Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (89)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"Behind us, the evening light is condensing, the air thick with mosquitoes and honeysuckle. I shiver. We're on the cusp of summer, but I have the sense of an ending, not a beginning.

But perhaps it's that Grey is dead. It still feels like the moon fell out of the sky."


Taken from p. 7 of THE SQUARE ROOT OF SUMMER
by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Thursday, May 19, 2016

Book Sketch: The Serpent King by Jeff Zentner


THE SERPENT KING
By: Jeff Zentner
Published By: Crown Books for Young Readers (Random House)
Release Date: March 8, 2016
Series: None
Pages: 384
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Dill has had to wrestle with vipers his whole life—at home, as the only son of a Pentecostal minister who urges him to handle poisonous rattlesnakes, and at school, where he faces down bullies who target him for his father’s extreme faith and very public fall from grace.

He and his fellow outcast friends must try to make it through their senior year of high school without letting the small-town culture destroy their creative spirits and sense of self. Graduation will lead to new beginnings for Lydia, whose edgy fashion blog is her ticket out of their rural Tennessee town. And Travis is content where he is thanks to his obsession with an epic book series and the fangirl turning his reality into real-life fantasy.

Their diverging paths could mean the end of their friendship. But not before Dill confronts his dark legacy to attempt to find a way into the light of a future worth living.




First Thought After Finishing: So many teenagers could probably use this book. It has a great message about making your own path in life no matter where you come from.

I bought The Serpent King based off of snippets of other reviews that I saw from bloggers I trust. I didn’t really read the summary though, so I didn’t quite know what to expect. This book ended up unfolding almost like a Lifetime drama (yes, I do like Lifetime movies), and it tackled several tough issues head-on but without being “preachy” about it. In the acknowledgements, Jeff Zentner said that he wrote this book for some of the teens he worked with at a summer camp, and after reading it, I can see how this book could be just what some people need to read.

"If there was a way I could explode with beautiful heat and light, like a firecracker, that's what I'd want I want people to talk about me and remember me when I'm gone. I want to carve my name in the world."

The Serpent King follows three friends—Dill, Lydia, and Travis—who live in a tiny town in Tennessee, not far from Nashville. None of these three friends conform to what everyone in their town expects of them. Dill is the son of a signs preacher who was imprisoned, Lydia runs a fashion blog and isn’t afraid to speak her mind and challenge the status quo, and Travis escapes his life by reading an epic fantasy series and discussing them on message boards. Each character has chapters from his or her own point of view, so we get to know them and their families fairly well. And each one was relatable in his or her way, especially for anyone who has ever felt out of place in high school.

This book brought back a lot of high school memories for me. I went to high school in a small-ish southern town, and my high school was the “country” high school. There was definitely a certain way people were supposed to act and be; if you didn’t fit it, you were ostracized. Zentner portrayed this through his characters, but also offered hope for a better future. He showed the bond between all three friends and why it was so important; it was a friendship I wanted to be part of. He also wasn’t afraid to write about issues—parents who certainly weren’t winning any Parent of the Year awards, wanting to live up to others’ expectations, and dealing with depression. My heart went out to each of these characters as they struggled, but that somehow made their moments of happiness even sweeter.

"And if you're going to live, you might as well do painful, brave, and beautiful things."

Most Memorable Aspect: Lydia’s wit and sarcasm. Her comments reminded me of things that I’d say, and I found myself laughing out loud several times. She had a great voice, wasn’t afraid to be herself, and I really enjoyed reading the chapters from her POV.




Wednesday, May 18, 2016

"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.



This week's selection is:


PLEASE DON'T TELL
By: Laura Tims
Published By: HarperCollins
Release Date: May 24, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Joy killed Adam Gordon—at least, that’s what she thinks. The night of the party is hazy at best. But she knows what Adam did to her twin sister, Grace, and she knows he had to pay for it.

What Joy doesn’t expect is that someone else saw what happened. And one night a note is shoved through her open window, threatening Joy that all will be revealed. Now the anonymous blackmailer starts using Joy to expose the secrets of their placid hometown. And as the demands escalate, Joy must somehow uncover the blackmailer’s identity before Joy is forced to make a terrible choice.

In this darkly compelling narrative, debut author Laura Tims explores the complicated relationship between two sisters, and what one will do for the other. It’s a story that will keep readers turning pages and questioning their own sense of right and wrong.




Why it's Wanted:

There's something intriguing about dark contemporaries, especially one that promises to have you questioning what you think is right. This book has the potential to be suspenseful while having a good story, which sounds like a great combination to me!

Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (88)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"I look out the window. The sky's turning black quickly under the stripes of clouds. There's a red glow in the distance where Skarmouth crouches, but the rest of the island is black and mysterious. In the dark, there's no difference between the sea and land. I remember riding Dove on the cliff top this morning. The way the air bit my cheeks and the smell of the sea set my heart pounding. I know I should be terrified of tonight and of tomorrow and of the next day, and I am, but I can feel something else, too: excitement."


