Google+ YA Romantics: 2017

Friday, June 23, 2017

Freebie Friday: Be True to Me

Happy Friday!

Today I'm giving away an ARC of a just-released YA that I enjoyed a lot:

This giveaway is open to US/Canada!

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Thursday, June 22, 2017

Trending Thursday: Millennial Pink Book Covers: Drab or Fab?

Welcome to Trending Thursday, a periodic blog feature in which I look at some kind of trend in YA, be it cover trends, plot element trends, or something else that catches my eye...

Lately I've been talking about covers a lot. Maybe that's because I've recently become more active on Instagram.  Please follow me here -- I will follow you back!

In any case, I find that I am really inspired to photograph some book covers and others ... not so much. I'd noticed a certain trend in blah-pink book covers but didn't know what was behind it until I was flipping through a fashion magazine and discovered: Millennial Pink. A bit of background: something called Rose Quartz was announced an "it' color of 2016 by Pantone:

Then Rose Quartz became Millennial Pink  -- apparently because the color has become trendy all over social media, from lip gloss to iPhone cases.

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For the record, I love pale pink as a nail polish, a sweater, paint on a bedroom wall, or a glass of rosé ... but I'm really not crazy about this shade of pink on book covers. Book covers need to pop, and to me, this color just sits there meekly, waiting to be noticed.

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I do think the black heart and silhouette improves the Alex & Eliza cover, and the confetti helps jazz up Juniper Lemon, but I'm not loving this muted pink on book covers. 

Thoughts? Tell me your opinion of Millennial Pink Covers in comments!

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Just Finished Reading: Walk of Shame

Walk of Shame
by Lauren Layne

Published on April 18, 2017
by Loveswept

Source: library

Synopsis from Goodreads: Pampered heiress Georgianna Watkins has a party-girl image to maintain, but all the shopping and clubbing is starting to feel a little bit hollow—and a whole lot lonely. Though Georgie would never admit it, the highlights of her week are the mornings when she comes home at the same time as her uptight, workaholic neighbor is leaving to hit the gym and put in a long day at the office. Teasing him is the most fun Georgie’s had in years—and the fuel for all her naughtiest daydreams. Celebrity divorce attorney Andrew Mulroney doesn’t have much time for women, especially spoiled tabloid princesses who spend more time on Page Six than at an actual job. Although Georgie’s drop-dead gorgeous, she’s also everything Andrew resents: the type of girl who inherited her penthouse instead of earning it. But after Andrew caps one of their predawn sparring sessions with a surprise kiss—a kiss that’s caught on camera—all of Manhattan is gossiping about whether they’re a real couple. And nobody’s more surprised than Andrew to find that the answer just might be yes.
My take: I've never tried a book by Lauren Layne, so I don't know if this one is typical, but it was a rom-com style romance between a frivolous socialite and an uptight lawyer. Every morning at 5 am, the two of them meet in the lobby of their apartment building - he's headed to the gym while she's heading back in after a night of clubbing.  She makes fun of his all black workout wear, he disdains he unhealthy box of doughnuts she brings in to the doormen each morning. Of course, under all that they are wildly attracted to each other. Georgie is less superficial than she seems and of course, underneath Andrew's stodgy suit beats the heart of a true romantic.

The problem I have with rom-coms in general is that my mind is always churning, trying to figure out where things are going. There was something about the plot that didn't quite add up, until I figured out that it had to do with a coming plot twist.

 So there was that -- this was predictable, but most romances are predictable, which is actually why I like them: you can pick them up, counting on that HEA.

