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Cara Lynn Shultz

    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #178

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    Below are the (mostly) YA books releasing this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of May 27th-June 2nd that I have pre-ordered.


    City of Heavenly Fire

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    CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE by Cassandra Clare will be released in the U.S. on May 27, 2014 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Margaret K. McElderry Books, the print edition is 752 pages.

    CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE is the sixth and final full-length book in Cassandra Clare’s The Mortal Instruments series.


    CITY OF HEAVENLY FIRE is my most anticipated read this week. I have been waiting forever and ever for this book’s release and I cannot wait until it downloads to my Kindle on Monday Midnight. I will be reading it the moment it arrives.

    I love this series, and I am totally heartbroken that it will be ending. But at the same time I can’t wait, as I feel like I’ve been waiting forever.

    I have not read the description, I don’t know what’s going to happen. I don’t want to know until I read about it in the book. And while I normally take forever and ever to read a series-ending book, I don’t want to have this series’ ending spoiled for me, so I hope to be able to read it in one sitting. No matter how late I’ll have to stay up to do so.

    Description…

    ΕRCHOMAI, SEBASTIAN HAD SAID.

    I am coming.

    Darkness returns to the Shadowhunter world. As their society falls apart around them, Clary, Jace, Simon and their friends must band together to fight the greatest evil the Nephilim have ever faced: Clary’s own brother. Nothing in the world can defeat him — must they journey to another world to find the chance? Lives will be lost, love sacrificed, and the whole world changed in the sixth and last installment of the Mortal Instruments series!


    Take Me On

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    TAKE ME ON by Katie McGarry will be released in the U.S. on May 27, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Harlequin Teen, the print edition is 544 pages.

    TAKE ME ON is the fourth full-length novel in Katie McGarry’s Pushing the Limits series. A novella, BREAKING THE RULES, is slated for release on December 30, 2014.


    love this series by Katie McGarry. I hope it never ends. I got the chance to read TAKE ME ON just a little bit early and I love, love, loved it. So of course I can’t wait for the finished copy to download and get added to my permanent collection.

    I would love to talk about West and Haley but as I plan on posting a review just after my tour stop next week, I don’t want to ramble on here. But I will just quickly say that Katie McGarry brings her amazing writing and characters to this fourth book in the series. And it’s every bit as awesome as I’d hoped it would be.

    I adored West before I read this book, but now I adore Haley too. And while I won’t be re-reading it just yet, I will definitely be re-reading all the books in this series some day soon.

    Description…

    Acclaimed author Katie McGarry returns with the knockout new story of two high school seniors who are about to learn what winning really means.

    Champion kickboxer Haley swore she’d never set foot in the ring again after one tragic night. But then the guy she can’t stop thinking about accepts a mixed martial arts fight in her honor. Suddenly, Haley has to train West Young. All attitude, West is everything Haley promised herself she’d stay away from. Yet he won’t last five seconds in the ring without her help.

    West is keeping a big secret from Haley. About who he really is. But helping her-fighting for her-is a shot at redemption. Especially since it’s his fault his family is falling apart. He can’t change the past, but maybe he can change Haley’s future.

    Hayley and West have agreed to keep their relationship strictly in the ring. But as an unexpected bond forms between them and attraction mocks their best intentions, they’ll face their darkest fears and discover love is worth fighting for.


    The Girl with the Windup Heart
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    THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART by Kady Cross will be released in the U.S. on May 27, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Harlequin Teen, the print edition is 400 pages.

    THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART is the fourth full-length novel in Author Kady Cross’ Steampunk Chronicles.


    I had the opportunity to read THE GIRL WITH THE WINDUP HEART early but I just couldn’t bring myself to (possibly) say goodbye. As much as I want to know what’s going to happen with Finley, Griffin, Jack, Emily, Sam, Jasper and even The Machinist, I am just not ready for these characters’ stories to end.

    The finished version will be downloading to my Kindle this week and I am planning on buying a print copy for my collection. But it may take a few more weeks for me to be ready to part with this series.

    I am excited about learning more about Mila who we briefly got the chance to meet in the previous book. I’m not sure whether I’ll like her, given that Jack seems to have taken a fancy to her. But if this is really the series-ending book, I hope he gets a happily ever after. I just kind of still wish for it to be with Finley.

    I know I won’t be reading it this week, but I hope to read it in June. I really don’t want to risk having this ending spoiled for me. So I might just have to be brave. We shall see.

    Description…

    In 1897 London, a final showdown is about to begin.

    London’s underworld is no place for a young woman, even one who is strong, smart and part-automaton like Mila. But when master criminal Jack Dandy inadvertently breaks her heart, she takes off, determined to find an independent life, one entirely her own. Her search takes her to the spangled shadows of the West End’s most dazzling circus.

    Meanwhile, taken captive in the Aether, Griffin King is trapped in an inescapable prison, and at the mercy of his archenemy, The Machinist. If he breaks under the hellish torment, The Machinist will claim his powers and control of the Aether itself, and no one in either world will be safe-especially not Finley Jayne and her misfit band of friends.

    Finley plunges headlong into the Aether the only way she knows how, by temporarily dying. But she cannot parry The Machinist’s maneuvers for long. To defeat him for good, Griffin will have to confront his greatest fear and finally come face-to-face with the destructive power he wields.


    The Dark World Cover
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    THE DARK WORLD by Cara Lynn Shultz will be released in the U.S. on May 27, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Harlequin Teen, the print edition is 384 pages.

    THE DARK WORLD is the first book in Cara Lynn Shultz’s series of the same name.


    I love Cara Lynn Shultz’s writing and can’t wait for THE DARK WORLD to download to my Kindle on Tuesday. When I first heard that the author was writing a new series and that it involved demons and demon slayers, I immediately pre-ordered a copy.

    The description, which is somewhat vague, totally piqued my curiosity. But it revealed enough to make this read a must. Magic and warlocks and demons and a Dark World sound so totally awesome.

    It sounds like such a “me” book. And I can’t wait to dive in. So I hope I can manage to sneak it in next week. If not, it will definitely be the week thereafter.

    Description…

    Paige Kelly is used to weird–in fact, she probably corners the market on weird, considering that her best friend, Dottie, has been dead since the 1950s. But when a fire demon attacks Paige in detention, she has to admit that things have gotten out of her league. Luckily, the cute new boy in school, Logan Bradley, is a practiced demon slayer-and he isn’t fazed by Paige’s propensity to chat with the dead. Suddenly, Paige is smack in the middle of a centuries-old battle between warlocks and demons, learning to fight with a magic sword so that she can defend herself. And if she makes one wrong move, she’ll be pulled into the Dark World, an alternate version of our world that’s overrun by demons-and she might never make it home.


    Guardian
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    GUARDIAN by Alex London will be released in the U.S. on May 29, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Philomel, the print edition is 352 pages.

    GUARDIAN is the second book in Alex London’s Proxy series.


    I can’t believe that GUARDIAN, the sequel to PROXY, releases this week. I had every intention of reading the first book just before its release so that I could read both books back to back when this book downloads to my Kindle on Monday Midnight.

