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Wednesday, May 27, 2015

VOTE in My Indie Inbox, Round Two!

Welcome to the second round of My Indie Inbox, a new feature that lets you vote for the indie title you'd most like me to read. Read the synopses below and then please VOTE for your favorite. After two weeks, I'll read the book with the most votes and tell you what I thought of it.

Here are the books in alphabetical order by title:


Amendments
by H. M. Lynn

Synopsis from Goodreads: Two envelopes, two chances, one life. Using an amendment to change the past might mean risking your future. Would you be will to take that chance? At twenty-one Emelia’s life is already marred by amendments. With her father gone, her mother broke the fundamental rule of amending and Emelia’s sister has been paying the price ever since. Now Emelia has her own two envelopes to use however she chooses. 
If only life were that straight forward. 



Changes (Family Portrait #1)
by Gillian Felix

Synopsis from Goodreads: Adriana Banovic’s 15th birthday sucked! She got fired after eight years of playing Shayanne Montgomery on the #1 soap in the country, found out that her family was on the verge of bankruptcy and worst of all, forced to return to Westwood Academy. Her only saving grace was a chance glance at dreamy mystery boy Haze Lyndon. Armed with only his picture and a determination to find him—even if it means turning Los Angeles over on its ass.



Death Wish (Ceruleans #1)
by Megan Tayte

Synopsis from Goodreads: Seventeen-year-old Scarlett Blake is haunted by death. Her estranged sister has made the ultimate dramatic exit. Running away from school, joining a surfing fraternity, partying hard: that sounds like Sienna. But suicide? It makes no sense. Following in her sister’s footsteps, Scarlett comes to the isolated cove of Twycombe, Devon, with grand plans to uncover the truth. Alone. But she hasn’t reckoned on meeting two boys who are determined to help her. Luke: the blue-eyed surfer who’ll see the real Scarlett, who’ll challenge her, who’ll save her. And Jude: the elusive drifter with a knack for turning up whenever Scarlett’s in need. As Scarlett’s quest for the truth unravels, so too does her grip on reality as she’s always known it. Because there’s something strange going on in this little cove. A dead magpie circles the skies. A dead deer watches from the undergrowth. Hands glow with light. Warmth. Power. What transpires is a summer of discovery. Of what it means to conquer fear. To fall in love. To choose life. To choose death. To believe the impossible. 

Finding Thor
by Kai Strand

Synopsis from Goodreads: Tragedy has left Cara Cassidy broken and the only thing keeping her from giving in completely is her guilt. Until Nik Rock. Nik stirs up feelings in degrees she has never experienced, and causes her to do things that most assuredly give him the wrong impression – like kiss him before their first date. Somehow, he breaks down the walls around her emotions until she has no choice but to forgive herself and feel again. But a mysterious, troubled past follows Nik, and Cara may prove to be his weakest link. When a royal princess shows up looking for Nik, and an international gang arrives looking for missing jewels, Cara lands in mortal danger. Will she be able to save herself? What will happen to her newly repaired psyche if she loses Nik? Romance, mystery, and high stakes – just another day in high school.



Montecito
by  L. Boddez & L. Fernandes

Synopsis from authors: Two things irritate Beth McKellar. Well, more than two things, but that's another story. 1. She's financially challenged. 2. Her mom has just re-married.  By themselves, these two problems are not that bad.  But add in the fact that she was forced to move to Montecito, California to live in her new stepfather's mansion, she becomes irritated.  Armed only with non-designer running shoes and a late model Honda, Beth must navigate a new world of wealth, a new college and a new stepfamily.  But Beth has a secret, a very profitable secret, and life is about to get a whole lot better.

Published weekly on bookappisodes.com, Montecito is a dramatic series with many twists and turns, all determined by the readers themselves. Through the website or Google App, readers can vote weekly on important plot or character decisions. Readers now get a voice and can interact in a meaningful way with the authors each week!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing May 26-June 1

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!

This month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Enter by linking reviews of YA books that release in May or by commenting on other people's linked reviews.

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!


