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Joelle Charbonneau

    Review: NEED

    Need

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    Title: NEED
    Author: Joelle Charbonneau
    Release date: November 3, 2015
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    “No one gets something for nothing. We all should know better.”

    Teenagers at Wisconsin’s Nottawa High School are drawn deeper into a social networking site that promises to grant their every need . . . regardless of the consequences. Soon the site turns sinister, with simple pranks escalating to malicious crimes. The body count rises. In this chilling YA thriller, the author of the best-selling Testing trilogy examines not only the dark side of social media, but the dark side of human nature.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | iTUNES | INDIEBOUND | GOODREADS

    NOTE: This review is based on an eARC received by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my hones thoughts about the book.


    The Review

    Joelle Charbonneau’s NEED is a shocking, chilling, disturbing and thought-provoking read that asks what you’d be willing to do and how far you’d be willing to go to get what you think you need. Its answer is perturbing and unsettling and yet utterly fascinating. It’s a story that takes a look at the darker side of human nature and posits that greed, envy, and fear are often stronger motivators than heroism, bravery or selflessness. It’s disconcerting. It’s sinister. It’s scarily realistic.

    What do you NEED?

    It sounds easy enough. Sign up. Tell it what you need. Invite a few friends. Receive your prize. It’s a gimmick, a marketing ploy. Who doesn’t want free stuff? It’s not asking for much.

    Ask for something else you need. Because, hey, why not. Sure you might not really need it, but you want it. You’ve already invited your friends, so that’s out. Deliver a package? No problem. Does it really matter what’s inside?

    Need something else? Sure you do. And so what if you’re not thrilled with what you’re supposed to do to get it. Nothing bad can happen. No one will get hurt. And if for some reason they do, they probably deserve it. Right?

    Told from multiple points of view, with only the main character Kaylee’s voice in the first person, the requests of each character are revealed along with their level of willingness to do what is asked for their requests to be fulfilled. Each starts off with the promise of receiving something great in exchange for doing very little. But every new request demands more reciprocity until they’re forced to ask the question: is it worth it?

    Joelle Charbonneau did a masterful job of intertwining and layering each character’s story. There were no extraneous characters – everyone had a part to play. The plot was complex, but not complicated. The story was at times harsh, violent, upsetting, but not unnecessarily so.

    The author created an unlikely hero in Kaylee, a girl so desperate to help her brother that she’d do anything to save him, and surrounded her with a variety of characters who ran the gamut from selfish, to vengeful, to envious, to guilt-ridden, to lovesick, to conniving, to opportunistic, to frantic, to innocent, to murderous. She gave them all a level playing field and let their choices dictate the outcome.

    NEED is a story that will make you think, make you question your own limits, make you reevaluate your wants versus needs. It reveals how the desire for something can bring out the worst in people. It shows that everything has a price and that there are always consequences for one’s actions. It’s grim. It’s disheartening. It’s compelling, it’s surprising, it’s startling. And it is certain to prompt discussion both during and after the read.

    The Rating

    05


    About Joelle Charbonneau

    joelle_charbonneau

    Joelle has performed in opera and musical theater productions across Chicagoland. She now teaches private voice lessons and is the author of the New York Times best selling THE TESTING trilogy (THE TESTING, INDEPENDENT STUDY and GRADUATION DAY) as well as two mystery series: The Rebecca Robbins mysteries (Minotaur Books) and the Glee Club mysteries (Berkley). Her YA books have appeared on the Indie Next List, on the YALSA Top 10 books for 2014 as well as the YALSA Quick Picks for reluctant readers. Paramount optioned THE TESTING as the project is currently in development.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #181

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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 June 17th-June 23rd that I have pre-ordered.


    Graduation Day

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    GRADUATION DAY by Joelle Charbonneau will be released in the U.S. on June 17, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by HMH Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 304 pages.

    GRADUATION DAY is the third and final book in Author Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing trilogy.


    I can’t wait for GRADUATION DAY to release this week so that everyone can read it and so that I can check out what everyone thinks. I got the chance to read it super early thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books and I absolutely loved this final book in the series.

    As I just recently gushed about it for my stop on the GRADUATION DAY Blog Tour and I hope to post a review later this week, I won’t ramble on too much. Besides, if I do talk about it, chances are I’ll spoil something. I won’t be able to resist mentioning whether Cia will be able to put an end to The Testing. I won’t be able to stop myself from revealing who it is that Cia can trust.

    So it’s best that I just say this book and series is awesome and that I hope you get the chance to find out how awesome it is and how it all ends soon.

    Description…

    In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

    She wants to put an end to the Testing
    In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

    But she can’t do it alone.
    This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

    Who can Cia trust?
    The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

    The Final Test is the Deadliest!


    Ruin and Rising Cover

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    RUIN AND RISING by Leigh Bardugo will be released in the U.S. on June 17, 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 Henry Holt and Co. (BYR) the print edition is 432 pages.

    RUIN AND RISING is the third and final full-length book in Author Leigh Bardugo’s The Grisha trilogy.


    I have been anxiously awaiting the release of RUIN AND RISING and I am stoked that I only have to wait a couple more days for its release. While I have not yet started reading this series, it’s a series that I know I’m going to fall madly in love with and I can’t wait to read it all at once, which was my plan from the start.

    I already have the first two books, and would have loved to start reading them in anticipation of RUIN AND RISING’s release so I could start reading it the moment it arrives on my Kindle at Monday Midnight. And while that didn’t happen, I will definitely be diving into book one later this week and will hopefully be finished with all three books by next Sunday.

    I don’t want to read the description for this final book, as it will likely spoil everything. So I’m just going to close my eyes and scroll down quickly to the next book on my list so that I don’t accidentally peek.

    Description…

    The capital has fallen. The Darkling rules Ravka from his shadow throne.

    Now the nation’s fate rests with a broken Sun Summoner, a disgraced tracker, and the shattered remnants of a once-great magical army.

    Deep in an ancient network of tunnels and caverns, a weakened Alina must submit to the dubious protection of the Apparat and the zealots who worship her as a Saint. Yet her plans lie elsewhere, with the hunt for the elusive firebird and the hope that an outlaw prince still survives.

    Alina will have to forge new alliances and put aside old rivalries as she and Mal race to find the last of Morozova’s amplifiers. But as she begins to unravel the Darkling’s secrets, she reveals a past that will forever alter her understanding of the bond they share and the power she wields. The firebird is the one thing that stands between Ravka and destruction—and claiming it could cost Alina the very future she’s fighting for.


    #Scandal

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    #scandal by Sarah Ockler will be released in the U.S. on June 17, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Simon Pulse, the print edition is 416 pages.


    I am super excited that #scandal is releasing this week and it will be downloading to my Kindle on Tuesday. I am reading it now… well, I was reading it until I started writing this post and plan on getting back to it once I finish… but I am loving it so far.

    I have not read enough to uncover who the hacker is or find out whether Lucy and Cole end up together. But I can’t wait to find out.

    I love Sarah Ockler’s writing and it’s been ages since I read a book by her and I’m so excited to finally get the chance to read her latest release just a bit early. And I can’t wait to get back to reading it just as soon as I finish this post.

    Description…

    Lucy’s learned some important lessons from tabloid darling Jayla Heart’s all-too-public blunders: Avoid the spotlight, don’t feed the Internet trolls, and keep your secrets secret. The policy has served Lucy well all through high school, so when her best friend Ellie gets sick before prom and begs her to step in as Cole’s date, she accepts with a smile, silencing about ten different reservations. Like the one where she’d rather stay home shredding online zombies. And the one where she hates playing dress-up. And especially the one where she’s been secretly in love with Cole since the dawn of time.

    When Cole surprises her at the after party with a kiss under the stars, it’s everything Lucy has ever dreamed of… and the biggest BFF deal-breaker ever. Despite Cole’s lingering sweetness, Lucy knows they’ll have to ’fess up to Ellie. But before they get the chance, Lucy’s own Facebook profile mysteriously explodes with compromising pics of her and Cole, along with tons of other students’ party indiscretions. Tagged. Liked. And furiously viral.

    By Monday morning, Lucy’s been branded a slut, a backstabber, and a narc, mired in a tabloid-worthy scandal just weeks before graduation.

    Lucy’s been battling undead masses online long enough to know there’s only one way to survive a disaster of this magnitude: Stand up and fight. Game plan? Uncover and expose the Facebook hacker, win back her best friend’s trust, and graduate with a clean slate.

    There’s just one snag—Cole. Turns out Lucy’s not the only one who’s been harboring unrequited love…


    17First Kisses

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    17 FIRST KISSES by Rachael Allen will be released in the U.S. on June 17, 2014 in paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by HarperTeen, the print edition is 352 pages.


    I couldn’t resist going off-pile last week to read 17 FIRST KISSES just a little bit early. I absolutely loved the way Claire’s story was revealed. It was sweet and sad and it had a number of positive messages. And I’m thrilled that the finished copy will be downloading to my Kindle this week.

    As I have read it, and will be posting a review on Tuesday, I won’t ramble on here about what I thought and what I know. But I will say that it was a super quick read and while it may at first seem to be just a light and fluffy read, it has much more to offer as the story progresses.

    The description calls this story “moving” and “heartfelt, and often hilarious” and I completely agree. And although I won’t be reading it when it downloads this week, as I only just recently read it, I still can’t wait for it to get added to my permanent collection.

    Description…

    No matter how many boys Claire kisses, she can’t seem to find a decent boyfriend. Someone who wouldn’t rather date her gorgeous best friend, Megan. Someone who won’t freak out when he learns about the tragedy her family still hasn’t recovered from. Someone whose kisses can carry her away from her backwoods town for one fleeting moment.

    Until Claire meets Luke.

    But Megan is falling for Luke, too, and if there’s one thing Claire knows for sure, it’s that Megan’s pretty much irresistible.

    With true love and best friendship on the line, Claire suddenly has everything to lose. And what she learns—about her crush, her friends, and most of all herself—makes the choices even harder.

    In her moving debut, Rachael Allen brilliantly captures the complexities of friendship, the struggles of self-discovery, and the difficulties of trying to find love in high school. Fans of Sarah Ockler, Susane Colasanti, and Stephanie Perkins will fall head over heels for this addictive, heartfelt, and often hilarious modern love story.


    Dark Metropolis

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    DARK METROPOLIS by Jaclyn Dolamore will be released in the U.S. on June 17, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Disney-Hyperion, the print edition is 304 pages.

    DARK METROPOLIS is the first book in a new series of the same name by Author Jaclyn Dolamore. The sequel is currently untitled.


    I am so curious about DARK METROPOLIS and I cannot wait for it to download to my Kindle on the 17th. I pre-ordered it based upon the cover, the title and the author, but now that I’ve read the description I am even more excited.

    The setting sounds awesome – a “sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.” And I can’t wait to uncover its secrets. But I also can’t wait to meet Thea and explore the glitzy and decadent Telephone Club.

    I am intrigued by this story that’s billed as a “thriller with a touch of magic.” Though I am a bit puzzled – and more than a little bit curious – about the comparison: “Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare.” I suppose it refers to the author’s writing and not the author herself? Either way, I hope to be able to check it out in the next few weeks.

    Description…

    Cabaret meets Cassandra Clare-a haunting magical thriller set in a riveting 1930s-esque world.

    Sixteen-year-old Thea Holder’s mother is cursed with a spell that’s driving her mad, and whenever they touch, Thea is chilled by the magic, too. With no one else to contribute, Thea must make a living for both of them in a sinister city, where danger lurks and greed rules.

    Thea spends her nights waitressing at the decadent Telephone Club attending to the glitzy clientele. But when her best friend, Nan, vanishes, Thea is compelled to find her. She meets Freddy, a young, magnetic patron at the club, and he agrees to help her uncover the city’s secrets-even while he hides secrets of his own.

