Monday, 30 June 2014

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson

Hunting Lila
by Sarah Alderson

Summary: 17-year-old Lila has two secrets she’s prepared to take to the grave. The first is that she can move things just by looking at them. The second is that she’s been in love with her brother’s best friend, Alex, since forever.

After a mugging exposes her unique ability, Lila decides to run to the only people she can trust—her brother and Alex. They live in Southern California where they work for a secret organization called The Unit, and Lila discovers that the two of them are hunting down the men who murdered her mother five years before. And that they’ve found them.

In a world where nothing and no one is quite as they seem, Lila quickly realizes that she is not alone—there are others out there just like her—people with special powers—and her mother’s killer is one of them…
So this is one of those books that I kept seeing everywhere for years--it would show up in recommendations, reviews kept popping up, and I was always tempted to read it but for some reason never did. Now that I have, I kind of wish I'd read it sooner because I really liked it.

I don't have much to say about it though. Most of what I can think to say is about what I didn't like rather than what I enjoyed.

The only thing I really didn't like about the book was that Lila was a bit ridiculous when it came to Alex. I get it, she's in love with him, has been since she was little but that's no reason to completely obsess over him to the extent that she does. Even in serious situations, she obsessed over him and it just made it seem less like love and more like a childish crush and given the fact that Alex is five years older than her, that immaturity she had made it harder to buy that he would view her as anything but his best friends little sister.

I mean...I liked them together, I wanted them to end up together, and the issue wasn't so much the way they were together. It was more that her thoughts about him felt too OTT and would've been better toned down a bit, at least in the more serious scenes or when her love life shouldn't have been her biggest priority.

But yeah, in general, the book was really good. It was one of those fast-paced, action type books with a cute romance and characters I just liked. Good to read if you're just looking for something fun. I'd rate it 4 stars out of 5.

Later.

Friday, 27 June 2014

From Page to Screen (9)

So there's been a lot of book to movie news since I last posted one of these. So much that I'm going to skip some of the updates (go read this website for more frequent updates, they rarely miss anything and their site is awesome, and I also found this site while looking up the links for this post) and I'm just going to mention the ones I'm most excited for/the ones I want to talk about.

Trailers:
  • The teaser trailer for Mockingjay Part 1 was released. 

  • There's been quite a few teaser trailers for Love, Rosie and they all look adorable. They actually made me tempted to read a book that I had no desire to read before. My favourites are this one and the one below.
  • I think there's been two trailers for If I Stay (this one and the below). I wasn't sure I liked Chloe for the part until I saw the trailer but she's won me over from that alone.
  • The trailer for the TV show adaptation of Outlander was released and a sort of behind the scenes thing. I've heard great things about the book series but I know I'll never read them (for two reasons, one that I won't get into, the other is the fact that the way the Scottish characters are written would probably make me want to set the book on fire and toss it out the window), but the show looks interesting.
  • Gone Girl trailer was released. I'm still torn on whether or not I want to read this book, it didn't sound like my kind of thing but I keep seeing people say how awesome it is and it's made me sort of want to check it out.
Cast updates:
  • Mae Whitman was cast as the lead in The Duff. Bella Thorne, Skyler Samuels, Allison Janney, Robbie Amell will also be in the movie. I was really excited about the movie until I heard about the changes they've made that I really hope aren't true (like making it into a taking down the mean girl kind of story, when part of what made the book good was that it didn't have that stereotypical catty element), but maybe they'll make it work.
  • There's been a lot of cast updates for the Divergent movies, but I kind of lost track. You'll probably find them all here.
Rights sold and other stuff:
So these books are ones that might be getting movies soon because their movie rights have been sold/they now have a director/script writer...
And I'm probably missing a lot, but those are the ones I'm excited about most (even though I've yet to read a few of them).

Already Out:
So a pilot was filmed for Delirium a while ago, but it wasn't picked up by the network but you can now watch the pilot episode on Hulu (or youtube, if you're not in the US). The pilot kind of covers the first book (with some changes).

I was sort of glad when it didn't get picked up, because I hated some of the casting choices and thought some of the changes sounded pretty bad, but the pilot was better than I expected (although, I don't think the love cure thing translated well to screen and they shouldn't have crammed the whole first book into the pilot, it would've been better if they gave the romance more time to develop).

If you watched it, what did you think? And which adaptations are you most excited for?

Later.

Tuesday, 24 June 2014

Blog Tour: The Fifth Avenue Trilogy

Avenge Me
Maisey Yates
Harlequin Presents
[May 27, 2014]
Review copies of the first two books were provided by the publicist arranging the tour and Netgalley.

TEN YEARS AGO ONE DEVASTATING NIGHT CHANGED EVERYTHING FOR AUSTIN, HUNTER AND ALEX. NOW THEY MUST EACH PLAY THEIR PART IN THE REVENGE AGAINST THE ONE MAN WHO RUINED IT ALL.

Austin Treffen was born into a world of privilege, but behind its gilded doors lies a corruption so sordid New York's elite would never believe it—especially as his infamous philanthropic father is at its core! With everything he believed in shattered, how can Austin take down his father—risking his family name and those he loves—without any proof?