    I definitely have some catching up to do.

    As I don’t want to risk spoilers by reading the description, I don’t know what happened with Knox and Syd. I don’t know what happens during their flight across the country. I haven’t met the rebels.

    But I can’t wait to do so, especially now that this sequel is out. And I hope to be able to read both books in a couple of weeks.

    Description…

    The pulse-pounding sequel to Proxy! Inspired by The Whipping Boy and Feed, this adrenaline-fueled thriller will appeal to fans of The Hunger Games and Divergent.

    In the new world led by the Rebooters, former Proxy Syd is the figurehead of the Revolution, beloved by some and hated by others. Liam, a seventeen-year-old Rebooter, is Syd’s bodyguard and must protect him with his life. But armed Machinists aren’t the only danger.

    People are falling ill—their veins show through their skin, they find it hard to speak, and sores erupt all over their bodies. Guardians, the violent enforcers of the old system, are hit first, and the government does nothing to help. The old elites fall next, and in the face of an indifferent government, Syd decides it’s up to him to find a cure . . . and what he discovers leaves him stunned.

    This heart-stopping thriller is packed with action, adventure, and heroics. Guardian will leave you breathless until the final page.

    A fast-paced, thrill-ride of novel full of non-stop action, heart-hammering suspense and true friendship—just as moving as it is exhilarating. Fans of Anthony Horowitz’s Alex Rider series, James Dashner’s Maze Runner, Patrick Ness’s Chaos Walking series, and Marie Lu’s Legend trilogy will be swept away by this story.


    The Lost
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    THE LOST by Sarah Beth Durst will be released in the U.S. on May 27, 2014 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Harlequin MIRA, the print edition is

    THE LOST is the first book in Sarah Beth Durst’s series of the same name. The second and third books in the series, releasing in 2014 and 2015, are entitled THE MISSING and THE FOUND.


    I am so excited about this new series by Author Sarah Beth Durst. I love her writing and can’t wait to read THE LOST when it downloads to my Kindle on Tuesday.

    While this isn’t a YA series, it sounds every bit as fascinating and thrilling as the books she’s written for the genre. I can’t wait to find out more about this town called Lost. I can’t wait to see whether Lauren is able to escape.

    The setting sounds amazing and I love stories that involve fate. And if all goes as planned, I’ll be able to get this on the pile next week.

    Description…

    Brilliantly riveting. * Thought-provoking and stirring. *

    Award-winning author Sarah Beth Durst has been praised for her captivating novels that merge the darkly imagined with very real themes of self-discovery and destiny. In The Lost, we’ll discover just what it means to lose one’s way….

    It was only meant to be a brief detour. But then Lauren finds herself trapped in a town called Lost on the edge of a desert, filled with things abandoned, broken and thrown away. And when she tries to escape, impassible dust storms and something unexplainable lead her back to Lost again and again. The residents she meets there tell her she’s going to have to figure out just what she’s missing—and what she’s running from—before she can leave. So now Lauren’s on a new search for a purpose and a destiny. And maybe, just maybe, she’ll be found….

    Against the backdrop of this desolate and mystical town, Sarah Beth Durst writes an arresting, fantastical novel of one woman’s impossible journey…and her quest to find her fate.


    Meridian
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    MERIDIAN by Josin L. McQuein will be released in the U.S. on May 27, 2014 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at AMAZON and in hardcover and eBook formats at BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Greenwillow Books, the print edition is 464 pages.

    MERIDIAN is the second book in Josin McQuein’s Arclight series.


    I was told that I must read the first book in the series, so I added it to my collection and pre-ordered MERIDIAN. Now that both books are out I will definitely be reading them back-to-back.

    I haven’t yet met Marina, Tobin or Anne-Marie, so I don’t know whether they all survive an encounter with the Fade. And while it seems that Marina might have, I don’t know what she has become.

    I refuse to peek at the description for this book, though I am super curious. I’ll just have to wait until I can get both books on the pile to find out. I’ll just have to be patient.

    As things are a little crazy IRL and with required reads for the blog, I will have to wait just a bit before I can try to get this on the pile. But I hope to be able to do so before the end of June.

    Description…

    Marina thought that she had solved all of the Arclight’s mysteries. She had found her own history—that she was one of the Fade, that she never should have been human. She knows that the Fade who surround the Arclight don’t want to be the humans’ enemies at all. She knows that the leader of those inside the Arc, Honoria Whit, never told the whole truth. But there is so much more that Marina is just discovering. There are more survivors out there. Only Marina—and her friends, all of whom have connections to the Fade they’d never known about—can lead her people to them. But there are also darker dangers, things that even the Fade fear. And Marina slowly realizes she may never have been “cured,” after all.

    The sequel to Arclight, Meridian is an intense, action-packed page-turner about the lines we draw between right and wrong, light and dark . . . and the way nothing is ever that black and white.


    Divided
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    DIVIDED by Elsie Chapman will be released in the U.S. on May 27, 2014 in hardcover, audio and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Random House Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 320 pages.

    DIVIDED is the second book in Elsie Chapman’s Dualed series.


    I have had DIVIDED pre-ordered since the moment I noticed it was available to order it for the Kindle. While I haven’t yet read DUALED, it was one of my most anticipated releases. So of course I had to order the sequel.

    And while I received an invite for an eARC of DIVIDED, I wasn’t able to get both books on the pile prior to DIVIDED’s release. But this is another series where I definitely plan on reading both books back-to-back, and I hope to do so mid-June.

    I can’t wait to discover this world, meet West and find out whether she’s met her Alt. I can’t wait to learn what misstep caused her to lose confidence. And I can’t wait to find out why not only her Alt, but love, can destroy her.

    Description…

    The hunter becomes the hunted. . . .

    West Grayer is done killing. She defeated her Alternate, a twin raised by another family, and proved she’s worthy of a future. She’s ready to move on with her life.

    The Board has other plans. They want her to kill one last time, and offer her a deal worth killing for. But when West recognizes her target as a ghost from her past, she realizes she’s in over her head. The Board is lying, and West will have to uncover the truth of the past to secure her future.

    How far will the Board go to keep their secrets safe? And how far will West go to save those she loves? With nonstop action and surprising twists, Elsie Chapman’s intoxicating sequel to Dualed reveals everything.


    Novellas

    Just One NightJUST ONE NIGHT (Just One Day #2.5) by Gayle Forman

    Pub. Date: May 29, 2014

    Publisher: Viking Children’s

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    After spending one life-changing day in Paris with laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter, sheltered American good girl Allyson “Lulu” Healey discovered her new lover had disappeared without a trace.

    Just One Day followed Allyson’s quest to reunite with Willem; Just One Year chronicled the pair’s year apart from Willem’s perspective.

    Now, back together at last, this delectable e-novella reveals the couple’s final chapter.


    The Best Things in DeathTHE BEST THINGS IN DEATH (The Memory Chronicles #1.5) by Lenore Appelhans

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    In this Memory of After e-short story, Felicia and Neil share their favorite memories of falling in love with each other.

