Category Archives: New Releases

Blog Tour: Destiny (Destiny Trilogy #1) by Cindy Ray Hale

Destiny Banner 1.2
This is my stop during the blog tour for Destiny (destiny Trilogy #1) by Cindy Ray Hale. This blog tour is organized by Lola’s Blog Tours . The blog tour runs from November 5 till November 25, you can view the complete tour schedule on the website of Lola’s Blog Tours

DestinyDestiny (Destiny Trilogy #1)
By Cindy Ray Hale
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: November 5, 2013

Blurb:
Destiny Clark, a young Mormon girl living in Tennessee, is wildly infatuated with Isaac Robinson, the headmaster’s son at her Baptist high school. When they’re cast together in the school’s production of Les MisÈrables, Destiny is horrified to find that she has to be publicly humiliated by acting out her true feelings of rejection onstage.

As their rehearsals begin, Destiny realizes the unimaginable: Isaac has developed deep feelings for her despite their religious differences and the fact that he has a girlfriend.

But will they be able to find their place amongst the backbiters of their ultra-conservative world?

Weaving around Destiny and Isaac’s alternating viewpoints, Destiny is the first book in a series inspired by the characters of Les MisÈrables and explores heartbreak, self-discovery, intolerance, and love.

You can find Destiny on Goodreads

BUY LINKS:
Amazon Kindle | Amazon Paperback | Smashwords |Nook

You can watch the book trailer here:

About the Author:Official Author pic
Wife. Mother. Writer. Cindy Ray Hale lives in Murfreesboro, Tennessee with her husband and four children. In addition to being a writer, sheís an avid reader and a social media junkie. She starts her morning by writing with a freshly-blended berry spinach smoothie next to her. Sheís obsessed with Les MisÈrables, playing the piano, and stalking up-and-coming musicians on YouTube. Destiny is her first book and will be available for purchase November 2013.

 

 

 

You can find and contact Cindy here:
Website  Website for Destiny Blog  Facebook |Twitter |Goodreads  |Google+  Pinterest

Review: This was an easy and quick read. I completed the whole book in one day. Once I started reading about Destiny, I couldn’t stop. It’s an interesting and heartbreaking dilemma that Destiny finds herself in. The thing I enjoyed most about this story is that while it deals with religion, it’s mostly a story about forbidden love. It’s really a classic tale of narrow-mindedness keeping two young people from being together. I was reminded of Romeo and Juliet, yet with a much happier ending. In addition to a great love story, Destiny is chock full of tidbits about religions that I didn’t know much about. But more than that, Hale does a fantastic job developing interesting family dynamics. Each character has extremely real, and sometimes upsetting, family situation. While I found some of the dialogue to be a bit forced, I thought this was a great debut novel. I’m interested to see where Hale takes the story next.

GIVEAWAY!

And there is a tour wide gveaway, here is what you can win:
Camp Boyfriend swag pack– A Destiny Swag Pack:including a signed copy of Destiny, a Destiny keychain, a t-shirt that says “I heart Destiny,” a Destiny bookmark.
– a $25 Amazon Gift Card
– Camp Boyfriend Swag pack.

For a chance to win enter the rafflecopter below:
a Rafflecopter giveaway

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Review: Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell

FangirlTitle: Fangirl

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Publisher: St. Martin’s Press

Published: September 10, 2013

Summary (from Goodreads): 

A coming-of-age tale of fan fiction, family and first love.

Cath is a Simon Snow fan.

Okay, the whole world is a Simon Snow fan . . .

But for Cath, being a fan is her life — and she’s really good at it. She and her twin sister, Wren, ensconced themselves in the Simon Snow series when they were just kids; it’s what got them through their mother leaving.

Reading. Rereading. Hanging out in Simon Snow forums, writing Simon Snow fan fiction, dressing up like the characters for every movie premiere.

Cath’s sister has mostly grown away from fandom, but Cath can’t let go. She doesn’t want to.

Now that they’re going to college, Wren has told Cath she doesn’t want to be roommates. Cath is on her own, completely outside of her comfort zone. She’s got a surly roommate with a charming, always-around boyfriend, a fiction-writing professor who thinks fan fiction is the end of the civilized world, a handsome classmate who only wants to talk about words . . . And she can’t stop worrying about her dad, who’s loving and fragile and has never really been alone.

For Cath, the question is: Can she do this?

Can she make it without Wren holding her hand? Is she ready to start living her own life? Writing her own stories?

