Friday, January 29, 2016

Missing Pieces ~ Heather Gudenkauf (earc) review [@hgudenkauf @MIRAEditors @HarlequinBooks]

Missing Pieces
MIRA
February 2, 2016
288 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


A woman uncovers earth-shattering secrets about her husband's family in this chilling page-turner from New York Times bestselling author Heather Gudenkauf

Sarah Quinlan's husband, Jack, has been haunted for decades by the untimely death of his mother when he was just a teenager, her body found in the cellar of their family farm, the circumstances a mystery. The case rocked the small farm town of Penny Gate, Iowa, where Jack was raised, and for years Jack avoided returning home. But when his beloved aunt Julia is in an accident, hospitalized in a coma, Jack and Sarah are forced to confront the past that they have long evaded.

Upon arriving in Penny Gate, Sarah and Jack are welcomed by the family Jack left behind all those years ago—barely a trace of the wounds that had once devastated them all. But as facts about Julia's accident begin to surface, Sarah realizes that nothing about the Quinlans is what it seems. Caught in a flurry of unanswered questions, Sarah dives deep into the puzzling rabbit hole of Jack's past. But the farther in she climbs, the harder it is for her to get out. And soon she is faced with a deadly truth she may not be prepared for.

I owe a very large thank you to whoever designed the cover (this one) of The Weight of Silence. It is, absolutely, because of the cover that I first picked that book up and first discovered Heather Gudenkauf. I have read The Weight of Silence, These Things Hidden, One Breath Away, Little Lies, Little Mercies and now Missing Pieces (reviews here) and greatly enjoyed them all.

Missing Pieces had a bit of a different feel - or perhaps tone? - than the previous novels but still has those interwoven, complicated, sometimes twisted relationships I loved in those books.

I really liked the darker, eerier family past and secrets paired with the pretty backdrop of rural Iowa and small town Penny's Gate. Starting the book with a scene featuring Lydia, Jack's mother really pulls you into the story. Not only due to what happens with her, but then when we begin Jack and Sarah's story and see that things may not be what they seem. We have a heard start on Sarah in knowing that she may not know the truth.

I thought that her journalistic background was a very smart means of introducing her desire to learn the truth, to investigate. It means we get now only a wife who wants to know about her husband, about the tragedy that occurred, but also a reporter wanting to get to the facts.

Some of the 'mystery' did feel a bit easy to guess at, at least on the surface, but any suspicions you have as a reader only add to the tension. Especially when Sarah is still questioning things and not wary of people you really think she ought to be. (I did not, however, understand her near immediate dislike of one character - at least not the level of it.)

How everything ultimately comes together and what the full truth is was definitely unexpected, even given some of what I had already deduced. I do think that Missing Pieces delves more into being a mystery/suspense/thriller novel than the author's earlier books but it really works. The characters and their relationships (past and present) still play a significant, important role.





Another book you may also enjoy: Notorious (Max Revere #1) by Allison Brennan 




digital copy received from publisher, via NetGalley

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Burning Midnight ~ Will McIntosh (earc) review [@WillMcIntoshSF @randomhousekids]

Burning Midnight
Delacorte Press
February 2, 2016
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon

For fans of The Maze Runner and The Fifth Wave, this debut YA novel from Hugo Award winner Will McIntosh pits four underprivileged teens against an evil billionaire in the race of a lifetime.

Sully is a sphere dealer at a flea market. It doesn’t pay much—Alex Holliday’s stores have muscled out most of the independent sellers—but it helps him and his mom make the rent. No one knows where the brilliant-colored spheres came from. One day they were just there, hidden all over the earth like huge gemstones. Burn a pair and they make you a little better: an inch taller, skilled at math, better-looking. The rarer the sphere, the greater the improvement—and the more expensive the sphere.

When Sully meets Hunter, a girl with a natural talent for finding spheres, the two start searching together. One day they find a Gold—a color no one has ever seen. And when Alex Holliday learns what they have, he will go to any lengths, will use all of his wealth and power, to take it from them.

There’s no question the Gold is priceless, but what does it actually do? None of them is aware of it yet, but the fate of the world rests on this little golden orb. Because all the world fights over the spheres, but no one knows where they come from, what their powers are, or why they’re here.
There was a lot of the unexpected when it came to Burning Midnight and I loved the surprises it had in store.

Sully and Dom are great best friends. At the outset, Dom seems like that perfect foil-slash-best-friend or goofy best friend sidekick character. He is girl crazy while Sully maybe isn't over his ex, his relationship with his parents is just about the opposite of Sully's with his mother and he isn't as serious. They make a great match as friends and for the beginning of the book. What I ended up loving most, though, is when Dom steps outside and beyond the funny, reliable best friend role. It was a surprise to me and to Sully but it worked really, really well and lead things in a great direction.

In Burning Midnight the world is almost the same as our own, except thanks to the spheres, hidden all around the world, some people have special talents or skills. Some have more than others, some even have none (by choice, circumstance, or both).