    Having recently saved Level 2 from the Morati and been reunited with her boyfriend, Felicia decides to make up some lost time with Neil before moving on to the mysterious Level 3.

    In this e-short story, Felicia and Neil share their favorite memories of falling in love with each other from their past lives on Earth.


    Tiger's PromiseTIGER’S PROMISE (The Tiger Saga #0.5) by Colleen Houck

    Pub. Date: June 1, 2014

    Publisher: CreateSpace

    Find it: AMAZON

    Description:

    Before the curse, there was a promise.

    A prequel to the bestselling Tiger’s Curse series, this much anticipated novella recalls the beginning of Ren and Kishan’s story. Before Kelsey there was a girl, raised by a villain, whose love for a hero changed the course of history.

    Trapped under the thumb of her abusive and powerful father Lokesh, Yesubai struggles to keep her own magical abilities secret while evading his dark powers. When Lokesh promises Yesubai to the prince of a neighboring kingdom, she becomes the central pawn in his plot to destroy the ruling family and take power for himself. Yesubai is trapped by her father’s threats and desperate to protect the man she comes to love, but she knows that any decision she makes will have dire consequences. As dark forces gather around her, Yesubai must decide if she’s willing to reveal that somewhere deep within her she has the power to change everything.


    Other Books of Note

    We are the GoldensWE ARE THE GOLDENS by Dana Reinhardt

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: Wendy Lamb Books

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Nell knows a secret about her perfect, beautiful sister Layla. If she tells, it could blow their world apart.

    When Nell and Layla were little, Nell used to call them Nellaya. Because to Nell, there was no difference between where she started and her adored big sister ended. They’re a unit; divorce made them rely on each other early on, so when one pulls away, what is the other to do? But now, Nell’s a freshman in high school and Layla is changing, secretive. And then Nell discovers why. Layla is involved with one of their teachers. And even though Nell tries to support Layla, to understand that she’s happy and in love, Nell struggles with her true feelings: it’s wrong, and she must do something about it.


    PlayedPLAYED (Hooked #2) by Liz Fichera

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: Harlequin Teen

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    This Game Is Getting All Too Real

    He said: I like to keep under the radar and mostly hang out with my friends from the rez. But when I saved Riley Berenger from falling off a mountain, that rich suburban princess decided to try to save me.

    She said: If I can help Sam Tracy win the heart of the girl he can’t get over, I’ll pay him back for helping me. I promised him I would, no matter what it takes.


    While We RunWHILE WE RUN (When We Wake #2) by Karen Healey

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Abdi Taalib thought he was moving to Australia for a music scholarship. But after meeting the beautiful and brazen Tegan Oglietti, his world was turned upside down. Tegan’s no ordinary girl – she died in 2027, only to be frozen and brought back to life in Abdi’s time, 100 years later.

    Now, all they want is for things to return to normal (or as normal as they can be), but the government has other ideas. Especially since the two just spilled the secrets behind Australia’s cryonics project to the world. On the run, Abdi and Tegan have no idea who they can trust, and when they uncover startling new details about Project Ark, they realise thousands of lives may be in their hands.

    A suspenseful, page-turning sequel to When We Wake that will keep readers on the edge of their seats and make them call into question their own ideas about morality – and mortality, too.


    Circa NowCIRCA NOW by Amber McRee Turner

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Twelve-year-old Circa Monroe has a knack for restoring old photographs. It’s a skill she learned from her dad, who loves old pictures and putting fun digital twists on them. His altered “Shopt” photos look so real that they could fool nearly anybody, and Circa treasures the fun stories he makes up to explain each creation.

    One day, her father receives a strange phone call requesting an urgent delivery, and he heads out into a storm. The unimaginable happens: a tornado, then a terrible accident. Just as Circa and her mom begin to pick up the pieces, a mysterious boy shows up on their doorstep, a boy called Miles who remembers nothing about his past. The only thing he has with him is the photograph that Circa’s dad intended to deliver on the day he died.

    As Circa tries to help Miles recover his identity, she begins to notice something strange about the photos she and her father retouched-the digital flourishes added to the old photos seem to exist in real life. The mysteries of the Shopt photos and Miles’s past are intertwined, and in order to solve both, Circa will have to figure out what’s real and what’s an illusion.

    With stunning prose, captivating photographs, and a hint of magic, Circa Now is a gripping story full of hope and heart.


    Allies & AssassinsALLIES & ASSASSINS (Enemies of the Prince #1) by Justin Somper

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Sixteen-year-old Jared is the newly crowned Prince of All Archenfield, ascending the throne after his older brother’s mysterious death. But Jared feels reluctant and unprepared to rule the Princedom and its dangerous and powerful court. Like each Prince of All Archenfield before him, Jared must rely on the Council of Twelve to advise him. But he knows he can just as easily be at their mercy–especially when it appears that one of the Twelve might have orchestrated his brother’s untimely death. Propelled by his rage over the loss of his brother and wary of all his advisors, Jared can trust only Asta: a clever, strong-willed girl from the settlements, currently serving as the Physician’s apprentice. Asta and Jared take it upon themselves to hunt down his brother’s assassin–though the assassin may be hunting them, as well.

    Murder, betrayal, and intrigue abound in Justin Somper’s thrilling YA series debut. Exploring the political machinations of the medieval-esque court and the lives that hang in the balance, Allies & Assassins is a gripping tale of a teen torn between duty and revenge.


    OblivionOBLIVION by Sasha Dawn

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: EgmontUSA

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Lisa McMann’s Dead to You meets Kate Ellison’s The Butterfly Clues in a psychological thriller full of romance, intrigue, and mystery.

    One year ago, Callie was found in an abandoned apartment, scrawling words on the wall: “I KILLED HIM. His blood is on my hands. His heart is in my soul. I KILLED HIM.” But she remembers nothing of that night or of the previous thirty-six hours. All she knows is that her father, the reverend at the Church of the Holy Promise, is missing, as is Hannah, a young girl from the parish. Their disappearances have to be connected and Callie knows that her father was not a righteous man.

    Since that fateful night, she’s been plagued by graphomania — an unending and debilitating compulsion to write. The words that flow from Callie’s mind and through her pen don’t seem to make sense — until now.

    As the anniversary of Hannah’s vanishing approaches, more words and memories bubble to the surface and a new guy in school might be the key to Callie putting together the puzzle. But digging up the secrets she’s buried for so long might be her biggest mistake.


    IgnitedIGNITED (Sense Thieves #3) by Corrine Jackson

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: K-Teen

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Nobody hides forever.
    Ever since Remy O’Malley discovered her dual identity as a Healer and a Protector, she’s kept alive by staying one step ahead of both sides in this centuries-old war. Now someone’s trying to draw her out of hiding, using her kidnapped father as bait.

    To save him, Remy will need every friend she’s got. But as new alliances form, old bonds fray. Her boyfriend Asher is losing his powers, becoming more mortal every time she touches him. Meanwhile, Remy finds herself growing closer to Asher’s brother Gabe, even as a family tragedy drives her sister Lucy farther away.

