Google+ YA Romantics: August 2013

Saturday, August 31, 2013

Extra! Extra! Giveaways and Happy Labor Day!

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekend post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's new on the blog.

It's Labor Day weekend here in the US, the last weekend of summer, so I am not linking up -- actually I'm on a trip. But if you want to comment, I'll visit you back after  I return tomorrow.

This weekend, my blog is filled with GIVEAWAYS:

Win a copy of Two Lies and a Spy, courtesy of Simon & Schuster!  US only -- enter through Monday, September 2!


You also have until midnight on September 2 to  enter the August Hot Off the Presses giveaway!  Open internationally :)   You can win your choice of book up to $15!


Starting tomorrow, check out my stop  on the September is for Sequels blog Hop!

And up for grabs on Freebie Friday (and open internationally:)

NEW BOOKS -- I was so excited to see that cursed blue question mark turn into a green check on three of my Edelweiss titles - thanks Balzer +Bray/Harper Collins!

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepard The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepard
The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine
Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge

What's new with you? Leave me a comment and I will visit you back in September, promise :)

Friday, August 30, 2013

Freebie Friday: Coldest Girl in Coldtown

Happy Friday! 

Today I'm giving away an ARC of the Coldest Girl in Coldtown!

I loved this book -- if you missed my review, scroll down a post!

This giveaway is open internationally. If the winner is international, they will receive a paperback of Coldest Girl, which is supposed to release on September 17.

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Thursday, August 29, 2013

Just Finished Reading … The Coldest Girl in Coldtown by Holly Black

The Coldest Girl in Coldtown
by Holly Black
To be published on September 3, 2013
by Little, Brown BFYR

Source: Thanks to Little, Brown BFYR for allowing me to read an e-ARC of this book. My full FTC disclosure is on the right sidebar.

Summary from Goodreads: Tana lives in a world where walled cities called Coldtowns exist. In them, quarantined monsters and humans mingle in a decadently bloody mix of predator and prey. The only problem is, once you pass through Coldtown’s gates, you can never leave. One morning, after a perfectly ordinary party, Tana wakes up surrounded by corpses. The only other survivors of this massacre are her exasperatingly endearing ex-boyfriend, infected and on the edge, and a mysterious boy burdened with a terrible secret. Shaken and determined, Tana enters a race against the clock to save the three of them the only way she knows how: by going straight to the wicked, opulent heart of Coldtown itself.

My take: I am by no means an expert on either vampire lore or vampire fiction.  In fact, my entire pop culture vampire experience consists of reading the Twilight series years ago, plus one summer spent watching every episode of Buffy The Vampire Slayer.

But I am a big fan of the Curse Worker series, which ranks among my favorite YA series of all time. So I was both excited and nervous to read The Coldest Girl in Coldtown. Fortunately, I really liked it.

As the blurb suggests, the story starts dramatically, with main character Tana waking up the morning after a party in a house full of dead bodies.  Soon she's on the run with her vamp-infected ex-boyfriend with a live vampire stuffed in her trunk.

I love Cassel Sharpe's wry first-person narration, so it took me a few pages to adjust to Tana's matter-of-fact third person point of view, but the more I got to knowTana, the more I liked her. She's not the kind of girl who thinks about what's in her own best interest. She does what she thinks is right. And when someone needs help, whether it's her ex-boyfriend or a stranger, she doesn't hesitate.

I also really loved the story world, which seemed to me to use vampirism as a way to explore modern day obsessions with fame, notoriety, and physical perfection, and to gently mock the way these obsessions are fueled by our social media and reality TV-obsessed world. Yes, other vampire series like Buffy have incorporated the concept of vampire groupies, but The Coldest Girl in Coldtown makes this concept even more 21st century. Those outside the Coldtowns watch the vampires inside on live feeds. Bloggers breathlessly chronicle the goings-on inside the guarded cities. Vampire celebrities entertain viewers and camera crews ride shotgun with vampire hunters.  Everyday teens dream of finding fame and escaping their humdrum lives by joining the vampire world.