    Together, they find a whole new side of the city. Unrest is brewing behind closed doors as whispers of a gruesome magic spread. And if they’re not careful, the heartless masterminds behind the growing disappearances will be after them, too.

    Perfect for fans of Cassandra Clare, this is a chilling thriller with a touch of magic where the dead don’t always seem to stay that way.


    Other Books of Note

    I Am the Mission CoverI AM THE MISSION (The Unknown Assassin #2) by Allen Zadoff

    Pub. Date: June 17, 2014

    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    He was the perfect assassin. No name. No past. No remorse. Perfect, that is, until he began to ask questions and challenge his orders. Now The Program is worried that their valuable soldier has become a liability.

    And so Boy Nobody is given a new mission. A test of sorts. A chance to prove his loyalty.

    His objective: Take out Eugene Moore, the owner of an extremist military training camp for teenagers. It sounds like a simple task, but a previous operative couldn’t do it. He lost the mission and is presumed dead. Now Boy Nobody is confident he can finish the job. Quickly.

    But when things go awry, Boy Nobody finds himself lost in a mission where nothing is as it seems: not The Program, his allegiances, nor the truth.

    The riveting second book in Allen Zadoff’s Boy Nobody series delivers heart-pounding action and a shocking new twist that makes Boy Nobody question everything he has believed.


    Fan ArtFAN ART by Sarah Tregay

    Pub. Date: June 17, 2014

    Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    When the picture tells the story…

    Senior year is almost over, and Jamie Peterson has a big problem. Not college—that’s all set. Not prom—he’ll find a date somehow. No, it’s the worst problem of all: he’s fallen for his best friend.

    As much as Jamie tries to keep it under wraps, everyone seems to know where his affections lie, and the giggling girls in art class are determined to help Jamie get together with Mason. But Jamie isn’t sure if that’s what he wants—because as much as Jamie would like to come clean to Mason, what if the truth ruins everything? What if there are no more road trips, taco dinners, or movie nights? Does he dare risk a childhood friendship for romance?

    This book is about what happens when a picture reveals what we can’t say, when art is truer than life, and how falling in love is easy, except when it’s not. Fan Art explores the joys and pains of friendship, of pressing boundaries, and how facing our worst fears can sometimes lead us to what we want most.


    Summer of YesterdaySUMMER OF YESTERDAY by Gaby Triana

    Pub. Date: June 17, 2014

    Publisher: Simon Pulse

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Back to the Future meets Fast Times at Ridgemont High when Haley’s summer vacation takes a turn for the retro in this totally rad romantic fantasy.

    Summer officially sucks. Thanks to a stupid seizure she had a few months earlier, Haley’s stuck going on vacation with her dad and his new family to Disney’s Fort Wilderness instead of enjoying the last session of summer camp back home with her friends. Fort Wilderness holds lots of childhood memories for her father, but surely nothing for Haley. But then a new seizure triggers something she’s never before experienced—time travel—and she ends up in River Country, the campground’s long-abandoned water park, during its heyday.

    The year? 1982.

    And there—with its amusing fashion, “oldies” music, and primitive technology—she runs into familiar faces: teenage Dad and Mom before they’d even met. Somehow, Haley must find her way back to the twenty-first century before her present-day parents anguish over her disappearance, a difficult feat now that she’s met Jason, one of the park’s summer residents and employees, who takes the strangely dressed stowaway under his wing.

    Seizures aside, Haley’s used to controlling her life, and she has no idea how to deal with this dilemma. How can she be falling for a boy whose future she can’t share?


    The Body in the WoodsTHE BODY IN THE WOODS (Point Last Seen #1) by April Henry

    Pub. Date: June 17, 2014

    Publisher: Henry Holt and Co. (BYR)

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    In this new series told from multiple perspectives, teen members of a search and rescue team discover a dead body in the woods.

    Alexis, Nick, and Ruby have very different backgrounds: Alexis has spent her life covering for her mom’s mental illness, Nick’s bravado hides his fear of not being good enough, and Ruby just wants to pursue her eccentric interests in a world that doesn’t understand her. When the three teens join Portland County Sheriff’s Search and Rescue, they are teamed up to search for a autistic man lost in the woods. What they find instead is a dead body. In a friendship that will be forged in danger, fear, and courage, the three team up to find the girl’s killer—before he can strike one of their own.

    This first book in April Henry’s Point Last Seen YA mystery series is full of riveting suspense, putting readers in the middle of harrowing rescues and crime scene investigations.


    OtherboundOTHERBOUND by Corinne Duyvis

    Pub. Date: June 17, 2014

    Publisher: Amulet Books

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Amara is never alone. Not when she’s protecting the cursed princess she unwillingly serves. Not when they’re fleeing across dunes and islands and seas to stay alive. Not when she’s punished, ordered around, or neglected.

    She can’t be alone, because a boy from another world experiences all that alongside her, looking through her eyes.

    Nolan longs for a life uninterrupted. Every time he blinks, he’s yanked from his Arizona town into Amara’s mind, a world away, which makes even simple things like hobbies and homework impossible. He’s spent years as a powerless observer of Amara’s life. Amara has no idea . . . until he learns to control her, and they communicate for the first time. Amara is terrified. Then, she’s furious.

    All Amara and Nolan want is to be free of each other. But Nolan’s breakthrough has dangerous consequences. Now, they’ll have to work together to survive–and discover the truth about their connection.


    BlazedBLAZED by Jason Myers

    Pub. Date: June 17, 2014

    Publisher: Simon Pulse

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Jamie uncovers life-changing secrets from his past when he’s sent to live with a father he’s never met in this gritty novel from the author of Exit Here. and Run the Game.

    Jamie is invincible when he is high. His anger, his isolation, his mom’s manic mood swings—nothing can shatter his glass castle. But one brutal night upends everything, leaving his mom broken and Jamie betrayed.

    Sent to live with a father he’s never met, Jamie is determined to hate the man he blames for his mother’s ruin. And he blocks out the pain with drugs, fierce music, and sweet, sweet Dominique. Except the more time Jamie spends at his dad’s, the more his mother’s scathing stories start to unravel. Who is he supposed to believe? And how much will he have to sacrifice to uncover the truth?


    No Dawn Without DarknessNO DAWN WITHOUT DARKNESS (Safety in Numbers #3) by Dayna Lorentz

    Pub. Date: June 17, 2014

    Publisher: Kathy Dawson Books

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Perfect for fans of Life As We Knew It and Michael Grant’s Gone–this conclusion to the No Safety in Numbers trilogy will make your heart race, your palms sweat, and will leave you wondering exactly what you’d be willing to sacrifice in order to survive.

    First–a bomb released a deadly flu virus and the entire mall was quarantined.

    Next–the medical teams evacuated and the windows were boarded up just before the virus mutated.

    Now–the power is out and the mall is thrown into darkness. Shay, Marco, Lexi, Ryan, and Ginger aren’t the same people they were two weeks ago. Just like the virus, they’ve had to change in order to survive. And not all for the better. When no one can see your face, you can be anyone you want to be, and, when the doors finally open, they may not like what they’ve become.

    If you think it’s silly to be afraid of the dark, you’re wrong.
    Very wrong.


    Blind DateBLIND DATE (The Dating Games #2) by Melody Carlson

    Pub. Date: June 17, 2014

    Publisher: Revell

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    The girls of the Dating Games club are at it again, setting each other up on five blind dates for the upcoming masquerade ball. Trouble is, some of the girls are wondering if the others can be trusted to deliver on their promises. In fact, there’s a very real danger that this dating treat could turn out to be nothing but a nasty trick.

    Teens will be delighted to spend more time with Cassidy, Devon, Abby, Brynn, and Emma as they navigate the thrilling and awkward world of dating. As always, Melody Carlson subtly delivers great advice wrapped up tight in a package of fun and friendship.


    It is a super quiet week for releases this week. So I’m sure I missed a ton of new releases when scouring Amazon last month. I suppose I’ll find out what else released when my pre-orders start to download, and I’ll add them to next week’s post if there are any missed books.

    I want to order I AM THE MISSION, but it’s still not available at Amazon due to the conflict. But after having read a few of the “other books of note” descriptions, I am going to be adding FAN ART and SUMMER OF YESTERDAY to my collection when they release.

    And as I’m trying to read at least two books today, I’m just going to wish you a happy rest of your weekend instead of rambling on for a few more paragraphs. Oh… and if you are celebrating Father’s Day or spending the day with your Dad, I wish you an amazing day!

    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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    GRADUATION DAY Blog Tour: Author and Character Interviews + Giveaway

    GraduationDay

    I am so unbelievably excited to be today’s stop on the GRADUATION DAY Blog Tour. I love this series and while I’m so sad that it ends with this book, I can’t wait for GRADUATION DAY to be released so that I can discuss the ending with everyone.

    It may have been a while since I read this last book in the series, but I can’t forget how everything went down. It was just that awesome.

    And what’s also awesome is the fact that I got the chance to interview Author Joelle Charbonneau and Character Cia Vale for my stop today. I loved learning which book was the author’s favorite to write. I really loved hearing about the different themes for each book. And I loved getting to ask Cia many of the questions I had for her.

    The Testing Trilogy is one of my favorite dystopian series. Each book brought something new. Each book was unputdownable. And each book really made me think.

    So if you haven’t yet discovered this series, be sure to check out each book’s description a bit further down in the post. And if you’d like to know just a little bit more about the series from the author and from Cia, the interviews follow immediately below.

    This tour also includes the chance to win all the books in this series, so if you don’t yet have them, just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter for the chance to win.


    The Interviews
    Interview with Author Joelle Charbonneau

    Q. Of the three full-length books in the series, which was your favorite to write? And why? Your most challenging? And why?

    Wow…that’s a tough question since I loved writing each story for a different reason. I think my favorite to write was THE TESTING because I was telling the story just for me. I never really thought about whether the book would be published. Up until that book, I’d only written contemporary set books. So I was terrified and thrilled to be creating a brand new work for my characters to live in. The most challenging to write has to be GRADUATION DAY, mostly because I don’t write with an outline. I am surprised by every turn of the story and don’t really know where it is going until I get there. So GRADUATION DAY scared me a bit because I wasn’t sure if all the pieces would fall into place the way I hoped. I had a lot of ideas I wanted to do justice to and I hope readers like where Cia ends up by the final page.

    Q. While the overarching story flows beautifully as the series progresses from one book to the next, each book feels distinctly different, bringing something new to each reading experience. When writing the series, had you planned for each book to offer up something different – setting, characters, pace, tone? Or did the different characters and the story’s direction develop as you were writing?

    The one thing I knew going into writing this series is the theme I wanted each book to follow. For THE TESTING I wanted to create the world’s worst college admission process. I wanted to look at the tests that our students go through (which are terrible now) and decide how society would have to be changed in order to make those test even more demanding with much higher stakes. INDEPENDENT STUDY was about going to college and how no one knows your past. They don’t know the mistakes you have made or judge you on that. They only know you for who you are now, which is someone who has an idea about how the world works and what place you want to hold it in. While at college, students learn more about the wider world around them and often have to decide if what they really wanted to do with their lives is actually the future they wish to have. And GRADUATION DAY is about how graduation doesn’t make you an adult and how elections aren’t what make leaders. Becoming an adult is about stepping up and saying you are ready to make tough choices just as leaders are people to step forward and do what is necessary even when it is hard. Beyond that I hadn’t a clue where the story would go. But I can say that I loved every minute of the journey.

    Q. Toward the end of INDEPENDENT STUDY you introduced a bit of a jaw-dropper. Without revealing just what that was, did you always intend for what happened to happen? Had you imagined other possibilities.