Taken from p. 166 of THE SCORPIO RACES
by Maggie Stiefvater

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

"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.



This week's selection is:


ROSES AND ROT
By: Kat Howard
Published By: Saga Press
Release Date: May 17, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: Imogen and her sister Marin have escaped their cruel mother to attend a prestigious artists’ retreat, but soon learn that living in a fairy tale requires sacrifices, be it art or love.

What would you sacrifice in the name of success? How much does an artist need to give up to create great art?

Imogen has grown up reading fairy tales about mothers who die and make way for cruel stepmothers. As a child, she used to lie in bed wishing that her life would become one of these tragic fairy tales because she couldn’t imagine how a stepmother could be worse than her mother now. As adults, Imogen and her sister Marin are accepted to an elite post-grad arts program—Imogen as a writer and Marin as a dancer. Soon enough, though, they realize that there’s more to the school than meets the eye. Imogen might be living in the fairy tale she’s dreamed about as a child, but it’s one that will pit her against Marin if she decides to escape her past to find her heart’s desire.




Why it's wanted:

I like the idea of a book about sisters. Maybe it's the fact that I'm an only child, but I always liked to pretend that I had siblings and still enjoy getting a glimpse of the experience. Plus, this book involves a fine arts school, which appeals to the musician side of me. And what's more fun than family drama?

Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (87)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"Then they lay for a while on their backs, gazing into the starry expanse through the railroad tracks, listening to the dark river below. This might be it, Dill thought. This might be the best your life ever is. This moment. Right now."


Taken from THE SERPENT KING
by Jeff Zentner

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Monday, May 9, 2016

Book Sketch: The Last Boy and Girl in the World by Siobhan Vivian


THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD
By: Siobhan Vivian
Published By: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Release Date: April 26, 2016
Series: None
Pages: 432
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Source: Purchased
Buy the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: What if your town was sliding underwater and everyone was ordered to pack up and leave? How would you and your friends spend your last days together?

While the adults plan for the future, box up their possessions, and find new places to live, Keeley Hewitt and her friends decide to go out with a bang. There are parties in abandoned houses. Canoe races down Main Street. The goal is to make the most of every minute they still have together.

And for Keeley, that means taking one last shot at the boy she’s loved forever.

There’s a weird sort of bravery that comes from knowing there’s nothing left to lose. You might do things you normally wouldn’t. Or say things you shouldn’t. The reward almost always outweighs the risk.

Almost.

It’s the end of Aberdeen, but the beginning of Keeley’s first love story. It just might not turn out the way she thought. Because it’s not always clear what’s worth fighting for and what you should let become a memory.




First Impression: WOW. This book was not what I expected, but in a good way.

"Although that spring was the end of Aberdeen, I'll always remember it as full of beginnings. And not just for me. For all of us. Things around us were changing, sure, but we were changing too, and we couldn't pretend we weren't any longer. Maybe that's what happens when you're suddenly living your life on a warp speed setting, trying to make the most of it before everything you know slides underneath the water."


I had the pleasure of hearing Siobhan Vivian talk about this book at a signing. She happened to see a painting of a city that had become a real-life Atlantis, and the painting and thoughts about it inspired the book. Aberdeen wasn’t the city in the painting, but it certainly gave a great backdrop for this story. It was the sort of town I always dreamed about living in—at least, until I remembered I would not function well in a town without Starbucks. Aberdeen is a small, close-knit town. Keeley has lived there her entire life, Morgan has always been her best friend (and even their moms have always been best friends), and everyone knows everyone.

Small town or not, Keeley still can’t get the boy of her dreams to notice her. But all of that changes one day when they end up stacking sandbags next to each other to prevent flooding in the town. Just like the unthinkable happens for Keeley in having Jesse’s attention, the unthinkable happens for the town when the flooding actually does start. Suddenly everyone might be losing the only home they’ve ever known. That’s where Keeley and Jesse’s comedic and daring antics come into play. They dream up wild ideas to make the most of the time that’s left. They throw parties that sound like something I’d want to be at. They joke and make videos and embrace that kind of joie de vivre that I sometimes wish I could have. When reading about golden-boy Jesse, I could almost feel it, feel how good it would be to have someone like that put his arm around me and say something like, “I dare you to have more fun than you’ve ever had before!”

But this book isn’t all parties and the discovery of a first love. At her signing, Siobhan also said something along the lines of how romance doesn’t always have to be between a boyfriend and girlfriend. The fact is that there are more types of relationships in the world—family, mentors, and friendships. Those types of relationships really take center stage in this book. That isn’t to say that there is no romance, but this book captures so much more than that. In life, we need more than one person, and for good reason. Keeley didn’t just have and need Jesse, even though Jesse was the boy she’d loved for forever. She needed her BFF Morgan. She wanted things to be okay for her family. Even Levi, who was the often-annoying overachiever, was still a relationship in Keeley’s life. The book would have been incomplete without any of them and their shared experiences.

