10/29/2014

Cover Reveal: The Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

I'm excited today to be taking part in the cover reveal for the forthcoming book from a wonderful author, Jennifer Salvato Doktorski. I know people always scroll to the cover first, so I'll just get to the pretty, shall I?

*drumroll*


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Ta-da!!! Isn't it lovely? I absolutely love the palette. Such gorgeous colours! This is going to look great on bookshelves.

Here's some more info on the book:

Sunbathing, surfing, eating funnel cake on the boardwalk—Lucy loves living on the Jersey Shore. For her, it's not just the perfect summer escape, it is home. And as a local girl, she knows not to get attached to the tourists. They breeze in over Memorial Day weekend, crowding the shore and stealing moonlit kisses, only to pack up their beach umbrellas and empty promises on Labor Day. Lucy wants more from love than a fleeting romance, even if that means keeping her distance from her summertime neighbor and crush, Connor.

Then Superstorm Sandy tears apart her barrier island, briefly bringing together a local girl like herself and a vacationer like Connor. Except nothing is the same in the wake of the storm. And day after day, week after week, Lucy is left to pick up the pieces of her broken heart and broken home. Now with Memorial Day approaching and Connor returning, will it be a summer of fresh starts or second chances? 

Add it to your Goodreads TBR here.

Be sure to look out for The Summer After You and Me, coming Spring 2015 from Sourcebooks Fire!

Where to find Jen Doktorski: www.jendoktorski.com
Twitter: @jdoktorski
Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/jendoktorski

Waiting on Wednesday #88: A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab.

Expected Publication: February 24, 2015.
by: Tor Books.

Goodreads Synopsis:
From V.E. Schwab, the critically acclaimed author of Vicious, comes a new universe of daring adventure, thrilling power, and parallel Londons, beginning with A Darker Shade of Magic.

Kell is one of the last Travelers—magicians with a rare, coveted ability to travel between parallel universes—as such, he can choose where he lands.

There’s Grey London, dirty and boring, without any magic, ruled by a mad King George. Then there’s Red London, where life and magic are revered, and the Maresh Dynasty presides over a flourishing empire. White London, ruled by whoever has murdered their way to the throne—a place where people fight to control magic, and the magic fights back, draining the city to its very bones. And once upon a time, there was Black London...but no one speaks of that now.

Officially, Kell is the Red Traveler, personal ambassador and adopted Prince of Red London, carrying the monthly correspondences between the royals of each London. Unofficially, Kell is a smuggler, servicing people willing to pay for even the smallest glimpses of a world they’ll never see—a dangerous hobby, and one that has set him up for accidental treason. Fleeing into Grey London, Kell runs afoul of Delilah Bard, a cut-purse with lofty aspirations, who first robs him, then saves him from a dangerous enemy, and then forces him to spirit her to another world for a proper adventure.

But perilous magic is afoot, and treachery lurks at every turn. To save all of the worlds, Kell and Lila will first need to stay alive—and that is proving trickier than they hoped.


Why I'm excited:
I absolutely loved Vicious, her last adult book. I also adore The Archived and The Unbound. Schwab definitely has a way with words that makes her an excellent novelist. Before this one had a title she just referred to it as "Pirates, Thieves, and Sadist Kings." If that's not intriguing, I don't know what is.

What are you waiting on this week?

10/27/2014

Giveaway: Rooms by Lauren Oliver

I have the excellent opportunity today to offer up a chance for one of my wonderful blog readers to win a copy of Lauren Oliver's first adult novel, Rooms. I reviewed Rooms for the blog tour and even as someone who doesn't read a ton of literary-leaning adult fiction, I thoroughly enjoyed this one. Here's my review, if you're curious.

First I'll share a bit more about the book and then you'll have your chance to win!

Rooms by Lauren Oliver.

Published: September 23, 2014.
Published by: Ecco.
Source: Received an ARC from the publisher for the blog tour. Thanks, HarperCollins and Tara!

