Posted on May 15th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Review

Book Title: The Taking
Author: Kimberly Derting
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss

A flash of white light . . . and then . . . nothing.

When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day.

Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men.

Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken . . . and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

As a rabid fan of the Body Finder series, I was beyond ecstatic to get my hands on the Taking even though I wasn’t completely sold on the premise. Any reservations I had about this book melted away as soon as I finished devouring the first chapter. I was so hooked that I read it every spare second I had on my work lunch and breaks and then started again the moment I got home, not going to bed until I had finished The Taking in its entirety.

So while I was expecting it to be a bit more like the Roswell TV show (which I loved in all its cheesy glory) it wasn’t so heavy on the sci-fi elements and read a lot more like a contemporary book. After getting in an argument after her softball game with her father, Kyra heads out of the car and down the deserted road with only her father watching her until a bright white envelopes the road and Kyra is gone. She wakes up by a dumpster at the Gas n Sip, and doesn’t find out until she goes home and there is a strange man and kid living there that it isn’t the next day- five whole years have passed by.

Kyra has to get used to a whole new life now since that night. Her father thinks she’s been abducted, while the whole town seems to think her father did something to make her disappear. Worse yet, her long term boyfriend is now in college and dating her best friend Cat. Sounds like the making of a soap opera right? It does come across that way, which is probably why I wasn’t too sure about it at first. However, Kimberly Derting has such a way of crafting stories that just suck you right on in that you don’t even notice the cheese potential. In fact, I hardly found much at all to gripe about. There was only one thing really- I found the nickname Kyr that everyone kept calling her rather pointless. How do you even pronounce that? It sounds like I’m a mumbling drunk when I try to pronounce it.

As a fellow Washingtonian I always love when books are based in this area. It makes everything extra familiar and when it’s something as X-File like as this, I love that there is an extra creepy layer added to things since I know where things are. I also loved that the hideout was based on the Hanford Power Plant, which has seen its fair share of problems lately and is just the perfect place for that.

For some reason I thought The Taking was a standalone and got rather panicked when I started nearing the end and I was reaching more questions than answers. Thankfully the prayers I didn’t know I was asking were answered because there are two more books coming out in this series!

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|IndieBound

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Posted on May 14th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Review

Book Title: Dear Killer
Author: Katherine Ewell
Release Date: April 1, 2014
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Source: Publisher Arc

Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong.
Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible.
Rule Five—The letters are the law.

Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known.

But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

Katherine Ewell’s Dear Killer is a sinister psychological thriller that explores the thin line between good and evil, and the messiness of that inevitable moment when life contradicts everything you believe.

Kit was taught from a very young age to be a skilled serial killer. Tucked away in a English home where everything looks normal, Kit does the bidding of anonymous requests left behind in a coffee shop- to kill someone. Throughout this novel we get to see her struggles with her mother, her absent father, her letter writers and of course herself.

I was initially drawn to this story in hopes of filling the void that Dexter left on my heart. I absolutely loved that tv show so when a friend told me that Dear Killer had a mother like Dexter, teaching her kid how to become an untraceable murderer. The struggles shown by Kit were tough. She has to navigate the perfect person her mom wants her to be, the perfect student her teacher wants her to be. That’s a whole heck of a lot to shoulder in your formative years and now you’ve got to add the serial murders to the mix and of course slip ups are bound to happen.

This is an impressive debut novel with only miniscule issues in my book. There was only one glaringly obvious one to me, and that was the fact that this is set in England, yet there was a distinct lack of British terminology. I think this would have really given the book the extra flavor that it needed. Also, on the surface I want to say that it was difficult to suspend my disbelief a bit for some of the things that go on, but I mean, when you’re talking about a teenaged trained serial killer, how much of that is entirely believable?

Dear Killer was a unique read that managed to keep my attention the entire time. It brought me back to a phase I went through in college when I absolutely devoured Patricia Cornwell’s Scarpetta series. I can’t wait to see what Ewell comes up with next, she definitely has a fan from me with whatever she writes after Dear Killer.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|IndieBound

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Posted on May 13th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Uncategorized

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Ally  tweeted this morning that Atlantia’s release date has been pushed up to October 28 and she will be signing copies at BEA! Will you be going?