Until one earth-shattering night with Katy Michaels unlocks not only their deepest, most passionate desires but also the key to bringing Jason Treffen's reign to an end. But with an intense sexual attraction that combines a heady mix of exquisite pleasure and sublime pain, will they satiate their thirst for revenge and each other…or lose themselves forever in the darkness?
Book 2: Scandalize Me
Book 3: Expose Me

Before we begin, I have to show you the AMAZING swag bag we also got for joining the tour.

 (Pictures provided by them because I'm not that skilled.)

Aren't these absolutely insane? Major bonus points to this tour and this company for being able to provide us with such incredible swag bags. Huge thanks to them and all the companies who provided the samplers.

So, about the books themselves. Due to some weird shenanigans, I was only able to read the first and second books, but they're probably a good representation of the series as a whole, you know?

These really taken a romance novel and the typical formula and twist it a little bit. The main plot is much higher stakes and it inherently alters the tensions between the hero and heroine because of that. They were different kinds of people because of the experiences they went through and, in some ways, they were forbidden romances.  And I thought that was really intriguing. I didn't just want the happily ever after for the couple, I wanted to know how this subplot worked itself out. 

It's also formatted so that the three books are about six people involved in this plot directly falling in love, with each book focused on one couple, but the plot itself arcs over all three books. I haven't read a ton of contemporary romances, but the ones I've read never do anything quite like this.

The books are well written page turners. I sped through the two books, both being quick reads full of incredibly chemistry between the two main characters and awesome sexy times. Despite a rather serious plot line going. the books were still fun reads and they were definitely entertaining. So while the writing isn't super voicey or particularly gorgeous, it was still good enough to keep me heavily invested.

I wouldn't call these favorites or say they're literary masterpieces, but they definitely are fun reads, perfect for this summer if you want hot romances with awesome, intriguing plot lines.

--Julie

Monday, 23 June 2014

Scandal by Sarah Ockler

Scandal
by Sarah Ockler

Summary: Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love...
 
I wasn't expecting to love this book, I wasn't even sure I wanted to read it at all after seeing some negative reviews of it but I was bored on Sunday and the book was one of last weeks pulseit books (they put up two books each week to read for free), and I just ended up reading the first chapter. And then the second. Then the third. Then--I think you get the point. It hooked me and I read it in one sitting (considering I was reading on the computer which is kind of hell on the eyes, that should say a lot).

So yeah, I really enjoyed the book. So much so that I will probably buy a finished copy just to have it on my shelves.

It wasn't as...issue-y as I thought it was going to be. And it was way more funny than I expected it to be, like I laughed out loud quite a few times and my face hurt from smiling by the time I got to the end. And the characters...I ended up loving characters I never expected to and it was just- I really, really liked it.

I mentioned I'd seen negative reviews and a lot of them complained about the romance, that it wasn't present enough and that they didn't feel it developed enough because Lucy was already in love with the guy when the book startet. Well, I disagree with those negative reviews. I ended up really loving that the Cole thing wasn't the only focus, I loved that friendships and her relationship with her sister got to share the limelight and some of those parts ended up being my favourite.

I still loved the romance, and it was really well done--I never for a second doubted Lucy's feelings because we weren't just told she felt something, it felt like we were shown in the way the characters were with each other (sometimes when the book starts with the main character already in love with a guy, it can feel a bit insta-love but Sarah Ockler was really good at jumping into the part where the love is already there and making it convincing). I would've happily read more interactions between Lucy and Cole, but I loved what the book gave us.

And the writing... I loved the writing. The dialogue felt really genuine and funny and there were quite a few quotes that I marked for being lovely.

Honestly, the only thing I didn't love was that a certain thing in the book was a bit too Gossip Girl...I mean, it worked, but it was ruined by the fact that it'd been done before basically.

So yeah...I really, really enjoyed the book. It was surprisingly funny and fun and had a great cast of characters that I'd love to hang out with if only they were real. I'd rate the book 4 stars out of 5 (maybe 4.5).

Later.

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Book Haul (173)

This week is MUCH more reasonable, so...yay?

Trial By Fire by Josephine Angelini (ARC via friend)
Virgin by Radhika Sanghani (egalley via publisher on Netgalley)
The Family Romanov: Murder, Rebellion, and the Fall of Imperial Russia by Candace Fleming (finished copy for blog tour from publisher)

Excited times, guys. Exciting times.

--Julie

Friday, 20 June 2014

The Train by Diane Hoh

The Train
by Diane Hoh

Summary: Hannah, Mack, Kerry and Lewis. Four friends enjoying Parker High School's cross-country train tour from Chicago to San Francisco - until they learn what is on the train with them...a coffin. Frog's coffin.

One by one, Hannah's friends guiltily confess all the nasty things they did to Frog before his sudden and horrible death, and then, one by one, they are viciously attacked.

It seems that Frog is out for revenge. But Frog is dead...isn't he?
Do you ever get the urge to read the kind of books you used to love when you were younger, just to see if you'd love them the same way you did then?

Well, that's what this book was for me. I used to love Point Horror books when I was younger and I decided to check out some of the ones I hadn't read before, just to see if they'd be as entertaining to me now as they used to be.

But, sadly, I really didn't like this book. But, I don't know if that means these are the type of books that you completely outrgrow or if this was just one of the bad ones (because there are a few Point Horror books I do remember hating as a kid).

