Friday, June 24, 2011

300 Follower Giveaway -- Revised

Sooo, it's taking longer for me to get to 300 followers than I thought. But have no fear! I'm still giving away two great books. I'm so excited to give away these books, I can't take the waiting! I've just decided to give one of them away a little bit earlier. Cool, right?

I've decided to give away the first book, WAKE by Lisa McMann when I read 250 followers. That's right. 250. Seeing as I'm currently at 248, that shouldn't be a problem to reach soon. :D

And I'll still be giving away THE DUFF by Kody Keplinger when I do reach 300. The rules for the contest are the same and if you've already entered, I've got you down on my list.

I know what you're all asking:  How do I enter this awesome giveaway? It's easy:

- Follow me on twitter:
Make this tweet:  "You should follow @YA_BookoftheDay because..." and fill in your own reasons for following me, or why you think others should. You can change around the wording if you need to, but make sure @YA_BookoftheDay is included and a reason you like or think others should follow. 

That's it! Totally easy. 

Every person entered will be eligible to win both WAKE and THE DUFF. I'll use a random number generator to pick the winners. If I reach 250 sometime today, I'll wait until the end of the night to pick the winner, so you'll all still have time to enter for WAKE. 

Good luck!

Recap: June 20-24

Yay! I'm back to full week's of book recommendations. Here are this week's YA Books of the Day:

A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb

Helen is a disembodied spirit who "attaches" herself to humans in order to possess their bodies. Unable to remember the circumstances of her death, and with no idea why she's in this precarious state of limbo, she knows this much: she's been haunting the living world for 130 years. But when Helen inhabits the body of a high school teacher, everything changes. For though he remains quite unaware of her presence, a certain boy in his class is clearly able to see Helen. This realization, and Helen's subsequent introduction to him, rocks her world. 

Uncomfortable with the boundaries of her existence, Helen continues to test them and takes hair-raising risks -- often for love. Moved by her passions, she is stymied by limits placed on her that she doesn't yet understand and is unable to control. Despite the supernatural realm it explores, A Certain Slant of Light is nothing sort of chilling in its evocation of a world that's starkly real, and a newfound love that's positively sublime. 

Review: A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT is a thoughtful exploration of life and love (all kinds). Very enjoyable.

I recommend A CERTAIN SLANT OF LIGHT by Laura Whitcomb to anyone looking for something different. Bonus points if you like ghosts.

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick

Nora Grey's life is still far from perfect. Surviving an attempt on her life wasn't pleasant, but atleast she got a guardian angel out of it: a mysterious, magnetic, gorgeous guardian angel. But, despite his role in her life, Patch has been acting anything but angelic. He's more elusive than ever and even worse, he's started spending time with Nora's arch-enemy, Marcie Millar. 

Nora would have hardly noticed Scott Parnell, an old family friend who has moved back to town, if Patch hadnt been acting so distant. Even with Scott's totally infuriating attitude Nora finds herself drawn to him - despite her lingering feeling that he's hiding something. 

Haunted by images of her murdered father, and questioning whether her nephilim bloodline has anything to do with his death, Nora puts herself increasingly in dangerous situations as she desperatly searches for answers. But maybe some things are better left buried, because the truth could destroy everything - and everyone - she trusts.

Review: Super sexy with even more plot twists and excitement than HUSH, HUSH.

I highly recommend CRESCENDO by Becca Fitzpatrick for fans of romance and/or fantasy. Bonus points if you like fallen angels.

Girl Parts by John M. Cusick

What happens when a robot designed to be a boy’s ideal “companion” develops a will of her own? A compulsively readable novel from a new talent. 

David and Charlie are opposites. David has a million friends, online and off. Charlie is a soulful outsider, off the grid completely. But neither feels close to anybody. When David’s parents present him with a hot Companion bot designed to encourage healthy bonds and treat his “dissociative disorder,” he can’t get enough of luscious redheaded Rose — and he can’t get it soon. Companions come with strict intimacy protocols, and whenever he tries anything, David gets an electric shock. Parted from the boy she was built to love, Rose turns to Charlie, who finds he can open up, knowing Rose isn’t real. With Charlie’s help, the ideal “companion” is about to become her own best friend. In a stunning and hilarious debut, John Cusick takes rollicking aim at internet culture and our craving for meaningful connection in an uberconnected world.

Review:  GIRL PARTS explores social isolation in an interesting way. Robotic girls for boys is fun but it's also scary.

I recommend GIRL PARTS by John M. Cusick to anyone looking for something interesting, thoughtful, and quick to read.

