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Friday, June 28, 2013

Summer Love - Cover Reveal

If you're into a good summer read, check out this delightful cover for SUMMER LOVE by Marysue Hobika, set to drop on Monday, July 1st!

Carly and her best friend Becca are ready to drop a nuclear bomb on summer. It’s the last one before reality sets in and they’re off on their own. Carly is ready to break the mold and stop being known as a goody-two-shoes. In order to get the ball rolling, she agrees to a double date with Gavin – her good-looking, yet moody, lab partner.

Gavin doesn’t have summer plans except to work at his two jobs and hang out in his room drawing. He likes to keep to himself, but lets his brother Nate talk him into going on a double date. Carly isn’t like the rest of the girls at school that drive him crazy. She doesn’t ask a lot of questions and seems to know when to give him the space he craves. Gavin always thought that she was beautiful, but he believes that relationships and love are a lost cause.

Will their date prove that summer love is right around the corner or will it be a dead end?

This book is intended for audiences 17+

Sounds fun, right?  So go on, add it to your Goodreads list now!

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Review: T. G. Ayer's SKIN DEEP

Today I have the great pleasure of sharing my Kiwi friend, T.G. Ayer's new skinwalker novel, SKIN DEEP.

Panther Shape-shifter Kailin Odel just wants to be normal. Leaving her clan, and her Alpha responsibilities, to live with her grandmother in Chicago had been the best thing for her. Only then did she discover her ability to track and kill the soul sucking undead creatures called Wraiths. Now she protected the humans, and had something to be proud of.
But, when she discovers the body of a murdered shape shifter, Kailin has to come to terms with the reality that her own kind are just as vulnerable as the humans. 
The closer Kailin gets to the killer the more she has to face the intricacies of her people. When the time comes can she accept who and what her real purpose is?

You may have already read Tee's other books in her Valkyrie series, which starts with Dead Radiance. I loved her take on the Norse gods there and was looking forward to seeing what Tee did with a shapeshifter.  I'm pasting my review from Goodreads below.  I hope you'll take a look and if you think you might enjoy this novel, please add it to your TBR list, or pick up a copy now.

First, even if you're not really into shifter stories, don't shy away from this book. Kai is a panther Skin Walker, but she tamps down her urges to change most of the time. This is not a story about packs of panthers roaming around or anything like that. What this book really reminded me of was a teen Silence of the Lambs. And I remember as a teen, I loved that book. You have a madman committing some really horrific crimes (but they are mild enough in description for teens) and two supernatural teens who inadvertently team up to find the killer/kidnapper. I really enjoyed this aspect of the story. The plot had many twists and turns and you were never quite sure who was going to pop up next or what the main character was going to do. She needed rescuing sometimes and sometimes she was the rescuer, so it was a good balance as far as that goes.

Where I'm conflicted is that I never really connected with Kai's voice. I liked her and was rooting for her story. I liked following her daring (if not stupidly-brave) antics, but I wanted to hear more teen voice from her. I think I would have enjoyed the story more if I had connected with her better. Also, she was constantly tamping down her inner Panther and I didn't understand why. That wasn't explained well enough for me. She has this deadly force inside of her but refuses to use it even when attacked (repeatedly). If it had been me, I felt like I would have gone "all Panther" on some people a lot sooner than Kai did.

Ayer left some great cliffhangers, and there is still much to be explained in the next book. If you are more into action-driven, rather than character-driven stories, you will probably really love this book. I guess I am finding out that I am more of a character-driven reader.

* Many thanks to the author for providing me with a copy of the book in exchange for an honest review. *

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Debut YA Book Birthdays ~ Week of June 25th

Good Tuesday morning, my friends.  We have 6 debut YA book birthdays to celebrate today: 3 dystopian novels, 2 that promise a strong multi-cultural experience, and 1 that sounds just plain fun. Do any of these interest you??

NEPTUNE'S TEARS by Susan Waggoner
London, 2218 A.D. Seventeen-year-old Zee is an intern empath. She’s focused on her job, poised for a great career—until one day an attractive patient undoes her hard-earned calm. As an empath, she cannot afford such distractions, but neither can she stay away from David, even when she discovers he’s one of a mysterious alien race. As London comes under attack by anarchist bombings, and as Zee struggles to get a handle on her unusually strong psychic abilities, David starts pulling away. Although Zee’s sure he’s attracted to her, David has secrets he cannot share. But it’s too late for Zee. She’s losing her heart to the gray-eyed alien boy, and she’s determined to follow him—no matter how far it may take her.
IN THE AFTER by Dimitria Lunetta
In this heart-stopping postapocalyptic thriller from debut author Demitria Lunetta, one courageous girl must navigate a world that has been overtaken by Them—vile creatures that are rapidly devouring mankind. Perfect for fans of books like Marie Lu's Legend, In the After examines a harrowing place where day-to-day survival is never guaranteed. . . .
In what seems like an instant, Amy Harris's life is changed forever. They arrive and quickly begin killing off humanity one by one. No one knows how they got here—and even worse, no one knows how to stop Them.
Marooned in a high-security house, Amy manages to stay alive—and even rescues "Baby," a toddler she finds in an abandoned supermarket. For years they escape death, forging a bond as strong as sisters, until they are finally rescued and taken to New Hope, a colony of survivors living on a former government research compound.
On the surface, New Hope is the happy ending Amy was looking for. She's even started falling for Rice, a handsome researcher she's become close with at the facility. But then she makes a shocking discovery. And staying in New Hope could mean losing her freedom . . . or her life.
With pulse-pounding narrow escapes and horrifying twists of fate, In the After is an action-packed dystopian page-turner that will keep fans guessing until each secret is revealed and every lie is uncovered.
INK by Amanda Sun
Ink is in their blood.

On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn't know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks and she can't seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school's kendo team, she is intrigued by him…and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they're near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life.

Somehow Tomo is connected to the kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan—and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.

GOLDEN BOY by Tara Sullivan
Thirteen-year-old Habo has always been different--light eyes, yellow hair and white skin. Not the good brown skin his family has and not the white skin of tourists. Habo is strange and alone. His father, unable to accept Habo, abandons the family; his mother can scarcely look at him. His brothers are cruel and the other children never invite him to play. Only his sister Asu loves him well. But even Asu can't take the sting away when the family is forced from their small Tanzanian village, and Habo knows he is to blame.

Seeking refuge in Mwanza, Habo and his family journey across the Serengeti. His aunt is glad to open her home until she sees Habo for the first time, and then she is only afraid. Suddenly, Habo has a new word for himself: Albino. But they hunt Albinos in Mwanza because Albino body parts are thought to bring good luck. And soon Habo is being hunted by a fearsome man with a machete. To survive, Habo must not only run, but find a way to love and accept himself.
A rare meteorite struck Alex Woods when he was ten years old, leaving scars and marking him for an extraordinary future. The son of a fortune teller, bookish, and an easy target for bullies, Alex hasn't had the easiest childhood.

But when he meets curmudgeonly widower Mr. Peterson, he finds an unlikely friend. Someone who teaches him that that you only get one shot at life. That you have to make it count.

So when, aged seventeen, Alex is stopped at customs with 113 grams of marijuana, an urn full of ashes on the front seat, and an entire nation in uproar, he's fairly sure he's done the right thing ...

Introducing a bright young voice destined to charm the world, The Universe Versus Alex Woods is a celebration of curious incidents, astronomy and astrology, the works of Kurt Vonnegut and the unexpected connections that form our world.

DATA RUNNER by Sam A. Patel
In the not-too-distant future, in what was once the old City of New York, megacorporations have taken over everything. Now even the internet is owned, and the only way to transmit sensitive information is by a network of highly skilled couriers called “data runners” who run it over the sneakernet. It is a dangerous gig in a dirty world, but Jack Nill doesn’t have much choice in the matter. A brilliant young math whiz and champion of parkour, Jack must become one of these data runners in order to get his father out of a major gambling debt. But when a mysterious stranger loads Jack’s chip with a cryptic cargo that everybody wants, he soon becomes the key figure in a conspiracy that could affect the entire North American Alliance. Now it’s all up to Jack. With the help of his best friend, Dexter, and a girl who runs under the name Red Tail, Jack will have to use all his skills to outrun the retrievers and uncover the truth before they catch him and clip him for good.

Friday, June 21, 2013

CLICKS by Amy Evans - excerpt and giveaway

My family and I just swam with dolphins at Discovery Cove, which is an amazing experience.  The animals are amazing and powerful.  So reading this excerpt for CLICKS really got my attention!  Hope you enjoy it.  And don't forget to enter the giveaway at the end!

Clicks – When you just know. 

Born and bred to win, Cami’s family expects her to join a secret society called The Guard, marry one of the two identical twin boys next door, and stay on Pinhold Island for the rest of her life. But she has other plans: work beach patrol, win the Surf Carnival and get a sponsor so that she can leave Pinhold to compete in international surf rescue competitions and see the world.   

Home to epic waves, black sand beaches, and the world-famous Surf Carnival, Pinhold Island is regularly voted the top surf spot in the country. People come from all over the world to ride the waves or just relax in the natural beauty and rejuvenating water.    While visitors are jealous of the few hundred people who get to live there, sixteen year old Cami feels stifled and trapped by her small community and her family's expectations.  Thanks to the intense link she shares with her twin brother Mica, she can't even be alone with her thoughts. As decedents of the ten families who originally settled on Pinhold, Cami and Mica are part of a new generation of extreme surf lifeguards who are expected to earn invitations into The Guard.  

But a seemingly small injury  knocks her out of the first event and turns her summer upside down.  It's suddenly impossible for Cami to resist the magnetic attraction to Blake, one of the twins next door; the one she's never been interested in. Just as the Surf Carnival competition starts to heat up, the best swimmers start to drown. Pulled  to the ocean floor, they're found barely  alive , stuck in unexplainable comas. When Mica goes down too, Cami can no longer wait for those in charge to figure out how to help him.  To save the lives of her brother and their friends, Cami must ignore what she sees and what she's told, and instead must learn to trust the clicks, her instincts, that help her find the truth in heart even when it goes against everything her brain thinks it knows.

You can do this, clicked Mica, straight into my brain. Slow and low.  He said the syllables silently, emphasizing all the proper points for inflection.  With this info from Mica, I realized that Stony hadn’t repeated it perfectly. Somehow Mica had known which ones to listen to. 
I repeated it silently; then spoke it as loudly as possible.  While my voice lacked volume, I filled it with as much energy as I could to capture the attention of the dolphins.   The raspy vibrations of my voice swirled through my bones, down into the rocks, and I imagined them entering the water so the dolphins would hear them below the surface. 
The reaction was instantaneous.  The dolphins repeated me sound for sound and were quickly on the move. 
“Again!” Stoney said, emphatically.  
So I did.  I repeated myself five more times until the dolphins were right in front of us in the bay. 
The mood around me had shifted to joy with the dolphins’ arrival. When I opened my eyes and saw them in front of me, I allowed myself a wide grin.  There, right in front of us, was a huge pod playing in the waves.  They flipped, jumped, and twisted in the air—showing off with glee.
“Well done,” Stony said, looking proud of is all. “Now, join our brothers and sisters in the sea, as is tradition, for a swim across the bay.”  
I took only a second to watch their silvery grey bodies moving through the water play before I dove off the rocks, getting in first. While everyone in The Guard would swim, only those of us pledging for the first time had anything to prove.  Mica counted the dolphins silently,  stopping when he reached fifty.  This pod is larger than we’ve seen in years! he clicked to me, sounding louder than usual in the water.   
The inky-black water surrounded me and I could barely see the many silvery bodies darting around.  They brushed against me, skin like neoprene, swimming in front, behind, and all around, churning the water so that they actually moved me along.   I stayed underwater as long as I could, so as not to give up my spot in the middle of the large group. When I finally surfaced, a dolphin with skin brighter than the others, stopped in the water, raised her head and stared. It felt like she recognized me.  
      She dove back under the water, and though I didn’t get quite enough air, I followed. Underwater she nudged me forward, and as I picked up speed she came alongside me. Her smooth movement created a slipstream, a pocket in the liquid that let me stay alongside her.  I focused on staying with her as we moved front of the crowd and lost track all the other dolphins and the people too. 
     Underwater, time passed differently, like I could see it and hear it without it effecting me.    I didn’t realized that I had forgotten to breathe ‘til I landed next to her on some jagged rocks gasping for air.  Once I drew in enough oxygen, I could see and hear and just fine.
But I couldn’t move my body at all, no matter how hard I tried.
     A sharp fragment of rock dug into that soft indented space behind my ear.  Blood—hers and mine— mixed in the water between us, and she looked so pale I got worried. She flopped her tail a few times, unable to get off of the rock. When I moaned in pain, she stopped doing that and looked right at me with one eye. In order to do that, she had to turn her head to the side. I blinked for a second, breaking the stare when I felt a pulse. I couldn’t hear or see but I knew was there.  It came through my skin, and into my bones, right to the spot that hurt the worst.  At once, the blood clotted and the pain stopped. But I was still stuck too far for anyone by the bonfire to see.  
The Blake sprang from the ocean like a dolphin with wings, or at least that’s what it looked like to me. I tried to smile but my lips wouldn’t move and since my eyes weren’t all the way open, he set up for mouth-to-mouth. If the situation were reversed, I would have too. 
     Gently he began to push on my chest, counting to thirty. Like the dolphin’s pulse, it went right through me to push the rock away. Once I could move again, I didn’t want to. Blake went forward with his plan, adjusting my throat carefully before touching his mouth on mine. At that moment, my attraction shifted from neutral to positive.      
A magnetic reversal had reset my internal compass on a molecular level and I needed to kiss him for my very existence to make sense.  I felt his shock, and then his interest as he shifted gears from rescue to romance, kissing me back until we heard Mica’s panicked yell and froze in place.  

Amy Evans Bio:

Amy Evans is a wife, mother, ocean lover and storyteller. She's created multi-platform mobile apps, social media games, and interactive story worlds for HIPnTASTY, a company she co-founded in 2001.  She loves dolphins, aliens and pugs, and sometimes writes for so long they all look like the same thing.  Clicks is her debut novel about instincts, a Surf Carnival, an endless summer and the hottest beach patrol on the California coast.   Clicks are truths you can feel, the sounds that the universe makes when it warns you that your world is about to change forever. If you listen to them, you get on the wave before it crests; control your path, surf into your destiny. If you ignore them, the wave crashes around you, and you try desperately not to drown.



Author Goodreads:

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Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Insight by Jamie McGee - teaser & giveaway

I feel so lucky that authors ask me to take part in their blog tours.  I hope that you enjoy them too.  I love when I have a chance to peel back the layers and find one of the author's favorite passages in a story.  Today, Jamie shares one of her favorite excerpts with us... and YES!  It's got kissing!

Before that fateful summer night, Willow had balanced the insight of emotion, and the vivid images. That night, the figure in her nightmare marked her wrist with a star, giving her father no choice but to tell Willow a family secret that would abruptly change life, as she knew it, forever. Before Willow had time to absorb the shock of her father's secret, her soul mate that had shared every stunning dream with her, found her, and darkness captured her closest friends. In order to save them, she must weave through broken myths and the undeniable power of the Zodiac. In the end, Willow discovers that at the moment of our birth we are all given a divine gift.

Purchase your copy

Jamie Magee has always believed that each of us have a defining gift that sets us apart from the rest of the world, she has always envied those who have known from their first breath what their gift was. Not knowing hers, she began a career in the fast paced world of business. Raising a young family, and competing to rise higher in that field would drive some to the point of insanity, but she always found a moment of escape in a passing daydream. Her imagination would take her to places she’d never been, introduce her to people she’s never known. Insight, her debuting novel, is a result of that powerful imagination. Today, she is grateful that not knowing what defined her, led her on a path of discovery that would always be a part of her.

You can follow the tour here for more chances to win!

“How weird am I?” I asked, holding my eyes low.
“It’s not weird.” He pulled my chin up, still smiling, so I’d have to look him in the eye, “It has to do with your insight; the insight of emotion is not a common one. In fact, it’s unique that you, your father, and sister all have a gift.”
“But, they’re all different.”
“You still all have one,” he pointed out raising his brow to capitalize on that point.
“Do you have one?” I asked.
“I do.” he said, reaching down to the quilt at the end of the bed, pulling it over him, and settling in to sleep.
“Are you going to tell me?” I protested.
He was enjoying keeping me in suspense. He leaned forward and slowly kissed me again, sending my head into a numbing spin – trying to distract me, I’m sure. He was crazy if he thought he was going to sleep without telling me.
“What is it?” I thought as loud as I could.
He reluctantly stopped kissing me and stared into my eyes as his fingertip traced my bottom lip, then gently eased down my neck and settled just beside my collarbone.
Innocent thoughts, Willow. Get it together. Right now.
“Well, it’s not as interesting as all of yours.” His tone was deep, sensual. It caused every part of me to fill with fire. This was going to be the longest night of my life. I was sure of it. “I can determine truth or intent, but it’s flawed; people can change their intent in an instant.” The sinful smirk on the corner of his lips stopped my breath. What was he saying? He could feel my intent? This internal war I had going on right now.
“How does it work?” I asked as I told myself to stop blushing.
Landen lay back down, still staring at me.“I feel it. I can feel if they believe what they’re saying. The intent is harder to explain. I don’t see it or hear it, but I know what they intend to do.”
He did feel my internal war, but he was being a gentleman. They didn’t make guys like this where I came from. At least I’d never gotten close enough to one to know that they did.

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Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Debut YA Book Birthdays ~ Week of June 18th

Hopefully I'm not dropping the ball on this one, but I spot only two debut YA book birthdays this week.  (There's more out next week - I promise!)  But in the meantime, these two sound intriguing, no?

PROXY by Alex London

Knox was born into one of the City’s wealthiest families. A Patron, he has everything a boy could possibly want—the latest tech, the coolest clothes, and a Proxy to take all his punishments. When Knox breaks a vase, Syd is beaten. When Knox plays a practical joke, Syd is forced to haul rocks. And when Knox crashes a car, killing one of his friends, Syd is branded and sentenced to death.

Syd is a Proxy. His life is not his own.

Then again, neither is Knox’s. Knox and Syd have more in common than either would guess. So when Knox and Syd realize that the only way to beat the system is to save each other, they flee. Yet Knox’s father is no ordinary Patron, and Syd is no ordinary Proxy. The ensuing cross-country chase will uncover a secret society of rebels, test both boys’ resolve, and shine a blinding light onto a world of those who owe and those who pay. Some debts, it turns out, cannot be repaid.

TRIANGLES by Kimberly Ann Miller

A cruise ship. A beautiful island. Two sexy guys. What could possibly go wrong? 

In the Bermuda Triangle—a lot.

Hoping to leave behind the reminders of her crappy life--her father's death years ago, her mother's medical problems, and the loser who’s practically stalking her--seventeen-year-old Autumn Taylor hops on a ship with her sister for a little distraction. When she wakes up in the Bermuda Triangle, she fears she's gone nuts for more than one reason: that loser’s suddenly claiming they're a happy couple... a hot guy is wrapping his arms around her and saying "Happy Anniversary"... and suddenly, she’s full of bruises, losing her hair, and getting IV medication. Autumn visits the ship's doctor, hoping for a pill or a shot to make the craziness go away. Instead, she's warned that these "alternate realities" could become permanent.

She just has to ask herself one question—how the hell is she going to get out of this mess?

Thursday, June 13, 2013

ONE by Leigh Ann Kopan - Excerpt & Giveaway

Guys - I am beyond excited to read this novel.  It sounds awesome and the cover makes me drool.  If that wasn't enough, once I read this excerpt, I knew I wanted to read it even more.  I hope you'll take the time to read it over, enter the contest, and let me know what you think!

ONE Synopsis:

When having two powers makes you a Super and having none makes you a Normal, having only one makes you a sad half-superpowered freak.

It makes you a One.

Sixteen-year-old Merrin Grey would love to be able to fly – too bad all she can do is hover.

If she could just land an internship at the Biotech Hub, she might finally figure out how to fix herself. She busts her butt in AP Chem and salivates over the Hub’s research on the manifestation of superpowers, all in hopes of boosting her chances.

Then she meets Elias VanDyne, another One, and all her carefully crafted plans fly out the window. Literally. When the two of them touch, their Ones combine to make them fly, and when they’re not soaring over the Nebraska cornfields, they’re busy falling for each other.

Merrin's mad chemistry skills land her a spot on the Hub's internship short list, but as she gets closer to the life she always wanted, she discovers that the Hub’s purpose is more sinister than it has always seemed. Now it’s up to her to decide if it's more important to fly solo, or to save everything - and everyone - she loves.

ONE Excerpt:

“They don’t matter,” Elias says, staring at his hands, his fingers gripping each other. “I learned that a long time ago.”
Suddenly, I’m angry at his passivity, like I want to shake him by the shoulders and scream some sense into him. He’s a One. He’s a freak. He should be suffering just as much as I am.
“Yeah? Well, if your One doesn’t matter and they don’t matter, what does matter?” I clench and unclench my jaw over and over again, wavering between feeling bad about saying that to him and feeling powerful for finally unleashing this on anyone besides my poor parents.
He doesn’t respond right away. Oh, God, he must hate me. But then he speaks, and his voice is soft and patient. “There’s something beyond Superior and the Hub, Merrin. Someplace where no one expects anything from me. From people like us. Somewhere I could be myself, without the One and without the stupid school and basketball team. Those are just things I’m using to get by. Leni…she really fits in there at Nelson. But I don’t.”
“Somewhere you can be just like a Normal, you mean. But your One will never leave you.” The words come spilling out, like I couldn’t stop them if I tried. Still, I don’t look at him, focusing instead on twisting a long blade of grass into a knot over and over. “You can always leave Superior, leave other Supers, but you’ll always be half like them.” I can’t keep my voice low and measured like he can. “You’ll always be doing…whatever it is you can do…and wondering if there’s more. Don’t tell me you would ever give it up, that you’d give up practicing whatever your One is. We’re meant for more than Normal life.”
A smile teases at his lips, like he wants to tell me about his One but knows there’s no point. Like he doesn’t even care whether I know or not. And because of that, I really do want to know. Finally.
I can’t stop my legs from fidgeting. They bounce up and down, making my skirt swing against my calves. But I can’t make myself leave him. Even though he makes me feel like screaming at him and sobbing into his shoulder at the same time.
A few lone fireflies flit around a bit too early. The top three-quarters of the sky are only slightly dark. I reach out to swipe one from the air and watch as it staggers across the back of my hand, testing its legs after a stretch of flight. 
I wish walking felt more foreign to me than flying.

About Leigh Ann Kopans:

Raised on comic books and classic novels, Leigh Ann developed an early love of science fiction and literature. As an adult, she rediscovered her love for not only reading, but also writing the types of fiction that enchanted her as a teen. Her debut novel, ONE, is about a girl with only half a superpower, the boy who makes her fly, and her struggle to make herself whole.

Leigh Ann, her husband, and four children live in Columbus, Ohio. When she’s not immersed in the world of fiction, you can find her obsessing over the latest superhero movie or using her kids as an excuse to go out for ice cream (again.)


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Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Debut YA Book Birthdays ~ Week of June 11th

Books are like the chocolate frosted Crispy Creme donut I just ate: 1 is not enough!

Happy summer to everyone.  Hope Andrea didn't leave you too soggy if you happened to be in her path.  For my family in Florida, it was just a day of rain that postponed my daughters' swim meet by a week.  That's hardly even a consequence, so we were lucky.

For those of you who have been craving horror, there are multiple releases coming out this week, but most by established authors.  Check out the release list here.  But you've got at least 1 debut YA novel offering real horror...


The spine-tingling horror of Stephen King meets an eerie mystery worthy of Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars series in Kate Karyus Quinn's haunting debut.
On a cool autumn night, Annaliese Rose Gordon stumbled out of the woods and into a high school party. She was screaming. Drenched in blood. Then she vanished.
A year later, Annaliese is found wandering down a road hundreds of miles away. She doesn't know who she is. She doesn't know how she got there. She only knows one thing: She is not the real Annaliese Rose Gordon.
Now Annaliese is haunted by strange visions and broken memories. Memories of a reckless, desperate wish . . . a bloody razor . . . and the faces of other girls who disappeared. Piece by piece, Annaliese's fractured memories come together to reveal a violent, endless cycle that she will never escape—unless she can unlock the twisted secrets of her past.

RUSH by Eve Silver

Rush pulls you headlong into the thrilling, high-stakes world of Eve Silver's teen series The Game, about teens pulled into and out of an alternate reality in which battling aliens is more than a game—it's life and death. This teen debut novel offers science fiction and gaming fans romantic thrills at a breakneck pace.
Seventeen-year-old Miki Jones's carefully controlled life spirals into chaos after she's run down in the street, left broken and bloody. She wakes up fully healed in a place called the lobby—pulled from her life, pulled through time and space into some kind of game in which she and a team of other teens are sent on missions to eliminate the Drau, terrifying and beautiful alien creatures.
There are no practice runs, no training, and no way out. Miki has only the guidance of secretive but maddeningly attractive team leader Jackson Tate, who says that the game is more than that, and that what Miki and her new teammates do now determines their survival and the survival of every other person on this planet. She laughs. He doesn't. And then the game takes a deadly and terrifying turn.

CHARM & STRANGE by Stephanie Kuehn

When you’ve been kept caged in the dark, it’s impossible to see the forest for the trees. It’s impossible to see anything, really. Not without bars . . .
 In Stephanie Kuehn's brilliant debut Charm & Strange, Andrew Winston Winters is at war with himself. 
He’s part Win, the lonely teenager exiled to a remote Vermont boarding school in the wake of a family tragedy. The guy who shuts all his classmates out, no matter the cost.
He’s part Drew, the angry young boy with violent impulses that control him. The boy who spent a fateful, long-ago summer with his brother and teenage cousins, only to endure a secret so monstrous it led three children to do the unthinkable. 
Over the course of one night, while stuck at a party deep in the New England woods, Andrew battles both the pain of his past and the isolation of his present. 
Before the sun rises, he’ll either surrender his sanity to the wild darkness inside his mind or make peace with the most elemental of truths—that choosing to live can mean so much more than not dying. 

HOW (NOT) TO FIND A BOYFRIEND by Allyson Valentine

A funny and smart romantic comedy about getting the guy. . . and finding yourself.

Sophomore Nora Fulbright is the most talented and popular new cheerleader on the Riverbend High cheer squad. Never mind that she used to be queen of the nerds—a chess prodigy who answered every question first, aced every test and repelled friends at every turn—because this year, Nora is determined to fully transition from social pupa to full blown butterfly, even if it means dumbing down her entire schedule. But when funny, sweet and very cute Adam moves to town and steals Nora’s heart with his untra-smarts and illegally cute dimple, Nora has a problem. How can she prove to him that she’s not a complete airhead?

Nora devises a seemingly simple plan to barter her way into Adam’s classes that involves her classmates, friends—and her older brother Phil’s award-winning AP history paper. But soon, Nora can barely keep track of her trades, and struggles to stay in control of her image.

In the end, the only thing that can save Nora is a chess tournament—that she has to compete in wearing her cheerleading uniform. Can she prove to everyone that she can be both a butterfly and a nerd?

Allyson Valentine has created a story so full of enamoring characters, pitch-perfect humor, and delightfully frustrating romance that it will leave you cheering.  Great for fans of Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss, Susanne Colosanti and Sarah Dessen.

LINKED by Imogen Howson (is this an awesome cover or what???)

Elissa used to have it all: looks, popularity, and a bright future. But for the last three years, she’s been struggling with terrifying visions, phantom pains, and mysterious bruises that appear out of nowhere. 

Finally, she’s promised a cure: minor surgery to burn out the overactive area of her brain. But on the eve of the procedure, she discovers the shocking truth behind her hallucinations: she’s been seeing the world through another girl’s eyes. 

Elissa follows her visions, and finds a battered, broken girl on the run. A girl—Lin—who looks exactly like Elissa, down to the matching bruises. The twin sister she never knew existed. 

Now, Elissa and Lin are on the run from a government who will stop at nothing to reclaim Lin and protect the dangerous secrets she could expose—secrets that would shake the very foundation of their world. 

Riveting, thought-provoking and utterly compelling, Linked will make you question what it really means to be human.

BELLE EPOQUE by Elizabeth Ross

When Maude Pichon runs away from provincial Brittany to Paris, her romantic dreams vanish as quickly as her savings. Desperate for work, she answers an unusual ad. The Durandeau Agency provides its clients with a unique service—the beauty foil. Hire a plain friend and become instantly more attractive. 

Monsieur Durandeau has made a fortune from wealthy socialites, and when the Countess Dubern needs a companion for her headstrong daughter, Isabelle, Maude is deemed the perfect foil.

But Isabelle has no idea her new "friend" is the hired help, and Maude's very existence among the aristocracy hinges on her keeping the truth a secret. Yet the more she learns about Isabelle, the more her loyalty is tested. And the longer her deception continues, the more she has to lose.

So, do any of these interest you?  My ears sure perked up when I heard an analogy to Anna and the French Kiss and I LOVE the sound of Belle Epoque.  :)

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Debut YA Book Birthdays ~ Week of June 4th

Three debut YA novels to fit most tastes: romantic, action-packed, and paramornal-esqe.  Take your pic -- and be sure to tell me which one(s) catch your eye!

RULES OF SUMMER by Joanna Philbin

There are two sides to every summer.

When seventeen-year-old Rory McShane steps off the bus in East Hampton, it's as if she's entered another universe, one populated by impossibly beautiful people wearing pressed khakis and driving expensive cars. She's signed on to be a summer errand girl for the Rules -- a wealthy family with an enormous beachfront mansion. Upon arrival, she's warned by other staff members to avoid socializing with the family, but Rory soon learns that may be easier said than done.

Stifled by her friends and her family's country club scene, seventeen-year-old Isabel Rule, the youngest of the family, embarks on a breathless romance with a guy whom her parents would never approve of. It's the summer for taking chances, and Isabel is bringing Rory along for the ride. 

But will Rory's own summer romance jeopardize her friendship with Isabel? And, after long-hidden family secrets surface, will the Rules' picture-perfect world ever be the same?

EDGE OF TRUTH by Natasha Hanova
When her emotions spike, the earth trembles
Citizens who report to work on time, obey the Overlord’s laws, and stay off the Synbot’sradar, live long lives. Long, dull, monotonous lives.
It’s not a bad plan for sixteen-year-old Rena Moon whose emotions trigger earthquakes. In a world pitted against her, she strives for a life beyond working herself to death at the factory. Seeing an alternative, she risks selling relics from the forbidden lands at Market. It becomes the worst decision she ever made. Someone kidnaps her best friend in exchange for the one thing that would end her oppression.
Driven by loyalty, Rena and seventeen-year-old Nevan Jelani, soulful composer, green thumb extraordinaire, and the secret love of her life, plot to rescue her friend and reclaim her salvage. Still, the thought lingers whether Nevan is a true hero or another thief waiting for his chance at her loot. Events spin wildly, deepening Rena’s suspicions and pushing her limit of control. With more than her chance for freedom at stake, she must decide if she’s willing to kill to protect what’s precious to her. For once, the Overlord isn’t holding all the power, but can Rena live with being reduced to what she’s struggling so hard to escape?

INSOMNIA by J.R. Johansson

It's been four years since I slept, and I suspect it is killing me.

Instead of sleeping, Parker Chipp enters the dream of the last person he's had eye contact with. He spends his nights crushed by other people's fear and pain, by their disturbing secrets--and Parker can never have dreams of his own. The severe exhaustion is crippling him. If nothing changes, Parker could soon be facing psychosis and even death.

Then he meets Mia. Her dreams, calm and beautifully uncomplicated, allow him blissful rest that is utterly addictive. Parker starts going to bizarre lengths to catch Mia's eye every day. Everyone at school thinks he's gone over the edge, even his best friend. And when Mia is threatened by a true stalker, everyone thinks it's Parker.

Suffering blackouts, Parker begins to wonder if he is turning into someone dangerous. What if the monster stalking Mia is him after all?