Posts Categorized: Simon Pulse

YA Early Review and ARC G!veaway- Right of Way

29 Mar, 2013 by in Right of Way, Simon Pulse 7 comments

Right of Way
by Lauren Barnholdt
Hardcover, 320 pages
Expected publication: July 9th 2013
by Simon Pulse
ISBN 1442451270
Book Source: publisher
3.5 stars
Book summary from Goodreads: Can a road trip repair a romance gone wrong? Find out in this standalone companion to Lauren Barnholdt’s Two-way Street.
Here are Peyton and Jace, meeting on vacation. Click! It’s awesome, it’s easy, it’s romantic. This is the real deal.

Unless it isn’t. Because when you’re in love, you don’t just stop calling one day. And you don’t keep secrets. Or lie. And when your life starts falling apart, you’re supposed to have the other person to lean on.

Here are Peyton and Jace again, broken up but thrown together on a road trip. One of them is lying about the destination. One of them is pretending not to be leaving something behind. And neither of them is prepared for what’s coming on the road ahead…
What I liked about Right of Way:
1) The characters were well written and full of personality. I related more to Jace than I did Peyton, the female protagonist just because at times she came across as self centered and bratty. Jace was pretty mature in the way he handled the whole situation
2) I love road trip books. This one reminded me a lot of You Are Here by Jennifer E Smith and Back When You Were Easier to Love by Emily Wing Smith
3) The setting of a Yacht Club in Florida and different stops in the deep South was dreamy for a summer read. I only wish we would have learned more about them and their culture
4) The point of view was written in a very interesting way…dual point of view switching between Jace and Peyton…so you get to see into both of their heads, As well switches between present tense “the trip” and past. Flawlessly done, it is not hard to follow the storyline.
5) The side players:  BJ, hotel clerk and best friends Jordan and Courtney (the main characters in  companion novel Two- Way Street) were also fully fleshed out and easy to picture. There is humor as well as depth.
What I wish was different:
The language! Personally the amount and level of swearing was very distracting for me. Did not enjoy and can’t recommend the book for teens because of it. Why so many f-bombs? It felt forced, like the characters were trying too hard to be grown up.
I wish there was more resolution in Peyton’s relationship with her parents. The ending felt very abrupt and there is no wrapping up of ongoing issues.
All in all… a memorable read, but not one I would buy due to content.
Thanks so much to Simon Pulse for the sneak peek.
Learn more on twitter/ goodreads/ author website
I am giving away my ARC to our readers 18 and older. US mailing addresses only.
To enter fill out the rafflecopter form below. Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

YA Book Review- Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey

08 Mar, 2013 by in Simon Pulse 3 comments

Legacy of the Clockwork Key
by Kristin Bailey
Hardcover, 403 pages
Published March 5th 2013
by Simon Pulse
ISBN 1442440260 
Book Source: publisher
4 stars
more details…