The Hobbit by J.R.R. Tolkien

Bilbo Baggins was a hobbit who wanted to be left alone in quiet comfort. But the wizard Gandalf came along with a band of homeless dwarves. Soon Bilbo was drawn into their quest, facing evil orcs, savage wolves, giant spiders, and worse unknown dangers. Finally, it was Bilbo-alone and unaided-who had to confront the great dragon Smaug, the terror of an entire countryside . . .

This stirring adventure fantasy begins the tale of the hobbits that was continued by J.R.R. Tolkien in his bestselling epic The Lord of the Rings.

Review:  THE HOBBIT is adventure at its finest. A great read for young and old alike.

I highly recommend THE HOBBIT by J.R.R. Tolkien to everyone! Seriously good book. A classic in the truest sense of the word.

The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter

It's always been just Kate and her mom—and her mother is dying. Her last wish? To move back to her childhood home. So Kate's going to start at a new school with no friends, no other family and the fear her mother won't live past the fall.

Then she meets Henry. Dark. Tortured. And mesmerizing. He claims to be Hades, god of the Underworld—and if she accepts his bargain, he'll keep her mother alive while Kate tries to pass seven tests.

Kate is sure he's crazy—until she sees him bring a girl back from the dead. Now saving her mother seems crazily possible. If she succeeds, she'll become Henry's future bride, and a goddess.

Review:  Fresh interpretation of an old myth. Loved the mixture of classical mythology in a modern setting.

I recommend THE GODDESS TEST by Aimee Carter to anyone who likes romance, Greek mythology, or fantasy/paranormal.

*Summaries provided by GoodReads

Recap: June 13-15

Sorry all, but it was another short week this week. Random goings out of town have disrupted my flow. Hmph. All shall be put right soon, I assure you.

Without further ado, here were this week's YA Books of the Day!

Unwind by Neal Shusterman

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives. 

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child "unwound," whereby all of the child's organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn't technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

Review:  UNWIND has a very rich world to explore the moral and ethical questions presented. Very thoughtful read.

I highly recommend UNWIND by Neal Shusterman to anyone looking for a great, thought provoking read.

Torment by Lauren Kate

Hell on earth. That's what it's like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel. It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts - immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students -Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans. 

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn't told her everything. He's hiding something - something dangerous. What if Daniel's version of the past isn't actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else? The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies.

Review:  TORMENT thrived off the story created in FALLEN. The complexity of the mythology became much more apparent.

I recommend TORMENT by Lauren Kate to fans of paranormal romance. Bonus points if you like fallen angels.

Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.

Review: Interesting modern twist on the Greek mythology of gods and goddesses.

I recommend STARCROSSED by Josephine Angelini for fans of paranormal, Greek myths, and/or romance.

*Summaries provided by GoodReads

Monday, June 13, 2011

Recap: June 6-10

In light of the WSJ Article-That-Shall-Not-Be-Named, this week's picks all had some level of dark, danger, or edginess to them.

Invincible Summer by Hannah Moskowitz

Noah's happier than I've seen him in months. So I'd be an awful brother to get in the way of that. It's not like I have some relationship with Melinda. It was just a kiss. Am I going to ruin Noah's happiness because of a kiss?

Across four sun-kissed, drama-drenched summers at his family's beach house, Chase is falling in love, falling in lust, and trying to keep his life from falling apart. But some girls are addictive...

Not your typical beach read.

Review:  INVINCIBLE SUMMER is raw, emotional, gutwrenching, heartbreaking genius. And did I mention dysfunctional?

I highly recommend INVINCIBLE SUMMER by Hannah Moskowitz to everyone not afraid of a little dysfunction. LOVED it!

Cryer's Cross by Lica McMann

The community of Cryer's Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany's empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on...until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany:  they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly--and deadly--local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Review:  Creepy without being too disturbing, CRYER'S CROSS satisfies an itch for mystery, suspense, and a little romance.

I recommend CRYER'S CROSS by Lisa McMann to everyone looking for a little mystery with a creep factor.

Where She Went by Gayle Forman

It's been three years since the devastating accident...three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and their hearts to the future--and each other.

Told from Adam's point of view in the spare, lyrical prose that defined If I Stay, Where She Went explores the devastation of grief, the promise of new hope, and the flame of rekindled romance.

Review:  Emotionally devastating and absolutely brilliant.

I highly recommend WHERE SHE WENT by Gayle Forman to everyone with a beating heart.

