Title: DELICATE MONSTERS
Author: Stephanie Kuehn
Release date: June 9, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
When nearly killing a classmate gets seventeen-year-old Sadie Su kicked out of her third boarding school in four years, she returns to her family’s California vineyard estate. Here, she’s meant to stay out of trouble. Here, she’s meant to do a lot of things. But it’s hard. She’s bored. And when Sadie’s bored, the only thing she likes is trouble.
Emerson Tate’s a poor boy living in a rich town, with his widowed mother and strange, haunted little brother. All he wants his senior year is to play basketball and make something happen with the girl of his dreams. That’s why Emerson’s not happy Sadie’s back. An old childhood friend, she knows his worst secrets. The things he longs to forget. The things she won’t ever let him.
Haunted is a good word for fifteen-year-old Miles Tate. Miles can see the future, after all. And he knows his vision of tragic violence at his school will come true, because his visions always do. That’s what he tells the new girl in town. The one who listens to him. The one who recognizes the darkness in his past.
But can Miles stop the violence? Or has the future already been written? Maybe tragedy is his destiny. Maybe it’s all of theirs.
NOTE: This review is based on a finished copy of the book received from the publisher in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.
DELICATE MONSTERS is disturbing, haunting and sad. The writing is both beautiful and gritty. Its characters are apathetic, despicable, cruel, sympathetic. The ending is disconcerting and unsettling and will leave readers speculating as to all three of the characters’ futures.
Sadie Su, Emerson Tate and Miles Tate aren’t likable, easy to connect with or easy to understand. And they’re not meant to be. Their motives, personalities, decisions aren’t those that are relatable. Their behaviors are atypical, harsh, extreme, troubling, upsetting. And the reasons for their actions aren’t readily attributable or justifiable.
This is not a story that will leave readers with the warm and fuzzies. There is no love story. There is no promise of a happily ever after. There is no guarantee of redemption for the characters.
This is a story that is aptly titled. These characters are monsters with pretty faces. They are amoral. They have no empathy. Their pasts, their presents, their actions are dark, sinister, perturbing. Readers are made to feel uncomfortable and uneasy. They aren’t shielded from the story’s harsh realities.
Author Stephanie Kuehn does an incredible job of bringing her characters and story to life in the most startling and unpredictable of ways. She takes three very different approaches to how she introduces her characters, how she reveals their pasts, who they were, who they are, what they’ve done and what they plan to do. And she ensures that each one of them is more than a little bit frightening, a tiny bit sympathetic, some level of awful, and yet disturbingly appealing.
DELICATE MONSTERS is not a quick and easy read. While not a long story, it packs a punch or three. It makes an impact. It is chilling. It is shocking. It’s darkly alluring. It’s a story that won’t easily be forgotten, even if, in the dead of night, you might hope to.
Stephanie Kuehn holds degrees in linguistics and sport psychology, and is currently working toward a doctorate in clinical psychology. Her debut young adult novel, CHARM & STRANGE, was the winner of the 2014 William C. Morris Award, and her second novel for teens, COMPLICIT, was named to YALSA’s 2015 Best Fiction for Young Adults list. Stephanie was also awarded the 2015 PEN/Phyllis Naylor Working Writer Fellowship for her forthcoming novel, THE PRAGMATIST, and her most recent book, DELICATE MONSTERS, has received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly and Booklist. Stephanie lives in Northern California with her husband, their three children, and a joyful abundance of pets.
Today is the Release Day for WEIGHTLESS by Sarah Bannan and I’m so excited to be able to celebrate it with a peek inside the book and a giveaway.
I am currently reading this awesome book and am in love with the author’s writing. I was immediately drawn into her story by her use of imagery which instantly captivated and transported me. And I am at the point where I’m holding my breath, anxious for the emotional hit I know is to come.
If you haven’t yet heard of WEIGHTLESS or have a copy on reserve at the library or on order to arrive on release day, now’s the time to get to know it and add it to your TBR pile or your collection. This is one of those must-read books that will make an impact.
