Google+ YA Romantics: January 2017

Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing Jan 31- Feb 6

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 NEW February 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.


Caraval By Your Side Careful Undressing of Love
Caraval by Stephanie Garber (Flatiron)
By Your Side by Kasie West (Harper)
The Careful Undressing of Love by Corey Ann Haydu (Dutton)


Wait for Me How to Break a Boy Wires and Nerve
Wait for Me by Caroline Leech (Harper)
How to Break a Boy by Laurie Devore (Imprint)
Wires and Nerve by Marissa Meyer (Feiwel and Friends)

Blood of Wonderland Exo Fire Color One
Blood of Wonderland by Colleen Oakes (Harper)
Exo by Fonda Lee (Scholastic)
Fire Color One by Jenny Valentine (Philomel)


Long Way Home Silver Stars Dark Days Pact
Long Way Home (Thunder Road #3) by Katie McGarry (Harlequin)
Silver Stars by Michael Grant (Katherine Teen)
The Dark Days Pact (Lady Helen #2) by Alison Goodman (Viking)


Our Own Private Universe Edge of Everything Unfolding
Our Own Private Universe by Robin Talley (Harlequin)
The Edge of Everything by Jeff Giles (Bloomsbury)
Unfolding by Jonathan Friesen (Blink)

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Monday, January 30, 2017

Just Finished Reading: Caraval

Caraval
by Stephanie Garber
To be published
on January 31, 2017
by Flatiron Books

Source: eARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: Scarlett has never left the tiny isle of Trisda, pining from afar for the wonder of Caraval, a once-a-year week-long performance where the audience participates in the show. Caraval is Magic. Mystery. Adventure. And for Scarlett and her beloved sister Tella it represents freedom and an escape from their ruthless, abusive father. When the sisters' long-awaited invitations to Caraval finally arrive, it seems their dreams have come true. But no sooner have they arrived than Tella vanishes, kidnapped by the show's mastermind organizer, Legend. Scarlett has been told that everything that happens during Caraval is only an elaborate performance. But nonetheless she quickly becomes enmeshed in a dangerous game of love, magic and heartbreak. And real or not, she must find Tella before the game is over, and her sister disappears forever.
My take: Confession: I went into Caraval with a lot of trepidation. I don't read a lot of fantasy, I'm not a fan of magical realism, and *whispers* I was the one person I know who DNF'd Night Circus. I tried a printed copy, then the audiobook, and just wasn't feeling it.

Luckily, I enjoyed Caraval more than I expected. I do like books with a fairy tale vibe and to me this read more like a fairy tale than fantasy, with a lot of fairy tale tropes woven in. What it also reminded me of was Alice in Wonderland -- in Caraval, Scarlett gets thrown into a world that doesn't make sense, where things -- and people -- are not always what they seem. That part of the story was interesting and keeps you feeling a little off-balance the whole time. I was certain that I'd figured out at least one of the major twists in this book...
 ...but then things didn't turn out the way I was expecting.

A few things about Caraval were definitely a mixed bag for me. The writing seemed simplistic for YA in some parts, but was really lovely in others. I wasn't crazy about the main character, Scarlett. I'm also the oldest of two sisters and a rule follower, so you'd think I'd relate to her, but Scarlett's stodgy, fearful nature often got on my nerves. The romance was classic Gothic/old school bodice ripper, with sweet, innocent Scarlett falling for the last man she should, then spending endless hours wondering if she can trust him or if he was who he seemed. Because Scarlett was such a goody-goody, her constant guilt about being attracted to this guy was a large part of why I often wanted to smack her.

That said, the ending of the book was interesting and unexpected, and it looks like there will be a companion book about Scarlett's younger sister, Donatella. Impulsive, self-centered Tella wasn't my favorite character, either - did these two have to be such stereotypic opposites? -- but I'd give her story a chance.

Have you read Caraval? Plan to? Let me know what you think in comments.

Friday, January 27, 2017

Freebie Friday: The Cruelty




Happy Friday!