I thought this one would be interesting because I have been wanting to read one of those murder on a train type stories for a while, but this one just wasn't good at all. The story was totally flat and ridiculous, the characters were awful and I didn't care about any of them, and it was just...considering what happens in the story, it was surprisingly dull. It was a book that I should have been able to read really quickly, but it took me days to get through it.

So yeah, I don't recommend this book and I guess I'll just have to reread a Point Horror book that I used to love to find out if they stood the test of time, instead of trying new ones (although, I have one other PH book I've never read before, but this one put me off even attempting to read it). I'd rate this one 1.5 stars out of 5.

Later.

Thursday, 19 June 2014

Blog Tour: End Times Gets Cast

Today on the blog, we have Anna Schumacher talking about her dream cast for her debut novel, End Times.



The characters in END TIMES are so real to me, I actually have trouble matching some of them to celebs. But let’s give it a shot anyway, shall we?

DAPHNE: I’m going to be embarrassingly trite and cliché and go with Kristen Stewart. What can I say? It’s just how I pictured her when I was writing her. Daphne is a no-makeup, jeans-and-t-shirt kind of gal, like K-Stew, and they both have the same narrow features, perma-pissed-off look, and pretty-girl toughness. 

JANIE: This is Billie Piper. She’s an English actress who plays Rose in the BBC version of the first season of the new Dr. Who. Got all that? And she looks EXACTLY the way I picture Janie in my head. The puffy lips. The bottle blondness. The round chin. The way she gets excited (you should see her get excited!). She’s just perfect. 

OWEN: Why yes, this is Luke Perry in the original Buffy the Vampire Slayer movie from 1992. This is pre- creepy-too-old-to-be-a-high-school-student-90210 Luke Perry. In this movie, he is super young and super cute. He has Owen’s bad-boy toughness yet gooey-sweet interior, and the way he’s there for Buffy when she’s freaking out reminds me of the way Owen treats Daphne in END TIMES.

LUNA: I couldn’t find a big-name celeb who captures Luna’s wild, free spirit in quite the right way, so I turned to my local circus arts community here in Brooklyn. Claire De Luxe is an amazing hula hooper, poi spinner, object manipulator, fire spinner, and aerialist, and she always has the wildest costumes, hair, and makeup. I love this photo of her, by Bianca Alexis. Doesn’t she look like she’s plotting something? Like possibly the end of the world? 

DOUG: For Doug, I picked Jack Gleeson because he’s already demonstrated an undeniable ability to convincingly play a massive jerk. 


END TIMES synopsis


When life gets too tough to bear in Detroit, Daphne flees to her Uncle Floyd’s home, where she believes she’ll find solace in the silent hills of her childhood summers. But Daphne’s Greyhound bus pulls over in downtown Carbon County and it’s not silence that welcomes her. It’s the sound of trumpets.

Daphne’s desire to start again in simple country comfort is instantly dashed as the townsfolk declare that the End Times are here. And incredible occurrences soon support their belief. Daphne does all she can to keep her head down and ignore the signs. She works a job at the local oil rig, helps around the house, hangs out with her pregnant cousin Janie and gets to know Owen, a mysterious motocross racer and fellow roustabout at the rig. But soon a startling discovery shatters her resolve and calls into question all her doubts and fears.


Author bio

Anna Schumacher received an MFA in fiction writing from The New School. Born and raised in the tiny town of Guilford, VT (no traffic lights, no post office, one store), she now lives in Brooklyn, NY with her husband and two cats. END TIMES is her first novel.


Find her on:




Goodreads

Are you intrigued about End Times now? Good, because I HAVE A COPY I can giveaway to you guys! Just enter below if you live in the US and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

--Julie

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

And the Mountains Echoed by Khaled Hosseini

And the Mountains Echoed
by Khaled Hosseini


Summary: Ten-year-old Abdullah would do anything for his younger sister. In a life of poverty and struggle, with no mother to care for them, Pari is the only person who brings Abdullah happiness. For her, he will trade his only pair of shoes to give her a feather for her treasured collection. When their father sets off with Pari across the desert to Kabul in search of work, Abdullah is determined not to be separated from her. Neither brother nor sister know what this fateful journey will bring them.
I went into this book with low expectations because I had seen a lot of mixed reviews and I'm glad I did that, because if I went into it expecting greatness then I would've been very disappointed.

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by the same author, is one of my favourite books and I love The Kite Runner too (although I've only saw the movie and read the graphic novel version). This book, it doesn't even come close to measuring up to those ones.

It wasn't a bad book, there were parts of it that I liked, parts that got under my skin, but as a whole it was just... I didn't enjoy it much because the bits I liked weren't enough to outweigh the stuff that I didn't.

I think the main problem is that there is just too many characters, too many different stories (I think we get 7 different POV's, 9 if we include an interview and a story within the story). The summary makes it sound like it's just about this brother and sister who are separated and if the story had remained focussed on that then it would've been much, much better but it didn't.

It was like there was too much crammed in and a lot of it was just completely unnecessary. Just as I'd start to feel invested in certain characters and feel like the story was picking up pace, it would switch to a brand new point of view and begin someone else's story and it just got really frustrating.

And yes, there were tiny overlaps between the stories, little details that tied them all together, but it would be like...we would get someone's life story--huge chunks of the book--just for one paragraph or one sentence of relevant information. I didn't need to know the stories of Markos or Adel or Idris, they didn't need to be there or to be as long as they were, all they did was derail the story from the stuff I actually wanted to get to.

