Book Reviews, Lists, Discussions, and Displays

Tag: May 2015 (Page 1 of 2)

Book Review: Made You Up

Made You Up – Francesca Zappia – Greenwillow Books – Published 19 May 2015

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Synopsis

Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.

My thoughts

Made You Up has been on my to-read list for a while but I only picked it up after reading Fancesca Zappia’s new book Eliza and Her Monsters which is AMAZING!! So I had high expectations for Made You Up. And it certainly lived up to them in terms of writing style and story and characters, obviously it doesn’t have the extra story and accompanying webcomic panels, but it shares the refreshing honest and up-front way of talking about teenage mental health within a totally authentic setting.

Alex is starting at a new high school after an Incident at her last school involving spray paint, the gym floor and the possibility of communists. Alex is hoping that she will be able hide the fact that she has paranoid schizophrenia from her new classmates. But that might be hard when her new principal could be crazy, the school’s scoreboard is haunted and the boy from her childhood, whom she previously thought was a hallucination, might actually be real.

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Book Review: No Place to Hide

No place to hide

No Place to Hide – Lynette Eason – Hidden Identity #3 – Revell – Published 5 May 2015

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Synopsis

It’s not every day you see your childhood friend and one-time crush on national news. Jackie Sellers just wishes it were under different circumstances. She can’t believe that Ian Lockwood is wanted in connection with a terrorist plot, and she’s determined to find him and help him clear his name. But she’s not the only one looking. The FBI wants him captured. The bad guys want him dead. Ian just wants to stay alive long enough to save thousands of innocent lives.

My thoughts

The action starts from the very first page in this story. There is little time to situate yourself before the characters are running for their lives. I have to admit I was a little confused at the start. The reader isn’t given a whole lot of information about Jackie and Ian’s past to begin with, and the story instead focuses on the action while the backstory is filled in as the plot develops. This certainly makes for an engaging read, though. 

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Book Review: The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak – Brian Katcher – Katherine Tegen Books – Published 19 May 2015

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Synopsis

It all begins when Ana Watson’s little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn’t talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn’t have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak’s devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more…

My thoughts

A book set almost completely at a comic convention. Tick. A story where the characters get together over one night and it doesn’t read as insta-love. Check. Hilarious moment after twist after timely disaster. Tick, tick, tick. A book you just have to devour in one go. Check. Basically this book is just completely awesome. It was a book I needed, the perfect mix of humour, geeky references and crazy.

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Book Review: Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here

Nowhere But Here – Katie McGarry – Thunder Road #1 – Harlequin Teen – Published 26 May 2015

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Synopsis

Seventeen-year-old Emily likes her life the way it is: doting parents, good friends, good school in a safe neighborhood. Sure, she’s curious about her biological father—the one who chose life in a motorcycle club, the Reign of Terror, over being a parent—but that doesn’t mean she wants to be a part of his world. But when a reluctant visit turns to an extended summer vacation among relatives she never knew she had, one thing becomes clear: nothing is what it seems. Not the club, not her secret-keeping father and not Oz, a guy with suck-me-in blue eyes who can help her understand them both.

Oz wants one thing: to join the Reign of Terror. They’re the good guys. They protect people. They’re…family. And while Emily—the gorgeous and sheltered daughter of the club’s most respected member—is in town, he’s gonna prove it to her. So when her father asks him to keep her safe from a rival club with a score to settle, Oz knows it’s his shot at his dream. What he doesn’t count on is that Emily just might turn that dream upside down.

No one wants them to be together. But sometimes the right person is the one you least expect, and the road you fear the most is the one that leads you home.

My thoughts

Who needs cliff jumping or swimming with sharks. Nowhere But Here was an adrenaline rush from beginning to end. I absolutely love Katie McGarry’s writing. It is flawless every single time. And this book was no different. A new series, a new set of incredibly crafted characters, so real, so raw, so perfect you can’t help but love them. For some reason when I read a sample of this book months ago I lowered my expectations somewhat. So silly. What I didn’t realise is that excerpt was taken out of context and that this book was so compulsive, so addictive, so good.

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Book Review: Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Fall/Winter

Buzz Books 2015 Fall Winter

Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Fall/ Winter – Publisher’s Lunch – Published 13 May 2015

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Synopsis

This edition of Buzz Books: Young Adult provides substantial pre-publication excerpts from 20 forthcoming young adult and middle grade books. Now everyone can share the same access to the newest YA voices the publishing industry is broadcasting for the fall/winter season. Extensive publishing information, including promotion plans and publicity contacts, are included in this NetGalley version. At the end of most excerpts, you will find a link to the full galley on NetGalley!

Excerpts include new work from established leaders in the field (James Dashner, Jennifer Donnelly, Patrick Ness, and Lauren Oliver), authors best-known for their adult books (Eleanor Herman and Cammie McGovern), and newsmaking titles such as the highly graphic History of Glitter and Blood, Illuminae, and The Thing About Jellyfish.

You will find a full range of YA titles previewed here —dystopian, romance, fantasy, sci-fi, humor, literary and more — and you will find some works for tweens and middle-grade readers. As always, many are sure to make bestseller and “best of” lists.

Four of our titles will be featured at this year’s Book Expo America convention on their own YA or Middle Grade Editors Buzz panels: Everything Everything, Nightfall, This Raging Light, and The Thing About Jellyfish. Plus, half of our 20 Buzz Books: Young Adult authors will be in attendance at BEA.