Well ... this is kind of awkward. I'm giving away a book that I really wasn't a fan of. That I DNF'd. But hey, just because I didn't like it didn't mean you won't!



You can read my thoughts about this book here on Goodreads.

This Freebie Friday is open to US residents only. Sorry, my Canadian friends, but I have decided that given the extra cost of postage, I would prefer to send you a better book - check back next week :)



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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Just Finished Reading: Dare You by Jennifer Brown

Dare You (Nikki Kill #2)
by Jennifer Brown

To be published by Harper Teen
on February 14, 2017

Source: eARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: Nikki Kill didn’t realize that trying to find out who killed Peyton Hollis would tangle her in a web of dangerous family secrets that would rock her identity to the core. But now that Nikki knows the truth, the all-powerful Hollises want to frame her for Peyton’s murder.
And now Nikki’s only chance at escaping the cold black bars of prison or the crimson grip of death is teaming up with the enigmatic Detective Martinez and relying on an ever-shifting kaleidoscope of clues....

My take: I'm a mystery fan and a fan of noir-type stories, so I have definitely enjoyed these books. Nikki is a teen with synesthesia who has a pretty complicated life. In the first installment of the series, she's investigating a murder and finding out some family secrets. Pretty much the same in this installment. She's snooping around and also sort-of flirting with the attractive young detective who's working the case.

These books aren't going to be for everyone. They don't feature the kind of suspense that keeps you on the edge of your seat. They remind me a lot of Veronica Mars, if you're a fan of that kind of thing - I am! Like Veronica, Nikki is a bit of a smart ass. Like Veronica, Nikki has a nose for trouble and a complicated love life.

Give these books a try if you're looking for a mystery with that Veronica flair!

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing January 24-30

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 NEW 2017 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.


The You I've Never Known City of Saints and Thieves After the Fall
The You I've Never Known by Ellen Hopkins (Margaret McElderry)
City of Saints and Thieves by Natalie Anderson (Putnam)
After the Fall by Kate Hart (FSG)

The Murderer's Ape Allegedly
The Murderer's Ape by Jakob Wegelius (Delacorte)
Allegedly by Tiffany D. Jackson (Katherine Tegen)

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Friday, January 20, 2017

Freebie Friday: Reading Refuge



Hope everyone is doing okay today! We can't retreat into books forever, but having a place to escape to for a while can be a wonderful thing. 

On this particular Friday, I am offering the winner their book of choice, up to $15. This is open to US and international residents - US residents will win an Amazon gift card, but since The Book Depository doesn't offer gift cards, if the winner is international I will order them any book they choose.

Pick a book that will energize and inspire you, or a fluffy escapist read -- your choice!



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Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Just Finished Reading: By Your Side by Kasie West

By Your Side
by Kasie West

To be published by Harper Teen
on January 17, 2016

Source: eARC from publisher for review
Synopsis from Goodreads: When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her. Only he doesn’t come. No one does. Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side? 
My take:  I enjoyed Kasie West's paranormal duology much more than her contemporaries, which are usually a little too fluffy for me. When I read the synopsis for By Your Side, I was super-skeptical. Well, I'm glad I read it, because I liked it much more than I thought.

Main character Autumn is dutiful, responsible, and anxious -- she has an anxiety disorder that she tries to keep under wraps. When she's invited to a friend's cabin for a long holiday weekend, she says yes because Jeff, the guy she's crushing on, will also be there. But when the group leaves her behind at the library and takes off, her overnight bag in the trunk, she finds herself trapped.  Soon she discovers that she's not only trapped, she's trapped there for the foreseeable future with the school bad boy, Dax.

Okay, I'll pause here to address a few things that were sticking points for me when I read the synopsis:

1) How is it possible for two tech-addicted, tech-savvy teenagers to be cut off from civilization ... in a library?  Well, Autumn's phone is in her overnight bag. Dax (for reasons the book explains) doesn't have a phone. The library computers require a log-in. Fair enough, but a library should have landlines, right?? I can't remember if the book addresses this, but in any case I was able to get over my "how could this really happen?" skepticism.