    On a rescue mission to London, Remy decides she’s tired of being the hunted. It’s time to end this war once and for all, as Protectors and Healers alike hurtle towards a final, violent confrontation that not everyone will survive.


    Perfectly MessyPERFECTLY MESSY (Effortlessly With You #2) by Lizzy Charles

    Pub. Date: May 27, 2014

    Publisher: Swoon Romance

    Find it: AMAZON

    Description:

    Popularity isn’t everything it’s cracked up to be. Justin Marshall knows this better than most. For the captain of the basketball team, small business owner, and son of Minnesota’s next governor, life can get pretty overwhelming. But Justin can handle anything as long as he has Lucy, the girl who fell for the man he’s trying to be.

    But for Justin and Lucy, finding time together proves challenging. Stolen kisses and whispered promises just aren’t enough. That is, until scandalous photos of the couple are leaked to a press intent on creating a juicy scandal during Justin’s dad’s gubernatorial campaign. And when Lucy becomes fair play for the tabloids and gossip pages, Justin does the only thing he can to protect her: he breaks her heart.

    For Lucy, junior year is everything she hoped it would be: new friends, second chances, and a boyfriend she can’t stop kissing. That is, until the boy she’s pretty sure she loves chooses the life his family wants for him, over her.

    Now it’s up to Lucy to teach him what it really means to have everything. Because for Justin, being who everyone needs him to be just might cost him the one person he can’t live without.


    Other Releases

    GUY IN REAL LIFE by Steve Brezenoff

    GIRLS LIKE US by Gail Giles

    SURROUNDED BY SHARKS by Michael Northrop

    THE TRUTH AGAINST THE WORLD by Sarah Jamila Stevenson

    BAD LUCK GIRL (The American Fairy #3) by Sarah Zettel

    CHORUS (Coda #2) by Emma Trevayne

    BLUR (Blur Trilogy #1) by Steven James

    CURSES AND SMOKE: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter


    It is another insane week for releases and it seems that I have eight books and two novellas pre-ordered. Only one of which I’ve read pre-release. Plus there are a couple of other books of note that I really want to add to my collection, which means even more dollars and an even bigger TBR Pile.

    And with a ton of releases coming out through early June, I don’t know when I’ll get the chance to read them all. Ack!

    Anyway… as this post is long enough already, and it is a holiday weekend and a gorgeous day outside, I’ll stop rambling. But I hope that one or two of your long anticipated reads is releasing this week and that you’ll get the chance to add them to your collection.

    And I hope that if one of those books is a series-ending book, it won’t be too tough to say goodbye.

    Happy release week and happy reading week!

    DotsDiv2

    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!

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    Spellcaster Music Blog Tour: Guest Post + Giveaway

    I am so super thrilled to be a part of the Spellcaster Music Blog Tour! Having a music tour for this book is such a unique and fun idea. I loved checking out all the other stops on the tour to see just what songs were chosen and to learn a little more about some of the awesome characters in Spellcaster. And I can’t believe that I’m the last stop and that the tour ends today!

    But, before I go any further, I just have to thank Cara Lynn Shultz, Harlequin TEEN and Kismet Book Touring for allowing me to be a part of this amazing tour.

    This series is utterly enchanting and I absolutely adore Emma and Brendan. So, when I found out that Emma Connor would be stopping by the blog and picking out a song for Brendan I was crazy happy.

    And after I found out what song Emma first had in mind for Brendan, I couldn’t stop grinning. But in the end I definitely think she picked the perfect song. She would know. They are…. Nope. You’ll get no spoilers from me. Read Spellbound and Spellcaster – or take a peek at either book’s description – if you want to know more.

    Anyway….

    Before we get to Emma’s song pick and the giveaway, here’s just a little bit…

    About the Book

    Finding your eternal soulmate – easy. Stopping a true-love-hungry evil – not so much…

    After breaking a centuries-old romantic curse, Emma Connor is (almost) glad to get back to normal problems. Although…it’s not easy dealing with the jealous cliques and gossip that rule her exclusive Upper East Side prep, even for a sixteen-year-old newbie witch. Having the most-wanted boy in school as her eternal soul mate sure helps ease the pain – especially since wealthy, rocker-hot Brendan Salinger is very good at staying irresistibly close….

    But something dark and hungry is using Emma and Brendan’s deepest fears to reveal damaging secrets and destroy their trust in each other. And Emma’s crash course in über-spells may not be enough to keep them safe…or to stop an inhuman force bent on making their unsuspected power its own.

    Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NIndiebound

    Find SpellboundGoodreadsAmazonB&NIndiebound

    About the Author

    Cara Lynn Shultz’s love of supernatural writing began when she was 7 and wrote a play about ghosts, which she and her friends acted out on her grandparents’ porch. Since then, her work has appeared in Teen People, Alternative Press, Stuff, InStyle, Us Weekly, The Guardian UK and countless posts on Facebook and Twitter.

    She is a proud graduate of Fordham University and is currently a senior editor at PEOPLE.com. Cara lives in her native New York City with her husband, tuxedo cat and 8 million other people.  Spellbound is her first novel.

    Find her: Website, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads

    And now for why you’re really here….

    I am so unbelievably excited to welcome Emma Connor to the blog. She is this awesome heroine who you just want as your BFF. And it doesn’t hurt that she has this amazingly swoon-worthy boy Brendan for a boyfriend.

    So, without further ado, I’d like to turn things over to Emma….

    Hey, thanks for having me! So, I get to pick a song for Brendan, right? This should be really easy for me to do, considering that we’re constantly emailing songs back and forth. But it’s going to be SO hard, because Brendan’s such a music ninja. Seriously, he knows everything there is to know. I’ll ask him, “Oh, have you heard of this band?” and he’s all, “Yeah, I saw them two years ago. They played in the back of a bodega” or someplace even more obscure, because of course he saw them before anyone else.

    So, I gotta be honest, I’m really tempted to pick something funny, like “Moves Like Jagger.” And he would probably cut his ears off if I picked something too poppy, like Justin Bieber. Brendan gets extremely judgey about pop music, in case you didn’t know.

    Here’s my other dilemma. I know, it sounds like I’ve had a million dilemmas. Picking a college won’t be as hard as picking this song, I swear. Anyway, I have a ton of songs that remind me of Brendan. When I first met him I listened to a lot of old Blink-182 and Something Corporate. But I don’t want to pick one of those songs, because he knows about them already.

    So I’m going with a new song. It’s by We Are the In Crowd, “Kiss Me Again.” It’s just an awesome song, with the singer of one of my favorite bands (All Time Low). Technically this song is supposed to take place at the start of a relationship, but I have to be honest, I still get butterflies when I’m with Brendan. Serious butterflies. Karate butterflies. They’re doing scissor kicks in my stomach. And I like that you get both the guy and the girl’s perspectives in this song. So here’s the song, I hope you like it. 🙂

    Thank you so much for sharing your song choice for Brendan, Emma. It was absolutely perfect! While it sounds like it was a pretty tough decision to make, I think he’ll love it.

