Google+ YA Romantics: January 2012

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Graffiti Moon

In a word ... wow.
This book blew me away.

Graffiti Moon
by Cath Crowley
Knopf Young Readers
February 14, 2012
Source: NetGalley. Received in exchange for an honest review.

"For a while, as long as you're looking at it, that painting is a world and you get to be in it."

For me, this quote from Graffiti Moon sums up the special magic that characterizes great works of art -- they create a world that you get to live inside for a short period of time.

Graffiti Moon evoked a world that I didn't want to leave. Aussie writer Cath Crowley has a hypnotic writing style: spare, poetic and lyrical. The story is told from the points of view of three teenagers, Lucy, Ed and Leo. Lucy and Ed's chapters are in prose, alternating with Leo's poems. These narrative choices really suit the book, which is steeped in art and poetry.

It's the night of high school graduation and Lucy is determined to find Shadow, a local graffiti artist. She's never met him, but she knows the scenes he paints on the sides of buildings under the cover of darkness. His work speaks to her.  So far, Lucy hasn't had great luck with guys. In fact, she went on a date with Ed and ended up breaking his nose. Why? He didn't live up to her romantic paragons: Mr. Darcy and Atticus Finch. Instead, he grabbed her "arse."

After that disastrous date, Ed dropped out of school. Then he got fired from his job the paint store. Now his friend Leo is pressuring him for help on a top-secret project involving a getaway car.

Lucy's excited to learn that someone knows where Shadow hangs out. Unfortunately, that person happens to be Ed, the infamous arse-grabber. So Lucy and her friends Daisy and Jazz, plus Ed and his friends Leo and Dylan, all head off in search of Shadow.

Shadow is closer than Lucy realizes. So is Malcolm Dove, the loan shark who's looking for Leo.

Welcome new followers!

A lot of new people have stopped by to enter my giveaway and I just wanted to say hello. To me, these giveaways are a little like those free samples at Costco. They're a way to get you to try out my blog.

I hope you find something here that interests you. I try to review three times a week. I hold regular comments contests, in which I draw a winner from everyone who commented since the last contest, so I hope you'll stop by and say hello after the giveaway ends.

I've got some great things planned for the next couple months, including a Valentine-themed YA giveaway. And I have the best regular group of followers ever!

Whether you're a brand new follower or my very first follower  *waves to Cristina*  thank you so much for your support of my blog!

Monday, January 30, 2012

In My Mailbox 4

For more info on IMM click here.

I love libraries! I've spent more time in them than you might believe.

My amazing library came through this week with these:

Getting Somewhere by Beth Neff is on the 2012 Debut Author list, so I thought I'd take a look

Getting Over Garrett Delaney by Abby McDonald will (I think) qualify for the Standalone Challenge.

I bought this one at my favorite indie bookstore. I'm hypnotized by the pretty, shiny cover!

Finally, I got these by trading. Thanks!

What did you put on your TBR pile this week?

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Standalone Saturday 3 .... Saving June


Welcome back to Standalone Saturday. In this meme, I feature a book that does NOT have a sequel or a prequel. Today, I'm writing about...

Saving June 
by Hannah Harrington
Harlequin Teen
November 2011
Source: bought from Barnes and Noble
Mature content: Sex, drugs, smoking and drinking. But depicted responsibly!

I'd heard a lot of great word-of-mouth recommendations about this book, and had to check it out for myself.

I loved it! Saving June takes some great YA themes (sibling rivalry, a road trip, and salvation through music) and blends them into an inspired, irresistible re-mix.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Young Adult Giveaway Hop

I'm participating in the YA Giveaway Hop, sponsored by I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Down the Rabbit Hole.

My prize? The winner gets to pick one of these great December/January YA releases and I will send it to them. Open to US and Canadian residents.

Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight

Clockwork Prince

The Fault in Our Stars


Article 5

The Way We Fall

Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Clockwork Prince by Cassandra Clare
The Fault in Our Stars by John Green
Hallowed by Cynthia Hand
Article 5 by Kristen Simmons
The Way We Fall by Megan Crewe

To enter, please fill out the Rafflecopter form below. Contest ends at 12:01 am on Wednesday February 1st. Winner will be drawn the morning of February 1 and notified by email that day.


What she chose!

Yeah, bloggers are nosy. We love In My Mailbox -- drooling over photos of ARCs and books.

As promised, here is what Erika chose for her prize:

From the top:

International Kissing Club by Ivy Adams
Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
*The Catastrophic History of Love at First Sight by Jess Rothenberg
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
Partials by Dan Wells

*What, you haven't heard of that book? Erika hadn't either. It's a limited edition and no one else is EVER going to have it.