Tana, who survived a real-life childhood encounter with a vampire, has more complicated feelings about vampires. Yet when vampire Gavriel needs to be rescued, she risks her own life to help him.

Heather from The Flyleaf Review reminded me in a tweet that Holly Black also wrote a bunch of fairy stories. I haven't read those, but I was thinking about this as I read and decided that The Coldest Girl in Coldtown definitely has some fairytale elements. Tana's rescue of Gavriel felt a little like one of those moments in a fairy tale when a character helps, say, a prince disguised as a beggar, and is later handsomely rewarded. Indeed, Tana's impulsive gesture will have repercussions that extend through the entire story. Later in the book, Gavriel actually tells Tana a fairytale, the story of Koschei the Deathless.  Gavriel says of the main character, Ivan:  "he manages to do the impossible purely by not giving up. He is the chaotic part of the story, because he doesn't do what everyone expects of him."

A Coldtown isn't much of a fairy tale kingdom, but Tana also never does what you'd expect. She never gives up, and never does what any sensible person would do. She's an interesting hero -- a regular girl who refuses to give up on anyone -- not the guy who dumped her, not the vampire who could infect her, not the best friend she promised a trip to California after graduation.

I really loved the ending of the book. There's revenge, there's sacrifice, and, just like a fairy story, what goes around comes around. Then the world settles into a sort of moral equilibrium -- yes, even a crazy, mixed up world like a Coldtown. So while I really can't comment on where this book fits into the whole vampire subgenre, I can tell you that I really enjoyed it as a story.

I'll be giving away an ARC of The Coldest Girl in Coldtown tomorrow on Freebie Friday!  Be sure to stop by :)

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Just Finished Reading … All Our Yesterdays

All Our Yesterdays
by Cristin Terrill
To be published on September 3, 2013
By Disney-Hyperion

Source: Thanks to Disney-Hyperion for approving me for this title on NetGalley.

Connect with the author: website | Twitter.

Summary from Goodreads: "You have to kill him." Imprisoned in the heart of a secret military base, Em has nothing except the voice of the boy in the cell next door and the list of instructions she finds taped inside the drain. Only Em can complete the final instruction. She’s tried everything to prevent the creation of a time machine that will tear the world apart. She holds the proof: a list she has never seen before, written in her own hand. Each failed attempt in the past has led her to the same terrible present—imprisoned and tortured by a sadistic man called the doctor while war rages outside.  
Marina has loved her best friend James since the day he moved next door when they were children. A gorgeous, introverted science prodigy from one of America’s most famous families, James finally seems to be seeing Marina in a new way, too. But on one disastrous night, James’s life crumbles apart, and with it, Marina’s hopes for their future. Now someone is trying to kill him. Marina will protect James, no matter what. Even if it means opening her eyes to a truth so terrible that she may not survive it. At least not as the girl she once was. 
My take: I've admitted before that time travel books and I are not always BFFs. I'm totally on board for a little suspension of disbelief*, but I don't have a lot of patience with a) narratives that constantly jerk me around in time and space and b) being confused.**

But I loved All Our Yesterdays. It had one of those winning premises -- simple to grasp, yet filled with conflict, emotion, and fascinating philosophical questions. The story was also ingeniously plotted -- one of those books you can hardly put down.

Em and Finn are prisoners in adjacent cells, tormented and tortured daily by captors who want to know the locations of secret documents. Marina is a carefree teenager in Washington DC, a girl in love with her next-door-neighbor. Em and Finn need to go back in time to try to stop a terrible chain of events that plunged the world into chaos. Marina is shocked and dismayed when a madman suddenly targets her neighbor's family.

After reading only a chapter or two, it became very clear to me exactly what was going to happen in this book, and that only made the story more exciting. There was just enough science for me -- a brief explanation of how time travel paradoxes are resolved*** -- but not so much that the focus was taken off the characters and their conflicts.

