Genre: Young Adult

Shutter by Courtney Alameda ~ ARC Review

19 Nov, 2014 by in courtney alameda, feiwel and friends, horror, young adult fiction Leave a comment

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

Shutter by Courtney Alameda ~ ARC Review

Shutter

by Corutney Alameda
Published by Macmillan on February 3rd 2015
Genres: Horror, Young Adult
Pages: 384
Format: ARC
four-half-stars
Source: Feiwel and Friends
Buy the BookGoodreads
Horror has a new name: introducing Courtney Alameda.

Micheline Helsing is a tetrachromat—a girl who sees the auras of the undead in a prismatic spectrum. As one of the last descendants of the Van Helsing lineage, she has trained since childhood to destroy monsters both corporeal and spiritual: the corporeal undead go down by the bullet, the spiritual undead by the lens. With an analog SLR camera as her best weapon, Micheline exorcises ghosts by capturing their spiritual energy on film. She's aided by her crew: Oliver, a techno-whiz and the boy who developed her camera's technology; Jude, who can predict death; and Ryder, the boy Micheline has known and loved forever.

When a routine ghost hunt goes awry, Micheline and the boys are infected with a curse known as a soulchain. As the ghostly chains spread through their bodies, Micheline learns that if she doesn't exorcise her entity in seven days or less, she and her friends will die. Now pursued as a renegade agent by her monster-hunting father, Leonard Helsing, she must track and destroy an entity more powerful than anything she's faced before . . . or die trying.

Lock, stock, and lens, she’s in for one hell of a week.

First of all you should all know I am a wuss when it comes to horror. I stay far, far away from anything scary. However, I requested Shutter for a few reasons

1) It’s about a ghost hunter who uses photography to trap ghosts and has a vintage camera collection

2) I know the author as a local publicist and librarian in a library that really needs to be exorcised because of its creepy history. (For real, I know the story behind the beautiful historic Provo Library and… wowza)

3) It was Halloween when I first opened Shutter, and who doesn’t read something creepy on that holiday?

Courtney did not disappoint. The writing is poetic and atmospheric, down right creepy and at times gross. It reminded me of Ghostbusters meets kick- a female heroine with an attitude and a bit of a past. This is not a book for the faint of heart. After the gory opening scene, prepare yourself for more :)

I loved main MC’s relationship with Australian Ryder and the character development she goes through to heal from the wounds of her childhood. There is mention of Van Helsing’s Dracula and lots of action as well as likable sidekick ghost hunter teens. My only apprehension was a tad bit of political agenda in regards to women holding the priesthood which was slipped in. (The author contacted me and said it is not intended as personal belief or agenda, just that it fits the character)

Overall, loved this debut. It was unique and sticks with you long after you’re finished. Thanks MacMillan for the sneak peek!

Content: moderate swearing, mention of sex, heavy paranormal violence, domestic and child abuse.

 

about_ the_author

Courtney Alameda’s spent her entire career trying to con and cajole people into reading great books. A veteran of the big-box bookstore trenches, Courtney now works as a librarian for the prettiest cortney_alamedalibrary you’ve ever seen, where she spends her time ordering large stacks of YA books, doing readers’ advisory, and dressing up as various mythical creatures for a variety of library events.

Courtney has an affinity for brightly colored lipstick, urban exploration, cosplay, video games, and Twitter. If she’s listening to music, it’s usually Florence + the Machine, Marina and the Diamonds, Rodrigo y Gabriela, or Jason Graves. Her addiction to Dr. Pepper is legendary.

Courtney holds a B.A. in English Literature with an emphasis in Creative Writing from Brigham Young University. She is represented by the amazing and talented John M. Cusick of Greenhouse Literary. A Northern California native, she now resides in Utah with a legion of books and a tiny, five pound cat who possesses a giant personality.

“You can catch her shenanigans on Twitter, Facebook, and Goodreads; blogging with her sisters-in-the-macabre, theYA Scream Queens; or hanging out with the Fearless Fifteeners and the Class of 2k15.”

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Book Breview~ Jewel by Amy Ewing

20 Oct, 2014 by in amy ewing, dystopian, harperteen, lone city, YA fiction 2 comments

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

Book Breview~ Jewel by Amy Ewing

The Jewel

by Amy Ewing
Series: The Lone City #1
Published by Harper Teen on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Dystopian, Young Adult
Pages: 358
Format: Hardcover
four-stars
Source: HarperCollins
Buy the BookGoodreads
The Jewel means wealth. The Jewel means beauty. The Jewel means royalty. But for girls like Violet, the Jewel means servitude. Not just any kind of servitude. Violet, born and raised in the Marsh, has been trained as a surrogate for the royalty—because in the Jewel the only thing more important than opulence is offspring.