About the ending too (without spoilers), Khaled Hosseini has this way of writing heartbreaking endings that are beautifully bittersweet. He did it with A Thousand Splendid Suns and he did it with The Kite Runner, and he does it really well in those. He followed the same pattern with this book, but it lacked the emotional impact it did with the other books and just fell kind of flat (maybe because it was so dragged out, by the time it finally got to the part I was waiting to happen, it was just a let down).

I'd rate the book 2.5 stars out of 5. It wasn't awful, it did have its good points, but as a whole it was just unsatisfying and lacked the spark of his previous two books--they were amazing, this was bland in comparison and just an average book in general (maybe if I didn't love his other books so much I'd have rated it slightly higher).

Later.

Tuesday, 17 June 2014

Broken and Screwed by Tijan

Note: The e-book editions of this book are actually on sale from today for $0.99 (for a week, I think?) and one of her other books, Fallen Crest High, is free on Kindle right now too.


Broken and Screwed 
by Tijan


Summary: Alexandra's older brother died the night he graduated. That day changed everything for her. No longer was she the party girl. No longer did she care about being popular and no longer was her family the happy unit she always thought existed. The only person who could help her heal is the same person who loved her brother as much as she did, his best friend. She only hopes to keep her entire heart from breaking when Jesse will move on, and she knows he will.

After Ethan died, Jesse excelled at basketball, partying, and girls. He used it all to turn his emotions off, but the irony was that Alex was the only person who could do that for him. She helped him forget, but she was the one person he shouldn't be with because the secrets he knows could shatter everything. They could shatter her.
So I've had this book for ages and I'm not sure why I put off reading it for so long because I love Tijan's books, I've yet to read one that I didn't like (I think with this one, maybe the title put me off? I'm really weird with book titles). While I didn't love it quite as much as other books of hers, I still really enjoyed it.

Her books are the kind that I can happily sit down and read in one sitting, even if I'm in a reading slump (which I have been recently) and this one was no exception.

The romance in this one was weird because I actually thought Jesse was a complete asshat a lot of the time. He could be so infuriating, especially when it seemed like he thought his grief was greater than or equal to Alex's. He was just... he was an ass and I thought Alex deserved better, and yet I was still rooting for them because of the crazy chemistry that they had. I didn't want her to find someone better, I wanted him to be better. And it says a lot about the book if I'm rooting for a couple when I think the guy is kind of a douchebag.

And the characters...they got under my skin. I liked Alex and I loved the friendship she had with Angie (although, Angie could be annoying at times, but I just saw that as realistic) and I wanted to scream at Alex's parents for being awful and I hated Marissa and...and I just really like it when I read a book and have strong reactions to the characters, this one definitely delivered that.

I can't even explain what I liked about the book beyond that really, and the only thing I didn't like* were the negative female tropes (the bleach blonde "slutty" girls who wear really revealing clothes, always throwing themselves at guys or being catty--it seemed like all the girls who were attracted to Jesse, except Alex's friend, were described that way), but that was just something that registered with me while reading without having much impact on how much I enjoyed the story.

But yeah, I'd rate the book 4 stars out of 5, it had me hooked and and it left me desperate to read the rest of the series (but I have to wait to read the second book kljhlkh). If you haven't read any of Tijan's books yet, check them out, she's one of the few self-published authors that I not only read, but have on my insta-read list (like, I've bought books of hers before without even reading the summary first--like this one, actually).

Later.

*Well, the timeline confused me a bit too. I could never figure out if Jesse and Ethan were the same age or not or if Jesse was a junior while Ethan was a senior (Ethan graduated the day he died, but Jesse doesn't graduate until a year later when the story begins, and yet the story says that Jesse and Ethan were a year older than Alex). But I probably just missed something (it happens when I read a book in one sitting, ignoring my tiredness).

Monday, 16 June 2014

Dark Metropolis by Jaclyn Dolamore

Dark Metropolis
Jaclyn Dolamore
Disney-Hyperion
[June 17, 2014]
ARC acquired at ALAMW

Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder's mother is cursed with a spell that's driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.
Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city's secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they're not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don't always seem to stay that way.

So, this book was pitched to me at ALAMW as Pushing Daisies in the 1920s. Having read it and used it for an in-depth school assignment, I can largely agree with this (despite never watching Pushing Daisies), but it really didn't matter to me. Jaclyn Dolamore wrote it and I will forever be her fangirl and read everything she publishes, so I NEEDED this book no matter what. Also, can we take a moment to appreciate how GORGEOUS this cover is? It uses to the usual YA cover formula of a girl in a pretty outfit, but then twists it on it's head with the typography and lighting and overlay and I love it so much.

And I loved this book so, so much. Jaclyn Dolamore writes some of the most unique YA out there and is SO under appreciated for it. I mean, it's an alternative history - 1927 Germany - with diversity and a twist on zombies. It also makes you consider serious questions about mortality and what lengths you would go to in order to stay with your loved ones I did have a few technical issues with it, but it didn't stop me from loving it.

DARK METROPOLIS has three main characters - Thea, Nan, and Freddy. All have really interesting, important stories to tell that weave together beautifully until we finally understand the relationships. I liked all of them, but I felt like all could have been developed more. I understood them and what their motivations were and enough of their back story that it didn't bother me - I still connected with them - but on reflection, I would've liked a little more personality from each of them and I'm anticipating it happening in the sequel.

