Google+ YA Romantics: February 2017

Tuesday, February 28, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing February 28-March 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 MARCH 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.


Walking in Time The Hate U Give Future Threat
Waking in Time by Angie Stanton (Capstone)
The Hate U Give by Angie Thomas (Balzer + Bray)
Future Threat by Elizabeth Briggs (AW Teen)


One Blood Ruby Rebels Like Us Wild Lily
One Blood Red Ruby (Seven Black Diamonds #2) by Melissa Marr (Harper)
Rebels Like Us by Liz Reinhardt (Harlequin)
Wild Lily by K. M. Peyton (David Fickerling)


Frogkisser Lifeblood The Free
Frogkisser! by Garth Nix (Scholastic)
Lifeblood (Everlife #2) by Gena Showalter (Harlequin)
The Free by Lauren McLaughlin (Soho)


10 Things I Can See From Here A Good Idea A Lie for a Lie
10 Things I Can See From Here by Carrie Mac (Knopf)
A Good Idea by Cristina Morocco (Viking)
A Lie for a Lie by Robin Merrow MacCready (Henry Holt)


Avenged Daughter of the Pirate King Freedom's Slave
Avenged (Arnaud Legacy #3) by Lynn Carthage (Kensington)
Daughter of the Pirate King by Tricia Levenseller (Feiwel and Friends)
Freedom's Slave (Dark Captive #3) by Heather Demetrios (Balzer + Bray)


Sad Perfect Stranger Than Fanfiction Ship Beyond Time
Sad Perfect by Stephanie Elliott (Farrar, Strauss and Giroux)
Stranger Than Fanfiction by Chris Colfer (Little, Brown)
The Ship Beyond Time (Girl From Everywhere #2) by Heidi Heilig (Greenwillow)


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Monday, February 27, 2017

Just Finished Reading: The Other F-Word

The Other F-Word
by Natasha Friend

To be published on March 7, 2017
by FSG

Source: ARC for review from publisher
Synopsis from Goodreads: Milo has two great moms, but he's never known what it's like to have a dad. When Milo's doctor suggests asking his biological father to undergo genetic testing to shed some light on Milo's extreme allergies, he realizes this is a golden opportunity to find the man he's always wondered about. Hollis's mom Leigh hasn't been the same since her other mom, Pam, passed away seven years ago. But suddenly, Leigh seems happy—giddy, even—by the thought of reconnecting with Hollis's half-brother Milo. Hollis and Milo were conceived using the same sperm donor. They met once, years ago, before Pam died. Now Milo has reached out to Hollis to help him find their donor. Along the way, they locate three other donor siblings, and they discover the true meaning of the other F-word: family.
My take: Overall, I enjoyed this, but not without a few bumps along the way. There were a few things about this book that I had to get used to. First off, though the characters range from 14-16, this book read a little on the young side to me. It's hard to say if it was some of the characters' maturity level and voice or the fact that the book was narrated in alternating third-person, but I couldn't get away from the feeling that I was reading tween/middle-grade, and ultimately I think that's where this story belonged (though there was a little bit of content that would put it more in YA.)

The other thing I had to get past was that, for me, this book was a LOT at first. There were a lot of characters (the two narrators, their three parents, and then a total of three or four other kids) and there were a bunch of issues (grief, sperm donation, the parental rights of gay parents, food allergies, slut shaming and cyber-bullying) that were raised. I tend to prefer my books a little more streamlined, especially on the issue front.

But after a period of adjustment, I settled into the story. There were a lot of issues, but in the end there was a purpose for incorporating them. Many of them were related to the death of one character's mom and the daughter's guilt and grief, something I thought was handled really well and very movingly. Not sure if all of the issues were handled as thoroughly as they should have been, which is a drawback for issue-packed stories.

All in all, if the topic interests you and if you don't mind a slightly younger-feeling story, give this a try.