2) Is there a love triangle? Technically yes, but it didn't feel like the bad kind of triangle to me. Autumn clearly likes Jeff, but it also was clear to me that he was wrong for her and she realizes this eventually too.

So, alleged bad boy Dax and good girl Autumn are locked up in the library. Anyone else getting a huge Breakfast Club vibe? I have to confess that the time these two spent in the library wasn't my favorite part of the book -- the two of them find not-that-interesting things to do and flirt a little.  But then things turned around.  In The Breakfast Club, I always wondered what happened when these six kids saw each other at school the next day -- they probably went back to their own friend groups, right? Loved that this book actually showed that part of the story! Clearly, Dax and Autumn have formed a bond in captivity, and also have to deal with his complicated family issues, her anxiety, and the situation with Jeff (also complicated but involves spoilers.)

I was really rooting for this couple to make it work through all their obstacles. I still like West's Pivot Point duology best of all her books (if you haven't read those, you should!) but this is now my favorite of her contemporary YA romances.

If you've read this one, let me know what you thought in comments!

Tuesday, January 17, 2017

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

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 NEW 2017 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.

Radius of Us Carve the Mark History is All You Left Me

The Radius of Us by Marie Marquardt (St Martin's)
Carve the Mark by Veronica Roth (Katherine Tegen)
History Is All You Left Me by Adam Silvera (Soho)

As Red As Blood An Uncertain Choice
As Red as Blood by Salla Simukka (Crown)
An Uncertain Choice by Jody Hedlund (Zondervan)

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Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing January 10-16

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 new YA books you can buy or borrow in the week to come.

Enter the NEW 2017 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.


Windwitch You Don't Know My Name A List of Cages
Windwitch (Witchlands #2) by Susan Dennard (Tor)
You Don't Know My Name by Kristen Orlando (Swoon)
A List of Cages by Robin Roe (Disney-Hyperion)


Poison's Kiss Roseblood Teen Hyde
Poison's Kiss by Breeana Shields (Random House)
Roseblood by A.G. Howard (Amulet)
Teen Hyde by Chandler Baker (Feiwel and Friends)


Factory Girl Beheld Frostblood
Factory Girl by Josanne LaValley Clarion)
Beheld (Kendra Chronicles #4) by Alex Flinn (Harper)
Frost Blood by Elly Blake (Little, Brown)


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Monday, January 9, 2017

Just Finished Reading: You Don't Know My Name

You Don't Know My Name
by Kristin Orlando
To be published on
January 10, 2017
by Swoon Reads

Source: ARC from publisher

Synopsis from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Reagan Elizabeth Hillis is used to changing identities overnight, lying to every friend she’s ever had, and pushing away anyone who gets too close. Trained in mortal combat and weaponry her entire life, Reagan is expected to follow in her parents’ footsteps and join the ranks of the most powerful top-secret agency in the world, the Black Angels. Falling in love with the boy next door was never part of the plan. Now Reagan has to decide: Will she use her incredible talents and lead the dangerous life she was born into, or throw it all away to follow her heart and embrace the normal life she's always wanted? And does she even have a choice at all?
My take: On the plus side, You Don't Know My Name was a fast-paced read that kept my attention. On the negative side, it felt a little flat to me as well, with not a lot of nuance in plot and character development.

Reagan's parents are a members of some super-secret organization called the Black Angels that swoops in and handles stuff like kidnappings and hostage situations. I wasn't sure if they were mercenaries or more like black ops.  In any case the story starts with a bang, making it clear that Reagan and her parents are in danger and have to move and resume new identities yet again. The book tries hard to make Reagan relatable. Yes, she's trained in martial arts and target practice, but she's also a "normal" teen who hates the fact that she has to move and change her name constantly. She both worries about and resents her parents, which seems fair.

