Monday, July 18, 2016

Cover Craze: Lost Girls (Cover Reveal)

Welcome to the first Cover Craze post! We've always been told, "don't judge a book by it's cover", but I, for one, am hardcore judgmental when it comes to buying books. I like to envision it sitting pretty on my shelf!  But more seriously, the cover helps me analyze what to expect from the story and sometimes answers questions that the blurb might leave out or not make clear (like what age range the story is for or if it's a dark or light read).

From time to time I love to participate in cover reveals. I felt that Cover Craze would allow me the opportunity to reveal a never before seen cover for an upcoming book while also rave about how awesome it might be and yada, yada. Today's cover reveal is brought to you by YaReads Blog Tours and YA Interrobang. Let's get to it!!

LOST GIRLS by Merrie Destefano

Yesterday, Rachel went to sleep listening to Taylor Swift, curled up in her grammy’s quilt, worrying about geometry. Today, she woke up in a ditch, bloodied, bruised, and missing a year of her life. 
She doesn’t recognize the person she’s become: she’s popular. She wears nothing but black. 
Black to cover the blood. 
And she can fight. 
Tell no one.  
She’s not the only girl to go missing within the last year…but she’s the only girl to come back. She desperately wants to unravel what happened to her, to try and recover the rest of the Lost Girls. 
But the more she discovers, the more her memories return. And as much as her new life scares her, it calls to her. Seductively. The good girl gone bad, sex, drugs, and raves, and something darker…something she still craves—the rush of the fight, the thrill of the win—something she can’t resist, that might still get her killed… 
The only rule is: There are no rules.
This psychological thriller, from Entangled Teen, releases January 3, 2017!

Preorder Links: Amazon | B&N | Kobo

I am definitely excited about this upcoming read! This is the right kind of cover to represent a psychological thriller. It's all dark and mysterious and I can't definitively speculate about what the story will actually bring. It could be a straightforward read or one big web of twists and turns. I feel like Lost Girls is going to be weird, exciting, and full of tension. What do you think? Does this awesome cover have you eagerly waiting for the Lost Girls release?

Latest Review: Until Harry by L.A. Casey

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

An Astounding, Emotionally Charged Read: Until Harry (Review)

He was my best friend, my best not-really-big-brother and my best protector. He was my best everything. He was mine.

Coming home is hard for Lane. Hard because Harry, her beloved uncle, has died suddenly, but also because of him. Kale.

Kale Hunt has been her best friend since childhood. But it was never that simple. He was Lane’s reason for leaving home and moving to New York. Seeing him with someone else, in love with someone else, shouldn’t have hurt. But it did. It really, really did. So she upped sticks and left, started a new life and cut herself off from her past.

But now she’s back and all the feelings are right there. As if she had never left. Emotions are running high for everyone, and tragedy has a funny way of bringing people together. But is Lane reading the signs right? Are they still just friends, or is there something more?
Pub. Date: July 19, 2016
Publisher: Montlake Romance
Genre: Romance

Until Harry is a heartfelt story of family and friendship. L.A. Casey takes readers on an emotional rollercoaster, where the highs and lows keep you on the edge of your seat and gives you a serious case of the feels.

Lane is a freelance editor living in New York. She learns that her Uncle Harry has suddenly died and she must return home. Going home is a great source of pain for Lane because she left England to avoid her past. She plans to return only for the funeral, but her family has other plans. Including Kale, the best friend who broke Lane’s heart. The story moves back and forth from present to past. The past captures the budding relationship between Lane and Kale and the forces that brought them to their tense present. I really liked this style because it allows readers to get to know Lane as she grows into the person she is and the answers that explain her decisions.

I always give credit to authors who can write a story that leaves me unable to ignore the pain of the characters and makes me feel like the story is everything to me in the moments that I’m part of that world. I don't think I have ever cried as much as I did while reading Until Harry. L.A. Casey’s imagery is so powerful that it’s practically impossible to not become engaged with the story and wonder what one might do if in Lane, or even Kale’s shoes. Tragedy is never expected, and when it happens how would you handle it? How would it change you?