Purchased at the surrogacy auction by the Duchess of the Lake and greeted with a slap to the face, Violet (now known only as #197) quickly learns of the brutal truths that lie beneath the Jewel’s glittering facade: the cruelty, backstabbing, and hidden violence that have become the royal way of life.

Violet must accept the ugly realities of her existence... and try to stay alive. But then a forbidden romance erupts between Violet and a handsome gentleman hired as a companion to the Duchess’s petulant niece. Though his presence makes life in the Jewel a bit brighter, the consequences of their illicit relationship will cost them both more than they bargained for.

The Cover

LOVE! Picked it up because of the gorgeous shimmery cover. It reminds me of The Winner’s Curse. I am like a moth to the flame with covers of girls in beautiful ball gowns.

Liked

The ending. Surprise twist and lots of suspense. This is a cliffhanger, so you will have to pick up book two.

The complex characters. These dutchesses, their sons, servants and companions have a lot going on.

Jewel moves along at a fast pace, it is easy to read in one sitting. You are repulsed, yet drawn to the story at the same time.

Didn’t Like

The idea of another human being both a surrogate mother and servant at the same time is creepy. Complete misuse of women’s bodies and souls. There is a dark dystopian edge to all that is shiny and glitters in Jewel.

Lots of drama. Jewel’s society and royalty are glitsy, glamour and corrupt taken to the extreme.

Couldn’t figure out the augeries–genetic mutations that involve the owner’s ability to make magic.

Content

sex, moderate violence, servitude and use of women.

About the Author

amyewing
Amy Ewing is the young adult author of THE JEWEL, the first in a trilogy from HarperTeen, coming out September 2014.
She grew up in a small town outside Boston, where her librarian mother instilled a deep love of reading at a young age. Amy moved to New York City in 2000 to study theater at New York University. Unfortunately, her acting career didn’t quite pan out. She worked in restaurants, as an administrative assistant, a nanny, and a sales representative for a wine distributor before the lack of creativity in her life drove her to begin writing.

Amy received her MFA in Creative Writing for Children from The New School, where she was lucky enough to meet a fabulous community of YA writers who keep her sane on a daily basis. She lives in Harlem, where she spends her days writing, eating cheese, and occasionally binge watching The Vampire Diaries.

facebook * website * twitter

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Review: Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

15 Oct, 2014 by in ala, disney hyperion, R.C. Lewis, stitching snow, YA book reviews, ya fantasy 1 comment

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

Review: Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis

Stitching Snow

by R.C. Lewis
Published by Disney Hyperion on October 14th 2014
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
four-stars
Source: ALA
Buy the BookGoodreads
Princess Snow is missing.

Her home planet is filled with violence and corruption at the hands of King Matthias and his wife as they attempt to punish her captors. The king will stop at nothing to get his beloved daughter back—but that’s assuming she wants to return at all.

Essie has grown used to being cold. Temperatures on the planet Thanda are always sub-zero, and she fills her days with coding and repairs for the seven loyal drones that run the local mines.

When a mysterious young man named Dane crash-lands near her home, Essie agrees to help the pilot repair his ship. But soon she realizes that Dane’s arrival was far from accidental, and she’s pulled into the heart of a war she’s risked everything to avoid. With the galaxy’s future—and her own—in jeopardy, Essie must choose who to trust in a fiery fight for survival

Stitching Snow reminded me a lot of the Wondla Series by Tony DiTerlizzi. Take Snow White and mash it up with Star Wars like drones, add some cage fighting and you have a fresh take on an old fairy tale. Essie is living a quiet life repairing mining drones on planet Thanda when a ship crashes across the sky. The lone survivor is a mysterious and dangerous boy named Dane. Essie’s goal is to get him up and out of her life as soon as possible. The two work on repairing or “stitching” the code to get his mode of transportation back in the air. But as the plot unravels, we learn Dane is way more than meets the eye, much more than a traveling treasure hunter. He is a threat in more ways than one. Essie has major trust issues from her abuse in the past and any male is to be held at more than arms distance.

With slow building romance and plenty of action, Essie’s journey takes readers to several different planets. All the while she has sidekick dwarf drones Dimwit and Cusser by her side. There are dark villains, an evil step-mother and the potential inheritance of a royal throne. Overall, I really enjoyed R.C. Lewis debut. It took a while to understand the world and mindset of each character, but once rolling there is plenty going on! I also really like that this is a standalone. The techy, sci fi side isn’t normally my forte, but the complexity of Dane and Essie’s relationship kept me hooked. Kudos to Lewis for holding my interest and wrapping things up in a hopeful, romantic way.

