Friday, February 28, 2014

Audiobook: Selection Stories: The Prince & The Guard by Kiera Cass

The Selection Stories: The Prince & The GuardAudiobook Title: SELECTION STORIES: THE PRINCE & THE GUARD
By: HarperCollins and Blackstone Audio; Unabridged edition.
Published: February 4, 2014
Performed by: Nick Podehl, Tristan Morris, Amy Rubinate

This audio package includes two novellas set in the world of the #1 New York Times bestselling SELECTION series, gives readers a captivating look into the lives of both men America Singer has loved. 

THE PRINCE offers readers a look into Prince Maxon’s life in the weeks just before the Selection began, while THE GUARD takes readers behind-the-scenes of Aspen’s life as a palace guard.

Kiera Cass is the #1 New York Times bestselling author of the SELECTION series. She is a graduate of Radford University and currently lives in Christiansburg, VA with her family. Kiera has kissed approximately fourteen boys in her life. None of them were princes. You can learn more about Kiera’s books, YouTube videos, and love of cake at www.kieracass.com and follow her on Twitter @kieracass.

Thank you Harper Collins for this audiobook! With the release of THE ONE, the final book in THE SELECTION trilogy, mere months away, I was eager to jump back into the world of Prince's, Guards and pretty dresses! 

This audio book does not disappoint! The narrators bring their own distinct voices to the POVs and make the characters come alive. Now I just wish I had the rest of the books in the series on audio too, that way I could do a total reread before it all comes to an end. 





BLOG TOUR: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

I'm really excited to take part in the Landry Park Blog Tour! 
Bethany Hagen is sharing some of the inspiration behind her debut novel as well as a playlist. 
Check it out!



Landry Park Synopsis:
 

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish Gentry, sixteen year old Madeline Landry dreams of going off to the University. Gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. 

But her world is turned upside down when her childhood friend is attacked and she witnesses Gentry golden boy David Dana secretly helping a Rootless girl, in spite of the fact that the Rootless, who maintain the nuclear power the country relies on, are exposed to dangerous radiation. 

As Madeline begins to question everything she has been taught her whole life, rumors of war and rebellion begin to swirl amidst Gentry courtships and extravagant debuts. Soon Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she is forced to make a choice: to stay with the Gentry—her family, her charmed life, and the estate she loves dearly—or to join David in the fight for Rootless equality.



Landry Park is very much a tribute to all the things I loved in high school and college.  I once read a magnificent blog post by Amanda Palmer where she compared input and creation to a blender.  The artist puts things into the blender and chooses a setting, and then out comes the art, either completely pureed or with recognizable slivers of the ingredients, depending on the setting the author chose.  Landry Park has sizable slivers of Jane Austen (and the inevitable BBC Jane Austen movies,) of Mark Girouard’s Life in an English Country House, of Science Channel documentaries and of too much downtime in a suburban museum reading about bomb shelters. 

Specifically, I would credit Downton Abbey, which came out while I was in the middle of a massive revision, both the 1995 and the 2005 Pride and Prejudice movies, Gone with the Wind (the movie and the book), Evelyn Waugh’s Brideshead Revisited, and Ian McEwan’s Atonement, which I was reading just as I was beginning to think about large homes and the dysfunctional families inside of them.

As for music, I tend to listen to mostly modern classical while I work on Landry Park, music that I could imagine filling ballrooms and filtering in during summer brunches on the lawn.  Here are a few perennial favorites:

Primavera by Ludovico Einaudi.


Postcard to Henry Purcell by Jean Yves-Thibaudet

Arrival of the Birds by the Cinematic Orchestra

Amy Abroad by Thomas Newman

You can find my full Landry Park playlist on Spotify!

About Bethany Hagen: 
Bethany Hagen was born and raised in Kansas City, meaning she can tolerate jazz for brief amounts of time and is offended by dry rub barbecue. She grew up reading Charlotte Bronte, Jane Austen, and all things King Arthur. When she's not working at the library or running around with her kids and husband, she's writing or thinking about writing. Landry Park is her debut book.


