Excerpt & Giveaway: Independently Wealthy by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Independently Wealthy_Tour Banner

 

On December 2nd, Lorraine Zago Rosenthal’s third novel released. Independently Wealthy is a follow up to Lorraine’s second novel New Money, but it can also be read as a stand alone. Today I have an excerpt of the book and am offering a giveaway.

Independently WealthySummary (From Goodreads):

In New Money, Savannah Morgan was thrust into high-society New York when she learned she was the sole heir to her father’s billion-dollar fortune. In Independently Wealthy, she is living her dream life on the Upper West Side, excelling at her job as an editorial assistant, and enjoying her handsome new boyfriend, Alex.

Everything in Savannah’s life should be perfect—but she can’t ignore the questions and scandal surrounding her father’s fatal accident. Her hopes of solving this mystery are shared by Caroline Stone—her newfound sister who is slowly becoming a friend. Savannah decides to investigate, although not everyone wants her to discover the truth. Her domineering older brother, Ned, has his own problems, including a lingering regret over his recent divorce, the constant pressure of running the Stone media empire, and managing a playboy bachelorhood. As Savannah’s quest for justice becomes complicated and dangerous, she is led to Washington, D.C., an alluring stranger, and more surprises, trouble, and changes than she ever could have imagined.

Lorraine Zago Rosenthal 2014About the author:

LORRAINE ZAGO ROSENTHAL was born and raised in New York City. She is a graduate of the University of South Florida, and earned a Master’s in English from Northern Kentucky University. Lorraine’s debut novel, Other Words for Love, was published in 2011, and her second novel, New Money, was published in 2013. Currently, she lives near Cincinnati, Ohio with her husband.

 

 

 

 

A portion of chapter 1:

One

 “It’s true,” I said as I gazed at the gilded statue of Prometheus, the massive tree dotted with colored lights, and the swarm of people in winter coats who were skating across the ice. “Manhattan really is the best place to be for Christmas.”

 “It sure is,” Alex said, “especially when I’m with the most beautiful woman in the city.”

 He was sitting across from me at a table beside a window in the Rock Center Café, which was filled with a Saturday-night dinner crowd and the sound of Christina Aguilera singing “Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas.”

 I grinned while I admired Alex’s thick, dark hair and the broad shoulders beneath his black sweater. The white lights framing the rink sparkled in his blue eyes.

 He flashed me a smile and turned his attention to a waitress who’d just arrived at our table. He gave his order while I glanced around the casual but upscale restaurant that had chairs covered in beige leather and walls decorated with Andy Warhol’s art. I was studying one of the paintings when the waitress asked if Alex wanted an appetizer before his entrée.

 “No, thanks,” he said, handing her his menu.

 I frowned. He’d gotten better at accepting gifts from me, but he still tried to be a cheap date whenever I insisted that dinner was my treat.

 “A big boy like you,” I said, “needs a healthy meal. Get an appetizer.”

 It took a moment for him to let out a chagrined laugh. “Yes, ma’am,” he said finally. Then we put in our orders, the waitress left, and Alex reached across the table to pinch my cheek. “You’re trying to fatten me up, Savannah.”

 I shook my head, thinking of all the times he’d walked into my bedroom after a shower, wearing nothing but a towel and glittering beads of water on his skin. “I wouldn’t do that. I’m much too fond of the way you look right now.”

 He smiled shyly. “So your mother and Tina are flying in soon?”

I nodded and took the lemon wedge off my glass. “In ten days … they’ll be here Christmas morning. My office is closing early the night before and won’t reopen until January second, so I’ll have plenty of time to spend with them. And Mom can’t wait to meet you.”

 Alex’s smile widened as the waitress returned with a shrimp cocktail for him and a crab cake for me. I started eating, but he didn’t.

 “What’s wrong?” I asked.

 “Nothing, actually,” he said. “Ever since we got back together, I’ve felt happier than I have in years.”

 I reached out to squeeze his arm. “That’s so sweet.”

 He put his hand over mine. “Like I’ve said before … if it weren’t for you, I wouldn’t be a published author.”