Though there's suspense, the plot is pretty straightforward. They family is in danger, stuff happens, Reagan is told to stay safe but of course sneaks in to help out. And because her parents have been training her for years, she knows her stuff. It's tough to make a teenager with SWAT team skills seem realistic, but this book does a decent job. That said, I didn't have a great sense of exactly what the Black Angels were doing or why.

Overall, You Don't Know My Name was the book equivalent of a fast paced action movie for me: enjoyable in the moment, but didn't make a lasting impression.

Friday, January 6, 2017

Freebie Friday: You Don't Know My Name




Happy first Friday of 2017!

Today's giveaway is a fun teen spy book, perfect for fans of the Gallagher Girls books and the Also Known As series:


Open to US/Canada addresses. 



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Wednesday, January 4, 2017

Just Finished Reading: The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett

The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett
by Chelsea Sedoti
Published by Sourcebooks
on January 3, 2017

Source: eARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: A teenage misfit named Hawthorn Creely inserts herself in the investigation of missing person Lizzie Lovett, who disappeared mysteriously while camping with her boyfriend. Hawthorn doesn't mean to interfere, but she has a pretty crazy theory about what happened to Lizzie. In order to prove it, she decides to immerse herself in Lizzie's life. That includes taking her job... and her boyfriend. It's a huge risk — but it's just what Hawthorn needs to find her own place in the world. 
My take: I love mysteries, and I'm generally a fan of books where an amateur detective tries to help find a missing person. Like Last Seen Leaving, this seemed to me to be part coming-of-age story and part mystery. When a popular fellow student named Lizzie disappears, Hawthorn (child of hippie parents and sibling to a popular older brother) becomes fascinated with the case. But then things got weirder. Hawthorn spends a lot of time wondering if Lizzie disappeared because she was a werewolf. (Um.... huh? For a while I wondered if this was going to turn into a paranormal book. Not really.) Then Hawthorn takes over Lizzie's old waitress job and takes up with Lizzie's boyfriend. And not because she thinks it will help her crack the case.

On the positive side, I liked the writing a lot and will definitely try future books by this author. On the negative, I found the main character hard to understand or connect with. I love quirky characters and am even fine with unlikeable. For me, Hawthorn took quirky and unlikeable and narcissistic a little too far. Her desire to take Lizzie's place started to seem weird and distasteful.

The mystery is eventually solved (not by Hawthorn) and I did think the ending fit the story.
But that didn't outweigh my feeling that I wanted more mystery solving, less werewolf rumination, and a main character that I enjoyed spending a few hundred pages with.

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New Releases Jan 3-9

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 NEW 2017 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.


Wayfarer Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett X-Files Origins
Wayfarer (Passenger #2) by Alexandra Bracken (Disney-Hyperion)
The Hundred Lies of Lizzie Lovett by Chelsea Sedoti (Sourcebooks)
The X Files Origins: Agent of Chaos by Kami Garcia (Imprint)



Cursed Queen Whenever I'm With You X-Files Origins
The Cursed Queen (Impostor Queen #2) by Sarah Fine (Margaret McElderry)
Whenever I'm With You by Lydia Sharp (Scholastic)
The X Files Origins: Devil's Advocate by Jonathan Mayberry (Imprint)


Under the Rose Tainted Skies Truth of Right Now Book Jumper
Under Rose-Tainted Skies by Louise Gornoll (Clarion)
The Truth of Right Now by Kara Lee Corthron (Simon Pulse)
The Book Jumper by Mechthild Gläser (Feiwel and Friends)


Lost Girls Mares Love and First Sight
Lost Girls by Merrie Destefano (Entangled)
Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff (Amulet)
Love and First Sight by Josh Sundquist (Little, Brown)

Fishbowl Freeks Flower
Life in a Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (Bloomsbury)
Freeks by Amanda Hocking (St Martins)
Flower by Elizabeth Craft and Shea Olsen (Harlequin)


Almost Autumn Because of the Sun Flicker and Mist
Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin (Arthur Levine)
Because of the Sun by Jenny Torres Sanchez (Delacorte)
Flicker and Mist by Mary G. Thompson (Clarion)


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