    Ha! Yeah – there is a bit of a cliffhanger at the end of INDEPENDENT STUDY. Sorry about that! Actually, there are several turns at the end of that book that I didn’t see coming. Each turn took me down a road that was unexpected and ultimately very exciting for me to explore. I actually had imagined the story going in a more traditional dystopian path with the typical rebellion and a larger physical conflict occurring in the United Commonwealth. And yet once I saw the story going in a different direction I was excited to embrace it and see where it took me.

    Q. You created a number of complex characters in The Testing Trilogy, many of whom had secret motivations, goals and pasts. Who would you say was your most complex character – Cia? Will? Raffe? Tomas? Dr. Barnes? President Collindar? Someone else?

    This is an awesome question. You know, I think there are very few people who see things in all black or white. Most people think in shades of gray. I hope that comes through in THE TESTING and especially in the characters of Will and Dr. Barnes. I think they are two of the most layered and complex characters in the series and were a wonderful challenge to write.

    Q. If readers could take one thing away from having read this series, what would you like that to be?

    I really want people to walk away with the idea that no test can ever define someone’s potential. Nothing limits a person when they are passionate about what they are doing. And anyone who says that how you perform on a test or deal with something on a specific day defines who you are and what you are capable of is wrong.

    Interview with Character Cia Vale

    Q. Thinking back to that very first day you found out you were chosen for The Testing, would you ever have imagined how different an experience that, and every day since, was? Knowing what you know now, would you have gone ahead with The Testing anyway?

    I thought I knew what The Testing would be like or how my life would go. I mean, it was such a dream to go to the University so I could learn enough to help our country move forward and become stronger. I never understood how much stronger I would need to be both physically and mentally to not only pass the test, but to survive. If I had known…I’d like to say that I would have still worked hard to be selected for The Testing. I’d like to believe that if I knew then what I know now I would want to still work hard to change things for the better. But I just don’t know.

    Q. Both you and Tomas did things during The Testing that are difficult to live with, but yet without having gone through them you might not have been able to do what you needed to do when everything went down. Would you have preferred not to have done them? Or do you think those experiences were necessary in order to do what needed to be done?

    I really hate thinking about the things that we’ve done, but if I hadn’t experienced the things I did in The Testing, I would never have been able to face the choices that I’m having to deal with now. Which is scary because it makes me wonder if that is what The Testing is really for. If it is…it worked. What does that mean?

    Q. By remembering (and being told by you) what happened during The Testing, your experiences post-testing were very different than they might have been had you been completely in the dark. Do you at all miss the future you might have had? Do you think everything would have ended up where it did without your involvement in the mix?

    It’s hard to miss what I have never had. But I do wonder. And while it would be nice to think that everything is the way I once imagined, I realize that if I was allowed to live that life, it would be an illusion. I guess that makes knowing that it will never happen a little easier to accept.

    Q. For those who don’t yet know what happens next, can you give a hint about what may be on the horizon?

    Hopefully, most people in the Commonwealth will never know what happens next. But for those who wonder…well, I have some tough choices to make. I used to think that deciding between what is right and wrong was easier to do. But I’m learning that it is harder than I ever imaged and if I want to step up and become a leader I have to test those who I want to help me the same way Dr. Barnes tested me.

    Q. For those who may not already have met him, what do you think of Raffe? Do you think he can be trusted? Do you see him as a friend? An ally? A threat?

    Raffe is smart. Really smart. And driven. He’s driven by something I don’t understand, but I respect the passion I see in his eyes. It’s compelling. I hope to at some point to get to know him better. Really get to know him. Can he be trusted? If this was The Testing I would say yes. I trusted easier then. But I think that I might have to trust him. I want him to be an ally, but I know that wanting something doesn’t always make it true. Which means he might still have more to prove before I am certain he is on my side.

    Q. Do you think there’s a happily ever after in your future with Tomas? Do you even think that a happy ending is possible for anyone who’d been through The Testing?

    I don’t know if Tomas and I will have a future. I hope so, but Tomas has lots of choices he has to make about his future. I may not love the choices that are in front of me, but I believe in our country. I want the best for my family, my friends and everyone that I’ve met….whether I like them or not. I can’t turn away from them.

    Q. What is your biggest hope for the future of the United Commonwealth? Of Tosu City? Five Lakes?

    I hope we can find a way to move forward – all of us – together. There is so much good that has been done. More than anything I want us to build on all the good things and learn from the mistakes we’ve made. Then those who have died won’t have died without cause. I want them to matter – because they do.


    About the Book

    GraduationDay

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    Series: The Testing #3
    Release date: June 17, 2014
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 304
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

    She wants to put an end to the Testing
    In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

    But she can’t do it alone.
    This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

    Who can Cia trust?
    The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

    The Final Test is the Deadliest!

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | THE BOOK DEPOSITORY | GOODREADS


    About the Author

    JoelleCharbonneau_Publicity_Photo-264x300Ever since I can remember I loved telling stories. As I grew up, I started performing those stories on the stage. Creating vivid characters and singing wonderfully complex songs were my passion. I graduated from Millikin University with a Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance and then continued onto DePaul University for my Masters Degree in Opera Performance. From there I went onto perform across the Chicagoland area in a variety of Operas, Operettas and Musicals. I also started teaching acting classes and private voice lessons to pass my passion along to the next generation.

    Not exactly the path you’d expect a writer to take.

    I’d never dreamed of writing a novel. But I loved to read. Then one day I had an idea and I started to write. I found my passion for creating characters lived on the page as well as the stage. It is my hope that the characters I’ve created resonate with you and make you smile.

    I still teach voice lessons and sing for the occasional professional event. But the rest of my time is spent with my husband and son while dreaming up new and interesting stories. I hope that someday I hear yours.

    WEBSITETWITTER | FACEBOOK | PINTEREST | INSTAGRAM | GOODREADS


    Other Books in the Series

    The Testing GuideTitle: THE TESTING GUIDE (The Testing #0.5)
    Release date: May 1, 2013
    Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Books for Children
    Pages: 46
    Formats: eBook

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Description…

    It’s an honor to be chosen for The Testing. But it’s not enough to pass The Testing. Cia will have to survive it.

    The Testing Guide is the short story prequel to The Testing, the first novel in the stunning and epic Testing Trilogy.


    The TestingTitle: THE TESTING (The Testing #1)
    Release date: June 4, 2013
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, paperback, audio, eBook

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Description…

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

    The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

    Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

    But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.


    Independent StudyTitle: INDEPENDENT STUDY (The Testing #2)
    Release date: January 7, 2014
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Find it: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Description…

    In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization.

    In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.


    The Giveaway

    This tour includes an awesome tour-wide giveaway for…

    • 3 sets of the complete series, plus a GRADUATION DAY pen and T-shirt – US ONLY
    • 1 GRADUATION DAY T-shirt – US ONLY

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway


    The Tour Schedule

    Week One

    June 9th – Nightly Reading – Review

    June 10th – The Book Cellar – Guest Post

    June 11th – Curling Up With A Good Book – Review

    June 12th – Fiktshun – Author and Character Interviews

    June 13th – Magna Maniac Cafe – Review

    Week Two

    June 16th – Magical Urban Fantasy Reads – Guest Post

    June 17th – K-Books – Review

    June 18th – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Interview

    June 19th – Parajunkee’s View – Spotlight

    June 20th – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

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    Independent Study Blog Tour: “Character Q&A” Guest Post + Giveaway

    independentstudy

    I am so excited to be a part of the blog tour for INDEPENDENT STUDY hosted by Rockstar Book Tours. THE TESTING was one of my favorite reads in 2013 and INDEPENDENT STUDY is already one of my favorites of 2014.

    This series embodies the best elements of a dystopian novel – an environment that was destroyed by war, a society ruled by what appears to be a democracy but more closely resembles totalitarian leadership, a competition meant to weed out the weakest, the least clever, those who act before thinking, and those with less than desirable traits to serve as leaders.

    It is an exciting and nerve-wracking series with a clever and interesting main character who has to rise to the many challenges she is faced with over and over and over again.

    When I first read THE TESTING I was totally surprised by how much I loved it and couldn’t wait to get my hands on this sequel. And it was worth the wait. INDEPENDENT STUDY was every bit as awesome as the first book. It had action a-plenty. Nail-biting suspense. Even more characters who you couldn’t be certain were worthy of Cia’s trust.

    And then there was that ending. Totally unexpected. Shocking. Absolutely killed me. Made me so glad I had GRADUATION DAY, the third and final book in the series on hand.

    Anyway… if I keep gushing about the awesome that is INDEPENDENT STUDY you won’t be awake enough to want to read this fab Q&A conducted by Jaime of Two Chicks on Books with Raffe, a character you’ll get the chance to meet in INDEPENDENT STUDY and get to know even better in the final book in the series.

    While I would have loved to ask him all sorts of questions, he had a very small window of time in which he was available for questioning. And as it was during that time last month that I was out of commission, Jaime so graciously offered to interview him.

    And I’m glad she did, because I don’t know him as well as she does. He is still a bit of a mystery, his motives are questionable, his interest in Cia makes me wary of him. But I trust her to get as many answers out of him as possible in the Q&A which follows immediately below.

    The book details for INDEPENDENT STUDY and places to find it online are below that, along with details for the other books in the series. If you haven’t yet read THE TESTING, you might want to skip this book’s description until you do.

    If you’d like to know more about Author Joelle Charbonneau, her bio along with places to find her online follow after the bookish details.

    The very awesome giveaway that is included on the tour is below that and at the very bottom of this post is the tour schedule with direct links to all the stops.

    Oh and one more thing before I turn the blog over to Jaime and Raffe… I will be chiming in with my thoughts about Raffe’s answers. I just couldn’t resist the chance to do so.

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    Guest Post
    Raffe Character Q&A

    Conducted by Jaime of Two Chicks on Books

    Hi Raffe! Jaime here from Two Chicks on Books! Rachel has had some real life stuff going on so I’ll be interviewing you for Fiktshun. (She will definitely have responses to you answers though!) I’m excited to introduce you to Fiktshun’s readers as you’ve become one of my favorite characters in The Testing world! Ok on to my questions…

    Q.

    Tell us a bit about yourself.

    A.

    Well, you probably know who my dad, Rychard Jeffries, is since he’s the head of the Department of Education. Being a government official’s kid can be kind of a drag, but most of the time growing up I didn’t think it was so bad. My father really believes in the University system and pushed me and my sister to study so we could become part of the next generation of leaders. I guess I’m lucky that I like school.

    Fiktshun’s response…

    Being a government official’s kid can be a drag. But it also has a few perks. At least it seems that way. But I totally agree that it’s a good thing you like school. Because failure in Tosu City can have some pretty dire consequences.

    Q.

    What was your first impression of Cia? Do you have a crush on her? (You can tell me it’ll be our little secret *wink* *wink*)

    A.

    Cia? Well, my first impression was that she isn’t like the girls I went to school with. At first I thought it was because she’s from the colonies, and maybe that’s part of it, but there’s something different about her. Maybe because she cares more about doing what’s right than what other people think about her. And I don’t have time for crushes or that kind of thing. Not with the workload I’ve gotten from my professors and this other thing I’m working on. But…maybe if I had time I’d think about her like that. Maybe…

    Fiktshun’s response…

    No time for crushes? Have you taken a look at Cia’s workload? She has time to crush on Tomas and yet you have no time? What is this “other thing” you’re working on? Hmmm… I was totally right to think you are a mystery.

    Q.

    Did you have to go through The Testing?

    A.