 I smiled, thinking about his short story inside the pages of a literary journal. The story had come out earlier this month, and I’d had it framed for him. I’d done the same for my first story in Femme. “You give too much credit to me and not enough to yourself,” I said, sitting back in my chair. “It’s great work, and it deserved to be published. Was your dad impressed?”

 Alex shrugged. “I couldn’t tell. He seemed more interested in my brother’s new stockbroker job on Wall Street. I don’t know … I just wish my mother was alive to see me finally doing something with my writing.”

 “She still sees,” I said.

 He gave me a faint smile. “Of course my father had to remind me that one publication doesn’t make a career.” He glanced out the window at a row of novice skaters limping past. “But maybe his cynicism will crack when I tell him about my new job.”

 I raised an eyebrow, surprised. “What new job?”

 He looked at me. “I didn’t want to say anything until it was definite … and it’s really no big deal … but I got hired at an advertising agency. I’ll just be a proofreader, and I only landed the position because I know a senior copyeditor there … I met him at the gym. But he saw my story in the journal and knew I wanted a better job than bartending, so he used the publication and my degree to get me in. I’ll be proofing TV copy … and I start right after New Year’s.”

 I clasped my hands together. “That’s fantastic, Alex. I don’t know much about advertising agencies, but which one is it?”

 “Fletcher, Cole, Goddard and Bristol,” he said so quickly that the names ran together. “Fletcher Cole for short. It’s on Madison Avenue … and it’s a prestigious agency. I’ll have a more stable schedule and I might make some acting contacts … who knows.”

 “Fletcher Cole,” I repeated, imagining how delectable he’d look heading off to work in a suit each morning and sipping a Gibson Martini at his desk every afternoon—even though workplace drinking had been outlawed decades ago and the agency’s dress code was probably business casual. Still, my Mad Men fantasy was so sexy, I just had to indulge it.

 I slipped my cell out of the Gucci purse I’d bought last July. “I’m so happy for you … and Mom will be, too. I have to call and tell her.”

 He reached across the table and gingerly extracted the phone from my fingers. “I don’t want to brag. Your mother will think I’m an arrogant jerk before we’ve even met.”

 I smiled and dropped the phone back into my purse. “You’re not even close to being a jerk. But I understand … so I’ll tell just her when she’s here. And I’m very proud of you.” I stood up, walked toward him, and leaned down to plant a kiss on his mouth while Mariah Carey sang “All I Want for Christmas Is You.

 The song was stuck in my head when we walked into my darkened apartment later that night. I’d finally given in and hired a cleaning lady—but only because I’d been working so much that I didn’t have time to vacuum and dust—and she’d banished the stench of Tina’s Marlboros. Now the place smelled fresh and clean like the Norway spruce in a corner of the living room, beside my windows that overlooked Central Park.

 I flipped a switch. The tree brightened with blinking white lights that made the silver tinsel on the branches shimmer. There were lots of boxes underneath—presents for Mom and Tina and Alex—wrapped in dark-blue foil and tied with silver bows.

 “Oh,” I said with a gasp as I stood there in my coat. “Isn’t it pretty?”

 Alex nodded and pulled me toward him. “Just like you.”

 The cold leather on his jacket rubbed against me when he pressed his lips to mine. We stayed there for a while, just kissing in the middle of the room as the Christmas lights twinkled. His mouth was so warm and he kissed so well, but I remembered something that made me take a step back.