I haven’t read Siobhan Vivian’s other books, but if they are anything like this one, or if future books are, it’s safe to say that I’ll be adding them to my to-read list. From characters where I found little pieces of myself to a story that was completely engrossing, The Last Boy and Girl in the World will absorb your mind and tug on your heart.

Most Memorable Aspect: Aside from all the emotions, what struck me about this book was how perfectly human it was. Perceptions about people and even the truth shifted for the characters and for me as the book went on. The book felt like little pieces of lives were unfolding on a page—sometimes exciting, sometimes slower, sometimes emotional, but always real.



Wednesday, May 4, 2016

"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.



This week's selection is:


EVEN IF THE SKY FALLS
By: Mia Garcia
Published By: Katherine Tegen Books
Release Date: May 10, 2016
Preorder the Book: Amazon


Goodreads Summary: All she needs is one night to be anyone she wants.

Julie is desperate for a change. So she heads to New Orleans with her youth group to rebuild houses and pretend her life isn’t a total mess. But between her super-clingy team leader and her way-too-chipper companions, Julie feels more trapped than ever.

In a moment of daring, she ditches her work clothes for DIY fairy wings and heads straight into the heart of Mid-Summer Mardi Gras, where she locks eyes with Miles, an utterly irresistible guy with a complicated story of his own. And for once, Julie isn’t looking back. She jumps at the chance to see the real New Orleans, and in one surreal night, they dance under the stars, share their most shameful secrets, and fall in love.

But their adventure takes an unexpected turn when an oncoming hurricane changes course. As the storm gains power and Julie is pulled back into chaos she finds pretending everything is fine is no longer an option.




Why it's wanted:

I love books that have a story of life-changing experiences, and this book sounds like just that. I also like the idea of seeing people break free from what holds them back--it's something I somewhat had to do, but other times I feel like I'm waiting for my experience. I can't wait to see what story this book has to offer!

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Teaser Tuesday (86)



I'm very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Books and a Beat. To participate:

* Grab your current read
* Open to a random page
* Share two “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 & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


"It must have been the dark, my eyes playing tricks on me. Or, even more believable, my own insecurities getting the best of me, casting shadows where there should only be sunshine. Because something was clearly still sparking between Jesse and me."


p. 128 from THE LAST BOY AND GIRL IN THE WORLD
by Siobhan Vivian

Please share your teasers - post them or link to your blog!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Release Week Blitz: THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver



I am so excited to help spread the word that THE SECRETS WE KEEP by Trisha Leaver is now out in paperback! If you haven’t yet added this awesome book to your shelf, now’s the perfect time. Just scroll down to learn more about the book and author, to read an excerpt, and to enter the giveaway for a chance to win an Amazon gift card!


THE SECRETS WE KEEP
By: Trisha Leaver
Published By: Farrar, Strauss, & Giroux
Release Date: June 27, 2013
Series: None
Pages: 304
Genre: Contemporary
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon


Twin sisters. A fatal accident. A devastating lie. Which girl survived?

"A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters."

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When--after a heated argument--Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options--confess her deception or live her sister's life.



~ EXCERPT ~

“I am already gone.
I died that night on the side of the road with my sister.”


I don’t remember her room being so cold. Even snuggled into her sweater the chill seeps in, settling into my bones like a whisper from beyond. That’s where I will sleep tonight...in Maddy’s bed, surround by her scent. Mom wants to change the sheets, but I won’t let her. The hint of vanilla mingled with Alex’s dark cologne brings a little piece of my sister back to me each night.

The only thing I have left of my old life is a few sketches and a poor replica of the friendship bracelet Josh gave me. It took me days to re-create, to weave the strings into the right pattern. It’s not perfect, but it goes with me everywhere, a tiny reminder of who I once was and what Josh still means to me. The real bracelet is gone, cut off and tossed aside just like my life.

I want to make peace with my choice, but Maddy’s secret haunts me. The dark pieces of her life are hid- den in the back of her closet for no one but me to see. She’s not who I thought she was, but that doesn’t matter. Maddy was my sister, my twin sister, and I’ll do anything for her, including losing myself.



~ ABOUT THE AUTHOR ~

Trisha Leaver lives on Cape Cod with her husband, three children, and one rather disobedient black lab. She is a chronic daydreamer who prefers the cozy confines of her own imagination to the mundane routine of everyday life. She writes Young Adult Contemporary Fiction, Historical Fiction, Psychological Horror and Science Fiction and is published with FSG/Macmillan, Flux/Llewellyn and Merit Press. Her YA Contemporary, THE SECRETS WE KEEP, was named one of the best YA novels for summer (2015) by Teen Vogue and received starred reviews from VOYA Magazine and School Library Journal (audio). For more details, check out her website at www.trishaleaver.com.



~ GIVEAWAY ~


The Giveaway Details:
There is a blitz-wide giveaway, courtesy of the author, for:
• ONE (1) winner will receive a $25 Amazon Gift Card
***Giveaway is open to anyone 13 or older who can accept an Amazon Gift Card***

a Rafflecopter giveaway
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