Saturday, January 14, 2012

New This Week!

Here are some of this week's Young Adult book releases. To learn more about each book, click on its cover art to be redirected to its page on Young Adult Books Central.

January 8, 2012

January 10, 2012

This post is brought to you by Missy's Reads & Reviews. It spotlights some of the newly released books in YA - but it is not a comprehensive list to ALL Young Adult releases. To see these books on the date that they are actually published, please be sure to "like" Missy's Reads & Reviews on Facebook.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Guest Post with Laura Kaye

Laura Kaye
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Books by Laura Kaye
· North of Need (2011)
· Hearts in Darkness (2011)
· Forever Freed (2011)
More books by Laura Kaye...

I’m very excited to be here at Missy's Reads & Reviews today! Thanks for hosting me!

I’m often asked what influenced my writing of my new contemporary fantasy romance, North of Need. In college I was fascinated with all things Russian, and though I was a history major, I minored in Russian and Russian Studies. My Russian professor used fairy tales, meant for Russian kids, as one tool to teach us the language. And the one that has stuck with me over all these years was the Russian fairy tale of the Snow Maiden.

There are many versions of the fairy tale, of course, as so often happens with ancient stories, but the general story line is about a magical or immortal being, a child of weather elements named Snegurochka, who yearns for mortal companionship and who makes the dreams of lonely mortals come true with her presence. Here’s a link that tells a version of the fairy tale.

When the idea for my hero Owen came to mind, so too did this fairy tale. I’d already assembled much of his characterization as a snow god, as the son of the Supreme God of the North Wind and Winter, as yearning for love and warmth and partnership, so when I reread the Snow Maiden tale, I was struck by the similarities between their stories. Totally unintentional, but I love how this story has stuck with me all these many years and made its way in part into North of Need.

Another thing I adore about Russian fairy tales is how well illustrated the published versions of them are—I gathered a variety of visual interpretations of the snow maiden here.. Russian folk art is simply stunning—picture the vivid colors of St. Basil’s Cathedral (the cathedral in Red Square with the pointed domes) put to paper and you’ll understand what I mean.

I am such a huge fan of fairy tales in general. I love all the modern retellings of them, too. So, tell me, which fairy tale is your favorite?

Thanks for reading!
Laura Kaye

About North of Need
GraveTells Book of the Year for 2011
GraveTells Gold Heart Award Winner
SHBR’s Sizzling Read of the Year for 2011

Her tears called a powerful snow god to life, but only her love can grant the humanity he craves...

Desperate to escape agonizing memories of Christmas past, twenty-nine-year-old widow Megan Snow builds a snow family outside the mountain cabin she once shared with her husband, realizing too late that she's recreated the very thing she'll never have.

Called to life by Megan's tears, snow god Owen Winters appears unconscious on her doorstep in the midst of a raging blizzard. As she nurses him to health, Owen finds unexpected solace in her company and unimagined pleasure in the warmth of her body, and vows to win her heart for a chance at humanity.

Megan is drawn to Owen's mismatched eyes, otherworldly masculinity, and enthusiasm for the littlest things. But this Christmas miracle comes with an expiration--before the snow melts and the temperature rises, Megan must let go of her widow's grief and learn to trust love again, or she'll lose Owen forever.

About Laura Kaye
Voted Breakout Author of the Year in the 2011 GraveTells Readers’ Choice Awards, Laura is the bestselling and award-winning author of a half-dozen books. Hearts in Darkness is a finalist for the EPIC eBook Award for Best Novella, Forever Freed won the NJRW Golden Leaf Award for Best Paranormal of 2011, and North of Need, the first book in the Hearts of the Anemoi series, was named GraveTells’ Best Book of 2011 and won their 5-STAR Gold Heart Award, and won Sizzling Hot Read of the Year at Sizzling Hot Books. Laura lives in Maryland with her husband, two daughters, and cute-but-bad dog, and appreciates her view of the Chesapeake Bay every day.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

What Boys Really Want, by Pete Hautman

Lita is the writer. Adam is the entrepreneur. They are JUST FRIENDS.

