Genre: Young Adult

Hit by Lorie Ann Grover~ Blog Tour & Review

09 Oct, 2014 by in blinkYA, blog tour, book review, christian, Hit, Lorie Ann Grover Leave a comment

I received this book for free from BookSparksPR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Hit by Lorie Ann Grover~ Blog Tour & Review

Hit

by Lorie Ann Grover
Published by BlinkYA on October 7, 2014
Genres: Christian, Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 224
Format: ARC
four-half-stars
Source: BookSparksPR
Buy the BookGoodreads
After receiving a full-ride scholarship to Mills College for Girls, it appears Sarah's future is all laid out before her … but then she walks into a poetry class led by Mr. Haddings, a student teacher from the nearby University of Washington. Suddenly, life on the UW campus seems very appealing, and Sarah finds herself using her poetry journal to subtly declare her feelings for Mr. Haddings. And she becomes convinced Mr. Haddings is flirting back. As she sets off for school in the rain, she slips a poem in her back pocket—one that will declare her feelings once and for all.Mr. Haddings has noticed Sarah's attention; the fallout from any perceived relationship with a student is too great a risk, and he has decided to end all speculation that morning. But everything changes when Mr. Haddings feels the thud on his front bumper when he glances away from the road and finds Sarah in the street with blood pooling beneath her.

This is this first novel I have read by Lorie Ann Grover, but not the first in the Blink YA imprint. I was thrilled to pick up another clean YA contemporary read with Christian undertones. The story line took me aback at first because it is about a student and graduate student teacher who feel attracted to one another. That is usually an automatic DNF for me, because I just can’t stomach student-teacher relationships in any form. However, in Hit this is not the main focus of the story line and told from two points of view, you get a full picture that this is more a story about grief, trauma and forgiveness. There is truly something magical about this book that defies description. It is short, easy to read and simplistic, yet deep. At the end I felt transformed and wanted to read more. Author Lorie Ann Grover weaves in poetry with raw straight to the point realities of the aftermath at a car accident scene and the immediate consequences. I do wish the ending were a bit longer, or not so neatly tied up. I’m not sure if the finished version is different form the uncorrected bound proof, but I missed how the victim came to know the driver was her teacher Hastings. It seemed some of the story was cut or left out.

 Hit is based on the real life experience of the author’s best friend who’s child was also hit at an intersection. It makes you think twice about distracted driving and how quickly life can change. I’m not sure how Grover got me there–to the point of loving this book and wanting a sequel, but she did! I am sad that there is not a book two in the works at this time (please, please write an epilogue or novella). This is a strong standalone.

about_ the_author

Lorie-Ann-Grover Lorie Ann Grover is a co-founder of the influential site readergirlz, where she is a visible advocate for teen literacy and activism. In addition, she is the author of four acclaimed novels: Firstborn, Hold Me Tight, a VOYA pick; On Pointe, a Bank Street College Best Children’s Book of the Year; and Loose Threads, a Booklist Top 10 Youth First Novel and a 2003 Washington state Book Award Finalist. Lorie Ann lives in Washington State with her husband. Read more at www.lorieanngrover.com

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Review and Event Photos: Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace

04 Oct, 2014 by in deseret book, Focused, Noelle Pikus- Pace Leave a comment

Review and Event Photos: Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace

Focused: Keeping Your Life on Track, One Choice at a Time

Published by Deseret Book on September 8, 2014
Genres: Adult, Inspirational, LDS, Non- Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 144
Format: Hardcover
Source: Deseret Book
Buy the BookGoodreads
Where are your choices leading you? Regardless of our circumstances, each moment presents us with decision to make. It doesn't matter what question, trial, or success we experience—each traces back to a choice. At any given moment, we can choose to doubt, fear, worry; to be prideful, angry, depressed, or miserable—or we can choose to move forward. We can choose to be a light. We can choose to be happy. The choice is always ours, and each choice can be a step forward on the path of life we want for ourselves.

The life lessons learned by Olympic athlete Noelle Pikus Pace can equip each of us to turn daily choices and challenges into opportunities for growth. In her warm and relatable style, Noelle shares touching personal stories and teaches how these experiences can help us keep a healthy perspective on the things that matter most. She helps us to see that though all of our goals and trials are different, we each can choose to become the best versions of ourselves one day at a time.