Bottom line: a cute odd-couple romance with a rom-com feel. And I'll definitely try another book by this author!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing June 20-26

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 June 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.

pic name Trusting You and Other Lies Shattered Pack
Such a Good Girl by Amanda K. Morgan (Simon Pulse)
Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams (Harper)
Shattered Pack (Alpha Girl #6) by Aileen Erin (Ink Monster)

Maybe in Paris The Girl In Between Two Roads From Here
Maybe in Paris by Rebecca Christiansen (Sky Pony)
The Girl in Between by Sarah Carroll (Kathy Paulson)
Two Roads From Here by Teddy Steinkellner (Simon & Schuster)

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Monday, June 19, 2017

Just Finished Reading .... Until It Fades by K. A. Tucker

Until It Fades
by K. A. Tucker

To be published on June 27, 2017
by Atria

Source: eARC for review from publisher

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Synopsis from Goodreads: Twenty-four-year-old truck stop waitress and single mother Catherine Wright has simple goals: to give her five-year-old daughter a happy life and to never again be the talk of the town in Balsam, Pennsylvania: population two thousand outside of tourist season.And then one foggy night, on a lonely road back from another failed attempt at a relationship, Catherine saves a man’s life. It isn’t until after the police have arrived that Catherine realizes exactly who it is she has saved: Brett Madden, hockey icon and media darling. Catherine has already had her fifteen minutes of fame and the last thing she wants is to have her past dragged back into the spotlight, only this time on a national stage.  But when she finds the man she saved standing on her doorstep, desperate to thank her, all that changes. What begins as an immediate friendship quickly turns into something neither of them expected. Something that Catherine isn’t sure she can handle; something that Catherine is afraid to trust. Because how long can an extraordinary man like Brett be interested in an ordinary woman like Catherine…before the spark fades?

My take: K. A. Tucker says in her acknowledgements for this New Adult romance that some people might consider Until It Fades a trope-y book. I am one of those people. If a celebrity romance book and a Harlequin single parent story had a baby, it would be this book ... but I'm not saying that's a bad thing! She also calls Until It Fades "light (for me.)" I agree that this is much less angsty than her prior titles.

Catherine -- a waitress and single mom who has overcome a lot of hate in her small town after a high school affair with a popular teacher that got him arrested --is driving home after a bad blind date when she comes across a car that's smoldering after a recent accident. She calls 911 and drags the surviving victim to safety.

Unbeknowst to her, the man she saved is a hockey star and the son of a movie star (covering all the celebrity bases here...) Catherine, fearful of media attention after being slut-shamed by town gossips years ago, doesn't want to be identified to the press or to the hunky guy she saved, who is not only gorgeous but seems desperate to thank her.

Until It Fades was fun to read. I'm a big fan of most romance novel tropes, but interestingly, I thought this book would have been fine without many of them. The book keeps flashing back to Catherine's past. I didn't think was necessary to do that quite so much, as for me it slowed the action down in the present. It also slowed down the romance - this is definitely the slow-burn kind and more PG-13 than her prior books.

The story puts a bunch of obstacles between these two -- her fear of notoriety, her fear of another heartbreak, her child, his fame, her strict parents, their differences in social class -- but to me the strongest parts of the book were just a few of these obstacles: her fear of being used and discarded by him and his gratitude to her and fear that his accident will end his career. At times I wished the book had spent more time on the emotional connection between them rather than having her obsess about her past quite so much.

Still, this is a great summer read. If you like slow burn, hunky hockey stars, and single parent romances, definitely give this a try!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Freebie Friday: Want

Happy Friday!

Today I'm giving away a copy of Want, courtesy of Simon & Schuster. This is a fun summer read - romantic suspense and light sci-fi - you can check out my review here if you missed it.

This giveaway is open to those with US street addresses only, and all my usual giveaway rules apply.
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Thursday, June 15, 2017

Trending Thursday: Tear it Up!

Welcome to another installment of Trending Thursday, a periodic blog feature that looks at various YA trends.

Today I'm going to re-visit a couple of enduring trends ... because you know that everything old is new again...

What does this Harper's Bazaar cover shoot have to do with cover trends?

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The torn cover trend continues, and there's another upcoming title that features it:

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Which also drips on with a brand new summer of 2017 title:

Speaking of color, way back in spring 2015 I talked about the prevalence of day-glo bright covers.  Summer 2017 has brought a slew of summery pastel covers, though the colors have (thankfully) been toned down just a touch:

Something Like Happy What to Say Next Between Two Skies

What are your thoughts about these?  