Kidding!  I accidentally did a title mash-up in my email to Erika and I kind of like it :)

Erika, I hope you enjoy these!

Just Finished Reading ... Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse

Today's feature is ....


Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse
By Lucas Klauss
Simon Pulse
January 3, 2012
Source: library

No, this is not a dystopian/post-apocalyptic book. But you should read it!  It's a funny, heart-wrenching story that deals with issues of faith, love and loss.

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Winner of my Not-Going-to-ALA contest!

Wonder what's going into this << box? Me too!

Thanks so much to everyone who entered, and thanks also to those who loved my idea of cheering up everyone who doesn't get to attend conferences.

Rafflecopter has done its thing and picked as the lucky winner:

Erika @ Rescue Reads!

I'm emailing her a list of choices and then will tell everyone what she picked out.

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Article 5

Welcome to Dystopian/Disaster Week here at my blog.
Today and Thursday I'll be writing about two brand-new books that take place in a world gone wrong.

But first, can I just say that Tor Teen has been coming out with some really good stuff lately! Anna Dressed in Blood was one of my favorite scary books of 2011, and I've been very excited to read ...

Article 5
by Kristen Simmons
Tor Teen
January 31, 2012
Source: bought from indie bookstore

Monday, January 23, 2012

In My Mailbox 3

For more info on IMM click here.
This week my IMM is all about the library. I put holds on as many books as the library website will allow, and this week a bunch of stuff came in!

(I was lazy when I wrote this -- editing this post to add links!)

1) Everything You Need to Survive the Apocalypse by Lucas Klauss

My first thought was that I'd requested this book by mistake. Somehow I got it confused with How to Survive the Zombie Apocalypse. Which might actually be a good book for me, because I really don't like zombies.  But this book is NOT about zombies. At all. Which is good, as far as I'm concerned.

2) Irises by Francisco X. Stork

3) Ditched by Robin Mellom

4) Tell Me a Secret by Holly Cupala

What came in your mailbox last week? Can't wait to see!

Sunday, January 22, 2012

Me? A Versatile Blogger?

Thanks so much to Christina of a Bibliophile's Thoughts on Books , who nominated me for a Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks, Christina! I'm honored that you chose me :)

I now need to nominate other bloggers, and reveal seven random things about me.

I love all my blogger friends and don't want to play favorites, so I decided that I would pick some blogs I've recently discovered.

Check them out!

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Standalone Saturday 2 ... Don't Breathe A Word

Welcome back to Standalone Saturday, where I feature a book that actually wraps up at the last page. No cliffhangers!  This week's feature is:
Don't Breathe a Word
by Holly Cupala
January 3, 2012
Source: ARC traded with a friend
Mature content: Publisher recommends for 14 and up

I went into this book knowing little about it and came out a huge fan. This is a gripping and beautifully written story about abusive relationships and life on the street that isn't preachy or depressing or melodramatic. It's just .... really good!

Friday, January 20, 2012

My Not-Going-to-ALA Giveaway

Not going to ALA? That is, the American Library Association Conference? I'm not.

I'm a little jealous of the people who get to go to conferences, rub shoulders with famous authors, meet other bloggers and hear about new releases.

But that's okay, we can still have fun.

Every day during ALA (Jan 20-24) I'll be collecting entries for my...


The winner will get to choose up to 6 ARCs from my personal collection -- books published in January and some yet-to-be published.

Every day I will reveal one (or more) of the items that the winner can choose to load in the box. One of them is...

Don't Breathe a Word
by Holly Cupala

This book was fantastic. Look for my thoughts about it in tomorrow's Standalone Saturday.


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Comments Contest!

Not going to ALA? Don't feel bad. Neither am I. But I'm planing some great giveaways during that ALA period (January 20-24). Let's just say that Steal My ARC dude isn't going to ALA either.

I'll have another big giveaway starting Friday, January 27 as part of the Young Adult Hop.

Now, to get to today's winner...

I appreciate every one of you who comes by the blog to enter a giveaway, but I REALLY appreciate the people who drop by just to read a post and say hi.

So I like to say thanks to my regulars. It's easy to be a regular and we're a super-friendly group. Just pop in anytime and leave a comment.

I randomized the names of commenters since my last contest. (Required comments, like those that are part of a giveaway or hop, don't count.)

And the randomizer picked: Marybelle

Marybelle, as your prize, you can choose from four fabulous ARCs. I'm going to email you the choices.

Marybelle chose A Million Suns, which I'm sure she will enjoy!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SOPA Strike Day

Today, January 18, is the protest against SOPA.
For more information on the protest, go here.