Goodreads Synopsis:
The New York Times bestselling author of Before I Fall and the Delirium trilogy makes her brilliant adult debut with this mesmerizing story in the tradition of The Lovely Bones, Her Fearful Symmetry, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane—a tale of family, ghosts, secrets, and mystery, in which the lives of the living and the dead intersect in shocking, surprising, and moving ways.

Wealthy Richard Walker has just died, leaving behind his country house full of rooms packed with the detritus of a lifetime. His estranged family—bitter ex-wife Caroline, troubled teenage son Trenton, and unforgiving daughter Minna—have arrived for their inheritance.

But the Walkers are not alone. Prim Alice and the cynical Sandra, long dead former residents bound to the house, linger within its claustrophobic walls. Jostling for space, memory, and supremacy, they observe the family, trading barbs and reminiscences about their past lives. Though their voices cannot be heard, Alice and Sandra speak through the house itself—in the hiss of the radiator, a creak in the stairs, the dimming of a light bulb.

The living and dead are each haunted by painful truths that will soon surface with explosive force. When a new ghost appears, and Trenton begins to communicate with her, the spirit and human worlds collide—with cataclysmic results.

Elegantly constructed and brilliantly paced, Rooms is an enticing and imaginative ghost story and a searing family drama that is as haunting as it is resonant.

Sounds pretty intriguing, right? It's definitely worth a read, so American friends, here's your chance! (Yes, US only, unfortunately. I'm sorry international friends, but it'd get expensive for Lauren to send them all out all over the world.)

Enter by leaving a comment about why you want to read Rooms or telling me what your favourite novel with ghosts is. Get one bonus entry each for following Lauren on Twitter (@OliverBooks) or adding Rooms to your Goodreads TBR (here).

Make sure you leave some way for me to contact you in your comment (email address, twitter handle, etc.) and the info I'd need to confirm your extra entries (i.e. your Twitter handle to confirm twitter entry, Goodreads name or link to your Goodreads profile to confirm TBR add). 

Giveaway ends at 11:59 pm EST on Monday, November 3rd, so get your entries in by Monday night!

Some Rules (aka the not so fun but important part):
~ This giveaway is open to residents of the US only (void where prohibited).
~ No P.O. boxes.
~ Must be 13 or older to enter.
~ Winner will be chosen randomly and contacted. The winner has 48 hours to respond, otherwise they forfeit their prize and I will choose another winner, who must abide by the same rules.
~ Lauren and I are not responsible for lost or damaged packages.
No cheating! In this case, I have the right to disqualify entries as I see fit.
~ By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to these rules.

Good luck!

10/24/2014

Blog Tour Review: Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot


Even in Paradise by Chelsey Philpot.

Published: October 14, 2014.
Published by: HarperCollins.
More from the publisher here.
Source: Borrowed an ARC from Kathy for the blog tour.

Goodreads Synopsis:
When Julia Buchanan enrolls at St. Anne’s at the beginning of junior year, Charlotte Ryder already knows all about the former senator’s daughter. Most people do... or think they do.

Charlotte certainly never expects she’ll be Julia’s friend. But almost immediately, she is drawn into the larger than-life-new girl’s world—a world of midnight rendezvous, dazzling parties, palatial vacation homes, and fizzy champagne cocktails. And then Charlotte meets, and begins falling for, Julia’s handsome older brother, Sebastian.

But behind her self-assured smiles and toasts to the future, Charlotte soon realizes that Julia is still suffering from a tragedy. A tragedy that the Buchanan family has kept hidden … until now.

My Review:
A boarding school, a family secret, and some Great Gatsby flavour. That's what Even in Paradise promised me -- and on these elements, it delivered. While it didn't live up to all of my expectations and it almost felt a little too familiar, it still drew me in and intrigued me, especially when it came to the mysterious and charming Buchanans.