So Adam would never sell copies of a self-help book before he'd even written it. And Lita would never try to break up Adam's relationship with Blair, the skankiest girl at school. They'd never sabotage their friends Emily and Dennis. Lita would never date a guy related to a girl she can't stand. They'd never steal each other's blog posts. And Adam would never end up in a fist fight with Lita's boyfriend. Nope, never.

Adam and Lita might never agree on what happened, but in this hilarious story from Pete Hautman, they manage to give the world a little more insight into what boys and girls are really looking for.

The premise of What Boys Really Want is simple enough. Boy and girl are friends. They hang out and have a light-bulb moment where they think it would be fun to tell girls how guys really think. Only, the boy takes it one step further by deciding to write a book about it - without the girl. What follows is a disastrous amount of miscommunication and the threat of the demise for a great friendship.

Pete Hautman really hit the nail on the head with this YA contemporary read. The story is told in alternating points of view between Adam and his best friend Lita. The switched between their views, I think, makes one of the best parts of the story because it gives us an insider's look as to how the reactions of each gender vary to the same situation. Obviously, for me, it was much easier to relate to Lita, but it was also nice to know what Adam was thinking and why he did what he did. It's much easier to understand both parties. Aside from Adam and Lita, we have an array of supporting characters that really help to flesh out the story well. No matter how minor a part, each character has a very distinct voice.

Although it begins a little slowly, the pace of the story really begins to pick up during the second half of the book. With the snippets of advice or blog entries introducing each chapter and it's witty dialogue, I have no doubt that readers will be devouring this romantic comedy like it's nobody's business.

Rating: ★★★★✩
Source: Young Adult Books Central

Title: What Boys Really Want
Pete Hautman
Scholastic Press
ARC, 297 pages
Release Date:
January 1, 2012

Purchase Book
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book Depository | IndieBound

Monday, January 9, 2012

Hidden Summit, by Robyn Carr

Sick of running into her cheery ex-husband and his new wife, Leslie Petruso accepts a job at the Virgin River branch of Haggerty Construction and takes the high road right out of town. Now she's got Paul Haggerty's business running like a well-oiled machine. In fact, things are so busy Paul jumps at the chance to hire an extra set of hands.

Just like Leslie, Conner Danson has been burned by love. But if Leslie was disappointed by her relationship going bad, Conner was decimated. He's got no time for women…although he spends an awful lot of time pretending not to notice Leslie. And she's pretty busy "ignoring" the chemistry between them.

According to Conner and Leslie, they have only one thing in common—they're done with love. But everyone in Virgin River can see that things are heating up at Haggerty Construction. And as far as Paul Haggerty can tell, the best thing he can do is hang on to his hard hat and watch the sparks fly!

I have to admit, this is my first book in the Virgin River series that I have read. Sometimes, starting a series so late in the game (especially when it's seventeen books in) can be a little daunting as characters or other references could be made to the books before and you have no idea what they're talking about. But that's not the case with Hidden Summit. Everything is made perfectly clear, any reference is explained quickly enough so you get a picture of what everything is.. and there's really no confusion at all.

And the characters are great in this series! Leslie and Conner are both great characters that seem to be made for one another. They're both hard-working, family oriented adults that have things in their past that keep them from wanting a relationship -- only, I don't even think they had a chance to not have a relationship, it just kind of took on a life of its own. Leslie's ex was definitely an ex for a reason and I have to say that she has a lot of strength that I don't think I could ever have when it comes to playing nice with him. Once you meet him, you'll understand why she wanted to get away. Far, far away. The other characters all play important roles in the novel, both big and small, and they definitely give you that feel of community in a small town. It reminds me a bit of where I live, so there was familiarity there.

I really enjoyed the story. If I had to say anything, I would say that the ending was a little.. anti-climatic for my taste, but it didn't take away from the story. This is a great feel-good read that I would recommend to fans of Susan Mallery and the like. You won't be disappointed.

Rating: ★★★★✩

Title: Hidden Summit
Author: Robyn Carr
Series: Virgin River, Book 17
Publisher: Mira
Format: Paperback, 400 pages
Release Date: December 27, 2011

Purchase Book

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly feature hosted by Kristi from The Story Siren that showcases the books that we have received throughout the week. As part of my IMM post, I feature the book's cover art, along with a link to the book's page on Goodreads. Don't have time to head over to Goodreads, but want to know what the book is about? I made that easy, too. Just hover over the book's image and a description should appear!