The way the book begins, with (relatively) normal life for Sully, his mother and friends makes the move farther into Will McIntosh's fantasy even better. Though it is almost sudden, it is also a very smooth transition.We have gotten comfortable with the world as it is, just like Sully has, and then when things are stepped up, it is exciting and fun.

The friendship, the romance, the issues of and around money, who has it, who doesn't, and who really doesn't and, possibly, the chance for anyone to improve their lives - not forgetting the consequences that may come with that - all make for an unforgettable, action filled, fantastic story. I really hope there is more of the Burning Midnight world to come.







review copy received, from publisher, via NetGalley

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

The Year We Fell Apart ~ Emily Martin (earc) review [@thatEmilyMartin @simonteen]

The Year We Fell Apart
Simon Pulse
January 26, 2016
320 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from Book Depository/or Amazon


In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from—and fix—her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different—he’s taller, stronger…more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

In this honest and affecting tale of friendship and first love, Emily Martin brings to vivid life the trials and struggles of high school and the ability to learn from past mistakes over the course of one steamy North Carolina summer.
I really love the setup of Declan and Harper's relationship in The Year We Fell Apart. (The idea is somewhat similar to Last Year's Mistake but wholly different in the details, specifics.)

They are two people - two seventeen-year-olds - who have a lot of history together, then missed out on (or were excluded from) nearly a year of each other's lives, and now they're back together. Or, rather, they're in the same town, around the same people but with quite a bit of distance still between them.

I love the idea of two, used to be best friends who let things happen and ruined their relationship only to, now, find themselves in each other's presence again not sure they want it to be over and done with.

The addition of all that has happened to Harper in the year that Declan was away and how they were separate but also so intrinsically linked elevated the story. We have all of Harper's pain, her frustration, sometimes her acceptance and all of her mixed up emotions over her mother's breast cancer, Declan being back, how things ended with him, how she feels about him, who she's been over the last year, what everyone's saying about her, who she used to be and who she wants to be.

Harper, Declan, Cory, and all of the other characters really are great. The interactions, their past, the way the new characters shake things up, the secrets some of them are keeping from the others (good, bad or both) and how everyone's stories are woven together makes for a really enjoyable book. There is a nice balance of the serious, the painful, the hard with the goofy, funny, sweet and even romantic.

The Year We Fell Apart is a sweet, poignant, real book and you will be happy you read Harper and Declan's tale.








received from the publisher, via NetGalley, for review

Waiting On Wednesday [@MacKidsBooks @FeiwelFriends]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine

My pick for this week:



INTO WHITE by Randi Pink

LaToya Williams lives in Montgomery, Alabama, and attends a mostly white high school. It seems as if her only friend is her older brother, Alex. Toya doesn’t know where she fits in, but after a run-in with another student, she wonders if life would be different if she were . . . different. And then a higher power answers her prayer: to be “anything but black.”

Toya is suddenly white, blond, and popular. Now what?

Randi Pink’s audacious fiction debut dares to explore a subject that will spark conversations about race, class, and gender

published September 13th by Feiwel & Friends

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon


Why?

There are a lot of different directions Toya's story could take, different ways the book could approach a lot of subjects and I, very much, want to see what happens and how.

Into White has a provocative title and description and I am hoping there's an equally well done story and characters, too.

Now what? Exactly.



That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

The Mystery of Hollow Places ~ Rebecca Podos Tour Review + Cast + Playlist + Giveaway [@RebeccaPodos @The_FFBC @epicreads]


The Mystery of Hollow Places
by Rebecca Podos
Balzer & Bray
January 26, 2016
304 pages
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Mystery


All Imogene Scott knows of her mother is the bedtime story her father told her as a child. It's the story of how her parents met: he, a forensic pathologist, she, a mysterious woman who came to identify a body. A woman who left Imogene and her father when she was a baby, a woman who was always possessed by a powerful loneliness, a woman who many referred to as troubled waters.

When Imogene is seventeen, her father, now a famous author of medical mysteries, strikes out in the middle of the night and doesn't come back. Neither Imogene's stepmother nor the police know where he could've gone, but Imogene is convinced he's looking for her mother. She decides to put to use the skills she's gleaned from a lifetime of her father's books to track down a woman she's never known, in order to find him and, perhaps, the answer to the question she's carried with her for her entire life.

Rebecca Podos' debut is a powerful, affecting story of the pieces of ourselves that remain mysteries even to us - the desperate search through empty spaces for something to hold on to.





The Mystery of Hollow Places is a book I have been wanting to read for a while - so much about it appealed to me: the mystery, Imogene's father was a forensic pathologist turned novel writer, the absence of her mother, Imogene's decision to find her mother. Now that I have read Rebecca Podos' novel, I know it was even better than I expected.

Imogene has a love of mysteries - from her father's novels to those featuring Sherlock Holmes, Nancy Drew and beyond. While her stepmother and the police have their ideas about finding her father, Imogene has her own plan. She is sure he's looking for her mother and that if she can find the woman who left them so many years ago, she will also find her father.

