Tag Archive | YA

REVIEW: Spies, Lies, and Allies by Lisa Brown Roberts

Spies, Lies, and Allies Book Cover Spies, Lies, and Allies
Lisa Brown Roberts
YA Contemporary Romance
Entangled Teen
E-ARC

Summers are supposed to be fun, right? Not mine. I’ve got a job at my dad’s company, which is sponsoring a college scholarship competition. I just found out that, in addition to my job assisting the competing interns, I’m supposed to vote for the winner. Totally not what I signed up for.

My boss is running the competition like it’s an episode of Survivor. Then there’s Carlos, who is, well, very distracting––in a good way. But I can’t even think about him like that because fraternizing on the job means instant disqualification for the intern involved.

As if that’s not enough, an anonymous informant with insider intel is trying to sabotage my dad’s company on social media...and I’m afraid it's working.

Much as I’d love to quit, I can’t. Kristoffs Never Quit is our family motto. I just hope there’s more than one survivor by the end of this summer.

My Review

Omigosh! This was such a fun book!

A word of warning: This book is chalk full (CORRECT PHRASE?) of nerdy Star Wars references and IT. IS. AWESOME!

All Laurel wants is to be close to her dad again. He’s a workaholic, so she thinks, what a better way to spend time with him than as a summer intern at his company? If nothing else they’ll have an hour long ride in the car to bond and maybe a chance to spend lunch together. After begging and begging, her dad finally gives in. But there’s a condition. Laurel will be an  assistant to the interns, and she will be spying on them. Because all of the interns are competing for a crazy awesome scholarship.

But as the daughter of the boss, Laurel feels like a fraud. She doesnt fit in with the other interns. And as soon as the rules are laid out, she wonders how she will survive the summer. The worst rule of all, no fraternizing with the interns or they will lose their chance at the scholarship. Enter NAME. He’s cute and Laurel begins to fall for him, after disliking him for a while.

I love that this was not an instalove story. The romance was backseat to the plot, but still a big part. It’s a story of love, father/daughter relationships, and just growing up. Really the best part was all the Star Wars mentions though. So funny.

This is definitely a teen romance I recommend for all YA contemporary fans.


Quotes

(Believe it or not, I scaled back on the number of quotes I had highlighted. This book is hilarious and awesome!)

“So, what am I doing for the Empire this summer? Plotting the destruction of peaceful planets like Alderaan?” I thought a Star Wars joke might be a fun way to start our first morning as coworkers, but Dad Vader doesn’t look amused.
“I’m not the enemy, Laurel,” Dad snaps. “Also, I’m your boss, so watch it.”

It’s cliché, crushing on the quarterback, but I think it’s a high school requirement, like taking U.S. History.

 

“Oh,” Dad says. “I almost forgot. Laurel, please introduce yourself.” Way to make me feel like chopped liver, Dad Vader. I’ll remember this when the Rebels storm the Death Star.

I wish I was like Rey in The Force Awakens, brave and tough. Or Princess Leia, snarky and brilliant. But right now, I feel like a young Anakin Skywalker, when no one thought he was capable of piloting his own Podracer, let alone winning a race.

Trish is finished so I take her place, relieved to be interacting with an inanimate object. I expect her to leave as my cappuccino brews, but she doesn’t. She watches me like a hawk stalking a baby rabbit. I hope she kills me fast.

“Clever I am. Surprised she will be.”
“Dad, you’re not Yoda. How many times do we have to go over this?”

We stare at each other. It’s not one of those Hollywood omigod-we’re-going-to-kiss moments. Instead it’s awkward and uncomfortable. I glance around, noticing we’re the last ones on the rooftop. How did that happen?

“Number one: introduction.” He glances up and grins. “We did that on the first day, in case you forgot. I even got your name right, unlike some interns.”
I roll my eyes and try not to reward him with a smile. He can sense victory, though, because his grin deepens in a way I’ve never seen. Wait—does he have two dimples? This is completely unfair.


Apology

I was supposed to partake in a blog tour for this amazing book. It was read in time, I even had the review written up the day I finished it…. but I didn’t schedule ahead of time, and then I got the flu. I’m a month late getting this posted and I feel really guilty for that, but hopefully the author, publisher, and blog coordinators understand that sometimes crap happens and it is what it is. Sorry. 🙁

 

REVIEW: Meet Me There by Judy Corry

Meet Me There Book Cover Meet Me There
Ridgewater High Romance #1
Judy Corry
YA Contemporary Romance
March 6, 2018
Kindle
266
Amazon
April 12-13, 2018

A dark Chemistry lab. A fake British accent. It's all fun and games until somebody falls in love.

When sixteen-year-old, Ashlyn Brooks, runs into a sweet British guy in the dark Chemistry lab, she has no idea she's actually sitting in the pitch black room with her longtime rival, Luke Davenport. She also doesn't know that she's stepped into another one of the football captain's pranks. It isn't long before she's sharing things she's never told anyone, and starting to fall for the mysterious guy with a sexy accent who seems to understand her in a way no one ever has before.

When Luke's mom dies the summer before his senior year, he turns to pranking Ashlyn to keep his mind off his loss. But the more he gets to know her, the more he regrets using his fake British accent in the first place. Soon Luke is walking the thin line of keeping his lies a secret and wishing he could tell her that the boy she's falling for is really him.

Meet Me There is a standalone novel in The Ridgewater High series, a collection of simmering YA contemporary romances. If you like sweet romance with ballad-worthy chemistry, swoony kisses and endearing characters then you'll love Judy Corry's latest book.

Current Books in the series:
Meet Me There (Ashlyn and Luke's story)
Don't Forget Me (Eliana and Jess's story)

My Review

I’m pretty sure this is my first book by Judy Corry, and I don’t think it will be my last. This is also the first book I’ve read in a while that I bought on a whim. I think I saw the cover or a teaser or something on Twitter, clicked the link for Amazon, skimmed the preview, and the next thing I know I’d one clicked.

I’m sure glad I did, too, because Meet Me There was an absolute treat! My Kindle read this to me over the course of two days (probably 6.5 hours?) at work. (Yeah, I know, my job is amazing.)

I bought the book because the concept reeled me in. A couple of teens who have had a prank rivalry going on? Sound awesome! A British accent? Like 99% of all American girls, I swooned a little.

So yeah, you’ve got Ashlyn the dancer who’s falling for this mystery British boy, and you’ve got Luke, the cute football player who’s always pranking her and also pretending to be said British boy. As they’re falling for each other with his pretend identity, she’s enlisted to teach him to dance for a fundraiser event. Obviously hijinks and swoon-worthy moments are going to ensure.

Seriously though, scroll up and read the blurb if you skipped it. This book is absolutely adorable and is pretty much guaranteed to leave you with a smile on your face. I wish I had written this book. Wait, no, I don’t. Because then I wouldn’t have had the pleasure of reading this book. But really, if you love sweet romance stories featuring realistic characters with steamy chemistry, give this book a try.