The book’s description is immediately below, along with places to find it online. The excerpt, which will leave you wanting to read that next sentence, follows. And some information about Author Sarah Bannan follows after that.
And if you’re in the U.S. and you’d like the chance to win a copy, you can enter in the Rafflecopter at t
Author: Sarah Bannan
Release date: June 30, 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook
When 15-year-old Carolyn moves from New Jersey to Alabama with her mother, she rattles the status quo of the junior class at Adams High School. A good student and natural athlete, she’s immediately welcomed by the school’s cliques. She’s even nominated to the homecoming court and begins dating a senior, Shane, whose on again/off again girlfriend Brooke becomes Carolyn’s bitter romantic rival. When a video of Carolyn and Shane making out is sent to everyone, Carolyn goes from golden girl to slut, as Brooke and her best friend Gemma try to restore their popularity. Gossip and bullying hound Carolyn, who becomes increasingly private and isolated. When Shane and Brooke—now back together—confront Carolyn in the student parking lot, injuring her, it’s the last attack she can take.
Sarah Bannan’s deft use of the first person plural gives Weightless an emotional intensity and remarkable power that will send you flying through the pages and leave you reeling.
They came out in groups of three, wearing matching shorts and T-shirts, their hair tied back with orange and black ribbons. Their eyes were wide and they yelled and clapped and turned, precisely, rehearsed. They smiled and their lipstick was pink and smooth, their teeth white and perfect. They sparkled.
We sat in the bleachers, towels underneath our legs, trying not to burn our skin on the metal. We wore our Nicole Richie sunglasses and our Auburn and Alabama baseball caps and our Abercrombie tank tops and shorts. The scoreboard on the left of the field displayed the temperature—97 degrees—and the Adamsville morning news said that the heat index made it closer to 105. This is something we had learned to get used to, to air so hot and sticky that you felt like you were moving through liquid, to summers so hot you moved as little as humanly possible, and even then, only to get into air-conditioned air. The temperature flashed away and the time appeared—5.24 P.M. The sun would set in two, maybe three hours, but the sky was already turning a deeper orange; some clouds gave a little shelter, softening the glare. We sat and we let the heat do what it had to; sweat collected underneath our knees, between our legs, on the backs of our necks.
Three more moved to the field, all spirit fingers and toe touches and back handsprings. Thin, tanned and golden: they were smiling and they did not sweat. They looked fresh and impossibly clean and their mascara didn’t run and their foundation didn’t melt and their hair didn’t frizz. We clapped and we cheered and we watched and we waited. The marching band played in the bleachers across from us: brass, drums, Adams High’s fight song. We sang along to the parts we knew, we screamed during the parts we didn’t. And it always ended the same way:
“ADAMS HAIL TO THEE.”
The pep rally would have been indoors, would have taken place in the gym on the basketball court, like always, like we were used to, only a bunch of seniors had vandalized the walls the day after graduation, and they hadn’t turned up to do their punishment, to remove their spray paint with paint thinner and methyl chloride: the administration couldn’t do a fucking thing now, until the day before the school year began. But Mr. Overton refused to give in, refused to have the janitors paint over it. So, here we were, a week before that, a gym full of expletives or some kind of soft core porno crap or something. Our parents had been told that the whole school was being fumigated for asbestos, but we knew better. We knew the real story. We’d heard it from Taylor Lyon, and she’d told everybody, and eventually, it was something that everybody knew. Or everybody who was anybody.
We watched the girls run to the side of the track, but Taylor Lyon stayed in the center and we watched her cheer. All on her own. The faculty sponsors sat in the front row—Miss Simpson, Mr. Ferris, Coach Cox—and we watched them watch her, watch her as she jumped and clapped and touched her toes and yelled. She yelled so much louder than you could imagine, a deep voice from an almost invisible body:
“Jam with us! You’ve got to, got to, got to jam with us! Go AHS!”