She may just be a high school student, but years of reading as the great detectives solve their mysteries has her sure she can solve her own.

Imogene does definitely come up with some creative and intelligent (though  not always strictly legal) ways of finding information to aid her in her search. I liked how she came up with the next steps, what to do, how to do them and the information she hoped to gleam. 

It also worked really well that, even as she uncovered shocking or startling information, facts that could throw her off of her plan, she kept moving forward. She did either deny some implications or push them off to later, but the way that you knew she was still aware of them, still had them in her head was compelling. Even as she seemed to really be sticking to her plan, her search, you had to wonder how far she would be able to take it.

I also really loved that Imogene's personal life - her friendship with Jessa, her crush on Chad, her relationship with Lindy, especially in the absence of her father - was very much a part of the story. Even if her attention was mainly on finding her mother (and through her, her father), we still got a great look at Imogene and Jessa, the history of their friendship along with the present.

The Mystery of Hollow Places is a well done mystery in how Imogene discovers her clues, how she tracks down information and pieces things together. The mystery is not the neat 'who committed x crime' of mystery, detective novels but is, instead, about Imogene, her family, their past, the secrets and truth and what it all means for and about her.

I loved Imogene, her friends and how they helped her to discover the truth - and how they each dealt with and reacted to the discoveries along the way. (Imogene also gets extra love from me for her love of Rebecca.)




Malese Jow as Imogene

Bella Thorne as Jessa

Freddie Stroma as Chadwick

Kelly Rutherford (ala Gossip Girl) as Lindy






















(This should actually be Lifts You Up. - it's playing as that on my computer, but . . .)



Read an excerpt of THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES on Epic Reads:

The Mystery Of Hollow Places | Books | Epic Reads


 photo addtogoodreadssmall_zpsa2a6cf28.png photo B6096376-6C81-4465-8935-CE890C777EB9-1855-000001A1E900B890_zps5affbed6.jpg


Follow the The Mystery of Hollow Places by Rebecca Podos Blog Tour and don't miss anything! Click on the banner to see the tour schedule.



Rebecca Podos' debut YA novel, THE MYSTERY OF HOLLOW PLACES, is forthcoming from Balzer + Bray (HarperCollins) on 1/26/16. A graduate of the Writing, Literature and Publishing program at Emerson College where she won the M.F.A. Award for Best Thesis, her fiction has been published in Glimmer Train, Glyph, CAJE, Paper Darts, Bellows American Review, and Smokelong Quarterly. Past Awards include the Helman Award for Short Fiction, the David Dornstein Memorial Creative Writing Prize for Young Adult Writers, and the Hillerman-McGarrity Scholarship for Creative Writing. She works as a YA and MG agent at the Rees Literary Agency in Boston.







US ONLY






Cover Reveal: Love Me, Love Me Not ~ Alyxandra Harvey [@chapterxchapter @entangledteen @AlyxandraH]


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YA Fantasy/Fairytale retelling of The Swan Maiden with a blood feud twist like Romeo & Juliet? Say whaaaat?
Welcome to the cover reveal for
Love Me, Love Me Not by Alyxandra Harvey
presented by Entangled Teen Crave!
Who else is excited for this book???

LoveMeLoveMeNot_1600

Dating isn’t easy when you’re in the middle of a blood feud.

Anastasia Vila’s family can turn into swans, but just once she’d like them to turn into responsible adults.

After hundreds of years, they still cling to the blood feud with the Renard family. No one remembers how it started in the first place—but foxes and swans just don’t get along.

Vilas can only transform into their swan shape after they have fallen in love for the first time, but between balancing schoolwork, family obligations, and the escalating blood feud, Ana’s got no time for love. The only thing keeping her sane is her best friend, Pierce Kent.

But when Pierce kisses Ana, everything changes.

Is what Pierce feels for her real, or a byproduct of her magic? Can she risk everything for her best friend? And when the family feud spirals out of control, Ana must stop the fight before it takes away everything she loves.

Including, maybe...Pierce.

This Entangled Teen Crave book contains language, violence, and lots of kissing. Warning: it might induce strong feelings of undeniable attraction for your best friend.
add to goodreads
Love Me, Love Me Not by Alyxandra Harvey
Publication Date: February 22, 2016
Publisher: Entangled Teen Crave
About-the-Author2
alyxandra-harvey

Alyxandra Harvey lives in a stone Victorian house in Ontario, Canada with a few resident ghosts who are allowed to stay as long as they keep company manners. She loves medieval dresses, used to be able to recite all of The Lady of Shalott by Tennyson, and has been accused, more than once, of being born in the wrong century. She believes this to be mostly true except for the fact that she really likes running water, women’s rights, and ice cream. Aside from the ghosts, she also lives with her husband and their dogs. She likes cinnamon lattes, tattoos and books.
Connect with the author:
Website


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