Fall Titles Part II




Just like last week, I have some FANTASTIC Fall 2016 ARCS and hardcovers up for grabs. My second themed stack is up for grabs this week, and the winner can choose up to two books from the stack!

This week's theme: Heartbreak -- this one is for readers who enjoy poignant tearjerkers

For a peek at the titles I'm featuring, check out my Insta: jenryland

Enter below. US/Canadian mailing addresses only, please :)
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Thursday, September 29, 2016

Just Finished Reading: Last Seen Leaving by Caleb Roehrig

Last Seen Leaving 
by Caleb Roehrig

To be published on October 4, 2016
by Feiwel and Friends

Source: ARC for review from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: Flynn's girlfriend has disappeared. How can he uncover her secrets without revealing his own? Flynn's girlfriend, January, is missing. The cops are asking questions he can't answer, and her friends are telling stories that don't add up. All eyes are on Flynn—as January's boyfriend, he must know something. But Flynn has a secret of his own. And as he struggles to uncover the truth about January's disappearance, he must also face the truth about himself.

My take:  Flynn is dumbfounded when the police show up at his house one day. The cops tell him that his girlfriend, January, has been missing for nearly a week. (Flynn and January don't see each other as often as they used to since January's mom married a rich, up-and-coming politician and moved her to a fancy private school.)

Flynn doesn't want to tell the police the whole truth: the last time he saw January, they fought and broke up. He doesn't want to tell them what he and January fought about. But Flynn does want to know what happened to January, so he turns amateur detective. He talks to January's annoying co-worker, Kaz. He talks to the sort-of friends she complained about at her new school. He pokes around and asks questions until he discovers some surprising things about January -- but also about himself.

Loved Flynn's guy POV and his friendship with Micah. Loved the flashbacks where we got a better idea of Flynn and January's relationship. Loved Flynn's parents. Loved Flynn's personal journey. The solution to the mystery wasn't the most surprising, but it worked for me.

Last Seen Leaving is my favorite kind of mystery - the kind that develops on multiple levels. There's the literal mystery of what happened to January, and then there's a more existential mystery. How well do we know others? How well do we know ourselves and what we're capable of?

Definitely recommend this one for mystery fans!

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Just Finished Reading: Metaltown

Metaltown 
by Kristen Simmons

Published on September 20, 2016
by Tor Teen

Source: eARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: The rules of Metaltown are simple: Work hard, keep your head down, and watch your back. You look out for number one, and no one knows that better than Ty. She’s been surviving on the factory line as long as she can remember. But now Ty has Colin. She’s no longer alone; it’s the two of them against the world. That’s something even a town this brutal can’t take away from her. Until it does. Lena’s future depends on her family’s factory, a beast that demands a ruthless master, and Lena is prepared to be as ruthless as it takes if it means finally proving herself to her father. But when a chance encounter with Colin, a dreamer despite his circumstances, exposes Lena to the consequences of her actions, she’ll risk everything to do what’s right. In Lena, Ty sees an heiress with a chip on her shoulder. Colin sees something more. In a world of disease and war, tragedy and betrayal, allies and enemies, all three of them must learn that challenging what they thought was true can change all the rules.

My take: Way back when, I read Kristen Simmons Article 5. I just looked up my review, which said (tl;tr) loved the story world; didn't love the characters and their romance.

Well, déjà vu all over again.  On the positive side, I thought the story world in Metaltown was really well-crafted. I'm not sure if this book is supposed to be alt-history or sort of dystopian-futuristic, but it takes place in a bleak, gritty world that feels turn-of-the-century industrial and post-apocalyptic all at once. Food and clean water are scarce, people are hungry, a lot of kids have been orphaned, and the poor work long hours in unsafe conditions. There's a war raging and one of the main employers is a huge weapons factory.

Metaltown is told from the points of view of three characters: Colin, a boy who works on the factory line, his (female) friend Ty, and Lena, the daughter of the owner of the weapons factory. The characters were a bit of sticking point for me. I never really warmed up to either Colin or Lena, and thus wasn't all that enthralled by their slow-burn, rich girl/poor boy romance. I really liked Ty, but as soon as Colin went all googly-eyed over Lena, poor Ty was kind of left on her own and ... let's just say that wasn't very good.

Does this book have a love triangle? Not technically, but I didn't love the triangular dynamic of the supposedly nice guy who all but ditches his loyal female friend to chase around after another girl. It wasn't exactly a love triangle, but it did feel to me that one character gets unceremoniously shoved out in the cold. So I couldn't really like Colin because of his crappy treatment of my fave character, Ty. The book tried very hard to make me like Lena, with her mean father and abusive brother, and did  succeed in making me feel sorry for her, but that was it. For whatever reason I just didn't connect to her, which is surprising, because since my childhood obsession with A Little Princess I have had a fierce and secret love for poor little rich girl characters.