Summary from Goodreads: A teen girl unravels the mysteries of a secret society and their most dangerous invention in this adventure-swept romance set in Victorian London.When a fire consumes Meg’s home, killing her parents and destroying both her fortune and her future, all she has left is the tarnished pocket watch she rescued from the ashes. But this is no ordinary timepiece. The clock turns out to be a mechanical key—a key that only Meg can use—that unlocks a series of deadly secrets and intricate clues that Meg is compelled to follow. Meg has uncovered evidence of an elite secret society and a dangerous invention that some will stop at nothing to protect—and that Meg alone can destroy. Together with the handsome stable hand she barely knows but hopes she can trust, Meg is swept into a hidden world of deception, betrayal, and revenge. The clockwork key has unlocked her destiny in this captivating start to a trilogy.
Heather’s review:  There were several things that really drew me to this title from Simon Pulse when it first came in the mail. The first was the cover, which is different form the final shown above. Mine shoes main characters Will and Meg holding the clockwork bird. You can tell Will is a handsome Scottish lad just by the dark hair and brooding face. The setting is obviously Victorian and steam punk. 
All of this rolled into a perfect read for me since I am currently tracing my family history in the Victorian era with Scottish roots. The Victorian period records I have been looking at have numerous watch makers and clock shops which you just don’t see much of  in our day and time. So I was pulled in to the idea of tinkers, inventors and clock work trinkets. I was also fascinated by the idea Will being a Scottish Tinker or traveller. And after learning that he was left an orphan by the side of the road next to his parent’s wagon and taken in as a stable hand I was so curious.You’ll have to look up the history of the tinkers after or before reading. It makes Will’s personality so much more understandable–his pride in his work and worries about social station.
Meg, the main female heroine, is headstrong and somewhat impulsive–a house maid who is forced into the service of  a hidden mysterious man who must keep his home in the same state as the night his wife died. Her prized possession is a clockwork necklace which is all that was left of her parents home the night they both died in a fire and left her without status or means to provide in Victorian society. What she finds out is that the necklace she wears around her neck is much more than it seems, and she holds the key to oh so many secrets!
I thoroughly enjoyed Legacy of the Clockwork Key with its historical base as well as the steampunky creations of the Order of the Musical Amusemantists. The setting and world building were fascinating, the various contraptions fun to visualize. I also loved the other hero of the book Oliver with his night vision goggles and unruly hair, as well as his love interest Lydia who has a tragic past of her own.  
The content is suited for 16 and up only because Meg keeps losing pieces of her clothing in “accidents” along the way, but overall the romance is appropriate for the time and refreshingly so. There is one swear word which seems misplaced. The only other little thing I wished was that Will would have kept his thick Scottish voice in his inner and outer dialogue through out the entire story.
Would I recommend this one? Definitely! It is adventurous, historically spot on steampunky goodness. Thanks to Simon Pulse for the ARC.

Kristin Bailey grew up in the middle of the San Joaquin Valley in California. As a kid she enjoyed visiting the beach, camping and skiing with her two brothers.

Now she is a military wife and mother of two young children. She is also terrible about spoiling her pets. She has one fluffy mutt, two cats who think they own the world, and a fish tank with a quartet of fat fish, and two secretive striped ninja-assassin snails.

In the course of her adventures, she has worked as a zookeeper, balloon artist, and substitute teacher. Now she enjoys writing books for teens who enjoy mystery and adventure as much as she does.

The Giveaway: We have one ARC of Legacy of the Clockwork Key to give away to our readers at Fire and Ice. To enter to win tell us in the comments something you know about Scotland, tinkers, Victorian London, or let us know a clockwork invention you’d like to see made. 
Open internationally to 16 and older. Ends March 24, 2013.

Book Review- Bittersweet

23 Dec, 2011 by in sarah ockler, Simon Pulse 14 comments

Bittersweetby Sarah Ockler
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: January 3rd 2012
by Simon Pulse
ISBN 1442430354
Book source: publisher
4 stars

Hudson can’t wait to get out of Watonka, her working-class town outside of Buffalo. Once upon a time, her talent as a skater was going to be her ticket out… but when her parents’ marriage unraveled three years ago, so did her dreams. Now, she buries herself in making cupcakes for her mom’s diner and imagining her parallel life where she went on to skate to glory. But when she gets a letter inviting her to audition for a skating scholarship *and* the hockey team asks for her help with their technique (read: free ice time for Hudson), it’s impossible to ignore the signs. Is she ready to get back on the ice? Could this be her ticket out? Hudson’s determined not to let anything stand in her way. But between baking and waitressing at the diner, the love triangle that’s developing with two outrageously cute hockey boys, and the simmering drama with her best friend, her future is anything but certain…

Hudson is at the top of her game as a competitive ice skater and on her way to the most major competition of her career when an unexpected laundry discovery leads to the break up of her family and the world comes crumbling down. Life is not as shiny as it once was now that Hudson has to work at her mother’s diner, help take care of her younger brother and is struggling to stay socially afloat. But one fateful day out on the ice she runs into the co-captain of her school’s hockey team Josh. Things are about to turn around.

Sarah Ockler crafts the perfect winter romance and adds a heavenly cupcake recipe to the beginning of each chapter to tease readers with the tastes and smells of Hudson’s everyday world. The setting of Bittersweet is also magical- by the Niagara Falls and a piece of ice in the tiny town of Watonka.

