Posts Categorized: ya

My Top 15 YA, Middle Grade and Adult Book Picks from BEA 2013 + Giveaway

07 Jun, 2013 by in giveaway, middle grade, sarah m eden, Shadow Mountain, ya 11 comments

Okay all, I will readily admit vlogging is not my forte. However, I today to offer Fire and Ice readers a peek at my top 15 YA, MG and Adult titles from Book Expo America 2013.
There is a giveaway of BEA books and swag at the end of today’s video as well as yesterday’s Part I posted on out sister site Little Red Reads.
Open to US only, giveaways end June 21, 2013.

Early ARC Review- Rules of Summer by Joanna Philbin

23 May, 2013 by in netgalley, poppy, Rules of Summer, ya Leave a comment

Rules of Summer
by Joanna Philbin
Hardcover, 352 pages
To be published June 4, 2013
by Poppy
ISBN 0316212059
Book Source: Netgalley
3.5 Stars

Book Summary from Netgalley: There are two sides to every summer.


When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it’s as if she’s entered another universe–one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She’s signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules, a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion, and maybe to sneak in some beach time. Upon arrival, she’s warned by other staff members to keep her head down and to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Feeling claustrophobic in her country-club world, the youngest and most impulsive Rule child, seventeen-year-old Isabel, embarks on a breathless summer romance that her family would never approve of. Isabel has decided that this is the summer for taking chances, and she’s bringing Rory along for the ride. The girls forge a true friendship, but when long-hidden secrets start to surface and Rory reveals that she has feelings for someone, too–Connor Rule, Isabel’s older brother–their relationship is put to the test.

Review: I chose Rules of Summer because of the dreamy setting an promise of a light summer read in the Hamptons, on the tip of Long Island. Rory is a Jersey girl from a no nonsense background living wither her mom who seems to have a hard time picking reliable men. Tired of picking up the slack and being around the drama she packs up and takes a summer job with her aunt as the live in help of the Rule family, a blue blood high society wealthy Hamptons family. Right away it becomes obvious Rory is entering a different world of country clubs, in home theatres and a daughter of the house who is used to getting whatever she wants. Isabel Rule is Rory’s same age but the two couldn’t be any more different. Isabel’s growing pains and quest to find herself landed her in California where she picked up a love of surf. Now that she is home she feels the undeniable itch that things aren’t quite the right fit anymore. So when when she runs into an older surfer in the water she gets pulled in deep.

I loved the distinction between classes and how those lines can be blurred by life and friendship. The main distraction for me was one of the love interests and what a jerk he is through the entire book. Isabel is young and doesn’t seem to catch on, but the underage drinking, the age difference and sex were a giant red flag from the beginning. I wanted to yell “run!” 

On the flip side, Connor Rule, “the other boy” is nice, all-American and the perfect fit.  Drama is high and the pacing a little uneven, but the overall message is one of breaking down boundaries in the name of loyalty and love. If you are looking for YA contemp in the perfect place this one is for you, for older audiences due to content.

About the author: Joanna Philbin was born in Los Angeles and grew up in New York City. She is the daughter of television host Regis Philbin. She started her first novel at the age of seven, but only got as far as the second chapter. She went on to receive her B.A. from Brown University and an M.F.A. from the University of Notre Dame. She now lives in Santa Barbara, California.

Learn more on Goodreads/ author’s blog

Netgalley YA Early Review- Rebel Spirits by Lois Ruby

16 Apr, 2013 by in Rebel Spirits, scholastic, ya 2 comments

Rebel Spirits 
by Lois Ruby
Hardcover304 pages
Expected publication: June 1st 2013
by Point
ISBN 0545426235
Book Source: Netgalley 
4.5 stars

Summary from Goodreads: Infused with history and mystery, this tale of ghosts, love, and murder takes place in present-day Gettysburg, where the Civil War still looms large.

Lori Chase doesn’t know what to think about ghosts. She may have seen a few in the past, but those were just childish imaginings…right? Only now that she is living in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, spirits seem to be on everyone’s mind. The town is obsessed with its bloody Civil War history, and the old inn that Lori’s parents run is supposedly haunted by the souls of dead soldiers.

