Google+ YA Romantics: April 2012

Monday, April 30, 2012

Spring Fling Blog Hop!

I am very excited to be part of the Spring Fling Giveaway Hop, hosted by Eve's Fan Garden and I Am A Reader, Not A Writer.

And I am even more excited about my prize choice. The winner of this giveaway will be able to choose from any of these amazing April/May YA releases:

To find out about a book, just click on the red titles. That will take you to the book's Goodreads page. 

Shine (Shade #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready
Last Rite (Personal Demons #3) by Lisa Desrochers
The Last Princess by Galaxy Craze
This is SO Not Happening by Kieran Scott
Struck by Jennifer Bosworth
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin
Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

There are many ways you can enter. As stated on the Linky and the Rafflecopter, this giveaway is US/Canada only. But Freebie Friday will be open to my wonderful international followers until there is an international winner!

YA angel books from heavenly to unholy

Reading Roundup -- YA books about angels.

If you're a regular reader of the blog, you know that angel books aren't my absolute favorite. This may be because I'm a little sketchy on my angelology -- I spent my entire childhood trying to scheme my way out of Sunday School.  The angel series I've enjoyed most so far are the Unearthly series by Cynthia Hand and the Personal Demons series by Lisa Desrochers.

But one of my 2012 reading goals is to read widely, so I recently picked up a brand new batch of angel books.  Here's what I read: 

Embrace by Jessica Shirvington Temptation of Angels by Michelle Zink Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins

All the main characters in these books have dead parents, family secrets, and tough moral choices to face. But all three books are pretty different, too.

Embrace features an angsty heroine who goes through a lot of emotional twists and turns. There's a love triangle. (Yes, the two hot boys fighting over the heroine kind.) And some pretty steamy scenes, if you like that kind of thing.

Temptation of Angels takes place in Victorian London There's a romantic set-up which edges pretty close to a love triangle. Temptation of Angels also has strong suspense elements, and just a touch of steampunkery

Sweet Evil is the one that took me most by surprise. This book is totally off the wall -- in a good kind of way. Wendy Higgins has a hilarious, edgy sensibility that really comes out in her world building, her dialogue, and her plotting. She twists some of the conventions of the angel genre, and has created a relatable yet flawed heroine and a brooding bad boy that I think a lot of readers will root for. 

If you love angel books, then you should definitely check these out. Click on the red titles above to add them to your Goodreads.

Don't have time to read everything?

I hear you. I've also made you a handy YA Angel Book Selector Flow Chart.  Click on that red text to access it on another page of the blog. 

Tell me about your favorite angel books in the comments -- I'm ready for more!

And if you love angel books, be sure to stop in for this week's Freebie Friday. *cough Sweet Evil ARC cough*

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Extra Extra: Angels, Vampires and Spring Fever


This past week's drama aside, I've been wondering whether a "mailbox" feature is the right fit for my blog.

So over the past few Sundays, I've been experimenting with new stuff, like giving you a peek at my upcoming blogging schedule.

I got great feedback on that, so I'm going to try out a new Extra! Extra! feature on Sundays.

It will basically just be things I'm excited about in the week to come -- new TBR additions plus the week's blog calendar. To see where the inspiration comes for all my blog features, go to my Blog Features page.

I would love to visit your blog today whether you do IMM, Mailbox Monday, Stacking the Shelves, or whatever. If you leave me a link, I'll stop by!

This week is all about NetGalley. Holy Smokes, there's a lot of good stuff on there. Here's batch one. I'll save the awesome Random House and HarperTeen stuff for next week.

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Click on the red title to get to the book's Goodreads page....

Glitch by Heather Anastasiu
Timepiece by Myra McEntire
Dark Companion by Marta Acosta
Ashen Winter by Mike Mullin
Gilt by Katherine Longshore  
Dead Time by Anne Cassidy

Huge thanks to St. Martin's, Egmont, Macmillan, Tanglewood, Penguin, and Bloomsbury! I can't wait to read these!

Then, I brought a big pile of stuff home from the bookstore yesterday, including....

Shine by Jeri Smith-Ready. Eeek! So excited!

What's coming up next week on the blog?  REALLY exciting stuff!

Monday: I'm doing a round-up feature on angel books. Yes, the much-talked-about Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins will be in the angelic mix....

Tuesday kicks off the Spring Fling Blog Hop. I'll be giving away the winner's choice of a bunch of great May titles. Hop by and enter!

ALSO check out Hot off the Presses, my usual Tuesday feature, and find some great new stuff for your TBR.

Wednesday: a review of Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa. This book has vampires AND my dreaded zombies. Is it possible that it captured my heart?

Thursday: Review day. Perhaps a sassy contemporary...

Friday: TGIF features literary vacations. I feel like I could use one of those!

What are you reading? What are you looking forward to this week?

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Freebie Friday 3 Winner!

I took all the names and put them into

And the winner is....

Fakesteph, whose name always cracks me up.  Check out her new blog design by clicking on this red text!

Steph picked....