Even in Paradise is a very character-driven novel, so I really had to connect with them for the story to work. While the Buchanans remain largely emotionally elusive, it was easy to get drawn into Charlotte's narrative and experience the Buchanans through her. Watching as Charlotte gets pulled into Julia's world and falls for her brother, Sebastian, I couldn't help but feel that it would be hard to resist all the charm and strange excitement that they brought to her life, so I was easily able to understand her and the connections she forms with all of the Buchanans. These connections were actually some of the most interesting parts of the novel as Charlotte tries to navigate her relationships with Julia and Sebastian while also getting to know the rest of their family -- including their parents, who aren't as easy to pin down as they initially seem.

One of the things that really held me back from loving this book was its structure. I did find it somewhat slow moving on occasion, which can hinder that "I have to keep reading" feeling. I also think that it lacked a real, big climax. There were definitely some scenes that felt like they were supposed to be the climax but I found the book as a whole lacked the significant emotional peak that I expected it to have, which ultimately left me wanting. The ending definitely delivers some attempted strong emotional blows, but I think I would have needed to be able to connect to Julia herself much more to really feel it, rather than just feeling the impact it had on Charlotte.

I definitely enjoyed this one, but there were a couple of things that kept me from falling in love. But if you love stories set in boarding schools, about rich, elusive families, or that are largely character driven (and you can forgive some slow plot), I would definitely recommend you give this one a shot! Apparently this is also a retelling of Brideshead Revisited, which I have never experienced in any format, but I'd be very interested to hear what people who have think of this, so if you loved Brideshead Revisited, try Even in Paradise and share your thoughts!

Buy the book: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // IndieBound // The Book Depository
Or order a signed copy from Chelsey's local indie, River Run Bookstore.

About the author:
Chelsey Philpot grew up on a farm in New Hampshire and now works as an editor and journalist. She's written for the New York Times, Boston Globe, Slate, and numerous other publications. Like her main character, Charlotte, Chelsey attended boarding school in New England. You can visit her online atwww.chelseyphilpot.com or on Twitter @ChelseyPhilpot




Be sure to go back and check out the rest of the stops on the Canadian tour for Even in Paradise:

October 13th: Kathy - A Glass Of Wine - Interview
October 14th: Siobhan - Conversations Of A Reading Addict - Review
October 15th: Emilie - Emilie’s Book World - Guest Post
October 16th: Ambur - Burning Impossibly Bright - Review
October 17th: Lily -  Lily’s Book Blog - Interview/Character Interview
October 20th: Shilpa - SukasaReads - Review
October 21st: Sabrina - Hiver et CafĂ© - Top 5 or 10
October 22nd: Ciara - Lost At Midnight Reviews -  Review
October 23rd: Meaghan -  Feeling A Little Bookish - Interview/Character Interview
October 24th: Jess - Read My Breath Away - Review

10/22/2014

Waiting on Wednesday #87: Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein



Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly feature created by Jill at Breaking the Spine. This is where you showcase an upcoming release you're anxiously awaiting!

This week, I'm waiting on:
Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein.

Expected Publication: February 3, 2015.
by: Disney-Hyperion.

Goodreads Synopsis:
A new historical thriller masterpiece from New York Times bestselling and award-winning author Elizabeth Wein

Emilia and Teo's lives changed in a fiery, terrifying instant when a bird strike brought down the plane their stunt pilot mothers were flying. Teo's mother died immediately, but Em's survived, determined to raise Teo according to his late mother's wishes-in a place where he won't be discriminated against because of the color of his skin. But in 1930s America, a white woman raising a black adoptive son alongside a white daughter is too often seen as a threat.

Seeking a home where her children won't be held back by ethnicity or gender, Rhoda brings Em and Teo to Ethiopia, and all three fall in love with the beautiful, peaceful country. But that peace is shattered by the threat of war with Italy, and teenage Em and Teo are drawn into the conflict. Will their devotion to their country, its culture and people, and each other be their downfall or their salvation?

In the tradition of her award-winning and bestselling Code Name Verity, Elizabeth Wein brings us another thrilling and deeply affecting novel that explores the bonds of friendship, the resilience of young pilots, and the strength of the human spirit.


Why I'm excited:
I am absolutely in love with Code Name Verity and Rose Under Fire so I am ecstatic to have another book from Elizabeth Wein on the way! It sounds amazing, it's historical, it has diversity and war and especially friendship - which Wein does amazingly. I can't wait!