GIVEAWAY
1 Hard Cover Copy of LANDRY PARK by Bethany Hagen
U.S. Only/Must be 13 years old to enter/Void where prohibited.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Fifty First Times: A New Adult Anthology

Fifty First Times: A New Adult AnthologyAuthor(s): Julie Cross, J. Lynn, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, Roni Loren, Tracy Wolff, Lauren Layne, Andrew Shaffer, Cole Gibsen, Myra McEntire, Carrie Ryan, Mark Perini, Gennifer Albin, Lisa Desrochers, Hannah Moskowitz, Lyla Payne, Alessandra Thomas, Melissa Landers, Melissa West
Publication: February 25, 2014
By: HarperCollins/Avon
Amazon|Barnes & Noble


You always remember your first time...

Whether it's the couple who decides not to go through with it, the two boys who finally aren't ashamed, the newlyweds whose wedding night could very well be their last night together, the deaf pair who have no choice but to take body language to a new level--or, of course, the two young lovers fumbling and laughing, getting everything wrong. These are the memories that will never fade.

Join nineteen fantastic authors as they pull back the curtain and give you a peek inside that one intense moment in their characters' lives when everything changes and nothing will ever be the same again.

Featuring stories from some of the hottest names in New Adult, Young Adult, and Romance including New York Times Bestselling authors J.Lynn/Jennifer Armentrout, Molly McAdams, Sophie Jordan, and Carrie Ryan.

*Due to the mature content of most of these stories, this anthology is recommended for readers 18 and older*

This was an interesting mix of authors and NA stories, and I'll admit, I went into this thinking I knew what to expect, but I was wrong. Not all of the stories are about "sealing the deal" although there is plenty of steam.

Many made me laugh out loud, and a couple made me tear up. And there were a couple that didn't appeal to me, BUT part of what makes an anthology fun is variety. Having the chance to read familiar authors while exposing you to others you might not have read before is always a good thing. For example, one story in particular kicked me in the feels something fierce and now I'm eager to read this author's other works. I'm looking at you Lyla Payne. ;)

The stories I LOVED were the ones that weren't predictable with guys who didn't fit the stereotypical mold. (I married one so I know they exist.) These were also the stories I hated to see end. I wanted MORE Hunter, Blake, Kai, Noel, Ollie and Ben, just to name a few.

Fans of NA will enjoy this and even if you're still on the fence or unsure if NA is your thing, this anthology is a good place to start. 


Review posted all over the internet. 

BLOG TOUR: Unforgotten (Unremembered #2) by Jessica Brody

 
Welcome to Jenuine Cupcakes
this is my stop on the Unforgotten Blog Tour!


About the Book
Unforgotten (Unremembered, #2)Author: Jessica Brody
Series: Unremembered Book Two
Publication: February 25, 2014
By: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

Some memories are better left forgotten...

After a daring escape from the scientists at Diotech who created her, Seraphina believes she is finally safe from the horrors of her past. But new threats await Sera and her boyfriend, Zen, at every turn as Zen falls prey to a mysterious illness and Sera’s extraordinary abilities make it more and more difficult to stay hidden. Meanwhile, Diotech has developed a dangerous new weapon designed to apprehend her. A weapon that even Sera will be powerless to stop. Her only hope of saving Zen’s life and defeating the company that made her is a secret buried deep within her mind. A secret that Diotech will kill to protect. And it won’t stay forgotten for long.

Packed with mystery, suspense, and romance, this riveting second installment of Jessica Brody’s Unremembered trilogy delivers more heart-pounding action as loyalties are tested, love becomes a weapon, and no one’s memories are safe.




Unremembered (Unremembered, #1)UNREMEMBERED Book One
Publication: March 5, 2013
By: Farrar, Straus, & Giroux (BYR) 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads

When Freedom Airlines flight 121 went down over the Pacific Ocean, no one ever expected to find survivors. Which is why the sixteen-year-old girl discovered floating among the wreckage—alive—is making headlines across the globe.

Even more strange is that her body is miraculously unharmed and she has no memories of boarding the plane. She has no memories of her life before the crash. She has no memories period. No one knows how she survived. No one knows why she wasn’t on the passenger manifest. And no one can explain why her DNA and fingerprints can’t be found in a single database in the world.

Crippled by a world she doesn’t know, plagued by abilities she doesn’t understand, and haunted by a looming threat she can’t remember, Seraphina struggles to piece together her forgotten past and discover who she really is. But with every clue only comes more questions. And she’s running out of time to answer them.

