Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Teaser Tuesday #88 The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver


Welcome to Teaser Tuesdays! Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: Grab your current read Open to a random page Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn't give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! My Teaser Tuesday is for the following...

The Secrets We Keep
The Secrets We Keep by Trisha Leaver
Publisher: Farrar, Straus, and Giroux (BYR)
Expected Publication Date: April 28, 2015

A girl takes over her twin sister's identity in this emotionally charged page-turner about the complicated bond between sisters.

Ella and Maddy Lawton are identical twins. Ella has spent her high school years living in popular Maddy's shadows, but she has never been envious of Maddy. In fact, she's chosen the quiet, safe confines of her sketchbook over the constant battle for attention that has defined Maddy's world.

When—after a heated argument—Maddy and Ella get into a tragic accident that leaves her sister dead, Ella wakes up in the hospital surrounded by loved ones who believe she is Maddy. Feeling responsible for Maddy's death and everyone's grief, Ella makes a split-second decision to pretend to be Maddy. Soon, Ella realizes that Maddy's life was full of secrets. Caught in a web of lies, Ella is faced with two options—confess her deception or live her sister's life.

TEASER #1

The tight rein I had on my emotions fell away the instant the door closed behind me.


TEASER #2
I could feel myself shaking, the fine tremor of fear working its way through my body. I didn't turn around to meet his eyes. Not because I was scared or guilty, but because I knew he'd see straight through me.

*PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Teaser Tuesdays post, or share your ‘teasers’ in a comment here if you don’t have a blog Thanks! 


Review: Red by Alyxandra Harvey

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Red by Alyxandra Harvey
Publisher- Entangled Teen
Released- March 10th 2015
Purchase- Amazon / B & N

Bad girls burn hot…Red is the color of Kia Alcott's hair.It's her temper, which blazes hot and always gets Kia into way too much trouble.And it's the color of fire. Fires that Kia can start…just by thinking about them.When her latest “episode” gets her kicked out of school, Kia is shipped off to her grandmother, who works for the wealthy Blackwoods. It's an estate shrouded in secrets, surrounded by rules, and presided over by a family that is far from normal…including the gorgeous and insolent Ethan Blackwood.Ethan knows far more about the dangers of the forest surrounding the estate than Kia can ever imagine. For this forest has teeth, and Ethan is charged with protecting the outside world from its vicious mysteries.But inside, even the most vibrant shade of red doesn't stand a chance against the dark secrets of the Blackwood family…

My Thoughts:
I've been a huge fan of Alyxandra Harvey since her debut novel, Hearts at Stake and have been an avid reader of her work since then, so it's no surprise that I jumped at the chance to read her latest release, Red as soon as I could, and wow am I ever glad I did! This book was such a fun-filled fantasy that is sort of a Little Red Riding Hood retelling but with a supernatural and magical twist that had me completely fascinated and consumed.

Harvey has written about vampires, ghost, fey-folks and witches, but this book felt entirely different from her other books, but in the best way possible. It's a great mixture of fairytale and fantasy but with supernatural and magical abilities thrown in. It's an intriguing and mysterious story that has just about everything I could want in an escape. Magic, medieval gothic lore, fantastical and mythical creatures all set in a remote looming castle with dangerous wild secrets and characters. Harvey really went all out with this book and I loved that she didn't give us all the answers and we are made to just sit back and enjoy as the story unfolds as we learn about Kia, Ethan and the Blackwood family and all of their wicked secrets.

Kia was awesome from the start, she's a sassy character who doesn't take crap from anyone and I loved her spark (pun intended). Staying with her Grandmother at Blackwood castle is a last resort since she got expelled for setting her school on fire, but it's not like Kia can help it, for what ever reason she can start fires with just her thoughts, but she's scared since she doesn't know why or how to control it.
Ethan is a rather intense character that was pretty hot and cold when he first meets Kia. He has a very unique role in the Blackwood family and I absolutely loved learning about some of his more eccentric talents and activities. I loved how protective he is of Kia and his friends. Ethan and Kia may have had a shaky relationship at first, but I can't deny they have quite the sizzling chemistry.

All in all, I thought this book was really very cool. The world Harvey creates is bizarrely imaginative, dark and edgy with characters I couldn't help be invested with from the first page till it's thrilling conclusion. There were some loose ends, so I'm hoping we get more. This was a fun and solid escape and I look forward to seeing what Harvey has in store for us next!

Find the author:
Goodreads / Website                              4 Snowflakes

Monday, March 2, 2015

Last List Blog Hop & Giveaway




Sadly, as many of you know Egmont USA has closed it's US doors recently. The lovely ladies at Cuddlebuggery were amazing in putting together some support for these authors. There are so many great titles offered by Egmont but today we will be talking about TEAR YOU APART by SARAH CROSS. If you would like to know about The Last List check it out *HERE*




 TEAR YOU APART
 by Sarah Cross 



 If you want to live happily ever after, first you have to stay alive. Viv knows there’s no escaping her fairy-tale curse. One day her beautiful stepmother will feed her a poison apple or convince her on-again-off-again boyfriend, Henley, to hunt her down and cut out her heart before she breaks his. In the city of Beau Rivage, some princesses are destined to be prey. But then Viv receives an invitation to the exclusive club where the Twelve Dancing Princesses twirl away their nights. There she meets Jasper, an underworld prince who seems to have everything—but what he really wants is her. He vows to save her from her dark fate if she’ll join him and be his queen. All Viv has to do is tear herself away from the huntsman boy who still holds her heart. Then she might live to see if happily ever after is a promise the prince can keep. But is life as an underworld queen worth sacrificing the true love that might kill her? 