Covering topics from letting go of expectations and pressures to finding a healthy life balance, from standing up for ourselves to standing for righteousness, world champion Noelle Pikus Pace infuses readers with the enthusiasm and confidence to get a little closer to their goals each and every day.

Never has a book been more timely than Focused by Noelle Pikus- Pace is for this generation. A silver medal US Olympic skeleton racer, Pikus Pace shares her wisdom with youth as well as her life experiences. In 2006 she was badly injured by a bobsled and had a huge mountain to climb to make it back on the track.Like, all of us, she has faced moral dilemmas, ups and downs, but she remained focused on what matters most.

Noelle shares how important it is to step outside our comfort zone and friendship others. She shares her personal struggle with miscarriage and returning to the track after an answer to prayer. She reminds youth to be modest, to be an example and to let your light shine.

I read this book full of quotes, photos and inspirational graphics in one sitting. It is one I will passing on to my daughters and sons. I cried along with her when she finally grasped her Olympic medal dream, with YW medallion also around her neck on the awards podium. Her temple medallion reminds all of us…”You are more precious than rubies.”
heather

The Q& A Event

focused_with_medal

Noelle absolutely shines when you meet her in person. I had the opportunity to met her at a Deseret Book event and she wanted all of us to see and feel her medal, to feel a part of her victory. She is an amazing example of faith and love. If you ever get the chance…GO see her!

See More Photos and Deseret News Media Coverage From The Event Here (we are in photo nine)

Favorite Quote

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and of good courage; be not afraid, neither be thou dismayed: for the Lord thy God is with the whithersoever thou goest. Joshua 1:9 “It isn’t always easy to be the one and only standing up for something you believe in. But I can promise you that it is much easier to stand with courage in the days to come if you decide now, today, in this moment, who you are and what you stand for.” ~Noelle Pikus Pace, {Focused} page 67

About the Authornoelle_pikus_pace

NOELLE PIKUS PACE became the first American woman to win the Overall World Cup Title in skeleton in 2005. After playing a variety of sports through high school and college, her exceptional strength in skeleton made her favored to win the gold medal in the 2006 Winter Olympics. An unfortunate accident prevented her from competing, but the following year she came back to win the World Championships by the largest margin in the history of the sport. Noelle competed in the 2010 Winter Olympics and was the top U.S. finisher, placing fourth.

She retired after the Olympics to spend more time with her family. Following a miscarriage in April of 2012, Noelle and her husband, Janson, decided that she would try one last time to earn an Olympic medal, on the condition that the family would all travel together. Competing in 32 national and international competitions over two years, Noelle finished on the podium 29 times and concluded her career by triumphantly winning the silver medal at the 2014 Olympic Winter Games in Sochi, Russia, and jumping into the stand to share the moment with her family and the world.

Noelle earned a bachelor’s degree in 2005 and a master of business administration degree in 2007. Noelle and Janson have two children, Lacee and Traycen.

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Review ~ Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston

13 Aug, 2014 by in ala, amy clipston, book review, Zondervan Leave a comment

I received this book for free from ALA, Zondervan in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Review ~ Destination Unknown by Amy Clipston

Destination Unknown

by Amy Clipston
Published by Zondervan on February 4, 2014
Genres: Christian, Contemporary, Fiction, Young Adult
Pages: 272
Format: Paperback
four-stars
Source: ALA, Zondervan
Buy the BookGoodreads
It’s senior year, and Whitney Richards is tired of the constant pressures to be perfect. When she gets a D in Calculus, her mother immediately hires a tutor, worried Whitney won’t get into the “right” college---her alma mater---with imperfect grades. Her tutor, Taylor, is a quiet, mysterious boy who is unlike anyone Whitney has met before. But Taylor’s rougher upbringing has her mother and friends discouraging any type of relationship. Tired of having to play a part for everyone else, Whitney quits the cheerleading squad that once defined her social identity, and begins spending more time with Taylor. Her mom and friends worry Whitney is making a huge mistake, and even Taylor begins to show concern for some of her choices. But for the first time, Whitney is in the driver’s seat of her life. Will she be able to find her identity---and God’s plan for her life---before she throws everything away?

