Friday, January 19, 2018

Three Young Adult ARC Mini-Reviews

I'm going to share the three young adult books I've read so far this year.  All are ones that I will recommend to students and possibly purchase for the library where I work. 

Meet Cute:  Some People are Destined to Meet - an anthology edited by Jennifer L. Armentrout:
Published:  January 2nd, 2018
Source:  E-galley from Netgalley
Genre:  YA romance
My rating:  4 stars

It took me a bit to get into the stories, there were a few at the beginning that didn't really hit the "cute" part of the phrase "meet cute" in my opinion.  But as I got going, so many of the later stories won me over.  A few of the stories were done in second person, which isn't always a favorite of mine.  Like the Imagines book, I couldn't get that far in.  But then others in here that tried that point of view, did work.  I got to read something by Dhonielle Clayton, getting me ready to read her book The Belles soon.  I have to admit though, the first book that left me grinning like an idiot was Armentrout's story.  Of course it had to do with a library, so it was totally the nerdy girl type of story I love.  That was totally what I consider a "meet cute".  Then I also loved the story that took place on a subway, seeing the perfect guy on the subway train that was crossing the opposite way, and then having the girl use it as a project for her statistics class, it was just so cute! 

The book had a variety of stories, not all were necessarily just contemporary romance, there were several LGBTQ stories as well as different races and cultures.  And I will say, that even though a few of the stories were  not my cup of tea, all of them were very well written.  I will be purchasing this one for my school library for sure.

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:
Whether or not you believe in fate, or luck, or love at first sight, every romance has to start somewhere. MEET CUTE is an anthology of original short stories featuring tales of "how they first met" from some of today’s most popular YA authors. 

Readers will experience Nina LaCour's beautifully written piece about two Bay Area girls meeting via a cranky customer service Tweet, Sara Shepard's glossy tale about a magazine intern and a young rock star, Nicola Yoon's imaginative take on break-ups and make-ups, Katie Cotugno's story of two teens hiding out from the police at a house party, and Huntley Fitzpatrick's charming love story that begins over iced teas at a diner. There’s futuristic flirting from Kass Morgan and Katharine McGee, a riveting transgender heroine from Meredith Russo, a subway missed connection moment from Jocelyn Davies, and a girl determined to get out of her small town from Ibi Zoboi. Jennifer Armentrout writes a sweet story about finding love from a missing library book, Emery Lord has a heartwarming and funny tale of two girls stuck in an airport, Dhonielle Clayton takes a thoughtful, speculate approach to pre-destined love, and Julie Murphy dreams up a fun twist on reality dating show contestants. 

This incredibly talented group of authors brings us a collection of stories that are at turns romantic and witty, epic and everyday, heartbreaking and real.

The Hazel Wood by Melissa Albert:
Published:  January 30th, 2018
Source:  Physical ARC received from Publisher
Genre:  YA fantasy
My rating:  4 stars 

This was a very unique story, even with its familiar themes throughout it.  A book of fairy tales that are coming out into the "normal" world.  A reclusive woman who after writing the book and publishing only a few copies, disappears.  Her daughter on the run, having to move with her own daughter from place to place, seemingly whenever their luck gave out, or maybe someone from the fairy tale world showed up.  The fairy tales weren't ones that were your standard stories.  Nope, they were all pretty grim, pretty dark.  And I mean even grimmer than the original Grimm Brothers' fairy tales.  The characters were all very interesting, and I definitely got to one point where I figured it was going to leave us hanging, and we'd have to wait for the the next book to come out to get some answers.  However, even though this seems to be a series, at least it is listed as book 1 on Goodreads, I feel like it ended in a way that doesn't give a chance to go on.  At least not with the characters we followed in this story. But I guess we'll see how that goes!

Synopsis from Goodreads:
Seventeen-year-old Alice and her mother have spent most of Alice’s life on the road, always a step ahead of the uncanny bad luck biting at their heels. But when Alice’s grandmother, the reclusive author of a cult-classic book of pitch-dark fairy tales, dies alone on her estate, the Hazel Wood, Alice learns how bad her luck can really get: her mother is stolen away―by a figure who claims to come from the Hinterland, the cruel supernatural world where her grandmother's stories are set. Alice's only lead is the message her mother left behind: “Stay away from the Hazel Wood.”

Alice has long steered clear of her grandmother’s cultish fans. But now she has no choice but to ally with classmate Ellery Finch, a Hinterland superfan who may have his own reasons for wanting to help her. To retrieve her mother, Alice must venture first to the Hazel Wood, then into the world where her grandmother's tales began―and where she might find out how her own story went so wrong.