Content: recommend for 16 and older because of two attempted rape scenes and heavy themes. No swearing. Moderate violence.

About the Author

RC-Headshot-1-SmallerR.C. Lewis teaches math to teenagers—sometimes in sign language, sometimes not—so whether she’s a science geek or a bookworm depends on when you look. That may explain why her characters don’t like to be pigeonholed. Coincidentally, R.C. enjoys reading about quantum physics and the identity issues of photons.

Her debut novel Stitching Snow is a sci-fi retelling of Snow White, releasing October 14th from Hyperion.

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Review: Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

13 Oct, 2014 by in blinkYA, book review, carey crop, christian, doon, lorie langdon 1 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.

Review: Destined for Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Destined for Doon

Series: Doon #2
Published by BlinkYA on September 2nd 2014
Genres: Romance, Time Travel, Young Adult
Pages: 368
Format: Hardcover
four-stars
Source: BookSparksPR
Buy the BookGoodreads
In this sequel to Doon, Mackenna Reid realizes she made a horrible mistake in choosing to follow her dreams of Broadway instead of staying in the enchanted land of Doon. To make everything worse, she's received her Calling—proof she and Duncan are each other's one true love—and it's pure torment, especially when visions of the very alluring Scottish prince appear right before she goes on stage. So when Duncan tells her an ancient curse threatens to overtake Doon and the new queen and Kenna’s best friend, Veronica, needs her to return, Kenna doesn't have to think twice. With darkness closing in on all sides, Kenna and Vee must battle a world of nightmares in order to protect the kingdom. But it will take the ultimate test of courage for Kenna to salvage her happily ever after.

The Doon series is one of my all-time favorites. First of all, if you haven’t read book one,  a reimagining of Brigadoon, I would suggest picking it up before diving into book 2. There is a lot of back story you will need, plus it rocks! This second installment, Destined for Doon, is told from both Makenna and Vee’s viewpoint. Kenna is back in the modern world working as a theater intern whe Duncan MacCrae shows up on the scene, as handsome and brooding as ever. There’s trouble a foot back in the kingdom–poisoned petunias, a zombie fungus and evil threatening the borders. Kenna is summoned by her best friend Vee to look for a solution.

Once again there are plenty of modern culture– music and movie references, as well as the snarky voice that is Kenna. The romance element is toned down quite a bit as the four main characters are working through their own personal issues while trying to learn how to work together. But there is also tension, suspense and realistic angst. I truly loved Duncan in Destined for Doon. He is suffering and quiet, but at times his fun sense of humor peeks through the clouds.

This is a series that brings midieval Scotland with kilts and swords right into your reading room. There are Christian elements which strengthen the characters. Themes are forgiveness, self-doubt, healing and trust.

As handsome and talented as this group of young adults are, they learn they simply can’t do it alone. I personally am thrilled this is a four book series, because I always end wanting more! Major cliffhanger ending this time around with foreshadowing to set things up. Go grab Doon and then Destined for Doon!

Content: moderate sexual tension and kissing scenes, drinking, moderate violence with a beheading. Clean language.

Dive into the world of Doon with a Playlist * Pinterest Board and photos of the kingdom

About the Authors

careyCarey Corp wrote her first book, a brilliant retelling of Star Wars, at the prodigious age of seven. Since then, her love affair of reinvention has continued to run amuck. Writing both literary fiction and stories for young adults, she begins each morning consuming copious amounts of coffee while weaving stories that capture her exhaustive imagination. She harbors a voracious passion (in no consistent order) for mohawks, Italy, musical theater, chocolate, and Jane Austen. Her debut novel for teens, The Halo Chronicles: The Guardian, earned her national recognition as 2010 Golden Heart finalist for best young adult fiction. Coming August 20, 2013: Doon (book 1 of the DOON series), a young adult novel loosely based on the concept of the musical Brigadoon, used with permission from the Alan Jay Lerner Estate & the Frederick Loewe Foundation, and co-written with Lorie Langdon.

Find Carey Online: Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, GoodReads

 

lorieA few years ago, Lorie Langdon left her thriving corporate career with a Fortune 500 company to satisfy the voices in her head. Now as a full-time author and stay-at-home mom, she spends her summers editing poolside while dodging automatic water-gun fire, and the rest of the year tucked into her cozy office, Havanese puppy by her side, working to translate her effusive imagination into the written word. Her co-written four-book series, DOON, a YA reimagining of the Scottish legend of Brigadoon, will release beginning in August 2013 from Zondervan/Harper Collins.

Find Lorie Online: Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook, GoodReads

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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
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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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