My thoughts

I love this book, which is a collection of excerpts from exciting upcoming releases from young adult and middle grade fiction. Here are the ones I really enjoyed. Which ones will make your to-read list?
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Book Review: Center Ice

Center Ice

Center Ice – Cate Cameron – Entangled Crush – Published 19 May 2015

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Synopsis

The hometown hockey hero won’t know what hit him…

Karen Webber is in small-town hell. After her mother’s death, she moved to Corrigan Falls to live with strangers—her dad and his perfect, shiny new family—and there doesn’t seem to be room for a city girl with a chip on her shoulder. The only person who makes her feel like a real human being is Tyler MacDonald.

But Karen isn’t interested in starting something with a player. And that’s all she keeps hearing about Tyler.

Corrigan Falls is a hockey town, and Tyler’s the star player. But the viselike pressure from his father and his agent are sending him dangerously close to the edge. All people see is hockey—except Karen. Now they’ve managed to find something in each other that they both desperately need. And for the first time, Tyler is playing for keeps…

My thoughts

This was a really sweet romance. I know I say that about a lot of romances but this one really was. It took me a few chapters to connect with the characters but after that I was charmed by the way Tyler and Karen interacted.
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Top Book Releases for May 2015 – Young Adult and New Adult

May 2015

More new releases. Yay!! Every month we readers are treated to scores of new books to long for and swoon over (and read). Here are the young adult books that have particularly caught my interest for May 2015. Click on the covers for more a detailed review or synopsis.

Young Adult

 Halfway PerfectHalfway Perfect – Julie Cross and Mark Perini – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 5 May 2015.

Julie Cross has once again written a beautiful book that is equally touching and swoon worthy. In Halfway Perfect, Julie Cross has teamed with Mark Perini whose writing style and experience in the fashion industry brings an honesty to the characters and a depth to the story. 

Eve walked away from a successful and expanding career as a model and was determined never to look back. But an opportunity to study under a great photographer leads Eve straight back into the world of fashion. There is she confronted by her old agent, a young model whose story seems far too similar to her own, and an up and coming model, Alex, whose own career is taking off. 

Young Adult Fiction. Contemporary.


Crimson Bound

Crimson Bound – Rosamund Hodge – Balzer + Bray – Published 5 May 2015

If you are looking for a fairytale retelling that is original and breathtaking you need look no further than Rosamund Hodge’s beautiful books. Crimson Bound is no different. I was grabbed by the very first two lines – what a beginning.

This fairytale retelling has the caliber of a high fantasy. Courts. Demons. Kings. Princes. Magic. An eternal battle. And a dark, enchanted forest. 

Young Adult Fiction. Fantasy. Fairytale retelling. Continue reading

Review: Chance of Loving You

chance of loving you

Chance of Loving You – Terri Blackstock, Candace Calvert, Susan May Warren – Tyndale House Publishers – Published 1 May 2015

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Synopsis

An anthology by three bestselling romance authors

For Love of Money by Terri Blackstock
Trying to launch her own design firm while waitressing on the side, Julie Sheffield was drawn to the kind man she waited on at the restaurant last night . . . until he stiffed her on the tip by leaving her half of a sweepstakes ticket.

The Recipe by Candace Calvert
Hospital dietary assistant Aimee Curran is determined to win the Vegan Valentine Bake-Off to prove she’s finally found her calling. But while caring for one of her patients—the elderly grandmother of a handsome CSI photographer—Aimee begins to question where she belongs.

Hook, Line & Sinker by Susan May Warren
Grad student Abigail Cushman has agreed to enter the annual Deep Haven fishing contest. She’s a quick learner, even if she doesn’t know the difference between a bass and a trout. But nothing could prepare her for competing against the handsome charmer she’s tried to forget since grief tore them apart.

One chance for each woman to change her life . . . but will love be the real prize?

My thoughts

This anthology is a great way to be introduced to three very talented writers, or for fans to enjoy a small sample from each.

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Review: Saint Anything

saint anything

Saint Anything – Sarah Dessen – Penguin Teen – Published 5 May 2015

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Synopsis

Peyton, Sydney’s charismatic older brother, has always been the star of the family, receiving the lion’s share of their parents’ attention and – lately – concern. When Peyton’s increasingly reckless behavior culminates in an accident, a drunk driving conviction, and a jail sentence, Sydney is cast adrift, searching for her place in the family and the world. When everyone else is so worried about Peyton, is she the only one concerned about the victim of the accident?

Enter the Chathams, a warm, chaotic family who run a pizza parlor, play bluegrass on weekends and pitch in to care for their mother, who has multiple sclerosis. Here Sydney experiences unquestioning acceptance. And here she meets Mac: gentle, watchful, and protective, who makes Sydney feel seen, really seen, for the first time.

My thoughts

I have been privileged enough to now read the full copy of this upcoming release by the great author Sarah Dessen. Having initially read a sample of the first three chapters I knew this was going to be oh so good.

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Review: The Summer After You And Me

Summer after you and me

The Summer After You and Me – Jennifer Salvato Doktorski – Sourcebooks Fire – Published 5 May 2015

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Synopsis

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?

My thoughts

Lucy and her family live on Seaside, an island where holiday makers migrate for the summer. As a local, she and her family were hit hard when Superstorm Sandy destroyed the New Jersey coastline. The town is rebuilding, but Lucy remembers that fateful stormy day for another reason. Connor. The boy whose family owns the house next door and who summers there every year. A gorgeous boy who quickly moved his way through a long line of girls and who has always captured Lucy’s eye. But the aftermath of that day didn’t go quite as expected for Lucy and so she moved on, trying something more with her long-time best-friend Andrew. But Connor’s return to the Island will have drama swirling up in Lucy’s life quicker than you can say superstorm.
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