Copyright © 2014 by Lorraine Zago Rosenthal

Giveaway Details:

One copy available for a US entrant only
Leave a comment to enter
Only one comment per entrant
Giveaway open until 12/15/14
Winner will be emailed
Do not leave your address in the comments; I will request that in the email

Blog Tour Stops:

12/1       JENNIFER VIDO                                                 ‘TOP PICKS’ + GIVEAWAY

12/1       CHICK LIT CENTRAL                                          ‘BOOKSHELF’

12/1       THE BEVY BIBLIOTHEQUE                              REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/2       BOOK MAMA                                                         REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/2       THE READING DATE                                         EXCERPT + REVIEW

12/2       JENNIFER VIDO                                                 EXCERPT

12/3       A SOUTHERN GIRLS BOOKSHELF                EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

12/3       DEW ON THE KUDZU                                      ‘SPOTLIGHT’

12/4       RATHER BE READING                                      REVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/5       LUXURY READING                                            GIVEAWAY

12/6       HARLEQUIN JUNKIE                                        ‘SPOTLIGHT’

12/8       BOOKS IN THE BURBS                                     INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/9       YA LOVE                                                                  EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

12/10     CHAPTER CHICKS                                              EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

12/11     THE HIDING SPOT                                            REVIEW + INTERVIEW

12/12     DREAM WITHIN A DREAM                            EXCERPT + INTERVIEW + GIVEAWAY

12/15     JUMP INTO BOOKS                                         EXCERPT + GIVEAWAY

12/16     INKBITTEN                                                          REVIEW

12/17     WILLA’S RAMBLINGS                                      REVIEW + INTERVIEW

12/18     WINDOW SEAT ON A RAINY DAY               ‘SPOTLIGHT’ + GIVEAWAY

12/18     WRITE MEG!                                                      REVIEW

12/19     KAYLA’S READS AND REVIEWS                   EXCERPT

12/22     THE READING FRENZY                                    ‘SHOWCASE’ + INTERVIEW

If you have any additional questions for Lorraine, head over to her Goodreads profile here: http://bit.ly/1B70IzC!

Book Trailer Thursday (137)–Hollow City by Ransom Riggs

Book Trailer Thursday

Personally, Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children wasn’t my favorite book, but my students LOVE it. That’s really all that matters to me, so I’ll be purchasing a copy of the sequel Hollow City. I’m excited to share this book trailer with my students. 🙂

Hollow City by Ransom Riggs releases on January 14th, 2014 from Quick Books.

Hollow CitySummary (From Goodreads):

In 1940 after the first book ends, Jacob and his new Welsh island friends flee to London, the Peculiar capital of the world. Caul, a dangerous madman, is Miss Peregrine’s brother, and can steal Peculiar abilities for himself. The Peculiars must fight for survival, again.

I Wish These Books Had Sequels

toptentuesday-New

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and The Bookish

Today’s Top Ten Tuesday post is all about books we wish have sequels.  I’m surprised this list was so hard to compile considering how often I finish a book and think, “What? It’s done? I need more!”  Thankfully I was able to come up with ten books that need sequels.

Something Like Normal by Trish Doller–I simply want more from this book.  I’m happy with the ending, but I LOVE this story and am being selfish by wanting more.

Dead to You by Lisa McMann–What the heck happened with that ending?! There should be at least a few more pages, if not an entire sequel.

The List by Siobhan Vivian–Too much happened in a short book that took place in a short time span. Another book would be just fine.

Easy by Tammara Webber–Book. Hangover. I still want more of this story and the characters.

Every Day by David Levithan–The ending left me feeling cheated. There really should be a sequel.

When You Were Here by Daisy Whitney–This is just me being selfish again.

 

Warped by Maurissa Guibord–It’s been a long time since I’ve read this so I can’t remember exactly why I think there should be a sequel. If I remember correctly, there’s an open ending that made it feel like a sequel is possible. Plus, I really love this book.

One for the Murphys by Lynda Mullaly Hunt–I just want to make sure Carley is doing okay.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell–If you’ve read this book, then you understand why this is on my list.

Kindness for Weakness by Shawn Goodman–I’m just a little confused about the ending.  It’s not exactly clear what happens to the main character.

Review: Star Cursed by Jessica Spotswood

Star Cursed finalTitle: Star Cursed

Author: Jessica Spotswood

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Release Date: June 18th, 2013

Interest: Series / Historical fiction / Paranormal

Source: NetGalley

Summary (From Goodreads):

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

First, if you haven’t read Born Wicked (my review), then please stop reading this review and go get a copy of that to read 🙂

I devoured Born Wicked and have been looking forward to reading Star Cursed ever since!  Jessica Spotswood really knows how to write an engaging story full of suspense, romance, and magic.