There are two romantic relationships, one straight and one lesbian relationship. Both were so adorable and, while the connections may have been quick, the relationships themselves were kind of slow builds and the characters had great chemistry in both. They were adorable and I'm SO pumped to see more of them in book 2. NEVER ENOUGH KISSING GUYS. THERE'S NEVER ENOUGH. On top of that, there were some really fascinating and complex relationships between the main characters and their parents and guardians. Not a single one of them was simple, but they each had a ton of layers the characters had to work through.

The world itself was fascinating to me. It was recognizable, yet still very clearly different from reality. I actually didn't know it was based on Germany when I read it, so I even thought it could be more related to the 1930s and the Great Depression (though it makes more sense now). It was a morally and politically complicated world with a wide range of characters. I felt like it could have used some more world building as there wasn't a ton of explanation of certain things, like why all magic was banned and how things came to be, but it wasn't totally necessary. Like I mentioned, it was really similar to the real world, so a lot of those gaps were easy to fill in with the real history, and this was another thing that didn't bother me until I had to reflect on it for my project (which basically was to find flaws). But this is another thing I think may be explored more in book 2.

One thing there are zero flaws in is the story itself. It's creepy and twisty and thought provoking. There's never a dull moment and everything leads back to the question of what would you do if you knew there was a way to see your dead family members again at a price. Would you say good bye or would you let them go? And the zombies were generally not too bad, but then there would be these scenes where they were incredibly creepy. That's the kind of skill Jaclyn Dolamore has with her writing and her plotting. Complex and beautifully written and engaging but still creepy when it's necessary.

Basically, it wasn't a perfect book and it's flaws could've been major, but in context, they were relatively minor things that didn't bother me until quite a bit after I read it. I would still consider DARK METROPOLIS a favorite read and strongly encourage you to read this, or at least one of Jaclyn's books because there's nothing quite like them in YA.

--Julie

Sunday, 15 June 2014

Book Haul (172)

Julie:

...I know I have a problem. But at least these were pretty much all titles I had hoped to get at BEA?

Egg and Spoon by Gregory Maguire (egalley from publisher via Netgalley)
The Name of the Blade by Zoe Marriott (egalley from publisher via Netgalley)
Vango by Timothee de Fombelle (egalley from publisher via Netgalley)
How to Ruin a Queen by Jonathan Beckman (egalley from publisher via Netgalley)
The Storyspinner by Becky Wallace (egalley from publisher via Edelweiss)
Burning Kingdoms by Lauren DeStefano (egalley from publisher via Edelweiss)
Dearest by Alethea Kontis (egalley from publisher via Netgalley/requested at BEA)
Only With You by Lauren Layne (egalley from publisher via Netgalley)
Avenge Me by Maisey Yates (finished copy from publicist for blog tour)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein (audiobook via SYNC: FREE download until June 18)

...Not even gonna try to apologize.

--Julie


Lanna:


ArchEnemy by Frank Beddor - So I can finish the trilogy (and make a start on completing my unfinished series).

Hunting Lila by Sarah Alderson - This is one of those books I've been tempted to read for years but just never have, so I finally caved and got it.

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves - I wanted to read a desert island type book and every discussion about or list of desert island books I found recommended this. The reviews of it are mostly glowing...and yet, the age difference makes me not want to read it. But I'm going to try anyway, we'll see how it goes.

The Wrong Boy (AKA Playing for the Commandant) by Suzy Zail - I was going to wait for the US version to be released, I prefer that title and cover, but I didn't want to wait until October.

And I think that's all the books I've gotten since the last book haul I did. What books have you gotten recently? Read any of these ones?

Later.

Saturday, 14 June 2014

New Adult for the Nontraditional Audience

New Adult has acquired a reputation for being contemporary romance. But, that's not quite accurate.

I've talked about New Adult a few times before, but I really do believe there's much more room for it to grow and it can be more than just contemporary. But in order for that to happen, these things have to happen the way New Adult did - a few pop up and then more and more as people keep buying them, then they start getting recognized by the Big 5. I'm not saying it's the only way to make new things happen, but with something like NA, where it still is on this semi-shaky ground, it's going to be the most effective way. But it has to start with what's available being purchased to show there's an interest.

So...what IS out there?

Historical

Certain time periods have gotten a new life in YA - Downton Abbey read-a-likes, the Roaring 20s, WWII. Why should NA be different? Especially since, at least among the flappers and the people in WWII, most of them would have been around the NA age range?


Speak Easy by Melanie Harlow 
The 1920s are roaring, and twenty-year-old Tiny O'Mara wants to be a part of it.

By day she works for her father’s smalltime bootlegging operation, by night she craves the sexy roll-your-stockings-down lifestyle of a flapper—until her father is kidnapped by a mobster in Detroit's exploding organized crime scene, and it’s Tiny who has to come up with the ten-thousand-dollar ransom…in one week.

Suddenly she’s thrust into an intoxicating underworld of greed, lust, lies, and betrayal.