I picked up a copy of Destination Unknown from the Zondervan booth at ALA in Las Vegas this year. I know I can always count on Zondervan for high quality, clean Christian reads. Destination Unknown is the second in a series about cousins, but having not read the first, I had no problem picking it up and loving it! So, really it’s more of a companion novel. Author Amy Clipston does an excellent job exploring the painful process of “finding oneself” as teen and separating your wishes from the pressure of peers and the expectations of parents. Whitney is in her senior year, coasting by as head cheerleader, and up until this point she’s been the perfect child. 4.0 student, accepted into a prestigious college, with the popular football player boyfriend. A domino effect of events including a “D” in calculus causes a shift. Suddenly she’s painfully aware that her mom’s plans for her life may not be the same as her own and maybe her “friends” and true friends after all.

Whitney starts a downward spiral of small rebellions against her uber strict mother, and spends a lot of time on her knees. I absolutely love when teen titles encourage prayer. Christian behavior vs. church going Christian by name only  is also explored. I will be passing this book on to my daughters and purchasing the author’s other titles. I highly recommend it as a clean, contemporary read that hits on so many things: coming of age, bullying, repentance and loyalty without being heavy handed. Loved it!

 

heather

 

about_ the_author

Amy Clipston is the award-winning and best-selling author of the Kauffman Amish Bakery series. Her novels have hit multiple best-seller lists including CBD, CBA, and ECPA. Amy 2765728holds a degree in communication from Virginia Wesleyan College and works full-time for the City of Charlotte, NC. Amy lives in North Carolina with her husband, two sons, and four spoiled rotten cats. Visit her online at www.amyclipston.com Facebook: AmyClipstonBooks Twitter: @AmyClipston

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Blog Tour: Bad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettel

10 Jun, 2014 by in bad luck girl, blog tour, Uncategorized, YA book reviews, ya fantasy 1 comment

I received this book for free from Random House in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blog Tour: Bad Luck Girl by Sarah Zettel

Bad Luck Girl

by Sarah Zettel
Series: The American Fairy, #1
Published by Random House on May 27th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Paperback
three-half-stars
Source: Random House
Buy the BookGoodreads
Fans of Libba Bray's The Diviners will love the blend of fantasy and jazz-hot Chicago in this stylish series.

After rescuing her parents from the Seelie king at Hearst Castle, Callie is caught up in the war between the fairies of the Midnight Throne and the Sunlit Kingdoms. By accident, she discovers that fairies aren't the only magical creatures in the world. There's also Halfers, misfits that are half fairy and half other--laced with strange magic and big-city attitude. As the war heats up, Callie's world falls apart. And even though she's the child of prophecy, she doubts she can save the Halfers, her people, her family, and Jack, let alone herself. The fairies all say Callie is the Bad Luck Girl, and she's starting to believe them.

A strong example of diversity in YA, the American Fairy Trilogy introduces Callie LeRoux, a half-black teen who stars in this evocative story full of American history and fairy tales.

Praise for Bad Luck Girl:

"All the powers that be want to use Callie's magic to win the war for their side, and nobody cares what happens to Callie, Jack or the Halfers, raising the stakes to frighteningly high levels. Callie and Zettel bring this stellar trilogy to a satisfyingly sentimental conclusion." --Kirkus Reviews, Starred Review

"[Zettel's] strong characterizations, historical detail, and carefully constructed fantastic elements create a high-energy literary fusion that fans will devour." --SLJ

Fire and Ice is today’s stop on the official blog tour for Bad Luck Girl. This is book three in the American Fairy trilogy, and having not read the first two, I jumped right in when offered a review copy. Faeries and historical fiction mixed? Yes, please! The book picks right up in the middle of Callie’s involvement in a war between the seelie and unseelie courts. By inadvertently killing a king’s daughter, she is once again in the thick of things. She, her family, and friend Jack are fleeing to Chicago in the midst of the depression. The action is literally non-stop. You will also get a firsthand look at what life was like in America in the 1930’s while reality and magic mingle together.