Once I’m caught up on my backlist a little more I’m sure I’ll somehow find my way back to Amazon to pick up the second book in this series, Don’t Forget Me.


Quotes

(Confession – I was SO into this book as I was listening at work that for the first half I forgot to highlight good quotes! Oops!)

British Boy’s kiss wasn’t hurried and rushed like the other guys I’d kissed in the past. His hands didn’t try wandering to places I didn’t want them to go. Instead, he made me feel like I was special, like we had all the time in the world to get to know each other better. Like we had more than just today to kiss. And suddenly, I knew these few minutes wouldn’t be nearly long enough.


Dang. I bit my lip. His arms were definitely not made of air. They were made from heaven itself.


“You seem cheerful. Something good happen this morning at drill practice?” Her smile made me uneasy. Had she figured out the truth somehow and was just being really sweet before she smacked me?

“Not unless you call being chewed out by your coach for dancing too sloppily good.” She sighed.

“Nope, not my kind of fun. I’m pretty sure I know what you’re talking about. Just last week, my dance coach told me my muscles were made of air and that I couldn’t dance to save my life.”


My (Writing) Life

I’m still slowly but surely writing my new YA contemporary romance, code name SIGA. It’s coming along, but I’m having this problem where I’m having all these ideas for the second book…. #WriterProblems

In other news, I was feeling super stressed with too much on my plate, but I’m suddenly feeling lighter. I think I was stressing, without realizing it, about being a guest presenter at an RWA meeting yesterday. Now that I’m done with that I’m feeling better. And before that I was stressing about getting my house ready for my daughter’s birthday party. Then we got hit with a blizzard. In April. (Someone PLEASE remind me why I live in this frozen wasteland??? Oh, right… family… and amazing summers!) Anyway, that’s postponed for end of May. So that stress will return in a couple weeks!

I’ve also been keeping busy beta reading for the amazing Rachel Walter. I envy her ability to create such flawed and awesome characters.

In case you’re not counting down the days as I am, FIVE MORE DAYS until the release of Summer of Peace! I’m more than a little excited you guys. I’ve got a blog tour starting Friday (I still open slots if any of you are bloggers and interested – shoot me a message!) JoJo is my favorite character I’ve published to date. (My hero from SIGA is my all time favorite character, sorry JoJo.) And Matt is pretty swoon-worthy IMO. I can’t wait for everyone to read their story.

I’m setting a goal for myself to post a review once a week, on my one day off work. (Yeah, the crappy thing about working two jobs is that I only have one day off each week now! That’ll change come summer though, I’m cutting back my hours at the hotel!)

So, hopefully you’ll see me again next Saturday on my day off! (Although I’m out of town most of the day, so we’ll see if it happens!)

 

REVIEW: Breaking The Ice by Julie Cross

Breaking the Ice Book Cover Breaking the Ice
Juniper Falls #2
Julie Cross
YA Contemporary Romance
Entangled Teen
December 26, 2017
E-ARC
341
NetGalley
Beat The Backlist 2018
January 21-23, 2018

The second book in the Juniper Falls series from NY Times and USA TODAY bestselling author Julie Cross, perfect for fans of Miranda Kenneally and Abbi Glines.

Haley Stevenson seems like she’s got it all together: cheer captain, “Princess” of Juniper Falls, and voted Most Likely to Get Things Done. But below the surface, she’s struggling with a less-than-stellar GPA and still reeling from the loss of her first love. Repeating her Civics class during summer school is her chance to Get Things Done, not angst over boys. In fact, she’s sworn them off completely until college.

Fletcher Scott is happy to keep a low profile around Juniper Falls. He’s always been the invisible guy, warming the bench on the hockey team and moonlighting at a job that would make his grandma blush. Suddenly, though, he’s finding he wants more: more time on the ice, and more time with his infuriatingly perfect summer-school study partner.

But leave it to a girl who requires perfection to shake up a boy who’s ready to break all the rules.

My Review

This is my third YA hockey book, though the content of this one feels more like a NA book. I don’t even like hockey, but all of these fabulous hockey themed books make me wish I did!

This is very much a hate to love romance. Fletcher just wants to be left alone and Haley just wants to pass her summer school class. Haley wants to use Fletcher for his smarts, while Fletcher resigns himself to trying to help his cousin, who’s got a huge crush on Haley, get some face time with her. Somehow this unlikely couple falls in love.

Haley is a pretty straight forward character. You love her or you hate her. Fletcher is frustrating because he’s very secretive and harbors animosity toward his town due to rumors about both his parents and grandparents. He has a top secret job, which will keep you guessing the entire time until the job is revealed.

Overall this was an incredibly fun, sweet, and sexy book which I devoured. I will absolutely be looking for more books from Julie Cross in the future.

Due to some of the sexual content in this book I would recommend this one for upper-teen and adult readers.


Quotes

What do I know about Haley Stevenson? Probably not nearly as much as she assumes. First off, she really did shove Cheerios up my nose when we were three.

 

So Fletcher Scott is nice to look at. Big deal. Pull yourself together, Haley.

“We’re corrupting a fifteen-year-old. Maybe we should go to church.”

I’ve only practiced with varsity for a total of eight days now, but I’ve already figured out that Coach is hardest on the most talented players. I’m not on his hate list. And I need to be. Somehow.

Before I have a chance to absorb the fact that I’ve just signed up to spend extra time with the world’s most infuriating girl, I focus on a plan of action—two birds with one stone and all that shit.

“I’m gonna go in there…” I point a finger at the door. “And I’m going to talk to your cousin because you’re right, I do like helping people. But as far as the project goes, you don’t get to do it by yourself. You’re stuck with me. Consider it your punishment for being an asshole.”

I fight the urge to throw my phone across the playground. He’s got the brooding-asshole act down a little too well. And yet, part of me wants to prod him some more, if only to get another glimpse of Other Fletcher—the one without so many walls.
How can someone be so infuriating and interesting at the same time?

Jamie skids to a stop and takes in both of us. “What the hell is going on?”
“Fletcher’s pregnant,” Haley says, straight-faced.
I nod. “I am.”

Falling for Haley? How is that possible? We haven’t done anything except make out. Twice. Of course, there’re all the times I wished we were kissing, wished we were doing more than kissing. And right now, we’ve been apart for twenty minutes and I already want to see her again.
Jesus Christ, I’m screwed.


My (Writing) Life

It’s been a crazy month you guys. If you read my previews review you may remember that I was hired for a new job. This is on top of my work for indie press Melange Books, and my job as a hotel front desk agent. So basically I have three jobs now. If you count being a mom, that’s four. And keeping my house from falling apart, that’s five. So yeah, I have like 8,000 jobs right now. Life is crazy.