Star Cursed picks up not long after the cliffhanger ending in book one.  Cate is with the Sisterhood and understandably unhappy about it.  She misses her sisters, her garden, and of course Finn.  While I sympathized with Cate, I enjoyed learning more about the Sisterhood and the history.  This also opened up the story to more characters and witches, adding some interesting layers.  Some of the characters left me skeptical, while others I really enjoyed and want to know more about.

I had a tough time reading sections with the Brotherhood because they are so harsh and brutal in Star Cursed.  At times I felt like I was reading a historical fiction-turned-dystopian novel.  The laws they created and the way they started treating women is horrible!  I couldn’t help but keep hoping that Finn wouldn’t turn to their side.  A ton happens in this part of the storyline, but I still have no idea what to expect in the third book, especially after reading the ending.  This part of the storyline really draws a line between Cate and Maura and their relationship.

We get to know Maura and Tess in Born Wicked, but I feel like I know each of them so much better after reading Star Cursed.  I absolutely adore Tess.  I have a lot of things to say that I won’t say about Maura.  The situations and conflicts that take place are really defining Cate, Maura, and Tess.  One of the sisters left me speechless at the end, so now I have another thing to look forward to in book three.

The mood is a little darker in Star Cursed than it is in Born Wicked, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  Finn is present just enough to satisfy my need for his character presence, but ultimately this sequel is all about learning more about Cate, her sisters, and the Sisterhood.  I tend to worry about books in the middle of a series/trilogy because sometimes they fall flat, but thankfully Star Cursed does not suffer from that.  It’s just as fun and suspenseful to read as Born Wicked.

Audiobook Review: The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

The Crown of Embers audioTitle: The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns #2)

Author: Rae Carson

Narrator: Jennifer Ikeda

Publisher: Greenwillow Books

Release Date: September 18th, 2012

Interest: Series

Source: Audiobook purchased via Audible

Summary (From Goodreads): In the sequel to the acclaimed The Girl of Fire and Thorns, a seventeen-year-old princess turned war queen faces sorcery, adventure, untold power, and romance as she fulfills her epic destiny.

Elisa is the hero of her country. She led her people to victory against a terrifying enemy, and now she is their queen. But she is only seventeen years old. Her rivals may have simply retreated, choosing stealth over battle. And no one within her court trusts her-except Hector, the commander of the royal guard, and her companions. As the country begins to crumble beneath her and her enemies emerge from the shadows, Elisa will take another journey. With a one-eyed warrior, a loyal friend, an enemy defector, and the man she is falling in love with, Elisa crosses the ocean in search of the perilous, uncharted, and mythical source of the Godstone’s power. That is not all she finds. A breathtaking, romantic, and dangerous second volume in the Fire and Thorns trilogy.

Audiobook Review:  I read The Girl of Fire and Thorns traditionally and absolutely loved it.  Besides enjoying the narrator, the main reason I decided to listen to The Crown of Embers is because I don’t always like reading books in the middle of a series during the school year; most times I’d rather read a stand alone or the beginning of a series.  I often save series continuations or endings for the summer when I feel like I have more freedom to read what I want, when I want.  Anyway, I very much enjoyed Jennifer Ikeda as a narrator for this story.  I honestly don’t know if I’ll read the third book traditionally or as an audio now that I’ve experienced both.  What I liked most about listening to The Crown of Embers is being able to hear the correct pronunciations of names and places.  I never knew how to pronounce Ximena while I was reading the first book, and of course, I was pronouncing it wrong.  Jennifer Ikeda does a nice job bringing a different voice to each character and really bringing Elisa’s character to life.

Book Review:  I love this series.  Rae Carson is such a talented fantasy author.  I can’t wait to read book three, but I’m even more excited to see what other worlds and stories she’ll write in the future.  I love her use of imagery and pacing.  Picturing the setting comes easily as does imagining the characters.