So just like the killer in a horror movie, I Hunt Killers lives to see another Freebie Friday. It wil be back, since I know so many of you guys want it!

Also, I'm keeping Freebie Friday international until there's an international winner!!

Standalone Saturday ... Book of Blood and Shadows

Reviews of great standalone Young Adult books

Book of Blood and Shadow
Review of Book of Blood and Shadow

by Robin Wasserman

Knopf Books for Young Readers

April 10, 2012

Source: borrowed from the library

My summary: Nora, a senior at Chapman Prep in Massachusetts, grew up in a literary family, daughter of a Latin professor father and a bookseller mother. The three of them quietly mourn Nora's brother, who plowed his car into a tree, killing himself and his girlfriend. When Nora's best friend Chris suggests that she join him and his roommate Max on a team researching a trove of letters related to the Voynich manuscript, she's skeptical. The crusty professor in charge asks her to translate letters written by Elizabeth Kelley, daughter of a late sixteenth-century alchemist.  She discovers a mysterious clue, then tragedy strikes. Chris is murdered, his girlfriend Adriane left catatonic, while Max is missing.  Nora begins to suspect that her team has stumbled upon clues to an ancient treasure hidden by a secret society, clues that will send her to the historic city of Prague, where she'll be running for her life.

My take: It's hard to know what to call this book -- a literary mystery, a code-cracking thriller, a high stakes treasure hunt. It's all of those things in one. The Book of Blood and Shadow is intricately plotted, seamlessly blending past with present and fact with fiction.

Crypto-geeks and aspiring spies like me know that codes and encrypted messages date back to ancient times. The Voynich manuscript, believed to have been written in the fifteenth century, surfaced in 1912. Since then, amateur and professional cryptographers have tried --- and failed --  to crack its code.

I loved the way Robin Wasserman weaves real sixteenth-century figures (Emperor Rudoph II, alchemist Edward Kelley and his daughter) and real places into her story. I've never been to Prague, where a large part of the book takes place, and I loved the way that Wasserman drew on the city's rich history and landmarks to add historical detail and a strong sense of place. She also creates a truly creepy ancient secret society centered around black magic and alchemy. I can't say more without spoilers!

To that, add an intriguing cast of fictional kids. Nora is wary and prickly, making a great foil to nice-guy Chris. The book's blurb says that Max is Nora's "Prince Charming," but to me, the tangle of relationships in this book is way more complicated than that.  Nora is secretly in love with Chris but dating Max. After Chris is murdered, his enigmatic cousin Eli appears, insisting on accompanying Nora and Adriane to Prague.

The Book of Blood and Shadow kept me spellbound until the last page. I've seen comparisons of this book to the DaVinci Code by Dan Brown. I enjoyed DaVinci Code as much as the next person, and I do see the similarities: scholars, secret societies, running for one's life.

As I was reading The Book of Blood and Shadow, my mind was going in more literary directions. I was reminded of:

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Possession by A.S. Byatt is a literary mystery/romance that won the Man Booker prize in 1990. Two rival scholars, each researching a different Victorian poet, begin to suspect that their research subjects may have carried on a secret affair. I love this book so much!

The Secret History by Donna Tartt involves an erudite group of college friends, an ancient ritual, and a murder.

Frankenstein features black magic of sorts, raising interesting questions about what happens when men try to play God.

But that's the way my mind works. Results may vary. Pick this book up if you like historical intrigue, treasure hunts, books about secret societies, great travelogues, heart-pounding suspense.

What do you think? What are you reading this weekend?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Freebie Friday 3

Welcome to Freebie Friday. It's simple. All you do is leave me a comment if you're interested in winning one of today's books.

Here are today's choices:

 7 Clues to Winning You by Kristin Walker came out yesterday. This is a finished copy. Click that red text to read reviews and/or add it to your Goodreads list.

An ARC of  I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga. I reviewed it on Wednesday. Loved it!  Click the title for my review. But maybe you've already read that book, or maybe you'd like something a little less scary...

an ARC of Belles by Jen Calonita. Again, click that title to get the GoodReads lowdown. 

TGIF 5: Reading Slumps

hot trends in fiction

I'm joining TGIF again today. This meme is hosted by GReads. 

This week's question: What helps you overcome reading slumps?

My answer:  For me, there are two causes of reading slumps. One is having to read a book that I really don't like. The other is feeling overwhelmed and behind in my reading.  I avoid these problems by: 

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Divergent Trivia Questions and Answers

The winner will be announced in my next post. Here's a recap of all the questions and their answers!

Insurgent Giveaway Winner!

Insurgent by Veronica Roth comes out in less than a week -- could I be any more excited!?

Thanks to all of you who participated in trivia. I'm happy that so many of you enjoy it, and there will be Sizzling Summer trivia coming up soon!

Rafflecopter has selected the winner of Insurgent and it is  ....

Tristan from Reviews From the Hammock!

Congratulations, Tristan! I'll be sending your prize out right away!

If you're curious about the answers to the questions, they'll all be in the next post!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... I Hunt Killers

Review:  I Hunt Killers by Barry Lyga

Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Published on April 3, 2012

Source: ARC from bookstore

Content: Publisher recommends for 15 and up.