Enzo DiFiore is the son of the mobster holding her father hostage, but his sexy screen idol looks and dangerous charm leave her breathless. When the forbidden spark between them refuses to burn out, she tries to use their powerful chemistry to buy more time. And irritatingly handsome childhood pal Joey Lupo has the street smarts Tiny needs to make a quick ten grand, but he’s got his own agenda where gang rivalries are concerned.

Deciding whom to trust isn’t easy in a world where everyone wants something—be it booze, money, power, or sex—and no one cares what it takes to get it.

Temptation is everywhere. And anything goes.

The Heiresses by Alison Rushby
In Allison Rushby's Heiresses, three triplets--estranged since birth--are thrust together in glittering 1926 London to fight for their inheritance, only to learn they can’t trust anyone--least of all each other.

When three teenage girls, Thalia, Erato and Clio, are summoned to the excitement of fast-paced London--a frivolous, heady city full of bright young things--by Hestia, an aunt they never knew they had, they are shocked to learn they are triplets and the rightful heiresses to their deceased mother's fortune. All they need to do is find a way to claim the fortune from their greedy half-brother, Charles. But with the odds stacked against them, coming together as sisters may be harder than they think.

Kiya: Hope of the Pharaoh by Katie Hamstead

When Naomi’s sisters are snatched up to be taken to be wives of the erratic Pharaoh, Akhenaten, she knows they won’t survive the palace, so she offers herself in their place. The fearsome Commander Horemheb sees her courage, and knows she is exactly what he is looking for…

The Great Queen Nefertiti despises Naomi instantly, and strips her of her Hebrew lineage, including her name, which is changed to Kiya. Kiya allies herself with Horemheb, who pushes her to greatness and encourages her to make the Pharaoh fall in love with her. When Akhenaten declares Kiya will be the mother of his heir, Nefertiti, furious with jealousy, schemes to destroy Kiya.

Kiya must play the deadly game carefully. She is in a silent battle of wills, and a struggle for who will one day inherit the crown. If she does bear an heir, she knows she will need to fight to protect him, as well as herself, from Nefertiti who is out for blood.

Sci-Fi 

The Star Thief by Jamie Grey
Stealing another galactic secret will get her arrested, but playing by the rules might just get her killed.

At twenty-three, Renna Carrizal is the most notorious thief in the galaxy. There's just one problem - all she wants is to get out of the business.

But after Renna rescues an injured boy on her final job, she finds herself on the run from the mob instead of enjoying retirement. She unwittingly becomes ensnared by MYTH, a top-secret galactic protection agency who offer her a choice - either help them on their latest mission, or spend the rest of her life on a prison ship.

Forced to work under the watchful eye of handsome but arrogant Captain Finn, Renna learns the former mercenary-turned-hero has a few dirty secrets himself. As Renna works to discover the truth about Finn's past and keep the tantalizing man at arm's length, she unearths a plot to create an unstoppable army. The target? The human star fleet.

Now Renna must pull off the biggest job of her career - saving the galaxy. And maybe even herself.

The Wicked We Have Done by Sarah Harian

Evalyn Ibarra never expected to be an accused killer and experimental prison test subject. A year ago, she was a normal college student. Now she’s been sentenced to a month in the compass room—an advanced prison obstacle course designed by the government to execute justice.

If she survives, the world will know she’s innocent.

Locked up with nine notorious and potentially psychotic criminals, Evalyn must fight the prison and dismantle her past to stay alive. But the system prized for accuracy appears to be killing at random.

She doesn’t plan on making friends.

She doesn’t plan on falling in love, either.

The Apollo Academy by Kimberly P. Chase

As the heiress to Titon Technologies, eighteen-year-old Aurora Titon can have whatever she wants—clothes, expensive gadgets, anything money can buy. All she really wants is to escape her pampered, paparazzi-prone life for the stars. Becoming the first female pilot to train as an astronaut for the Apollo Academy is exactly the chance for which she has been waiting. Everything would be perfect if it weren't for her unreciprocated crush on a fellow student, the sexy astronaut bent on making her life hell, and the fact that someone keeps trying to kill her.

The first in a four book new adult science fiction series, The Apollo Academy, is an action packed story of love, discovery, and survival.

Paranormal/Urban Fantasy

The Forgotten Ones by Laura Howard

Allison O'Malley's plan is to go to grad school so she can get a good job and take care of her schizophrenic mother. She has carefully closed herself off from everything else, including a relationship with Ethan, who she's been in love with for as long as she can remember.

What is definitely not part of the plan is the return of her long-lost father, who claims he can bring Allison's mother back from the dark place her mind has gone. Allison doesn't trust her father, so why would she believe his stories about a long forgotten Irish people, the Tuatha de Danaan? But truths have a way of revealing themselves. Secrets will eventually surface. And Allison must learn to set aside her plan and work with her father if there is even a small chance it could restore her mother's sanity.

Mystery

Her Dark Places by Kelly Killarney 

‘Veronica Mars’ meets ‘Felicity’ in this sexy, snarky, New Adult Romantic Suspense novel.

Jasmine “Jazz” Holloway gets more than she bargained for when she heads to Sutton College for her freshman year. A long-distance relationship with her high-school boyfriend is tough to maintain. Especially when Brennan, the cute boy down the hall, keeps flirting. And after someone starts threatening her roommate, Jazz enlists the help of Sean, a smokin’ hot upperclassman who runs a P.I. agency out of a darkened corner of the library.