Love, Hate and Other Filters by Samira Ahmed:
Published:  January 16th, 2018
Source:  Physical ARC received from publisher
Genre:  YA contemporary
My rating:  5 stars 

I picked this book up on a Tuesday, and could barely put it down.  It was really good.  Reading about a girl who used her camera to help her deal with her shyness and awkwardness in public was very unique, but made a lot of sense.  I enjoyed the relationship Maya had with her parents, as well as her aunt.  The small town she lived in was probably pretty accurate for how things can be.  For a while I was mad at Maya for giving up what probably was the perfect guy for one that would only cause her heartache, but in the end it worked out.  And while the way even that went when it was time for college was a little heartbreaking, it was realistic, and I liked it.  The way her time in the city was portrayed at the end was also fun, especially when I knew the places she was talking about.

The short little fillers in between Maya's chapters, telling about the person that would cause so many bad things to happen to people as well as to Maya's family indirectly were very eye-opening, and again heart-breaking.  They turned out different than a reader might have assumed from reading the book, and in the end there was even the sympathy you couldn't help but feel a tiny bit for that person who caused all the death and terror.

This is a DEFINITE purchase for my school library.  

Here is the synopsis from Goodreads:  
A searing #OwnVoices coming-of-age debut in which an Indian-American Muslim teen confronts Islamophobia and a reality she can neither explain nor escape--perfect for fans of Angie Thomas, Jacqueline Woodson, and Adam Silvera.

American-born seventeen-year-old Maya Aziz is torn between worlds. There’s the proper one her parents expect for their good Indian daughter: attending a college close to their suburban Chicago home, and being paired off with an older Muslim boy her mom deems “suitable.” And then there is the world of her dreams: going to film school and living in New York City—and maybe (just maybe) pursuing a boy she’s known from afar since grade school, a boy who’s finally falling into her orbit at school.

There’s also the real world, beyond Maya’s control. In the aftermath of a horrific crime perpetrated hundreds of miles away, her life is turned upside down. The community she’s known since birth becomes unrecognizable; neighbors and classmates alike are consumed with fear, bigotry, and hatred. Ultimately, Maya must find the strength within to determine where she truly belongs. 

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Release Blitz: Midnight Blue by L.J. Shen


Midnight Blue, an all-new sexy standalone from LJ Shen is LIVE!


Midnight Blue

Author: LJ Shen

Release Date: January 18th

It should have been easy.
I needed the money. He needed a babysitter to keep him from snorting himself to death.
I was cherry-picked especially for him. Responsible. Optimistic. Warm. Innocent.
The worst part is that I should have known better.
Alex Winslow. British rock star. Serial heartbreaker. Casanova with whiskey eyes.
“Don’t get near the devil in a leather jacket. He’ll chew you up and spit you out.”
Sounds familiar? That’s because it was a headline in a tabloid the second time he got arrested.
Guess what? I didn’t listen.
I signed the contract.
World tour. Three months. Four Continents. One hundred shows.
My name is Indigo Bellamy, and I sold my soul to a tattooed god.
Problem was, my soul wasn’t enough for Alex Winslow. He ended up taking my body, too.
Then he took my heart.
Then he took my all. 


Read Today!
(Free in Kindle Unlimited)
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About LJ Shen:
L.J. Shen is an International #1 best-selling author of Contemporary Romance and New Adult novels. She lives in Northern California with her husband, young son and chubby cat. Before she’d settled down, L.J. (who thinks referring to herself in the third person is really silly, by the way) traveled the world, and collected friends from all across the globe. Friends who’d be happy to report that she is a rubbish companion, always forgets peoples’ birthdays and never sends Christmas cards. She enjoys the simple things in life, like spending time with her family and friends, reading, HBO, Netflix and internet-stalking Stephen James. She reads between three to five books a week and firmly believes Crocs shoes and mullets should be outlawed. LJShen.jpg

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Cover Reveal: Recovered by Jay Crownover


From New York Times bestselling author Jay Crownover comes RECOVERED, a standalone contemporary romance that will keep you turning the pages long into the night! Check out the amazing cover below, and order your copy today!


Cover Design by Hang Le

About RECOVERED (Coming 3/27/18):

It was hate at first sight...  



I hated Cable James McCaffrey. 

He was entitled, spoiled, a user…and an addict. 

He was out of control and didn’t bother trying to hide it. 

He had everything anyone could want but still seemed miserable and lost. 

Every move he made, every mistake he stumbled his way through, rubbed me the wrong way. However, I couldn’t stop myself from trying to save him from himself when no one else would. In the sweltering heat of the summer, Cable taught me that having it all means nothing if you can’t have the one thing you want more than anything else.  


I was obsessed with Affton Reed. 

She was rigid, uptight, and no fun. There was something about her innate goodness that called to me. 

