Google+ YA Romantics: February 2012

Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Please Ignore Vera Dietz

Today you get a bonus day -- it's like a present. Happy Leap Day!

In the meantime, I'm continuing my Printz-themed week with:

Please Ignore Vera Dietz
by A.S. King
Knopf Books for Young Readers
October 12, 2010
Printz Honor Book 2011
Read her acceptance speech here.

Source: bought and read it when it came out,
and just listened to the audio book.

Summary: Charlie was Vera's best friend. They knew each other's secrets. Charlie knew that Vera's mother was an ex-stripper, and Vera knew that Charlie's father knocked his mother around. But when Jenny Flick the Detention Queen decides she wants Charlie as her boyfriend, Vera and Charlie's relationship falls apart. Secrets are spilled, fires are set, and Charlie ends up dead.

This book veers between the present, in which Vera spends her time delivering pizzas and trying to cope with Charlie's death, and the past, in which the reader comes to understand what happened to Charlie. Vera narrates, with occasional asides from Vera's father (who uses amusing flowcharts to explain how not to screw up your life), Charlie, a.k.a. "The Dead Kid," and the pagoda, a white elephant of a landmark in the Pennsylvania town in which this story takes place. Somehow, it all works.

The characters and their relationships are what make this book shine. Vera and Charlie have an intense friendship that's about to blossom into love -- at least, until Jenny Flick enters the picture. After that, Vera's so angry at Charlie that it takes her months to come to terms with her feelings. Vera and her father circle uneasily around each other, trying to find common ground. Vera wants the world to ignore her, since her goal in life is not to turn out like her mother: pregnant teen and former stripper.

Printz Trivia:
This author of a Printz Honor book wrote a play that was a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and is also the brother of one of the original cast members of the Broadway musical Rent. Can you name him and his book?

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Where Things Come Back

I've been picking a theme for my reviews lately. Here's this week's theme: I Was Wrong.

I grew up in a book-loving family, but when I was a kid I dreaded getting books as gifts. Why? Because when I picked up a flat, rectangular package wrapped in birthday paper, I knew what was inside.

A medal book.

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Medal books were the kind of books grown ups wanted me to read. They were broccoli on a page. I would dutifully put them on my bookshelf and ignore them.

So today, I'm here to tell all of the internet that I was wrong.

Monday, February 27, 2012

If You Like ... Fish out of Water Stories

Reclusive Bilbiophile's "If You Like" theme for the week is:  Hart of Dixie.

Confession: I've never seen the show. I mean, I thought Rachel Bilson was still living in the O.C. But as I understand it, she plays a city girl who comes to live in a small Alabama town.

I happen to love "city slicker goes to the country" stories. Or vice versa. It's always entertaining when a character is yanked out of his or her element and has to adapt.

Here's my list of books and movies with a city/country theme. The ones I've read are starred.

Where I Belong

Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots

City Girl, Country Girl

*Where I Belong by Gwendolyn Heasley
Boys, Bears and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald
Country Girl, City Girl by Lisa Jahn-Clough

Here are some more books with characters who get teased for their city slicker ways. Or vice versa:

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Comments Contest Winners!

I love holding giveaways. They're a great way to gain new followers. But I think it's just as important to say thanks to the people who support my blog day in and day out.

So once a month I draw a winner from all the people who've visited the blog and left comments.

I drew winners yesterday -- comments after that will count toward the next drawing.

Since I had a big pile of ARCs this month, I drew three winners.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

In My Mailbox 8


For more info on IMM click here.

This week's mailbox was a little quiet. But that's okay, because I have a massive TBR pile.

BOUGHT: Starters. The cover is so pretty (shiny silver with raised lettering) and so creepy. Reminds me of:

I actually made a whole "crazy-eyes" page on Pinterest. It's here.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Cool YA Stuff You Should Know About

Okay, not saying I'm cool. I only know this stuff because other people told me. But in case I'm not the last person on earth to know:

John Green has a Tumblr in which he answers questions about The Fault in Our Stars. Do not go there unless you've read the book. Super-spoilery! But fascinating.
The password to the site is the last word of the acknowledgments.
If you gave your book away or returned it at the library, let me know and I'll put the password in comments.

