Saturday, June 29, 2013

Guest Post & Giveaway with Stephanie Parent (Precious Things Book Blitz)

Today we have Stephanie Parent here for a guest post and giveaway as part of the book blitz for Precious Things!

Guest Post
What the Heck Is the College Experience, Anyway?

In Precious Things, I really wanted to capture the so-called “college experience”…but the fact is that the college experience encompasses many different things, and is different for every person. There are the classes themselves, the social aspect, the dorms, being away from home for the first time, just to name a few. For me personally, since I am an extremely private person, the whole dorm culture/roommate aspect was so overwhelming (in a bad way) that it completely dominated my first semester. I know I had some great classes, was able to participate in a dance company for the first time in my life, and met some amazing people…but when I think back on that time, I get an overwhelmingly negative feeling, mostly because of all the dorm ickiness. (September 11th also happened right after I started college, which certainly didn’t help, but that’s a whole different post…)

My experience with dorm life is actually one of the reasons I chose to set Precious Things at a community college without dorms, with my main character still living at home. I wanted to show that not everyone has the same stereotypical “college experience,” and that missing out on it isn’t necessarily such a bad thing—and I also wanted to focus on other aspects of college, like the classes and the people.

At the same time, I tried to show hints of alternate “college experiences” through Isabelle’s interactions with her high school friends. Because of over-enrollment, Isabelle’s friend Jenny ends up sharing a two-person dorm room with two other people at the University of Maryland—and believe me, those dorm rooms are tiny enough with just the two people they’re meant for! This actually happened to a few high-school friends of mine, and they were absolutely miserable. And even at a top-tier school like Stanford, where Isabelle’s ex-boyfriend Andrew enrolls, roommates cause problems, with Andrew spending almost every night in the library to avoid his roomie (and especially his roomies “guests”). I knew plenty of people who went through this kind of thing as well, and at a time in your life when you’re dealing with a completely new environment, separation from parents and home, and most likely a much greater amount of academic work than you’re used to, it can be completely overwhelming. Contrary to popular belief, college students do need sleep, and that can be a challenge with strange people coming in and out of your room at all hours of the night!

And then there’s the whole social aspect of college…the frat parties, the drinking. Late in the book, Jenny explains to Isabelle why she decided to join a sorority, and her feelings about the situation pretty much match mine. (Although no, I never considered joining a sorority—I am way too much of a loner for that!) Here’s what Jenny says:

“I guess rushing was…it’s been my way of coping, and I’m glad I did it. College isn’t exactly like I thought it would be. It’s like…” She thinks for a moment. “Remember those huge parties in Ajel Cho’s basement, when he would invite the entire school?”

“Unfortunately, yes.”

“You know how we acted like everything was so great, like we were so happy and excited to be there, when really we’d rather have been home watching movies and eating ice cream?”

I laugh. “Yeah.”

“Well, college is sort of like that, but…all the time. You have all this freedom and you’re supposed to be having the time of your life, but sometimes you just want to escape and curl up on the couch to watch a movie, except you can’t, because…the party’s in your bedroom. And besides, there is no couch other than the ratty stained

one in the dorm common room, which people are probably either hooking up or passed out on. Oh, and you’re also supposed to read more than you ever have in your life, and write twenty-page papers, and study for exams while all this is going on.”

So for Jenny, and Isabelle—and me—college is a lot more complicated than just having “the time of your life.” I hope I reflected that in Precious Things…and yes, I just might be courageous enough to tackle the dorm environment in more detail in my next NA novel!

Thanks for the great guest post, Stephanie!


Stephanie was so generous as to offer me one ebook of Precious Things to give away, open internationally! This giveaway is open until July 6th. Enter using the form below!

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Make sure to check out the rest of the blitz, and keep your eye out for Precious Things, which will has already been released. And for the duration of the tour, it's on sale for $0.99! You can purchase it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble. You can also check out the book on Goodreads, visit the author's website, and follow her on Twitter