What are you waiting on this week?

10/21/2014

Blog Tour Review: Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe


Earth & Sky by Megan Crewe.

Series: Earth & Sky #1
Published: October 28, 2014.
Published by: Razorbill Canada.
Source: Received an ARC for review purposes for the blog tour.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Seventeen-year-old Skylar has been haunted for as long as she can remember by fleeting yet powerful sensations that something is horribly wrong. But despite the panic attacks tormenting her, nothing ever happens, and Sky’s beginning to think she’s crazy. Then she meets a mysterious, otherworldly boy named Win and discovers the shocking truth her premonitions have tapped into: our world no longer belongs to us. For thousands of years, Earth has been at the mercy of alien scientists who care nothing for its inhabitants and are using us as the unwitting subjects of their time-manipulating experiments. Win belongs to a rebel faction seeking to put a stop to it, and he needs Skylar’s help--but with each shift in the past, the very fabric of reality is unraveling, and soon there may be no Earth left to save.

My Review:
I really enjoy Megan Crewe's books so I was very excited to read Earth & Sky. Science fiction is not what I usually gravitate towards, but between a unique main character, some historical fiction woven in, and strong logic behind the science fiction, I was quite impressed.

Earth & Sky combines a science fiction base with flashes of historical fiction, which I absolutely loved. I am a big fan of historical fiction, so having Skylar and Win jump to different time periods on their quest -- and to get to explore these time period a bit, not just hop in, hop out -- was a lot of fun for me. I think Crewe did a wonderful job of trying to capture the feeling of each location and time period and I wish I could have spent more time in each of these places because I was enjoying that a lot.

When it comes to the actual time travel element that made those history visits possible, I was impressed with the logic. I'm sure more experiences sci-fi fans than I will have some questions for Crewe, but as a casual (but reasonably intelligent) sci-fi fan, I was able to follow along with the explanations and logic behind the time travel and the aliens' actions that were messing with Earth. I didn't pick up on any glaring errors or inconsistencies that would have pulled me out of the story or made it completely unbelievable, and I think that made a huge difference because I was able to suspend my disbelief when it came to the alien aspect since the science aspect lined up well. In this sense, it was very well executed.

I thought Skylar was a great character, especially in the way she dealt with the crazy that Win brought to her life. She isn't one of those immediately over-trusting girls that seem to have cropped up since Twilight's Bella; she is immediately suspicious of Win once he starts showing up more than is reasonable. She also doesn't accept his story right away; it takes some convincing and some hard proof to get her on board, which I really respected. It was also interesting to have a main character who is so into math, as that seems to be unusual in a lot of YA, and especially so because it is math on which her compulsion that keeps her grounded is based (I'm not sure that's exactly the correct way to put it, but basically she seems to struggle with a mental illness that is associated with the changes the alien scientists have been making to Earth and math helps her keep it from overwhelming her). Now, I'm definitely not a very well educated judge on portrayals of mental illness, but I think Crewe handled it well and respectfully, and the way she associated it with the conflict in the world, thus tying Skylar in, was smart.

One thing I did struggle a bit with was keeping the other characters straight. Some of them were easy enough to remember, but when it came to people who were largely grouped together, especially Skylar's friends, it wasn't easy to remember who was who. They could have been distinguished from one another more, though I think that would have taken more scenes with them, which weren't necessary for the plot. This wasn't a huge detractor for me, but something happens at the end with one of the friends and it didn't have the impact on me that I think it was meant to because I didn't even remember which of the friends it was by just her name. Overall this was only a small issue, though.

Earth & Sky has a lot going for it and while there are a few things that held me back from totally loving it, there is also plenty to praise, including the fact that it worked so well for just a casual sci-fi reader like myself. I really appreciated that and am interested to hear what other readers -- sci-fi fans and otherwise -- think!

10/17/2014

Blog Tour Guest Post: Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez


Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez.

Published: October 7, 2014.
Published by: Katherine Tegen Books.
More from the publisher here.