Then Lori meets one such soldier–the devastatingly handsome Nathaniel Pierce. Nathaniel’s soul cannot rest, and he desperately needs Lori’s help. Because Nathaniel was not killed in the famous battle. He was murdered. Lori begins to investigate the age-old mystery, stumbling upon shocking clues and secrets.

At the same time, she can’t help falling for Nathaniel, just as he is falling for her.


Review: Being the history lover that I am, when I saw this book summary on Netgalley about a Civil War era YA title;  I had to give it a try. And, I’m happy to report I was not disappointed. 

Lori and her parents have just relocated from Philly to Gettysburg to take on ownership of  a bed and breakfast. Along with the staff that seems to think they come with the home, the locals who re enact Civil War battles each year and the teen hot shot who mows the lawn; there is also a resident ghost. Nathaniel is drawn to Lori as someone with the ability to see those who have passed on. She may just be the key to solving his murder and how exactly he ended up buried in the local cemetery instead of being honored as a fallen soldier. With a ring that belonged to Lincoln’s infant son, a night time visitor to the shed behind the hotel and a foggy graveyard there is plenty of suspense.


Rebel Spirits would be a good one to teach in the classroom as it is clean and has historical elements. There are a lot of themes that could be explored surrounding Lincoln, the Gettysburg area and period homes. The only minor flaw I struggled with was the role of Lori’s parents. They were completely hands off, wrapped up in managing the affairs of their business until the plot re introduces them at a conveniently crucial time and their reaction seems not in synch with their previous absence of influence in Lori’s comings and goings. I also would have loved more fleshing out of the characters. The romance is sweet and the story stuck with me after I was done!

Content: Some kissing, sneaking out to be together and mild violence.


About the Author:  Lois Ruby is the author of fifteen books for middle-graders and teens, including STEAL AWAY HOME, SKIN DEEP, and THE SECRET OF LAUREL OAKS. She and her husband live in Albuquerque, New Mexico, at the foothills of the awesome Sandia Mountains. Lois explores lots of haunted places, including ghostly locations in Gettysburg, Pennsylvania, and even a few spooky spots in Australia and Thailand. No spirits have tapped her on the shoulder yet, but she hasn’t given up hope.

Learn more on goodreads/ author website

YA Content Review- Embrace by Cherie Colyer

31 Aug, 2012 by in Omnific, Thriller, ya Leave a comment

Embrace
by Cherie Colyer
Paperback, 220 pages
Publication Date: December 20th 2011
by Omnific Publishing
ISBN 1936305968
Book Source: author

4 1/2 Stars

Book summary from Goodreads:  How far would you go to save the people you love?

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve.

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him.

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own.

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover.
Dangerous, intoxicating, and darkly romantic, Embrace is a thriller that will leave you spellbound.

Crystal’s Review: My collage classes have recently started back and I have been swamped with homework. I decided to take a day off from my work to read this book and I am so happy that I did. I will admit the cover did not really grab my attention the way most covers do. It is pretty for sure but it did not really have anything about it that made me go I need to read that book. The description on the back of the book however grabbed my interest and I could not resist reading the book after reading it. I really enjoyed the story. I was hooked right from the beginning, the characters all seemed very real to me and the author did a fantastic job describing each one so that I could picture and connect with every character. Issac was my favorite character by far. Many stories these days have the situation where girl meets guy, girl falls for guy, guy shows interest in girl and then promptly beings to treat her like dirt and then finally admits he loves her and was only doing it for her own good. I am so tired of that line, Issac however displayed some hesitant feelings but he stuck around for the whole book. I felt like the supporting characters where a big part of the book and not just cardboard cutouts tossed into a scene when convenient. I appreciate when an author takes the time to make her supporting characters just as real as her main ones. I could tell the author spent time working on her descriptions of everything from smells to feelings and it made the book that much better. Overall this book is a wonderful read and fairly short so it can be read in a day or so by most people. I am highly anticipating seeing what else this author has to offer.

Content: Scenes depicting violence and death

Crystal

A little about myself: I write young adult and middle grade novels. I love finding new stories that keep me up late reading. While my favorite genre is fantasy, if the book is beautifully written with characters that come alive I’m all over it. Find out more on the author’s blog/ twitter/ facebook or website.