To add to all the stress of too many jobs, the day I STARTED my new job, I had to bring my van in because it was misbehaving. The next day I got word that my transmission is shot. So yeah, I started a new job and basically the same day learned that my mode of transportation was gone. My parents are amazing though, so I was able to borrow my dad’s car for two full weeks. That’s how long it took me to find a replacement vehicle (because there’s zero sense in putting a new transmission in a 2004 minivan!) So yeah, I have a new (used) car and I’m sort of in love. It’s a 2012 Kia Sorento. The color is “White Sand Beige”, which I hated in the pictures… hated a little less when we test drove it… and now that it’s mine the color is growing on me. Now I have my first ever car payment. ((sobs))

In the writing world I’m trying to get back into writing (almost) daily. Now that Peace in Flames is out for public consumption, and Summer of Peace is up for preorder, all of my writing energy is going into Something I’m Good At. This YA romance is so much fun. When it’s ready (summer? I hope?) I hope everyone loves my hero, Kane, as much as I do. (It’s totally normal to a little crush on your own character, right? …RIGHT???)

So, in short, my schedule is jam packed. And because I now have a car payment, I can’t exactly quit my hotel job yet. (Plus I like the discounted hotel rooms!) I have a ton of reviews to post and write. My reading has slowed down a little, but not horribly so. Hopefully I can get into the swing of carving time to post at least weekly if not more often. Anything’s better than this once a month crap, right????

So if you made it through all that, you should go buy/preorder my Peace Novellas. ((wink))

 

REVIEW: Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride Book Cover Along for the Ride
Sarah Dessen
YA Contemporary Romance
Viking Books for Young Readers
June 16, 2009
Hardcover
383
Half Price Books
Beat The Backlist 2018
January 1 - 12, 2018

It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

In her signature pitch-perfect style, Sarah Dessen explores the hearts of two lonely people learning to connect.

Review

This was a challenging book to get into. All of the characters were pretty awful and it was hard to care about them. But then something magical happened. Somewhere at around the halfway point this book became difficult to put down. Suddenly I started to see little changes in the heroine, Auden, and I started to care what happened.

On the surface this is a book about a girl who spends the summer between high school and college with her dad and step-mom at their house in a little beach town. She finds friends and romance. But it’s actually much deeper.

Let’s talk about Auden. She’s the youngest of two children and because her parents “needed” her to be quiet and good as a child, she was. She never had a real childhood. She never had close friends, the color pink was frowned upon, and boys were a distraction to her studies — useless.

So when Auden moves in with her dad and step-mother, Heidi, for the summer, she’s dreading having to be around her perky pink-clad step-mother, Heidi. Not to mention the fact that her new baby half-sister NEVER. STOPS. CRYING.

When her parents were fighting, before the divorce, Auden stopped sleeping at night, instead she spent her nights hanging out at an all night diner. Now in the new beach town, she must find new ways to fill her nights. Soon after her arrival, she connects with the mysterious Eli. A friendship blossoms and, upon learning of Auden’s lack of a childhood, he’s determined to give her as many of those experiences as he can before she starts college in the fall.

On the surface, this is a book where not a lot happens. There’s a lot of repetition with the nightly activities between Auden and Eli, plus her job at Heidi’s store, but as Eli takes her on her quest, and things at home become shaky, Auden begins to change.

Let’s talk about the side characters for a second. They were great and awful and a big part of what makes Auden who she is. Her mother is a strong, independent, and powerful woman — very women’s rights and down with the patriarchy. Her dad is a failed writer. Her brother is a free spirit who has spent the last two years mooching off their parents backpacking through Europe.

Her mom comes across as cold-hearted and just mean. She seems to expect Auden to be a carbon copy of herself. Her dad is awful. He’s so selfish and ignorant.

But the people Auden meets in the beach town are amazing.

My main takeaway themes from this book are:

Don’t judge a book by it’s cover — there is far more to a person than what you see on the surface.

People can change — Every person close to Auden in this book showed signs of changing for the better. Even the most unredeemable characters take steps toward redemption.

Coming of Age — A huge theme in this book was Auden realizing who she is without her parents. When she separates herself from them and follows what feels is right in her own heart, who is she really? Is she a carbon copy of her mother? Or as selfish as her dad?

This review is getting WAY too long. For a book I really could have cared less about in the beginning, I’m shocked at how much I enjoyed this.

So, I’ll say my tiny bit of negatives and end this.

  1. The beginning dragged and a critical scene that was referenced multiple times later is glossed over so quickly that it either should have been cut or described.
  1. Very early on her dad and step-mom’s baby is called her stepsister. Grr! She’s her half-sister! Half and Step are VERY different things!!!
  2. I’d liked to have seen more romantic bits with Eli. Personal preference.

Even with those couple negatives, this is still a solid 4 star book for me. The second half was so enjoyable I nearly forgot how bored I was during the first half. I’ll definitely be reading more Sarah Dessen in the future.


Quotes

I was such a smart kid, I should have figured out that the only way to really get my parents’ attention was to disappoint them or fail. But by the time I realized that, succeeding was already a habit too ingrained to break.

There is really nothing more intimidating than approaching a group of girls who have already made up their minds about you. It’s like walking a plank, no way to go but down.

Since I had no rain jacket, I had to borrow one from Heidi, who offered me three colors: bright pink, light pink, and, in her words, “dusty pink,” whatever that meant. I picked the light one, yet still felt positively radioactive as I walked down the gray, wet sidewalk, boldly contrasting with everything about me.

“Who says you have to be either smart or pretty, into girly stuff or sports? Life shouldn’t be about the either/or. We are capable of more than that, you know?”

“Look. I just…”
But no words followed. I just let this hang there, open-ended, waiting for him to jump in, finish it, do the hard part for me. It was my dad’s signature trick, and now I understood why. It was so much easier than having to say what you didn’t want to aloud.

I’d thought I knew so much when I’d arrived here, the smartest girl in the room. But I’d been wrong.


My (Writing) Life

I was going to be GOOD this week and post LOTS of my outstanding reviews. But then I didn’t. I did however get a LOT of my reviews posted at vendors, reviews that are already on the blog and Goodreads, and also submitted to NetGalley. There’s still a ways to go before I’m caught up, but I feel less stressed.

What else… I’m still slogging through reading Animal Farm, but I’m motivated to finish now because next up is going to be The Mummy by Anne Rice. I’ve got the sequel on my old phone from Penguin First Reads to read and I want to refresh my memory by re-reading The Mummy. It’s been a good decade since I first read it!

I’m making slow progress on SOMETHING I’M GOOD AT but that’s mostly right now because I decided to change the book from past tense to present. I usually hate present tense, but it’s starting to grow on me and I think it’ll really help with this particular series of books. (Three books planned at the moment, but I may expand. Who knows!)

I’m 100% certain I will not be posting any other reviews this weekend. It’s the Super Bowl weekend, which I could care less about, but the Super Bowl happens to be in my city this year and I happen to work at a hotel. It’s going to be a full house folks! (Best part of the Super Bowl being in town? One of my good friends demanding that anyone with any info on Justin Timberlake’s whereabouts contact her IMMEDIATELY!) But yeah, I’m working crazy long hours (just like last weekend!) and will be basically dead come Sunday night.