The moral dilemmas that these characters faced were really set this book apart for me. Action scenes without any kind of emotion behind them are exciting in the moment, but ultimately empty. All Our Yesterdays had action plus wrenching emotion, placing characters in conflict and raising interesting questions: could you take a human life if you knew that it would make the world a far better place? How far would you go to save someone you love? 

Whether or not you're a fan of time travel books, I think you'll appreciate the very clever plotting and absolutely excruciating tension that this book sets up. I highly recommend it!

*There was a slight amount of suspension of disbelief required based on the age of the characters, and I wouldn't be surprised if they were aged to adulthood if this book makes it to the big screen.

**If time travel ever becomes possible, then go ahead and explain it to me, but until then, keep it simple. I'm with Bruce Willis: I don't want to waste time talking about it and making diagrams with straws.

*** Time Travel Paradoxes apparently have something to do with the fact that you can't go back in time and kill your own grandfather and stuff like that. But why would you want to do that?

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing August 27-September 2

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Every Tuesday, I tell you about all the great new YA books you can grab in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in August so we can all check them out!

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA -- if I missed something, please let me know in comments. You are also welcome to link your reviews of YA books that were self-pubbed in August!

The winner of my August giveaway can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.) Enter by linking reviews, commenting on linked reviews, or tweeting :)  August winner will be drawn Monday, September 3 -- so get your reviews linked this week!
Okay, I don't know who decided that this was the week with ALL THE BOOKS, but I will let the covers speak for themselves…

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan

Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young (Simon & Schuster)
Jumped In by Patrick Flores-Scott (Henry Holt)
Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan (Knopf)

The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler Taste Test by Kelly Fiore Fall of Five by Pittacus Lore

The Dark Between by Sonia Gensler (Knopf)
Taste Test by Kelly Fiore (Walker)
The Fall of Five (Lorien Legacy #4) by Pittacus Lore

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas Deception by C.J. Redwine Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane

Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury)
Deception by C. J. Redwine (Balzer + Bray)
Confessions of a Hater by Caprice Crane (Feiwel and Friends)

Black Spring by Alison Croggon To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones Battle Lines by Will Hill

Black Spring by Alison Croggon (Candlewick)
To Be Perfectly Honest by Sonya Sones (Simon & Schuster)
Department 19: Battle Lines by Will Hill (Razorbill)

Love in the Time of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block The Morning Star by Robin Bridges The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

Love in the Age of Global Warming by Francesca Lia Block (Henry Holt)
The Morning Star (Katerina #3) by Robin Bridges (Delacorte)
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (Katherine Tegen)

Descendant by Lesley Livingston The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle Don't Look Now by Michelle Gagnon

Descendent (Starling #2) by Lesley Livingston (Harper)
The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle (Amulet)
Don't Look Now (PERSEPHoNe #2) by Michelle Gagnon (Harper)

Fire and Ash (Benny Imura #4) by Johnathan Maberry
The Liberator (Dante Walker #2) by Victoria Scott
The Bitter Kingdom (Fire and Thorns #3) by Rae Carson
Also Releasing This Week:

Origin (Lux #4) by Jennifer Armentrout (Entangled Teen)
Rein it In (The A Circuit #4) by Georgina Bloomberg with Catherine Hapka (Bloomsbury)
Unfed (undead #2) by Kirsty McKay (Chicken House)
Fire in the Streets (Rock and the River #2) by Kekla Magoon (Aladdin)
A Wounded Name by Dot Hutchison (Carolrhoda Lab)
Overpowered by Mark H. Kruger (Simon & Schuster)

What Have Bloggers Linking to Hot Off the Presses said about this week's books?
Dee of Diamond Loves to Read said of Just Like Fate: "I adore Chris. He's one of my favorite literary boys I've read in awhile."

Heather @ Flyleaf Review said of The Beginning of Everything: "the BEST first kiss scene I have ever read."

Richa @ Ecstatic for Books said of the Infinite Moment of Us: "I think high schoolers can really connect with this book, like I did."