And does she even want to move on if it means leaving Simon Snow behind?

Review: After reading Eleanor & Park, I knew Rainbow Rowell would make me fall in love with another one of her books. WIthout sounding too much like a fangirl, I have to say that I absolutely love Rowell’s writing style and the characters she creates. Each character is so relatable. Whether it was a piece of me or piece of somebody I knew in college, I could understand and empathize with every character. This book has just the right combination of heartache and humor. I was whisked away back to my freshman year of college with all the difficult choices you have to make and ever-changing relationships. While I’m not a huge fan of fan fiction, I did learn a lot about it. It is an interesting genre of writing that gives so many the opportunity to write about the characters they love. I think what I loved most about the book was the delicate balance of romance and family issues. Cath is dealing with so much in her new college life but Rowell keeps family in the forefront.

If you have not picked up a book by Rainbow Rowell, I don’t know what you’re waiting for!

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Jump When Ready by David Pandolfe Official Blog Tour

Jump_When_Ready_Tour_Banner

I’m so excited to be apart of the Jump When Ready blog tour. Thank you Book Nerd Tours for organizing this amazing tour.

JumpCoverNew_050213Synopsis

Since he drowned, Henry has remained isolated with the same group of teenagers and he keeps wondering why. After all, what could he possibly have in common with a Mohawk-sporting punker from the 80s, a roller skater from the 70s with a thing for kimonos, and an English “rocker” from the 60s? Henry can hear the other groups but he never sees them. Soon, Henry learns that his new friends all possess unique skills for making themselves noticed by the living. Is Henry’s group kept isolated because of their abilities? If so, are they considered gifted or seen only as a potential bad influence?

Before Henry can reach any conclusions, he witnesses his sister being kidnapped. He knows who did it, where she’s being held and what will happen if the kidnappers don’t get what they want. As the police chase false leads, Henry comes to realize that he’s his sister’s only hope. But for Henry to even have a chance, he has to convince a group of teenagers that dead doesn’t mean helpless.

Review

I read this book in one sitting. I absolutely loved this book and couldn’t put it down. Originally  I thought this would be a depressing book since the main character is dead and stuck “in-between” worlds, but it wasn’t doom and gloom. There is witty banter and strong bonds between characters. And speaking of characters, I loved all of the characters that Henry meets upon his arrival to the in-between world. They are realistic and each have their own quirkiness that makes me want to be their friend (Yes, even Curtis). The pacing was fast and I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. It was exciting to get to know each kid in the in-between world and the group dynamics.  It was even more exciting to watch Henry try to save his sister Bethany from the world beyond. The combination of  coming-of-age, philosophical and thriller story comes together to make a fascinating and engaging book. It makes you think about what the afterlife will be like and if the “in-between” world will be as frustrating as it is for Henry. I can’t wait for my students to read this book in the fall. I think there will be many amazing conversations that come from reading this book.

I’m looking forward to David’s next novel!

David Pandolfe

DavidPandolfe

David Pandolfe has been a bartender in Seattle, the front man for an alternative rock band in Los Angeles and a college writing teacher in Richmond (among other things).

One day, it occurred to him that sometimes these experiences felt like completely different lives altogether. Which got him to writing Jump When Ready, a novel about of bunch of teenagers trying to get over their past lives while getting ready to jump into their next.

While he’s still writing about himself in third person, David Pandolfe should probably mention that at one point he received a Master of Fine Arts degree in Creative Writing at Virginia Commonwealth University. He has had short stories published in Millennium and the Georgetown Review. Jump When Ready is his first YA novel but he’s currently working on another, to be released in the fall of 2013.

SOCIAL MEDIA:

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WEBSITE

Enter for a chance to win a signed copy of Jump When Ready + Swag by David Pandolfe on Rafflecopter.

You can purchase Jump When Ready by David Pandolfe at amazon

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Review: The S-Word by Chelsea Pitcher

The S WordTitle: The S-Word

Author: Chelsea Pitcher

Publisher: Gallery Books

Published: May 7, 2013
Source: Netgalley ARC

Summary (from Goodreads):First it was SLUT scribbled all over Lizzie Hart’s locker.