Young Adult Ebook Review- Castles on the Sand

21 Aug, 2012 by in ya Leave a comment

Castles on the Sand
by E.M. Tippetts
Kindle Edition,
Published August 2012
by E M Tippetts
ASIN: B008ZGNMDS
Book Source:  Bought
5 Stars
Book Description: Madison Lukas knows her place in the world. She’s not pretty, not interesting, and therefore easy to forget.
John Britton is serving his mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and has been praying for fifteen years to find the sister he lost in his parents’ divorce. She is beautiful, talented, and makes kindness a fine art.

When John and Madison cross paths, he recognizes her at once, but Madison is certain that he’s got it all wrong. Even if she is his long-lost sister, she can’t possibly be the exceptional, amazing girl he thinks she is, can she?

Mary’s Review: What a wonderful book.  It took only a few quiet hours to read it.  It is an easy read and is so enjoyable.  I’m looking forward to a sequel.

Madison Lukas is a young 16 year old girl who has a low self esteem and feels she is ugly and no boy would or could ever like her.  She is kind to a fault to everyone, even those who are unkind and mean to her.   She has a mad crush on JP the high school heart throb who acts like he’s interested in her.  But is he?  Then there’s Carson, the Mormon boy who has eyes only for Madison and thinks she’s the most beautiful girl he’s ever seen.  Of course, there’s the bad seed Alex who never talks and everyone is afraid of and every girl thinks is handsome in the male model way.  Then Hailey, Madison’s best friend who makes you wonder “with a friend like her, who needs an enemy”.

And let’s not forget Elder John Britton who claims to be Madison’s brother.  Is he really?  This book is a cast full of characters that will make you love them, hate them and cry for them.  This is a must read book.  It will truly touch your heart in many ways and teach you about what families and friends should really be all about.

I recommend this book for young adult women ages 16 and older.  There are some very mild sexual issues addressed.

Well done Miss Emily.
About the Author: Emily Mah Tippetts writes romance as E.M. Tippetts and science fiction and fantasy as Emily Mah. She is a former attorney with degrees in philosophy, politics and economics from Oxford University and business law from UCLA.
Originally from New Mexico, she now lives in London with her family. She is a devoted member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints and thus often includes LDS (Mormon) characters in her work. When she isn’t chasing her small children or writing, she designs jewelry.
For more information or to sign up for updates on future book releases, visit her website at www.emtippetts.com.

Seeds of Discovery Blog Tour

10 Jun, 2012 by in ya, ya fantasy 1 comment

We are happy to be today’s stop on the Seeds of Discovery Blog Tour hosted by Lightning Book Productions.
Seeds of Discovery
Dusk Gate Chronicles – Book One
by Breeana Puttroff
Paperback, 288 page (also available for Kindle)
Published April 2011
by Musefish Independent Press
ISBN 0983993017   
Source: Author
Rating 4 stars

Book Summary from Goodreads: Quinn Robbins’ life was everything she thought a teenager’s should be. She has good friends, a family that she loves, good grades, and an after-school job she enjoys. And, she’s just been asked out by Zander Cunningham, a popular football player and great guy. But one day when driving home after picking up her little sister from the baby-sitter’s, she nearly hits a boy who, after running blindly into the street, mysteriously disappears.
The mystery only deepens as she figures out who the boy is; William Rose, a reclusive, awkward boy from school who always has his nose in a pile of books.

 As she becomes more aware of his behavior it becomes more obvious how out of the ordinary William is and how hard he deliberately tries to blend into the background. This only intrigues her more and she finds herself working to find out more about him, and exactly where he keeps disappearing to. 

 On a whim one night she follows him and suddenly finds herself in a new world. One where William is a prince, literally, and she is treated like a princess. She also discovers that she is stuck; the gate back to her own world isn’t always open. 