I can’t write this review without bringing up the relationship between Elisa and Hector.  It’s such a strong friendship in the beginning and now it’s blossoming into something more.  Even when Elisa was in love with Humberto, I was hoping she would recognize Hector as more than a guard.  Their relationship might be a new favorite YA romance for me.  Hector is so honorable and strong and Elisa is finally beginning to gain some self-confidence and strength.  They’re a great match.

The Crown of Embers is a bit slower than The Girl of Fire and Thorns, but I think that’s because so much more of the story is building.  Elisa is maturing and really finding herself as a carrier of the Godstone and also as a queen.  We’re also learning more about the Godstone and we’re learning more about the realm.  I’m excited to see where all of this build-up is going to take us in book three, especially with an ending like we have in this book!  The ending is bittersweet, but it also left me feeling proud of Elisa.

Overall, I can’t recommend this series enough.  I included The Girl of Fire and Thorns as a fantasy option in my YA II class and the majority of my students who chose it loved it.  Many of them went on to read The Crown of Embers because they loved Elisa and her story so much.

Audiobook Review: Prodigy by Marie Lu

Prodigy audiobookTitle: Prodigy

Author: Marie Lu

Narrators: Steven Kaplan & Mariel Stern

Publisher: Putnam Juvenile

Release Date: January 29th, 2013

Interest: Series

Source: Audiobook purchased via Audible

Summary (From Goodreads): June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

Audiobook Review: I really enjoyed listening to Steven Kaplan and Mariel Stern narrate Prodigy by Marie Lu.  I’ve decided that I like male audiobook narrators more than female narrators, and I’m not entirely sure why, but it holds true with Steven Kaplan narrating Day’s parts.  He does a nice job differentiating between the characters, even more so than Mariel Stern did.  I liked Mariel Stern for the part of June because she has almost a lilt to her voice that sounds right for June.  The audiobook is a little over ten hours long, but it felt like it went faster than that.  I didn’t listen to Legend, so I’m not sure how I’ll read the third book in this trilogy.  I liked the audio enough that I’d be happy reading it that way.

Book Review: Prodigy picks up right where Legend left off.  I had a hard time getting into it when I was reading it in the traditional sense, which is why I switched to the audiobook.  I don’t know why I was having a hard time reading it because once I started the audio I was really into the story.

We learn a lot more about June and Day and the world is developed even more.  I liked getting more information about Anden, the Republic, and the Patriots.  I’m actually kind of torn about Anden because I didn’t want to like him, but I really do.  He and June spend more time together in Prodigy and their interactions add a great level of intensity to the story.  June and Day are more a part than together in Prodigy, but it made the scenes where they are together even more enjoyable to read.  There’s lots of angst between them in this book.

I didn’t love Prodigy which makes me feel like the only person in the book world who didn’t love it.  I can’t even put my finger on what it was missing.  A few parts kind of dragged, and it just wasn’t as good as Legend.  The end of book is what really saved it for me.  There’s lots of action and excitement towards the end.  The actual ending, however, just about broke my heart.  I have NO idea what to expect in the last book.  I’m hoping that something will miraculously change so the story ends the way I want it to, but right now, I’m not so sure.  What an emotional ending.

Review: Game by Barry Lyga

GameTitle: Game

Author: Barry Lyga

Publisher: Little, Brown Young Readers

Release Date: April 16th, 2013

Interest: Series / Author

Source: ARC received from the publisher

Summary (From Goodreads): I Hunt Killers introduced the world to Jasper (Jazz) Dent, the son of the world’s most infamous serial killer.

When a desperate New York City detective comes knocking on Jazz’s door asking for help with a new case, Jazz can’t say no. The Hat-Dog Killer has the Big Apple–and its police force running scared with no leads. So Jazz and his girlfriend Connie hop on a plane to the big city and get swept up in a killer’s murderous game.

Meanwhile, Jazz’s dad Billy is watching…and waiting.