Ender's Game by Orson Scott Card

In order to develop a secure defense against a hostile alien race's next attack, government agencies breed child geniuses and train them as soldiers. A brilliant young boy, Andrew "Ender" Wiggin lives with his kind but distant parents, his sadistic brother Peter, and the person he loves more than anyone else, his sister Valentine. Peter and Valentine were candidates for the soldier-training program but didn't make the cut—young Ender is the Wiggin drafted to the orbiting Battle School for rigorous military training.

Ender's skills make him a leader in school and respected in the Battle Room, where children play at mock battles in zero gravity. Yet growing up in an artificial community of young soldiers Ender suffers greatly from isolation, rivalry from his peers, pressure from the adult teachers, and an unsettling fear of the alien invaders. His psychological battles include loneliness, fear that he is becoming like the cruel brother he remembers, and fanning the flames of devotion to his beloved sister.

Is Ender the general Earth needs? But Ender is not the only result of the genetic experiments. The war with the Buggers has been raging for a hundred years, and the quest for the perfect general has been underway for almost as long. Ender's two older siblings are every bit as unusual as he is, but in very different ways. Between the three of them lie the abilities to remake a world. If, that is, the world survives.

Review:  Absolutely brilliant story, amazing writing, and creative world building. Amazing!

I highly recommend ENDER'S GAME by Orson Scott Card to anyone interested in adventure.

*Summaries provided by GoodReads

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

300 Follower Giveaway

It's time for another book giveaway! I promised to give away two books when I reach 300 followers and I've finally chosen the two.  Here are the winners:

1.) WAKE by Lisa McMann (paperback)

WAKE was a previous book giveaway, but the recipient never contacted me with her info, so it's time to try to giveaway this sucker again. It's a great book, so I hope you're excited about it.

THE DUFF was the first YA Book of the Day, for good reason. It's an excellent book.

Both books are previous YA Books of the Day, so you know they're good. ;) I'm sure you're all wondering, how do I enter to win these books made of awesome? Well, here you go:

- Follow me on twitter:
- Make this tweet:  "You should follow @YA_BookoftheDay because..." and fill in your own reasons for following me, or why you think others should. You can change around the wording if you need to, but make sure @YA_BookoftheDay is included and a reason you like or think others should follow. 

And that's it! Easy, right? 

When I reach 300 followers, I'll use a random number generator to pick the two winners and send out the books. 

Monday, June 6, 2011

Sex in YA Romance

Sex. It's a loaded topic no matter where you go, but it's definitely controversial in the realm of YA books. Now, I don't want to get into the usual points of whether or not it should be there. Teens have sex. Let's get over it. Having it in a YA book (or not) isn't advocating that everybody does (or doesn't) do it.

Personally, I don't care whether or not sex is in a YA book. Just like teens, sex will be right for some characters and not right for others. As long as the authors treat the topic with respect, I don't care what they choose. If they want their character to wait till marriage...fine. Some teens make that decision. If they want their characters to make mistakes and learn from them...that's fine too. Fall deeply in love and make informed decisions...great. Basically, I can support most forms of sexual choices in YA, including abstinence. All teens are different and I'm sure the different representations of sex will speak to different readers.

If I'm not here to harp on whether or not sex occurs, what the heck am I writing about? I'm writing about how quickly it happens.

I've recently read several YA books where the characters jumped from tame kissing to sex in two pages flat. Okay, that might be an exaggeration of page limit, but it's not an exaggeration of the action. There was one chaste kissing scene (or none at all) and then BAM! Sex time. And it wasn't an, "Oh my God, how did that happen so fast?" kind of a scene. It was a "I'm so deeply in love with you and wasn't it perfect?" kind of scene. Isn't there anything between kissing and sex?

Yes. The answer is YES!

Then why the heck aren't we reading about it? Aren't there other ways to feel satisfied that slowly builds up to sex? For me, reading about two characters falling in love, the build-up of their physical connection is just as important as the build-up of their emotional connection. You don't go from "Hello" to "I love you" without steps in between, so why should you go straight from kissing to sex?

Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying authors should get all graphic with the physical sexual stuff, but there's a way to write it that let's you know there's more going on without turning it into an explicit scene.

And yes, I get it that sometimes there's a good reason for this to happen. I'm not saying it should never happen. But it sure as heck does bug me when there doesn't seem to be a good reason for it.

So, am I alone with this pet peeve? Or does this speedy relationship building bother you too? Either way, go for it in the comments. I look forward to reading your opinions.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Recap: May 30 - June 3

It's Super Sequels Week here at YA Book of the Day! Here were this week's awesome sequels:

City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare

Clary Fray just wishes that her life would go back to normal. But what's normal when you're a demon-slaying Shadowhunter, your mother is in a magically induced coma, and you can suddenly see Downworlders like werewolves, vampires, and faeries? If Clary left the world of the Shadowhunters behind, it would mean more time with her best friend, Simon, who's becoming more than a friend. But the Shadowhunting world isn't ready to let her go — especially her handsome, infuriating, newfound brother, Jace. And Clary's only chance to help her mother is to track down rogue Shadowhunter Valentine, who is probably insane, certainly evil — and also her father. 

To complicate matters, someone in New York City is murdering Downworlder children. Is Valentine behind the killings — and if he is, what is he trying to do? When the second of the Mortal Instruments, the Soul-Sword, is stolen, the terrifying Inquisitor arrives to investigate and zooms right in on Jace. How can Clary stop Valentine if Jace is willing to betray everything he believes in to help their father? 

In this breathtaking sequel to City of Bones, Cassandra Clare lures her readers back into the dark grip of New York City's Downworld, where love is never safe and power becomes the deadliest temptation.

Review:  CITY OF ASHES is packed with action, angst, and sexiness. It's my favorite of the 1st trilogy.

I recommend CITY OF ASHES by Cassandra Clare to fans of urban fantasy. Bonus points if you like sexiness.

Rules of Attraction by Simone Elkeles

When Carlos Fuentes returns to America after living in Mexico for a year, he doesn’t want any part of the life his older brother, Alex, has laid out for him at a high school in Colorado . Carlos likes living his life on the edge and wants to carve his own path—just like Alex did. Then he meets Kiara Westford. She doesn’t talk much and is completely intimidated by Carlos’ wild ways. As they get to know one another, Carlos assumes Kiara thinks she’s too good for him, and refuses to admit that she might be getting to him. But he soon realizes that being himself is exactly what Kiara needs right now.

Review:  RULES OF ATTRACTION has all the danger and sexiness of PERFECT ATTRACTION with charming new characters.

I highly recommend RULES OF ATTRACTION by Simone Elkeles to everyone. Bonus points if you like edgy or sexy.

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other.  Now, inLinger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack.  And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love -- the light and the dark, the warm and the cold -- in a way you will never forget.

Review:  Fascinating new characters & POV, LINGER keeps the intrigue level high till the very end.

I recommend LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater to fans of werewolves and/or romance. Bonus points if you like a little edge.

The Sea of Monsters by Rick Riordan

After a summer spent trying to prevent a catastrophic war among the Greek gods, Percy Jackson is finding his seventh-grade school year unnervingly quiet. His biggest problem is dealing with his new friend, Tyson, a six-foot-three, mentally challenged homeless kid who follows Percy everywhere, making it hard for Percy to have any normal friends. But things don't stay quiet for long. 

Percy soon discovers there is trouble at Camp Half-Blood: the magical borders that protect Half-Blood Hill have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and the only safe haven for demigods is on the verge of being overrun by mythological monsters. To save the camp, Percy needs the help of his best friend, Grover, who has been taken prisoner on an island somewhere in the Sea of Monsters, the dangerous waters Greek heroes have sailed for millennia. Only today, the Sea of Monsters goes by a new name: The Bermuda Triangle. 

Together with his friends, Percy must retrieve the Golden Fleece from the Island of the Cyclopes or Camp Half-Blood will be destroyed. But first, Percy will learn a stunning new secret about his family, one that makes him question whether being claimed as Poseidon's son is an honor or simply a cruel joke.

Review:  Fantastic Greek mythology and quests, with new characters and the same wonderful sense of humor.

I highly recommend THE SEA OF MONSTERS by Rick Riordan to everyone.  

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain

The non-stop sequel to The Dark Divine delivers an even hotter romance and more thrilling action than Bree Despain's first novel.  Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi.  She gave her soul to the wolf to save him and lost her beloved mother.  When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do.  She must become a Hound of Heaven.  Desparate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot - a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero.  But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel begins to crumble.  Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace becomes prideful in her new abilities - not realizing that an old enemy has returned and deadly trap is about to be sprung.  Readers, raveous for more Grace and Daniel, will be itching to sink their teeth into The Lost Saint.

Review:  I could not stop reading THE LOST SAINT. The pace was much quicker than THE DARK DIVINE.

I recommend THE LOST SAINT by Bree Despain to fans of fantasy and/or romance. 

*Summaries provided by GoodReads.