Her only hope is a strangely alluring boy who claims to know her from before the crash. Who claims they were in love. But can she really trust him? And will he be able to protect her from the people who have been making her forget?

From popular young adult author Jessica Brody comes a compelling and suspenseful new sci-fi series, set in a world where science knows no boundaries, memories are manipulated, and true love can never be forgotten.




UNREMEMEBERED BOOK TRAILOR







About the Author
Jessica Brody knew from a young age that she wanted to be a writer. She started self "publishing" her own books when she was seven years old, binding the pages together with cardboard, wallpaper samples and electrical tape.

After graduating from Smith College in 2001 where she double majored in Economics and French and minored in Japanese, Jessica later went on to work for MGM Studios as a Manager of Acquisitions and Business Development. In May of 2005, Jessica quit her job to follow her dream of becoming a published author.

In four short years, Jessica has sold nine novels (two adult novels to St. Martin's Press and seven young adult novels to Farrar, Straus, Giroux.) THE FIDELITY FILES, her debut, released in stores (in real binding) in June of 2008 and the the follow-up, LOVE UNDER COVER in November 2009. THE KARMA CLUB, Jessica's debut young adult novel released in April of 2010 and her second YA release, MY LIFE UNDECIDED just recently hit bookstores in June 2011.

52 REASONS TO HATE MY FATHER (which was recently optioned for film) will be out in Summer 2012 and UNREMEMBERED, (also optioned for film), the first book in a new teen sci-fi series, will be released in early 2013.

Jessica's books are published and translated in over twelve foreign countries including the UK, France, Germany, Italy, Czech Republic, Russia, Brazil, China, Portugal, Israel, Indonesia and Taiwan.

Jessica now works full time as a writer and producer. She currently splits her time between Los Angeles and Colorado.

Author Info/Links
·         Follow Jessica Brody on Twitter!
·         See Jessica Brody on tour!
·         Check out her website!


Unforgotten Playlist

Let me paint you a picture. An author sits at her desk, opens her manuscript file, searches through thousands of songs in her iTunes until she comes across the perfect one to fit the scene she’s about to tackle. She selects “repeat,” plugs in her headphones, presses play, and for the next hour, she’s completely lost in the dancing entanglement of words and melody and lyrics and voice.

Is that not the most whimsical, romantic imagery of writing a novel?

Yeah, too bad my writing process isn’t anything like that.

I really wish I were one of those authors who could write while listening to music. I envy those who can. I’m just not. I’ve learned this about myself, I’ve accepted it, I’ve moved on.

When I write, I have to listen to the same thing every time. It’s a waterfall track that basically sounds like someone is going SHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!! in your ear the entire time. Like you’re in a crazy library nightmare where everyone is shushing you. Not exactly the romantic scene I described above. But hey, it works for me.

But that’s not to say I’m not inspired by music. Although I can’t actually write to music, I like to listen to music while I brainstorm or while I’m walking around my neighborhood, trying to solve pesky plot problems. Here are some of the songs I relied on during the course of writing UNFORGOTTEN and the chapter of the book where I think they best fit.



    •    Treacherous by Taylor Swift – Chapter 50: Beholder



    •    Secrets by One Republic – Chapter 56: Place



    •    Stay by Little Big Town – Chapter 48: Unshaken

    •    Heal by Westlife – Chapter 1: Past

    •    Wise Up by Aimee Mann – Chapter 11: Detained

    •    Perfect World by Alias – Chapter 40: Normalcy

    •    Fix You by Coldplay – Chapter 38: Process

    •    Set Fire to the Rain by Adele – Chapter 6: Locked

    •    Please Remember Me by Tim McGraw – Chapter 67: Grayed

    •    She’s on Fire by Train – Chapter 43: War

    •    New York, New York – Chapter 23: Identified

    •    I Dare you to Move by Switchfoot – Chapter 31: Disturbance


I hope you enjoy UNFORGOTTEN!


*Oh and please check out the UNFORGETTABLE FAN challenge that’s currently running on my website! Every fan who completes the challenge gets a prize pack which includes an Unremembered Eternal Knot necklace!


Want Unremembered Series Goodies? 
Participate in Jessica Brody’s Unforgettable Fan Challenge
Plus an Unforgotten Preorder Offer!
Read Undiscovered, an Unremembered series e-short for only $1.99, and it’s from Zen’s point of view!