Just Finished Reading ... When the Sea is Rising Red

When The Sea is Rising Red
by Cat Hellisen
February 28, 2012
Farrar, Straus and Giroux Books for Young Readers

Source: bought from indie bookstore

Mature content: non-explicit sexual situations, suicide, drug use

Picking out books can be a little like getting dressed in the morning: I often reach for what's familiar and comfortable. So one of my Reading Resolutions for 2012 is to read books outside of my usual comfort zone.

When the Sea is Rising Red is one of those books. Fantasy definitely isn't my go-to genre. But I'm glad I ventured outside my comfort zone, because this book drew me in and kept me intrigued right until the end.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Tagged .... Again!

All these amazing bloggers have tagged me in the last week:

Patrick of TheBookshelves

Jess of Jessy's Bookends

Eileen from Singing and Reading in the Rain

April from Books4Juliet

Thanks so much. I'm truly honored that you chose me. As you all know, blogging is hard work, and it's always nice to hear that others appreciate what you do. You're the best!

Since I'm truly not THAT fascinating, I'm going to answer a selection of questions. And since this is my second tag post, instead of tagging other bloggers to answer questions, I'm going to follow in the footsteps of my blogger friend Shanan and tag some other bloggers just to say thanks.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Slide

Last week, I featured three romantic contemporaries. This week, I'm levitating over to the paranormal and fantasy side of things...

by Jill Hathaway
March 27, 2012
Balzer and Bray

Source: received an e-ARC from Netgalley

Mature content: a murder, very minor drinking and partying

My summary: If you think high school is tough, try being a girl with a dead mother, a perpetually distracted father, and a conniving little sister who's taken your place in the popular crowd. Oh, and if that isn't enough, Vee's also a narcoleptic. Well, everyone thinks she's a narcoleptic. Actually, she has psychometric powers. When she touches an object that's imbued with another person's strong emotions, she slides right into their consciousness for a few minutes. When one of Vee's classmates commits suicide, Vee knows for sure the girl was murdered. Vee was there. She was in the murderer's body and saw her hands (well, the murderer's hands) holding a bloody knife. The problem? She doesn't know who those hands belonged to. And she's determined to find out.

My take: I loved this book. Vee is tough-but-vulnerable, my very favorite kind of heroine. Plus, she's funny. Since she's sure no one will believe her about the sliding thing, she pretends to go along with the narcolepsy diagnosis, all the while popping caffeine pills like a college student during finals. She has this doesn't-realize-he's adorable guy best friend who writes a 'zine about all the nasty goings on in the school in-crowd. Vee's obsessed with astronomy and her dead mother's collection of 90s music. What's not to love?

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

YA Couples Trivia Answers and Winner!

Whew! I assigned every entry a number, plus extra for the tweets. There were 289 total entries.
So, first off, thanks so much to everyone who participated!!

The randomizer chose:
And that person  is: Carissa!

Congratulations, Carissa. I'm going to email you right now.

In case you'd like to know the trivia answers, here they are:

Question One:

What was the first thing that Edward said to Bella in the book Twilight?
d) Hello.

I Love YA Hop Winner

Rafflecopter has picked the lucky winner and it is ...  click here.

Okay, I'll tell you. It's....

Tabitha S.

Check out her blog here!

Which of these books will she choose?

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Moulton

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols

When the Sea is Rising Red

Update: She chose The One That I Want. I know she'll love it!

Monday, February 20, 2012

If You Like ... Unreliable Narrators

Reclusive Bilbiophile's "If You Like" theme for the week is: unreliable narrators.

If it's been a while since you sat in English class -- or maybe you dozed off a bit while you were there -- an unreliable narrator is ... a big fat liar.

Okay, maybe that's too harsh. Maybe the narrator just isn't very objective. Or is in denial. Or crazy. Sometimes the narrator will fess up to being untrustworthy at the outset, while other times his or her deceit isn't revealed until the end of the book. That's my favorite -- the Shocking Twist!

Here's my list of YA books with unreliable narrators:

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox 7


For more info on IMM click here.

I bought these (two from indie bookstore, one from Barnes and Noble)

When the Sea is Rising Red is part of my I Love YA Giveaway

Quick contest plug: You could win this book OR Fever: Chemical GardenWings of the Wicked OR The One That I Want.