I need to start off by saying that I enjoyed Game even more than I enjoyed I Hunt KillersBarry Lyga has done an excellent job building Jazz’s character and creating an intense and thoroughly enjoyable story.  It’s still gory like I Hunt Killers, so be prepared.

What I liked about Game by Barry Lyga:

  • The mystery and thrill.  The third person narrative switches from Jazz to other characters, but the best is when it focuses on the killer.  I love it when murder mysteries switch to this perspective because it adds an extra amount of intensity and creepiness.
  • Connie.  I enjoyed her character in I Hunt Killers, but I love how much more we get to know her in Game.  She’s smart and witty and really balances Jazz.  And her bigger role in this book adds so much more to the plot.
  • The pacing.  I took my time reading Game because I was enjoying it so much and I started it so far before the release date, but the pacing makes it a fast read.  I usually had to force myself to put it down.  There’s twist after twist in this story, which made it so much fun to read.
  • New characters.  I don’t want to give too much away, but an added character midway through the story kept me on my toes.  I kept second-guessing my thoughts about this character and if there was more to this person than I originally thought.
  • The ending.  What. A. Cliffhanger!  Can I have the third book now please?

What I disliked about Game:

  • There isn’t anything I disliked about Game 🙂

Review: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

Unravel MeTitle: Unravel Me

Author: Tahereh Mafi

Publisher: HarperCollins

Release Date: February 5th, 2013

Interest: Series

Source: ARC gifted from friend

 

 

Summary (Goodreads):

tick, tick, tick, tick, tick
it’s almost
time for war.

Juliette has escaped to Omega Point. It is a place for people like her—people with gifts—and it is also the headquarters of the rebel resistance.

She’s finally free from The Reestablishment, free from their plan to use her as a weapon, and free to love Adam. But Juliette will never be free from her lethal touch.

Or from Warner, who wants Juliette more than she ever thought possible.

In this exhilarating sequel to Shatter Me, Juliette has to make life-changing decisions between what she wants and what she thinks is right. Decisions that might involve choosing between her heart—and Adam’s life.

Unravel Me is exhilarating and a nice follow up to Shatter Me, but it didn’t quite meet my expectations.  Since I’m torn about my feelings for this sequel, I’m breaking it down into what worked and what didn’t work for me.

What Worked for Me:

  • Tahereh Mafi once again stunned me with her beautiful, one of a kind, lyrical writing.  Her writing style is so original, I could be handed a page a page from one of her books without knowing the title or author and I’d be able to identify it.  There aren’t as many strike outs in Unravel Me, but the sections that are tell us so much more since there are so much fewer.  I think it would be an excellent way to teach the idea of revision during a writing unit.
  • Here are a couple of my favorite passages from the ARC **Note–Since these are from the ARC, they are subject to change**
    • “Synonyms know each other like old colleagues, like a set of friends who’ve seen the world together.  They swap stories, reminisce about their origins and forget that though they are similar, they are entirely different, and though they share a certain set of attributes, one can never be the other.  Because a quiet night is not the same as a silent one, a firm man is not the same as a steady one, and a bright light is not the same as a brilliant one because the way they wedge themselves into a sentence changes everything.”
    • “I wonder at my incapacity for easy banter, smooth conversation, empty words to fill awkward moments.  I don’t have a closet filled with umms and ellipses ready to insert at the beginnings and ends of sentences.  I don’t know how to be a verb, an adverb, any kind of modifier.  I’m a noun through and through.”

    Isn’t her writing fantastic!  Not only do these two sections create clear images, they’re sections that I’d love to use in my classroom when discussing writing and grammar.  Tahereh Mafi has such a wonderful way with words.

  • Many of the characters in Unravel Me have been developed so much more; I really like the depth.  We learn so much more about Adam’s ability and past (there are some Ohmygosh! moments).  Kenji and Castle are developed in such a way that I kept wavering between liking them and questioning their motives.