Bad Luck Girl is a great pick for younger readers because the main character’s voice is on the young end of the spectrum. I would highly recommend reading the first two in the series before picking up book three. While not impossible to catch the drift of the backstory, I think it would be much more enjoyable to really get to know all involved through the separate books. I loved the non-fiction elements blended with fantasy and the ethnic diversity of characters. Thanks so much to Random House for a fun fairy read!heather

 

About the Authorsrah_zettel

Sarah Zettel is the critically acclaimed author of more than twenty novels, spanning the full range of genre fiction. Her debut novel, Reclamation, won the Locus Award for Best First Novel. Her second release, Fool’s War, was a 1997 New York Times Notable Book, and the American Library Association named Playing God one of the Best Books for Young Adults of 1999. Her novel Bitter Angels won the Philip K. Dick Award for best science fiction paperback in 2009. Her latest novel, Dust Girl, was named as one of the best young adult books of the year by both Kirkus Reviews and the American Library Association. Zettel lives in Michigan with her husband, her rapidly growing son, and her cat, Buffy the Vermin Slayer.

Website *  Twitter  * Facebook * Goodreads

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Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

01 May, 2014 by in catch a falling star, kim culbertson, netgalley, scholastic, young adult fiction 5 comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Catch A Falling Star by Kim Culbertson

Catch a Falling Star

by Kim Culbertson
Published by Scholastic on April 29th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
four-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
A deliciously charming novel about finding true love . . . and yourself.

Nothing ever happens in Little, CA. Which is just the way Carter Moon likes it. But when Hollywood arrives to film a movie starring former child star turned PR mess Adam Jakes, everything changes. Carter's town becomes a giant glittery set and, much to her annoyance, everyone is starry-eyed for Adam. Carter seems to be the only girl not falling all over herself to get a glimpse of him. Which apparently makes her perfect for the secret offer of a lifetime: playing the role of Adam's girlfriend while he's in town, to improve his public image, in exchange for a hefty paycheck. Her family really needs the money and so Carters agrees. But it turns out Adam isn't at all who she thought he was. As they grow closer, their relationship walks a blurry line between what's real and what's fake, and Carter must open her eyes to the scariest of unexplored worlds - her future. Can Carter figure out what she wants out of life AND get the guy? Or are there no Hollywood endings in real life?

I’ve been on a contemporary YA kick lately looking for sweet, summer reads. Catch A Falling Star is just that! Small town girl Carter Moon lives in Little California and works in her parents’ sandwich shop. She’s perfectly happy with the way her life is now. No need to go off to New York or explore the world. She has roots in her town. Carter teaches the elderly dance classes and is not at all fazed when movie star Adam Jakes rolls in to town to shoot his latest movie. Adam is your typical arrogant child star turned young adult. He gets what he want s and he has an attitude. Carter’s best friend Chloe is the adoring fan, with poster plastered all over her walls. So no one is more shocked when Adam seems to take a liking to Carter. How did her friend make the radar and the cut to become Adam’s girlfriend?

Delicately yet realistically exploring addiction and the masks we all wear, Catch a Falling Star is a clean, sweet YA. We get a very clear picture of Carter, but not much fleshing out of Adam or the other side characters. I would have loved to know more about each of them! Carter had a functional relationship with her parents, she is down-to-earth and likable. She has the hard decision all seniors must make in the summer after high school. What to do, where to go to college, to take a gap year or to stay at home? In the vein of Wish You Were Italian and Jennifer E Smith books, Catch a Falling Star ended with a twist, and left me with a smile on my face. A cute read with some great poetic passages peppered through out. Thanks to Scholastic and Netgalley for the sneak peek!

Content: suitable for younger YA readers– boy taking off his shirt a few times, drinking at a party and kissing.

kim_culbertson

heatherAbout the Author

Sourcebooks Fire published Kim’s award winning first YA novel Songs for a Teenage Nomad (2010, originally Hip Pocket Press, 2007) and her second YA novel Instructions for a Broken Heart (2011) which was named a Booklist 2011 Top Ten Romance Title for Youth and won the 2012 Northern California Book Award for YA Fiction. Her third YA novel Catch a Falling Star will be published by Scholastic on April 29, 2014. When she’s not writing for teens, she’s teaching them. She’s a college advisor and teaches creative writing at Forest Charter School. Kim wrote her eBook novella The Liberation of Max McTrue for her students who, over the years, have taught her much more than she has taught them. Kim lives in the Northern California foothills with her husband and daughter.