    And it’s so awesome that Brendan still gives you butterflies. Who says they have to stop just because you’ve been together for a awhile? I sure don’t!

    Anyway, thanks so much again. You are always welcome to stop back!

    Emma is awesome, right!? I totally wish I could have asked her just a few questions about spell casting and Brendan.

    Anyway….

    As this is the final stop on the Spellcaster Music Blog Tour, not only can you enter to win a copy of Spellcaster, but you can enter the iPod Giveaway!!!

    While a few of the daily giveaways for a copy of Spellcaster have ended, there are a few that are still going on. So be sure to visit the other tour stops for a chance to win!

    To enter for a chance to win the GRAND PRIZE giveaway of an iPod nano skinned in the Spellcaster cover art and for another chance to win a copy of Spellcaster, guess who would most likely be found at an A.F.I. concert! Then, enter your answer in the Rafflecopter Widget below.

    (HINT: The correct answer can be found at one of the Tour Stops.)

    Winners for the iPod nano Giveaway are drawn from all entries who named the right character. The winner for the Spellcaster copy will be drawn from all entries! 

    This giveaway is open to US/Canada ONLY.

    For the full contest rules, CLICK HERE.

    Tour Stops

    Tour kick off – Harlequin, Paranormal Blog
    Monday  March, 19th – My Cute Bookshelf 
    Wednesday, March, 21st – Mundie Mom’s
    Friday, March, 23rd –  VerbVixen

    Monday, March 26th – A Book and A Latte
    Tuesday, March 27th -Book Birthday! – Read Me, Bookmark Me, Love Me
    Wednesday, March 28th – Miss Page Turner’s City of Books
    Friday, March 30th – writers write, right?

    Monday April 2nd – Alice Marvel’s
    Wednesday, April 4th- Paranormal Wastelands
    Friday, April 6th – Fiktshun

    If you’d like more information about the tour or the guest posts, head over to Kismet Book Touring’s Spellcaster tour page.

    ENTER THE GIVEAWAY BELOW….

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #65

    Below are the YA books coming out this week that I am spotlighting for my “Book Watch: Releasing This Week” post.

    These are books for the week of March 27th-April 2nd that I have pre-ordered.

    ***

    Slide by Jill Hathaway is releasing today, March 27, 2012, in the U.S. in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins, the print edition is 256 pages.

    Slide is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2012 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com. The second book in the series, Imposter, is slated for release in March 2013.

    ***

    Wow, time really does fly. I remember when I first heard about Slide and it seemed like ages until it would be released. Well, today is its release date and my copy has officially downloaded to my Kindle. And I can’t wait to read it.

    I love the idea that Vee can just slide into the minds of others and that it seems she witnesses them at their worst – cheating, drinking, doing goodness knows what… and murdering. It doesn’t exactly sound like the most awesome ability to have.

    I am so curious to find out if Vee will be able to find out who killed her sister’s friend, if she tells anyone how she knows Sophie was killed, and just what is going on with her friend Rollins to make him act so strange.

    And I really hope Vee will be able to catch the killer before someone else gets hurt.

    I am super excited to read this debut book that promises “a terrifying web of secrets, lies, and danger.” It sounds seriously awesome.

    Forgiven by Jana Oliver is releasing today, March 27, 2012 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by St. Martin’s Griffin, the print edition is 368 pages.

    Forgiven is the third book in the Demon Trapper’s series by Jana Oliver. Foretold, the fourth book in the series, is scheduled for release on August 2, 2012.

    ***

    I have been in love with this series since the moment I saw the U.S. cover for The Demon Trapper’s Daughter. And I’ve been obsessed ever since I read it for review. So, of course I am so extremely thrilled to have Forgiven download to my Kindle today. And while I received a finished copy from the publisher, there’s no way I wouldn’t buy the eBook to have this in my permanent collection.

    I won’t go rambling on and on as I’ve already spotlighted Forgiven for my Book Watch post a few weeks ago. Besides, I’ve just about finished reading it and am afraid I might reveal spoilers if I talk too much about it right now.

    But it’s amazing. It’s epic. It was so worth the torturous wait. After reading Soul Thief early, the added wait nearly killed me. But I’m glad I survived to be able to read Forgiven. Though I am terrified about just how things will end and just what new amounts of suffering the author will put me through as I wait for Foretold.

    The description wasn’t kidding when it said that things would definitely get darker for Riley Blackthorne. Riley got herself in deep at the end of Soul Thief and because of that things only seemed to be getting worse. And I will say nothing more…. At least until I post my review.

    For those who have read Soul Thief, they’ll want to pick this next book up immediately. And for those who haven’t started this series, now is the perfect time to dive into book one. Riley is one kick-a** heroine that everyone should meet.

    Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter is releasing today, March 27, 2012, in the U.S. in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 304 pages.

    Goddess Interrupted is the second full-length book in the Goddess Test series by the author. The third book, The Goddess Inheritance, is expected in October 2012.

    ***

    I absolutely adored the first book in the series, The Goddess Test, when I read it last year. And I’ve been anxiously awaiting the sequel. Especially after having read the description which takes Kate and Henry into the Underworld.

    Goddess Interrupted is another book whose release date came as a surprise. I can’t believe the wait is finally over and that the eBook is happily residing on my Kindle. But it is. And I may just have to take a quick peek at it, because I miss Kate and Henry. And I can’t wait to get back into this world of modern day gods and goddess.

    I am dying to find out if Kate is able to save Henry from the King of the Titans. And I am even more curious to see just how she manages to get along with Persephone. No easy feat, I’m sure.

    This sequel sounds absolutely captivating – even more enchanting than the first book in the series – and I am excited to continue the adventure with Kate on her journey through the Underworld.

    ***

    UPDATE: One other book releasing this week that I had pre-ordered but forgot to include when this originally posted is Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz. I don’t know how I missed this in my list of pre-orders, but it just downloaded and so I’m updating my post as it belongs with this week’s releases.

    Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz is releasing today, March 27, 2012 in paperback and eBook format. It is currently available online to order in both formats at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 384 pages.

    Spellcaster is the second book in the Spellbound series by author Cara Lynn Shultz.

    ***

    I am so excited for this sequel to Spellbound. I thought the first book in the series was absolutely enchanting and while I didn’t know that there would be a sequel when I finished reading it, I’m so thrilled there is. And even though I received an eARC for review, there was no question that I would pre-order the finished copy for my eBook collection.

    I don’t want to talk too much about what I’m excited for in Spellcaster as it could be spoiler-y for the first book in the series. So, I will just say that I can’t wait to find out what’s next for Emma and Brendan. According to the description there is something “dark and hungry” that is going after them, which has me nervous. Very nervous.

    And I can’t wait to see just what spells Emma learns and if they are strong enough to keep them both safe from whatever is after them. This sequel sounds every bit as enchanting as book one and I am so curious to see just how it ends.

    ***

    {Note: All covers link to the books on Goodreads}

    ***

    I’m glad to have another slow release week. My TBR pile is certainly happy and my wallet is even happier. I am nearly done reading Forgiven and it’s just as amazing as I thought it would be. And I can’t wait to read Slide, a debut book that’s been on my radar for awhile, and Goddess Interrupted, a sophomore novel whose predecessor I love.