    Tosu City students don’t have to sit for The Testing. We have to apply to the University and if our application is accepted we start early studies classes. Once those are over, we take the same early studies exams as the colony kids. Anyone who doesn’t pass gets redirected, and if you think we have it easier, we mostly do. But a larger percentage of Tosu City students get redirected. So, maybe not.

    Fiktshun’s response…

    Is it really a larger percentage or is it just more people because there are more Tosu City students? But if that’s true, wow. I guess going through The Testing has some advantages even if all that happened is a bit of a fuzzy memory for most of its participants.

    Q.

    What do you think of the United Commonwealth?

    A.

    I think it’s amazing that the country has managed to come back from The Seven Stages of War and I’m glad I might get to help make things better in the future? Are things perfect? Hell no, but what is?

    Fiktshun’s response…

    I, too, am quite surprised by the ingenuity and resourcefulness of the people to be able to salvage what they can from what existed before and try to rebuild society, the country, the world, to make it a little bit more habitable.

    Q.

    I hear you’re quite the artist! What is your most favorite painting that you’ve done?

    A.

    My sister must have told you that. Emilie likes to tell people I’m way better painting than I actually am. I guess I do okay painting abstract pictures or scenery and stuff. Emilie really liked the painting I did of the Central Government fountain. But if you want a portrait, my sister’s way better than me.

    Hey – have you talked to Emilie recently? I was just curious.

    Fiktshun’s response…

    I don’t know about Jaime but I have not talked to Emilie. J – have you?

    Q.

    What do you think of Cia’s boyfriend Tomas?

    A.

    I don’t really know him. I guess he’s fine. Boring. But fine.

    Fiktshun’s response…

    Oh, I totally agree that you’re much more interesting than Tomas. I’m curious about what you think about Will, though. He’s also someone I find interesting. Perhaps for different reasons, but interesting nonetheless.

    Q.

    Do you have a favorite subject at the University?

    A.

    Geography. You know, looking at maps of the way the world used to be. It’s scary to see how fast things changed and kind of cool to think we might be able to make the world look like those maps again.

    Fiktshun’s response…

    Huh… I never really saw Geography in that light. You make it sound pretty awesome. And while I haven’t had to live in your version of the world, I’m just wondering if you could make the world on those maps look better than it had before, would you?

    Q.

    What does the symbol on your armband mean?

    A.

    Well, the balanced scales tell people that I’m a Government Studies major. And the coiled spring…who knows. It’s the symbol the admissions team assigned to me after I was accepted. I’m sure they had a reason, but damned if I know what it is.

    Fiktshun’s response…

    No comment. Though I really want to.

    Q.

    What’s your most favorite part of Tosu City?

    A.

    Don’t tell anyone, but I like the Indian Statue in the middle of the river. I think it’s pretty remarkable that it’s still standing after everything that happened. Too bad about the head, though.

    Fiktshun’s response…

    I can’t vouch for Jaime on this, but I promise not to tell anyone. And, yes, that is too bad about the head.

    Q.

    Can you give us any hints about what happens in INDEPENDENT STUDY? The readers are dying to know!

    A.

    A lot of things I never expected happen. That’s for sure. I mean, I’m learning a whole lot more than just what my professors are teaching in the classroom. And what I find out at the end of Independent Study…well, let’s just say I expect things are going to get a whole lot more intense from here on out.

    Fiktshun’s response…

    Coming from Tosu City I’m sure there were quite a few surprises. Though I suppose most of the colony kids were equally surprised. And yeah, intense is saying it mildly. After that ending there’s no way things wouldn’t get a heck of a lot more intense.

    A final word from Jaime

    Thanks so much for answering my questions Raffe!

    A final word from Fiktshun

    Thank you both so much. This Q&A was so much fun. I loved all your questions Jaime and I loved most of your answers Raffe. Of course I’d have loved them all if you’d revealed a little bit more about your thoughts about Cia and weren’t so cryptic about what is in store for readers in the third and final full-length book in the series.

    Okay… if I’m being honest here, what I’m really saying is that I would love to know how everything ends. I guess I should step away from the computer and find out for myself. See you in just a few, Raffe.

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    About Independent Study

    Independent Study

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    Description…

    In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization.

    In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger.

    But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

    Series: The Testing #2
    Release Date: January 7, 2014
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 320
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Exes_Divider

    Other Books in the Series

    The Testing GuideTitle: THE TESTING GUIDE (The Testing #0.5)
    Release Date: May 1, 2013
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 46
    Formats: eBook

    Description…

    It’s an honor to be chosen for The Testing. But it’s not enough to pass The Testing. Cia will have to survive it.

    The Testing Guide is the short story prequel to The Testing, the first novel in the stunning and epic Testing Trilogy.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

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    The TestingTitle: THE TESTING (The Testing #1)
    Release Date: June 4, 2013
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 352
    Formats: Hardcover, audio, eBook

    Description…

    Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same?

    The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career.

    Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies–trust no one.

    But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Dashes_Divider

    Graduation DayTitle: GRADUATION DAY (The Testing #3)
    Release Date: June 3, 2014
    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers
    Pages: 304
    Formats: Hardcover, eBook

    Description…

    In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

    She wants to put an end to the Testing
    In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

    But she can’t do it alone.
    This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

    Who can Cia trust?
    The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

    The Final Test is the Deadliest!

    AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE | GOODREADS

    Exes_Divider

    About Joelle Charbonneau

    JoelleCharbonneau_Publicity_Photo-264x300

    Ever since I can remember I loved telling stories. As I grew up, I started performing those stories on the stage. Creating vivid characters and singing wonderfully complex songs were my passion. I graduated from Millikin University with a Bachelors Degree in Vocal Performance and then continued onto DePaul University for my Masters Degree in Opera Performance. From there I went onto perform across the Chicagoland area in a variety of Operas, Operettas and Musicals. I also started teaching acting classes and private voice lessons to pass my passion along to the next generation.

    Not exactly the path you’d expect a writer to take.

    I’d never dreamed of writing a novel. But I loved to read. Then one day I had an idea and I started to write. I found my passion for creating characters lived on the page as well as the stage. It is my hope that the characters I’ve created resonate with you and make you smile.

    I still teach voice lessons and sing for the occasional professional event. But the rest of my time is spent with my husband and son while dreaming up new and interesting stories. I hope that someday I hear yours.

    WEBSITE | TWITTER | FACEBOOK | GOOGLE + | GOODREADS

    Exes_Divider

    The Giveaway

    This tour includes an amazing tour-wide giveaway…

    3 INDEPENDENT STUDY Prize Packs which include – a finished copy of INDEPENDENT STUDY, a GRADUATION DAY ARC, a bracelet, pencil and temporary tattoos. (US Only)

    Giveaway ends January 11th.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    The Tour Schedule

    Week One

    Dec. 30th – My Guilty Obsession – Review

    Dec. 31st – Magical Urban Fantasy Reads – Interview

    Jan. 1st – Tales of the Ravenous Reader – Guest Post

    Jan. 2nd – Hannah Reads Books – Review

    Jan. 3rd – K-Books – Review

    Week Two

    Jan. 6th – Fiktshun – Guest Post

    Jan. 7th – Parajunkee’s View – Interview

    Jan. 8th – Jenna Does Books – Review

    Jan. 9th – The Book Cellar – Guest Post

    Jan. 10th – Two Chicks on Books – Guest Post

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    Book Watch: Releasing This Week #158

    BookWatchRTWnew

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

    These are books for the week of January 7th-January 13th that I have pre-ordered.

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    Unhinged

    addtogoodreads

    UNHINGED by A.G. Howard will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 2014 in hardcover, paperback and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in all formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Amulet Books, the print edition is 400 pages.

    UNHINGED is the second book in Author A.G. Howard’s Splintered series. The third full-length book, ENSNARED, is slated for release in 2015.

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    Ack! So excited that UNHINGED is releasing in just a couple days and everyone will get the chance to read this awesome sequel. A sequel that includes such amazing lines as, “Nothing can break the chains you have on my heart. For you are Wonderland.” A sequel that is all sorts of imaginative and unique and every bit as fan-freaking-tastic as I’d hoped it would be.

    A sequel that I had to spotlight for my Book Watch post, even with all the amazing books releasing this week. A sequel I have pre-ordered in both eBook format and in print.

    While I would love to go on and on about this magical and enchanting and captivating book, I already rambled about it a little in that post and I hope to talk more about it in my review. And since there are 36 other YA releases this week, eight more of which I have pre-ordered and plan to talk about, I am going to try to keep my rambling to a minimum.

    But whether you are a fan of Morpheus or Jeb or Alyssa, there are all sorts of things to love, love, love about this book that will keep you completely and totally riveted from beginning to end.

    Description…

    Alyssa Gardner has been down the rabbit hole and faced the bandersnatch. She saved the life of Jeb, the guy she loves, and escaped the machinations of the disturbingly seductive Morpheus and the vindictive Queen Red. Now all she has to do is graduate high school and make it through prom so she can attend the prestigious art school in London she’s always dreamed of.

    That would be easier without her mother, freshly released from an asylum, acting overly protective and suspicious. And it would be much simpler if the mysterious Morpheus didn’t show up for school one day to tempt her with another dangerous quest in the dark, challenging Wonderland—where she (partly) belongs.

    As prom and graduation creep closer, Alyssa juggles Morpheus’s unsettling presence in her real world with trying to tell Jeb the truth about a past he’s forgotten. Glimpses of Wonderland start to bleed through her art and into her world in very disturbing ways, and Morpheus warns that Queen Red won’t be far behind.

    If Alyssa stays in the human realm, she could endanger Jeb, her parents, and everyone she loves. But if she steps through the rabbit hole again, she’ll face a deadly battle that could cost more than just her head.

    Dots_Divider

    Independent Study

    addtogoodreads

    INDEPENDENT STUDY by Joelle Charbonneau will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 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 HMH Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 320 pages.

    INDEPENDENT STUDY is the second book in Author Joelle Charbonneau’s The Testing series. The third and final full-length book in the series, GRADUATION DAY, is slated for release on June 3, 2014.

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    I am super excited for the upcoming release of INDEPENDENT STUDY because I’m dying to talk to everyone about the thing that happened at the end. I was totally stoked to have had the chance to read it early thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books after I was rejected for a review copy from Edelweiss and thought I’d have to wait for my Kindle pre-order to download on January 7th.

    This was one of my favorite series last year to discover and the sequel did not disappoint. It kept me glued to each and every page before it practically annihilated me at the end. Wow. I did not see that coming. At all.

    I am currently devouring GRADUATION DAY, hoping to finish it before the release of INDEPENDENT STUDY on Tuesday. I’ve heard the final book in the series is awesome and I can’t wait to see how things end.

    As I’m on the blog tour for INDEPENDENT STUDY and my post should go up shortly after this one, there will be a few more rambles about this book in that next post, so I’ll just end this short ramble by saying this is a must read series.

    Description…

    In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas—and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her—and her loved ones—in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her.

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    Defy

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    DEFY by Sara B. Larson will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Scholastic Press, the print edition is 336 pages.

    DEFY is the first book in Author Sara B. Larson’s series of the same name. The second book in the series, currently untitled, is slated for release next year.

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    I was totally thrilled to be able to grab an eARC of DEFY through NetGalley. I had heard this book was amazing so I pre-ordered it for my Kindle collection to have forever whether I got the chance to read it early or not. And while I’m not quite finished at the time of preparing this post – I’m at the 85% mark at the moment – I am loving it so far.

    Secrets, assassins, sorcerers, hidden motives and plenty of action make this one heck of an exciting read. A main character who is fierce but also sympathetic and likable makes this a must read. And a prince who is quite the surprise is a total bonus.

    So… yeah… I guess you could say that I love this book. So far.

    With just 15% left to read, I want to get finished with this post so I can do just that. Because it’s just so good I really did not want to have to put it down.

