Sunday, November 23, 2014

Stacking the YA Shelves (Nov. 23, 2014)

Tynga of  Team Tynga's Reviews hosts this meme to spotlight the books we receive each week. I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the wonderful books everyone gets.
Darby Karchut sent me The Hound at the Gate which is the third book about Finn MacCullen and is aimed at a middle school audience. This book will be released in January. I can't wait to read it because I really liked the first two books about Finn.

I bought Jackaby by William Ritter one day this week because it was a Kindle Daily Deal. This one sounded like a great historical mystery.

What did you add to your stack this week?

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Book Review: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Afterworlds
Author: Scott Westerfeld
Publication: Simon Pulse (September 23, 2014)

Description: From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.

My Thoughts: AFTERWORLDS was a real chunkster. After beginning it, I understood why. This is the story of a young novelist selling her book, deferring college and moving to New York to work on the edits. It is also the book she is writing. Since I was reading the print edition of this book, I could easily tell if I was in Darcy's story or in Lizzie's because the novel Darcy was writing had black banded pages. Both stories have romance but they are very different romances. The novel Darcy is writing begins with a terrorist attack and then quickly becomes a paranormal complete with ghosts.

I liked the chapters from Darcy's point of view because they talk so much about the writing process and the publishing process. We see Darcy working with her editor and revising her work. We see her laboring over her words and struggling to find an ending both she and her publishers can live with. We see her fear of ending of novel, She wants to keep improving it. We see Darcy meeting and interacting with both new and established YA writers. We also see what it is like for authors to go on book tours.

I enjoyed the novel Darcy was writing too though it would have been too scary for me if it had been a standalone novel. Some of the scenes sent chills up my spine and had me checking to see if my doors were locked.

This was a wonderful book for young adults interested in writing.

Favorite Quote:
"Ah, the language of the colonizer." Kiralee's expression brightened. "There are some interesting things you could do with that."

"Right," Darcy said, though she suspected she hadn't done any of them. She'd made Yamaraj speak English for the most practical of reasons, so that he and Lizzie didn't have to mime their undying love. "The hardest thing is making him sound old-fashioned; it just makes him sound unsexy."
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Friday Memes: Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

Happy Friday everybody!!
Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Rose City Reader. The Friday 56 is hosted at Freda's Voice. Check out the links above for the rules and for the posts of the participants each week. Don’t dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.


This week I am spotlighting a recent addition to my TBR mountain. Afterworlds by Scott Westfeld caught my attention recently. Here is the description:
From the #1 New York Times bestselling author Scott Westerfeld comes a smart, thought-provoking novel-within-a-novel that you won’t be able to put down.

Darcy Patel has put college on hold to publish her teen novel, Afterworlds. With a contract in hand, she arrives in New York City with no apartment, no friends, and all the wrong clothes. But lucky for Darcy, she’s taken under the wings of other seasoned and fledgling writers who help her navigate the city and the world of writing and publishing. Over the course of a year, Darcy finishes her book, faces critique, and falls in love.

Woven into Darcy’s personal story is her novel, Afterworlds, a suspenseful thriller about a teen who slips into the “Afterworld” to survive a terrorist attack. The Afterworld is a place between the living and the dead, and where many unsolved—and terrifying—stories need to be reconciled. Like Darcy, Lizzie too falls in love…until a new threat resurfaces, and her special gifts may not be enough to protect those she cares about most.
Beginning:
The most important email that Darcy Patel ever wrote was three paragraphs long.
Friday 56:
Oscar made a pfft noise. "My tastes are wider than yours. It's a paranormal romance."

"Are those still being written?" Kiralee was flagging a waiter down. "I thought vampires were dead."

Coleman grunted. "They're exceedingly hard to kill."

Thursday, November 20, 2014

ARC Review: On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

On the Edge
Author: Allison van Diepen
Publication: HarperTeen (November 25, 2014)

Description: From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel—perfect for fans of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin—about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami's gangs.

Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there's a target on her back.

But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?

My Thoughts: Maddie Diaz is a high school senior attending a magnet school but living in a bad part of town. She has been accepted to the University of Florida with a full tuition scholarship and is eager to get out of Miami. One night walking home from work she sees a couple of gang members attack a homeless man and set him on fire. She identifies them to the police and then becomes a target of gang retaliation.

Luckily, she has also attracted the attention of Lobo who is the leader of a rival group who wants to stop that gang from trafficking in young women and who decide to protect Maddie. When she is attacked and beaten by gang members, the other group saves her.

Meanwhile, she is hanging out with her friends including her overly dramatic best friend Iz who is constantly trying to hook her up with guys. One guy who has caught Maddie's attention is Ortiz who works at a nearby convenience store.

I did really like the romance between Ortiz and Maddie. I was very worried for their future at many points in the story.

This story is for the older young adult. These teens do a lot of drinking. The violence could also be disturbing for younger readers. There is a lot of violence.

Favorite Quote:
I remembered something that Mom had once told me—that there was a difference between being in love with someone and loving someone. Being in love was that wild, exhilarating feeling of needing to be with them every moment. Loving someone was a pledge to care about them forever. To make their happiness as important as your own.
I got this eARC from Edelweiss. You can buy your copy here.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

WoW: Suspicion by Alexandra Monir

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. She has a linky widget at her site each week for your post and to make it easy to find posts by other people.