(Psst! Still looking for people who may be interested in reading and reviewing – or even doing a release day blast for – PEACE IN FLAMES my upper YA contemporary romance! Shoot me a message or leave a comment on the post.)

 

 

Spotlight Tour: BUSTED by Gina Ciocca + GIVEAWAY

Busted Book Cover Busted
Gina Ciocca
YA Contemporary Romance
Sourcebooks Fire
January 2, 2018
E-ARC
352
NetGalley
December 13 - 16, 2017

Catching cheaters and liars is a lucrative hobby—until you fall for one of the suspects. Perfect for fans of Veronica Mars, this new novel from the author of Last Year’s Mistake will steal your heart!

Marisa never planned to be a snoop for hire. It wasn’t like she wanted to catch her best friend’s boyfriend making out with another girl. But as her reputation for sniffing out cheaters spreads all over school, Marisa finds herself the reluctant queen of busting two-timing boys.

And her next case? It’s for ex-frenemy Kendall. She’s convinced her boyfriend, TJ, has feelings for someone else and persuades Marissa to start spying on him. But the more Marisa gets to know sincere and artistic TJ, the more she starts to fall for him. Worse yet, the feelings seem to be mutual. Marisa knows she needs to give up her investigation—and the spoken-for guy who may just be the love of her life. Then she uncovers new secrets about Kendall and TJ, secrets that take “cheater” to a whole new level…

Review

I loved this book! It’s been far too many books since I’ve had a YA in front of my eyes, and I’m so glad this was the one I picked up at this time.

Marisa, Charlie, TJ and even Nick were all great characters to read about. They all had their negative character traits and their positives, which made them feel very real. By the time I finished the book I was glad to have gone on this journey with them, but also sad to be saying goodbye. I want a sequel to read more about Marisa, but I don’t want any more bad to come to her, so… I guess I don’t want a sequel?

I loved how there were so many layers in this book. Anything could be a clue as to what the hell is ACTUALLY going on, and you just don’t know until you get to the end and realize the significance something you read earlier has.

I even loved Marisa’s parents. They were very cool and trusting parents.

It’s been… a few years… since I was in high school, and I just hope that not all high schools are full of such shitty boys like the two schools in this book! The good guys in this book certainly seemed to be the exception to the rule.

I would absolutely recommend this to teens and adults alike who are looking for a fun contemporary with a touch of romance and mystery. Nice work Ms. Ciocca, I can’t wait to see what you come up with next!


Quotes

If I hadn’t been in line behind—what the hell was his name? Greg? George?—my double order of Sexual Chocolate (yes, really) and I would be on our way to Charlie’s house for a Saturday movie, gossip, and anti-nutrition night like so many other Saturday’s before.

 

Outing a scumbag felt more badass than anything I’d ever done—especially when I told her how I’d gotten the picture, and she looked at me like I’d parted the Red Sea.

 

And that’s when the bubble of positivity I’d been floating in since reconnecting with Kendall Keene in the parking lot bust like a microwaved marshmallow all over the room.

 

“I don’t know, Kendall,” I sighed into my cell phone. “This is different from what I’ve done before. You’re not asking me to follow him for a night or two. You’re basically asking me to stalk him. This feels… sneaky.”

“How is it any sneakier than trespassing on private property and aiming a camera inside someone’s living room?”

She had a point.

 

The word okay came out of my mouth, but in my mind it sounded a hell of a lot more like oh shit.

 

“When you care about someone, you don’t sneak around and do things that would hurt her if you did them o her face. You care about how your actions affect her.” I took a step toward him. “You don’t worry that the grass is greener in every goddamn yard but our own. You put her first once in a while instead of think about yourself all. The. Fucking. Time.”

 

He’d been rubbing his chin—which he still hadn’t shaved, and I wondered if i was specifically to drive me crazy.


Marisa’s Top 5 Tips For Sleuthing:

Hey there. Marisa Palmera, Private Eye here. Okay, so I don’t actually call myself that, and neither does anyone else. In fact, I never meant to become a sleuth-for-hire. But spend one night scaling your best-friend’s boyfriend’s house to take incriminating pictures, and suddenly everyone wants you to be something you’re not…and when they’re willing to line your sadly lacking pockets for it, it doesn’t sound like such a bad idea.

So, should you find yourself an unwitting Girl Friday (or even a witting one… Is “witting” a thing?) like I did, here are some tips that just may save your butt:

  1. Always have a camera handy. Whether it’s your cell phone, or the fancy camera you borrowed from your school’s yearbook club, you never know when you’ll need to snap an evidence shot. Just, um, make sure you turn off the flash if said camera is aimed through a window into a dark living room. I may have learned this the hard way.
  2. Keep your friends close, but your enemies closer. Sounds ominous and dramatic, I know. But if someone gives you the vibe that they shouldn’t be let out of your sight? GO WITH IT.
  3. Think fast. Suck at lying? Me too. Get over it, because you’ll be fudging the truth a lot.
  4. But know when to say no. Weave enough white lies, and suddenly they’re a sticky, tangled web with you trapped inside. Know when it’s time to run, and do it like the flames of hell are licking your feet.
  5. Don’t fall for the person you’re investigating. You’re just gonna have to do as I say and not as I do on this one. Oops.

Excerpt

My eyes darted from TJ’s dark, furrowed eyebrows to the logo on the left breast of his shirt and I sat up straighter.

“Um, where’d you get the Maple Acres shirt?”

His expression didn’t change. “Maple Acres.”

I fought the urge to roll my eyes. “Right. I meant, do you work there?”

“Yup.” He sat back in his chair and pulled at the logo, stretching the white cotton away from his chest before turning his attention back to the computer screen. “Long time now.”

As soon as he said it, my memory was triggered. I’d always thought he looked familiar but could never quite place where I’d seen him. As I thought back to every trip I’d taken to Maple Acres, twice a year since I was two years old, the image of a boy with dark curls stuffed beneath a knit cap and a heavy flannel coat that made him look like Paul Bunyan clicked into place. The farm stretched over two hundred and fifty acres, selling pumpkins and cider and offering hayrides and a corn maze in a fall, then Christmas trees that you cut down yourself in the winter. The place had a storybook quality to it that I loved, and I couldn’t believe it had taken me so long to figure out TJ was a part of it.

“We go there for our tree every year. I think I’ve seen you.”

TJ kept his eyes on the screen. “Probably. I’m usually bundling the trees or in the checkout area. Sometimes I drive the tractor for the hayrides.” He glanced over long enough to shoot me a half smile. “Maybe you’ve seen the back of my head.”

That would’ve been an occasion I definitely hadn’t noticed him. The one and only time I’d taken a hayride had been the lone trip I’d made without Charlie or my dad, both of whom are allergic to hay. I’d gone with Jordan. Superman himself could’ve been driving the tractor and I would’ve been too busy drooling over Jordan in his plaid button-down with the sleeves rolled up around his gorgeous forearms to notice.