    Description…

    A lush and gorgeously written debut, packed with action, intrigue, and a thrilling love triangle.

    Alexa Hollen is a fighter. Forced to disguise herself as a boy and serve in the king’s army, Alex uses her quick wit and fierce sword-fighting skills to earn a spot on the elite prince’s guard. But when a powerful sorcerer sneaks into the palace in the dead of night, even Alex, who is virtually unbeatable, can’t prevent him from abducting her, her fellow guard and friend Rylan, and Prince Damian, taking them through the treacherous wilds of the jungle and deep into enemy territory.

    The longer Alex is held captive with both Rylan and the prince, the more she realizes that she is not the only one who has been keeping dangerous secrets. And suddenly, after her own secret is revealed, Alex finds herself confronted with two men vying for her heart: the safe and steady Rylan, who has always cared for her, and the dark, intriguing Damian. With hidden foes lurking around every corner, is Alex strong enough to save herself and the kingdom she’s sworn to protect?

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    Breath of Frost Cover

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    A BREATH OF FROST by Alyxandra Harvey will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 2014 in hardcover and eBook formats. It is currently available to pre-order online in both formats at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Walker Childrens, the print edition is 496 pages.

    A BREATH OF FROST is the first book in Author Alyxandra Harvey’s The Lovegrove Legacy.

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    I am such a huge fan of Author Alyxandra Harvey’s and I am super excited for the release of A BREATH OF FROST on Tuesday. I have had it pre-ordered for my Kindle for ages and ages and I cannot wait until the finished copy downloads.

    While I have an eARC that I am also in the middle of reading – yes I’m reading a few books all at once this weekend – this is a book I want to have for my collection. Scratch that. Must have for my collection. I have every one of this author’s books on my Kindle and have read most of them. So there’s no way I wouldn’t have ordered the finished copy.

    But I love this setting and the idea of the story. I love the characters I’ve gotten the chance to meet so far. I can’t wait to see how this story develops and how it ends, which should happen before its release on Monday Midnight.

    I’m just super curious to find out whether I’ll be stuck on the edge of a cliff until the sequel.

    Description…

    In 1814, three cousins-Gretchen, Emma, and Penelope-discover their unknown family lineage of witchcraft. Beyond the familiar manicured gardens and ballrooms of Regency London, a dangerous, alluring new underworld visible only to those with power is now open to the cousins.

    But unbeknownst to them, by claiming their power, the three cousins have inadvertently opened the gates to the Underworld.

    Now the dead, ghouls, hellhounds-and the most terrifying of all: the spirits of dark witches known as the Greymalkin Sisters-are hunting and killing young debutante witches for their powers.

    And, somehow, Emma is connected to the murders…because she keeps finding the bodies.

    Can the cousins unravel the clues and mystery behind their heritage and power before their gifts are stripped away …or even worse, another witch is killed?

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    Erased

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    ERASED by Jennifer Rush will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 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 Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, the print edition is 288 pages.

    ERASED is the second full-length book in Author Jennifer Rush’s Altered series. The third book in the series, currently untitled, is slated for release in 2015.

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    ALTERED was a book I was desperate to get my hands on and tried to read the moment it downloaded to my Kindle. While I wasn’t able to dive into a book that wasn’t a review book at that time, it’s one of those books I regret not having read from 2013. Yet.

    So of course I had to purchase the novella and pre-order ERASED, even without having read book one. I just know I’m going to love it and want to have each one of the stories in this series on hand when I’m done reading it.

    And as much as I’m dying to take a sneak peek at this book’s description, to find out what might be revealed about the events in ALTERED, I am not going to look. So I don’t know what’s going to happen in this sequel, what happened in the first book and whether all the characters – Anna, Nick, Cas, Trev and Sam – survived.

    If things settle down toward the end of the month, I am hopeful that I’ll be able to read both books and the novella. Though I really wish they were a little quieter right now. Waiting sucks.

    Description…

    They thought they had escaped. They were wrong.

    After fleeing the Branch with Sam, Cas, and Nick, Anna is trying to make sense of the memories resurfacing from her old life. At the same time, she’s learning how to survive in hiding, following Sam’s rules: Don’t draw attention to yourself. Always carry a weapon. Know your surroundings. Watch your back.

    Then a figure from Anna’s childhood reappears. Is it a Branch setup, or could it be the reunion Anna has hoped for? Uncertain of where her loyalties lie, Anna must fight to learn the truth — before she is betrayed again. Ultimately, the answers hinge on one question: What was the real reason her memories were erased?

    Jennifer Rush delivers a thrilling sequel to Altered in a novel packed with mysteries, lies, and surprises that are sure to keep readers guessing until the last age is turned.

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    Where You'll Find Me

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    WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME by Erin Fletcher will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 2014 in eBook format only. It is currently available to pre-order online at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Entangled Teen, the story is 211 pages.

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    I only recently learned of WHERE YOU’LL FIND ME when I saw the cover for this book for the reveal put together by Rockstar Book Tours. I loved the cover, but when I read the description I love, love, loved the story and immediately pre-ordered it for my Kindle.

    And I can’t wait for its release this week. I want to meet Hanley and Nate. I want to find out why Nate is hiding in her garage. I want to know what she’s running from. And I want to know whether their love story is one that ends happily or tragically or somewhere in between.

    I’ve been on such a contemporary kick as of late and this book sounds like just the kind of book I’m desperately in the mood to read. If all goes well this week, and I finish all the various books I’m currently reading and the next one up on the pile, I hope I’ll be able to squeeze this in.

    Description…

    When Hanley Helton discovers a boy living in her garage, she knows she should kick him out. But Nate is too charming to be dangerous. He just needs a place to get away, which Hanley understands. Her own escape methods (vodka, black hair dye, and pretending the past didn’t happen) are more traditional, but who is she to judge?

    Nate doesn’t tell her why he’s in her garage, and she doesn’t tell him what she’s running from. Soon, Hanley’s trading her late-night escapades for all-night conversations and stolen kisses. But when Nate’s recognized as the missing teen from the news, Hanley isn’t sure which is worse: that she’s harboring a fugitive, or that she’s in love with one.

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    The Impossible Knife of Memory

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    THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY by Laurie Halse Anderson will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 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 Viking Juvenile, the print edition is 400 pages.

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    I first learned about THE IMPOSSIBLE KNIFE OF MEMORY when I received an ARC for review a couple of months back. And while I haven’t yet had the chance to read it, I did pre-order a copy for my Kindle because I know this author is a fantastic writer and I wanted to have a copy of her next book in my collection.

    I had every intention of reading this book prior to its release and was excited to have received the chance to do so early. But due to some real life difficult stuffs going on I wasn’t able to read for awhile and am still a bit I was wary about reading books with anything but light storylines.

    But I definitely plan on reading this story and meeting Hayley and her father Andy. I want to find out whether Andy’s return home will be a positive experience rather than a negative one. And I want to know whether there will be a love story with Finn and Hayley.

    The description promises a read that is “compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down” and I am hopeful of being able to discover this for myself later this month.

    Description…

    For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

    Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

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    SALT-COVER-FINAL-500

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    SALT by Danielle Ellison will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 2014 in eBook format only. It is currently available to pre-order online at AMAZON and BARNES & NOBLE.

    Published by Entangled Teen, the book is 250 pages.

    SALT is the first book in a new series by the same name by Author Danielle Ellison.

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    SALT is another book I got the chance to learn more about when I revealed its cover just last month. And when I did and also heard that this book was awesome I decided to pre-order a copy for my Kindle.

    I am very curious about this book and what its title means to the story. I am curious about how Penelope can use her sister’s magic to hide the loss of her own. And I’m curious to find out what Carter’s secret is.

    But I’m most curious about what the demons want with Penelope and what their agenda really is.

    If my reading pile isn’t too crowded in early February, I hope to be able to read SALT then. Though as it is the first book in a series, I really should try and wait until closer to the sequel’s release to read it in order to make things easier on myself. But that’s not going to happen.

    Description…

    Penelope is a witch, part of a secret society protecting humans from demon attacks. But when she was a child, a demon killed her parents—and stole her magic. Since then, she’s been pretending to be something she’s not, using her sister’s magic to hide her own loss, to prevent being sent away.

    When she’s finally given the chance to join the elite demon-hunting force, Penelope thinks that will finally change. With her sister’s help, she can squeeze through the tests and get access to the information she needs to find “her” demon. To take back what was stolen.

    Then she meets Carter. He’s cute, smart, and she can borrow his magic, too. He knows her secret—but he also has one of his own.

    Suddenly, Penelope’s impossible quest becomes far more complicated. Because Carter’s not telling her everything, and it’s starting to seem like the demons have their own agenda…and they’re far too interested in her.

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    The Killing Woods

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    THE KILLING WOODS by Lucy Christopher will be released in the U.S. on January 7, 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 Chicken House, the print edition is 387 pages.

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    Lucy Christoper is an amazing writer and when I learned of THE KILLING WOODS’ release I instantly added it to my list of pre-orders for my Kindle. I was totally envious that it got released over three months ago in the UK and I was so very tempted to see if I could get a print copy of the UK edition so I wouldn’t have to wait.

    But now the wait is almost over and I’ll be able to find out what happened to Ashlee Parker, find out whether Emily’s dad is innocent, find out whether Ashlee’s boyfriend knows something or whether he’s playing deadly games with Emily.

    I am super curious to see how the author approaches this story, whether her writing will pull me immediately in, and whether I’ll be able to discover the truth about what happened before the story reaches its end.

    Description…

    Fatal attraction, primal fear, survival in the forest: From the author of the Printz Honor Book STOLEN, the highly anticipated thriller about deadly games played in the dark.

    Ashlee Parker is dead, and Emily Shepherd’s dad is accused of the crime. A former soldier suffering from PTSD, he emerges from the woods carrying the girl’s broken body. “Gone,” he says, then retreats into silence.

    What really happened that wild night? Emily knows in her bones that her father is innocent — isn’t he? Before he’s convicted, she’s got to find out the truth. Does Damon Hilary, Ashlee’s charismatic boyfriend, have the answers? Or is he only playing games with her — the kinds of games that can kill?

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    Other Books of Note

     

    Untitled-1BEING SLOANE JACOBS by Lauren Morrill

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Delacorte Press

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Meet Sloane Emily Jacobs: a seriously stressed-out figure-skater from Washington, D.C., who choked during junior nationals and isn’t sure she’s ready for a comeback. What she does know is that she’d give anything to escape the mass of misery that is her life.

    Now meet Sloane Devon Jacobs, a spunky ice hockey player from Philly who’s been suspended from her team for too many aggressive hip checks. Her punishment? Hockey camp, now, when she’s playing the worst she’s ever played. If she messes up? Her life will be over.

    When the two Sloanes meet by chance in Montreal and decide to trade places for the summer, each girl thinks she’s the lucky one: no strangers to judge or laugh at Sloane Emily, no scouts expecting Sloane Devon to be a hero. But it didn’t occur to Sloane E. that while avoiding sequins and axels she might meet a hockey hottie—and Sloane D. never expected to run into a familiar (and very good-looking) face from home. It’s not long before the Sloanes discover that convincing people you’re someone else might be more difficult than being yourself.

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    Darkest FearDARKEST FEAR (Birthright #1) by Cate Tiernan

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Simon Pulse

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Vivi’s animal instincts are her legacy—and maybe her downfall—in this start to a romantic fantasy series that will appeal to fans of The Nine Lives of Chloe King.

    Vivi has known the truth about her family—and herself—since she was thirteen. But that doesn’t mean she’s accepted it. Being Haguari isn’t something she feels she’ll ever accept. How can she feel like anything but a freak knowing that it’s in her genes to turn into a jaguar?