Jazz has to fight her attraction to both guys as she works to uncover the stalker. But as the stakes rise and tension heightens, the hardest part for Jazz will be keeping her own secret...what she’s really doing at Sutton College. And that’s something no one can know.

I haven't read ANY of these, though I have a couple and I'm very interested in some others. But they exist for those who are wary of NA, but trust these non-contemporary genres!

Thursday, 12 June 2014

Sekret by Lindsay Smith

Sekret
Lindsay Smith
Roaring Brook Press
[April 1, 2014]
egalley from Netgalley

An empty mind is a safe mind.

Yulia's father always taught her to hide her thoughts and control her emotions to survive the harsh realities of Soviet Russia. But when she's captured by the KGB and forced to work as a psychic spy with a mission to undermine the U.S. space program, she's thrust into a world of suspicion, deceit, and horrifying power. Yulia quickly realizes she can trust no one--not her KGB superiors or the other operatives vying for her attention--and must rely on her own wits and skills to survive in this world where no SEKRET can stay hidden for long.
Sometimes you just need something totally different and beautifully written and amazing. And that's when you pick up Sekret by Lindsay Smith.

I mean, guys, lets go over what this book is about. Psychic spies. In Soviet Russia. Working for the KGB. WHAT ABOUT THAT WOULDN'T BE AMAZING? NONE OF IT. NOT ONE PART WILL NOT BE AMAZING. This premise is one of the greatest things ever and if you don't agree you're wrong. 

Yulia is amazing. She's doing all that she can and she's intelligent, but she's still very much a teenage girl. She doesn't know it all and wants to figure out what's going on, but how CAN you figure it out when you're surrounded by psychics? I loved that she wasn't necessarily unsure in the ways so many teenagers are, but in ways unique to her situation. It made sure it was still easy to relate to her, but differentiates her from the average teen.

Then there's the story. Readers are always going to be as unsure as Yulia is because how can you tell who's lying and who's playing with Yulia? You can't. They're all psychic and intelligent and clever and they know what they're doing. It means there's so many twists and turns and the ending actually shocked me. And ended on a note that had me DYING for the sequel, not so much because of the cliffhanger as I wasn't ready to be out of this twisted little world. I mean, imagine how crazy it would've been working for the KGB and never knowing who to trust. Now you're also a teenager and everyone around you is psychic. NOW WHAT? Exactly.

Lindsay is a beautiful writer. Like, her writing is so perfect and it suited the story and I loved every sentence. I will drown in all the words she'll give me. Seriously.

If you want something totally unpredictable and unlike anything else and well written and with romance? HERE'S YO BOOK.

--Julie

Wednesday, 11 June 2014

Interview with Dahlia Adler

For those who don't know, Dahlia Adler kind of does it all. From her own bio:

 I'm an Assistant Editor of mathematics by day, a Copy Editor by night, and a YA author and blogger at every spare moment in between. I've also been a Production Intern and Editorial Assistant at Simon & Schuster, a Publicity Intern at HarperCollins, and a Fashion Intern at Maxim. So, I'm kind of into that whole publishing thing. 

And by the end of the month, she will ALSO be a published author. Her first book, Behind the Scenes, releases from Spencer Hill Contemporary on June 24.

1. I know your publishing super star career started with an internship, but what even made you apply? What had you interested in publishing from a young age? How did you get started doing ALL THE THINGS? 
I actually can't take credit for any of this; there's a reason people talk about how getting into publishing often has a lot to do with privilege. I went to a private school in NYC and part of the senior year curriculum in the spring semester was doing work study (unless you were taking at least 4 AP classes, which I was not). The school itself had a whole host of internships they could hook you up with, and one of them was in Publicity at HarperCollins.By then, I already knew I was planning on majoring in Journalism (I had visions of becoming a rock journalist and working at Rolling Stone after college. Don't even ask, but no, it had nothing to do with Almost Famous.) and it was the closest thing they had, so my adviser set me up there. The truth is, it didn't occur to me at the time to do it for a living; I didn't get along well with my boss and it wasn't a great experience. It was an internship I had at Simon & Schuster, in the Production department, the summer after my junior year of college, that really cemented I wanted to go into publishing for life.


2. Can you gimme a twitter pitch for Behind the Scenes for anyone who doesn't know about it and doesn't want to click on links?
In exactly 140 characters: Ally's BFF's dating her co-star for the tabloids, but he's all Ally's behind the scenes. Too bad their secret romance is breaking her heart.

3. I've pretty much been fangirling your book since the deal was announced without having read it because your premise is amazing. Did you just scan my brain and decide to write the book of my dreams? Is that what happened?
And I love you for that, thank you! And, uhhhh, nooooo, of course that's not what happened. *tucks away secret brain scanner* The funny thing is that I'm not such a Hollywood book person, so I still think it's kind of hilarious that I wrote this book. But the truth is, I think a lot of why that's the case also has to do with why I did it. There are great Hollywood books out there, but they tend to skew younger, focus on the cuter parts of celebrity. Meanwhile, having grown up watching the downward spirals of so many legitimately talented actors, I really wanted to read more about how things get a little crazy. Obviously these stars are partying hard, and making some stupid choices, and I wanted characters who reflected that. This is even more the case in the companion, Under the Lights, which comes out next year and is from alternating celebrity perspectives, but even for Ally, being a senior in high school, I felt it was a truer reality than the other stuff I was reading.