Learn more on her website*facebook* twitter

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Blink YA Blog Tour~ Remnants by Lisa T Bergren

29 Apr, 2014 by in blinkYA, blog tour, christian, lisa t bergren, Zondervan 5 comments

I received this book for free from BookSparksPR in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Blink YA Blog Tour~ Remnants by Lisa T Bergren

Remnants: Season of Wonder

by Lisa T. Bergren
Published by BlinkYA, Zondervan on April 8th, 2014
Genres: Christian, Young Adult
Pages: 567
Format: ARC
four-stars
Source: BookSparksPR
Buy the BookGoodreads
Andriana is a Remnant, one of the gifted teens born on the seventh day during the seventy-seventh Harvest after the Great War, and destined to act as humanity’s last shield against the horrors that now plague those who remain.

After years of training in stealth and warfare, Andriana and her Knight protector, Ronan, are finally ready to answer the Call and begin the life they were designed for. But as they embark with the other Remnants on the first of their assignments, they quickly discover that the world beyond their protected Valley home is more dangerous than they imagined.

The Sons of Sheol will stop at nothing to prevent Dri and Ronan from rescuing anyone sympathetic to the Remnants’ cause. And as the Remnants attempt to battle the demonic forces, other enemies close in. Dangers intensify, but so do Dri's feelings for Ronan--the one emotion she is not meant to feel. In the midst of their mission, Andriana must find a way to master her feelings, or risk compromising everything.

Lisa T. Bergren has become one of my “go to” authors when I need a well-written, clean Young Adult book. Her newest offering, Remnants: Season of Wonder, explores a world where the Ailith are fighting against the power of evil. They are gifted youth, raised and called up for a purpose. Born with gifts–to see angels, to feel others’ emotions, to sense the will of their Maker. But these powers are not welcome in all the places on earth, and their very lives are in danger as they journey to save their own.

I love the pull between the feelings and emotions of every day human and and the need to pull deeper, to meditate and trust The Maker. Bergren does an amazing job of showing the juxtaposition a youth would feel in trusting in the arm of flesh or leaning on a higher power. There is an attraction, a spark, between Adriana and her protector Ronan, that is forbidden. Yet they both feel it. Adriana goes through a growing into her role, and the trial of losing what she holds dear. As a character she becomes more brave, more centered. There are a lot of side characters in Remnants, and at times I had a hard time keeping them all straight in my mind. But the world they live in reaches from Zanzibar to Pacifica–dangerous desert where women are threatened to the unknown land where the gifted are hunted.

For fans of Dystopian with the gift of magic, Remnants is a great choice. Bergren is a masterful writer who weaves Christian truth into  a new futuristic world. Thanks so much to BookSparksPR for inviting us to be a part of the blog tour!

Content (highlight to reveal): some tension, moderate war related violence, threat of assault to women.

heatherAbout the Author

Lisa T Bergren
Lisa T. Bergren is the author of over forty books, with a combined count of over 2.5 million copies sold. She has written best-selling children’s books, award-winning YA (River of Time Series: Waterfall), popular historical fiction, contemporary fiction, women’s nonfiction, and gift books.

She is a writer and editor residing in Colorado Springs, CO, with her husband and three children. You can find out more about Lisa at LisaBergren.com.

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ARC Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

21 Apr, 2014 by in bloomsbury, book review, kristin rae, netgalley, YA book reviews, YA contemporary 3 comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Review: Wish You Were Italian by Kristin Rae

Wish You Were Italian

by Kristin Rae
Series: If Only #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA on May 6, 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 323
Format: eARC
four-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
Pippa is in Italy for the summer and, despite her parents’ wishes, she has no intention of just studying the local art! She has a list of things of her own to do: from swimming in the Mediterranean Sea to getting a makeover – and falling for an Italian boy! As Pippa explores the dramatic ruins of Rome and Pompeii, she is swept into her own drama with two guys: an irresistible local she knows is nothing but trouble and a cute American archaeology student . . . Will she find her true love?

The perfect reckless romance to enjoy whether you are home or abroad.