If you like gritty, industrial settings, you should definitely try at least a few chapters of Metaltown, which will give you a good feel for the characters -- then you can decide for yourself!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing Sept 27-Oct 3

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.

LAST CHANCE to enter the September 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.)

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!

Crooked Kingdom Immortal Throne Color Blind
Crooked Kingdom (Six of Crows #2) by Leigh Bardugo (Henry Holt)
The Immortal Throne by Bree Despain (Carllrhoda)
Color Blind by Sheila Sobel (Merit)


Falling Over Sideways Like a River Glorious Women in the Walls
Falling Over Sideways by Jordan Sonnenblick (Scholastic)
Like a River Glorious (Gold Seer #2) by Rae Carson (Greenwillow)
The Women in the Walls by Amy Lukavics (Harlequin)


Interference Swarm Fever Code
Interference by Kay Honeyman (Scholastic)
Swarm (Zeroes #2) by Scott Westerfeld, Margo Lanagan and Deborah Biancotti (Simon & Schuster)
The Fever Code (Maze Runner Prequel #2) by James Dasher (Delacorte)


Becoming Darkness Dead Boyfriend Bright Smoke Cold Fire
Becoming Darkness by Lindsay Brambles (Switch)
The Dead Boyfriend by R. L. Stine (St Martins)
Bright Smoke Cold Fire by Rosamund Hodge (Balzer + Bray)


A Taste for Monsters Chasing Truth Resurrecting Sunshine
A Taste for Monsters by Matthew J. Kirby (Scholastic)
Chasing Truth by Julie Cross (Entangled)
Resurrecting Sunshine by Lisa Koosis (Aw)


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Monday, September 26, 2016

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children Movie and Book GIVEAWAY #StayPeculiar


Enter here to win a fantastic Miss Peregrine Prize Package! Whether you're a fan of the book by Ransom Riggs or a fan of the wildly imaginative Tim Burton --  or both -- you probably already know that Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children (directed by Burton and based on Riggs's book) opens in theaters this week. 

Thanks to the generosity of 20th Century Fox, I am hosting a giveaway for:
--a $25 VISA gift card to buy a movie ticket for you and a friend
--a copy of the movie tie-in version of the book



Here's some more information about the film:

From visionary director Tim Burton, and based upon the best-selling novel, comes an unforgettable motion picture experience. When Jake discovers clues to a mystery that spans alternate realities and times, he uncovers a secret refuge known as Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As he learns about the residents and their unusual abilities, Jake realizes that safety is an illusion, and danger lurks in the form of powerful, hidden enemies. Jake must figure out who is real, who can be trusted, and who he really is.
Starring: Eva Green, Asa Butterfield, Chris O'Dowd, Ella Purnell, Allison Janney, Rupert Everett, Terence Stamp, with Judi Dench and Samuel L. Jackson
Directed By: Tim Burton

And check out this set tour hosted by Ransom Riggs!




Hope you'll enter the giveaway below!

This giveaway is open to those age 13 and older. Prizes are provided and mailed by 20th Century Fox and can only be sent to a US mailing address. One winner will be selected at random by Rafflecopter.  Full rules on the Rafflecopter or under "policies" on my blog header. I received no compensation or freebies for hosting this giveaway.


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Friday, September 23, 2016

Freebie Friday: Fall 2016 Titles!




Hi everyone!  Hope your September is going well. I really wish some fall weather would blow my way, but things seem to be improving. 

I have some FANTASTIC Fall 2016 ARCS and hardcovers up for grabs. I have two themed stacks and will be featuring one stack this week and one next. Winner can choose up to two books from the stack!

One theme:  Suspense -- this one is for those of you who love to be kept guessing
Another theme: Heartbreak -- this one is for readers who enjoy poignant tearjerkers

For a peek at the titles I'm featuring, check out my Insta: jenryland


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Thursday, September 22, 2016

Just Finished Reading ... Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu

Afterward
by Jennifer Mathieu

Published on September 20, 2016
by Roaring Brook Press

Source: ARC from publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: When Caroline's little brother is kidnapped, his subsequent rescue leads to the discovery of Ethan, a teenager who has been living with the kidnapper since he was a young child himself. In the aftermath, Caroline can't help but wonder what Ethan knows about everything that happened to her brother, who is not readjusting well to life at home. And although Ethan is desperate for a friend, he can't see Caroline without experiencing a resurgence of traumatic memories. But after the media circus surrounding the kidnappings departs from their small Texas town, both Caroline and Ethan find that they need a friend--and their best option just might be each other.
My take:  This was the first book I've read by Jennifer Mathieu but it will not be my last! Afterward was subtle and deeply moving! This is the second book I've read this month about kids who were kidnapped and then returned home (the other was The Lost and the Found.) Similar premises, but completely different stories -- and I enjoyed them both.