Quinn finds herself smack in the middle of a modern-day fairy tale, on a course that will change her life forever
My Thoughts: Quinn is a fun character. She is a bit reserved, yet quite curious. She doesn’t quite buy into the social scene at her local high school, but she is a typical teenager in many other ways. When I began reading the book, I had a hard time figuring out how the cover image fit the story at all. It opens in a modern small town and follows Quinn as she is torn between a budding crush on her long time good friend, and her curiosity about William. I couldn’t see how a castle fit in to the story. 
Then all of a sudden, a burst of courage and an overwhelming sense of curiosity sent Quinn on an adventure in a modern fairy tale world of Kings and Queens, Princes and Princesses. But this world, while beautiful and filled with wonderful people, is plagued by a mysterious illness that only seems to attack children, and rarely more than one child in the same family. 
 I really enjoyed reading this book. It is fun and clean. The characters are very likable and I found myself wondering more about them. I liked that the story shed a positive light on larger families. As a mom to five children I love to see the positive aspects of large families highlighted (The king and queen in this tale have 13 children!). 
I would definitely recommended this book, especially if you like a light fantasy read. I look forward to reading the next books in the series!
About the Author: Breeana Puttroff has loved making up stories since she could talk. For many years, her biggest audience for those stories was the fantastic students she had the privilege of teaching.
One summer afternoon, while she was picnicking in the beautiful mountains of her Colorado home with her little girl, Breeana saw an old, broken stone bridge, and she just knew there was a story inside. Six months later, the Dusk Gate Chronicles was born.
Breeana now runs a small business and writes full-time, and is a busy, single, homeschooling mom to her beautiful daughter.
Breeana holds a B.A. in English from the University of Northern Colorado, and an M.Ed. in Curriculum and Instruction and Literacy from Lesley University in Cambridge, MA  
Find out more on her website/ blog/ twitter

Buy all three books:

Book Review- Torn by Ashley S. Morgan

04 May, 2012 by in torn, ya Leave a comment

Torn
by Ashley S. Morgan
Ebook, 165 pages
Published: February 20th 2012 
ASIN B007B6AJ1Q
Book Source: author
2 1/2 stars
Book summary from Amazon: Isadora Rivers feels trapped. Her small town high school is suffocating her.
Another day of wannabe gangsters, dumb jocks, and Barbie clones, and she’ll just lose it. Her keen emotional sensitivity is to blame. She sees through all of the poser behavior to the pain and insecurity simmering just below the surface, and it’s overwhelming. She feels like she’s literally drowning in other people’s emotions.
This same sensitivity, however, makes her a great actress. Suffocating or not, her high school is one of the top arts schools in the country. Acting is not only her passion, but it also looks like her way out. If she can just score the lead role in the school play, she might get herself noticed by a Hollywood agent. But she’s got a strong reckless streak, and it keeps getting her in trouble and jeopardizing her chances.
Riding her bike at top speed, she swerves in front of a car and nearly gets hit. The driver, Tristan Blake, turns out to be the mysterious new boy at school. He’s rebellious, broody, and wise beyond his years. He’s also devastatingly gorgeous. From the moment their eyes meet, Isadora is irresistibly drawn to him. But as soon as he enters her life, things go horribly wrong. She begins having disturbing visions full of unimaginable glamour and unbearable darkness. He knows things about her he shouldn’t. And he’s somehow so
familiar. As he at turns pulls her close, and then pushes her away, Isadora feels like her heart is being twisted and torn.
She soon discovers that her whole future is in jeopardy, and her only hope is to stay away from Tristan. But how can she turn away from the only boy she has ever loved? As a harrowing event looms closer, one that threatens to rip apart her psyche, Isadora must reach deep inside herself and find the strength to change her own destiny. But is she strong enough to do it?
Crystal’s Review: Torn was an interesting book that had its ups and its downs. I thoroughly enjoyed the excitement that was Isadora, she was a vibrant, dominant character. I also enjoyed the star-crossed lovers approach to the love story between Isadora and Tristan. My one complaint, and my reason for giving this book a two star rating, is I felt the story did not really pick up until the last fifty pages or so. The ebook is only one-hundred sixty five pages so I was disappointed in having to wait so long for the book to pick up. I thought the twist in the book was great and found the “one choice can change everything” theme to be realistic and easy to relate to. In the end I found this book to be slow going, however I liked it overall so I will be giving this authors next book a try.