If you're still trying to figure out what SOPA is, watch this YouTube video, which explains some of the objections to it.

Check back tomorrow for the winner of my comments contest!

(Any comments left today will be counted toward the next drawing.)

Just Finished Reading ... A Million Suns

A Million Suns
by Beth Revis
January 10, 2012
Source: ARC traded with a friend
Mature content: References to rape. Multiple murders.

This book is a sequel to Across the Universe, published in January 2011.

I've struggled with how -- or whether -- to review second or third books in a series. It's hard to write something that makes sense and is spoiler-free for readers who haven't tackled prior books.

But, hey, I'll give it a shot. As always, feel free to share your thoughts in the comments!

Monday, January 16, 2012

In My Mailbox 2

For more info on IMM visit Story Siren.

The books on the left I bought:

Last Summer of the Death Warriors by Francisco X. Stork

I've had this on my list since I read the amazing Marcelo in the Real World by the same author. If you haven't read that, I think you should!

Next, I got my copy of The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Standalone Saturday

I'm excited to introduce a new feature on my blog!
I love a series. It's a great feeling to find a book I love and know that the story will go on.

But other times those cliffhangers set my nerves on edge and I don't want to wait until 2014 to find out how a story is going to end up. That's when I long for a good standalone.

On occasional Saturdays, I'll feature standalone YA. This week's pick?

Friday, January 13, 2012

Feature and Follow Friday 1

I'm excited to participate in my first-ever Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Parajunkee and Alison Can Read.

Every Friday a group of bloggers answer a question and then hop around each other's blogs to see the answers and discover new blogs.

Parajunkee and Alison Can Read each also feature a different blogger on their site every Friday. Check out their sites and find out who's being featured today.

And today's question is...

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Under the Never Sky

Under the Never Sky
by Veronica Rossi
Harper Collins
January 3, 2012
Source: ARC traded with a friend
Mature content: some non-graphic sexual situations

When I pick up a book that others have liked, I’m nervous. High expectations can ruin a perfectly good story if you’re expecting it to be amazing.

Luckily, Under the Never Sky delivered. It's an imaginative and engaging book.

Under the Never Sky opens as Aria and a group of her friends sneak out of the enclosed city of Reverie and into the world outside -- the ominously named Death Shop. Something goes terribly wrong. Aria is questioned, blamed, and banished from her community.

Aria’s certain that she’s doomed. After all, the reason that Reverie was enclosed was to protect its residents from the dangerous Aether storms.

Then Aria encounters Perry, a "Savage" who lives outside Aria’s hermetically sealed world. Perry is one of the Marked, a person who possesses a dominant sense. (He can scent others' emotions.) Perry is searching for his beloved nephew, Talon, who was kidnapped by a group from Reverie. At first Perry wants nothing to do with Aria. Then the two of them realize they can help one another. Aria can help Perry get Talon back, and Perry can help Aria gather evidence that she was unfairly scapegoated.

The book is written in chapters that alternate Aria’s and Perry’s points of view in the third person. I found Perry a much more compelling character, but Aria grew on me. In fact, a lot of the story grew on me. It took me a good chunk of the book to piece together all the different aspects of the story world. There’s a lot to keep track of: Pods, Realms, Dwellers, Moles, Outsiders, Audiles, Savages, Seers and Scires.

Under the Never Sky is a book that kept me at a bit of a distance as a reader, engaging my imagination rather than my emotions. The world of the book is vivid and compelling, almost dreamy. I liked that the story incorporated elements of fantasy and sci-fi. There were some great secondary characters, and some intriguing loose ends (Liv the runaway bride, the genetic engineering that resulted in Aria's singing talent, the mysterious DLS disease) that will undoubtedly be picked up in subsequent books.

Try Under the Never Sky if you liked:

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Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... New Girl

New Girl
by Paige Harbison
Harlequin Teen
January 31, 2012
Source: NetGalley, received in exchange for an honest review
Mature content: some sex/partying scenes.

When I learned that someone had tackled a retelling of Rebecca, I could barely contain my excitement. I mean, Rebecca!

Bottom line: if you’re familiar with Rebecca, you’ll enjoy the way New Girl cleverly updates the story and adapts it to fit the YA genre. If you’ve never heard of the original, no problem. You’ll still enjoy this slick, page-turning psychological thriller.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012


My Cinder giveaway ended last night at the stroke of midnight. LOL. How appropriate, given the fact that this book is based on Cinderella.

First, I was curious as to which fairy tale most commenters picked as their favorite.

Not surprisingly, Beauty and the Beast got the most votes. Like Belle, we are a book-loving group! Cinderella was a not-so-close second.