Vom, vom, vom. I pushed the chunks down and forged ahead. “So, that thing you didn’t want to do the last time we talked, is that… still an issue?”

“Uh, no. That fell through, so my article should be good to go on Monday.”

He’s not making this easy for me, that’s for sure.

“Take your time, really. I hope you didn’t cancel your plans because of me.”

He glanced over and gave me a wry smile. “No.”

“So, um, the tree farm. I go all the time.” I mentally slapped myself. Twice a year is all the time? “Do you live nearby?”

“You know the green colonial across the street behind the barn?”

“Uh huh.”

He smiled again. “That’s my house.”

“Wait, I thought the owners lived there.”

“They do. We have for my whole life.”

“Your family owns Maple Acres?” I blinked a few times, dumbfounded by my own dumbness.

“Well, co-owns. Have you seen the guy with the white hair who sneaks free gourds to all the little kids at Halloween? That’s my Uncle Roger. He’s there all the time, but my dad does more of the financial stuff.”

My face lit up. “That’s awesome! I love that place! I took a picture of the white barn from the top of the hill once and tried to sketch it. All the trees had snow on them, the sky was this amazing gray color and the pond was reflecting it” – I remembered mid-babble that I’d veered off course and reigned myself back in – “anyway, let’s just say it was magical, but drawing isn’t my strong suit. So, um, if you didn’t move, then why did you switch schools?”

TJ’s eyes slid back to the computer screen and his shoulder tensed ever so slightly, as if I’d brought up something he didn’t really want to talk about. Now I was getting somewhere.

“Our property is right at the intersection of three town lines. Technically, I could’ve gone to any one of the high schools.” He stabbed a few keys with his pointer finger, eliciting three clipped clicks. Maybe my eyes were playing tricks on me, but I swore his jaw tightened. “I left Templeton because it was time for a change of scenery.”

“It must’ve been hard, though, transferring for your senior year.” And pretty odd, in my opinion. “I’m sure you had a lot of ties there.”

TJ’s fingers paused in mid-air over the keyboard and he looked at me. “Not that many.”

This time when he turned his attention back to the screen, I knew our conversation had ended. He ran a hand through his hair in a gesture that had a definite undertone of irritation. Whether it related to my question or some memory pertaining to the school, I couldn’t tell. But when I caught sight of the leather bracelet on his wrist, my desire to exclaim OMG THAT’S GORGEOUS WHERE DID YOU GET IT almost overruled my desire to ask what the hell his comment was supposed to mean. I’d been baiting him to say, “Yeah, my girlfriend goes there.” He hadn’t. What did that mean?

Maybe nothing.

But damn it all to hell, I suddenly had to know for sure.


The Author

Gina Ciocca graduated from the University of Connecticut with a degree in English, but in her mind, she never left high school. She relocated from Connecticut to Georgia, where she lives with her husband and son. When she’s not reading or writing, you can find her taking long walks around the lake in her neighborhood. Gina can also be found online at writersblog-gina.blogspot.com, on Instagram as gmciocca, and Twitter as gmc511.


Giveaway

a Rafflecopter giveaway


My (Writing) Life

First things first….. PEACE IN FLAMES is available for preorder! I’m totally psyched about this because it’s my first solo release and the first completed project I’ve been proud of! Now I just need to finish my read through of the follow up novella, SUMMER OF PEACE, and send it off to my editor. That one will be available for public consumption in April.

Otherwise I’m working on a NA PNR, but I’ve hit a bit of a wall, so I may flip over to my YA contemporary romance instead. We’ll see. I’ve got a lot to ponder plot wise on both. (I’m still working on mastering that whole “outlining” thing. LOL)

In other news, I’m working on catching up on writing my last couple reviews from 2017. I’m hoping to post them ALL before the months end. I’m also at least halfway through two separate backlist titles for 2018 and the #BeatTheBacklist reading challenge, then I’ll jump into my NetGalley pile.

Until next time, happy reading!

 

Blog Tour: Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron (review + giveaway!)

Sea of Strangers Book Cover Sea of Strangers
The Ryogan Chronicles #2
Erica Cameron
YA Fantasy
Entangled Teen
December 5, 2017
E-ARC
340
NetGalley
Flights of Fantasy
November 26 - December 7, 2017

Know your enemy if you want to survive…

The only way for Khya to get her brother back alive is to kill Varan—the immortal ruler who can’t be killed. But not even Varan knew what he was doing when he perverted magic and humanity to become immortal.

Khya’s leading her group of friends and rebels into the mountains that hold Varan’s secrets, but if risking all their lives is going to be worth it, she has to give up everything else—breaking the spell that holds her brother captive and jeopardizing her deepening relationship with Tessen, the boy who has been by turns her rival and refuge since her brother disappeared. Immortality itself might be her only answer, but if that’s where Khya has to go, she can’t ask Tessen or her friends to follow.

I don’t usually partake in blog tours, because, let’s be honest, I’m not usually organized enough for that!

However, when I learned of this tour for Sea of Strangers by Erica Cameron I had to sign up! I read the first book in The Ryogan Chronicles earlier this year and knew I needed to find out what happened next.

Read on for my review of Sea of Strangers, and some other goodies!

I’ll try to make this as spoiler free as possible, but if you’d rather just check out my review of book 1, Island of Exiles, you can find that HERE.

You can also find the FULL SCHEDULE for all stops on this blog tour HERE.


Review

I received a copy of the first book in the Ryogan Chronicles, Island of Exiles, earlier this year, so I jumped when I had a chance to read the continuation of this story in Sea of Strangers.

If you read and loved Island of Exiles, you will not be disappointed with Sea of Strangers. The stakes are higher, the missions are deadlier, and things start to heat up between Khya and Tessen.

Like the first book, I had trouble keeping up with all the new terminology, but there is a handy glossary in the back for those who really want to get to know the terms, or if you’re too lazy to keep flipping (like me!) you can still enjoy the story even if some of the words make no sense to you.

This book ended with a BANG and left me wanting the third book in the series ASAP. It feels like this might be a trilogy, but I don’t know, it could probably stretch longer if the author chooses.

If you love epic fantasy, pick up this series. It will be well worth your time and money!

 

Special thanks to the author, publisher, and NetGalley for a complimentary copy in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

 

 

 

 


About the Author

Erica Cameron is the author of books for young adults including the Ryogan Chronicles, the Assassins duology, and The Dream War Saga. She also co-authored the Laguna Tides novels with Lani Woodland. An advocate for asexuality and emotional abuse awareness, Erica has also worked with teens at a residential rehabilitation facility in her hometown of Fort Lauderdale.