    There are quite a few books releasing in the coming weeks that I’m dying to start reading. And there are a few that have recently released that are absolute must reads.

    So, I’m relieved to have a reprieve, even if it is for just a couple weeks. Because some of the books coming out in April and May are so seriously amazing they will definitely be at the top of either my TBR pile or my TBRR pile.

    ***

    As always, I would love to hear what you’re hoping to add to your collection this week!

    And if you have any great suggestions of “must read” books to buy that are releasing this week, please let me know!

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    My Reading Pile #54

    It was a quiet week at the mailbox this week, though I didn’t check the mail yesterday or today…. I am expecting a few books from a trade, but they’re not due to be delivered until Monday.

    As I am sharing what I received in my mailbox this week, I’m giving credit to Kristi at The Story Siren who came up with the idea of sharing what’s in her mailbox each week.

     

    Thanks to the amazing ladies at the YA Sisterhood blog, I received a signed ARC of Frost by Marianna Baer, plus a TON of swag! The post office was once again not so kind to my book, the envelope was open and some swag may be missing, and my book is bent, as is the swag, but it’s still awesome.

    Frost was an eerie and deliciously creepy book so I’m thrilled to have a signed copy.

    While my bookish deliveries may have been small, I wish the same could be said of my reading pile….

    Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.

    (March 25 – March 31, 2012)

    ***

    First up on the pile is Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers. I received an ARC from the publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, through the Shelf Awareness newsletter for review. I also have an electronic copy via NetGalley.

    I was completely surprised when reading the book’s description as I hadn’t paid close attention to the cover to see that the model was carrying a weapon and I had made incorrect assumptions that it was a historical romance novel. But it’s not. At all. It sounds completely kick-a** and has become a book I’ve been dying to move to the top of the pile.

    I can’t wait to see just what Ismae’s – love that name – powers and destiny are. The idea that she becomes an assassin for Death sounds pretty amazing. I have read the first chapter and the style of writing has a wonderful flow to it that I just know will make this an easy book to get lost in.

    I haven’t read too many books where the setting was at court where the royals play their deadly games, but I am excited to read Ismae’s story and find out if she chooses her assignment over her heart.

    Next up on the pile is Spellcaster by Cara Lynn Shultz. I received an eARC from the publisher, Harlequin TEEN, through NetGalley for review and I can’t wait to read this second book in author Cara Lynn Shultz’s series.

    When I read Spellbound, the first book in the series, I wasn’t sure if there was a sequel planned. But I hoped. I thought that book was enchanting and an absolutely wonderful fairytale and I wasn’t ready to be done with the characters or the world. I’m glad not to be disappointed.

    This sequel sounds even more magical and even more exciting. Especially as there is an evil force trying to come between Emma and her soul mate. I am so curious to find out if this dark power can destroy their bond or if Emma will be able to stay strong and defeat it.

    The first book in the series was a fun and super-quick read that just made me smile. I am expecting the same with this sequel that I’m so happy was created.

    Wishful Thinking reads:

    I am dying to read Spell Bound by Rachel Hawkins. I actually started reading it the night it came out but had to stop before I had an answer about what happened after that cliffhanger. It’s been killing me not to be able to pick it up.

    Of course I had no idea it was the last book in the series so now I’m dreading reaching the story’s end. And while it is already making me hesitate about picking it up because I never want it to end, I am still wishing and hoping that I’ll be able to read it this week.

    Those left behind:

    Yes, as usual, I am so behind. I would love to see a week in which I have absolutely nothing written here. While I did finish Sweet Evil last weekend, I did end up re-reading it this week because I couldn’t get it out of my head. Which put me further behind.

    And instead of continuing on with last week’s pile, which I had started to tackle, I went completely off pile. I am about halfway through Destined by Aprilynne Pike and dreading every single second that takes me to the end of this series. I’ve also been reading a book for my After Dark blog and a couple of short critique sort of reads.

    So, while I am a good way into Forgiven, I have yet to read The Hunger Games which means I can’t see the film just yet.

    NetGalley Pile Adds:

    Thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks On Books, I discovered that Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen was available on NetGalley. So, of course I just had to request it. I did not request The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa as I am expecting a print copy through a trade, but it was really tough not to click that “request” button.

    So, I am happy to say that I only have the one new request. If only I could get caught up on all those older ones….

    ***

    I have been a terrible blogger this week but a good reader. Re-reading a book is a guilty pleasure I shouldn’t do too often as it does set me back with my reading pile. But sometimes it can’t be helped.

    I’m still finding it terribly hard to add the word “no” to my vocabulary on a regular basis. But I’m trying. And while I haven’t yet had that “me” reads month, I am ever hopeful.

    It’s spring now, so I’m keeping my fingers crossed that with the turn of this new season I’ll have better resolve and faster page turns. Anyway…. Happy reading week, as always!

    ***

    Do you create a reading pile?

    If so, what’s in your pile this week?

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    The Extras: Teasers #7

    There are so many amazing books out there – released or soon-to-be-released – that have certain passages that just captivate.

    Here are just a few of those that caught my attention in the past month.

    ***

    There were a few passages with a lot more heat, but I thought this perfectly chaste one was absolutely delicious. It only hinted at what was to come for the characters, and did it in such a way that left you wanting more.

    Just like this kiss, this passage was such a tease.

    Emma and Brendan:

    Brendan’s eyes searched mine as he slipped his fingers around my palm and pulled my hand up to his mouth, pressing his lips to the back of my hand. His kiss was featherlight, but I felt the imprint of his lips as they scorched my skin.

    As always with Maggie Stiefvater, I could have probably filled just this one post with all the amazing passages from this book. As it is, I had to shrink this scene down a bit to still be able to call it a teaser.

    I had another one of my favorite passages included in my review post, but as this one was a bit longer I saved it until now.

    Isabel and Cole:

    This kiss was so soft that it was like a memory of a kiss, so careful on my lips that it was like someone running his fingers along them. My mouth parted and stilled; it was so quiet, a whisper, not a shout. Cole’s hand touched my neck, thumb pressed into the skin next to my jaw. It wasn’t a touch that said I need more. It was a touch that said I want this.

    It was all completely soundless. I didn’t think either of us was breathing.

    Cole sat back up, slowly, and I opened my eyes. His expression, as ever, was blank, the face he wore when something mattered.

    He said, “That’s how I would kiss you, if I loved you.”

    It was really tough to choose the teaser for this book. I had saved at least ten passages I called favorites, and one I used in my review, leaving nine to choose from.

    As most of the passages aren’t of the lovey-dovey variety, as I found the sarcasm and humor in this book very much to my liking, it made it all the more difficult to pick a favorite. So, I took the easy way out and chose the longest.

    Lenzi and Alden:

    He fidgeted and then ran his hands through his hair. “Okay. Your fear is a turn-on. Protectors are stimulated when their Speakers are afraid. It’s what makes it possible to put you in harm’s way. Otherwise, our instinct to protect would trump everything and we’d never allow you to do your job, which is to put yourself in danger in order to resolve the issues that keep the Hindered Earth-bound.”