Who won the ARC? Rafflecopter did its thing and picked:

Randi M.

Congratulations, Randi! I emailed you and will get the ARC out ASAP!

If you didn't win, don't despair. There's always a happy ending here because I'll have another giveaway soon :)

Monday, January 9, 2012

My first ever In My Mailbox!

I've never done an IMM post before, but here goes.
(For more info on IMM visit Story Siren.)

I have six exciting new books this week:

The top three books were bought at the Barnes and Noble sale. Thanks, B&N!

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer Smith (Goodreads)
The Clockwork Prince (yes, I still haven't read it) by Cassandra Clare
Saving June by Hannah Harrington (Goodreads)

The bottom three I picked up in person at my favorite bookstore:

Switched by Amanda Hocking
Inside Out by Maria Snyder
Give Up the Ghost by Megan Crewe

My TBR pile is getting big again:

Saturday, January 7, 2012

TBR Intervention Success!

Right before the holidays, I did a TBR Intervention post. This great meme is hosted by Refracted Light Reviews, Whatever You Can Still Betray and Books for Juliet.

The book from my TBR pile that I wanted to (finally) read was The Piper's Son.

I'm so glad I did. If you've never read a Melina Marchetta book, you need to put her on your list. You might want to start with Saving Francesca, which is the companion book to this one. After that, go with Jellicoe Road.

How many wonderful things can I say about this author? She writes beautifully. Her characters are fantastic. Most of her books deal with big, messy families and/or groups of friends-- people who love each other and drive each other crazy all at the same time.

Thomas Mackee is the Piper's Son. As the book opens, he wakes up in a Sydney hospital. He's a physical and emotional basket case. As you read, you find out all the stuff he's going through.

Friday, January 6, 2012

New Comments Contest -- Shop my TBR Pile

Is it me or are there a ton of great books coming out this month?
My TBR pile suddenly got huge. Here's what's on it:

Bloodrose by Andrea Cremer
Don't Breathe A Word by Holly Cupala
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
A Million Suns by Beth Revis
The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg
Saving June by Hannah Harrington

Yikes -- I need some incentive to read faster. So I decided it was time for another comments contest.
 I really appreciate it when you stop by to say hello. It makes me feel like I'm not talking to myself!

I went back and noted all the commenters since my last contest. (Comments that are giveaway entries don't count -- sorry.) Each time you left a comment, your name got put once in the randomizer.

Then I randomized all the names last night and my lucky winner is:

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Just Finished Reading: Everneath

by Brodi Ashton
Balzer and Bray/Harper Collins
January 24, 2012
Source: NetGalley; received in exchange for an honest review

Yes, okay. You could argue that these days YA does have a lot of what one blogger amusingly calls "sad girls in pretty dresses."

I have to confess, I'm a total sucker for a pretty dress. And I must relate to sad girls too, because when I was reading this ARC, I could hardly set my Kindle down. Everneath delivers exactly the kind of intense emotional experience that many YA fans are hungering for.

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Barnes and Noble 50% off YA sale

Use Barnes & Noble coupon code F3Y9V4J for 50% off teen books. Ends Tuesday, January 10, 2012.

Thanks so much to Lena at Addicted to Novels and Erika at Rescue Reads for the heads-up.

What did I buy?

Just Finished Reading ... What Boys Really Want

What Boys Really Want
Pete Hautman
Scholastic, January 1, 2012
Source: ARC from my collection

Adam and Lita are just friends.
Lita's friend Emily has a thing for Adam's friend Dennis.
But Dennis is obsessed with Blair.
Adam decides to write a book that will help girls understand guys. But writing a book is harder than he thinks, so he reworks (plagiarizes) some stuff from an anonymous advice blog.
Lita decides to help Emily land Dennis.
Adam decides to help Dennis land Blair.
Plenty of trouble ensues.

This book is a light, enjoyable contemporary read. Chapters alternate between Lita's POV and Adam's. The events in the story are entertaining yet believable. There are no shocking twists or surprises, and that's just fine with me :)

Pick this book up if you liked:


Tuesday, January 3, 2012

Just finished reading ... Cinder!

What a great way to kick off my 2012 reading.

by Marissa Meyer
MacMillan/Feiwel and Friends
January 3, 2012
Source: ARC swapped with a friend

A good retelling stays true to the spirit of the original story while giving it a fresh, original spin. Cinder does exactly that. At its core, Cinderella is a pretty basic tale: with a little help from some friends, an underdog in life and love bests her tormentors and gets her man. To give this simple fairy tale depth, Marissa Meyer layers on both political intrigue (an ailing king, his son, and a power-hungry Lunar queen) and a dystopian twist (a deadly disease).
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