{ For Review }
Not long ago, Laney Alexander was living a carefree life, that is, until she was thrown into a world full of creatures only the imagination thought possible. Now, after surviving a terrifying night, Laney and Oliver are lying low at Julz's place, relieved to be in each other's arms once again. But fate seems to have other plans... Julz is not happy to have visitors in her home and emotions run high. Laney is pushed to her limits as she watches Carter fight for his life and her relationship with Oliver becomes strained as she discovers secrets about Julz that could tear them apart. As she reaches her boiling point, disaster strikes and her life is shattered. Laney must come to terms with what has unfolded. Will she lose her way and let the darkness consume her or will she find her light in Oliver? Secrets will be revealed. Hearts will be broken. Lives will be lost. Darkness will fall. She should not exist. He should not love her. Claire Brennan has been attending Emerson Academy for two years now (the longest she and her mom have remained anywhere) and she’s desperate to stay put for the rest of high school. So there’s no way she’s going to tell her mom about the psychic visions she’s been having or the creepy warnings that she’s in danger. Alec MacKenzie is fed up with his duties to watch and, when necessary, eliminate the descendants of his angelic forefathers. He chose Emerson as the ideal hiding place where he could be normal for once. He hadn’t factored Claire into his plans... Their love is forbidden, going against everything Alec has been taught to believe. But when the reason behind Claire’s unusual powers is revealed and the threat to her life becomes clear, how far will Alec go to protect her? For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose—the task she was put on earth to accomplish—is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning.
Darkness (Brookehaven Vampires #2), by Joann I. Martin Sowles
Forbidden, by Syrie & Ryan M. James
Hallowed (Unearthly #2), by Cynthia Hand

*Special thanks to Joann and HarperCollins for providing these books for review.

{ Purchases }
Mackenzie Wellesley has spent her life avoiding the spotlight. At Smith High, she's the awkward junior people only notice when they need help with homework. Until she sends a burly football player flying with her massive backpack and makes a disastrous - not to mention unwelcome - attempt at CPR. Before the day is out, the whole fiasco explodes on YouTube. And then the strangest thing happens. Suddenly, Mackenzie is an Internet sensation, with four million hits and counting. Sucked into a whirlwind of rock stars, paparazzi, and free designer clothes, she even catches the eye of the most popular guy at school. And that's when life gets really interesting... Calla has always welcomed war. But now that the final battle is upon her, there’s more at stake than fighting. There’s saving Ren, even if it incurs Shay’s wrath. There’s keeping Ansel safe, even if he’s been branded a traitor. There’s proving herself as the pack’s alpha, facing unnamable horrors, and ridding the world of the Keepers’ magic once and for all. And then there’s deciding what to do when the war ends. If Calla makes it out alive, that is. Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl... Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.
Awkward, by Marni Bates
Bloodrose (Nightshade #3), by Andrea Cremer
Cinder (Lunar Chronicles #1), by Marissa Meyer

Nastasya has spent the last century living as a spoiled, drugged-out party girl. She feels nothing and cares for no one. But when she witnesses her best friend, a Dark Immortal, torture a human, she realizes something's got to change. She seeks refuge at a rehab for wayward immortals, where she meets the gorgeous, undeniably sexy Reyn, who seems inexplicably linked to her past. Nastasya finally begins to deal with life, and even feels safe--until the night she learns that someone wants her dead. Nastasya has lived for hundreds of years, but for some reason, life never seems to get any better. She left her spoiled, rich girl life to find peace at River's Edge, a safe haven for wayward immortals. There, she learned to embrace River's Edge, despite some drama involving the sexy Reyn, who she wants but won't allow herself to have. But just as she's getting comfortable, her family's ties to dark magick force her to leave. She falls back into her old, hard partying ways, but will her decision lead her into the hands of a dark immortal? Or will it be her first step to embracing the darkness within her?
Immortal Beloved (Immortal Beloved #1), by Cate Tiernan
Darkness Falls (Immortal Beloved #2), by Cate Tiernan
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