    Well, that certainly wasn’t what I expected. “Get out! You’re turned on by fear?”

    “And pain to some extent.” He winked and pulled his hand away.

    Since this series isn’t all about the romance, and there were so many fantastic kick-a** teasers I could have chosen, I just thought I’d mix things up a bit and choose something a little more romantic.

    Besides, I already included quite a few of my favorite non-sexy and non-spoiler-y ones in the review.

    But I will keep this a teaser and only reveal who one of the two lip-lockers are.

    Riley and…

    He delicately tipped her chin up with a finger. His eyes told her what he intended. And then he kissed her, without waiting for her verdict on the subject. Like the wine and the watermelon and everything else around them, the kiss was beyond what it should be. Every nerve in Riley’s body tingled, a Simon-level kiss on steroids. They kissed again, this time more deeply. Her body began to hum, like it was lit from within by a strange erotic fire.

    I took this tidbit from the middle of one of my favorite scenes in this book. I will not reveal the entire scene as it heats up quite a bit. I am also keeping quiet on just who is in the room with Emma.

    For that you’ll have to read it yourself. But this is absolutely scrumptious.

    Emma and…

    His eyes are black in the low light of the room. “Do you surrender?”

    My heart is pounding and I’m tingling from head to toe. “Surrender to what?” I whisper, my chest rising and falling, my eyes locked on his.

    His gaze doesn’t waver. “A kiss.”

    When I read this book I made notes about a number of my favorite passages – and there were quite a few. As I don’t tend to use post-its or other ways of marking my pages, I use the notepad feature in my phone to write down page numbers and reference words to refresh my memory when I go back to capture those lovely passages.

    Well, just to give a hint about just a few of my favorites, because I can’t list them all, here are some of the words I used – “hamburgers,” “free rides,” “skank,” “hooks,” “scarlet accusation,” and “boys suck.”

    Yeah, I told you this was an awesome book.

    Braden to Lucien:

    I rolled my eyes, grabbing my bag and throwing it over my shoulder. “Just be sure to water your skank,” I said as I passed him. “She’s looking a little shallow.” It was a completely inappropriate thing to say, but I walked out of his office with a smile.

    While Evie’s sarcasm always makes me grin, instead of choosing one of those many, many passages, I thought I’d include one that was much more of a teaser. And hopefully not too much of a spoiler.

    And as Reth is my other favorite character in this series, I couldn’t choose one without him.

    Evie and Reth:

    Reth fixed his depthless eyes on mine and took my hand in his. There were none of the forced flames from before, just reassuring pressure, like he was trying to anchor me. “I suppose the idea for you started about twenty years ago.”

    He traced a finger tenderly down my cheek. “It was a very bad idea from the start.”

    I am so heartbroken that I can’t include my favorite passage from this book. In my attempt not to be spoiler-y I have to leave it off. And I’m devastated.

    Because it’s good. Sooooo good. So unbelievably…well, I better stop now or this might tease you more than the passage I am including.

    And, even the passage I did choose had to be slightly redacted – note the ellipses – so as not to reveal any secrets.

    Liv and Cam:

    No, Cam was neither gullible nor truly optimistic. He was desperate. He needed to believe that there was some kind of greater good out there to give his life meaning…. And that desperation—that need to believe—was what stared down at me, when I was ready to die for him, and he was ready to live for me.

    ***

    It’s taken me a bit longer to get my teasers post together this month, but I’ve still managed to squeeze it into August where it should be. I hope to be closer to on time next month.

    As I once again passed along my copy of an ARC before actually noting my favorite passages, I’ll have to include the teaser for Frost in next month’s post after I get my finished copy from Amazon.

    I haven’t included teasers from all the books I’ve read in the past month and a half, as I decided it would be better to save a couple for the next post, which will be out sooner than this last one.

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    Review: Spellbound

    Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz was released in the U.S. on June 21, 2011 in the U.S. in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to order online at Amazon and Barnes & Noble in both formats.

    Published by Harlequin TEEN, the print edition is 352 pages.

    Spellbound is one of the books that can be chosen for the 2011 Debut Author Challenge hosted by Kristi at TheStorySiren.com.

    Goodreads description:

    What’s a girl to do when meeting The One means she’s cursed to die a horrible death?

    Life hasn’t been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she’s irresistibly drawn to—Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.

    But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can’t stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma’s been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives—visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else.

    ***

    Emma Conner’s life was like a tragic fairytale – the kind with an unhappily ever after ending. Everyone she has ever loved has left her. She was stuck with a wicked stepfather whose drinking problems landed her in the hospital and turned her into a social outcast in her hometown.

    Anything had to be better. And so she escaped, with only a few meager belongings, to live with her Aunt Christine in New York City. Attending an elite Upper East Side private school couldn’t be much worse than what she had gone through at home.

    She was wrong.

    Singled out by the school mean girl, hit on by the arrogant and entitled jock, befriended by the school’s resident witch, and practically ignored by the hottest boy she’s ever seen, her fresh start was not going well and it was only the first day.

    And discovering she might just be cursed takes things to a whole new level. Because if she can’t figure out how to break it, she will never get a chance to live happily ever after with her Prince Charming.

    ***

    Spellbound is a sweet, funny and heartwarming modern day fairytale with its very own Prince Charming. This enchanting story will pull readers into a world of curses and legends and undying love set in a small private school on the Upper East Side of Manhattan.

    It’s the story of a girl who was met early on with great misfortune and who tries to rebuild her life anew, only to discover that her entire life was leading up to this very specific point in time. Right here. Right now. As if it were destined. Because the moment Emma Conner lays eyes on Brendan Salinger she is spellbound.

    Author Cara Lynn Shultz has written a delightfully charming story infused with humor throughout. But, Spellbound is not only a story filled with warm and tender moments. There is mystery, suspense and danger, along with a diverse group of characters, to keep readers engaged to the very end.

    Emma is compassionate, caring, humble and selfless, and is a very sympathetic character. While she tries to stay under the radar, she isn’t a complete push-over and is willing to stand up to bullies to defend those she cares about. Her rather traumatic past has left her scarred, but not without spirit and humor.

    Brendan is devastatingly handsome, temperamental, generous and honorable. He may be extremely wealthy, but he hasn’t let it make him arrogant, mean or snobbish. And Emma’s young cousin Ashley is a total sweetheart.

    Spellbound is a very quick read that wraps up nicely at the end, but does leave a few elements up in the air for a possible sequel. It is the perfect escape for readers looking for something light and fun that will leave them with a smile.

    Reviewer gives this book [rating=4]

    On a personal note:

    When I started reading this story I felt like I was immediately sucked into a fairytale. It was so completely adorable and it was an amazingly quick read.

    One of the first things I noticed was the humor. When Emma first met Anthony and came up with all those names like “Blondy McBlonderson” and “Legally Bland” I could not stop chuckling. And when she looked at herself in the mirror and made the Zoolander comment I literally laughed out loud.