Goodreads Synopsis:
Valentina Cruz no longer exists.

One moment, she was wrapped in Emilio’s arms, melting into his kiss. The next, she was witnessing the unthinkable: a murder in cold blood, ordered by her father and carried out by her boyfriend. When Emilio pulled the trigger, Valentina disappeared. She made a split-second decision to shed her identity and flee her life of privilege, leaving the glittering parties and sultry nightlife of Miami far behind.

She doesn’t know how to explain to herself what she saw. All she knows now is that nothing she believed about her family, her heart, or Emilio’s love, was real.

She can change her name and deny her past, but Valentina can’t run from the truth. The lines between right and wrong, and trust and betrayal, will be blurred beyond recognition as she untangles the deceptions of the two men she once loved and races to find her own truth.

Jessica on Travelling for Research:

I’m a big believer in doing my research on the ground, so I usually travel to the places I write about. For KISS KILL VANISH, that meant going to both Miami and Montreal.

The Miami trip was painless—I live in Orlando and I used to live in Miami, so it was just a matter of driving down and wandering around my old haunts.

Montreal was a bigger deal, though. I convinced my husband to come along under the pretense of taking a last vacation before the baby was born (I was five months pregnant with our third at the time). It required all sorts of organizing and babysitting for the other two kids, but it was going to be fun and so worth it. And it would have been both of those things if the night before we left I hadn’t come down with one of the worst flus of my life. My entire body was screaming at me to crawl into bed and stay there for a week. I couldn’t, though. I’d purchased expensive plane tickets, made all the necessary arrangements, and this was my only opportunity to do the research.

So. I took the two absolutely worthless Tylenols you’re allowed to take while pregnant, got on the plane (sorry other passengers), and tromped around Montreal for five days. I’m not recommending this course of action—IF YOU ARE PREGNANT AND YOU HAVE THE FLU, PLEASE GO TO BED. I pretty much felt like death, and those days all blurred together in a feverish soup of exhaustion, Vicks, and snotty tears. Good thing I took lots of pictures and notes, because I barely remember a thing.

And since then I’ve found myself wondering just how weird my brain and body might be. Because Valentina is miserable when she’s wandering around Montreal, and is it possible my body was forcing me into taking the research to the next level? Could I have needed to be miserable too so I could really understand her?

Umm, let’s hope not. Because that’s crazy. My misery mirroring Valentina’s misery—that was just a lucky/unlucky research coincidence. (Next research trip, though, I’m making sure my main character is plenty happy before I buy the tickets.)

Wow. That is a little crazy! I'm sorry you had such a miserable time in Montreal... I hope you give it another chance because it's a gorgeous city! Maybe next time you could have a character who is happy to be there. ;)

Thanks, Jessica!

Buy the book: Amazon // Barnes & Noble // Chapters Indigo // IndieBound // The Book Depository

About the author:
Jessica Martinez is the author of young adult novels Virtuosity, The Space Between Us, The Vow, and Kiss Kill Vanish. She was born and raised in Calgary, Canada. As a child she played the violin, read books, and climbed trees incessantly. She went on to study English and music at Brigham Young University, and since then has been an English teacher, a symphony violinist, and a mother. She currently lives in Orlando, Florida with her husband and three children.

Find her here: Goodreads // Twitter // Website




Go back and check out all the other stops on the Kiss Kill Vanish Canadian tour!
October 6th: Kathy (A Glass of Wine) - Review
October 7th: Kristie (Lost in Ever After) - Top 5 
October 8th: Emilie (Emilie's Book World) - Review
October 9th: Christa (More Than Just Magic) - Review
October 10th: Giselle (BO-OK Nerd Canada) - Character Interview
October 13th: Shelly (Read. Sleep. Repeat) - Review
October 14th: Angel (Mermaid Vision Books) - Review
October 15th: Ciara (Lost at Midnight Reviews) - Interview
October 16th: Lynne (Words of Mystery) - Review
October 17th: Jess (Read My Breath Away) - Guest Post