Another really fun summer read. Wish You Were Italian is light, fun and clean. Plus, you get to see Italy though the eyes of Pippa, a 17 year old on her own adventure. Pippa’s mom owns and art gallery and is usually fully immersed in her own work, so Pippa’s not surprised when she gets sent away for  the summer to an art history program through an Italian program. But once Pippa touches down in a strange and exciting country she decides not to conform to her mother’s wishes– she’s off on her own sight seeing trip to take photos of all the places she’s ever wanted to see! It helps that she bumps into Darren, a cute archaeological student with unruly hair and a sweet personality. And then, there’s several dares written in a journal from her best friend back home that lead her to do things she’s never dared to do before. Like cutting her ties, her future plans and seeing the world on her own. I love that Pippa stays grounded by checking in with her grandmother. She has a great relationship with at least one adult. at home and another in Italy.

I lived vicariously through her as she ate gelato, toured the collosseum, lived in a fishing town full of color by the coast and met a local Italian boy who makes sparks fly. The two main men in this story are on complete opposite ends of the spectrum in personality and it makes for a fun, not annoying love triangle. This is one I would buy and pass on to my daughters. There is some tension and kissing, but no parental content that made me uncomfortable. Highly recommend! Awesome way to tour Italy through the pages of a book!

heather Kristin_Rae

Author Bio

From Kristin Rae’s Website

YA writer.
I’m represented by Marietta B. Zacker of the Nancy Gallt Literary Agency, and my debut YA contemporary WISH YOU WERE ITALIAN will be published May 6, 2014 by Bloomsbury.
 
Chocolate addict.
Cake, cupcakes, cookies, hot drinks, Cadbury Mini Eggs. I don’t discriminate.  

Book hoarder.
I go to a lot of author events. I wind up with a lot of books. Hey, that wall could use a bookshelf.
 
 
Crafter.
Oil painting, watercolors, paper crafts.
 
Eater of pizza.
Cheese. Mushroom. Red pepper flakes.

Kdrama and Kpop convert.
If you have to ask, you are missing out on one of life’s most enjoyable time wasters. 
 
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ARC Breview: The Geography of You and Me

07 Apr, 2014 by in jennifer e smith, poppy, YA book reviews, YA contemporary 4 comments

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

ARC Breview: The Geography of You and Me

The Geography of You and Me

by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy on April 15th 2014
Genres: Contemporary, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: eARC
three-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too

Girl and boy get stuck in a New York elevator in a power outage then roam the city in search of ice cream. Sounds romantic? I thought so, and when Poppy send an advanced copy of The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E Smith, I jumped on the chance to read it. Jennifer is one of my all time favorite contemporary YA authors. If you haven’t read her book The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, you must do so now! Stop reading and go find a copy…

But, back to The Geography of You and Me. Owen is living in a Manhattan apartment with his father who is the new maintenance man. They’re trying so hard to make ends meet, but are both kind of lost after losing their mother. Lucy is home alone again for the weekend, while mom and dad are off traveling. Both are so close to the cusp of adulthood and big decision like college. They make quick and fast friends facing a blackout together with no parents around in the emergency to help. But, life moves on when the lights come back on. They find themselves in different parts of the country and opposite parts of the world, with a heart string tying them together.

The Geography of You and Me is subtle and poetic, it’s not a cute, light read, but not overly heavy either. It’s subtle. Overall, I wish I felt more connected to the main characters. I loved Liam, a boy Lucy meets in Edinburgh and wanted to live in that moment. I wanted to hear and feel lots more than Lucy did. I just didn’t have the connection or internalize the spark that drew Lucy and Owen together across all the miles and circumstances. I DID like all the settings…San Francisco, Lake Tahoe, Scotland. What’s not to love? But I wanted to BE there. This book left me with an unresolved longing. Not my favorite I’ve read of Jennifer’s but still one I would pick up and re-read again to try to catch the poetry hidden in the pages. It was clean and the teens have a relationship with their parents– both great positives.

Thanks so much to Netgalley for the sneak peek!

About the Author

Jennifer E Smith

Jennifer E. Smith is the author of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, The Storm Makers, You Are Here, and The Comeback Season. She earned her master’s degree in creative writing from the University of St. Andrews in Scotland, and currently works as an editor in New York City. Her writing has been translated into 28 languages.

