Picture drawn by Maggie Stiefvater, 2009. Header made by S.F. Robertson, 2010.
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Monday, February 8, 2016

Calvin by Martine Leavitt

Calvin by Martine Leavitt
"Seventeen-year-old Calvin has always known his fate is linked to the comic book character from Calvin & Hobbes. He was born on the day the last strip was published; his grandpa left a stuffed tiger named Hobbes in his crib; and he even has a best friend named Susie. As a child Calvin played with the toy Hobbes, controlling his every word and action, until Hobbes was washed to death. But now Calvin is a teenager who has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, Hobbes is back―as a delusion―and Calvin can't control him. Calvin decides that if he can convince Bill Watterson to draw one final comic strip, showing a normal teenaged Calvin, he will be cured. Calvin and Susie (and Hobbes) set out on a dangerous trek across frozen Lake Erie to track him down."- summary from Amazon

This was such an interesting, quick read and I loved the parallels to Calvin and Hobbies, which is one of my favorite comic strips.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Friday, February 5, 2016

Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins

Love Lies Beneath by Ellen Hopkins
"Tara is gorgeous, affluent, and forty. She lives in an impeccably restored Russian Hill mansion in San Francisco. Once a widow, twice divorced, she’s a woman with a past she prefers keeping to herself.

Enter Cavin Lattimore. He’s handsome, kind, charming, and the surgeon assigned to Tara following a ski accident in Lake Tahoe. In the weeks it takes her to recover, Cavin sweeps her off her feet and their relationship blossoms into something Tara had never imagined possible. But then she begins to notice some strange things: a van parked outside her home at odd times, a break-in, threatening text messages and emails. She also starts to notice cracks in Cavin’s seemingly perfect personality, like the suppressed rage his conniving teenage son brings out in him, and the discovery that Cavin hired a detective to investigate her immediately after they met.

Now on crutches and housebound, Tara finds herself dependent on the new man in her life—perhaps too much so. She’s handling rocky relationships with her sister and best friend, who are envious of her glamour and freedom; her prickly brother-in-law, who is intimidated by her wealth and power; and her estranged mother. However perfect Tara’s life appears, things are beginning to get messy."- summary from Amazon

I love Ellen Hopkins' books and I really enjoy her adult books. This was an interesting read and I liked it, but I felt the summary was really setting something else up that I was excited to read about but that concept never came to fruition. The climax takes an unexpected turn, which was intriguing, but the ending just felt off to me. It makes sense in the grand scheme of things, I guess, but I don't know. It was a little bit of a letdown; I was expecting a Misery-type book from the summary and from how Tara meets Cavin, but it didn't go that way at all. So it's not a bad book by any means, but I just felt a bit misled.

Overall, a slightly above-average book from a usually awesome author.

FTC: Borrowed book from local library. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick

Kiss of Broken Glass by Madeleine Kuderick
"In the next seventy-two hours, Kenna may lose everything—her friends, her freedom, and maybe even herself. One kiss of the blade was all it took to get her sent to the psych ward for seventy-two hours. There she will face her addiction to cutting, though the outcome is far from certain.

When fifteen-year-old Kenna is found cutting herself in the school bathroom, she is sent to a facility for mandatory psychiatric watch. There, Kenna meets other kids like her—her roommate, Donya, who’s there for her fifth time; the birdlike Skylar; and Jag, a boy cute enough to make her forget her problems . . . for a moment."- summary from Amazon

This was a quick, but very emotional read and I feel like these sorts of topics really benefit from being written in verse. Keeping the wording tight and unflinching brings the point across so well. Kuderick does a wonderful job showing Kenna's emotional arc over these 72 hours in the psych ward. A lot happens over this short period of time, and Kenna has some ups and downs while locked up as she tries to figure everything out. It's a difficult book to read at times, but Kenna's voice makes it all interesting and page-turning. I'm really excited to read more from Kuderick.

FTC: Received ARC from publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Guest Post- Lisa Maxwell

I've got an awesome guest post from author Lisa Maxwell about the 5 best YA books she read last year. Her newest book comes out Feb 2 and I posted the summary for it below, and there's a swag giveaway too from Lisa, so leave a comment telling us what book(s) you loved most from last year on this post by next Monday, Feb 8 at 9pm EST to be entered!

For as long as she can remember, Gwendolyn Allister has never had a place to call home. Her mother believes they are being hunted by brutal monsters, and those delusions have brought them to London, far from the life Gwen had finally started to build for herself. Gwen’s only saving grace is that her best friend, Olivia, is with her for the summer.