To enter, just click here! Ends midnight on Monday, February 20!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Just Finished Reading .... The Fine Art of Truth or Dare


This Saturday is my last Valentine's Day-themed review.  Next week, I'm going paranormal!

Today's feature is:

The Fine Art of Truth or Dare
by Melissa Jensen

February 16, 2012

Source: bought at Barnes and Noble

Mature Content: none

If you enjoyed Melissa Jensen's Falling in Love With English Boys, her second book has many of the same components:  a plucky, sympathetic heroine, the boy she admires from afar, and a historical figure whose story gets woven into the plot.

YA Couples Trivia 7


Final question!

In City of Bones by Cassandra Clare, what was the name of the club where Clary first saw Jace?

a) Sanitorium
b) Equilibrium
c) Delirium
d) Pandemonium

If you need to go back and answer past questions, just scroll back through my posts (or you can click on "Trivia" on the left sidebar. Accepting answers through midnight on Monday, Feb 20.
Your answers count whether they are wrong or right!

Please submit answer here!

On Tuesday, I'll draw the winner of the $10 Amazon OR $10 Barnes and Noble gift card.
I will mail the gift card internationally if the winner can use it.

Don't forget to answer Shanan The Book Addict's questions too! Her blog is here.

Friday, February 17, 2012

YA Couples Trivia 6

If you're looking for my Feature and Follow Friday post, click here. Then please come back!

Just two more questions: today and tomorrow!
Wrong or right, your answers count in the drawing.
Entries will be accepted through midnight EST on Monday, Feb 20.

Tuesday, Feb 21, I'll draw the winner of the $10 gift card!

Today's question is from Delirium by Lauren Oliver.

When Lena spots Alex for the first time, on the day of her Evaluation, he's laughing because:

a) Lena tripped and fell
b) Lena was so nervous she forgot who wrote Romeo and Juliet
c) a herd of cows stampeded through the evaluation room
d) Lena said her favorite color was pink

Please submit your answers/guesses here!

And enter Shanan The Book Addict's trivia here!

Feature and Follow Friday 2

Feature and Follow Friday, hosted by Alison Can Read and Parajunkee, is a great way to discover new blogs!

This week's featured bloggers are Le Grand Codex and Beefcake and Babes.

Today's question is:
Q: I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What's the most unique character name you've come across?
My answer: Great question! I love unusual character names. Sometimes I sit down to blog about a book and totally blank on the main character's name. (Please tell me I'm not the only one!)

My opinion: First off, "unusual" is relative. I spent some time in Zurich and this is the name my hosts thought was the most hilarious American name ever... Bob.  LOL.

Second, as creative as authors try to be, great minds think alike. Katniss (Hunger Games) and Katsa (Graceling) appeared on the YA scene around the same time. And -- YA Trivia alert! -- did you know that the main character in Matched had to have a name change (from Calla to Cassia) because Andrea Cremer was using the name Calla for her Nightshade series.

This is my secret for coming up with great, memorable character names: try for the "uniquely familiar." Cassandra Clare is particularly genius at this. Her names are different enough to set her characters apart, but not so unfamiliar that you can't remember them. Clary. Jace. Tessa.

Whether you're new here or an old-timer, thanks so much for visiting!

While you're here, challenge your memory in my YA Couples Trivia Contest. Even if you get the questions wrong, you could win a $10 Amazon or Barnes and Noble gift card.

I'm also participating in the I Love YA Hop -- giving away one of four new February releases (Fever, When The Sea is Rising Red, Wings of the Wicked or The One That I Want.) Enter here!

I look forward to visiting your blog too!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... The One That I Want

The One That I Want
by Jennifer Echols
Simon Pulse
February 7, 2012
Source: bought from indie bookstore
Mature content: none

I'm a person who likes to categorize. I always divide Jennifer Echols books into two categories: spicy (like Love Story) and sweet (like Endless Summer). I like them both.

This book fell into the sweet category. It's a charming book with a non-preachy message, a book that girls of all ages can enjoy, a great book for moms to buy and share with their teens and tweens.

Famous YA Couples Trivia 5


Time for today's trivia question.

The first time Rose sees Dimitri in Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead, Dimitri's wearing:

a) a wet towel and a smirk
b) a brown duster
c) a leather jacket
d) a tuxedo

Please submit your answers here. They don't have to be correct to enter you into the drawing!