    Now eighteen, Vivi’s ready to break away from the traditions of her heritage. But all of that changes with the shocking, devastating deaths of her parents and the mysteries left behind. Vivi discovers family she never even knew she had, and a life open with possibility. New friends, new loyalties, and even romance all lay ahead—but so do dangers unlike anything Vivi ever could have imagined.

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    FlameFLAME (Sky Chasers #3) by Amy Kathleen Ryan

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    In the thrilling conclusion to the Sky Chasers series Waverly, Kieran, and Seth struggle to survive on-board the New Horizon—and take down their enemies before it’s too late.

    Waverly and the other members of the Empyrean have scattered, and their home ship has been destroyed. Their mission to rescue their parents didn’t go as planned, and now they’re at an even greater disadvantage: trapped with their enemies on the New Horizon, trying to find a way to survive. Kieran has been pulled under Anne Mather’s wing, but is she really trying to make peace, or just using Kieran to build her own power? Meanwhile, Waverly is taken in by a mysterious old man who wants to help her bring Anne Mather down—but the more Waverly cooperates with him, the more dangerous her position is, and the more at odds with Kieran she becomes.

    Seth’s situation is even worse. After setting out from the Empyrean on his own, with only a vague strategy to guide him, he is a fugitive aboard the New Horizon. He’s doing what he can to challenge the power of Anne Mather, but he’s badly hurt, and getting sicker.

    Will Seth ever see Waverly again? Will his health hold out long enough to help her topple their enemies? And will Waverly find a way to unite with her friends before they all fall? Nothing is sure and every moment is a risk in this explosive finale of the Sky Chasers series.

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    Fugitive XFUGITIVE X (Revolution 19 #2) by Gregg Rosenblum

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: HarperTeen

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Their fight for freedom is humanity’s last hope for survival. The chilling Revolution 19 trilogy continues in Fugitive X.

    A war between humans and robots is on the horizon, and only one side will survive.

    Siblings Nick, Kevin, and Cass are struggling to survive in a world where deadly, sophisticated robots have turned on their creators and enslaved mankind. Fugitives from one of the bot-controlled Cities, the siblings venture into the woods, but when they are attacked by bot foot soldiers, the siblings are separated…and for the first time, they are on their own.

    Created in conjunction with Alloy Entertainment; Howard Gordon, showrunner of 24 and Showtime’s Emmy- and Golden Globe-winning Homeland; and James Wong, writer-director of the Final Destination films, Fugitive X is the gripping next installment in the cinematic Revolution 19 series.

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    Zom-B GladiatorZOM-B GLADIATOR (Zom-B #6) by Darren Shan

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Beyond a shadow of a doubt, B Smith has decided to live–and to fight for good as long as possible. However, London is overridden with the brain-eating undead and swarming with human mercenaries whose sense of right and wrong dissolved when society did. When they lay a trap, B is captured. And it’ll take dozens of battles–and the fight of a lifetime–to escape.

    Filled with gripping, bloody action sequences, the sixth book in Darren Shan’s horrifying Zom-B series promises the fright–and the fight–of your life.

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    The Almost GirlTHE ALMOST GIRL by Amalie Howard

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Strange Chemistry

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Seventeen-year-old Riven is as tough as they come. Coming from a world ravaged by a devastating android war, she has to be. There’s no room for softness, no room for emotion, no room for mistakes. A Legion General, she is the right hand of the young Prince of Neospes, a parallel universe to Earth. In Neospes, she has everything: rank, responsibility and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to find his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited back to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

    Thrown out of her comfort zone but with the mindset of a soldier, Riven has to learn how to be a girl in a realm that is the opposite of what she knows. Riven isn’t prepared for the beauty of a world that is unlike her own in so many ways. Nor is she prepared to feel something more than indifference for the very target she seeks. Caden is nothing like Cale, but he makes something in her come alive, igniting a spark deep down that goes against every cell in her body. For the first time in her life, Riven isn’t sure about her purpose, about her calling. Torn between duty and desire, she must decide whether Caden is simply a target or whether he is something more.

    Faced with hideous reanimated Vector soldiers from her own world with agendas of their own, as well as an unexpected reunion with a sister who despises her, it is a race against time to bring Caden back to Neospes. But things aren’t always as they seem, and Riven will have to search for truth. Family betrayals and royal coups are only the tip of the iceberg. Will Riven be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

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    Diamonds & DeceitDIAMONDS & DECEIT (At Somerton #2) by Leila Rasheed

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    One house, two worlds…book two in our sumptuous and enticing YA series about the servants and gentry at Somerton Court.

    A house divided…

    London is a whirl of balls and teas, alliances and rivalries. Rose has never felt more out of place. With the Season in full swing, she can’t help but still feel a servant dressed up in diamonds and silk. Then Rose meets Alexander Ross, a young Scottish duke. Rose has heard the rumors about Ross’s sordid past just like everyone else has. Yet he alone treats her as a friend. Rose knows better than to give her heart to an aristocrat with such a reputation, but it may be too late.

    Ada should be happy. She is engaged to a handsome man who shares her political passions and has promised to support her education. So why does she feel hollow inside? Even if she hated Lord Fintan, she would have no choice but to go through with the marriage. Every day a new credit collector knocks on the door of their London flat, demanding payment for her cousin William’s expenditures. Her father’s heir seems determined to bring her family to ruin, and only a brilliant marriage can save Somerton Court and the Averleys’ reputation.

    Meanwhile, at Somerton, Sebastian is out of his mind with worry for his former valet Oliver, who refuses to plead innocent to the murder charges against him–for a death caused by Sebastian himself. Sebastian will do whatever he can to help the boy he loves, but his indiscretion is dangerous fodder for a reporter with sharp eyes and dishonorable intentions.

    The colorful cast of the At Somerton series returns in this enthralling sequel about class and fortune, trust and betrayal, love and revenge.

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    Promise BoundPROMISE BOUND (Lies Beneath #3) by Anne Greenwood Brown

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Delacorte Press

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Calder and Lily never imagined falling in love would mean breaking apart. But ever since Lily started wearing a glass pendant that once belonged to Nadia, Calder’s adoptive mother, she’s been having vivid dreams of what life was like for the mermaid matriarch. In fact, she’s been dreaming as if she were Nadia! And Nadia, it seems, made a promise before her death. A promise to reunite Calder’s biological mother with her son. Lily knows merfolk are bound to keep their promises. Calder’s not buying into it, though. He chalks up the dreams to stress. He wants Lily to focus on the future—their future, not the past. Which forces Lily to send Calder away. Calder goes, feeling rejected and more than a little tempted to revert to his hunting ways.

    What both of them overlook is the present: Calder’s sisters, Maris and Pavati, are fighting for control of the mermaid clan, and now that Lily and her dad have transformed into mer-creatures, both mermaids vie for daughter and father as allies. Which of the two mermaids can be trusted? Will Lily make costly mistakes, forcing her to descend to the depths of Lake Superior? And if Calder returns, will he be the same merman Lily grew to love? The stakes are high, with many lives at risk, but Calder and Lily must confront the past as well as their darkest impulses if they want a chance at being together.

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    No One Else Can Have YouNO ONE ELSE CAN HAVE YOU by Kathleen Hale

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: HarperTeen

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Small towns are nothing if not friendly. Friendship, Wisconsin (population: 688) is no different. Around here, everyone wears a smile. And no one ever locks their doors. Until, that is, high school sweetheart Ruth Fried is found murdered. Strung up like a scarecrow in the middle of a cornfield.

    Unfortunately, Friendship’s police are more adept at looking for lost pets than catching killers. So Ruth’s best friend, Kippy Bushman, armed with only her tenacious Midwestern spirit and Ruth’s secret diary (which Ruth’s mother had asked her to read in order to redact any, you know, sex parts), sets out to find the murderer. But in a quiet town like Friendship—where no one is a suspect—anyone could be the killer.

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    AllianceALLIANCE (The Paladin Prophecy #2) by Mark Frost

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Readers of I Am Number Four, The Maze Runner, and Legend will love this sophisticated adventure series by the cocreator of the groundbreaking television show Twin Peaks, with its unique combination of mystery, heart-pounding action, and the supernatural.

    After exposing the sinister underground society of students known as the Knights of Charlemagne, Will West stays at the Center over the summer to explore his newly developing physical and mental abilities. Meanwhile, his roommates investigate the Knights’ shadowy purpose and discover unsettling information about their own backgrounds. Will and his friends must quickly figure out what’s going on and separate friend from foe as they prepare for the coming fight.

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    Love RebornLOVE REBORN (Dead Beautiful #3) by Yvonne Woon

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Renée and Dante are dying. The soul they share cannot sustain them both, and they’re quickly running out of time.

    But Renée has in her possession a legendary chest said to contain the secret to eternal life-if only they could solve the clues that lie within it. With both the Liberum, a Brotherhood of the Undead, and a team of Monitors, led by Renée’s own grandfather, in hot pursuit, Renée and Dante must keep the chest safe or risk having it fall into the wrong hands.

    With the help of a mysterious letter-writer called only Monsieur, Renée and Dante follow a series of clues that lead them on a treacherous journey across Europe. They seek the Netherworld, a legendary chasm where souls go to be cleansed. It’s their only chance at a fresh start, but with it comes a terrible choice, one they never imagined they would be forced to make.

    The third novel in the acclaimed Dead Beautiful series is a haunting story of sacrifice, loyalty, and a love that can never die.

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    Double DigitDOUBLE DIGIT (Digit #2) by Annabel Monaghan

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: HMH Books for Young Readers

    Find It: AMAZONBARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    To say eighteen-year-old Farrah Higgins—or Digit—is good at math is a laughable understatement. She’s been cracking codes since childhood, and is finally at home with “her people” at MIT in Cambridge. Her talents are so off the charts that her laptop is under surveillance by both the CIA and an ecoterrorist named Jonas Furnis. So when she thoughtlessly hacks into the Department of Defense’s database, she lands in serious hot water inside and outside the law. Readers will be sad to turn the last page of this suspenseful, sassy, super smart thriller, the sequel to A Girl Named Digit.

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    Little Blue LiesLITTLE BLUE LIES by Chris Lynch

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Two teens discover the true danger of love in this gripping novel from Printz Honor–winning author Chris Lynch.

    Oliver loves Junie Blue. That’s true. Pretty much everything else is a lie. Both known for their deceit, Junie and O’s relationship was the only honest thing they had. But now that’s over. Oliver’s been dumped, and he’s miserable. Junie says they’re done. Unless she’s lying?

    Junie’s father works for One Who Knows, the head of an organized crime family. He won’t tell O where Junie is, not even after O hears a rumor that Junie’s won the lottery—and that One Who Knows expects to be given her ticket. O fears Junie’s in danger, and he’s determined to come to her rescue. But is there honestly anything he can do?

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    PassionariesPASSIONARIES (The Blessed #2) by Tonya Hurley

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Agnes, Cecelia, and Lucy watched as Sebastian sacrificed himself for what he believed in. Will the girls trust that their destiny as saints and martyrs and perform the miracles as Sebastian instructed? Or lose faith in themselves and each other in his absence? Time is running out for them to make a decision, and the fate of the world lies in the balance.

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    In DreamsIN DREAMS by Erica Orloff

    Pub. Date: January 9, 2014

    Publisher: Speak

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Inception meets Unearthly in this hot romance for fans of Meg Cabot’s Abandon Series!

    In the land of nightmares, she finds the man of her dreams…

    He haunts her in her dreams.

    She is always searching, looking for the man who calls her from afar, a disembodied voice who knows everything about her. But when she discovers the unimaginable secret her family has hidden for so long, her dreams—and her nightmares—invade her reality.