 



GIVEAWAY
1 Winner
1 PB Copy of UNREMEMBERED and 1 HC copy of UNFORGOTTEN by Jessica Brody
US/Canada ONLY
Must be 13 years old to enter


a Rafflecopter giveaway

Follow the rest of the tour HERE.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Waiting On Wednesday: Camp Payback (Camp Boyfriend #2) by J.K. Rock

Waiting on Wednesday
 "Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.


Camp Payback (Camp Boyfriend #2) by J.K. Rock
Publication: April 29, 2014
By: Spencer Hill Contemporary 
Amazon | Barnes & Noble 
 Camp Payback (Camp Boyfriend, #2)
Alex has big plans for camp this year, starting with making it the best summer ever. Having fun and breaking some rules will get her the payback she wants against her parents and her ex-boyfriend. Because of his disgusting texts, she's headed to a super strict all-girls school in the fall. Then she meets Javier and revenge doesn't seem nearly as important as getting to know the troubled loner determined to keep a low profile at camp. But Alex's trouble-magnet personality and Javier's need to stay in the background don't mix nearly as well as their irresistible chemistry. With her home life eroding under her feet and her last year of summer camp speeding to a close, Alex wants to make her mark on the world and squeeze every bit of fun out of her time with Javier. Too bad her old plans for revenge turn back on her just in time to ruin everything. Will she lose Javier too?

https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/16692604-camp-payback 

My bag are packed and I'm all ready to go back to camp!
Are you?
Read my review of Camp Boyfriend HERE.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

RELEASE DAY BLITZ: White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout


We are beyond excited to participate in the Release Day Launch for Jennifer L. Armentrout's WHITE HOT KISS! 

WHITE HOT KISS is a young adult paranormal romance being published by Harlequin Teen TODAY! This is the first full-length novel in The Dark Elements Series and one you'll want to grab as soon as you finish reading this post.


White Hot Kiss
One kiss could be the last.

Seventeen-year-old Layla just wants to be normal. But with a kiss that kills anything with a soul, she's anything but normal. Half demon, half gargoyle, Layla has abilities no one else possesses.

Raised among the Wardens—a race of gargoyles tasked with hunting demons and keeping humanity safe—Layla tries to fit in, but that means hiding her own dark side from those she loves the most. Especially Zayne, the swoon-worthy, incredibly gorgeous and completely off-limits Warden she's crushed on since forever.

Then she meets Roth—a tattooed, sinfully hot demon who claims to know all her secrets. Layla knows she should stay away, but she's not sure she wants to—especially when that whole no-kissing thing isn't an issue, considering Roth has no soul.

But when Layla discovers she's the reason for the violent demon uprising, trusting Roth could not only ruin her chances with Zayne…it could brand her a traitor to her family. Worse yet, it could become a one-way ticket to the end of the world.

Read my review of WHITE HOT KISS HERE.


EXCERPT:


“I don’t think of Zayne that way!” 
She laughed. “What man-parts-loving female in this world doesn’t think of Zayne that
way? I can barely keep myself breathing when I see him. All the guys in school have squishy
waists. I can tell Zayne doesn’t. He’s the awesome sauce with extra sauce.”
That he was and he so didn’t have a squishy waist, but I tuned Stacey out at that point. I
really did need to cram for this test and I also didn’t want my fantasies involving Zayne to
occupy my mind right now. Especially after I’d woken up this morning, carefully tucked under
the covers. The bed had smelled like him: sandalwood and crisp linen. 
“Oh, sweet baby Jesus in a manger,” Stacey murmured.
I clenched my jaw, cupping my hands over my ears.
She jabbed me in the side with her elbow. At this rate I’d be covered in bruises before lunchtime. “Our bio class just got a billion times more interesting. And hotter, lots and lots hotter. Holy mother, I want to have his babies. Not now of course, but definitely later. But I’d like to start practicing soon.”
The cell wall is a thick and rigid layer covering the plasma something, something plant cells… 
Stacey stiffened all of a sudden. “Oh my God, he’s coming—”
          Composed of fat and sugar— 
          Something slender and shiny fell from who knew where, landing in the middle of Sam’s notes. Blinking tightly, it took me a couple of seconds to recognize the faded and half peeled Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles sticker covering the back of the silver cell phone.
My heart slammed against my ribs. Gripping the edges of the notebook, I slowly lifted my gaze. Unnaturally beautiful golden eyes met mine.  
“You forgot this last night.”