Posted on May 11th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Uncategorized

I am so excited to be able to help spread the word that LOVE, LUCY by April Lindner is now available to pre-order at Amazon and The Book Depository. LOVE, LUCY releases in January 2015, but until then I am thrilled to share an awesome guest post from Lucy Sommersworth on the Top Ten Things she loves about Italy. It sounds like she had an amazing time and I can’t wait to hear all about it in January.

If you haven’t yet heard about this amazing-sounding book, there’s some information and places to find it online below. And if you haven’t yet met April Lindner, her details are also below.

This blast also includes a giveaway for an Amazon eGiftcard, so if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.

About LOVE, LUCY

Title: LOVE, LUCY

Author: April Lindner

Publisher: Poppy

Release date: January 27, 2015

Available to pre-order now at Amazon and The Book Depository

Description:

While backpacking through Florence, Italy, during the summer before she heads off to college, 17-year-old Lucy Sommersworth finds herself falling in love with the culture, the architecture, the food…and Jesse Palladino, a handsome street musician. After a whirlwind romance, Lucy returns home, determined to move on from her “vacation flirtation.” But just because summer is over doesn’t mean Lucy and Jesse are over, too.

 


The Guest Post

 
The Top Ten Things I Love About Italy

 

By Lucy Sommersworth

 

10. Train stations. They make my heart beat a little bit faster. I especially love the departure signs lit up with the names of exotic cities. They make me want to pick a destination at random—Venice or Milan or Naples, basically any place I’ve never been before—and just jump on, trusting that some kind of wonderful adventure will be waiting for me when I hop off. I would do it too except for the fact that Charlene, the friend I’m traveling with, likes schedules and order. I could never talk her into doing something that reckless.

9. The language. Italian is so lush and musical. Not that I can speak it, exactly. I took Italian in high school, and I can remember just enough to say basic things like excuse me and I would like the Spaghetti Bolognese, please. But even just reading the street signs out loud makes me feel like a different version of myself—more worldly and glamorous. And even the most ordinary words, the ones that mean ATM or supermarket—sound glorious in Italian.

8. Italian men. What can I say? I’ve always had a thing for dark brown eyes.

 

 

7. Window shopping. I could do it all day long. Window displays are different in Italy, quirkier and more colorful. I especially love the sparkling little jewelry stores on the Ponte Vecchio, the funky clothing store displays, and store windows full of colorful, exotic treats—marzipan fruit, and candied rose and violet petals.

6. Sidewalk cafes. Nobody minds if you linger forever over a single cappuccino, just soaking in the atmosphere and watching the people pass by.

5. Gelato. After a few hours, walking around Florence can make a person exhausted. Luckily, wherever you turn, there’s a glass storefront gleaming with refreshing gelato—a miniature rainbow-colored mountain range of it: raspberry, mango, lemon, dark chocolate, hazelnut, pistachio—and all of it amazing.

4. Street Performers. Though Charlene insists they’re just begging and we shouldn’t give them our money, I can’t help myself. I love them all: street musicians, the people who draw chalk masterpieces in the street, the folks who dress up as statues and pose for tourists. I’ve even got a soft spot for mimes!

3. Riding on a Vespa. Please don’t tell my mom, okay? She would have a panic attack if she knew.

2. Pretending I’m Audrey Hepburn. Roman Holiday is one of my all-time favorite movies, and the reason I wanted to go to Italy in the first place. Audrey Hepburn plays Princess Ann, who has grown deathly bored with having to give speeches and act stiff and regal. On a stop in Rome she runs away, and wanders through the city pretending to be a commoner. Of course she falls in love with Gregory Peck. Like her, he’s pretending, acting like a nice, ordinary guy who just wants to show her around Rome, when really he’s a reporter with ulterior motives. He recognizes her, and plans to write a tell-all story about her for his newspaper.

I won’t spoil the ending. I’ll just add that if you’re planning a trip to Rome, you need to see Roman Holiday first. And then, if you happen to meet a gorgeous, dark-eyed stranger, maybe you can get him take you on a Roman Holiday tour, and you can pretend to be Audrey Hepburn the way I did.

1. The amazing people I met along the way. Swapping stories with other backpackers about our travels and misadventures. Vacation flirtations with dark-eyed strangers. And, just maybe, experiencing a real summer romance.