Precious Things by Stephanie Parent
Isabelle Andrews isn’t supposed to be here. She isn’t supposed to be a freshman at Hartford Community College, she isn't supposed to be living at home and working at her dad’s failing bakery, and she definitely isn’t supposed to be taking Intro to Electronic Music Production, a class that will get her nowhere toward her goal of an English Lit Ph.D. by age twenty-five. But when her dad’s latest business fiasco eats up her college fund, Hartford Community College is exactly where Isabelle finds herself—and thanks to her late enrollment, she doesn’t even get to choose her classes. Stuck with Electronic Music and way-too-easy English courses, Isabelle is determined to wallow in all the misery she feels entitled to.
But community college brings some unexpected benefits…like the fact that a certain overworked, over-scheduled Electronic Music professor hands over most of his duties to his teaching assistant. His tall, green-eyed, absolutely gorgeous teaching assistant. When TA Evan Strauss discovers Isabelle’s apathy toward electronic music—and, well, all music—he makes it his mission to convert her. The music Evan composes stirs something inside Isabelle, but she can’t get involved—after all, she’ll be transferring out as soon as possible.
Still, no matter how tightly Isabelle holds on to her misery, she finds it slipping away in the wake of all Hartford Community offers: new friendships, a surprisingly cool poetry professor, and most of all, Evan. But Evan’s dream of owning his own music studio is as impractical as Isabelle’s dad’s bakery, and when Evan makes a terrible decision, everything Isabelle has gained threatens to unravel. Soon Isabelle discovers that some of the most important lessons take place outside the classroom…and that in life, as in Evan’s favorite Depeche Mode song, the most precious things can be the hardest to hold on to.

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Review: Dare You To by Katie McGarry

Title: Dare You To (Pushing The Limits #2)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: HarlequinTeen
Release date: May 28th 2013
Pages: 462
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: BEA - I received a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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If anyone knew the truth about Beth Risk's home life, they'd send her mother to jail and seventeen-year-old Beth who knows where. So she protects her mom at all costs. Until the day her uncle swoops in and forces Beth to choose between her mom's freedom and her own happiness. That's how Beth finds herself living with an aunt who doesn't want her and going to a school that doesn't understand her. At all. Except for the one guy who shouldn't get her, but does....
Ryan Stone is the town golden boy, a popular baseball star jock-with secrets he can't tell anyone. Not even the friends he shares everything with, including the constant dares to do crazy things. The craziest? Asking out the Skater girl who couldn't be less interested in him.
But what begins as a dare becomes an intense attraction neither Ryan nor Beth expected. Suddenly, the boy with the flawless image risks his dreams-and his life-for the girl he loves, and the girl who won't let anyone get too close is daring herself to want it all...
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

I liked Pushing the Limits, but I wasn't as in love with it as most of the YA blogosphere. I really liked the characters' individual stories in Pushing the Limits but had some issues with the romance. So I was both excited and nervous when I started Dare You To. And while I still had some of the same issues as I'd had with Pushing the Limits, I actually liked Dare You To better!

As in Pushing the Limits, the characters in Dare You To are so real you sometimes forget they're fictional. Ryan and Beth are not the easiest characters to like - they're messed up, stubborn, and in many ways it feels like they're just trying to piss of the reader. But even when they're annoying, they're real, and that's what matters. Especially the way we get to know the characters and their pasts impressed me - Katie McGarry is a master of showing instead of telling. So much so that you don't know exactly what is going on with Beth's family until the very end, and you find out in a way that feels completely natural, not just orchestrated to cause drama, which I really appreciated.

The romance had some of the same aspects that bugged me in Pushing the Limits. Again, there is a strong focus on all things physical and the characters' appearance - Beth goes on and on about how hot Ryan is and Ryan mentions again and again how he likes Beth because she looks so different from all the other girls he knows. After a while, it just got old - we get it. And again, I felt like the whole thing was just a little too melodramatic. I don't want to sound heartless, but big romantic gestures and declarations of love just aren't my thing. The ups and downs in Ryan's and Beth's relationship go on a little too long for my taste, mainly because of Beth's stubbornness. I get that Beth's refusal to open up is necessary for the story, but the way she keeps ruining things for herself still bugged me because it made the story drag a little. Other than that, though, the romance is great - Beth and Ryan have amazing chemistry.

Like in Pushing the Limits, though, the romance wasn't my favorite part; I enjoyed the individual stories relating family and personal growth a lot more. I don't want to say too much about this because, like I said, I really like the way we slowly discover the extent of the characters' issues, but both of their stories are fascinating.

I always love companion novels because you get to see previous books' characters again, and Dare You To is no exception - I loved seeing Echo and Noah again! I especially enjoyed reading about Isaiah - I can't wait to read his story next!

Despite the smaller issues I had with the romance, I liked this one even more than Pushing the Limits. I love how Katie McGarry combines such dark issues and messed-up characters with such sweet romance. I can't wait for the third book in this series!