Taylor had hair that was just a little red—mostly brown, but with fiery glints—and when the sun hit it, the little glints looked supershiny, like something out of a Crayola box. When we were in kindergarten, Mrs. Cornish picked her for everything: to be Snow White in our end-of-year production, to be the line leader, to be the Pilgrim who said grace at Thanksgiving. Mrs. Cornish loved Taylor, and said her red hair was her “crowning glory.” And when she said that, or when she picked Taylor for another honor, for another role, Taylor’s face would burn deep, a red that looked like it stung her cheeks, like it ran through her whole body. It was strange to watch her now, and we wondered if she thought it was strange too, how much she had changed.
The heat was still unbearable, and we took out bottles of Gatorade and tried to focus on Taylor as she did her back handsprings, as she tumbled across the track. She came back to the center again, gave us spirit fingers and a smile, picked up her pom-poms, and she ran to the side. Her solo was over.
SARAH BANNAN was born in upstate New York and moved frequently growing up, living in Texas, in Florida and in Alabama. She graduated from Georgetown University in 2000 with a degree in literature and literary history. Following college, she moved to Ireland, working in various roles in the arts and, since 2007, she has been Head of Literature with the Irish Arts Council. Sarah lives in Dublin with her husband and daughter.
Courtesy of the publisher, St. Martin’s Press:
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
a Rafflecopter giveaway
In an effort to keep my book tower from overflowing, every so often I will be passing along a few of my recent reads. Some will be finished copies. Some will be ARCs. But each of the books I will have reviewed or have reviewed a future book in the series. And all of the books are ones I have in my eBook collection.
As always, there will be no follow requirements for the blog. But I have added a few extra entry opportunities to follow the authors on social media or add their books to Goodreads.
Giveaway is for the 7 books/ARCs shown in the picture.
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
On the site (www.readproudlistenproud.com):
Readers can find suggested books and audiobooks highlighting LGBTQ issues and characters who are positive role models, along with author interviews and discussion guides. The site was inspired by the We Need Diverse Books movement and award-winning author Ann Bausum’s recent book, STONEWALL, one of the first nonfiction chronicles of the gay rights movement written for young adults.
The site will be launched this weekend at this year’s American Library Association annual conference in San Francisco. Both publishers will be giving away thousands of pairs of rainbow-colored sunglasses at the San Francisco Pride Parade and the Moscone Convention Center.
To learn more be sure to follow the conversation on Twitter #ReadProudListenProud and check out the release below.
LISTENING LIBRARY AND PENGUIN YOUNG READERS ANNOUNCE “READ PROUD LISTEN PROUD”
Resource for educators, librarians and parents recommends LGBTQ-focused titles for teens, offers discussion guides, and more
NEW YORK, NY (June 25, 2015)—Listening Library and Penguin Books for Young Readers announced today the launch of their joint campaign to highlight recommended LGBTQ books for young adults: Read Proud Listen Proud. The online resource is designed to spark discussion in the classroom and at home and to encourage understanding through storytelling, celebrating everyone for who they are.
The conversation started by the We Need Diverse Books movement over the last year has demonstrated the need for inclusive literature for kids and teens. The teams at Listening Library and Penguin Young Readers worked together on Read Proud Listen Proud to provide educators and librarians who work with teens, as well as their families, reading and listening recommendations featuring LGBTQ characters, thought-provoking discussion guides, inspiring author interviews, and audio clips, all hosted at www.readproudlistenproud.com.
“Stories teach empathy and help people of all backgrounds to respect themselves and others,” said Cheryl Herman, Marketing Director, Listening Library. “Whether a book or audio is centered on LGBTQ-related issues or features a character who is a positive LGBTQ role model, that story helps to teach young readers and listeners how to be tolerant and loving towards others.”
The campaign kicks off at the American Library Association’s annual meeting, held this year in San Francisco, where the two publishers will be giving away thousands of pairs of rainbow sunglasses during the conference as well as at the San Francisco Pride Parade on June 28, the anniversary of the raid and riot at the Stonewall Inn in New York City that catalyzed the modern gay rights movement.