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

What I'm Watching: Hunted, Unfunny Valentine Movies and Big Little Lies


Since I've been reading less, I thought I might as well tell you what I've been watching. You know I've been watching Riverdale, but here are the other things on my DVR:



Like most great reality TV, Hunted originated in the UK, and has recently premiered on CBS. (You can catch up on past episodes online.) If you're a regular blog reader, you know I love thrillers, and this show, while obviously staged, still manages to be fun for me. Nine pairs of civilian "fugitives" are sent on the run in the Southeastern US. A team of hunters -- former military, cops, FBI profilers, US marshals, etc. has to track them down. Any team that lasts 28 days wins a bunch of money.

What I like about this show is the psychological "cat and mouse" aspect. The "fugitives" are just regular citizens, so they're underdogs, and it's fascinating to see how they adapt to being on the run. It was also really interesting to me to see how tracked all of us really are -- did you know that there are cameras that are constantly record license plates on the highways? Take the back roads!

The drawback is that the show obviously has a lot of staged elements. First off, the fugitives are being filmed -- how hidden can you be with a camera crew following you everywhere? Second, the show's disclaimer says something to the effect that certain surveillance techniques are "simulated." Which means, I think, that the producers know where each team of fugitives are and that the hunters get their information from them.  I don't think law enforcement is releasing license plate data to a TV show.

Still, this show is pretty fun. If you're watching, let me know in comments!


Maybe some of you remember my foray into Hallmark Christmas movies? Well, something possessed me to try the Hallmark Valentine's Day special.

My taste in TV really isn't that highbrow. But Love at First Glance was terrible! Main character Mary gets dumped by her boyfriend for being boring. She's wallowing in her misery, eating tiramisu on the subway, when she spots a handsome stranger -- who gets off the train but leaves his phone on his seat. Mary contacts him, and he tells her to hang onto the phone because he's headed out of the country, but he'll be back on ... Valentine's Day.

If that's not cheesy and weird enough, Mary spends the time while he's gone going through his contact list and interviewing all his friends about what kind of a person he is. So basically, this romance consists of two characters who aren't even in the same scene for most of the movie.

Amy Smart is great looking, but in this movie she has something seriously weird going on with her makeup -- too much bronzer, maybe? Bad lighting? And while Adrian Grenier has some chick lit cred from his role as Andie's long-suffering boyfriend in The Devil Wears Prada, he seemed really out of place in this film. Maybe he had it written into his contract that his character would be out of the country and not even in most of the movie?



So I read Big Little Lies and didn't think I remembered much about it until I started watching. Yep, I remember it all -- provided that the show follows the book. So far, I'm impressed by the adaptation. I think the casting is good and the show does a great job of capturing the gossipy narcissism of this group of parents in an upscale California beach community. Nicole Kidman. At the beginning of the sounded Australian to me at first, then American-ish. All in all, she comes off a little robotic, but I think that's deliberate. And I'm not a fan of her hair, which really looks like a wig. But the kid characters (especially Ziggy and Chloe) are really adorable.



Finally, I do have an occasional need for something more intellectual. While I walk the dog, I've been listening to a Washington Post podcast called Presidential. There's a 40 minute episode on every single American president. I'm hooked! I started with Nixon and am moving forward in time and then I'm going to head backward.


Tell me if you're watching any of these -- or what you're watching -- in comments!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing February 21-27

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 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.


Dreamland Burning Ronit and Jamil Conjuring of Light
Dreamland Burning by Jennifer Latham (Little, Brown)
Ronit & Jamil by Pamela Laskin (Katherine Tegen)
A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab (Tor)


Beautiful Broken Girls Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined Long May She Reign
Beautiful Broken Girls by Kim Savage (FSG)
Everything Beautiful is Not Ruined by Danielle Yonge-Ullman (Viking)
Long May She Reign by Rhiannon Thomas (Harper)


Optimists Die First Dragon's Price Education of Margot Sanchez
Optimists Die First by Susie Nielsen (Wendy Lamb)
The Dragon's Price by Bethany Wiggins (Crown)
The Education of Margot Sanchez (Simon & Schuster)