She acted like she was above all the normal faults and failures that clung to the rest of us like the scent of smoke after a fire. 

I was infatuated with her, but that didn’t stop me from acting like she didn’t exist. 

In the scorching heat of summer, Affton taught me that there is always a way back from the brink of despair. She showed me that the trick to having it all was realizing that it was already there, in my hands. All I had to do was hold onto it.  

The road to recovery is full of twists and turns no matter who is in the driver’s seat.




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About Jay Crownover:  
Jay Crownover is the international and multiple New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Marked Men Series, The Saints of Denver Series, the Point Series, the Breaking Point Series, and the Getaway Series. Her books can be found translated in many different languages all around the world. She is a tattooed, crazy haired Colorado native who lives at the base of the Rockies with her awesome dogs. This is where she can frequently be found enjoying a cold beer and Taco Tuesdays. Jay is a self-declared music snob and outspoken book lover who is always looking for her next adventure, between the pages and on the road.          

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Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Can't Wait Wednesday #36: The Lantern's Ember by Colleen Houck

Can't-Wait Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Tressa at Wishful Endings to spotlight and talk about the books we're excited about that we have yet to read. Generally they're books that have yet to be released. It's based on Waiting on Wednesday, hosted by the fabulous Jill at Breaking the Spine.  My pick this week is by an author that I'm a fan of another series she's written.  When I saw she had a new book coming out, I was very excited.  I've been waiting for the cover to be released to do one of these posts, and the author sent it out this week.  So here you go:

Welcome to a world where nightmarish creatures reign supreme.

Five hundred years ago, Jack made a deal with the devil. It’s difficult for him to remember much about his mortal days. So, he focuses on fulfilling his sentence as a Lantern—one of the watchmen who guard the portals to the Otherworld, a realm crawling with every nightmarish creature imaginable. Jack has spent centuries jumping from town to town, ensuring that nary a mortal—or not-so-mortal—soul slips past him. That is, until he meets beautiful Ember O’Dare. 

Seventeen, stubborn, and a natural-born witch, Ember feels a strong pull to the Otherworld. Undeterred by Jack’s warnings, she crosses into the forbidden plane with the help of a mysterious and debonair vampire—and the chase through a dazzling, dangerous world is on. Jack must do everything in his power to get Ember back where she belongs before both the earthly and unearthly worlds descend into chaos.

Have you read anything by this author?  How does this one sound to you?  What book are you eagerly awaiting this week? 

Release Promo: Pulse (The Luminous Rock Series #1) by K.E. Osborn

Title: Pulse
Series: The Luminous Rock Series #1
Author: K.E. Osborn
Genre: Rockstar Romance
Release Date: January 17, 2018
She makes my pulse race. From the moment I laid eyes on her in that ridiculous giraffe onesie, I knew this girl would rock my world. Effa’s the lead singer of the world-famous rock band, Luminous. And I’m their new lighting tech, Kaden ‘Mercs’ Mercury. Going on tour with an all-female rock band would be simple you’d think, but these girls aren’t an easy push-over. All the while things back home are taking a turn for the worse, and I’m losing a battle of my own that might come back to bite me on the ass if I’m not careful. My only distraction from the ensuing chaos – a bubbly blonde lead singer, destined to brighten my life. But with an all-male backup band, tensions are bound to run high when jealousy flares, and lines are blurred. She sets my pulse racing, but am I enough to kickstart her heart? 

Australian author K E Osborn was born and raised in Adelaide, South Australia. With a background in graphic design and a flair for all things creative, she felt compelled to write the story brewing in her mind.
Writing gives her life purpose. It makes her feel, laugh, cry and get completely enveloped in the characters and their story lines. She feels completely at home when writing and wouldn’t consider doing anything else.

Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Cover Reveal: To New Beginnings by Corinne Mazille

Title: To New Beginnings
Author: Corinne Mazille
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Release Date: February 21, 2018 

A one-night stand on an island getaway might just save three lost souls.
Beau needed to escape his grief after losing his best friend. Mia just had to get away after losing her job, her boyfriend, and her home all in one day. On an island, they met in a blazing, hot, one nightstand.
But back home, Beau was faced with the ultimate challenge--providing a home for his best friend's orphaned little girl. Only he can't do it alone, he needs a wife to make that happen. Could the gorgeous redhead he'd left behind in the tropics possibly be the answer?
A hot fling, between two strangers.
A little girl, who suddenly needs a home.
A grieving friend, who suddenly needs a wife.

Corinne was born and raised in Melbourne Australia, where she currently resides with her own family.
After her first daughter was born she found her love for books all over again. Fast forward a few years and her obsession grew, turning into a love of writing.
Her debut novel releases February this year and hopes that you will all fall in love with Mia and Beau as much as she loved writing about them.