    Her true love beckons, but the terrors await her. . . . Can she find him in time, or will their love—and her life—be destroyed?

    Sixteen-year-old Iris has a recurring dream a long corridor of many doors, and behind each door a hidden world—some magical, some terrifying. But always she is searching for the man who calls to her—the man of her dreams—who knows everything about her, who stirs feelings in her she’s never felt before.

    When she discovers her father is actually the god of dreams, her nightmares and dreams follow her into reality, with both frightening and romantic results. Hunted by the god of nightmares, stalked by the horrifying creatures of the underworld, Iris must try to navigate both her worlds, as she tries to finally be with Sebastian, the man of her dreams.

    Can she triumph over the dangers that have haunted her forever, and be with Sebastian, or will terrors ultimately destroy them both?

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    Other Releases

    NEVERWAS (The Amber House Trilogy #2) by Kelly Moore, Tucker Reed, Larkin Reed

    LUMINARY (Anomaly #2) by Krista McGee

    GAME SLAVES by Gard Skinner

    HERO WORSHIP by Christopher E. Long

    WHY WE TOOK THE CAR by Wolfgang Herrndorf, Tim Mohr (Translator)

    THE TRUE ADVENTURES OF NICOLO ZEN by Nicholas Christopher

    PHOENIX ISLAND by John Dixon

    TOUCH (The Queen of the Dead #2) by Michelle Sagara

    THE TRUE TALE OF MONSTER BILLY DEAN by David Almond

    OUTCASTS (The Safe Lands #2) by Jill Williamson

    MORE THAN GOOD ENOUGH by Crissa-Jean Chappell

    WHEN I WAS THE GREATEST by Jason Reynolds

    ENDERS (Starters #2) by Lissa Price

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    This week is absolutely insane with new YA releases. There are 37 releases that I came across. Nine of which I know I have pre-ordered, and a few others that I think I do – BEING SLOANE JACOBS, FLAME and PROMISE BOUND. It’s possible there are even a few more that will download come Monday Midnight.

    And I haven’t even begun to check into YA eBook novella releases.

    Though I do have one non-YA eNovella on order that I do know about…

    Howling For YouHOWLING FOR YOU (Chicagoland Vampires #8.5) by Chloe Neill

    Pub. Date: January 7, 2014

    Publisher: NAL

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    Jeff Christopher is a shapeshifter and ally of Chicago’s Cadogan House of vampires—he’s also a tech whiz and mostly-legal hacker. And the only protective shields he’s never been able to find a way around are those of the powerful Keene Family.

    For a long time, Jeff has only had eyes for the beautiful Fallon Keene. Unfortunately, she is the only sister of the lethal North American Central Pack Apex Gabriel Keene. The intricate balances of power and politics make it all but impossible for Fallon to trust her feelings.

    But fate takes a hand when the Pack’s totem is stolen—threatening the Keene family’s rule—and Fallon enlists Jeff’s help to retrieve it before the Pack is thrown into chaos. Can she and Jeff find the totem, and restore order, before it’s too late? And will Jeff finally be able to prove himself to the only person he truly loves?

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    And Part 2 of an adult serialized novel…

    The Professional Part 2THE PROFESSIONAL PART 2 (The Game Maker #1.2) by Kresley Cole

    Pub. Date: January 6, 2014

    Publisher: Pocket Star

    Find It: AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE

    Description:

    From #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole comes The Professional—the second scorching installment in her Game Maker series, an erotica collection that has readers asking: How hot is too hot?

    He makes the rules…
    Mafiya enforcer Aleksandr “The Siberian” Sevastyan’s loyalty to his boss is unwavering, until he meets the boss’s long-lost daughter, a curvy, tantalizing redhead who haunts his mind and heats his blood like no other. Ordered to protect her, Sevastyan will do anything to possess her as well—on his own wicked terms.

    Rules are made to be broken…
    PhD student Natalie Porter had barely recovered from her first sight of the breathtakingly gorgeous Sevastyan before the professional hit man whisks her away to Russia, thrusting her into a world of extreme wealth and wanton pleasures. With every day she spends under his protection, she falls deeper under his masterful spell.

    Are you ready to play?
    Yet all is not as it seems. To remove Natalie from an enemy’s reach, Sevastyan spirits her into hiding. From an opulent palace in Russia to the decadent playgrounds of the mega-wealthy in Paris, the two lovers will discover that even their darkest—and most forbidden—fantasies can come true…

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    Anyway… as there are so many books releasing this week and I do want to get back to reading DEFY, I think I’ll skip my long-winded sign-off to this post. But I will just say that I hope that this week doesn’t completely empty out your wallet as I’m pretty sure it has done to mine. I hope that you are able to get your hands on at least a few of these amazing new titles.

    And I am so glad that at least next week is just a little bit quieter, as the week of January 21st has quite a few seriously awesome new releases. A number of which I know I have pre-ordered.

    As ever… Happy bookish acquiring and reading!

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    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 #147

    MRPnew

    I didn’t receive any physical books in the mail this week. As it was, I barely received any mail at all. It was a super quiet week at the mailbox. Not that I was entirely surprised.

    But I decided to make it a little less quiet by electing to grab a copy of one book on my must read list from Edelweiss, so it wasn’t an entirely book-free week.

    The Murder Complex

    [Credit for mailbox sharing goes to The Story Siren]

    I received an eARC of THE MURDER COMPLEX (The Murder Complex #1) by Lindsay Cummings courtesy of the publisher, Greenwillow Books, and Edelweiss.

    As I’d been hiding from Edelweiss for much of the past couple of months I didn’t see it until Friday when I just had to grab a copy. It was one of the debut books I’d chosen for my top ten books of 2014 so I couldn’t resist.

    And as much as I’d love to add it to the pile this week, I seem to have at least six books I need to read for review this month. And while one of the books I’m choosing to add to the pile is not a required read, it’s imperative for me to find out how the series ends. Especially after the way things ended in book two, which I read last week.

    Anyway…

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

    (January 5, 2014 – January 11, 2014)

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    Graduation Day

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    First up on the pile is GRADUATION DAY by Joelle Charbonneau. I received a copy to read thanks to Jaime of Two Chicks on Books, and after having just finished INDEPENDENT STUDY there was no way I could not read this third and final book in the series.

    Especially after that ending, which made me scream more than a little. I could not believe that thing that happened right there at the end.

    So now I have to find out why Jaime adores a certain character so much. I have to find out whether the rebels will be able to destroy The Testing. I have to find out who can be trusted and who cannot. And I have to know right now.

    Even though it is a print book and my book light stopped working. Even though it is a series-ending book and I typically hate saying goodbye. Even though I love, love, love this series and finishing now will mean a super long wait until this author pens another book.

    Given how much I love this series and want answers, it’s entirely possible I’ll have started and finished this book by the time this scheduled post goes live. But it will not be a left behind book next week. That I can promise.

    The Description…

    In book three of the Testing series, the United Commonwealth wants to eliminate the rebel alliance fighting to destroy The Testing for good. Cia is ready to lead the charge, but will her lethal classmates follow her into battle?

    She wants to put an end to the Testing
    In a scarred and brutal future, The United Commonwealth teeters on the brink of all-out civil war. The rebel resistance plots against a government that rules with cruelty and cunning. Gifted student and Testing survivor, Cia Vale, vows to fight.

    But she can’t do it alone.
    This is the chance to lead that Cia has trained for – but who will follow? Plunging through layers of danger and deception, Cia must risk the lives of those she loves–and gamble on the loyalty of her lethal classmates.

    Who can Cia trust?
    The stakes are higher than ever-lives of promise cut short or fulfilled; a future ruled by fear or hope–in the electrifying conclusion to Joelle Charbonneau’s epic Testing trilogy. Ready or not…it’s Graduation Day.

    The Final Test is the Deadliest!

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    Alienated

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    Next up on the pile is ALIENATED by Melissa Landers. I received an eARC for review thanks to the publisher, Disney Hyperion, and NetGalley. And I’ve been dying to read it ever since it landed on my Kindle.

    While it is not releasing until early next month – February 4th – I just have to add it to the pile right now. I can’t wait to meet Cara Sweeney and find out more about L’eihr. And I really can’t wait to meet Aelyx.

    Science fiction, romance and a mystery sound like a fantastic combination and I can’t wait to see if the story is as amazing as its cover. As it is the first book in a new series I am also curious to see if there will be a cliffhanger ending, if there will be many questions left unanswered, and if I’ll be every bit as excited for the sequel as I am to read this first installment.

    While I may not get to read this until closer to the end of the week – as I have to catch up on one of last week’s reads – I will also definitely be reading ALIENATED this week. I’ve waited long enough. I can’t possibly wait another week.

    The Description…

    Two years ago, the aliens made contact. Now Cara Sweeney is going to be sharing a bathroom with one of them.

    Handpicked to host the first-ever L’eihr exchange student, Cara thinks her future is set. Not only does she get a free ride to her dream college, she’ll have inside information about the mysterious L’eihrs that every journalist would kill for. Cara’s blog following is about to skyrocket.

    Still, Cara isn’t sure what to think when she meets Aelyx. Humans and L’eihrs have nearly identical DNA, but cold, infuriatingly brilliant Aelyx couldn’t seem more alien. She’s certain about one thing, though: no human boy is this good-looking.

    But when Cara’s classmates get swept up by anti-L’eihr paranoia, Midtown High School suddenly isn’t safe anymore. Threatening notes appear in Cara’s locker, and a police officer has to escort her and Aelyx to class.

    Cara finds support in the last person she expected. She realizes that Aelyx isn’t just her only friend; she’s fallen hard for him. But Aelyx has been hiding the truth about the purpose of his exchange, and its potentially deadly consequences. Soon Cara will be in for the fight of her life—not just for herself and the boy she loves, but for the future of her planet.

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    Wishful Thinking Reads

    My wishful thinking read is UNINVITED by Sophie Jordan. I received an eARC for review back in July and I have been desperate to move this up on the pile so that I could devour it. The author made this book an automatic must read for me. The description made it a dying to read book. And I’ve been dying ever since I got my copy.

    While I plan on reading it before it releases later this month, I wish I could read it right now. But as I want to write a review for it and I’m already behind on reviews, this week it will have to remain a wishful thinking read. Hopefully that wish will turn into reality next week.

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    Those Left Behind

    I read THE PROMISE OF AMAZING last week and it was a super quick, thoroughly entertaining and – yes – amazing read. I had hoped to immediately write a review but a crowded blog and life stuffs got in the way. So I’m hoping that I’ll get the chance to write it this weekend and find some space on the blog next week to post it.

    I am a little behind, as I didn’t yet get the chance to read DEFY. Though I will be reading it this weekend and possibly finished before I have to start on this week’s pile on Sunday. I just got caught up with a couple off-pile/back-on-the-pile reads, AFTERPARTY, which I seriously loved – oh my gosh the writing is ahh-mazing – and INDEPENDENT STUDY – which absolutely killed me.

    I am, of course, already behind on a few reviews – EVERTRUE, AFTERPARTY, THE PROMISE OF AMAZING, INDEPENDENT STUDY – but at least I managed to post my Quickie Review of FRACTURE ME. I just don’t want to get too far behind on reviews and have this year be a repeat of last year with books read but not reviewed.

    All of that remains to be determined. But if I can wrangle my thoughts for at least three of the four titles I’m behind on, hopefully I won’t look as slacker-y come year end.

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    NetGalley Pile Adds & Finds

    I only popped onto NetGalley one day this week and discovered Victoria Scott’s FIRE & FLOOD, which I immediately requested, but am not sure I’ll receive for review. I can only imagine that there will be a ton of requests flooding in for that title, so we shall see.