But one week after Lizzie kills herself, SUICIDE SLUT replaces it—in Lizzie’s looping scrawl.
Lizzie’s reputation is destroyed when she’s caught in bed with her best friend’s boyfriend on prom night. With the whole school turned against her, and Angie not speaking to her, Lizzie takes her own life. But someone isn’t letting her go quietly. As graffiti and photocopies of Lizzie’s diary plaster the school, Angie begins a relentless investigation into who, exactly, made Lizzie feel she didn’t deserve to keep living. And while she claims she simply wants to punish Lizzie’s tormentors, Angie’s own anguish over abandoning her best friend will drive her deep into the dark, twisted side of Verity High—and she might not be able to pull herself back out.
Debut author Chelsea Pitcher daringly depicts the harsh reality of modern high schools, where one bad decision can ruin a reputation, and one cruel word can ruin a life. Angie’s quest for the truth behind Lizzie’s suicide is addictive and thrilling, and her razor-sharp wit and fierce sleuthing skills makes her impossible not to root for—even when it becomes clear that both avenging Lizzie and avoiding self-destruction might not be possible.

Review:This book was difficult to read, not only because of the topic but also because of the writing style. My first reaction to style of writing as that it was awkward and uncomfortable but I think that as I read I really started to understand the style. We are the minds of a grief stricken teenager that is so angry with life so the writing style often times reflects that stream of consciousness. This was a difficult topic to cover and even more impressive was all the twists and turns that Pitcher threw in the plot. The S-Word not only deals with bullying but also deals with sexuality, gender roles, sexual abuse, and what it really means to find love and forgiveness.

I have to admit that I was excited when I read that the setting was Colorado (being from Colorado) but I was also extremely disappointed that beside CU and CSU being mentioned that there wasn’t all that much to do with Colorado. I know this is a selfish complaint but it is really the only one I have about the book. While the setting is not important and I think the point is that this type of story could happen anywhere, I would have liked a little more representation.

If you haven’t already put this on your TBR, do it now. In fact, I think all teens should read this book to see just how out of control bullying can get.

About the Author (from Goodreads):Chelsea Pitcher is a native of Portland, OR where she received her BA in English Literature. Fascinated by all things literary, she began gobbling up stories as soon as she could read, and especially enjoys delving into the darker places to see if she can draw out some light.

Her debut novel “THE S-WORD” is available now from Gallery Books/Simon & Schuster.

Check out Chelsea’s website.

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Review: 45 Pounds (More or Less) by K.A. Barson

45 PoundsTitle: 45 Pounds (More or Less)

Author: K.A. Barson

Publisher:Viking Juvenile

Publishing Date: July 11th 2013

Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads): Here are the numbers of Ann Galardi’s life:

She is 16.
And a size 17.
Her perfect mother is a size 6.
Her Aunt Jackie is getting married in 10 weeks, and wants Ann to be her bridesmaid.
So Ann makes up her mind: Time to lose 45 pounds (more or less) in 2 1/2 months.

Welcome to the world of informercial diet plans, wedding dance lessons, embarrassing run-ins with the cutest guy Ann’s ever seen—-and some surprises about her NOT-so-perfect mother.

And there’s one more thing. It’s all about feeling comfortable in your own skin-—no matter how you add it up!

Review: 45 Pounds is a book every woman (young adult or adult) should read. The message about body image is impactful and yet light. There were several times that I was laughing out loud. Ann has a great voice that feels real and not forced. If I were still in high school, I would want Ann and especially Regina to be my friend.  Barson did an excellent job developing each character. Even the characters who were mean and awful people, were characters I loved to hate. She captured the insecurity of so many women but did it in a way that you could laugh at yourself, Ann and her crazy family.

Not only is this about the woes of body image but it also shows the imperfections of families, no matter how perfect they seem on the outside. From the crazy grandma to the absent brother, there is a family member that I’m sure everybody can compare to their own imperfect families.

I especially liked that there was a love interest but it wasn’t the main plot line. In fact, that plot line takes a back seat for much of the book until Ann is capable of really handeling it. I like that she is more interested in herself, her family and her friends than a boy.

I loved these characters so much I would love to see a sequel of some sort  Maybe a book written from Regina’s point of view.

The pacing of the book is perfect and the ending brought tears to my eyes.

I can’t wait to put this book on the Bookshelves of Room 918!

About the Author

K.A. Barson graduated from Vermont College of Fine Arts with an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults. She and her husband live in Jackson, Michigan, surrounded by kids, grandkids, unruly dogs, and too many pairs of shoes. 45 Pounds (More or Less) is her debut YA novel.