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Review & Giveaway with Heather London (Fall From Love Blog Tour)

Title: Fall from Love
Author: Heather London
Publisher: N/A
Release date: May 21st 2013
Pages: N/A
Genre: New Adult contemporary romance
Source: I received an ebook from the author in exchange for an honest review as part of the blog tour - thanks!
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Struggling to put her life back together after a tragic mountaineering accident kills her college sweetheart, twenty-one-year-old Holly Treadwell is trying to set aside her grief, forge ahead in school, and find herself again.
When Carter Hansen, a guy who brings back horrible memories from the night of the accident, finds his way back into her life, Holly’s unsure if she should let him in. He terrifies her in more ways than one and invokes feelings in her that she thought were buried forever. Regardless of her fears, she knows she must face him in order for her heart to heal.
Everyone tells Carter that what happened on the mountain that night was just a terrible accident, but even then, he can’t help but carry around the guilt and is unable to forgive himself. He’s drawn to Holly and being near her helps ease his conscience and gives him the release he needs.
As Holly and Carter’s relationship grows, they begin to realize that the more time they spend with one another, the more their wounds begin to heal—her grief and his guilt. But when Holly learns the details about the night of the accident—what everyone has been keeping from her—it will rip open old wounds and tear apart what they’ve both worked so hard to overcome…
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Fall from Love is a quiet gem. It doesn't have any kind of hook that could make it a huge success, or any new and crazy topic that would make it an unforgettable read for me. It's a simple story, but one that I really enjoyed.

More than anything, Fall from Love is a love story. It's the story of Holly and Carter slowly reaching out to each other, something I really liked reading about. They start out as friend and then go back and forth about whether or not they should risk their friendship to try being something more than friends. I could see how that might annoy some readers, their constant indecisiveness and refusal to just get together already, but I for one found it interesting to read about their reluctance and all of that. My only issue is that the story stops so quickly after their final decision - I would've liked to see their relationship develop further on, to see whether their risk is worth it.

Asides from the romance, we have Holly's and Carter's individual stories. Holly's story, I really enjoyed - her grief is very real, and I liked seeing her heal and grow over the course of the novel. Carter's story, though, I found to be lacking. We get to know what his family has been through, but we never really get to see Carter dealing with that, and I wish that storyline could have been developed more.

It was really nice to read something that isn't YA for once! I love YA, but I'm glad this blog tour forced me to read something a little more mature for a change. I was actually really looking forward to reading something set in college - honestly, I had hoped it would be even more college-y. Holly doesn't live on campus, so we don't get to see a whole lot of college life. And just the feel of it all wasn't all that college-y - they're graduating, but it's never once mentioned what they're planning on doing after that. Still, I really liked reading about the college age group, even if college itself doesn't play too big a role.

I don't even know what else to say - this isn't the type of book that has me gushing about anything in particular, but I did really enjoy it as a whole. With a writing style that keeps the pages turning quickly and characters that come to life, Fall from Love is both an emotional story about loss and moving on and an insightful portrayal of love and relationships.


The author generously offered two paperback copies of Fall from Love to give away, open internationally! Enter using the form below.

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Sunday, June 23, 2013

My New Treasures #19

My New Treasures is a weekly feature here at Paperback Treasures to showcase all the books I received over the previous week. I do not take credit for this idea.

Graffiti Moon by Cath Crowley (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Something Like Normal by Trish Doller (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Review: This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith

Title: This Is What Happy Looks Like
Author: Jennifer E. Smith
Publisher: Poppy
Release date: April 2nd 2013
Pages: 416
Genre: Young Adult contemporary romance
Source: Bought a signed copy at Books of Wonder!
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Through a series of funny and poignant messages, Graham and Ellie make a true connection, sharing intimate details about their lives, hopes and fears. But they don't tell each other everything; Graham doesn't know the major secret hidden in Ellie's family tree, and Ellie is innocently unaware that Graham is actually a world-famous teen actor living in Los Angeles.
When the location for the shoot of Graham's new film falls through, he sees an opportunity to take their relationship from online to in-person, managing to get the production relocated to picturesque Henley, Maine, where Ellie lives. But can a star as famous as Graham have a real relationship with an ordinary girl like Ellie? And why does Ellie's mom want her to avoid the media's spotlight at all costs?
My rating: 3 out of 5 stars

The cover of this book is so cute! I love the font that just screams happy, and the picture is right between cute and cheesy. And that's what the actual novel is like too - it's a really cute love story, even if it's not all that realistic. It's more of a teenage-girl-fantasy than a meaningful love story, but it's a cute, charming, entertaining story nonetheless.

Really, cute is the only way to describe this novel. Yes, there are times when it gets a little too unrealistic and melodramatic (especially the drama between Ellie and Graham in the middle seemed unnecessary to me), but the story is so cute that I didn't really care. It's not even really supposed to be realistic - the premise itself is too good to be true, so you come in expecting exactly what you get: a crazy-dream type of set-up and a cute love story.