 


 

About April Lindner

April Lindner is the author of three novels: Catherine, a modernization of Wuthering Heights; Jane, an update of Jane Eyre; and Love, Lucy, due out in January, 2015. She also has published two poetry collections, Skin and This Bed Our Bodies Shaped. She plays acoustic guitar badly, sees more rock concerts than she’d care to admit, travels whenever she can, cooks Italian food, and lavishes attention on her pets—two Labrador retriever mixes and two excitable guinea pigs. A professor of English at Saint Joseph’s University, April lives in Pennsylvania with her husband and two sons.


 


 

The Giveaway

This blast includes a giveaway for a $15 Amazon eGiftcard to ONE winner.

++The giveaway is open to anyone who can accept Amazon eGiftcards from the U.S. store.

++The giveaway ends on May 26, 2014 at 11:59 p.m.
Just enter in the Rafflcopter below…

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted on May 11th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: Fugitive X
Author: Gregg Rosenblum
Release Date: January 7, 2014
Publisher: HarperTeen
Source: Edelweiss

Their fight for freedom is humanity’s last hope for survival. The chilling Revolution 19 trilogy continues in Fugitive X.

A war between humans and robots is on the horizon, and only one side will survive.

Siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass are struggling to survive in a world where deadly, sophisticated robots have turned on their creators and enslaved mankind. Fugitives from one of the bot-controlled Cities, the siblings venture into the woods, but when they are attacked by bot foot soldiers, the siblings are separated…and for the first time, they are on their own.

Created in conjunction with Alloy Entertainment; Howard Gordon, showrunner of 24 and Showtime’s Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Homeland; and James Wong, writer-director of the Final Destination films, Fugitive X is the gripping next installment in the cinematic Revolution 19 series.

Fugitive x takes us where Revolution 19 ended with Nick, Cass and Kevin navigating their way through the forests trying to meet up with their allies. Along the way Kevin is taken to what seems like a secure location by a friendly bot, leaving Nick and Cass behind. In the aftermath of this Nick and Cass are attacked and Cass nearly dies until Nick allows her to be taken by a bot to the City as her only hope of survival. Meanwhile, Nick joins up with the rebels.

I had some issues with Revolution 19 and didn’t think I would continue with the series so I was a little surprised that my interest was piqued with Fugitive X. On the surface, this book has a lot of the classic pieces that I enjoy in a futuristic dystopian book. I don’t think I’ve really experienced a series yet where I enjoyed the second book more than the first one, but it happened for me with this one.

The world building and side characters weren’t my favorite in this sequel.  I did like some of the new situations the kids find themselves in, but it seems like again we are presented with a lot of new questions without resolve. Especially around the idea of Fugitive X. Considering it was the title of the book, I really expected there to be more of a focus on what exactly this is and what it means.

Fugitive X had some fun twists and turns that were fun to explore through the various characters and I enjoyed that there was less of a romance feel in this book. The book was also really easy to get through and was a quick read, and I think it appeals most to the younger end of the YA readership.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|IndieBound

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Posted on May 5th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: Prisoner of Night and Fog
Author: Anne Blankman
Release Date: April 22, 2014
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Source: Publisher ARC

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her “uncle” Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf’s, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.

Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.

And Gretchen follows his every command.

Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can’t stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can’t help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she’s been taught to believe about Jews.

As Gretchen investigates the very people she’s always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she’s ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

Prisoner of Night and Fog foremost reminded me of those reimagined fairy tales, which made things feel a bit wrong going into this since it deals with Adolf Hitler, the Nazi’s and the build up to World War II. The book’s main character also happens to be close to Uncle Dolf and we see the struggles this cause not only for her but also for her other family members. Anne Blankman builds a story around the day of the Beer Hall Putsch, and the day that Gretchen was always told her father was a martyr as he took a bullet for Hitler. However, she quickly discovers that perhaps that isn’t what happened at all- perhaps her beloved father was actually killed.

Overall this book was an endearing read. I am terrified by how Hitler was able to sway such an enormous group of people into following his beliefs and seeing it through the eyes of Gretchen made it seem as though I was able to experience a fraction of what life might have been like for a girl in her position. There are a lot of moral and ethical issues at play in this book, and finishing it was akin to going on a journey with these characters.