Accepting answers to all this week's questions through midnight Monday Feb 20!

And, tell me ... are these questions too hard?
I figure if you haven't read the book, you won't know the answer, and if you have, I like to make you wrack your brain a little.
But I can make them easier!

Don't forget to enter my friend Shanan The Book Addict's contest here.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... Bittersweet

In honor of Valentine's week, I'm featuring three sweet and romantic YA books. First up:

by Sarah Ockler
Simon Pulse
January 3, 2012

Source: library
Mature Content: none

I was so excited to try a Sarah Ockler book and even happier when I picked this one up. Like the perfect cupcake, this winning YA contemporary offers just the right balance of ingredients: humor and romance, heartbreak and triumph.

Famous YA Couples Trivia 4


Time to turn to a much beloved YA contemporary couple...

In Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, the long-awaited kiss between Anna and St. Clair finally takes place:

a) under a tree at the Jardin du Luxembourg
b) in a darkened corner of the Louvre
c) on the grass next to the Grand Bassin
d) outside the entrance to the Catacombs

To enter a guess, click here.

Correct or incorrect, you still get entered into the drawing :)

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Famous YA Couples Trivia 3

In care you haven't heard.... in honor of Valentine's Day I'm having a weeklong Famous YA Couples Trivia contest.


Every day this week, I'm posting a question about a well-known YA couple. You can answer as many as you want and you don't have to get them right to get a chance to win. It's just for fun.

Question one is here.
Question two is here.

Today's question is from the Hunger Games. Did you ever realize how much time Katniss spends talking and thinking about food? I didn't until I wrote this question.

Name the first thing Katniss eats with Gale, and the first meal she eats with Peeta.

a) With Gale: blackberries, bread, goat cheese and basil
    With Peeta: carrot soup, salad, lamb and mashed potatoes, cheese, fruit and cake

b) With Gale: strawberries and goat's milk
    With Peeta: eggs, ham, fried potatoes, fruit and hot chocolate

c) With Gale: wild onions and dandelion greens
    With Peeta: chicken and oranges in a creamy sauce, green peas and onions, rolls shaped like flowers and a pudding the color of honey

d) With Gale: rabbit and parsnips roasted over a fire
     With Peeta: mushroom soup, bitter greens, roast beef, cheese and sweet blue grapes

Is anyone else hungry?

To submit your entries, please click here.

I Love YA Hop

Today I'm kicking off my I Love YA Hop giveaway! Don't forget that my Famous YA Couples Trivia Contest runs all week. Today's question will be posted later this morning.


Here's a look at what's up for grabs in the Hop. The winner can choose ONE of these four February releases. Yes, I added one. I'm kind of unpredictable that way :)

Fever by Lauren DeStefano

Wings of the Wicked by Courtney Moulton

The One That I Want by Jennifer Echols

When the Sea is Rising Red

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Here's a link to the other blogs participating in the Hop.

Monday, February 13, 2012

If you like ... time travel books and YA Couples Trivia 2

Reclusive Bilbiophile's "If You Like" theme for the week is:


This year is the 50th anniversary of A Wrinkle in Time. If you've never read this amazing book, now is the time!

If you have read it and are interested in books about time travel/quantum physics/parallel universes, here are a few suggestions. I should note that the sci-fi part of this falls a little outside my area of reading expertise. So if you have suggestions, leave them in the comments.

And don't forget to scroll down and read today's trivia question.

YA books about time travel:

Tempest by Julie Cross

Hourglass by Myra McIntyre

Prada and Prejudice

Two really great middle grade books, one inspired by Wrinkle and the other about a girl who discovers a parallel universe.

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Now, let's get to trivia!


In Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl and Kami Garcia, when Ethan Waite meets Lena Duchannes, he's sure that she is the girl in his dream because she smells like:

a) roses and mint
b) lemons and rosemary
c) lavender and thyme
d) strawberries and basil

To answer and enter click here. PLEASE DO NOT ANSWER IN COMMENTS.

Scroll down to read yesterday's question or click here. You can answer any question on any day the contest runs. I'll reveal the correct answers along with the winner's name!

My great blogger friend Shanan The Book Addict is running her own trivia game. Go enter it here!
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