This Is What Happy Looks Like isn't just a love story, though - I enjoyed the smaller storylines just as much as the main one. Her family background is equally as out there and fun to imagine, and her friendship with Quinn has its fair share of drama, too. I really liked these storylines, and I wish we would've gotten to know even more about these parts of the novel. Especially at the end, I would have liked some more development in the family storyline.

One of the things I liked best about the novel were the first few pages, consisting entirely of Ellie's and Graham's emails. I wish we would have gotten to see more of those, even. I don't think we got to see enough of how the relationship between Ellie and Graham started - we see how they started talking, but I still don't know how it went from a couple of casual emails to a relationship involving emotions strong enough to make Graham convince the producers to shoot his latest movie in Ellie's hometown. I think getting to see more of their emails would have helped make their relationship more relatable.

The pacing is one aspect that I think could use some work. Jennifer E Smith's writing is absorbing, for the most part, but the pacing is what kept pulling me out of the story. The narrative switches a lot, from present to flashbacks, and it wasn't always clear what situation we were in. I think it has something to do with the point-of-view - since we have alternating chapters, the narrator would often go back to tell something that happened earlier from the other one's perspective, and that confused me in parts. The transitions didn't always make it clear whether we were in the present or the past.

Still, This Is What Happy Looks Like is a novel I couldn't help but enjoy. Not every part of it is perfect, but it's charming, cute, and brings a smile to your face. It's a great summer read that will definitely entertain you!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday #23: Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday is a meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish with a different topic for a top-ten list each week. You can find out more about it here.

The links will take you to the Goodreads pages.

This week's topic is: Top Ten Books on My TBR-List for Summer

This isn't necessarily what I'm reading this summer, just a list of the summer releases I'm most excited for!

1. Truly, Madly, Deadly by Hannah Jayne

A mystery about the death of the main character's abusive boyfriend sounds messed up and perfect for me.

2. Dangerous Girls by Abigail Haas

Another mystery, this one about a girl who everyone blames for her best friend's murder... I'm in!

3. The Infinite Moment of Us by Lauren Myracle

The description for this one doesn't sound all that special, but I love Lauren Myracle, and the cover is gorgeous, so I'm sure it'll be good!

4. Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller

Another book by TRISH DOLLER. The mastermind behind Something Like Normal. Give it to me RIGHT NOW. 

5. OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu

I love books about mental illness, and this one sounds so good!

6. Right of Way by Lauren Barnholdt

A companion to Two-Way Street? Yes. Yes yes yes.

7. Dirty Little Secret by Jennifer Echols

I will read anything Jennifer Echols writes. That is all.

These last three are kind of cheating since I have ARCs of them, but I haven't gotten to them yet and am super-excited for all of them, so I thought I'd include them anyways.

8. This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This one just sounds SO GOOD, and Leila Sales's books are always cute.

9. Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles

Jumping Off Swings is one of my favorite books of all time, so of course I'm reading the companion.

10. The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider

This one just sounds like such a ME book, and I've heard great things about it!

What summer releases are you most excited about?

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Review: What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen

Title: What Happened to Goodbye
Author: Sarah Dessen
Publisher: Speak
Release date: May 10th 2011
Pages: 402
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: Bought
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Another town. Another school. Another Mclean. Ever since her parents' bitter divorce, Mclean and her father have been fleeing their unhappy past. And Mclean's become a pro at reinventing herself with each move. But in Lakeview, Mclean finds herself putting down roots and making friends—in part, thanks to Dave, the most real person Mclean's ever met. Dave just may be falling in love with her, but can he see the person she really is? Does Mclean herself know?
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

Oh, Sarah Dessen. She really is the queen of contemporary YA. Excuse the cheesiness, but opening one of her books is like coming home - comfortable and just right. There's just something about her writing that makes it so easy to get lost in the story, to fall in love with her characters. And What Happened to Goodbye is no exception.

I love the way Sarah Dessen sets up her stories. I know that sounds vague and weird, but I just mean that she always has great scenarios that she puts her characters into, ones that are a little too crazy to actually happen to one of us, but never unrealistic. In What Happened to Goodbye, that's the family situation, which I loved. I don't even want to explain any of it because I loved discovering all of it on my own, but it's the perfect balance between out there and relatable, and I loved it. I also love how this scenario relates to the whole restaurant-thing - such a great backdrop for Mclean's story!

Mclean is a typical Dessen girl. She's easy to like and relate to, and her past is fascinating. She doesn't fall into any category easily, making it harder to figure out who she really is, but that's a big part of the reading experience. My only problem with her is that, at times, it annoyed me how reluctant she is to commit to anyone - yes, I get that's the point, and the book wouldn't have worked without it, but there were still parts where I wanted to take Mclean by the shoulders and shake her. Then again, that's what makes Dessen's characters so real.