Tenderness of Thieves Kissing in America Out of Aces P.S. I Still Love You
Tenderness of Thieves by Donna Freitas (Philomel)
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb (Harper)
Out of Aces by Stephanie Guerra (Skyscape)
P.S. I Still Love You (To All the Boys #2) by Jenny Han (Simon & Schuster)


Outage Daughter of Deep Silence The Death Code
Outage by Ellisa Barr (Skyscape)
Daughter of Deep Silence by Carrie Ryan (Dutton)
The Death Code (Murder Complex #2) by Lindsay Cummings (Greenwillow)


Immaculate Extraordinary Means Nowhere But Here
Immaculate by Katelyn Detweiler (Viking)
Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider (Katherine Tegen)
Nowhere But Here by Katie McGarry (Harlequin)

Charmed Conspiracy of Princes Edge of Shadows
Charmed (Hexed #2) by Michelle Krys (Delacorte)
Conspiracy of Princes by Justin Somper (Little, Brown)
Edge of Shadows (Whidbey Island #3) by Elizabeth George (Viking)

Anything Could Happen The Eternal City The Cage
Anything Could Happen by Will Walton (Push)
The Eternal City by Paula Morris (Point)
The Cage by Megan Shepherd (Balzer + Bray)

Dime Emancipated Porcupine of Truth
Dime by E. R. Frank (Atheneum)
Emancipated by M. G. Reyes (Katherine Tegen)
The Porcupine of Truth by Bill Koenigsberg (ArthurA. Levine)


Tiny Pretty Things Rusty Summer I Am Princess X Powerless
Tiny Pretty Things by Sona Charaipotra and Dhionielle Clayton (Harper)
Rusty Summer by Mary McKinley (Kensington)
I Am Princess X by Cherie Priest (Arthur A. Levine)
Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs (Sourcebooks)


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Monday, May 25, 2015

Just Finished Reading: Daughter of Deep Silence

Daughter of Deep Silence
by Carrie Ryan
To be published by Dutton Juvenile
on May 26, 2015

Summary from Goodreads: I’m the daughter of murdered parents. I’m the friend of a dead girl. I’m the lover of my enemy. And I will have my revenge. In the wake of the devastating destruction of the luxury yacht Persephone, just three souls remain to tell its story—and two of them are lying. Only Frances Mace knows the terrifying truth, and she’ll stop at nothing to avenge the murders of everyone she held dear. Even if it means taking down the boy she loves and possibly losing herself in the process.

My take: The title and cover of this are a bit of a mystery to me -- though the typography is lovely. The title sounds like a possible sequel to Forest of Hands and Teeth and Dead Tossed Waves.  The cover says ... artist's model? 1920s period piece?

Nope and nope. This is a revenge thriller. And, if you can get over some minor suspension of disbelief issues, it's a pretty good one. Daughter of Deep Silence reads like a cross between Titanic (the movie) and Revenge (the show.)

Four years after her harrowing escape from death aboard a luxury yacht, Frances arrives at an exclusive coastal community prepared to exact revenge for her own suffering and the deaths of her family and friend. The target? Her crush from age fourteen (I rolled my eyes at this a bit) and his powerful father. I think I'd have preferred it if Frances fell in love with Grey after she vowed revenge on him, but I went with it. The other thing that bothered me a bit was that Frances went into her revenge plot based only on the fact that Grey and his father lied about what happened on the yacht. She had no proof they were at all responsible, but they were lying, and that was enough for her to spend four years plotting their complete ruination.

Those quibbles aside, there's a lot that makes Daughter of Deep Silence a fun and compelling read. If you've read Ryan's prior YA books (referenced above) you know that she  writes suspense well. The flashbacks to the terror on the yacht were creepy and affecting. While I've found many YA revenge books a bit tepid, Frances is unpredictable enough that I was never sure how far she would go. I also liked the fact that the book included a character who knew what Frances was up to (I only watched one or two seasons of Revenge, but I thought of Shepherd as Nolan.)

ETA: Romance. I forgot to get to that. Yes, there are two attractive guys (Shepherd and Grey) but this didn't feel triangle-y to me. It's not a HEA ending, but more open-ended. If you've read it, tell me what you think either here or on Goodreads.

Daughter of Deep Silence was a perfect choice for my first-of-summer read -- page turning fun! If you're a fan of revenge plots or impersonation plots, definitely try this!


Friday, May 22, 2015

Freebie Friday: Happy Memorial Day Weekend



Happy Friday!

For me, Memorial Day weekend marks the start of summer reading season, which is a happy thing indeed! I'm behind on my Goodreads challenge and hoping to catch up!



Hold Me Like a Breath by Tiffany Schmidt
Lion Heart by A. C. Vaughn
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman

As always, this is US only, but do not despair. Hot off the Presses has had a lot of international winners lately.



