Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Temping Future YA Releases: July 2015

Tempting Future YA Releases is posted at the beginning of each month to let you know what new releases are coming out in the new month that caught my eye.  Naturally, the list is in no way complete, but will feature future releases that looked great to me.  (I'm also including New Adults as well.)  Here is the list for July 2015 Young Adult/New Adult book releases:

The Glass Mermaid by Poppy Lawless (July 2015)
Because You'll Never Meet Me by Leah Thomas (7/2/2015)
Jesse's Girl (Hundred Oaks #6) by Miranda Kenneally  (7/7/2015)

The Heart of Betrayal (The Remnant Chronicles #2) by Mary E. Pearson  (7/7/2015)
The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes  (7/7/2015)
Suicide Notes From Beautiful Girls by Lynn Weingarten  (7/7/2015

Paperweight by Meg Haston  (7/7/2015)
Ink and Bone (The Great Library #1) by Rachel Caine  (7/7/2015)
You and Me and Him by Kris Dinnison (7/7/2015)

How To Be a Mermaid by Erin Hayes  (7/7/2015)
Don't Ever Change by M. Beth Bloom (7/7/2015)
The Escape by Hannah Jayne  (7/7/2015)

Forever For A Year by B.T. Goddfred (7/7/2015)
A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery (7/7/2015)
Naked by Stacey Trombley  (7/7/2015)

Ruthless by Carolyn Lee Adams (7/14/2015)
Sweet As Sin (Bad Habit #1) by J.T. Geissinger  (7/14/2015)
Anya and the Shy Guy (Backstage Pass #4) by Suze Winegardner  (7/14/2015)

Damage Done by Amanda Panitch (7/21/2015)
Unexpected by Lilly Avalon (7/21/2015)
Watch Your Back by Tracy Bilen  (7/21/2015)

Pretending To Be Erica by Michelle Painchaud  (7/21/2015)
Exposed (The Captive #2) by Brighton Walsh  (7/21/2015)
Like Candy (Candy #1) by Debra Doxer (7/28/2015)

Every Last Breath (The Dark Elements #3) by Jennifer L. Armentrout  (7/28/2015)
Break Your Heart by Rhonda Helms  (7/28/2015)
All We Have Is Now by Lisa Schroeder  (7/28/2015)

Oblivion (Nevermore #3) by Kelly Creagh  (7/28/2015)

Which ones are you look forward to?  Leave a comment!

Monday, June 29, 2015

Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone

Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
Release Date: June 16, 2015
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling. Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle.  Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.

Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

From the moment I met character, Samantha McAllister, I felt deeply for her.  I can't imagine what it must be like to have such dark thoughts and be unable to control them.  Every time I've ever heard OCD mentioned, I always think of the compulsive nature of this illness, that part that causes people to do things for no reason helplessly, to count things, to wash their hands too much, to have strange rituals, etc... and yes, Samantha has that too, but I've never actually been exposed to the other side of the illness... to the purely obsessional part, and what that could mean.

The author did a phenomenal job with characterization for Sam, and with portraying her illness so believeably and heartbreakingly.  I felt for this character from the very first page, and felt so badly for her daily struggle to suppress and hide this strong part of herself so that she will be normal and accepted.  But the thing is, I think someone with an illness like hers would try to hide it, no matter the age.  This isn't just high school peer pressure here... anyone would want to hide it. So I emphathized with her.

Her friends were a little cliched in the perfect-high-school-snobs kind of way, but I get the feeling this was somewhat deliberate, as a way to show the necessity for Sam's struggle for containing her secret, and to better illustrate the contrast between these friends, and the new ones she meets at Poet's Corner.  Because Poet's Corner is what begins to change her, make her feel normal.  This was such a strong theme in the book to me about choosing your friends wisely... about how one person or group of people can so influence your persona.  With the one group she's at her worst, but with the other she begins to feel normal.

There was a love interest in this story, but the romance to me was largely secondary to the main struggle and what was going on with Sam.  However, I did love the romance, and the fact that it was slow-building and meaningful.

The story was very well-written, beautifully so at times, and very emotionally impactful to me.  I lov Stone's work because she is able to pack a punch with few words.  Great characterization, great story, and an all around great read.

Sunday, June 28, 2015

Discussion Post: How do you think authors feel about aspiring writers who review books?

My Discussion Topic This Week - How do you think authors feel about aspiring writers who also review books and/or run book review blog sites?

So this one is kind of personal for me. I'm an aspiring writer myself, and, as you can see, I run a review blog for YA/NA books.  But here's my story.  This might tell better in a timeline:

  • I was a member of Romance Writers of America organization from 1994 to 2010.  At that time, I wrote historical romances, and got really, really close to publication during that time.
  • In 2010 something rather significant happened in my life, and the joy of writing just wasn't there anymore for me.  I stopped writing and allowed my org memberships to lapse.  I didn't even read during this year.
  • Late in 2010, nearly a year later, I finally started reading again, and I fell in love with the YA genre.  I immediately started my blog and have been going strong ever since.
  • In the last few months, the writing itch has hit me again out of nowhere.  I've started writing, but this time, in the YA genre.  It feels like the perfect fit...much better than historical had years ago.
  • I bit the bullet earlier this week and rejoined RWA and the YARWA chapter, and this got me to thinking.

I started wondering about how authors view people like me.  Someone who is an aspiring writer but also reviews their books on my blog, on Amazon, Goodreads, etc...  Will they still welcome me? Will it feel to them like "one of the other side" invading their private place?  Will they be worried I'm constantly going to be hitting them up for free book copies or something?  In other words, all these questions come down to one meaning... do you think they would view it as a conflict of interest?

Let's discuss...

Saturday, June 27, 2015

Tempting New Tales

Tempting New Tales is my weekly post where I share what new books I managed to acquire this week.  Credit goes back to the Stacking the Shelves weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.  

Below is my breakdown of what was posted last week, and what I'll be posting in the coming week. 

So here's what happened last week:

  • Book Blitz: Scorched by Jennifer L. Armentrout.  Post here.
  • Blog Tour, Review, & Giveaway: Date With a Rockstar by Sarah Gagnon. Post here.
  • Announcement: 300 Follower Giveaway Winner. Post here.
  • Discussion Post: How many bloggers do you think are actually aspiring writers too?  Post here.
  • Blog Tour, Review & Giveaway: Daisy and the Front Man by Rebeka L. Purdy. Post here.
  • Review: The Revenge Playbook by Rachael Allen. Post here.
  • Book Blitz: Magnificent Ruin by Allison Foster. Post here.

Here's what to look forward to next week:

  • Discussion Post: How do you think authors feel about aspiring writers who also review books and/or blog sites?
  • Review: Every Last Word by Tamara Ireland Stone
  • Tempting Future YA Releases: July 2015
  • Review: Between the Notes by Sharon Huss Roat
  • Review: Into a Million Pieces by Angela V. Cook

Now, on to the new bookshelf items.  Here's what I got this week!

Have you read any of these yet?  What did you get this week?  Leave a comment!
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