With tough life lessons of having an absent and self-absorbed dad, an overworked mother, extra responsibilities and the difficulty of making decisions, Bittersweet is indeed a book that shows both the sweet and the bitter. I had a hard time with some of the choices Hudson makes and the things she has to give up for her mother. But overall, as she meddles through learning to abandon her dreams of the past and recognizing what she already has, there is clarity.

Sarah Ockler know how to write teenage romance! Between Will and Josh there is just the right amount of wondering how it will all turn out, and the relationships feel authentic. Who wouldn’t want to have to choose between two hockey boys, right? The relationships are not perfect or destined, but the ending is oh so perfect! So many noteworthy scenes of friendship, fighting and flirting in this book. But I have to say Josh is my favorite part.

Pick this one up when it comes out on January 3rd and buy a cupcake while you’re at it, because you’ll want one!
Content: moderate swearing, underage drinking, heavy making out

You Might Also Like: The Cupcake Queen by Heather Hepler, Sweet Treats & Secret Crushes by Lisa Greenwald

Pre-Order Bittersweet on Amazon or add it to your Goodreads list

About the author:
Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of Fixing Delilah and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee and IndieNext List pick. She is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm.

When she’s not writing or reading at home in Colorado, Sarah enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

Visit her website or find her on Twitter or Facebook.

Book Review and ARC Giveaway- Virtuosity

31 Oct, 2011 by in book review, Simon Pulse, virtuosity, YA contemporary 14 comments

by Jessica Martinez

Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 18th 2011

by Simon Pulse
ISBN 1442420529

4 stars

Now is not the time for Carmen to fall in love. And Jeremy is hands-down the wrong guy for her to fall for. He is infuriating, arrogant, and the only person who can stand in the way of Carmen getting the one thing she wants most: to win the prestigious Guarneri competition. Carmen’s whole life is violin, and until she met Jeremy, her whole focus was winning. But what if Jeremy isn’t just hot…what if Jeremy is better?
Carmen knows that kissing Jeremy can’t end well, but she just can’t stay away. Nobody else understands her–and riles her up–like he does. Still, she can’t trust him with her biggest secret: She is so desperate to win she takes anti-anxiety drugs to perform, and what started as an easy fix has become a hungry addiction. Carmen is sick of not feeling anything on stage and even more sick of always doing what she’s told, doing what’s expected.

Sometimes, being on top just means you have a long way to fall….

I picked up Virtuosity at the Simon and Schuster blogger event at BEA and it was one of the books I was most excited about reading. The cover threw me off a bit once I got into it because it really doesn’t match the mood or main character of the story. Carmen Bianchi is a 17 year old child prodigy who’s already won a Grammy and is now working toward the most important competition of her career-the Guarneri. If she wins it means a new violin, and touring some of the most prestigious music halls of the world as a soloist. But Carmen has felt her passion and skill slipping away in the grip of performance anxiety and psychological addiction to the drug Inderal. As her mom and violin coach Yuri pour on the pressure, Carmen’s performance continues to deteriorate. She wants to know what she’s up against and finds Jeremy King, who in every way seems to be just like her only he’s British and he looks like he’s a young little boy with curly blond hair and dimples. That is online. When she “bumps”into him in person she’s surprised by what she finds and mortified that he catches her spying. So begins the perfect banter and chemistry between Carmen and Jeremy who both want and need so badly to win.

Virtuosity was a refreshing change of pace for contemporary YA with music as the focal point. I’m not a big fan of prologues that give away future plot points so I kind of wish it would have been left out. I loved that it was clean with only a couple swear words in the entire book and minus sexual content. The characters and the places they visit jumped right off the page for me. I genuinely loved the support Jeremy and Carmen show for each other given that they have every reason to mistrust and even dislike one another. I am a little concerned about the portrayal of an anti anxiety drug as evil because there are many teens who may genuinely battle with anxiety and have to turn to medication for relief. Other than that the only other wish I had is that the ending was more fully fleshed out and not so rushed. I would recommend Virtuosity to readers over 14 as a good clean look into the life of a teen professional musician who is fighting against pressure from a parent. It’s a tale of forbidden love and self-discovery that I genuinely enjoyed!