 

 

 


Giveaway

Sea of Strangers Prize Pack, including:**

* A signed copy of Sea of Strangers

* A $20 Visa gift card

* A swag pack

**For international: 1 copy from book depository and a $20 Visa gift card

a Rafflecopter giveaway

REVIEW: Approximately Yours by Julie Hammerle

Approximately Yours Book Cover Approximately Yours
North Pole, Minnesota #3
Julie Hammerle
YA Contemporary Romance
Entangled: Crush
October 2, 2017
E-ARC
220
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
October 5 - 7, 2017

Danny Garland is so out of Holly’s league. And her family is only back in North Pole, Minnesota, long enough to sell Grandma’s house and say “Merry Christmas.” So telling her basketball-star, too-hot-to-be-real long-time crush that she’d like to kiss him under the mistletoe just isn’t going to happen.

And now he’s asked out her cousin, Elda. Elda is a mess at flirting, so when she begs Holly to intervene, she does. Holly helps her flirt with him over text. And then again. And again. Now she’s stuck texting him as her cousin, and Elda is the one going on the date. Holly thought she could settle for just conversation with Danny, but talking with him is some kind of magic. He’s got the perfect comebacks, she makes him laugh, they text until everyone is asleep.

She just can’t ever tell him it’s her he’s really texting.

Disclaimer: This Entangled Teen Crush book has hot texts, gingerbread wars, and a slow-burn romance that could melt a Minnesota winter.

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my SEVENTH contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge


Review

This was a cute holiday book I found on NetGalley that caught my eye because A) it takes place in my home state of Minnesota, and B) it revolves around the plot of a one girl texting a boy to make him like another girl, and C) I’ve basically fallen in love with YA contemporary romances lately.

So yeah, this was a cute book, but it wasn’t unforgettable. I think Holly is pretty relatable, because what girl hasn’t compared herself to a friend/sister/cousin she thought was prettier than her? She clearly suffers from a big case of low self-esteem and has built up some very big walls to prevent herself from getting hurt. Unfortunately, those walls have also done her the disservice of keeping others away.

I also really liked Danny because he was the guy who had it all – he was the hot star of the basketball team with the hot, “perfect”, cheerleader girlfriend. Until he injured himself and his girlfriend dumped him. Then who was he? He really was just a sweetie and it was obvious why Holly liked him. I really loved that the author showed that someone who had it all, like Danny, could also suffer from low self-esteem and self doubt. Feelings of unworthiness run rampant in the teen years.

The way Holly and Danny bonded over the gingerbread competition was pretty adorable, but I was mostly frustrated that Holly would even want to encourage her cousin to date the guy she’s been crushing on her entire life. That just never really made sense to me from the get go. I mean, maybe in the beginning, but when it became pretty clear Elda wasn’t really all that interested in Danny Holly still pushed her cousin into continuing the charade.

In the end, it was a cute story, but like I said above, it just wasn’t entirely memorable. I would read the other books in this series, just to see what happens with the other minor characters, but I wouldn’t buy the books.

 

I received a copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.


Quotes

 

(Elda) was the girl next door of every boy’s dreams. Holly was the girl next door who actually lived next door. Of course he was checking out Elda. Anyone with eyes would have done the same.

 

A girl with Holly’s savvy and Elda’s body would be more powerful than Wonder Woman. “We’d rule the freaking world. A guy like Danny Garland wouldn’t know what hit him.”

 

“Let them see how sad you are,” Craig said. “Girls love a wounded guy. They’ll want to help you. Seduction 101.”

Danny blinked at Craig. “What do you know about seduction?”

“I’ve seen a lot of movies.”

 

Maybe she suffered from a mild case of resting bitch face.

 

He got into a bit of a groove, not on his showstopper to do list, but on a list of ways he could stop being so pathetic in front of Holly. He’d just written “Stop whining to her about how she doesn’t like you,” when the bell above the Santabucks door jingled.

 

Man, North Pole loved karaoke almost as much as it loved Mariah Carey.

 

It was the day of his North Pole architecture tour date, and Danny felt a bit like someone was forcing him to eat his vegetables, which was silly. Elda wasn’t broccoli.

 

A whole morning alone with Holly. This day was going to end in tears—his.

 

I don’t know how to do this. I don’t know how to be honest with someone about how I feel. I’ve been pushing people away for so long that I don’t know how to let anyone in.

 

“Why are you whispering?” she whispered back.

“My mom’s just over by the counter.”

“And she can still hear every word out of your mouth,” came his mom’s voice.


My (Writing) Life

Christmas is nearly here and if I want to get all of my 12 Books of Christmas posted before Christmas Eve, I need to get my rear in gear! I have two left to finish, I should be able to finish both today as I have 10 pages left of one and the other is a very short novella.

I’m hosting Christmas for my immediate family on Saturday so I also need to get the house in gear. That’s going to mean probably little to no writing from me for the time being. Which is okay, because I’m stuck on SUMMER OF PEACE. I have the ending written, but I’m just not sure right now how to bridge the gap between where I currently am and the ending. I’m so close, but I’m drawing a blank. I think I’ll need to go back and pepper in a few lines of dialogue to make the transition smoother.

Other than that, I’ve been trying to work ahead on my publishing work. I want to get ahead and stay ahead! I’ve been formatting books like crazy the last couple days (okay, I formatted four books. That’s not that crazy…) and I’ve been working on covers. Completed two covers and am *THIS CLOSE* to finishing a third. My goal is to complete all of the Jan/Feb releases in December, then move on and complete all of the Feb/March and March/April ones in January. That’ll put me ahead just enough.

Anyway, enough from me. I’ll see you all tomorrow with my EIGHTH book of Christmas. 🙂

REVIEW: My New Crush Gave to Me by Shani Petroff

My New Crush Gave to Me Book Cover My New Crush Gave to Me
Shani Petroff
YA Contemporary Romance
Macmillian / Swoon Reads
October 31, 2017
E-ARC
224
NetGalley
12 Books of Christmas
August 25 - 27, 2017

Charlotte Charlie Donovan knows exactly what she wants for Christmas: Teo Ortiz. He s the school s star athlete, in the National Honor Society, invited to every party, contributes to the school paper (where Charlie is co-editor), and is about to be featured as One to Watch in a teen magazine basically, he's exactly the type of guy Charlie s meant to be with. The only problem he barely knows she exists.

But Charlie is determined to be Teo's date to the Christmas ball. And she has a plan: To rig the paper s Secret Santa so that she can win his heart with five perfect gifts. But to do that she needs help. Enter J.D. Ortiz Teo s cousin, and possibly the most annoying person on the planet. He s easy going, laid back, unorganized, spontaneous, and makes a joke out of everything the exact opposite of Charlie (and Teo). But he s willing to provide insight into what Teo wants, so she s stuck with him.

Yet, the more time Charlie spends with J.D., the more she starts to wonder: Does she really know what, or rather who, she wants for Christmas?

The 12 Books of Christmas Reading Challenge

Welcome to the 12 Books of Christmas! This is my first contribution and I’m excited to share reviews for twelve holiday books over the next coming weeks.

For more information about this reading challenge and to join go here: The 12 Books of Christmas Challenge

My Review

I was in the mood for a light and fluffy YA romance and this one from NetGalley really did the trick. It was a quick, fun, and sweet read. To top it off, it’s the end of August and I’m suddenly ready to set up my tree and string garlands and lights around my house!