    I loved the idea of the curse and being spellbound. This book really was enchanting and magical and fun and so totally romantic. And I liked the fact that there was a sweetness and innocence to the story, much like the fairytales I grew up with.

    Spellbound has all the makings of a perfect fairytale – a curse, a mystery that needs to be solved, a rich and handsome “knight in shining armor,” a plain and humble girl of modest means with a good heart, a “wicked witch” and an ill-tempered, evil “ogre.” Oh yeah, and a castle. You can’t have a fairytale without a castle.

    I really did fall in love with the story. I just wish there was more detail about Emma’s dreams and some of the past lives as they were an interesting aspect that was only touched on briefly. And I’m not sure if there is a sequel planned, but if there is I would like to read more about Angelique and the witchy stuff. I think she was a great character and I’d love to see more of her.

    There were a few aspects to Emma’s and Brendan’s characters that occasionally pulled me out of the story. I don’t want to go into too much detail or I’d be completely spoiler-y, but some of their dialogue felt a bit mature and out of character, even with the secrets we learn about them. And some of their terms of endearment didn’t feel like words that would typically be used by characters of their ages.

    But I was taken in by this story. So much so that I almost stayed up all night reading it. I had to force myself to stop right before the most exciting part of the story, which was really tough. I definitely bit one or two nails while reading through to the end, because I just wasn’t sure if there would or would not be a happily ever after.

    I am curious to see if there will be a sequel and what direction the author decides to go with the story. It would be one I’d be sure to check out.

    ***

    This review is based on an eARC I received courtesy of Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley and a printed ARC I received through a trade.

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    My Reading Pile #15

    Okay, Friday was a little insane. I have no idea how the postman fit twenty-four of those books pictured above in my mailbox, but he did. I suppose he was determined not to have to carry them all back again. But my two trading partners really came through and gave me a few small heart attacks.

    I am still expecting a couple more books from various sources like Armchair BEA wins, contests I’ve won, and a few more trades, but hopefully I’ll be sending books out, rather than bringing more books in. Because that old TV table I used to use for books that was empty after I bought my book tower is all filled up again.

    But I also got two signed books this week. A copy of Die for Me thanks to the awesome Kristina of My World of Books and a signed copy of Passion thanks to Amy of Lady Reader’s Bookstuff. And a few lovely swaggy items from the always amazing Jennifer Laurens, author extraordinaire.

    And can you see it there, right on the top left of the pile? Yes, the final piece to the puzzle, the book I have been pining for more than any other book since I received Wildefire. You guessed it. I GOT WITCH EYES. I didn’t really believe my trading partner when he said he would send it soon, but he did. And it’s perfect timing because I’m on vacation this week. Think you can guess what I’ll be reading first?

    Well, you don’t have to guess too long…

    Here are the books I have in my reading pile this week.

    (June 26-July 2, 2011)

    ***

    Witch Eyes is first up. Was there really any question? I’ve been dying to get my hands on a copy of this book, and it’s finally happened. To me! I can hardly believe it. So, of course this one scoots to the tip-top of my pile.

    I managed to land an ARC through a trade with another blogger and I’m so excited to finally get to read it. This was one of my original twelve picks for the Debut Author Challenge and was the only book I hadn’t owned until now.

    When I heard author Leah Clifford reading passages from the book I just died. The writing was beautiful and I knew this would be one of those stories I could just sink into. I love the idea that the main character Braden has the power to see the world as it really exists. And I can’t wait to find out what exactly he is able to see.

    I am also a huge fan of stories involving dark magic. And…okay, yes, I’ve taken a small detour to start reading the book while writing this post. Must. Wait. Until. Sunday.

    …And I always love a complicated love story.

    I know it’s only June and the book doesn’t come out until September, but I have zero willpower.

    Next up is Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz. The official release date of this book is June 28, although Amazon sent it out a week early.

    But I received an eARC from the publisher and NetGalley and so I plan on reading and reviewing it this week, hopefully by release date. I had wanted to read it last week, but wasn’t able to get to any of my “wishful thinking” reads.

    I can’t wait to find out about what’s going on between Emma and Brendan and I want to know how the past lives factor into this story.

    Next on the pile is Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. Although I haven’t read any reviews, I’ve been hearing great things about this book and was told that this was a definite must read.

    I received an eARC through Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program and thought I’d take a look.

    This book is about a love story that will most likely not have a not happy ending, given that theirs is taboo. The characters are brother and sister, who’ve not had an easy upbringing and whose relationship develops into a romance.

    I want to read this because this is definitely a gutsy book for an author to write, on a difficult and potentially uncomfortable subject, and if it’s as powerful and amazing as everyone who’s read it has said, then I certainly want to discover this for myself.

    I know there is a red cover for the book, but the black version came up on Goodreads and I kind of liked it more against the barbed wire so I chose to use that image instead.

    And I’ve decided to add a fourth book to the pile this week as it’s a quick read – The Day Before by Lisa Schroeder. My plan is to read it on release date, as I don’t think I’ll be able to start it beforehand.

    I received an eARC of the book courtesy of Simon & Schuster’s Galley Grab program, but if I don’t get to read it prior to release, then I will be reading and reviewing it from the finished copy I’ll be downloading for my eReader.

    I won’t go into too much detail as this was spotlighted for my “Book Watch” post a couple weeks ago, but I am interested in seeing how connected I can become to the story and characters in this book told in verse and letters.

    I’ve read several pages of the book so I already know that I like the author’s writing style. I’m just curious to see if this is a style of book that I’ll love.

    ***

    I’m slowly getting caught up on my previous reading piles. And I am desperately going to try to get ahead on my review books this week so that for the rest of the summer it will all be pleasure reading.

    I don’t have too many required reads planned for August due to the fact that I will have visitors and I don’t want to be rude by keeping my nose stuck in a book all month long. But I can’t go an entire month without reading, so reading strictly for fun sounds like the perfect way to go.

    Wishful Thinking reads:

    Once again I have three books that I really want to read this week – Luminous by Dawn Metcalf, Legacy by Cayla Kluver and Eternity by Heather Terrell.

    But I also have a huge list of ARCs I’m dying to read even if their release date isn’t any time soon.

    Plus, I’d like to tackle a bunch of my favorite series books that I haven’t had a chance to read yet, such as From Bad to Cursed, Passion, City of Fallen Angels, and so on.

    So, I decided not to officially add any of these to the pile this week and just play it by ear. It is a vacation, so I think I’ll just read whatever I feel like, whether it’s The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer or Carrier of the Mark or even Fateful.

    Those left behind:

    Just one book was left behind from last week’s reading pile, and that was Vicious Little Darlings by Katherine Easer. I hope to get to read it during the week as I’m hiding from reviews and book buzz just so that I can experience this one without any outside input.

    I seriously hope I am more successful this time around with my time off. I do not want the week to come to an end and find I’ve only read one or two books. With ten work-free days I’m hoping to read six or seven books.

    I’m keeping my fingers crossed.

    ***

    Do you create a reading pile?

    If so, what’s in your pile this week?

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