    But there are some other awesome books available for request, and while I haven’t requested any of them – yet – there are at least a couple that have made my mouse hover over that request button while creating this post.

    Anyway… here are the NetGalley titles I discovered this week:

    FIRE & FLOOD by Victoria Scott (Scholastic, Feb 25 2014)

    THE HUNT (Project Paper Doll #2) by Stacey Kade (Disney Book Group, Apr 22 2014)

    HALF BAD by Sally Green (Penguin Young Readers Group, Mar 4 2014)

    STORMBRINGER (Weather Witch #2) by Shannon Delany (St. Martin’s Press, Jan 14 2014)

    BETTER OFF FRIENDS by Elizabeth Eulberg (Scholastic, Feb 25 2014)

    CURED (Stung #2) by Bethany Wiggans (Bloomsbury USA Children’s Books, Mar 4 2014)

    THE TRUTH AGAINST THE WORLD by Sarah Jamila Stevenson (Flux, June 8 2014)

    THE HIT by Melvin Burgess (Scholastic, Feb 25 2014)

    THREATENED by Eliot Schrefer (Scholastic, Feb 25 2014)

    THE SHADOW THRONE (The Ascendance Trilogy #3) by Jennifer A. Nielsen (Scholastic, Feb 25 2014)

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    Aside from reviews I think I’m back on track with posting. I have a bunch of tours coming up in the next few weeks, but I should be on time with all three of my weekly featured posts. Though with January 7th being a ginormous release week, we’ll see.

    I am completely wiped after the holidays, which leaves me with zero ability to formulate thoughts for a review. Hopefully with a quiet weekend ahead of me this weekend, my brain will be able to function as I need it to.

    And while I had a burst of writing creativity a few days back, it completely flew out the window as the week passed. I am now looking at the 2,000 words I wrote wondering what was I thinking and where the heck was I going with that. *SIGH*

    But reading has been a lot of fun, even though my book light is completely DOA leaving me with no way to read print books at night in bed. But as I have a few eBook titles that I am reading right now – or plan on reading in the next few days – and only one print book, hopefully I’ll be able to find a new light before my next printed ARC gets added to the pile.

    Anyway… I hope you have some interesting reads planned for this week, I hope that you haven’t fallen too far behind already this year, and I hope that you received a few new titles in your mailbox this past week. And if you did, I’d love to know.

    As ever, happy reading!

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    Do you create a reading pile?

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

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    Top 10 Books I’ve Read in 2013

    Top 10 of 2013 Banner

    Today is the first of five days of Top 10 of 2013.

    A week of Looking Back…

    …and Looking Forward.

    And I am thrilled to be able to co-host this event for the third year in a row with Jaime from Two Chicks on Books and for a second year with Mindy from Magical Urban Fantasy Reads.

    If you haven’t yet heard of this week-long event, it’s where we share our favorite bookish lists and invite you to share yours each day for the next five days by leaving your post links in the daily Linky Lists.

    This year’s event giveaway is shared via a common Rafflecopter on all three of our blogs. Leaving a comment each day on each host’s blog will give you extra entries, so be sure to check out each of our Top 10 lists for more chances to win.

    It’s not too late to sign up for this event. Just check out the Sign-up Post for all the details – HERE.

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    Today’s topic is…

    Best Books I’ve Read in 2013

    I read a ton of awesome books this year. Many from the same series by the same author. But as I was trying so very hard to keep my list to just ten, I decided to choose only one book from each series, even if I read multiple books in a particular series that I thought were amazing.

    And I couldn’t list all my favorite reads this year since one or two of them were a secret. Nor could I list all the 2013 releases I love, love, loved since I read some of them in 2012. But I’m not too sad about that, because reading them last year made creating this list just a little bit easier.

    There were also a few books I loved in 2013 that were not YA. But in keeping with my typical YA only “best” list, I didn’t include them in this post. Though I plan on posting my non-YA favorites on The Annex. Yes, I’m cheating just a little… as usual. But I just can’t seem to help myself.

    Anyway…

    It took me ages to narrow my list down from my original picks and to keep my “honorable mentions” to only four titles, just like last year. But after much hair pulling and nail-biting I was able to get it done.

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    The Best I’ve Read in 2013

    1.

    With All My Soul

    WITH ALL MY SOUL by Rachel Vincent

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    As sad as I was to see this series end, I still couldn’t help falling madly in love with this last installment. It was heartbreaking and nerve-wracking and exciting and heartwarming and I loved every single minute of the read.

    I especially loved the fact that I was able to become intrigued by a brand new character, that the story wasn’t rushed and that the ending didn’t leave me feeling like something was missing. It was the perfect ending to an amazing series and I couldn’t have loved it any more than I did.

    2.

    Endless Knight

    ENDLESS KNIGHT by Kresley Cole

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Kresley Cole’s Arcana Chronicles are completely and totally amazing. They are so my kind of books. From beginning to end in both books in this series I was utterly riveted.

    And while I didn’t think it was possible, this second book in the series was even more exciting than the first. It was darker, it was hotter, it was all sorts of sexy. The lore was fascinating. And it made me fall head-over-heels in love with Death just like I hoped it would.

    To say that I am dying for the next installment in this series would be a major understatement.

    3.

    Through the Zombie Glass

    THROUGH THE ZOMBIE GLASS by Gena Showalter

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I read both books in this series in 2013 and absolutely loved both of them. They were unputdownable reads and I couldn’t have been more surprised by the fact that I fell so completely in love with zombie books that gave a nod to Alice in Wonderland.

    Gena Showalter was incredibly creative with her stories. She did not skimp on the action. It was edge-of-your-seat exciting. And the love story was angst-filled and twisty-turny to the max.

    And as I opted to choose just one of the two books in this series as a favorite, I had to select the one that absolutely killed me in the best possible way.

    4.

    The Eternity Cure

    THE ETERNITY CURE by Julie Kagawa

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I did not expect to love the Blood of Eden series more than I loved the author’s faerie books. But oh my gosh I couldn’t help myself. Dystopia and vampires are an unexpected combination but one that the author made work so amazingly well.

    The characters, the epic journey, the killer cliffhanger all worked together to make this one of my favorite books and not simply a 2013 favorite. I’m talking all-time favorite.

    5.

    Crash Into You

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I fell under Katie McGarry’s spell in 2013. She is a fan-freaking-tastic writer and her Pushing the Limits series is one of my very most favorite contemporary YA series.

    I read all three books in this series, plus the novella, in 2013, which made it very hard to choose only one of the books for my top ten list. But I had to choose Isaiah and Rachel’s story, even though I adored Noah and Echo’s story so, so much.

    Perhaps it was getting to know and love Isaiah before reading his story that made me love it that much more. Or perhaps it’s simply just that Isaiah is amazing. But whatever the reason, it is my favorite of the series and it’s definitely one of my favorite reads from 2013.

    6.

    Afterglow

    AFTERGLOW by Karsten Knight

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I was devastated to see this series end. The world that Karsten Knight created was so unique and fascinating and exciting. The characters were lovable and detestable and completely and totally kick-a**. And this final installment in the series was just as phenomenal as its predecessors.

    And that ending. Oh. My. Gosh. That ending. While I can’t talk about that ending, I will just say that it gives me hope. For a certain character. Oh the possibilities.

    7.

    Star Cursed Cover

    STAR CURSED by Jessica Spotswood

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I was so glad that I got the chance to read both books in The Cahill Witch Chronicles this year. I was completely surprised by how much I loved each of the books. They are not stories in my typical go-to genre and yet both books are among my most favorites.

    I couldn’t help but fall in love with the story, the setting, the characters. It’s a totally addictive read and one that’s definitely re-read worthy. Though even after a re-read, it’s no easier to have to wait for the next installment in the series. This I know all too well.

    8.

    The Beautiful and the Cursed

    THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED by Page Morgan

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Yet another unexpected favorite on my list is Page Morgan’s THE BEAUTIFUL AND THE CURSED. If someone told me that I could fall in love with a gargoyle I would have totally rolled my eyes at them. I might have even told them that they were crazy. I would have definitely thought it.

    Well, this author made me not only fall in love with a gargoyle, but her story about them. The sequel is one of my most anticipated reads for 2014. And the wait is killing me.

    9.

    While You're Away

    WHILE YOU’RE AWAY by Jessa Holbrook

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    I read this book in its serialized format, with just a few chapters available to read in one sitting. It was exquisite torture. This story was tantalizing and nerve-wracking and beautiful and nerve-wracking – yes I said it twice, but it needed to be said two times… if not more.

    I was made to root for a love story that I never would have thought I’d cheer for. I was made to wish and hope for a happily ever after for two characters who, at first, I didn’t think deserved one. I was anxious, I was fearful, I was tentatively hopeful and at times I was even sad. But I was keeping my fingers crossed the entire time for the slim chance that things would work out.

    10.

    A Touch Menacing

    A TOUCH MENACING by Leah Clifford

    (GOODREADS | AMAZON | BARNES & NOBLE)

    Leah Clifford’s Touch Trilogy is one of my favorite series of all time. It’s so very different from anything I’ve ever read. It’s very dark. It is full of surprises. Shocking surprises. Devastating surprises. But it is wicked, wicked awesome.

    The end of this final installment in the series left me in tears. And, no, I won’t say whether they’re happy or sad tears. But if you have read this book or you’ve read any of the books in this series by this author I think you will know exactly what kind of tears there were.

    This last book was non-stop action, with more than a few punches to the face. I couldn’t devour it fast enough. It was that epic. And if I didn’t think it could get any better, the unpublished epilogue made this book that much more off-the-charts amazing for me. Holy-freaking-wow.

    Other Books I Love, Love, Loved

    SweetPeril

    SWEET PERIL by Wendy Higgins

    Exciting. Sexy as heck. Captivating from start to finish. Delicious. An absolute must.

    The Testing

    THE TESTING by Joelle Charbonneau

    Gripping. Surprising. Totally addictive. A total stand-out.

    The Burning Sky

    THE BURNING SKY by Sherry Thomas

    Magical. Enchanting. Captivating. Epic. Fan-freaking-tastically good.

    Pivot Point

    PIVOT POINT by Kasie West

    Intriguing. Nerve-wracking. Unputdownable. Amazing.

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    I tried to keep my rambling to a minimum when it came to my top ten picks for 2013. But I may have gone on just a little longer than I’d planned. Oh well…

    But I just couldn’t help myself. They are my favorite reads this year… well, most of them. There are a few others…

    I will try to be a lot less wordy in the rest of the posts this week, but when it comes to favorite reads I always feel the need to go on… and on… and on.

    But now that I’m done I can’t wait to check out what your favorite reads are, so be sure to leave a link to your posts or Goodreads shelf in the Linky List that follows just below the giveaways.

    The Giveaways

    We have decided to combine the giveaways into one Rafflecopter form that is shared on all three host blogs and will be posted in each of the Top 10 posts this week.

    There is a box of 2014 ARCs, a box of books, two books of your choice, and a book from one of the host’s top ten lists up for grabs. Just follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter.

    Enter in the Rafflecopter below…

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Link Up


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All content - except for guest posts and guest reviews - has been written by me and can not be copied or used without permission. All graphics and images used on my site – aside from book covers used for purposes of discussion – have either been given to me by authors, publishers or bloggers for guest posts, blog tours, interviews or promotion, have been sourced, have been designed by me or have been purchased for my exclusive use. Aside from images with a “grab code” beneath, no images can be used or displayed without permission.

FTC

All reviews on this website are unbiased and reviewers are in no way compensated for their reviews by the author, publisher, or any other agencies. While some reviews may be based on receipt of ARC copies of an authors work, a fair and impartial review is always given by the reviewer. Most of the reviews, however, are based upon books purchased after publication date.