Check out my full review here!


Sarah stopped by to answer a few of our burning questions!!


1. I love what you did with Beau Rivage! What made you want to create a setting such as that? 

 When I was planning Kill Me Softly, I originally wanted to retell one fairy tale in particular (Blue's) . . . and then I thought of another tale that would mix perfectly with the first one (Mira's). And if I was going to use two fairy tales, I figured: why not use them all? I knew I wanted the Valentines to live in a big building with a lot of doors to open, some place that never slept and was glamorous and seedy at the same time (much like fairy tales are), so the city had to have hotel/casinos. And it had to have a beach because otherwise, how are the mermaids going to get there?

 2. What were some of your favorite fairy tales growing up?

I loved "Cinderella" (Retta Scott's illustrations made it extra magical), and also the thieving-kid fairy tales like "Jack and the Beanstalk" and "Goldilocks and the Three Bears."

 3. Who has been your favorite character to write & why? 

In each book I have a favorite character to write, and it's usually someone on the sidelines who doesn't get a lot of page time. And often that character is kind of surly. In Kill Me Softly it was Henley, in Tear You Apart it was Luxe. I think the reason minor characters end up being my favorites to write is because their scenes and dialogue don't require as much struggle and revision to get right, and also, they have a sort of underdog quality to them because they're not the star of the story.

 4. Can you give us any info about what you have in the works? Anything else from Beau Rivage?

 There will be some more Beau Rivage short stories at some point (the Little Mermaid, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc.). Sadly, a 3rd Beau Rivage novel (never officially announced) was one of the casualties of the Egmont USA shutdown. I'd love to finish that book and release it one day . . . we'll see, I guess! Everything else that I'm working on is still a secret.

 5. Sum up your stories in 5 words please and GO!

  Happily ever after? Maybe not.




 BUY LINKS:

 B&N ~

About The Author


Sarah Cross is the author of the fairy tale novels Kill Me Softly and Tear You Apart, the superhero novel Dull Boy, and the Wolverine comic "The Adamantium Diaries." 


website  twitter   tumblr  fairy tale tumblr  facebook



GIVEAWAY

 Signed paperback of Kill Me Softly (US ONLY)

Kill Me Softly (Beau Rivage)


Sunday, March 1, 2015

Review: None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio

None of the Above by I.W. Gregorio
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release Date: April 7, 2015
ARC from Edelweiss

A groundbreaking story about a teenage girl who discovers she's intersex . . . and what happens when her secret is revealed to the entire school. Incredibly compelling and sensitively told, None of the Above is a thought-provoking novel that explores what it means to be a boy, a girl, or something in between.

What if everything you knew about yourself changed in an instant?

When Kristin Lattimer is voted homecoming queen, it seems like another piece of her ideal life has fallen into place. She's a champion hurdler with a full scholarship to college and she's madly in love with her boyfriend. In fact, she's decided that she's ready to take things to the next level with him.

But Kristin's first time isn't the perfect moment she's planned--something is very wrong. A visit to the doctor reveals the truth: Kristin is intersex, which means that though she outwardly looks like a girl, she has male chromosomes, not to mention boy "parts."

Dealing with her body is difficult enough, but when her diagnosis is leaked to the whole school, Kristin's entire identity is thrown into question. As her world unravels, can she come to terms with her new self?

My Thoughts:

It feels like January of 2015 alone has introduced me to some extremely original, touching and important upcoming YA releases. This originality and bravery to write about topics that are still stigmatized in contemporary society has astounded me and made me proud about the fact that I read YA. It is incredible to witness evolving in the genre and I tip my hat to all of these authors who have taken their time to introduce difficult, yet incredibly important, topics to young readers.

When I came across the synopsis for I.W. Grerogio's debut, None of the Above, I instantly knew that I need to read it. We are introduced to Kristin, a high school senior who at first glance, seems to have it all. She is the homecoming queen with a football star boyfriend and a track scholarship in her backpocket. Her boyfriend Sam adores her and it seems like they are very much in love, as a result of which Kristin thinks that it is time to take their relationship to the next level. But everything does not go as planned and a couple of days after the attempt to lose her virginity, Kristin finds herself from a doctor's office, where a regular check-up turns into a life-changing moment. The doctor tells her that Kristin is intersex, meaning that though she looks like a girl, some of her chromosomes are male.

After her diagnosis, Kristin does not know how to go on. She does not know who she can trust and tries to hide the truth from her friends and Sam. But as the secrecy gets too demanding, Kristin tells about her situation to her friends Vee and Faith and suddenly the whole school knows about her intersexuality.