Nara @ Looking for the Panacea said of Crown of Midnight: "The Ending = Mind. Blown. COMPLETELY BLOWN."

Christina @ Christina Reads YA said of Crown of Midnight: "Does exactly what a sequel should do: advances the plot while developing the characters, world, and themes and maintaining high stakes. If you are a fan of Throne of Glass, you simply cannot miss out on Celaena's latest adventure. Highly recommended."

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Monday, August 26, 2013

Review and Giveaway: Two Lies and a Spy by Kat Carlton

Two Lies and a Spy
by Kat Carlton
to be published by Simon & Schuster
on September 3, 2013

I received an e-ARC for review from the publisher via Edelweiss. Please see my full FTC disclosure on right sidebar.

Connect with the authorOfficial Book SiteFacebook.

Summary from Goodreads: When sixteen-year-old Kari’s dad sends her an unexpected text, she and her brother immediately go into hiding. Because when your parents are superspies and your dad declares a Code Black, it can only mean something bad. Very bad. Kari soon discovers that her parents have been disavowed and declared traitors, and she’s determined to clear their names. Breaking into the Agency seems like a reasonable plan, especially with the help of a team that includes her longtime crush, Luke, as well as her two best friends—an expert hacker with attitude and a master martial artist—and Luke’s popular, vindictive twin sister. Oh, and a new guy, who’s as cute as he is complicated…

My take:  I love YA spy books. Yes, there is always some suspension of disbelief involved based on the age of the characters and what they are involved in, but that's worth it for me to get a fun, fast-paced read.

Two Lies and a Spy starts with a bang, as high school student Kari gets a Code Black text from her dad -- a signal to grab her younger brother Charlie and run. Charlie was adorable -- precocious and whip-smart -- and I wish he'd been a bigger part of the story.

As the blurb says, Kari soon learns that terrible accusations have been leveled against her parents, and wants to help them clear their names. So she pressures Luke, her crush, into helping her break into Langley. Yes, Langley, as in CIA headquarters. No, this isn't very likely, but it is a lot of fun, involving disguises, subturferge, hairspray, and a crew that includes a judo expert, a senator's daughter, and Evan, a sardonic British guy from Kari's school. Yes, having Evan in the picture does give the book a love triangle, but it's an interesting one.  I also loved the fact that the plot took a very unexpected turn -- you can read about that under spoiler protection in my Goodreads review. Let's just say that there are at least two lies involved in this story, as well as some interesting loose ends. Like Also Known As, another recent YA spy fic favorite of mine, Two Lies and a Spy will have a sequel, and I'm definitely curious to see where this story goes.

Thanks to the generosity of Simon & Schuster, two winners will receive a copy of Two Lies and A Spy! Prizes can be mailed to US addresses only.

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Sunday, August 25, 2013

Just Finished Listening to… Bane Chronicles #2 and #3

The Runaway Queen (Bane Chronicles #2)
by Cassandra Clare and Maureen Johnson
Released May 21, 2013
by Simon & Schuster Audio
Length: 1 hour, 18 minutes
Read by: George Blagden

Source: received a free download for review.

Summary from Goodreads: Magnus Bane has a royal role in the French Revolution—if the angry mobs don’t spoil his spells. One of ten adventures in The Bane Chronicles. While in France, immortal warlock Magnus Bane finds himself attempting to rescue the royal family from the horrors of the French Revolution—after being roped into this mess by a most attractive count. Naturally, the daring escape calls for invisible air balloons…

My take: I'm fascinated by stories of the horrors of the French Revolution -- in fact, Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly is one of my favorite YA books of all time. So I was excited to discover that this side story about Magnus Bane takes place in eighteenth-century Paris. Can't you just picture Magnus hanging out with Marie Antoinette? I can, but I never pictured the two of them together in a hot air balloon. Hang on, I'm getting ahead of myself. In this story, Magnus is approached by a Swedish nobleman named Axel, who begs for Magnus' help in smuggling the royal family to safety.  I wasn't sure if this was going to be alt-history or just a weaving of Magnus into real history, and I don't want to tell you which. But the story was poignant and beautifully read by George Blagden. I thought he did a fantastic job with the many and varied accents that were required.

Vampires, Scones and Edmund Herondale (Bane Chronicles #3)
by Cassandra Clare and Sarah Rees Brennan
Released on July 9, 2013
by Simon & Schuster Audio

Length: 1 hour, 34 minutes
Read by Andrew Scott

Source: received a free download for review purposes.

Summary from Goodreads: When immortal warlock Magnus Bane attends preliminary peace talks between the Shadowhunters and the Downworlders in Victorian London, he is charmed by two very different people: the vampire Camille Belcourt and the young Shadowhunter, Edmund Herondale. Will winning hearts mean choosing sides?
My take: Those of you who have been reading these mini-stories, waiting and waiting for some characters you might recognize will find satisfaction in this third installment of the Bane Chronicles. Magnus is in London, where he meets three intriguing new people: Camille Belcourt, vampire, Edmund Herondale, Shadowhunter, and Linette Owens, Welsh heiress. When Edmund and Linette meet, sparks fly. And trouble ensues. Fans of the Infernal Devices series will recognize many familiar names -- Morgenstern, Fairchild, Starkweather….

While I loved meeting young Edmund and Linette, their romance did happen offstage (this is a short story) and I felt sad knowing what would become of them. I also wasn't crazy about the reader of this one. He was a little mumbly at times, and it didn't seem like the accents he did were always consistent.

Still, I think diehard fans of Cassie Clare are really going to enjoy this story.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Extra! Extra! 60

Extra! Extra!

Extra! Extra! is my weekend post featuring brand new additions to my TBR pile as well as a summary of what's new on the blog.

This weekend I'm linking to Stacking the Shelves @ Tynga's Reviews or to Sunday Post hosted by Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer. 

Stacking the Shelves pic name

Giveaways You Can Enter!

Today is the LAST DAY to enter the Last Hurrah Giveaway -- win a box of either fall Middle Grade ARCs or fall and summer YA ARCs.

I'm giving away Deception for Freebie Friday -- open internationally! Enter until Sunday at midnight!

What I'm reading: 

I'm reading The Scarlet Pimpernel with my blogger friend Bookworm 1858, in preparation for the publication of a retelling -- Across a Starswept Sea by Diana Peterfreund.  I have to say, I'm enjoying the book and my email conversations with Stephanie. For a classic, The Scarlet Pimpernel isn't that literary  -- it's a little cheesy and melodramatic at times and very readable. If you want to join us, the e-book is a free download at Project Gutenberg and it's a fast, fun read.

New Books!

Super excited about both of these:

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil -- yes, it's another parallel universe book, but I'm excited. And is that cover amazing?

Premeditated by Josin L. McQuein -- THANK YOU Delacorte for sending me this!!! I have been waiting to read it since I heard about it last year.

What's new with you? Tell me in comments and leave me a link so I can visit you back!

Friday, August 23, 2013

Freebie Friday: Deception

Happy Friday! 

I have dozens of September review books to read, and I'm hoping that offering this book up will force me to finish it. I don't remember the first book all that well, and I put it aside as I'm floundering a little. But the reviews on Goodreads have been great, so I'd love to give it a chance. If not, then someone else will get to!

Deception (Defiance #2)
by C. J. Redwine
Releases August 27, 2013

US winner will receive a hardcover** mailed on Monday, August 26 -- or as soon as I receive their mailing address. International winner will receive a paperback copy that will ship when it releases on August 27. a Rafflecopter giveaway **The cover is absolutely gorgeous! But the back flap of the dust jacket has a small crease. It came to me that way! If US winner prefers a paperback from TBD, that's fine too.

And don't forget:

Tomorrow is the LAST DAY to enter the Last Hurrah Giveaway -- win a box of either fall Middle Grade ARCs or fall and summer YA ARCs. This is US only -- click on the link above to enter.
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