Then there's Dave. Oh, Dave. Sarah Dessen definitely succeeded at torturing her readers with a tantalizingly slow romance. The romance never really takes center stage, which I appreciated because it works well with the story, but which also annoyed me to no end because Mclean and Dave are so freaking CUTE together. While Dave is not my favorite Dessen boy (that title will forever belong to Wes from The Truth About Forever), he definitely holds his own. What Happened to Goodbye has the perfect amount of swoon.

Another character I loved is Mclean's friend Deb - such a distinct personality! I wish we would have gotten to know the rest of her friends as well as we got to know her - Riley, Heather, and Ellis seem like they each have their own stories to tell, and I wish we could have know a little more about them.

All in all, What Happened to Goodbye is another great one from Sarah Dessen. With Dessen's trademark beautiful writing, vivid cast of characters, and great balance of wit and emotion, I enjoyed every minute of this novel. It's not my favorite of her books, but it's a solid addition to her collection of great contemporary YA novels.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Bookish Anticipation #24

Bookish Anticipation is a feature I do every once in a while to spotlight future releases I'm excited for. It was inspired by Breaking the Spine's Waiting on Wednesday. You can check out more of my Bookish Anticipation posts here.

Where the Stars Still Shine by Trish Doller
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Release date: September 24th 2013
Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She's never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love--even with someone who seems an improbable choice--is more than just a possibility.

Reclaimed by Sarah Guillory
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Release date: October 15th 2013
Jenna Oliver doesn’t have time to get involved with one boy, let alone two. All Jenna wants is to escape her evaporating small town and her alcoholic mother. She's determined she'll go to college and find a life that is wholly hers—one that isn't tainted by her family's past. But when the McAlister twins move to town and Jenna gets involved with both of them, she learns the life she planned may not be the one she gets.
Ian McAlister doesn't want to start over; he wants to remember. Ian can’t recall a single thing from the last three months—and he seems to be losing more memories every day. His family knows the truth, but no one will tell him what really happened before he lost his memory. When he meets Jenna, Ian believes that he can be normal again because she makes not remembering something he can handle.
The secret Ian can’t remember is the one Luke McAlister can’t forget. Luke has always lived in the shadow of his twin brother until Jenna stumbles into his life. She sees past who he’s supposed to be, and her kiss brings back the spark that life stole. Even though Luke feels like his brother deserves her more, Luke can’t resist Jenna—which is the trigger that makes Ian's memory return.
Jenna, Ian, & Luke are about to learn there are only so many secrets you can keep before the truth comes to reclaim you.

Dead Girls Don't Lie by Jennifer Shaw Wolf
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Release date: September 17th 2013
Rachel died at two a.m . . . Three hours after Skyler kissed me for the first time. Forty-five minutes after she sent me her last text.
Jaycee and Rachel were best friends. But that was before. . .before that terrible night at the old house. Before Rachel shut Jaycee out. Before Jaycee chose Skyler over Rachel. Then Rachel is found dead. The police blame a growing gang problem in their small town, but Jaycee is sure it has to do with that night at the old house. Rachel’s text is the first clue—starting Jaycee on a search that leads to a shocking secret. Rachel’s death was no random crime, and Jaycee must figure out who to trust before she can expose the truth. 

Meet Me at the River by Nina de Gramont
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Release date: October 15th 2013
Stepsiblings Tressa and Luke have been close since they were little…and when they become teenagers, they slip from being best friends to being something more. Their relationship makes everyone around them uncomfortable, but they can’t—won’t—deny their connection. Nothing can keep them apart.
Not even death. Luke is killed in a horrible, tragic accident, and Tressa is suddenly and desperately alone. Unable to outrun the waves of grief and guilt and longing, she is haunted by thoughts of suicide. And then she is haunted by Luke himself.
He visits only at night. But when he’s with her, it’s almost like the accident never happened. Oh, there are reminders, from the way she can only feel him when he touches the scars on her wrist, to how she can’t seem to tell him about life since he’s been gone. As long as they’re together, though, the rest…it fades away.
But during the day it is Tressa who can’t grasp hold of the people around her. The same people who never wanted her and Luke together in the first place are determined to help her move on. Determined to help her heal. They just don’t understand—one misstep, one inch forward, could leave Luke behind forever.

Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally
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Release date: December 3rd 2013
They’re from two different worlds.
He lives in the estate house, and she spends most of her time in the stables helping her father train horses. In fact, Savannah has always been much more comfortable around horses than boys. Especially boys like Jack Goodwin—cocky, popular and completely out of her league. She knows the rules: no mixing between the staff and the Goodwin family. But Jack has no such boundaries.
With her dream of becoming a horse jockey, Savannah isn’t exactly one to follow the rules either. She’s not going to let someone tell her a girl isn’t tough enough to race. Sure, it’s dangerous. Then again, so is dating Jack…

3:59 by Gretchen McNeil
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Release date: September 17th 2013
Josie Byrne's life is spiraling out of control. Her parents are divorcing, her boyfriend Nick has grown distant, and her physics teacher has it in for her. When she's betrayed by the two people she trusts most, Josie thinks things can't get worse.
Until she starts having dreams about a girl named Jo. Every night at the same time—3:59 a.m.
Jo's life is everything Josie wants: she's popular, her parents are happily married, and Nick adores her. It all seems real, but they're just dreams, right? Josie thinks so, until she wakes one night to a shadowy image of herself in the bedroom mirror – Jo.
Josie and Jo realize that they are doppelgängers living in parallel universes that overlap every twelve hours at exactly 3:59. Fascinated by Jo's perfect world, Josie jumps at the chance to jump through the portal and switch places for a day.
But Jo’s world is far from perfect. Not only is Nick not Jo's boyfriend, he hates her. Jo's mom is missing, possibly insane. And at night, shadowy creatures feed on human flesh.
By the end of the day, Josie is desperate to return to her own life. But there’s a problem: Jo has sealed the portal, trapping Josie in this dangerous world. Can she figure out a way home before it’s too late?

Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles
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Release date: September 10th 2013

*companion to Jumping Off Swings*
This isn’t how Josh expected to spend senior year. He thought he’d be hanging out with his best friends, Dave and Caleb, driving around, partying, just like always. But here he is, miles from home — new school, new life, living with his Jackie-Chan-obsessed uncle, Larry, and trying to forget. But Josh can’t forget. So many things bring back memories of last year and the night that changed everything. Every day the pain, the shame, and the just not knowing are never far from his thoughts. Why is he such a loser? How could he have done what he did? He finds some moments of peace when he practices karate with Stella, the girl upstairs and his one real friend. As they move together through the katas, Josh feels connected in a way he has never felt before. He wonders if they could be more than friends, but Stella’s jealous boyfriend will make sure that doesn’t happen. And maybe it doesn’t matter. If Stella knew the truth, would she still think he was a True Karate Man?

Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
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Release date: December 24th 2013
When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.
As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.

The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace
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Release date: September 8th 2013
Madelyn Hawkins is super smart. At sixteen, she's so gifted that she can attend college through a special program at her high school. On her first day, she meets Bennet. He's cute, funny, and kind. He understands Madelyn and what she's endured - and missed out on - in order to excel academically and please her parents. Now, for the first time in her life, she's falling in love.
There's only one problem. Bennet is Madelyn's college professor, and he thinks she's eighteen - because she hasn't told him the truth.
The story of their forbidden romance is told in letters that Madelyn writes to Bennet - both a heart-searing ode to their ill-fated love and an apology.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Cover Reveal: Being Kalli by Rebecca Berto

Today is the cover reveal for Being Kalli by Rebecca Berto!

Being Kalli is a new adult contemporary romance. Here's what it's all about:
There are two things you should know about Kalli Perkins.
1. She’d rather do it in public than be alone with a guy.
2. She loves her little brothers more than her mom does.
Kalli doesn’t pretend to be a good girl. At nineteen, she’s never been in love and doesn’t ever intend to be. She has her issues handled. She’s managed to keep the secret of what happened to her nine years ago from her mother, although her mother’s usually high anyway and barely notices Kalli or her little brothers.
One night at a party, Kalli makes a bet with her friend, Nate, that could change everything. Their friend, Scout, tells them there’s no uncrossing the friendship line once it’s crossed—even though they were both drunk. But Kalli can’t imagine how anyone could want her damaged self for anything more.
She didn’t count on Nate. Nate’s very capable of satisfying her not only under her clothes, but in her heart, too.
She just doesn’t know it yet.
You can add it on Goodreads and stalk the author on her Website, Goodreads, Facebook, and Twitter.

What do you think of the cover?

Sunday, June 09, 2013

BEA Recap!

World, I got to go to BEA this year! *cue manic laughing* And since I loved it so much, I wanted to share my excitement with the rest of you and tell you about the fun things I did - I promise I won't go rambling off on everything, though, because so many recaps have been posted already. I already posted a vlog on all the books I got  (which you can check out here), so this will just be a compilation of the fun stuff I did in NYC.

I got to NYC Tuesday morning, and spent the day just walking around the city. I also went to Books of Wonder, NYC's famous independent children's bookseller, where I ended up buying a whole stack of signed books, which means I already had a bunch of books before the convention even started. Oops!

Wednesday was the BEA Bloggers Conference. There's been a bunch of posts about the shortcomings of the conference, and I do at least partly agree with them - some of the speakers and panels weren't the best. But honestly, I didn't even care about any of that because I was just overwhelmed by being with so many bookish people at once. I'd never met another book blogger before, so being in a room full of them was pretty crazy, and I had a great time talking to everyone about bookish things. That night, I went to the Teen Author Carnival, a discussion panel and signing featuring Elizabeth Scott, David Levithan, Susane Colasanti, Jennifer E Smith, and Leila Sales, among others. I got there late, sadly, so I didn't get to see all of it, but the part of the panel discussions I did see were great!

On Thursday, actual Book Expo America started. And for a first-time BEA attendee, it was crazy. I'd read a lot of stuff about BEA before coming there, so I sort of knew what to expect, but it was still an overwhelming experience. I spent most of the day walking around in awe of the craziness and the sheer amount of bookish people in one place. I also went to signings by Jennifer Castle (who knew who I was!!) and Susane Colasanti, which was awesome. That night, I went to a panel and signing featuring a bunch of authors, the only one I was really excited about being Sarah Dessen - that's right, I got to meet Sarah Dessen. BEA experience complete.

Me awkwardly posing with Sarah Dessen
On Friday, I knew what to expect, but there were way more signings I wanted to go to, so things felt even crazier. I went to the HarlequinTeen event, which means I got to meet Katie McGarry and Elizabeth Scott (who knew who I was and broke the no-hugs-in-the-signing-line rule for me!). I also went to signings for Anna Jarzab, Leila Sales, Simone Elkeles, Jenny Han, and Siobhan Vivian, which was really exciting. And in one of those lines, I stood behind Elizabeth Scott, so I got to chat with her some more, and now these exist:

Elizabeth Scott making her famous zombie face at me
Elizabeth Scott and me being semi-normal
Friday after the conference, I went to the Blogger Picnic, which was, like, the best idea ever - I had so much fun meeting other bloggers! Here's me with Hannah from The Girl in a Cafe and Shelver's Anonymous.

Add the bridge in Central Park after the Blogger Picnic

Saturday was the last day of BEA, and it was a little bit less crazy. I went to signings by Cat Patrick and Suzanne Young, Laurie Boyle Crompton, and Jessica Verdi, so that was fun, but then I left pretty early and decided to be antisocial that afternoon and walked around the city by myself - which is great, too; I just love walking around NYC.

I stayed an extra day after the conference, so on Sunday, I met up with Hannah to do touristy things. We went to Staten Island, where we walked around and went to a tiny, random museum, which was really cool. Then we came back to Manhattan and ate at Joe's Pizza, which is probably the best pizza either of us has ever had. And right next to the pizza place is a Popsicle Bar, where we had fun combining popsicles with toppings and fun stuff. We had a great time exploring New York City together!

And on Monday, sadly, it was time to fly back home...

But all in all, I had an amazing time. It was a fun, albeit overwhelming, experience, and I really hope I can be a part of it again next year!

Thursday, June 06, 2013

Review: My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi

Title: My Life After Now
Author: Jessica Verdi
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: April 1st 2013
Pages: 287
Genre: Young Adult contemporary
Source: BEA - I received a free copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thanks!
Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon
Lucy just had the worst week ever. Seriously, mega bad. And suddenly, it’s all too much—she wants out. Out of her house, out of her head, out of her life. She wants to be a whole new Lucy. So she does something the old Lucy would never dream of.
And now her life will never be the same. Now, how will she be able to have a boyfriend? What will she tell her friends? How will she face her family? Now, every moment is a precious gift. She never thought being positive could be so negative. But now, everything’s different…because now she’s living with HIV.
My rating: 4 out of 5 stars 

I loved this book so much - every part of it was perfect for me. I'm so glad there's finally a YA book out about this issue, and I love the way it's handled in My Life After Now. Lucy's story is an important one, and I'm so glad I got to read it.

The whole idea of this novel is fascinating. Like the tagline of the novel says, you never think it will happen to you, so I hadn't given it too much thought what it would be like to live with HIV, to be honest. My Life After Now really opened my eyes to the struggles related with this disease; how it affects not only your health but also your relationships and the way people see you. I oftentimes found myself wondering how I would have dealt in Lucy's case - whom to tell, for example, is such a hard question. The portrayal of Lucy's life with HIV is very open and honest; I thought I knew the most important things about the disease, but this book still taught me quite a bit with it's educational but not preachy approach.