4. How did you research what being a celebrity/celebrity's best friend is like? Are you living a double life as publishing all star AND a celebrity? (In which case, spill ALL YOUR TIME MANAGEMENT SECRETS)
If only! One of my friends who read BtS while it was still on sub actually had experience working in Hollywood, and the greatest compliment was when she asked me if I'd actually dated a celebrity, because it really read like I had. There is a storyline in the book that's based on my real life, but that's not it! Truthfully, I think a lot of it stemmed from the fact that I felt like I had this experience on a smaller scale alot. In high school, I was pretty frequently passed over, because one of my best friends was really hot, and another one was really smart, and on and on, while I just...was, and though obviously those friends weren't celebrities in the technical sense, I swear, sometimes it felt like they were. So I think it's an experience that translates.


5. Did you have a playlist that you listened to while writing? Or songs that remind you of certain scenes/characters/themes?
I didn't really have a playlist while I was writing, though I made one after the fact, because I'm a blogger with YA Misfits and we're allll about WIP playlists. But I listened to a lot of The Pretty Reckless while writing it. I only picked them up out of curiosity, because I was a devoted Gossip Girl fan and was curious to hear Taylor Momsen, but they quickly became one of my favorites. There's a scene in BtS where Ally, Liam, and Vanessa go to a party at Liam's best friend Josh's house, and "Factory Girl" is the song I imagine playing when they roll in, every time.

6. It's mentioned that Ally's actual dream is Columbia and Paris. What made you pick those? Besides the obvious of their amazing?
I went to NYU, but several of my best friends went to Barnard/Columbia, so I spent a ton of time there. I liked the idea of her going to a school that had been a huge part of my college experience, but she just didn't feel like an NYU girl to me. I imagine her somewhere with a real campus, in a little bit more of a traditional academic setting. As for Paris, it's one of my favorite cities, and French was my favorite class in high school. It's Ally's favorite class too, and she's dying to travel, so it's just a natural choice for her. Plus, you know - macarons.

7. Being a celebrity's assistant (or, frankly, a celebrity) seems very high pressure and demanding. Would you ever want to fill one of those roles?
Definitely not for me! I'm not shy, but I don't like being on camera, and I'm not great at being unnaturally people-pleasing. There's a scene in BtS where Ally's explaining to her dad that she's not jealous of Van because she'd never want to be in her shoes, in part because she just has to be so nice all the time, and that's a lot of how I feel too. I can't imagine having the public eye on me like that! 

8. I know not everyone has a dream cast for their characters, but do you have anyone in mind to play any of your characters if you get a movie deal? Or anyone that would generally fit the role, even if they don't fit perfectly?
The only actor I really mentally cast in BtS is Liam, who was really strongly based on Matt Lanter from90210. (And he's almost twice Liam's age at this point, so...) I actually really don't like getting too attached to a particular vision of a main character, so Ally's a little bit of an auburn-haired blur to me. As for Vanessa, I hadn't originally given her looks much thought, but at some point I had the thought to make her Korean-American, and when I realized there was no one mainstream to fancast her with, I actually added a lot to the book about the lack of Asian-American representation on television. (Though Jamie Chung circa her season on The Real World would definitely work.)

9. Your next book out is going to be a companion novel. Did you always know you were going to write a companion or was that your editor's idea? Want to share a little bit about it?
It was my idea to write a companion from the perspective of the character of Josh Chester, Liam's Hollywood bad boy best friend who ended up being the favorite of almost every one of my early readers, but it was really just an abstract joke. It was my editor who said, "What if it wasn't a joke?" back when we were formulating my book deal, and that's how the companion happened. By the time we finally talked about the book, though, I'd built up a lot of concerns about writing strictly from Josh's over-the-top world-class jerk POV. So we had a conversation about alternatives, and she mentioned that a couple of people in Editorial at Spencer Hill wanted to know more about Vanessa's story. I, however, felt the most confident about being able to tell Liam's. And so we agreed I would attempt a tri-POV and see how it went. I wrote 50,000 words for NaNoWriMo, and sent them to my three CPs who read absolutely everything. Two of them accurately pointed out that a POV could pretty easily be stripped out, and I agreed, chopped 20K, and spent the next 3-4 months writing the last 50K. 
It's still in the earliest stages of editing, but here are five things I can tell you about Under the Lights:
1) It's dual-POV, alternating between the perspectives of two very different celebrities with a love-hate relationship: Josh Chester and Vanessa Park
2) It contains some of my favorite romantic scenes I've ever written, and crossed into some new territory for me
3) Ally and Liam do make appearances
4) Josh...does not undergo any sort of raging personality transformation, much to my family's chagrin
5) It's about as far on the upper end of YA as light contemp gets, in every way
10. After Behind the Scenes and Under the Lights, what comes next?
After those two, I have a completely independent contemporary YA standalone called My Name is Everett, which is set at a New Hampshire boarding school and releases in November 2015. It's actually the book I wrote before Behind the Scenes, and though I hope to do a lot of reworking of the story, I'm just so in love with those characters that I can't wait for everyone else to meet them!

 Isn't Dahlia amazeballs? And doesn't Behind the Scenes sound amazing? You can add it on Goodreads here and follow Dahlia on twitter here to learn everything about publishing and books.

--Julie

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