The purpose of the meme is to spotlight books that we are eagerly anticipating. It is fun to take a look at what others are waiting for. I have noticed that it has expanded my wishlist though. Be warned!

Coming up on my review stack is Suspicion by Alexandra Monir. Here is the description from Amazon:
“There’s something hidden in the maze.”

Seventeen-year-old Imogen Rockford has never forgotten the last words her father said to her, before the blazing fire that consumed him, her mother, and the gardens of her family’s English country manor.

For seven years, images of her parents’ death have haunted Imogen's dreams. In an effort to escape the past, she leaves Rockford Manor and moves to New York City with her new guardians. But some attachments prove impossible to shake—including her love for her handsome neighbor Sebastian Stanhope.

Then a life-altering letter arrives that forces Imogen to return to the manor in England, where she quickly learns that dark secrets lurk behind Rockford’s aristocratic exterior. At their center is Imogen herself—and Sebastian, the boy she never stopped loving.

Combining spine-tingling mystery, romance, and unforgettable characters, Suspicion is an action-packed thrill ride.
This book will be released on December 9. Is it on your wishlist? 

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Teaser Tuesday: On the Edge by Allison Van Diepen

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Teaser:
Mom said I should have counseling. That I was suffering from PTSD. That my "faith in humanity had been shattered by witnessing such a horrible crime." It was a pretty impressive diagnosis, and a testament to her faithful watching of Dr. Drew.
This week my teaser comes from On the Edge by Allison Van Diepen. I got this eARC for review from Edelweiss. Here is the description of this November 25 release:
From Allison van Diepen, author of Snitch and Street Pharm, comes a sexy, dangerous novel—perfect for fans of Simone Elkeles and Paul Griffin—about a teen who witnesses a murder and gets caught up in the seedy world of Miami's gangs.
Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there's a target on her back.

But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Book Review: Trust Me, I'm Lying by Mary Elizabeth Summer

Trust Me, I'm Lying
Author: Mary Elizabeth Summer
Publication: Delacorte Press (October 14, 2014)

Description: Fans of Ally Carter's Heist Society novels will love this teen mystery/thriller with sarcastic wit, a hint of romance, and Ocean’s Eleven–inspired action.

Julep Dupree tells lies. A lot of them. She’s a con artist, a master of disguise, and a sophomore at Chicago’s swanky St. Agatha High, where her father, an old-school grifter with a weakness for the ponies, sends her to so she can learn to mingle with the upper crust. For extra spending money Julep doesn’t rely on her dad—she runs petty scams for her classmates while dodging the dean of students and maintaining an A+ (okay, A-) average.

But when she comes home one day to a ransacked apartment and her father gone, Julep’s carefully laid plans for an expenses-paid golden ticket to Yale start to unravel. Even with help from St. Agatha’s resident Prince Charming, Tyler Richland, and her loyal hacker sidekick, Sam, Julep struggles to trace her dad’s trail of clues through a maze of creepy stalkers, hit attempts, family secrets, and worse, the threat of foster care. With everything she has at stake, Julep’s in way over her head . . . but that’s not going to stop her from using every trick in the book to find her dad before his mark finds her. Because that would be criminal.

My Thoughts: This book was pitched as being like HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter and I can see some similarities. The female narrator - Julep Dupree - is a self-described grifter who is currently running cons in her exclusive private school. She also begins the book by telling us that she doesn't have a conscience. However, we also have to remember that she is a liar who will tell whatever story she needs to in order for her con to work.

At the story's beginning Julep comes home to find a trashed apartment and a missing father. Her immediate desire is to find him and to keep his absence a secret because fifteen-year-old without adult supervision wind up in foster care. She also has to find a way to make money to afford her rent and private school tuition. The money part isn't too difficult; she begins offering false IDs for sale and quickly has more business at her school that she can handle.

Tracking down her father is considerably harder. She is being followed by a mysterious person in a tricked-out Chevelle and she is also being followed by a guy who says he was hired by her best friend Sam to keep her safe.

It wouldn't be a teenage novel these days if it didn't have a love triangle. In this case, Julep catches the attention of the Big Man on Campus - Tyler Richland. Julep can't read him; all of a sudden her grifter's skills at reading people aren't working so well. They aren't working very well with her best friend Sam either. She and Sam have been friends for years and he has been her willing partner in most of her schemes but she somehow misses that he wants to be more than friends.

The plot was complex but Julep's skills at the con made for a mostly successful operation. There was one quite surprising loss. The emotions got intense and so did the danger as Julep, Sam and Tyler try to follow the clues her father left for her and find out what is going on. Julep has to pull off her biggest con yet to save those who needed to be saved and to survive herself.

I enjoyed the story and hope that more adventures are in Julep's future.

Favorite Quotes:
I step back in surprise and look up, immediately recognizing Tyler Richland, the St. Aggie's demigod/senior Harper name-dropped in the bathroom. He's captain of the fill-in-any-sport-here varsity team, he's popular, and he has a hotness factor that approaches solar levels. You don't go to St. Agatha's and not know Tyler Richland. In fact, you don't live in Chicago and not know Tyler Richland. His dad's a senator.
***
Coincidences are like unicorns—you can believe in them all you want, but that doesn't make them real. 
I bought this one. You can buy your copy here.