The characters were all unique and fun to get to know. Charlie is a very type-A girl, she likes lists and keeping to a schedule. She’s very orderly and a little uptight. JD is pretty much her opposite, he’s more of the “creative type” and really wants Charlie to just chill a little. When she bribes him to help her win over his cousin via a rigged Secret Santa gift exchange, Charlie ends up learning a little about herself. And realizing that maybe she was judging JD too harshly.

The romance in this story very much had a Pride & Prejudice feel to it. With a little bit of Cyrano. I wouldn’t go so far as to call it a retelling, but it certainly had a bit of those elements at least as far as Charlie goes (P&P) and JD (Cyrano).

The first half of the book I liked it, but I really wasn’t smitten. Something was just falling flat for me. But the more JD and Charlie interacted, the more I fell in love with the story and their chemistry. JD was the perfect yin to Charlie’s yang. There was a point when I thought they wouldn’t end up together and I was angry and crushed! That was the moment when I realized this 3 star book had hit 4 star status for me.

 

So, should you read it? If you’re in the mood for something light, sweet, and festive, I don’t think My True Love Gave To Me will disappoint!


Quotes

* All quotes taken from an advanced digital galley and subject to change prior to release.

I had my whole day planned out on my phone, which I synced to the calendar on my iPad and computer and then printed out as a hard copy every day. I even allocated time for “unplanned holdups.” It may have been a smidge obsessive, but it kept me focused and made me much more productive.

 

“You don’t get to choose your Secret Santa,” Ira reminded me. That’s what he thought. I was already formulating a plan.

 

“So,” J.D. said, with one eyebrow raised, “did you just come to spin around at my doorway or did you want something?”

 

Well, if Morgan had stellar parking karma, J.D. had the opposite.

 

The idea of kissing J.D. Ortiz was about as appealing as taking a nap on the bathroom floor.

 

I watched as she and Ira walked ahead, arm in arm, talking and laughing. I wanted a guy like that, one who was there for me, who made me laugh until it hurt, who came out to dinner even though he’d already eaten just so he could spend time with me, who ordered onion rings just because I liked them, who bought a cupcake he didn’t need because I made it.

 

“We’re glad you could come. J.D. has told us a lot about you.”
His cheeks turned a light shade of pink.
“All bad, I assure you,” he said.

 

“I was just giving you a hard time. It’s kind of fun pushing your buttons.”

 

“Getting a gift like this— does it mean you’ve been naughty or nice?”
“It’s marshmallows, not coal,” J.D. answered for me, despite my glare in his direction, “so I’d say nice.”
“Well, it’s always the nice ones you have to watch out for, don’t you?” Teo said, while J.D. groaned.

 

“Is it maybe . . .” He lifted the present above my head. “Mistletoe?” It wasn’t, but now I kind of wished it was.

 

And sometimes it’s the smaller, not as in the center of it all, less obvious choice that’s the better one. The one that will surprise you.


My (Writing) Life

My writing life has been…. interesting lately. I started strong with NaNo, but missed a few days and basically quit tracking. Even with “failing” NaNoWriMo this year, I still wrote over 30k, which is pretty awesome for me. I also explored some little side projects that were very new to me and expanded my horizons a bit.

Christmas is drawing near, hence this 12 Books of Christmas post today. This challenge, which I came up with, and Katie over at Just Another Girl and Her Books actual set up, is going to force me to post a pile of my reviews! I’ve got 10 of my Christmas books already read, most of the reviews written as well. I’m a little side tracked right now reading another book for a blog hop and re-reading Twilight just for the hell of it.

So yeah, that’s what’s going on. I meant to post this first review on Black Friday, but…. shopping happened. Then my sister informed me that her kids probably gave us lice. So then lice eradication happened. And is still happening. I’m almost done Christmas shopping and aside from wrapping, I think things are calming down.

 

REVIEW: A Shadowed Beginning by Alice J. Black

A Shadowed Beginning Book Cover A Shadowed Beginning
Demon Hunter #1
Alice J. Black
Teen Paranormal
Fire & Ice Young Adult Books
November 14, 2017
Unedited Manuscript
280

Ruby Dawson is about to discover a whole new world—one of demons and devils.

Following the death of her father four years ago, Ruby is sure her life can't get any harder. Living in a care home for girls, struggling with the last two years of school and working part time at an employment agency seem almost too much at times.

And then she sees the man with the crescent scar. He's a memory from her past and one that she knows will have answers. He's the last link to her dad.

Ruby goes looking for answers but only ends up with more questions as everything she thought she knew was real is turned upside down and her own life becomes all too connected with a world she didn't know existed.

My Review

Wow. This story is everything I love about teen fiction. The badass heroine who doesn’t really want the life that’s been thrust upon her. The smoking hot love interest full of chaste sexual tension. And demons.

Ruby thought her dad died of a heart attack, but years later when a man she recognizes from her fathers funeral walks into The Agency where she works, she takes off on a whim, following him into the streets. It’s there that he reveals that all is not as it seems. He’s a demon hunter working for The Agency… and so was her father.

Things get weirder when Ruby begins seeing things, and she is attacked by shadows. With the help of Vaughn, the son of her father’s former partner, she must train in order to fight the demons and save her town.

This was such a well-written story, all of the pieces weaved together beautifully, giving all the information the reader needs without info dumping or getting boring. The plot moves, information is slowly revealed, and some things the reader may initially read as just scene setting information, only to later discover it was actually crucial to the plot.

The chemistry between Ruby and Vaughn was realistic. The sparks flew. There was so much sexual tension between them, I just wanted them to KISS ALREADY! But do they? Hmm… I can’t tell you that. I can tell you before the end of the book I was mad crushing on Vaughn and shipping R/V.

And what teen book would be complete without the mean girl? This one is no different. She’s not the villain of the story, but she’s certainly not someone the reader is meant to like.

There are 6 more books in this series and I ended this one BEGGING the author to send me the next one!

 

NOTE: I am an acquisitions editor for this publisher and also the cover designer for this book. This in no way changes my opinion of this book. I would not contract a book I didn’t believe in and enjoy myself. In short, this book is AMAZING.


Quotes

“Sheila wants you in the family.”

“You make it sound like the mafia.”

“Not quite. But close…..”

And then finally a picture of Vaughn formed in my mind where I lingered. A smile creased my lips as I remembered what he’d said to me, the way he pressed his number into my hand and the way he looked at me. Tingles spiralled out from my stomach diffusing some of the tension there. Maybe today hadn’t been all bad.

When he came at me, lunging quick as a feral cat, his arms cradled my waist and I was knocked backwards. My arms flailed above my head as I fell to the mat. Vaughn came to rest just on top of me, slightly out of breath and a cheeky grin on his face. His eyes met mine and we stayed there for a moment, his eyes lingering just that second too long, searching for something. 