The history of the riot and the movement that followed is vividly brought to life in award-winning author Ann Bausum’s STONEWALL, one of the first nonfiction chronicles of the movement written for young adults and one of the key inspirations for Read Proud Listen Proud. The site includes interviews with Bausum and Tim Federle, narrator of the audio edition of STONEWALL and author of BETTER NATE THAN EVER; FIVE, SIX, SEVEN, NATE!, about its personal resonance to them and importance to young LGBTQ readers today.
About Listening Library
Since publishing its first audiobook in 1955, Jules Verne’s Around the World in 80 Days, Listening Library has grown into one of the biggest names in the youth audio industry. Listening Library titles have earned more than 300 ALSC and YALSA Audiobook Awards, 14 Odyssey Awards, 17 Audie® Awards, and two Grammy® Awards with bestselling series like J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter, Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians and Christopher Paolini’s Inheritance Cycle. Our backlist also includes audio recordings of dozens of Newbery and Printz award-winning authors, including Kate DiCamillo and Christopher Paul Curtis. Listening Library is an imprint of Random House LLC, a Penguin Random House Company.
About Penguin Young Readers
Penguin Young Readers unite the best authors, illustrators, and brands from the Penguin Young Readers Group under one umbrella. Including a comprehensive mix of esteemed authors, favorite characters, nonfiction, and licensed properties, Penguin Young Readers feature a traditional numbered leveling system, as well as the Guided Reading leveling system, to ensure quick recognition for educators, parents, and kids.
Katie Punia, Director of Publicity Lindsay Boggs, Senior Publicist
Penguin Random House Audio Penguin Young Readers
Both were re-titled and re-released under PLL’s The Studio. Both got some pretty new covers. And this month they’re running a few promotions which I’m excited to share.
June 20th through June 26th only, GIRL UNSEEN will be available in eBook format for just 99 cents.
If you haven’t yet heard about GIRL UNSEEN from Author Kate Ellison or had the chance to check out its lovely new cover, the details are below, along with some information about the author.
Title: GIRL UNSEEN
Author: Kate Ellison
Release date: May 19, 2015
Publisher: The Studio
It was an open and shut case: Olivia Tithe’s best friend, Lucas Stern, was murdered by her mother. She went to jail, and everyone expects Olivia to move on. Especially Austin, a guy she’s drawn to even though she doesn’t trust him.
But Olivia is stuck in the past, convinced that the wrong person has been accused, that there are clues no one else sees.
When she uncovers a surprising link to a missing girl, Olivia must risk trusting the unseen in order to stop the true killer.
Kate Ellison spent a lot of time as a child, in Baltimore, pretending to be things she wasn’t: a twin, a telekinetic, a benevolent witch with a box full of magical stones, a spy, a soccer player. She trained as an actor in Chicago and has walked across the entire country of Spain. She is a painter and jewelry-maker, and has at least one artist friend who really does keep his true name a secret from the world. He told her, but don’t ask her to tell you—she’s not gonna do it. Kate lives in Brooklyn, New York.
I am not typically a reader of contemporary romance, but I love Megan Erickson’s writing and I just had to check out this first book in her new Mechanics of Love series. And it was awesome. DIRTY THOUGHTS had everything I could want in a romance read – well-developed characters, steamy love scenes, a love story that feels genuine, and a satisfying ending.
If you’d like to know more about what I thought, my review is below. And if you’d like to know more about this book and the other books in the series, some information about them is also included in the post.
I also have a yummy excerpt to share of Chapter One which introduces Cal Payton and Jenna Macmillan and will make you wish you had Chapter Two so you could keep reading.
This tour also includes a tour-wide giveaway for an eGift Card for one of the online book sellers. So if you’d like the chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter.
Title & Series: DIRTY THOUGHTS (Mechanics of Love #1)
Author: Megan Erickson
Release date: June 16, 2015 (Paperback ed. out July 21st)
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Some things are sexier the second time around
Cal Payton has gruff and grumbly down to an art…all the better for keeping people away. And it usually works. Until Jenna Macmillan—his biggest mistake—walks into Payton and Sons mechanic shop all grown up, looking like sunshine, and inspiring more than a few dirty thoughts.