What Didn’t Work for Me:

  • I had a really difficult time liking Juliette in Unravel Me.  I understand that she’s still adjusting to being around and trusting people, but I lost my patience with her being so doubtful all the time.  It felt like her only care/focus in this book was making a love interest decision and coming to grips with her power.  There’s was too much drama between her and Adam and Warner.  I love drama, don’t get me wrong, but scene after scene of it annoyed me.
  • Unravel Me is 465 pages long and not that much really happened, at least in regards to situations outside of Juliette/Adam/Warner.  It’s exciting to learn more about characters’ powers and abilities and backgrounds, but I wanted to see more happen with the war.  So much time and focus was dedicated to Juliette being insecure and battling her emotions.  I just needed something more, something with more substance.

Book Trailer Thursday (93)–Legend & Prodigy by Marie Lu

This book trailer is more of a “combo” trailer than an individual trailer for Prodigy, and I have no idea if an individual trailer for Prodigy will be made, but I like how both books are combined in this trailer.  I like this angle of advertising because it allows readers who haven’t started the trilogy the chance to see what the story is about and where it’s going.

Yesterday I saw someone tweeting about the Prodigy trailer which is why I was looking it up.  I’m not sure if that person was watching this trailer or another one, but either way the comment made applies.  The person tweeting mentioned that she thought Day is Asian, which he is.   Since Day is of Asian descent, shouldn’t the actor portraying him in the trailer be as well?  This is timely considering the article from The Hub (YALSA) that just released on Monday.  Any thoughts on this?  Is this another example of whitewashing?

LegendSummary of Legend (From Goodreads): What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

Full of nonstop action, suspense, and romance, this novel is sure to move readers as much as it thrills.

ProdigySummary of Prodigy (From Goodreads): June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

In this highly-anticipated sequel, Lu delivers a breathtaking thriller with high stakes and cinematic action.

2013 Sophomore Reading Challenge

Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit started the Sophomore Reading Challenge this year, but unfortunately I didn’t participate like I wanted to.  Thankfully she’s running it again this year, so I’m making sure to participate!  I love reading books by debut authors, so it’s exciting to read their sophomore releases as well.

Go here for all of Shanyn’s challenge guidelines.

We’re challenged to read at least 10 sophomore releases.  Here’s my list of 10 (as of right now)…

1. Revel by Maurissa Guibord (Goodreads)

Debut: Warped

Releases: 2/12/13

There’s an island off the coast of Maine that’s not on any modern map.

Shrouded in mist and protected by a deadly reef, Trespass Island is home to a community of people who guard the island and its secrets from outsiders. Seventeen-year-old Delia grew up in Kansas, but has come here in search of her family and answers to her questions: Why didn’t her mother ever talk about Trespass Island? Why did she fear the open water? But Delia’s not welcome and soon finds herself enmeshed in a frightening and supernatural world where ancient Greek symbols adorn the buildings and secret ceremonies take place on the beach at night.

Sean Gunn, a handsome young lobsterman, befriends Delia and seems willing to risk his life to protect her. But it’s Jax, the coldly elusive young man she meets at the water’s edge, who finally makes Delia understand the real dangers of life on the island. Delia is going to have to fight to survive. Because there are monsters here. And no one ever leaves Trespass alive.

2. Star Cursed (The Cahill Witch Chronicles #2) by Jessica Spotswood (Goodreads)

Debut: Born Wicked

Releases: 6/18/13

With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate’s friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.

Cate doesn’t want to be a weapon, and she doesn’t want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood’s schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she’ll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.

In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess’s quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.

3. Hysteria by Megan Miranda (Goodreads)

Debut: Fracture

Releases: 2/5/13

After stabbing and killing her boyfriend, sixteen-year-old Mallory, who has no memory of the event, is sent away to a boarding school to escape the gossip and threats, but someone or something is following her.

4. Vortex (Insignia #2) by S.J. Kincaid (Goodreads)

Debut: Insignia

Releases: 7/2/13

The impossible was just the beginning. Now in their second year as superhuman government weapons-in-training at the Pentagonal Spire, Tom Raines and his friends are mid-level cadets in the elite combat corps known as the Intrasolar Forces. But as training intensifies and a moment arrives that could make or break his entire career, Tom’s loyalties are again put to the test.