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Just Finished Reading ... Be True to Me

Be True to Me
by Adele Griffin

Published on June 13, 2017
by Algonquin Young Readers

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Synopsis from Goodreads: It's the summer of 1976 on Fire Island, where feathered hair and the Bicentennial celebration reign. Jean, a sometimes cruel, often insecure, and always envious rich girl, is accustomed to living in her glamorous older sister’s shadow. So when Gil Burke, a handsome newcomer with uncertain ties to one of the most powerful families in the exclusive enclave of Sunken Haven, notices Jean—not her sister—Jean is smitten. Then Fritz, a girl from outside the gilded gates who humiliated Jean in the Island’s tennis championship last year, falls for Gil herself. Soon the girls are competing for much more than a tennis trophy, with higher stakes than either of them can imagine.

My take: Be True to Me is a story of rivalry, jealousy and betrayal. I also thought it was a really beautiful piece of writing.

The story takes place in the 1970s on Fire Island, and is told in alternating first person POV by two girls who have just graduated from high school. Jean is a sophisticated New Yorker, a girl who has always felt inferior to her glamorous older sister. Fritz is a Southerner, and feels out of place in this summer community of wealthy New Yorkers. There's a history of rivalry between the two girls, as the summer before, Fritz won a tennis trophy that Jean thought of as hers (Jean's mother and sister won in prior years.) There's also a guy involved in the rivalry. Gil Burke is going out with Fritz, but Jean throws herself at him as well.

This book started out with a languorous tone and pace, but the tension and suspense rose slowly, almost imperceptibly, until the end had me furiously turning the pages. Though I don't remember the 1970s well, I loved the slang (jeez and crud) and cultural references (Looking for Mr. Goodbar, David Bowie, and Elton John) and the story world felt really cohesive and convincing.

At first I wasn't sure I would like the triangle-y feel of the book or the two POVs, but in the end I thought it worked well. The book was really all about these two very different girls and their uneasy relationship. Gil was an important character, but he was also something they were competing for, just like the tennis trophy. Though some bad stuff happens, I found all three characters sympathetic in their way. Finally, while I thought this was a beautiful book, it's definitely not the typical YA. In its tone and pacing, Be True to Me felt more to me like book club fiction in the vein of, say, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls. 

If you like literary fiction, historical fiction or coming of age stories, or you're looking for a book club pick, you should definitely try this.

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing June 13-19

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 June 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.

Bad Romance Want We Come Apart
Bad Romance by Heather Demetrios (Henry Holt)
Want by Cindy Pon (Simon Pulse)
We Come Apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury)

More of Me Saints and Misfits Thief's Cunning
More of Me by Kathryn Evans (Amulet)
Saints and Misfits by S.K. Ali (Salaam Reads)
Thief's Cunning (Assassin's Heart #2) by Sarah Ahiers (Harper)

Be True to Me Suffering Tree The Leaf Reader
Be True to Me by Adele Griffin (Algonquin)
The Suffering Tree by Elle Cosimano (Disney-Hyperion)
The Leaf Reader by Emily Arsenault (Soho)

Our Dark Duet Roar Fallen Kingdom
Our Dark Duet by Victoria Schwab (Greenwillow)
Roar by Cora Carmack (Tor)
The Fallen Kingdom (Falconer #3) by Elizabeth May (Chronicle)

Obsidian and Stars Summer Unscripted Bone Queen
Obsidian and Stars (Ivory and Bone #2) by Julie Eshbaugh (Harper)
Summer Unscripted by Jen Klein (Random House)
The Bone Queen by Alison Croggon (Candlewick)

Hell and High Water Defiant Midnight at the Electric
Hell & High Water by Tanya Landman (Candlewick)
Julia Defiant by Catherine Egan (Knopf)
Midnight at the Electric by Jodi Lynn Anderson (Harper)

Uninterrupted View of the Sky Murder Among the Stars Soldier Boy
The Uninterrupted View of the Sky by Melanie Crowder (Philomel)
Murder Among the Stars by Adam Shankman and Laura Sullivan (Atheneum)
Soldier Boy by Keely Hutton (FSG)

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