Even though the story is a lot shorter than I expected it to be, and it would have been even more enjoyable if the resolution didn’t come so quickly, I overall had a great time reading Until Harry. It stayed in my mind long after I finished. The characters have depth, but its really L.A. Casey’s ability to build emotionally charged scenes that makes Until Harry a recommendable read.

*Advance publication provided in exchange for honest review*

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Previous Review: Live and Let Psi by D.R. Rosensteel

Waiting on Wednesday: Poppy

"Waiting on" Wednesday, or WOW, is a meme created by Jill @ Breaking the Spine. Join in the discussion to see what upcoming releases we're currently buzzing about.

I'm not always crazy about reading historical fiction, but there is something about Mary Hooper's writing style that makes it more enjoyable. It's realism with a little romance in the mix. So far I have only had the chance to read her novel, Grace, but it clearly left an impression on me. I'm extremely excited for her upcoming novel and the cover is gorgeous, as well!

A sweeping, romantic, heartbreaking novel set against the backdrop of World War I.

England, 1914. Poppy is fifteen, beautiful and clever, but society has already carved out her destiny. There's no question of her attending more school; it's too expensive and unsuitable for a girl. Instead, Poppy will become a servant to the aristocratic de Vere family . . . and bury her feelings for their youngest son, Freddie. It doesn't matter that Freddie seems to have fallen just as hard for Poppy. He could never marry a girl like her.

But the set path for Poppy's life is irrevocably altered when it becomes clear that the war isn't going to be over soon. The chains of class, wealth, and her gender no longer matter--England needs every able bodied person to serve in battle in some way. Which, for Poppy, means volunteering on the front lines as a Voluntary Aid Detachment nurse. As she experiences what people are capable of--the best of humanity and the very worst--Poppy will find an unexpected freedom and discover how to be truly her own person.

Mary Hooper is a popular writer for children and young adults. Her historical novels have a huge fan base, as do her contemporary novels for teenagers. Mary lives in England.

POPPY by Mary Hooper releases August 30, 2016 (Bloomsbury USA Childrens)
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What are you waiting on this week?

Latest Review: Until Harry by L.A. Casey

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Live and Let Psi is Kicking Butt and Taking Names (Review)

Rinnie Noelle would rather kick some creepy villain butt than go on a date. As a Psi Fighter trained in the Mental Arts, she can’t be distracted by emotion. Her nemesis, Nicolaitan, is manipulating students from her school, using them as puppets to carry out his new plan to find the infamous Morgan Girl, and he doesn’t care who becomes collateral damage in the process. People’s lives are depending on Rinnie’s ultimate focus.

But Mason Draudimon keeps slicing into her soul sharper than a Thought Saber, and her feelings for him knock her off her game with the strength of a psionic War Hammer. Mason insists on helping Rinnie take down Nicolaitan for his own reasons—to avenge his mother—and the closer they get to the truth, the more dangerous the dance between mind and heart, life and death, logic and love.
Live and Let Psi
Psi Fighters Academy #2

D.R. Rosensteel
Pub. Date: July 11, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Genre: Young Adult

Live and Let Psi is the second installment in D.R. Rosensteel’s Psi Fighter Academy series. This clean action packed mystery puts the super in superhero and proves itself to be the story to read for all aspiring crime fighters. Rinnie Noelle is not your average teenage heroine. She’s trained in the mental arts and she’s in hiding from the villainous Nicolaitan. Even if you haven’t read the debut novel of the series, Psi Another Day, you may find that this story brings readers up to date on the happenings of Rinnie’s life. Though knowing about prior events doesn’t guarantee immediately falling in love with the characters. 

It’s refreshing to come across an author who writes in the young adult genre and keeps it PG. When I think about what I would recommend to younger family members and friends, stories like this one should come to mind. Although, I would not consider a ‘clean’ story to involve a storyline about drug use, that’s also where age range and preference comes into play. It is a serious issue in the lives of young adult readers and the story doesn’t go into graphic or depressing detail. 