Encouraged to betray his ideals and friendships for the sake of his country, Tom is convinced there must be another way. And the more aware he becomes of the corruption surrounding him, the more determined he becomes to fight it, even if he sabotages his own future in the process.

Drawn into a power struggle more dramatic than he has ever faced before, Tom stays a hyperintelligent step ahead of everyone, like the exceptional gamer he is—or so he believes. But when he learns that he and his friends have unwittingly made the most grievous error imaginable, Tom must find a way to outwit an enemy so nefarious that victory seems hopeless. Will his idealism and bravado cost him everything—and everyone that matters to him?

Filled with action and intelligence, camaraderie and humor, the second book in S.J. Kincaid’s futuristic World War III Insignia trilogy continues to explore fascinating and timely questions about power, politics, technology, loyalty, and friendship.

5. Prodigy by Marie Lu (Legend #2) (Goodreads)

Debut: Legend

Releases: 1/29/13

June and Day arrive in Vegas just as the unthinkable happens: the Elector Primo dies, and his son Anden takes his place. With the Republic edging closer to chaos, the two join a group of Patriot rebels eager to help Day rescue his brother and offer passage to the Colonies. They have only one request—-June and Day must assassinate the new Elector.

It’s their chance to change the nation, to give voice to a people silenced for too long.

But as June realizes this Elector is nothing like his father, she’s haunted by the choice ahead. What if Anden is a new beginning? What if revolution must be more than loss and vengeance, anger and blood—what if the Patriots are wrong?

6. Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys (Goodreads)

Debut: Between Shades of Gray

Releases: 2/13/13

It’s 1950, and as the French Quarter of New Orleans simmers with secrets, seventeen-year-old Josie Moraine is silently stirring a pot of her own. Known among locals as the daughter of a brothel prostitute, Josie wants more out of life than the Big Easy has to offer. She devises a plan get out, but a mysterious death in the Quarter leaves Josie tangled in an investigation that will challenge her allegiance to her mother, her conscience, and Willie Woodley, the brusque madam on Conti Street.

Josie is caught between the dream of an elite college and a clandestine underworld. New Orleans lures her in her quest for truth, dangling temptation at every turn, and escalating to the ultimate test.

With characters as captivating as those in her internationally bestselling novel Between Shades of Gray, Ruta Sepetys skillfully creates a rich story of secrets, lies, and the haunting reminder that decisions can shape our destiny.

7. Who Needs Magic? (Magic #2) by Kathy McCullough (Goodreads)

Debut: Don’t Expect Magic

Releases: 7/9/13

No summary available

8. Empty by K.M. Walton (Goodreads)

Debut: Cracked

Releases: 1/1/13

Dell is used to disappointment. Ever since her dad left, it’s been one let down after another. But no one—not even her best friend—gets all the pain she’s going through. So Dell hides behind self-deprecating jokes and forced smiles.

Then the one person she trusts betrays her. Dell is beyond devastated. Without anyone to turn to for comfort, her depression and self-loathing spin out of control. But just how far will she go to make all of the heartbreak and name-calling stop?

9. Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) (No cover art yet) by Leigh Bardugo (Goodreads)

Debut: Shadow and Bone

Releases: 6/4/13

Darkness never dies.

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land, all while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. But she can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

10. All That Was Lost by Trish Doller (final title & cover coming soon) (Goodreads)

Debut: Something Like Normal

Releases: 10/2013

Callie is skilled in the art of leaving. She and her mother have crisscrossed the country for more than a decade, on the run since the day her mother–who suffers from borderline personality disorder–abducted her. When her mom is arrested, Callie is reunited in Tarpon Springs, Florida, with a father she doesn’t remember. There Callie must learn to navigate the life of a normal 17-year-old girl–one that includes friends, guys, and an extended Greek American family she never knew existed. But a childhood secret and her mother’s reappearance threaten the tentative security of her new life, and Callie must choose between staying and leaving–and what she’s willing to leave behind.

%d bloggers like this: