Cover Reveal: Play On by Michelle Smith

Title: Play On by Michelle Smith
Expected Release Date: April 2015
Publisher: Spencer Hill Contemporary

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Summary:

In the small town of Lewis Creek, baseball is everything. Especially for all-star pitcher Austin Braxton, who has a one-way ticket out of town with his scholarship to a top university. All that stands between him and a new start is one final season. But when Austin starts flunking Chemistry, his picture-perfect future is in jeopardy. A failing grade means zero playing time, and zero playing time means no scholarship.

Enter Marisa Marlowe, the new girl in town who gets a job at his momma’s flower shop. Not only is Marisa some home-schooled super-genius; she’s also a baseball fanatic and more than willing to help Austin study. As the two grow closer, there’s something about Marisa that makes Austin want more than just baseball and out of Lewis Creek — he wants a future with her. But Marisa has a past that still haunts her, one that she ran all the way to South Carolina to escape.

As Austin starts to peel back the layers of Marisa’s pain, it forces him to look beyond the façade of himself and everyone he thought he knew in his town. What he sees instead is that in a small town like Lewis Creek, maybe baseball isn’t everything—maybe it is just the thing that ties them all together.

About Michelle Smith:

Michelle Smith writes books for teens (and adults who aren’t ashamed of their love for YA). She’s a lover of all things happy, laughs way too much, and is a complete sap. She advocates for mental health awareness, and is a strong supporter of The Trevor Project, Love is Louder, and To Write Love on Her Arms.
Michelle lives in North Carolina with her family.
Awesome Links!

Blog Tour: London Falling (International School #2) by Chanel Cleeton [Book Thoughts]

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Summary:

Maggie Carpenter walked away from the hottest encounter of her life when she left the seductive glitz of England for summer break in her South Carolina hometown. Now that she’s returned to the International School in London—and sexy, privileged Samir Khouri is once again close enough to touch—she can’t help but remember the attraction, the drama … the heartbreak.

She can’t help but want him even more.

Samir can’t afford to fall for someone so far removed from his world, not when his time in London is running out. It’s his senior year—his last chance at freedom before he returns home to Lebanon. There, he’ll be expected to follow in his father’s footsteps—not follow his heart to Maggie. But when a scorching secret hookup becomes a temptation neither can resist, they’ll both have to fight to survive the consequences … and find a future together.

My Thoughts:

Although I adored I See London, London Falling somehow made me fall in love with Maggie, Samir and the International School a hundred times more.

To be honest, I didn’t really know where London Falling was going to go. Yes, the first book set up a lot of things for the sequel, but I questioned the relationship between Maggie and Samir. Everything between them was already so intense and passionate that I honestly questioned how it could become more intense and passionate. In the end, it was wrong for me to question. Chanel Cleeton crafted an addictive sequel that intensified everything between Maggie and Samir, making me feel every emotion known to mankind.

Even though the book revolves around Maggie and Samir, Cleeton doesn’t forget about the other characters and other important things. For example, Fleur’s past comes back to haunt her, and she’s stuck getting through everything too. Maggie is also challenged with facing her own family issues. What I love about London Falling is that it mirrors true reactions and outcomes. In every scene, I understood and empathized with a character’s decision.

Chanel Cleeton does a wonderful job at capturing moments and emotions and translating them into words one can put on a page. I found myself staring at the book in awe at certain sentences and passages because Maggie’s thoughts about life captured my exact feelings. Those details brought me closer to the characters because I knew how they felt.

In the end, all I can do is applaud Chanel Cleeton for writing a wonderful sequel to a wonderful book. If you haven’t read I See London, the first book in the International School series, then you need to do so right now. If you have, you need to somehow obtain the sequel because this series is my favorite.

Buy Links
Amazon - Barnes & NoblesiTunes - Harlequin

Author Links
Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads

Giveaway!

Win a London Falling coffee mug, Tea, (4) signed London Falling bookmarks, (4) signed I See London bookmarks, (4) pens, a London case, and a $25 Amazon GC. Enter the rafflecopter here!

Please check out the rest of the LONDON FALLING tour here!

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Release Day Blitz: London Falling by Chanel Cleeton (International School #2)

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Summary:

We weren’t a relationship, we were a ticking time bomb…

Maggie Carpenter walked away from the hottest encounter of her life when she left the seductive glitz of England for summer break in her South Carolina hometown. Now that she’s returned to the International School in London—and sexy, privileged Samir Khouri is once again close enough to touch—she can’t help but remember the attraction, the drama … the heartbreak.

She can’t help but want him even more.

Samir can’t afford to fall for someone so far removed from his world, not when his time in London is running out. It’s his senior year—his last chance at freedom before he returns home to Lebanon. There, he’ll be expected to follow in his father’s footsteps—not follow his heart to Maggie. But when a scorching secret hookup becomes a temptation neither can resist, they’ll both have to fight to survive the consequences … and find a future together.

Don’t miss this explosive sequel to I See London, and the riveting conclusion to Maggie and Samir’s story. This is a New Adult romance recommended for readers 17 and up.

About Chanel Cleeton:

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Originally a Florida girl, CHANEL CLEETON moved to London where she received a bachelor’s degree from Richmond, The American International University in London and a master’s degree from the London School of Economics and Political Science. Chanel fell in love with London and planned to stay there forever, until fate intervened on a Caribbean cruise, and an American fighter pilot with smooth dance moves swept her off her feet. Now, a happily ever after later, Chanel is living her next adventure in South Korea.

Law school made Chanel realize she’d rather spend her days writing sexy stories than in a courtroom, and she hasn’t looked back since. An avid reader and hopeless romantic, she’s happiest curled up with a book. She has a weakness for handbags, her three pups, and her fighter pilot husband. Chanel writes New Adult contemporary romances and thrillers.

She is the author of I SEE LONDON and LONDON FALLING, published by Harlequin HQN, and FLIRTING WITH SCANDAL, the first book in a new NA series to be released by Berkley in 2015.

Buy Links
Amazon - Barnes & NoblesiTunes - Harlequin

Author Links
Website - Facebook - Twitter - Goodreads

Giveaway!

Win a London Falling coffee mug, Tea, (4) signed London Falling bookmarks, (4) signed I See London bookmarks, (4) pens, a London case, and a $25 Amazon GC. Enter the rafflecopter here!

Launch Party!

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Join us for a party celebrating London Falling’s release! A group of amazing authors will be stopping by to host the party and there will be giveaways, teasers, games, and much more! Join here!

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Book Thoughts: Pawn by Aimee Carter

(** I received this book through Harlequin Teen Panel.)

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Summary:

For Kitty Doe, it seems like an easy choice. She can either spend her life as a III in misery, looked down upon by the higher ranks and forced to leave the people she loves, or she can become a VII and join the most powerful family in the country.

If she says yes, Kitty will be Masked—surgically transformed into Lila Hart, the Prime Minister’s niece, who died under mysterious circumstances. As a member of the Hart family, she will be famous. She will be adored. And for the first time, she will matter.

There’s only one catch. She must also stop the rebellion that Lila secretly fostered, the same one that got her killed …and one Kitty believes in. Faced with threats, conspiracies and a life that’s not her own, she must decide which path to choose—and learn how to become more than a pawn in a twisted game she’s only beginning to understand.

My Thoughts:

Although Pawn is an interesting book with a strong female protagonist, I am still not 100% sure where my thoughts about this story lie.

Let me start off with Kitty – she’s cool. She’s strong willed and holds her own in almost every situation. Right from the beginning, Kitty is planning a way out of the miserable future she has just been given. Her mind constantly wavers between the task she’s been ordered to do and her plan to get out of doing that task. Even though Kitty is the pawn of this entire story, she’s good at playing and faking her role.

In addition to Kitty’s character, all of the other characters are well-built. The history written into each character heightened my empathy for each of them, since I was able to see things through his or her point of view. At one point, I even found myself agreeing with the antagonist through her back story.

On the other hand, although most of the characters are well-developed, the relationships between them were not. Before Pawn takes place, Kitty has been dating Benjy, a boy she’s been good friends with her whole life. Actually, most of Kitty’s actions and decisions revolve around her concern and love for Benjy – which I did not understand at all. Right from the beginning, I had no feeling for their relationship. To me, it didn’t feel like they were dating. There was no passion or tension; nothing for an outsider to feel or understand their emotion. Even though there is enough supposed romance in the book between different characters, I wish it had shown through.

To continue, I didn’t love Pawn. It didn’t capture me in the beginning. Towards the middle, I became more intrigued and wanted to keep reading. The ending surprised me a little, and it was nice to have a twist.

On the other hand, Pawn is a decent read. It’s interesting and filled with enough family drama people can relate to. If you’re looking for a simple dystopian read, I suggest you check this one out.

 

Book Thoughts: Pills and Starships by Lydia Millet

(**I received a copy of this novel from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.)

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Summary:

In this richly imagined dystopic future brought by global warming, seventeen-year-old Nat and her hacker brother Sam have come by ship to the Big Island of Hawaii for their parents’ Final Week. The few Americans who still live well also live long—so long that older adults bow out not by natural means but by buying death contracts from the corporates who now run the disintegrating society by keeping the people happy through a constant diet of “pharma.” Nat’s family is spending their pharma-guided last week at a luxury resort complex called the Twilight Island Acropolis.

Deeply conflicted about her parents’ decision, Nat spends her time keeping a record of everything her family does in the company-supplied diary that came in the hotel’s care package. While Nat attempts to come to terms with her impending parentless future, Sam begins to discover cracks in the corporates’ agenda and eventually rebels against the company his parents have hired to handle their last days. Nat has to choose a side. Does she let her parents go gently into that good night, or does she turn against the system and try to break them out?

But the deck is stacked against Nat and Sam: in this oppressive environment, water and food are scarce, mass human migrations are constant, and new babies are illegal. As the week nears its end, Nat rushes to protect herself and her younger brother from the corporates while also forging a path toward a future that offers the hope of redemption for humanity. This page-turning first YA novel by critically acclaimed author Lydia Millet is stylish and dark and yet deeply hopeful, bringing Millet’s characteristic humor and style to a new generation of young readers.

My Thoughts:

Pills and Starships is a fascinating read that constantly keeps you thinking about the world we live in and the future we are headed towards.

Right from the beginning, I was intrigued with Nat’s story. The book begins with Nat’s family starting their final vacation together – the vacation that her parents have chosen to enjoy in Hawaii for their last week of life. Nat is given a journal to use as an outlet; as a result, her whole experience is jotted down for you and I, which I found pretty cool. Throughout the book, Nat acknowledges that she has (or will have) an audience. I’ve read a handful of books that also recognize the reader; here, the author does it in a way that aids the story. Nat tells her story, without always doing the actual telling (if that makes sense).

As a person, I think Nat was alright. She’s nice and caring, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think she has much of a backbone. Even though Nat is sixteen, she is Sam’s older sister. Throughout the book, Sam is the independent character; he is the one who holds his own weight and discovers things for his own. I liked Sam, even though he comes off as obnoxious sometimes. I like Nat also, but she follows Sam too quickly instead of really thinking things out for her own sake.

To continue, the plot of Pills and Starships is very intriguing. Can you imagine a future in which people chose their death dates? It’s depressing and cool at the same time. At first, I thought all of the different pills used in the story would be over done; it’s not. It’s scary to imagine people under the influence of something all of the time instead of experiencing the world through their own senses. I think Millet does a great job at creating a futuristic dystopia that differs from other fiction books out there.

Another thing I liked about this book is that there is little romance. There’s enough that most readers can empathize with Nat, but nowhere enough to drive the plot.

In the end, I enjoyed Pills and Starships. I’m not going to lie, it’s not my favorite book; it is a decent read though, for anyone who enjoys dystopias. Not only that, but it’s a good dystopia published by a lesser known company, Akashic books. I suggest you check it out!

Blog Tour: Branded by Abi Ketner and Missy Kalicicki [Book Thoughts]

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Summary:

Fifty years ago the Commander came into power and murdered all who opposed him. In his warped mind, the seven deadly sins were the downfall of society. He created the Hole where sinners are branded according to their sins and might survive a few years. At best.

Now LUST wraps around my neck like blue fingers strangling me. I’ve been accused of a crime I didn’t commit and now the Hole is my new home.
Darkness. Death. Violence. Pain.

Now every day is a fight for survival. But I won’t die. I won’t let them win.

The Hole can’t keep me. The Hole can’t break me.

I am more than my brand. I’m a fighter.
My name is Lexi Hamilton, and this is my story.

My Thoughts:

It’s always hard writing a review about a book you love because all you want to do is praise it – Branded is a seductively thrilling read that takes the seven deadly sins to a whole new level.

I’m going to begin by telling you that I started and finished this book within forty-eight hours. Lexi’s story starts in media res, like many other novels do. Unlike many other novels though, I was immediately hooked. Even though I’m familiar with the seven deadly sins, I have never read a story completely based off of them. Because of that, I found the plot to be extremely exciting and very original.

Even so, the book does have its fair share of clichés. The protagonist Lexi is not the girl everyone thinks she is. Cole is your stoic warrior. Two people, who aren’t supposed to become friends, break the rules and become more than friends. To be truthful, their relationship was obvious to me the second Cole was introduced to the story. With all this said, I didn’t mind the clichés one bit. Why? Because everything came together to make Branded a wonderful read.

Although I love a lot of things about Branded, my favorite would have to be the relationship between Lexi and Cole. Ketner and Kalicicki are able to artfully construct a true developing relationship; they added enough confusion, unspoken words and sexual tension to make any reader want to punch a wall with all the emotion running through the pages. It is not only beautifully written, but also evenly developed throughout the story.

This book is filled with terror and bloodshed. Never once, did anything Lexi experienced get tiring. Even though bullets were fired or another person was after Lexi, it was written in enough detail in such a thrilling way that similar experiences kept me reading instead of sounded redundant.

Overall, Branded is fast paced read that had my heart racing from beginning to end. It is the best self-published book I’ve read and I know I’ll be looking out for the authors’ other works! Check this book out!

My Very Late Announcement About Joining YA Interrobang?!

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This is going to be a very late announcement (I’ve been swamped with college essays and exams), but I am very happy to have joined the YA Interrobang?! Team! Ever since its beginning a little less than a year ago, I have been an avid reader. As you can see, I am very happy to actually be a part of YA Interrobang!

Now, what is YA Interrobang? YA Interrobang is an online magazine that “[celebrates] YA literature.” Every other Sunday, YA Interrobang releases a new issue (issue = updates with a bunch of new articles) that revolve around anything and everything that is happening within the YA book community. Essentially, it is a roundup of all current YA news. What YA Interrobang doesn’t do though, is review books. It presents news and opinions on other topics, hence why it is called a magazine.

I have joined the Team as a columnist. My column is called “Once Upon a Tweet” and in it, I round up the best of YA author tweets in the past two weeks. This last Sunday, my third post came out (hence why this is a really late announcement).

If you’re an avid YA follower, or you just want to know what’s going on, I suggest checking out YA Interrobang?! While you’re there, you might as well browse through my column too (;

YA Interrobang
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