About Jennifer L. Armentrout 
Author Photo # 1 NEW YORK TIMES and USA TODAY Bestselling author Jennifer lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia. All the rumors you’ve heard about her state aren’t true. When she’s not hard at work writing. she spends her time reading, working out, watching really bad zombie movies, pretending to write, and hanging out with her husband and her Jack Russell Loki. 
Her dreams of becoming an author started in algebra class, where she spent most of her time writing short stories….which explains her dismal grades in math. Jennifer writes young adult paranormal, science fiction, fantasy, and contemporary romance. 
She is published with Spencer Hill Press, Entangled Teen and Brazen, Disney/Hyperion and Harlequin Teen. Her book Obsidian has been optioned for a major motion picture and her Covenant Series has been optioned for TV.   
She also writes adult and New Adult romance under the name J. Lynn. She is published by Entangled Brazen and HarperCollins.   



GIVEAWAY
Now that you have a taste for this fabulous new series, here are the details for the AMAZING international giveaway!!! 
Harlequin Teen is giving away a large Harlequin Teen Tote. 
Tote Includes:  
· Harlequin TEEN branded tote 
· The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa (trade) 
· Pawn by Aimee Carter (hard cover) 
· Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (hard cover) 
· Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter (hard cover) 
· 2 copies of White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout 
· 1 pair of black harlequin branded socks (they are so comfy!)  





Monday, February 24, 2014

Bright Before Sunrise by Tiffany Schmidt

Bright Before SunriseAuthor: Tiffany Schmidt
Publication: February 18, 2014
By: Walker Childrens
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
4.5 Stars!

When Jonah is forced to move from Hamilton to Cross Pointe for the second half of his senior year, "miserable" doesn't even begin to cover it. He feels like the doggy-bag from his mother's first marriage and everything else about her new life—with a new husband, new home and a new baby—is an upgrade. The people at Cross Pointe High School are pretentious and privileged—and worst of all is Brighton Waterford, the embodiment of all things superficial and popular. Jonah’s girlfriend, Carly, is his last tie to what feels real... until she breaks up with him.

For Brighton, every day is a gauntlet of demands and expectations. Since her father died, she’s relied on one coping method: smile big and pretend to be fine. It may have kept her family together, but she has no clue how to handle how she's really feeling. Today is the anniversary of his death and cracks are beginning to show. The last thing she needs is the new kid telling her how much he dislikes her for no reason she can understand. She's determined to change his mind, and when they're stuck together for the night, she finally gets her chance.

Jonah hates her at 3p.m., but how will he feel at 3 a.m.?

One night can change how you see the world. One night can change how you see yourself.


I started this book around mid-day, read a few chapters and had to set it aside to do things like, feed my kids and switch the laundry. By the time I was able to pick it back up again, it was 10:30p.m. and I was exhausted. I figured I would still get in at least an hour before my eyeballs gave up. 

That didn't happen.

By 1:30a.m. I was sitting on the floor of my bathroom reading by - I kid you not - nightlight, and fighting the urge to flip to the end to see whether or not this turned out the way I hoped it would. 

It did. 

When I finally crawled back into bed at 2:30a.m., I had a big goofy smile on my face!

What I Loved: I was really curious about the "one night" premise. I was also a little nervous that Tiffany Schmidt might not be able to pull it off - telling a story that only covers a few hours but that is engaging, thought-provoking and heart-warming, but she did it!

I really enjoyed the dual POV and how both of these characters were almost extreme versions of themselves in the beginning. Their experiences have caused them to shut down emotionally but it manifests itself in different ways. 

Jonah is a jerk, lashing out at everyone and everything around him. Totally understandable. Divorce is hard on a kid regardless of age. Throw in a move, a neurotic girlfriend and a bunch of other changes and life can kind of suck. Big time. The only bright spot in his life seems to be his baby sister and ohmyfeels...the scenes where he is caring her are so stinking sweet!