Content: sexual tension, drugs, scenes depicting attempted sexual assault.
Crystal
Author Bio: “I believe a good hard laugh is priceless; I’m lucky to have friends with a wicked sense of humor who make me screech with laughter on a daily basis. To me, Fluevogs aren’t just shoes; they’re artistic masterpieces. I’ve been obsessed with them since I was sixteen. I wish every day was Halloween for both the costumes and the candy. Brilliant graffiti stumbled upon in an alley aways gives me a thrill; I love the crazed energy of the letters, and the way they burst with psychedelic color. If I could have tea with one fictional character, it would be the Mad Hatter. I can’t go a day without a latte or a stunning view of the city. I get my best ideas in bed, curled under a duvet, staring off into space as the early morning light flickers through my bedroom windows. And my favorite saying is, “Nobody can take from me what I’ve danced.”
Find author Ashley S. Morgan on her website/ blog/ amazon

Book Review- Midnight Magic

26 Apr, 2012 by in middle grade, midnight magic, nancy di fabbio, ya Leave a comment

Midnight Magic
by Nancy Di Fabbio
Paperback, 240 pages
Published: September 8, 2011
Publisher: iUniverse Publishing
ISBN-10: 1450291457
ISBN-13: 978-1450291453
Book Source:  Author
5 Stars
Book Description: Fourteen-year-old Mattie is obsessed with horses. Thrilled to discover a primitive painting of a beautiful black horse hidden in the attic of her grandmother’s home, it is not long before Mattie realizes the image of the painted horse seems to be coming to life. This is no ordinary work of art-this is a painting with a fascinating history that Mattie is about to unearth. One moonlit night, Mattie leaves the safety of her grandmother’s home and ventures deep into the surrounding forest where she meets a wild horse who bears an uncanny resemblance to the one in her painting. Mattie and her mystery horse form a bond that she instinctively knows she cannot reveal to anyone. The mysterious spirit who inhabits the painting seems to gain strength as Mattie’s bond with the wild horse deepens. But Mattie is uneasy as she wonders-and fears-if the two are somehow connected. Mattie soon realizes she should have heeded her grandmother’s warnings to be careful what she wishes for in life-for it is one thing to hope her painted horse is real and quite another to discover he might be.
Mary’s Review: Mattie is a young teenager with a low self-esteem.  She allows others to push her around and refuses to fight back or stand up for herself.  She is strong willed with a mind of her own and will do what she wants, when she wants.  After being warned by her mother numerous times not to go on or in the water after dark, she does it anyway.  She nearly drowns as a result and puts a friend in potential danger.  Her mother decides to send her to live with her grandmother for the summer.
Her grandmother lives on a little farm where she puts Mattie to work.  Mattie also gets a job at a nearby stable which overjoys Mattie as she has an obsession and love for horses.While living with her grandmother, Mattie makes a bedroom in the attic and discovers a mysterious, lifelike painting of a horse that her grandmother has bad feelings about, but gives it to Mattie anyway.
Mattie’s discovery brings with it deceit, evil and mistrust.  Because of Mattie’s obsession she soon grows as she learns how the consequences of her actions impact on the lives of those around her; how trust has to be earned; that love is unconditional; about patience and tolerance for others, what true friendship really is, goals and succeeding.  Mattie spends a summer learning to grow up
becoming a young woman and learning to be careful what she wished for.
This book is a wonderful blend of mystery/thriller that I recommend for ages 9 and above.

Content: No warnings, clean.

About the Author: Nancy Di Fabbio owns five horses who star in her children’s column published regularly in two local newspapers. She is the author of Quest for the Dress, and her third book, Saddle Up-And Live Your Dream! is scheduled for release in 2012. Nancy lives in rural Connecticut with her family and her horses.
After closing her custom bridal business, Nancy began a new career as a writer. Her first book, Quest for the Dress: Finding Your Dream Gown Without Losing Your Sanity, Friends or Groom (April 2011), is an invaluable guide for every bride searching for her perfect gown.
Although she loves all of her horses, her Morgan, Trinity, holds a special place in her heart. Fascinated with this unique and amazing breed, Nancy has written her first novel, Midnight Magic – Be Careful What You Wish For!. This spooky thriller is appropriate for readers as young as 9, but the story is so intriguing, they might have to wrestle it away from their older siblings and parents.
Nancy also writes a children’s column for a few local papers based on the exploits of her herd. Each episode of “Tales from the NEIGH-borhood” features interesting information about horses, a story, and a bit of advice from the horse that young readers can apply to their own lives.
Saddle Up! – And Live Your Dream is a comprehensive how-to for the budding equestrian which will soon be released. She is currently working on the book version of  Tales from the NEIGH-borhood.
You can visit her website to sample a few of her tales and read her blogs.

Read it now for 3.99