Lucy is a girl living with HIV, but that is by far not all she is; I loved reading about all the other aspects of her life as well. For example, the family storyline is great. I don't want to give anything away, but her family is different, and I had very strong emotions towards her family members. Then there's Lucy's friends, whom I loved. (Except for the fact that the whole two-girls-and-one-gay-guy-as-best-friends thing is kind of overdone. That made me think about how there's so many gay guys as friends in YA, but never any gay girls. Can we get a lesbian as more than a stereotype in YA soon, please?) Anyways, Courtney and Max are a great support system for Lucy, and I liked seeing their relationship evolve over the course of the novel. Then there's the romance, which is an important part of the novel but never really takes center stage, which I appreciated - it's just kind of there, a part of Lucy's life, and it's integrated into the story in a casual kind of way that I loved. My favorite character is probably Roxy - I loved reading about the support group! I also love how it all centers around drama club and acting, since that added a lot to the story as well.

I'm glad someone finally tackled this issue in YA, and I'm happy it was Jessica Verdi. Her writing is captivating and made My Life After Now a great read. It's eye-opening as well as entertaining, and I loved it. I can't wait to read more from this author!

Tuesday, June 04, 2013

Review: Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys

Title: Between Shades of Gray
Author: Ruta Sepetys
Publisher: Speak
Release date: March 22nd 2011
Pages: 338
Genre: Historical Young Adult fiction
Source: Bought
It's 1941 and fifteen-year-old artist Lina Vilkas is on Stalin's extermination list. Deported to a prison camp in Siberia, Lina fights for her life, fearless, risking everything to save her family. It's a long and harrowing journey and it is only their incredible strength, love, and hope that pull Lina and her family through each day. But will love be enough to keep them alive?

My rating: 5 out of 5 stars

I have no idea how to write this review - I don't think anything I can write will do this book justice, and none of my words could convey how powerful this novel is. I'm an idiot for waiting so long to read Between Shades of Gray; it is every bit as amazing as all those other glowing reviews have already claimed. Just read it, and you'll see it, too.

The emotions this book conveys are indescribable. Obviously, this is a sad, sad book, because terrible things happen. But what had me crying - bawling, really, and attracting stares from everyone around me, since I read this on a plane - even more than the sheer horror of the events, was the characters' attitudes towards these events. Hope and love are the prevalent themes throughout the novel and especially Lina's character, and those are the emotions that struck me most. Somehow, though, the hope and the love expressed by the characters made the whole thing even more heartbreaking.

The characters are what give the story such immense power. Even though we only see snippets of the characters' lives and only get to see them under such extreme circumstances, I felt like I really got to know them. The little things are what make it work, and each character, no matter how small, has some kind of depth to it, making all of them memorable characters. I especially liked how these characters blur the lines of what is good and what is bad.

Ruta Sepetys's beautiful writing doesn't hurt, either. I don't even know how to describe her writing, it's simply gorgeous. There are literary gems throughout this novel, making me want to quote basically all of it.

Between Shades of Gray is such an important book. It's specific to the historic events, opening the reader's eyes to the horrors that occurred in this context. But it also has a very timeless feel to it; it conveys the theme of love and hope in any situation. Heart-wrenching and powerful, this is a book that should not be missed.

Sunday, June 02, 2013

My New Treasures #18 (BEA Edition!)

My New Treasures is a weekly feature here at Paperback Treasures to showcase all the books I received over the previous week. I do not take credit for this idea.

Sorry the video is so long - lots of books to go through!


Just One Day by Gayle Forman *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Requiem by Lauren Oliver *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E Smith *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
17 & Gone by Nova Ren Suma *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Send Me a Sign by Tiffany Schmidt *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
The Moon and More by Sarah Dessen *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
What Happened to Goodbye by Sarah Dessen *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)


Cherry Money Baby by John M Cusick (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Living with Jackie Chan by Jo Knowles (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
3:59 by Gretchen McNeil *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
You Look Different in Real Life by Jennifer Castle *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
All I Need by Susane Colasanti *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
The Truth About You and Me by Amanda Grace (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
If You Could Be Mine by Sara Farizan *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Tandem by Anna Jarzab *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Fire with Fire by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Wild Cards by Simone Elkeles *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Heartbeat by Elizabeth Scott *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Dare You To by Katie McGarry *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
The Beginning of Everything by Robyn Schneider (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
Blaze (or Love in the Time of Supervillains) by Laurie Boyle Crompton *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)
My Life After Now by Jessica Verdi *signed* (Add to Goodreads | Purchase from Amazon)


signed poster for Allegiant by Veronica Roth
T-shirt for Just Like Fate by Cat Patrick & Suzanne Young
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