 


My (Writing) Life

I’ve been MIA from the blog for quite a while and I apologize for that. I’m still reading and have a HUGE list of books that need reviews posted! I’m hoping to really get on that this upcoming week.

I’ve also been making a huge dent in my 12 Days of Christmas reading list. 8 books read, 2 yet to start, and 2 to finish. I still have to review at least half of them though.

In the writing world I’ve been (failing) NaNoWriMo. If you don’t know what NaNoWriMo is, it’s where crazy people like me attempt to write a 50k novel in one month. I was doing really well for about a week, then I fell off the wagon. At this point I need to write about 2055 words per day to reach goal. I’m not panicking yet, and I’m still really proud to have written over 20k this month so far. I’m hoping next week to have a couple REALLY good day where I can pound out 3-5k and really bridge the gap.

This upcoming week I have a very light work schedule at my hotel job, and I’m basically caught up for the year with my publishing job. I just have a few tasks to complete in the coming weeks, and then everything else I do is for 2018. My resolution for 2018 is to NOT let myself fall behind at ALL!

I also sent my first reviewer inquiry for PEACE IN FLAMES. (If you’re a fellow reviewer and up for reading and reviewing an upper-YA contemporary romance novella, hit me up!)

So yeah, that’s what’s going on with me! I’m happy that things are starting to settle down a bit here.

Is life slowing down or getting more hectic for you?

REVIEW: Nyxia by Scott Reintgen

Nyxia Book Cover Nyxia
The Nyxia Triad
Scott Reintgen
YA Sci-Fi
Penguin Crown Books
September 12, 2017
E-ARC
384
Penguin First Reads
August 20 - September 20, 2017

Emmett Atwater isn’t just leaving Detroit; he’s leaving Earth. Why the Babel Corporation recruited him is a mystery, but the number of zeroes on their contract has him boarding their lightship and hoping to return to Earth with enough money to take care of his family.

Forever.

Before long, Emmett discovers that he is one of ten recruits, all of whom have troubled pasts and are a long way from home. Now each recruit must earn the right to travel down to the planet of Eden—a planet that Babel has kept hidden—where they will mine a substance called Nyxia that has quietly become the most valuable material in the universe.

But Babel’s ship is full of secrets. And Emmett will face the ultimate choice: win the fortune at any cost, or find a way to fight that won’t forever compromise what it means to be human.

My Review

I received a copy of this book from the Penguin First Reads in exchange for an honest review.

 

I heard good things about this book, so when I saw it on Penguin First To Read I took a chance and guaranteed a copy for myself. I started reading soon after… and it took me a long time to get through his one.

Brief summary: a big corporation in the not-so-distant future has gathered a group of poor teenagers, offered them enough money to keep them and their families comfortable for life, and taken them aboard their space ship en-route to a new planet called Eden. They need the kids because the native peoples on this planet hate humans, but they have a deep affection for children and won’t hurt them.

So, I’ll start with the negatives…

  • Early on I was honestly bored. This book had a little bit of a Divergent feel to it, but I didn’t really feel any emotion or connection to the characters. I think part of the problem was that they dumped SO many characters on us at once. By about 15% things were looking up and I was enjoying it a little more.

 

  • The main character, Emmett, has some characteristics that bothered me. He would call his parents “moms and pops” – I’ve heard pops before, but something about moms just grated on me. It’s a personal thing, not a deal breaker.

 

  • The other thing Emmett did that drove me crazy was saying things like “I filed that under A for Anger” all the time. They finally explained WHAT that was all about, but it was too little too late for me. The annoyance was firmly there.

 

  • Too many characters were introduced all at once and I was really never given a chance to really get to know them. Not even the one involved with the first big plot twist around 30%. Had I been really given a chance to connect with that character I might have gotten bent out of shape.

 

  • The villains were a little one dimensional. I’m hoping they will evolve when it comes to book 2.

 

Okay, all that said, there were a lot of things I DID like. I mean, I’m giving it 4 stars after all.

  • This book is very creative. Just the concept of Nyxia (this alien material that can be controlled by your thoughts) is fascinating as all get out. There’s more to the substance than we know as well, it’s already been alluded to, and I look forward to finding out more.

 

  • The challenges the kids underwent were also very creative and unique. They got a little repetitive at times, but overall I did enjoy them.

 

  • This book is as about diverse as one can imagine. The protagonist is African American from Detroit, his bestie on board the ship is from the Middle East. His roommate is from Asia. There’s tons of representation in this book and it was pretty awesome.

 

  • The plot twist at the end. I did NOT see that coming. I was left speechless. With an ending like that there’s no way I can skip book 2.

 

So, should you read this? If you’re looking for a (mostly) unique Sci-Fi teen novel, this might just do the trick. It has a few flaws, but on a whole the creative and unique bits (and that ending!!!) make for a pretty compelling read.


QUOTES

When Babel recruited me, they said all of this was a game. I like playing games, but I like winning even more.

“The reward for your efforts will be beyond your imagination. A trust fund has already been established for each of you. A check for fifty thousand dollars will be put into your account every month for the rest of your lives.”

I almost laugh, thinking we’re the politically correct version of the Justice Squad. But if Babel’s looking for heroes, they picked the wrong guy.

Habitable planets. Aliens. Right. Our generation watched the Mars landings. We’ve seen NASA’s recruiting posters all over our high schools. But there’s never been a whisper of other life-forms.

“I get a suit?”
He nods. “And a gun.”
“Really?”
“No.”

“Congratulations,” Defoe says. “Expect adjustments to the course tomorrow.”
Translation: The glitch will be fixed, but we like that you took advantage of it.

“Yes, but are you familiar with the phrase, ‘you should see the other guy’?”
I nod. “Of course.”
“Well, you should see the other guy,” Defoe says, throwing me that dangerous grin of his.

“And how did it make you feel?”
Oh. He’s one of those doctors.

“The sky isn’t much of a sky. More of a misty overload pressing down on any and every thing.

“Everything causes cancer,” Vandermeer deadpans. “Except Nyxia. We’ve tested it.”

Does Morning want to talk, or does she want to talk? I may have bragged otherwise to the Most Excellent Brothers, but I’ve never really done that kind of talking with a girl like Morning.


My (Writing) Life

I took my girls to their school skate night (yep, roller rinks are still a thing here) and got a nice bit of writing done on SUMMER OF PEACE while the kids burned some energy. I may have lost some of my ability to hear thanks to the shrieking kids during the Hokey Pokey and YMCA, but overall—despite the evening ending in tears when my little one dropped her hoop right away during the hoola-hoop competition—it was a good night.

I’m trying to get some work done today before I start another long weekend at the hotel. Hopefully it will be pretty tame and I’ll have an opportunity to write during some down time.

In other news, I binged season 2 of Outlander over the past 3 days. Now I’m going through a bit of withdrawl. Never have I wished more for the Starz channel!

Anyone have big plans for the weekend? Or are you lame like me and spending it at work?