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Monday, February 20, 2017

Just Finished Reading: Optimists Die First

Optimists Die First
by Susie Nielsen
To be published on February 21, 2017
by Random House/Wendy Lamb Books

Synopsis from Goodreads: Sixteen-year-old Petula de Wilde is anything but wild. A former crafting fiend with a happy life, Petula shut herself off from the world after a family tragedy. She sees danger in all the ordinary things, like crossing the street, a bug bite, or a germy handshake. She knows: life is out to get you. The worst part of her week is her comically lame mandatory art therapy class with a small group of fellow misfits. Then a new boy, Jacob, appears at school and in her therapy group. He seems so normal and confident, though he has a prosthetic arm; and soon he teams up with Petula on a hilarious project, gradually inspiring her to let go of some of her fears. But as the two grow closer, a hidden truth behind why he’s in the group could derail them, unless Petula takes a huge risk. . .
My take: Serious mixed feelings. On the positive side, I really, really related to Petula. A terrible family tragedy has made her fearful and wary. I'm not a therapist (and she's not real) but it seemed to me that her grief and anxiety has triggered or worsened some pre-existing OCD - she's severely germaphobic and has intrusive thoughts about more bad things happening.

At times this book felt to me a little like a Canadian Sarah Dessen - damaged protagonist, damaged love interest, a strong emphasis on family, and a very coherent and heavily thematic plot. There were lovely moments that charmed and moved me.

On the negative side, the book's treatment of mental health issues seemed a little flimsy. The story centers around Petula's art therapy group, which fits perfectly into the book's cats-and-crafting theme but I kept wondering if glue and glitter was the extent of Petula's treatment? It seems to me she needs one-on-one time with a qualified therapist and maybe even some medication.

The other issue I had with the story was the way that tragedy and whimsy was mixed together, which didn't always work for me. Petula's mother copes with tragedy by adopting a lot of cats, which I found believable. But then the main character and the love interest make a movie about Wuthering Heights starring cats as a school project and ... what? While it later had a point in the plot, the whole thing lost me. There were other jarring moments for me, like the fact that some of Petula's coping mechanisms seem to be treated as a joke. At another point, a character is telling a really moving story and then has to mention that he was on his way to a bath store called ... Skip to My Loo. Stuff like that just felt like unnecessary quirk. The mix of joking and seriousness might work for other readers with different sensibilities, but it was disconcerting to me.

Have you read this?  

Friday, February 17, 2017

Freebie Friday: Beautiful Broken Girls




Happy Friday!

Hope everyone has something good to read - I've been trying to combat my general life slump by reading a lot of different genres - romance, non-fiction, memoir.

Today's giveaway will be of an upcoming YA book:


a Rafflecopter giveaway Have a great weekend!

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing February 14-20

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 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.


We Are Okay Ones and Zeroes Dare You
We Are Okay by Nina LaCour (Dutton)
Ones and Zeroes (Bluescreen #2) by Dan Wells (Balzer + Bray)
Dare You (Nikki Kill #2) by Jennifer Brown (Katherine Tegen)

#famous The Valiant Wish Granter
#famous by Jilly Gagnon (Katherine Tegen)
The Valiant by Lesley Livingston (Razorbill)
The Wish Granter (Ravenspire #2) by C. J. Redwine (Balzer + Bray_

Season of Daring Greatly American Street Piecing Me Together
A Season of Daring Greatly by Ellen Emerson White (Greenwillow)
American Street by Ibi Zoboi (Balzer + Bray)
Piecing Me Together by Renee Watson (Bloomsbury)

Last of August The Release Gilded Cage Island of Exile
The Last of August (Charlotte Holmes #2) by Brittany Cavallaro (Katherine Tegen)
The Release (Prey #3) by Tom Isbell (Harper)
Gilded Cage by Vic James (Del Ray)
Island of Exiles by Erica Cameron (Entangled)


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