Website * Twitter

Read the first 5 chapter free on Amazon
!

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Book Review: Surfacing by Shana Norris

25 Mar, 2014 by in mermaids, netgalley, paranormal, shana norris, swans landing, YA fiction Leave a comment

I received this book for free from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Surfacing by Shana Norris

Surfacing

by Shana Norris
Series: Swans Landing #1
Published by Shana Norris on December 19th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 328
Format: eARC
three-half-stars
Source: Netgalley
Buy the BookGoodreads
Sixteen-year-old Mara Westray has just lost her mother, and now, being shipped off to live with the father she doesn’t know is not how she imagined grieving. She’s already counting down the days until she turns eighteen and can leave the tiny island of Swans Landing.

But from the moment she steps off the ferry, nothing is as ordinary as it looks. Whispers of a haunting song on the wind make her see impossible things, and she isn’t sure she can trust her judgment about what is real and what isn’t anymore. Maybe she can’t even trust her judgment about quiet Josh Canavan, whose way of speaking in riddles and half-truths only confuses her more, luring her deeper into the secrets hidden beneath the ocean’s surface.

As she tries to unravel the events that led to her mom fleeing the island sixteen years ago, Mara finds that the biggest secret of all is only the beginning.

Surfacing is the first book in the Swans Landing series.

I downloaded Surfacing off of Netgalley drawn by the idea of a remote seaside town, reached only via ferry and intrigued by the legend of mer people or “finfolk.” Main character Mara is thrown into a situation she is less than fond of when her mother passes away and she’s sent to live with her father who she know nothing about.All of her life she’s felt abandoned by him, and now she will have to live with him in Swan’s Landing. Form the moment she arrives in town she can tell she’s not welcome. There’s the strange woman who tells her “she’s not supposed to be here”, and a division amongst the town people– Mara seems to be right int he middle of the heated battle. Only she’s not sure why?

Why is it that no one will tell her why she is being bullied and singled out, or why there is so much tension in this new hometown?

I enjoyed the premise and legend behind Surfacing as well as the cover and the back story included on the author’s website. I also liked that the school staff, townspeople and teens take a stand against bullying. However, the voice of both Mara and her nemesis Sailor started to grate on me after a while as they were so full of attitude, anger and drama. This definitely feels YA, but the angst was a bit heavy handed for my taste. Love triangles are not my favorite either, and Mara leaves my favorite pick in the dark about what is really going on.  I liked it enough to finish and read the sneak peek of book two, but it’s probably not a book I would buy for my shelves. I did like the fleshing out of each character, enough so that I felt I knew them. I enjoyed seeing progress in the relationship between daughter and father. I also really love it when indie authors put their works on Netgalley so we can be exposed to a wide variety of YA titles. Thanks to the author and Netgalley for a chance to read it!

Content: older teen (highlight to reveal) in depth talk of sex, co ed sleepovers, swearing, bullying, violence between adult and child.

heather

Author Bio

shana norris

I was born August 19, on my parents’ first wedding anniversary, in a small town in eastern North Carolina. I’m the oldest of four children. I’m a leo, which means I’m supposed to be bossy, interfering, and intolerant. But I’m also supposed to be broad-minded, warm-hearted, and creative, so maybe it all evens out.

I’ve always loved books. My parents would read my favorite books to me so often that I’d memorize them before I had learned how to read. Some of my favorite memories as a kid are of my mom taking my siblings and me to the public library. I’d always check out a big stack of books and then have them all read within a week. The first time I can remember writing a story that wasn’t for school, but simply because I wanted to write, was when I was eight years old. I wrote and illustrated a book called The Lonely Rectangle. It was a story about a rectangle that had been thrown in the trash and felt unloved until someone found it and took it home to use as a table. No, it was not a box or anything like that, it was just a plain rectangle. I have no clue why I decided to write about a geometric shape. It wasn’t like I was particularly fond of math or anything.