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Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Just Finished Reading... The Last Good Day of the Year

The Last Good Day of the Year
by Jessica Warman
Published on May 19, 2015
by Bloomsbury

Source: ARC for review

Synopsis from Goodreads: Ten years ago, in the early hours of New Year’s Day, seven-year-old Samantha and her next door neighbor, Remy, watched as a man broke into Sam’s home and took her younger sister, Turtle, from her sleeping bag. Remy and Sam, too afraid to intervene at the time, later identified the man as Sam’s sister Gretchen’s much older ex-boyfriend, Steven, who was sent to prison for Turtle’s murder. Now, Sam’s shattered family is returning to her childhood home in an effort to heal. As long-buried memories begin to surface, Sam wonders if she and Remy accurately registered everything they saw. The more they re-examine the events of that fateful night, the more questions they discover about what really happened to Turtle.

My take: At first, I wasn't sure about The Last Good Day of the Year. I tried it when I was in a noisy and crowded situation, and had trouble getting into it. Then, over the weekend, I was all by myself in a lounge chair with a glass of lemonade, and I started over and ended up really enjoying it.

First off I should say that to me, The Last Good Day of the Year did not read like mainstream YA. I think you could shelve this book with adult mystery and it would fit in just fine. It's one of those books in which all the tension and suspense run underneath the surface. I absolutely love mysteries like that, because they allow my mind to explore all the who/what/where/when/why possibilities. But if you read a book like that and your mind wanders to what you're going to have for dinner, you may prefer something more plot-driven.

The story revolves around a decade old mystery: main character Sam is still dealing with the emotional aftermath of her younger sister's disappearance ten years earlier. As you find out in the early chapters of the story, Sam feels a lot of guilt in that she was there -- right in the room -- when her sister was taken. Of course, Sam was only seven when that happened. Through the course of the book,  she slowly goes over that night and what she saw (or didn't see.)

This story is more psychological suspense than page-turning thriller. Sam's investigation is more gradual than purposeful, as the book examines the impact of the sister's disappearance on Sam's family, the rest of the neighborhood, the community, the person who was accused of the kidnapping. The story is very subtly and skillfully woven, though some readers might wish for a different resolution.

I'd definitely recommended The Last Good Day of the Year for those who enjoy true crime and/or more character-driven mystery.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Hot Off the Presses: New YA Releasing May 19-25

Hot Off the Presses -- brand new YA releases!

Welcome to Hot Off the Presses!  

Tuesday is book release day, so every Tuesday I tell you about all the great new YA books you can buy in the week to come. If you're a reviewer, you can also link your blog or Goodreads reviews of any YA book publishing in the current month so we can all check them out!

May is such a great book month -- I'm piling up the books for my summer reading! This month's winner can pick any book up to $15 on either Amazon (for US winner) or The Book Depository (for international winner.)

Enter by linking reviews of YA books that release in May or by commenting on other people's linked reviews.

Hot Off the Presses aims to include every traditionally published YA book. Please let me know about books that came out this week that I might have missed! Some titles may have different release dates outside the US.

Click on the photos to get to each book's Goodreads page!


Made You Up School for Unusual Girls Last Good Day of the Year From a Distant Star
Made You Up by Francesca Zappia (Greenwillow)
A School for Unusual Girls by (Stranje House #1) by Kathleen Baldwin (Tor)
The Last Good Day of the Year by Jessica Warman (Bloomsbury)
From a Distant Star by Karen McQuestion (Skyscape)


Illusionarium Killer Within Sense of the Infinite
Illusionarium by Heather Dixon (Greenwillow)
Killer Within (Killer Instinct #2) by S. E. Green (Simon Pulse)
A Sense of the Infinite by Hilary T. Smith (Katherine Tegen)


Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak Eternity's Wheel Off the Page
The Improbable Theory of Ana & Zak by Brian Katcher (Katherine Tegen)
Eternity's Wheel (Interworld #3) by Mallory Reaves, Michael Reaves, or Neil Gaiman (Harper)
Off the Page (Between the Lines #2) by Jodi Picoult and Samantha van Leer (Delacorte)


Lion Heart Three Day Summer Scarlett Undercover
Lion Heart (Scarlet #3) by A. G. Gaughen (Bloomsbury)
Three Day Summer by Sarvenez Tash (Simon & Schuster)
Scarlett Undercover by Jennifer Latham (Little, Brown)


Conviction Dangerous Deception Hold Me Like a Breath Sparks in Scotland
Conviction by Kelly Loy Gilbert (Disney-Hyperion)
Dangerous Deception (Dangerous Creatures #2) by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stool (Little, Brown)
Hold Me Like a Breath (Once Upon a Crime Family #1) by Tiffany Schmidt (Bloomsbury)
Sparks in Scotland by A. Destiny and Rhonda Helms (Simon Pulse)


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