To enter to win an ARC of Virtuosity courtesy of Fire and Ice and SimonTeen click here and fill out the form.

Orson Scott Card Teaser Giveaway

14 Dec, 2010 by in orson scott card, pathfinder, Simon Pulse, simon schuster 6 comments

Welcome to day 9, our final day of the Best I’ve Read 2010. Our first teaser book giveaway today is

By: Orson Scott Card
Published by: Simon Pulse
Card’s website:
Book summary (from author website):
A powerful secret. A dangerous path.

Rigg is well trained at keeping secrets. Only his father knows the truth about Rigg’s strange talent for seeing the paths of people’s pasts. But when his father dies, Rigg is stunned to learn just how many secrets Father had kept from him — secrets about Rigg’s own past, his identity, and his destiny. And when Rigg discovers that he has the power not only to see the past, but also to change it, his future suddenly becomes anything but certain.

Rigg’s birthright sets him on a path that leaves him caught between two factions, one that wants him crowned and one that wants him dead. He will be forced to question everything he thinks he knows, choose who to trust, and push the limits of his talent . . . or forfeit control of his destiny.

We have 2 copies of Pathfinder to give away courtesy of Orson Scott Card and Simon Schuster. To enter to win one, please fill out this form.


BIR2010 Giveaway #6 Losing Faith

08 Dec, 2010 by in Simon Pulse 17 comments

Losing Faith
By Denise Jaden
Released September 7, 2010
Published by Simon Pulse

A terrible secret. A terrible fate. When Brie’s sister, Faith, dies suddenly, Brie’s world falls apart. As she goes through the bizarre and devastating process of mourning the sister she never understood and barely even liked, everything in her life seems to spiral farther and farther off course. Her parents are a mess, her friends don’t know how to treat her, and her perfect boyfriend suddenly seems anything but. As Brie settles into her new normal, she encounters more questions than closure: Certain facts about the way Faith died just don’t line up. Brie soon uncovers a dark and twisted secret about Faith’s final night…a secret that puts her own life in danger.

Denise and SimonTeen have offered one copy of Losing Faith to our US blog followers. To enter to win please fill out this form. Giveaway ends December 15, 2010.

Book Review- Far From You

01 Feb, 2010 by in book review, Simon Pulse, YA fiction 1 comment

December 23rd 2008 by Simon Pulse

details Hardcover, 368 pages

literary awards TAYSHAS High School Reading List (2010)


5 stars

Summary from Goodreads

Lost and alone…down the rabbit hole

Years have passed since Alice lost her mother to cancer, but time hasn’t quite healed the wound. Alice copes the best she can, by writing her music, losing herself in the love of her boyfriend, and distancing herself from her father and his new wife.

But when a deadly snowstorm traps Alice with her stepmother and newborn half-sister, she’ll face issues she’s been avoiding for too long. As Alice looks to the heavens for guidance, she discovers something wonderful.

Perhaps she’s not so alone after all

WOW. Is all I can say…
I picked up this book at my local library and started it earlier today. The entire book is written in prose. Each chapter a new poem. For me, it was a nice break from the every day writing style we are used to. I finished it in a couple of hours because I couln’t put it down.
Alice deals with the grief over losing her mother to cancer, adjustment to a new family dynamic, doubts of faith, and near tragedy. It is a beautifully rich yet down to earth and raw look at what it feels like to lose someone and have them replaced by new and strange people. I think it is a great read for any teen who has gone through trying to adjust to a new step-parent, or the loss of a parent. Alice also struggles with the question of abstinence and it is handled by her boyfriend Blaze in a mature and loving manner. I love that she held on to that belief and was supported in her decision.
The story touched at heart strings as Alice feels enveloped in a comfort and peace that is not of this world. She feels her life has been touched by an angel in the moments she struggles to save the life of her newborn half-sister. I was brought to tears by the encompassing process of healing and hope.
An absolute Gem. Five out of five stars!