I spent my junior year of high school and part of my senior year living just outside of West Palm Beach, Florida, where my family moved to the summer I turned sixteen. I had a hard time making friends, but the good thing that came out of it was that I started to spend a lot of time online since I had no one to hang out with after school. That was when I discovered online journals written by teen girls and even started my own, which I wrote under a pen name. It was that experience with online journals in 1996-1997, the predecessor of today’s blogs, that helped inspire Something to Blog About.

I knew from a young age that I wanted to be a writer. Well, actually I wanted to be a ballerina, an archaeologist, a teacher, AND a writer, all at the same time. But after a while I figured out that I’d never taken a ballet lesson in my life, I didn’t particularly like to get dirty, and I hated being in a classroom all day, so that really only left writer as my future job. My family advised me to get a back up plan, which meant, “study something else in school that you can earn a living at while waiting for your books to sell.” So I studied graphic design, tested out of as many classes as I possibly could to avoid sitting in so many classrooms, and got my degree.

I’m still a web designer by day and write my books during my lunch hours and at night. I currently live in North Carolina with my husband and our menagerie of pets: two dogs–Chloe and Zoey–and five cats–Elmo, Bandit, Kit, BC, and Butter.

Fin the author on Facebook * twitter * pinterest

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Book Review: Let the Storm Break by Shannon Messenger

19 Mar, 2014 by in simon schuster, ya 1 comment

I received this book for free from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Review: Let the Storm Break by Shannon Messenger

Let The Storm Break

by Shannon Messenger
Series: Sky Fall #2
Published by Simon Pulse on March 4, 2014
Genres: Young Adult
Pages: 400 pages
Format: eARC
three-half-stars
Source: Edelweiss
Buy the BookGoodreads
Vane Weston is haunted. By the searing pull of his bond to Audra. By the lies he’s told to cover for her disappearance. By the treacherous winds that slip into his mind, trying to trap him in his worst nightmares. And as his enemies grow stronger, Vane doesn’t know how much longer he can last on his own.

But Audra’s still running. From her past. From the Gales. Even from Vane, who she doesn’t believe she deserves. And the farther she flees, the more danger she finds. She possesses the secret power her enemy craves, and protecting it might be more than she can handle—especially when she discovers Raiden’s newest weapon.

With the Gale Force weakened by recent attacks, and the power of four collapsing, Vane and Audra are forced to make a choice: keep trusting the failing winds, or turn to the people who’ve betrayed them before. But even if they survive the storms sent to destroy them, will they have anything left to hold on to?

The Sky Fall series by Shannon Messenger has so many things going for it…

What I loved

The covers…gorgeous!

The new and unique mythology of wind walkers or slyphs

The fun personality of the main male protagonist Vane. He is supposed to be a king, yet he’s still young and snarky. His thoughts and snide comments will keep a smile on your face

There is a ramping up of both external and internal conflict in book two. The ad guys get more bad and the good guys are struggling with their own issues.

The concept of bonding for life with a kiss between two slyphs is romantic and old fashioned.

I loved the introduction of Vane’s intended companion Solana. It wasn’t a true love triangle but I would love to see and hear more from her.

The dual point of view. We get to know both Vane and Audra better.

Fun words like haboob!

 

What I struggled with

The pacing in book two is a bit slow. By the end things really pick up speed but it felt a little too late to really hold and capture interest.

I wanted to know more about each character. I was hoping to dig deeper into the story line instead of just touching on the setting and the new side characters.

The predictability of the cliff hanger ending and some of the plot elements.

I wanted to see Vane’s training. Let’s get him able to fight back ( even though it is against his very Westerly nature!)

 

Overall, I will definitely read book three in the series.

Content (highlight to reveal): sleepovers between boy and girl, comments about girls body parts, some sensual thoughts, kissing, mild violence

 

About the Authorshannon messenger

Shannon Messenger graduated from the USC School of Cinematic Arts where she learned–among other things–that she liked watching movies much better than making them. She also regularly eats cupcakes for breakfast, sleeps with a bright blue stuffed elephant named Ella, and occasionally gets caught talking to imaginary people. So it was only natural for her to write stories for children. She’s the author of the middle grade series, KEEPER OF THE LOST CITIES, and LET THE SKY FALL, a trilogy for young adults. She lives in Southern California with her husband and an embarrassing number of cats. Find her online at shannonmessenger.com.

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