Brighton's perpetual positivity is merely a survival mechanism. Neither of her parents are emotionally available to her and thanks to her sister's carefree (and often hilarious) attitude, Brighton is the one tasked with taking care of their mom. But Caretaker is a role Brighton feels the safest in despite the fact that it's slowly eating away at her. 

When their night begins, both Jonah and Brighton have preconceived notions about one another as well as agendas. Over the course of a few hours, words are spoken, feelings are hurt, and connections made, leaving them both to face the reality that maybe they really aren't all that different after all. Maybe too, they're the only other person who has a clue as to what the other is dealing with. Maybe, just maybe, Jonah and Brighton are exactly what each other needs. 

Not tying up all of the loose ends is just one of the things that makes this story unique. But the reader isn't left feeling frustrated or angry about all of the "what happens now" questions. What the reader IS left with is hope and belief that it really does only take one night to change your life for the better. 

What Left Me Wanting More: Nothing. However, if Tiffany Schmidt would like to write another book about what DOES happen next, I'll be first in line to read it. With cupcakes. ;)

Final Verdict: Engaging, thought-provoking look at how we not only see others, but how we see ourselves too. Read it!
 
Favorite Quote(s):  "Mom keeps a bail fund for me---for you, she only has college money."

"Go get my purse' does not give you permission to go in my purse," when all I'd wanted was a piece of gum for my baseball game." (One of the first "rules" I taught my boys. LOL!)

"Pity for the loser with undersized man-parts." 

"In one car ride she's gone from pensive to half-asleep, and now she looks like she's snorted coffee beans." 

Review posted all over the internet.

 Click HERE to check out the BRIGHT BEFORE SUNRISE Tumblr page for all of the great "One Night That Changed My LIfe" stories!

 

COVER REVEAL: Contradictions by Tiffany King

USA Today Bestselling Author of Misunderstandings
Tiffany King

Contradictions
A Novel

Coming December 2014
From The Berkley Publishing Group/Penguin Group (USA) LLC
When everything starts spinning out of control…

Three years into college, Tressa Oliver’s life is a nonstop party. She’s skating by in her classes, and there’s no shortage of drinking, dancing and general hell-raising. The only aspect that hasn’t been much fun: she can’t shake the toxic jerks that always seem to gravitate toward her.

It will take someone totally wrong…

Trent Lawson is the classic anti-bad boy: smart, boring, and way too serious. To a wild girl like Tressa, there’s no way in hell they’re compatible—especially since Trent seems to see straight through her defenses.

To set her right.

When a college prank goes terribly wrong, Tressa starts to suspect that her partying ways are leading nowhere fast. Now, she has to turn to the last person she ever thought she’d ask for help—and quickly discovers that there’s more to Trent than meets the eye…


Praise for the novels of Tiffany King

“A MUST-READ for New Adult contemporary romance fans.”
—New York Times bestselling author Samantha Young

“Sweet and sexy! Great characters and an intriguing romance…So good!”
—New York Times bestselling author Cora Carmack




USA Today Bestselling author Tiffany King is a lifelong reading fanatic who is now living her dream as a writer, weaving Young Adult and New Adult romance tales for others to enjoy. 

She has a loving husband and two wonderful kids. (Five, if you count her three spoiled cats). Her addictions include: Her iphone and ipad, chocolate, Diet Coke, chocolate, Harry Potter, chocolate, zombies and her favorite TV shows. Want to know what they are? Just ask.  



Friday, February 21, 2014

The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy #1) by Marie Rutkoski

The Winner's Curse (Winner's Trilogy #1)Author: Marie Rutkoski
Publication: March 4, 2014
By: Farrar Straus Giroux
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Goodreads
4.75 Stars!

Winning what you want may cost you everything you love

As a general’s daughter in a vast empire that revels in war and enslaves those it conquers, seventeen-year-old Kestrel has two choices: she can join the military or get married. But Kestrel has other intentions.

One day, she is startled to find a kindred spirit in a young slave up for auction. Arin’s eyes seem to defy everything and everyone. Following her instinct, Kestrel buys him—with unexpected consequences. It’s not long before she has to hide her growing love for Arin.

But he, too, has a secret, and Kestrel quickly learns that the price she paid for a fellow human is much higher than she ever could have imagined.

Set in a richly imagined new world, The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski is a story of deadly games where everything is at stake, and the gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart.


