Posts Categorized: Simon Pulse
YA Book Review- Legacy of the Clockwork Key by Kristin Bailey
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.
Book Review- Bittersweet
Bittersweetby Sarah Ockler
Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: January 3rd 2012
by Simon Pulse
Book source: publisher
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.
Book Review and ARC Giveaway- Virtuosity
by Jessica Martinez
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published October 18th 2011
by Simon Pulse
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
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: http://www.hatrack.com/
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
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
details Hardcover, 368 pages
literary awards TAYSHAS High School Reading List (2010)
Summary from Goodreads
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