While The Lost and the Found was more of a suspense story, Afterward was about two families recovering from an unimaginable trauma: each had a son who was abducted, then returned to his family. The story is told in two POVs: that of Ethan, the first kidnapping victim, and also Caroline, whose autistic younger brother was later taken by the same kidnapper.

There were many things to appreciate about this book. Ethan's POV was so very moving -- he started out fragile and broken but after time and a lot of therapy, gained so much perspective and confidence. His therapy sessions were fascinating and heartbreaking (his therapist reminded me of Dr. Berger in Ordinary People). Caroline has her own challenges. She was supposed to have been watching her brother when he was kidnapped, and harbors a lot of guilt and self-blame about what happened. While Ethan's family is upper-middle class, Caroline's family is struggling both financially and emotionally. Neither she nor her brother has the luxury of therapists or a lot of familial support.

Caroline and Ethan develop an uneasy bond that develops into a friendship that helps them both process and recover from what happened to them.

Highly recommend this to readers who like stories with a lot of subtlety and psychological depth!

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Just Finished Reading... The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker by Kat Spears

The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker
by Kat Spears

Published on September 20, 2016
by St. Martin's Griffin

Source: eARC for review from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: Luke Grayson's life might as well be over when he's forced to go live in rural Tennessee with his Baptist pastor father. His reputation as a troublemaker has followed him there, and as an outsider, Luke is automatically under suspicion by everyone from the principal at his new school to the local police chief. His social life is no better. The new kid in town is an easy target for Grant Parker, the local golden boy with a violent streak who has the entire community of Ashland under his thumb.But things go topsy-turvy when a freak accident removes Grant from the top of the social pyramid, replacing him with Luke. This fish out of water has suddenly gone from social outcast to hero in a matter of twenty-four hours. For the students who have lived in fear of Grant all their lives, this is a welcome change. But Luke’s new found fame comes with a price. Nobody knows the truth about what really happened to Grant Parker except for Luke, and the longer he keeps living the lie, the more like Grant Parker he becomes.
My take: I've enjoyed all of Kat Spears's books. But I'll be completely honest: at first, I really wasn't sure about The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker. Despite the provocative title, this is a "quiet" book with a story that moves at a measured pace. But eventually, I was won over.

The book's premise is a really familiar one - new kid bumps up against the social order in a small town. Luke is a preacher's kid and not a bad kid at all, but when he moves to live with his father in a small Tennessee town, he keeps finding himself on the wrong end of everyone's expectations. I was getting a serious Footloose vibe, even though in the film it's Ariel, not Ren, who's the preacher's kid.

I don't want to give too much away about Grant except that, as the synopsis indicates, he's a bully who's used to getting his way. Luke's not afraid of him, and trouble ensues.

I'm pretty sure that in a review of another Kat Spears book, I said that her stories feel timeless, and I felt that way again reading The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker.  I actually love that her books don't try to be trendy, but explore YA themes that never get old: fitting in and standing out, chafing against rules and authority, having a crush on the wrong person when the right one is under your nose all along...  Her books make me nostalgic for the teen movies of my youth!

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing September 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.

Enter the September 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.)

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!


Shadow Bright and Burning Afterward Kids of Appetite
A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess (Random House)
Afterward by Jennifer Mathieu (Roaring Brook)
Kids of Appetite by David Arnold (Viking)

Metaltown Ripple Stalking Jack the Ripper
Metaltown by Kristen Simmons (Tor)
Ripple by Heather Smith Meloche (Viking)
Stalking Jack the Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco (Jimmy Patterson)

Three Dark Crowns Vassa in the Night Witch's Pyre
Three Dark Crowns by Kendare Blake (Harper)
Vassa in the Night by Sarah Porter (Tor)
Witch's Pyre (Worldwalker #3) by Josephine Angelini (Feiwel and Friends)

Odds of Lightning Swan Riders Female of the Species
The Odds of Lightning by Jocelyn Davis (Simon Pulse)
The Swan Riders (Scorpion Rules #2) by Erin Bow (Margaret McElderry)
The Female of the Species by Mindy McGinnis (Katherine Tegen)

Frost Like Night The Dark Army Stealing Snow
Frost Like Night (Snow Like Ashes #3) by Sara Raasch (Balzer + Bray)
The Dark Army (Starblade Chronicles #2) by Joseph Delaney (Greenwillow)
Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige (Bloomsbury)

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Thursday, September 15, 2016

Just Finished Reading: The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke

The Lost and the Found
by Cat Clarke

Published by Crown Books
on September 13, 2016

Source: ARC from publisher for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: THE LOST: When six-year-old Laurel Logan was abducted, the only witness was her younger sister, Faith. Since then, Faith’s childhood has revolved around her sister’s disappearance—from her parents’ broken marriage and the constant media attention, to dealing with so-called friends who only ever want to talk about her missing sister. THE FOUND: Now, thirteen years later, a young woman is found in the front yard of the Logans’ old house, disoriented and clutching the teddy bear Laurel was last seen with. Can her sister finally be back? Faith always dreamed of her sister coming home; she just never believed it would happen. But soon a disturbing series of events leaves Faith increasingly isolated from her family and paranoid about her sister’s motives. Before long, Faith begins to wonder if it’s the abduction that’s changed her sister, or if it’s something else. . . .
My take: I have a weird fascination with stories about people who are possibly impersonating someone else. There's something fascinating to me about how we recognize others, what tiny quirks of behavior would convince us that a person is really someone familiar to us, and what tiny mistakes would convince us that person is actually an impostor.  I loved Homeland (or at least the first couple seasons...) and The Likeness by Tana French. There was a huge YA trend in this kind of books a while back, but that's died down a bit, so I was happy to see this book about a girl whose sister was abducted and then returns more than a decade later. Faith's parents are understandably and incredibly relieved to get their daughter back, but Faith feels more ambivalent about her sister's return. Who is this strange person and is she really Faith's sister?

There was a lot I did like The Lost and the Found. The story begins as Faith's now broken family receives the news that her missing sister Lauren has been found. I was impressed and moved at the way Clarke succinctly describes the toll that Lauren's disappearance has taken on the family. The girls' mother jumps every time the phone rings. Their parents have split up and their father moved in with a male partner. I thought it was an interesting choice to have Faith be so young when her sister vanished. I think a child that young wouldn't have clear and concrete picture of her sister -- just those odd, vivid, fragmented memories that we have of our childhood. Faith isn't sitting there picking apart the way her sister has changed; she just feels that something is off about her. Faith's lack of clarity about who her sister actually was felt frustrating at times, but it did work well in the story.

The Lost and the Found is fairly slow-paced -- enough so that it may bother some readers. I didn't mind the fact that it moved slowly, but must admit that at times I looked at the chunk of pages I'd read and thought "wow, not much has happened." I wouldn't call it a thriller -- the suspense is subtle and builds very gradually to a conclusion.

Recommended if you don't mind slow-building suspense -- I'll be giving this away tomorrow as part of Freebie Friday, so stop by if you're interested!

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing September 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.

Enter the September 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.)

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!


Song to Take the World Apart The Light Fantastic The Reader Dark Horses
A Song to Take the World Apart by Zan Romanoff (Knopf)
The Light Fantastic by Sarah Combs (Candlewick)
The Reader by Traci Chee (Putnam)
Dark Horses by Cecily von Ziegesar (Soho)


Overdrive Gamescape Lost and the Found
Overdrive by Dawn Ius (Simon Pulse)
Gamescape: Overworked by Emma Trevayne (Greenwillow)
The Lost and the Found by Cat Clarke (Crown)


Phantom Limbs Watched Fall of Hades
Phantom Limbs by Paula Garner (Candlewick)
Watched by Marina Budhos (Wendy Lamb Books)
Fall of Hades (Michael Vey #6) by Richard Paul Evans (Simon Pulse)


Pasadena When They Fade Girl on a Plane
Pasadena by Sherri L. Smith (Putnam)
When They Fade by Jeyn Roberts (Knopf)
Girl on a Plane by Miriam Moss (HMH)


Boy Who Killed Grant Parker Going Geek Shame the Stars
The Boy Who Killed Grant Parker by Kat Spears (St Martins)
Going Geek by Charlotte Huang (Delacorte)
Shame the Stars by Guadalupe Garcia McCall (Tu)


The Bombs That Brought Us Together DaVinci Code Radical
The Bombs That Brought Us Together by Brian Monaghan (Scholastic)
The DaVinci Code: YA Version by Dan Brown (Delacorte)
Radical by E. M. Kokie (Candlewick)


The Forgetting Every Falling Star Last True Love Story
The Forgetting by Sharon Cameron (Scholastic)
Every Falling Star by Sungju Lee and Susan McClellan (Amulet)
The Last True Love Story by Brendan Kiely (Margaret McElderry)


About Phoenix Aluta Another Me Into White
About Phoenix by Nastasia Rugani (Annick Press)
Aluta by Adwoe Badoe (Roundwood)
Another Me by Eva Wiseman (Tundra)
Into White by Randi Pink (Feiwel and Friends)


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