The story had a balance of hard hitting action and an underlying positive message, but I really couldn’t get invested in the characters. Maybe it was because I hadn’t met these characters at the beginning of their story, so whatever growth or changes they’ve made, I just wasn't able to relate. I also felt that the dialogue was slightly off kilter. There were conversations that had no substance, and came across as random bantering. I think that in a different form, like a comic book or graphic novel, the story could have been better represented. The one-liners may have worked better and not have seemed like filler for more concrete dialogue. 

Live and Let Psi didn’t live up to all of my expectations, but I can say that the quirks and quips of the Dweeb League made the reading fun. Younger readers of the young adult genre will more likely take the Psi Fighter Academy series as a guide to finally becoming that kick butt superhero of their dreams!

*Advanced copy provided in exchange for an honest review*

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Previous Review: Driftwood Point by Mariah Stewart

Monday, July 11, 2016

Visit the Eastern Shore in Driftwood Point: Another Entry For the Chesapeake Diaries (Review)

The sun sets on the Chesapeake Diaries, New York Times bestselling author Mariah Stewart’s cherished series based on Maryland’s picturesque eastern shore, with this romantic tale of a man who takes a second chance on love with the high school crush who broke his heart.

Up-and-coming artist Lisbeth Parker finally has a chance to show the folks back home what it means to leave Cannonball Island and make something of yourself. As a native whose stubborn father forbade her from befriending townies, Lis always felt like an outsider in St. Dennis. So while her work is on display in the local art gallery, she records her ailing centenarian great-grandmother’s stories of the island’s rich history and spearheads a fight for its survival.

Lis was Alec Jansen’s secret dream girl growing up, even after she flat-out refused to be his prom date. Now the handsome environmental engineer and the whip-smart beauty are on opposite sides of a debate over the island’s future. Hired to prove that developing the shore will have little impact on the area’s natural integrity and huge gains for its economy, Alec is determined to change his alluring, headstrong rival’s mind—and to win her heart.
Driftwood Point 
Chesapeake Diaries #10
Mariah Stewart
Pub. Date: June 21, 2016
Publisher: Gallery Books
Genre: Romance

Driftwood Point is the latest in Mariah Stewart’s Chesapeake Diaries series. The peaceful setting wraps readers in a cocoon of warm summer nights and sweet romance.

I loved this story for its down to earth characters and continuously moving plot. Lisbeth is a successful artist visiting her hometown of Cannonball Island for a local art show. Arriving home she doesn’t expect to find that her great-grandmother Ruby has made convenient changes to her home and general store. Change seems to be the main theme for this novel. Lisbeth grew up with a father bent on hating the residents of St. Dennis for a perceived past wrongdoing. Returning home brings an opportunity for her to adjust her perspective and determine where she’s meant to be. She struggles between resisting the inevitable changes of her island and embracing them as those around her attempt to keep pace with the changing times. Lisbeth is the kind of character you want to see succeed even though she doesn’t have all the answers. It’s enough to see her love for family and community. She’s one that takes center stage in a story even when there are other character perspectives thrown into the mix.

Living near the beach myself, I felt that I could relate to the setting. The imagery was realistic and made me feel like I could just take a trip up to Cannonball Island on my next road trip. But despite the comforting setting and interesting storyline, Driftwood Point turned out to be an average read. The story reads like a typical romance, but not the kind that fully captures you until the last word. Alec and Lisbeth had a connection that was sweet and simple, but there was potential for more depth, or drama, that I felt was overlooked. On the other hand, if you're not looking for a saucy, tense love story you will appreciate the subtlety of the romance. The ending didn’t take me somewhere unexpected or leave me on a note of thoughtful reflection. At some point I simply felt like I knew where it was going and in the end I was still hoping for a dramatic twist.

Longtime fans will find that Mariah Stewart’s characters are still welcoming visitors, even if its just through the pages of the Chesapeake Diaries. This summer read will be the companion for stints at the beach or road tripping across the country!

*Publication provided in exchange for an honest review*

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