Want to know more about the author? Visit her website.

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Review: The Waiting Tree by Lindsay Moynihan

The Waiting TreeTitle: The Waiting Tree
Author: Linday Moynihan

Publisher: Amazon Children’s Publishing

Publishing Date: May 14, 2013

Source: Netgalley

Summary (from Goodreads): Eighteen-year-old Simon Peters wants to stand up for the truth about who he is. His love for Stephen is unwavering, but does he have the courage to defend it when his entire church community, including his eldest brother has ostracized him? Trapped in a cashier’s job he hates, struggling to maintain peace with his brothers after their parents have died, and determined to look after his mute brother, Simon puts everyone else’s needs before his own. It takes a courageous act of self-sacrifice on Jude’s part to change both of their lives forever. Jude, who knew that when the fig tree in their yard began to bloom, it was his time to finally be heard and to set Simon free.

Review: Simon’s situation is heartbreaking and almost too much to handle. If you’re looking for a pick-me-up, this is not the book for you. I was surprised to find that this was not really a story about a gay relationship. It is, however,a story about family struggles, coming of age and overcoming obstacles. Simon’s thrown every curveball that one could imagine and then some curveballs that one wouldn’t even fathom could happen to one young man. I liked that Simon was a strong character who didn’t whine about his situation but was constantly thinking of others’ needs and what he could do to help them. His big heart and unselfishness makes him a likable character. I was instantly drawn into his world and invested in his future. In fact, all of the characters were well developed.  The only issue I had with the characters was the halfhearted attempt at southern dialect. It seemed that the dialect was randomly sprinkled in with a few “ya’lls” and “yers.” Otherwise, I sometimes forgot that this was taking place in the South. 

I was somewhat disappointed that Simon and Stephen’s conflicts and issues weren’t more of the story. It seemed, as you start to read that that is going to be the major plot line, but then it just takes a back seat for a majority of the story. I initially had a group of students who I thought would really identify with this story but as it ebbed so did my confidence in the intended audience. While I think that group of students would still be interested in the story, I don’t think they would identify completely with Simon’s issues.

My biggest issue with the plot was the ending. I was extremely disappointed. Without spoiling the story, the ending feels wide open. I was hoping there was at least one more page or even an epilogue, but I was left empty handed. Maybe I’ve been reading too many series books but this ending seemed to leave the door open for a sequel.

About the Author: Lindsay has had a passion for storytelling since her early childhood in Toronto, Canada. At eighteen, she moved to upstate New York to study at the Culinary Institute of America where she penned the text to Cake Art for the school’s publishing division. Moynihan currently lives in Orlando, Florida, where she attends the University of Central Florida, volunteers with local LGBTQ organizations, and continues to write about the struggles and successes of today’s young adults. The Waiting Tree is her first novel.

Want to find out more? Check out the The Waiting Tree’s Facebook page or follow Moynihan on Twitter.

 

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Review (Audiobook): The Storyteller by Jodi Picoult

The StorytellerTitle: The Storyteller

Author: Jodi Piccoult

Publisher: Atria

Published: February 26, 2013

Source: audible.com

Summary (from Goodreads): Sage Singer befriends an old man who’s particularly beloved in her community. Josef Weber is everyone’s favorite retired teacher and Little League coach. They strike up a friendship at the bakery where Sage works. One day he asks Sage for a favor: to kill him. Shocked, Sage refuses…and then he confesses his darkest secret – he deserves to die, because he was a Nazi SS guard. Complicating the matter? Sage’s grandmother is a Holocaust survivor.

What do you do when evil lives next door? Can someone who’s committed a truly heinous act ever atone for it with subsequent good behavior? Should you offer forgiveness to someone if you aren’t the party who was wronged? And most of all – if Sage even considers his request – is it murder, or justice?

Review: I know this isn’t YA but I absolutely love Jodi Picoult’s books. This one is no different. Not only is it excellent written but the audiobook was an amazing performance. Each character is read by a different person so you get the full experience of each character’s voice. As usual, Picoult’s storyline made me laugh, cry and gasp for air. My students are currently reading novels/memoirs about the Holocaust and I plan to add this title to the list for next year. I always go into the pages (or in this case the audio) of Picoult’s work with one way of thinking about her topic and come out the other side utterly confused on where I stand–which I welcome each and every time. If you’re a fan of Picoult, don’t miss this one. And if you haven’t had the opportunity to read her work, let this be your first experience.

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