I can't always predict what will completely creep me out. When I was in high school, I watched every Halloween and Friday the 13th movie. As an adult, I read all the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo books. But I couldn't even get through the first episode of Dexter. Friends of mine loved it; I had to turn it off.

When I read that I Hunt Killers was a must-read for fans of Dexter, I wondered if I should skip it. Then I came across an ARC and decided I should try just a page or two. Or ten. Or a hundred. I loved this book!

Divergent Trivia 15

I'm giving away a brand new copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth, which is coming out on May 1.

One of the ways you can enter is to answer my daily trivia questions. Right or wrong, your answer counts -- and it's a great way to brush up on the details of book one!

Last question!  I'm sad -- this has been a lot of fun!

15. What does Four say helped him break out of the simulation that almost causes him to shoot Tris?
a) Tris squeezing his hand
b) the fact that she called him Tobias
c) the sound of her voice
d) the fact that she dropped her gun on his foot

Enter your answers here!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

YA Hot Off the Presses: April 24-30

Hot new young adult titles you won't want to miss!

Are you wondering what great new YA books come out this week? Me too.

In this new weekly feature, I highlight some of the great new YA books that are releasing each week.

This week focuses on YA coming out April 24-30....

... a blockbuster week for new releases!

Unraveling by Elizbeth Norris Girl in the Park The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Story of Us by Deb Caletti Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolf

Thumped by Megan McCafferty Seven Clues to Winning You Right and the Real by Joelle Anthony
Purity by Jackson Pearce Immortal Rules Supergrrl Mix Tapes

I reviewed Unraveling by Elizabeth Norris last week. If you missed my review, click that red text.

I thought Girl in the Park by Mariah Fredericks was an appealing mystery-slash-coming of age story. 

Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin enchanted me with its dystopic steampunk mash-up.

Breaking Beautiful by Jennifer Shaw Wolfe broke my heart -- in a good way.

Thumped by Megan McCafferty is the sequel to Bumped. Wondering what happens to Harmony, Melody, Jondoe, and the ever-adorable Zen? Then you should definitely check this book out.

Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa I'm reading that right now. Love it so far! Review next week.

OTHER April 24-30 releases:

Whew --  crazy, right??  Next week is just as exciting -- I can't wait.

Which of these are you dying to read? Or have already read and can recommend?

Scroll down for DIVERGENT TRIVIA!!!

Divergent Trivia 14

I'm giving away a brand new copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth, which is coming out on May 1.

One of the ways you can enter is to answer my daily Divergent trivia questions. Right or wrong, your answer counts -- and it's a great way to brush up on the details of book one!

We're getting close to the end of the book. Only two more questions!!

14. Tris tells her father that she chose Dauntless because she needed to learn:
a) how to be selfless
b) how to defend herself
c) how to reconcile both sides of her nature
d) how to be independent

Enter your answers here!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Divergent Trivia 13

I'm giving away a brand new copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth, which is coming out on May 1.

One of the ways you can enter is to answer my daily trivia questions. There are three more questions, including today's!

Right or wrong, your answer counts -- and it's a great way to brush up on the details of book one!

13. After the slapping incident, Four asks Tris to meet him and they jump on a train so they can talk. Four tells Tris that there are two things she should know about him. One: he is deeply suspicious of people in general. What's number two?
a) he is not as brave as people think
b) he can be unexpectedly selfless
c) he is unexpectedly good with computers
d) he also never underestimates people

Enter your answers here!

If You Like ... books about friends with benefits

If You Like.... is hosted by Melanie @ Reclusive Bibliophile.

This week's theme is Friends With Benefits. In the movie, Mila Kunis and Justin Timberlake, fed up with their love lives, decide to have a no-strings-attached relationship. Of course, things don't go exactly as they planned...

The closest YA book I can think of is.....

The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

In the book, Bianca regards "man-slut" Wesley with complete contempt. He's everything she detests in a guy. But he always seems to be around, and she could also use some distraction, so the two of them begin a secret relationship.

Then there are the YA "Friends With Chemistry" books. LOVE those!  Here are a few of my favorites:

Vee and Rollins in Slide by Jill Hathaway
Melody and Zen in Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Lola and Cricket in Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Violet and Jay in The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting
Kat and Hale in The Heist Society by Ally Carter
Schuyler and Oliver in the Blue Bloods by Melissa De la Cruz
Do you have any other Friends With Benefits or Friends With Chemistry examples? Tell me in the comments!

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Divergent Trivia 12

I'm giving away a brand new copy of Insurgent by Veronica Roth, which is coming out on May 1.

One of the ways you can enter is to answer my daily trivia questions. There will be a new one every day through April 25! Right or wrong, your answer counts -- and it's a great way to brush up on the details of book one!

12. Tris slaps Four
a) because he says she's pathetic after she panics in the fear landscape room
b) because he refuses to stop calling her Stiff
c) after he nicks her throwing knives
d) because he tells Eric that she tried to kiss him

Enter your answers here!
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