Jenna was sure she was long over the boy she’d once loved with reckless abandon, but one look at the steel-eyed Cal Payton has her falling apart all over again. Ten years may have passed, but the pull is stronger than ever…and this Cal is all man.
Cal may have no intention of letting Jenna in, but she’s always been his light, and it’s getting harder to stay all alone in the dark. When a surprise from the past changes everything, Cal and Jenna must decide if their connection should be left alone, or if it’s exactly what they need for the future of their dreams.
NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest thoughts about the book.
DIRTY THOUGHTS delivers more than just what its title promises. Steamy, sexy love scenes, a mouthwatering if incredibly stubborn male main, an uninhibited and instantly likable female main, a romance that resembles one heck of a roller-coaster ride, well-developed characters and story, and a conclusion that is oh so satisfying are just some of the things this deliciously swoon-worthy romance has to offer.
Cal Payton and Jenna Macmillan have a history together. One they both hoped they could forget about. But ten years later they still haven’t been able to move on. They still haven’t found anyone that could live up to the memory of what they had together. They just hoped that it would happen some day.
But when Jenna decides to return home to help her family’s business recover from the crisis her brother Dylan caused, she’s not so sure that finding someone new will be possible. And neither is Cal. Because the moment they see each other the spark is reignited and it will take everything they have to be able to stay away from each other, keep their hands off one another, stop themselves from falling back in love.
Megan Erickson knows exactly how to pull her readers into her story. She knows how to create characters that readers can connect with. She knows how much heat is the right amount of heat. She knows how to create a romance that feels realistic and heartfelt and passionate and still dreamy. She knows just how to create the most delectable, maddening, sexy-as-hell male protagonists. And she did all this and then some in this first novel in her new series.
Readers looking for a captivating and at times breathtaking romance will absolutely adore DIRTY THOUGHTS. It is scorching hot. It is erotic. It is sinfully delicious. It is engaging and exciting and a complete page-turner that wraps things up perfectly by the story’s end. Though it will leave readers anxious to continue the series to read about the next Payton brother’s romance.
Here’s an awesome excerpt of Chapter One…
Megan Erickson grew up in a family that averages 5’5” on a good day and started writing to create characters who could reach the top kitchen shelf.
She’s got a couple of tattoos, has a thing for gladiators and has been called a crazy cat lady. After working as a journalist for years, she decided she liked creating her own endings better and switched back to fiction.
She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. And no, she still can’t reach the stupid top shelf.
“A super sweet, extra sexy second chance romance that will have you laughing out loud and needing a minute to cool off. Dirty Thoughts is right!” — Jay Crownover, New York Times bestselling author
“Megan Erickson ratchets up the romance and sizzle in her sexy new series. The Mechanics of Love will rev readers’ hearts.” — Jennifer Ryan, New York Times and USA Today bestselling author
“Megan Erickson writes hot, hot, HOT stories packed with emotion and humor. You’re going to want to read everything she’s ever written!” — Sophie Jordan, USA Today bestselling author
When the one you shouldn’t want is the one you can’t resist…
Brent Payton works hard, plays hard, and has earned his ladies’ man reputation. But he’s more than just a good time, even though no one seems to see it. Until a gorgeous brunette with knockout curves and big, thoughtful eyes walks into his family’s garage and makes Brent want more.
Ivy Dawn and her sister are done with men, all of them. They’ve uprooted their lives too many times on account of the opposite sex, but that’s over now. The plan seems easy until a sexy, dirty-taking mechanic bursts in Ivy’s life and shakes everything up.
Brent can’t resist the one person who sees past his devil-may-care façade, and Ivy finds it harder and harder to deny how happy he makes her. But she has secrets of her own and when the truth comes out, she must decide if she’ll run again or if she’ll take a chance on forever.
Title & Series: DIRTY DEEDS (Mechanics of Love #3)
Author: Megan Erickson
Release date: December 8, 2015 (Paperback release date TBA)
Publisher: Avon Impulse
Formats: Paperback, eBook
There is a tourwide-giveaway for…
Enter in the Rafflecopter below…
The tour runs on weekdays through July 3rd. Here are the stops so far…