This book really made me realize, once again, how harsh high school can be and how mean kids are to each other. I went to a small high school where it seemed like being good at school made you cool and never really witnessed any bullying (though there probably was some... I just never saw it myself) as a result of which reading about it, or seeing it on films or television, always feels kind of distant to me. Gregorio writes about bullying in a manner so harrowing and honest that I really started to hate these kids who turned Kristin's life upside down. Some argue that the ones who bully are just as miserable as those who they bully, but seriously, WHY DO TEENAGERS HAVE TO BE SO MEAN TO EACH OTHER? Someone who is just going through their teenage years probably could give me a list of reasons and it is easy for someone who is already past the high school age to question the social structures of high school, but reading these YA books that deal with bullying always does make me feel like life after high school really must be better for some.

I must admit that when I read from the synopsis that this book deals with an intersex character, I was a bit “afraid” that the book would not be able to tap into the complexity of such issue. Issues relating to sexuality are still heavily stigmatized within the contemporary society, and though I have read YA novels about gay characters (some have been great, some not so great), I had never come across a novel about intersex character before and I did not really know what to expect. Luckily, Gregorio approaches the topic honestly, in detail and manages to paint a picture that deals not only with the problems of identity that an intersex diagnosis causes, but also with the medical specificities of such diagnosis. Gregorio herself is actually a surgeon and the story was inspired from her encounter with an intersex patient, which for me, became a fact that really gave credibility to this novel and the way it discusses sexuality and identity. I appreciated the honest, realistic way Gregorio wrote about the issues relating to Kristin's body and the changes that take place in it after the diagnosis, and though I know such description might be a bit much for some readers, I think being faced with such topics is important for young readers and definitely adds some educational value to this novel.

Kristin is extremely likable as a character, and I loved the fact that despite her difficulties, Gregorio does not treat her like a patient or a victim. I feel like in some instances, YA authors writing about characters that have problems related to illness, mental health issues, etc. end up turning their characters into saint-like figures, which instantly makes all the people around them seem like they inhabit varying levels of evilness. Though Gregorio is sympathetic of Kristin throughout the novel, she is not afraid to make her seem human with regular human flaws. And though there are some horrible people in this novel, like the high school bullies, there are also good people present, like the wonderful Darren, a boy who plays an important role within this novel.

What I really liked about None of the Above as well was the fact that though it does include elements of romance, it is not really a teen romance, per se. In essence, None of the Above is more about self-love and accepting yourself as you are, which, in my opinion, is an incredibly important message to give to young readers. I hope this novel gains all the attention it deserves and opens up conversations about intersexuality as a result of which adolescents can become more educated about the subject. Hopefully more YA authors will get inspiration from Kristin's story as a result of which stories like this could become more frequent and available to readers both adolescent and adult.

5 snowflakes



Saturday, February 28, 2015

Review: The Third Twin by Cj Omololu

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The Third Twin by CJ Omololu 
Publisher-Delacorte BFYR
Released-Feb 24th 2015
Purchase- Amazon / B & N


Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It's Pretty Little Liarsmeets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia's guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they'd never, ever be with in real life.Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn't exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real.

My Thoughts:
The Third Twin, is a twisty whodunit young adult mystery thriller that was an instantly enjoyable escape from the first page, on. Ava and Lexi are identical twins right down to their DNA and when they were younger they invented an imaginary friend-sister, named Alicia. Anything they did wrong- Alicia did it, but as the twins got older they're starting to see that playing the Alicia-card is getting more dangerous and eventually...deadly.

When I first heard about this book I knew that I was interested in reading it but I didn't think I'd enjoy it as much as I did. From the first chapter I was hooked and couldn't wait to see how the twins deal with all these strange things happening to them, or well, to Alicia, a girl who's not even suppose to be real. CJ Omololu writing is very addicting and I love the voices she gave these characters but it was the storyline that had me completely glued to the pages. I might have guessed one of the twist loops but I never saw who the actual culprit was. I was shocked with the final revelation and loved how the Omololu managed to kept me on my toes.

The twins were likeable and easy to connect with. Lexi is smart, driven and focused while Ava is a little more vain and reckless. The twins bring out Alicia when they want to have a little fun since she's the more fearless and daring one. Alicia was great to have around when they were little since it would get them out of trouble, but in their senior days Alicia comes out to play when hot boys are around, that is till they find their 'keeper'. But when the boys that Alicia were dating turns up murdered, this harmless game isn't so harmless any more.
I really loved the girls, they're close and didn't have that sibling rivalry I find in so many other reads, sure they had there disagreements where Alicia was concerned and yes there was a lot of lingering doubts about Ava, but despite all the strange happenings around them, there wasn't to much drama, just straight suspense and an unsettling vibe that there is more to this story. I also really loved Zane! He was pretty awesome, supportive and protective and provided some sweeter moments when things got to intense. 

Bottom line, I had a lot of fun reading this book and while it may not be exactly new, I still love Omololu's take for this genre. The pace is steady, the writing is strong, the characters are realistic and the twist and turns made it a blast trying to guess this thrilling mystery.
A solid escape! 

Find the author:
Goodreads/ Website                                4 snowflakes