But shortly after their arrival, the girls are kidnapped by shadowy creatures and dragged to a world of flesh-eating sea hags and dangerous Fey. And Gwen begins to realize that maybe her mother isn’t so crazy after all…

Gwen discovers that this new world she inhabits is called Neverland, but it’s nothing like the Neverland you’ve heard about in stories. Here, good and evil lose their meaning and memories slip like water through your fingers. As Gwen struggles to remember where she came from and tries to find a way home, she must choose between trusting the charming fairy-tale hero who says all the right things and the captivating pirate who promises to keep her safe.

Caught in the ultimate battle between good and evil, with time running out and her enemies closing in, Gwen is forced to finally face the truths she’s been hiding from all along. But can she save Neverland without losing herself?


Thanks so much for having me on Book Chic! I’m excited to share my five favorite YA reads of 2015 with your readers. Ready?

In no particular order…

THE WALLS AROUND US by Nova Ren Suma
I’ve been a fan of Nova Ren Suma’s ever since I read an ARC of IMAGINARY GIRLS back in 2011, but this one is by far my favorite. THE WALLS AROUND US is a compelling page-turner that blends the authors trademark lyricism and magical realism with a plot that keeps you guessing until the very end.

BONE GAP by Laura Ruby
I heard a lot of buzz (no pun intended) about this one on Twitter, so I decided to check it out and, WOW, am I glad I did. I’m a sucker for gorgeous writing and magical realism, and this one has both. I was so happy to see it won the Printz.

THE REVENGE PLAYBOOK by Rachael Allen
I absolutely loved this story of a group of girls out for revenge. It has Allen’s trademark wit and shimmers with a motley group of girls that you want to root for until the very last page.

THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT by Jason Reynolds
I really enjoyed Reynold’s WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST, but THE BOY IN THE BLACK SUIT is even better. He has an amazing talent for bringing the everyday trials of his characters to vivid life. Reynolds has this really wonderful combination of minimalism and lyricism in his writing that drew me right in.

SECRETS OF ATTRACTION by Robin Constantine
I absolutely loved this contemporary told in alternating points of view. Constantine does such a great job of bringing these characters to life, and I’m always a sucker for a boy in a band. But it’s more than just the romance that made this book for me—her layered and complex family relationships make this book a winner all around.

Thanks so much for having me and letting me share some of my favorite reads of the last year! I’d love to hear what YOUR readers loved in 2015. Anyone who comments will be entered to win a Swag Pack for UNHOOKED, my upcoming dark Peter Pan retelling!

Bio:
Lisa Maxwell is the author of Sweet Unrest, Gathering Deep, and Unhooked (Simon Pulse, 2-2-16). When she's not writing books, she's an English professor at a local college. She lives near DC with her very patient husband and two not-so patient boys.
This July, she will be teaching a writing workshop for a week in western Ireland. You can check out more information at http://www.irelandwritertours.com/

Links:
Website: www.lisa-maxwell.com
Twitter: @lisamaxwellYA

Friday, January 29, 2016

A Midsummer Night #nofilter by Brett Wright + Macbeth #killingit by Courtney Carbone

A Midsummer Night #nofilter by Brett Wright
Macbeth #killingit by Courtney Carbone
"Imagine: What if the fairies and star-crossed lovers of the forest had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!

Four lovers who can’t decide who they have a crush on.
One mischievous fairy with a love potion.
Total chaos in the fairy world, the human world, and everywhere in between!"

"Imagine: What if that tragic couple, Macbeth and Lady Macbeth, had smartphones? A classic is reborn in this fun and funny adaptation of one of Shakespeare’s most famous plays!

A prophecy from three witches.
A social-climbing couple committing a murder most foul.
A cover-up that spins way out of control."- summaries from Amazon

I absolutely love this new series of books from Random House; they are so much fun and such an interesting, new way of retelling the classic Shakespeare plays. Wright and Carbone have upped their game in their second books from the series, with lots more different emojis, hashtags, slang, and so much more. One of the parts I particularly enjoy was in A Midsummer Night where a character would check in to a bush in the forest, and then another character would check in to a bush a few feet away; that made me giggle a lot whenever it happened.

Overall, these books are awesome and I totally hope that they get kids interested in Shakespeare and his plays because they are the best. I'm excited to read more in this series, and it looks like there's at least two more coming out sometime in the future, which is fantastic!

FTC: Received bound manuscripts from the publisher. Link above is an Amazon Associate link; any profit goes toward funding contests.