Disclaimer: YOU NEED THIS BOOK IN YOUR LIFE! 

Thank you Macmillan, Farrar Straus Giroux and Ksenia Winnicki for this ARC. And the dagger because, well, it's a dagger! 

I had to make a few knock-off daggers because I got tired of telling my nine year old son, "Stop taking Mommy's dagger!"


Yes, one of the daggers is blood tipped.

Don't let the gorgeous cover or the summary fool you, The Winner's Curse is no light, swoony romance. It's a beautifully written, brilliantly crafted high fantasy story of love, betrayal, politics, and the fight for independence. (It will make anything you've ever written look like you've been finger painting with poo. Okay, so maybe that's just me, but still.)

The romance between Kestrel and Arin is a slow burn, one that is both heart racing and frustrating. Plot twists and constant strategizing keep the story moving and it all leads up to an ending that left me clutching my heart and eager to read the next installment!

I just wish I didn't have to wait so long for it! 

P.S. The line for Arin starts behind me. Sorry Kestral. (Not really)


Buy LINKS
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | iTunes |Indiebound | Google Books | BAM | Goodreads | Wesbsite | Facebook




About the Author
Marie Rutkoski is the author of The Kronos Chronicles, including The Cabinet of Wonders and The Celestial Globe. The Cabinet of Wonders, her debut novel, was named an Indie Next Kids’ List Great Read and a Bank Street Best Children’s Book of the Year, among other honors. 
Rutkoski grew up in Bolingbrook, Illinois (a suburb of Chicago), as the oldest of four children. She attended the University of Iowa, where she took Writers’ Workshop classes and studied with Pulitzer Prize-winner James Alant McPherson. After graduating, she lived in Moscow and Prague. Upon receiving her Ph.D. from Harvard University, she held dual appointments as a lecturer there in both English and American Literature and Language, and History and Literature. 

Rutkoski is currently a professor at Brooklyn College, where she teaches Renaissance Drama, children’s literature and creative writing. She lives in New York City with her husband and cat. 



 

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Better Off Friends by Elizabeth Eulberg

Better off Friends
Author: Elizabeth Eulberg
Publication: February 25, 2014
By: Point
Amazon | Goodreads
4 Stars!

For Macallan and Levi, it was friends at first sight. Everyone says guys and girls can’t be just friends, but these two are. They hang out after school, share tons of inside jokes, their families are super close, and Levi even starts dating one of Macallan’s friends. They are platonic and happy that way.

Eventually they realize they’re best friends — which wouldn’t be so bad if they didn’t keep getting in each other’s way. Guys won’t ask Macallan out because they think she’s with Levi, and Levi spends too much time joking around with Macallan, and maybe not enough time with his date. They can’t help but wonder . . . are they more than friends or are they better off without making it even more complicated?

From romantic comedy superstar Elizabeth Eulberg comes a fresh, fun examination of a question for the ages: Can guys and girls ever really be just friends? Or are they always one fight away from not speaking again — and one kiss away from true love?


This was my first Elizabeth Eulberg book and I'm looking forward to getting my hands on more of her words! 

What I Liked: I love how significant this cover is! (I'm a cover dork, I can't help it.) This is a super cute story that takes an honest look at the ins and outs of friendship with the opposite sex. Macallan (loved the unique name) and Levi are best friends who meet in seventh grade and their relationship plays out over the course of five years. It's told through their alternating POVs and peppered with a running commentary that takes place in the present. Both are witty, funny and thoroughly entertaining characters!

Levi is laid back and craves attention while Macallan is confident and pulls no punches. Except for that one time... They balance each other out and it's obvious to everyone that they care very deeply for one another, but neither Macallan nor Levi seems ready or willing to take the leap from "friends" to something "more" because it could mess everything up. 

And that would totally suck. 

Like any relationship, these two experience plenty of ups and downs, a few of which made my heart hurt. It takes awhile for them to figure it all out and get on the same page. But they do eventually, and it's a lot of fun to watch.

What Left Me Wanting More: I wasn't expecting this to start out in Middle School and it threw me off a little especially since they didn't sound like typical Middle Schoolers. (I know. I spend hours with them every week.) 

Final Verdict: Witty, lighthearted, feel-good romance!

Review also posted at YABC.