At times, things came across as very unrealistic. It didn’t disturb my reading process, but I couldn’t help but get pulled out of the story a tad bit at times.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|IndieBound

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Posted on May 1st, 2014 by audra
In these categories Ally Condie

Ally’s got some great upcoming signings, are you going to any of them?

From her website:

Friday, May 2, 2014
Las Vegas, NV
Talk and Signing with Ann Dee Ellis
7:00 p.m.
Barnes & Noble
2191 N Rainbow Blvd.
Las Vegas, NV

Saturday, May 17, 2014
Twin Cities Teen Lit Conference
10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m.
Henry Sibley High School
Mendota Heights, MN
More info here.
Event is free and open to the public!

Wednesday, June 11, 2014
Tempe, AZ
Book Signing
7:00 p.m.
Changing Hands Bookstore
6428 S McClintock Dr.
Tempe, AZ 85283

 

She also mentioned on twitter that she will be at BEA! Once we get details we will update you as soon as possible!

Posted on Apr 29th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Ally Condie, Book News

Last March Ally Condie announced a new two book series and today Publishers Weekly has the cover reveal for Atlantia, which will be published November 4th!

 

What do you think? Are you as excited as we are for this?!

Posted on Apr 29th, 2014 by audra
In these categories book review, Society's Bookshelf

Book Title: The Treatment
Author: Suzanne Young
Release Date: April 29, 2014
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Source: Edelweiss

Can Sloane and James survive the lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end? Find out in this sequel to The Program, which Publishers Weekly called “chilling and suspenseful.”

How do you stop an epidemic?

Sloane and James are on the run after barely surviving the suicide epidemic and The Program. But they’re not out of danger. Huge pieces of their memories are still missing, and although Sloane and James have found their way back to each other, The Program isn’t ready to let them go.

Escaping with a group of troubled rebels, Sloane and James will have to figure out who they can trust, and how to take down The Program. But for as far as they’ve come, there’s still a lot Sloane and James can’t remember. The key to unlocking their past lies with the Treatment—a pill that can bring back forgotten memories, but at a high cost. And there’s only one dose.

Ultimately when the stakes are at their highest, can Sloane and James survive the many lies and secrets surrounding them, or will The Program claim them in the end?

The Program was one of the most unique books I had read in a long time so of course I was excited for the sequel. The Treatment picks up with Sloan and James escaping The Program, still trying to piece together their past and who they should trust when they meet up with some new characters also on the run.

It seems kind of rare these days for a series to have only two books instead of being turned into a trilogy, which was kind of refreshing. I enjoyed that the book was tied up nice and tight, but it was almost tied up a bit too quickly. I feel as though I am having a difficult time explaining why, but don’t want to spoil the entire ending.

Leading up to the slightly disappointing ending though, The Treatment was filled with suspense, twists, and raw emotions that really left an impact on me. Young does such a fantastic job building a unique world that really immersed me into the world where the Program exists. In addition to a bit of an abrupt ending. I really had an issue with the cover! I don’t know why I have such cover issues from time to time, but this one is just so blah to me that I had a bit of a time getting over it. Of course I don’t hold my cover issues against the authors, so it doesn’t change my impression of the book at all. I wish it was a bit more unique like the first cover was.

By the time I got to the end of the book I wished things hadn’t gone by so fast and almost wished there was another book so I could immerse myself in this world for just a little bit longer. Suzanne Young has me hooked with her writing, and I hope her next book is just as great.

Order: Amazon|Barnes & Noble|IndieBound

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Posted on Apr 27th, 2014 by audra
In these categories Uncategorized

Robison Wells is a fantastic author- we LOVED his books Blackout and Variant. He’s brought his struggles with mental illness into the spotlight and there is currently an Indiegogo campaign going to assist him, his family and possibly even others suffering from mental illness.

From the page:

Altered Perceptions is an anthology of great authors, donating their work to help author Robison Wells, who’s crippled by debt, caused by his mental illnesses. A number of fantastic authors have gotten together to contribute to this anthology and there are a number of perks involved from an ebook copy of the anthology to a Weekend Writing Giveaway. We’ve jumped at the chance to give to this, and we can’t recommend that you do the same. Short on funds? Spread the word about the campaign to help get more exposure!