Tag Archive | TBR2013

Keeper, by Ellen Jensen Abbott (book review) – unite against evil or perish

book cover of The Keeper by Ellen Jensen Abbott published by SkyscapeA conquered evil rises again,
former enemies must become allies,
and one teen girl must lead them.

In Watersmeet, Abisina searches for the father she never knew (my review here).

In Centaur’s Daughter, she leads creatures seeking peace in a war against the White Worm (my review here).

Now, she must convince her allies to truly trust one another, or lose their world to absolute evil!


Book info: The Keeper (Watersmeet, book 3) / Ellen Jensen Abbott. Skyscape, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy from the author; cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: As evil arises with renewed powers, Abisina strives to unite centaurs, fairies, humans, dwarves, and fauns, despite their mutual distrust.

Vicious creatures streaming from the newly opened rift in the barrier mountains attack those fleeing Watersmeet and other settlements, but that’s only the beginning. If only the young woman knew what form the Worm would inhabit this time!

When Abisina requests the fairies’ help in battling the Worm and its marauding army, their queen’s daughters give conflicting reports of her mission, and one claims for herself Abisina’s necklace of power – will the folk of the land be able to overcome the evil forces without it?

Now, armed only with her faith in love, the shapeshifter and her ragtag band of friends and former opponents make a last stand against the evil trying to blight their world forever.

The tale begun in Watersmeet and The Centaur’s Daughter concludes in this finale filled with battles, intrigue and fantastic creatures. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

OCD Love Story, by Corey Ann Haydu (book review) – counseling, compulsions, Cupid?

book cover of OCD Love Story by Corey Ann Haydu published by Simon PulseObsessions and compulsions.
An unsought-for chance at love.
5, 6, 7, 8…

What are the odds that the sweet guy that Bea met during a blackout would be in her new therapy group? That they’ll make it past date #8? That Bea can control her obsession with the fabulous couple she overhears at the therapist’s office?

If Bea keeps denying that her OCD is spiraling out of control again, she might lose Beck (everything in 8s – taps, handwashing, daily gym workouts), her best (and only) friend Lisha, and her own sanity.

Find this 2013 paperback at your local library or favorite independent bookstore (these are both search tools – no affiliate links ever on BooksYALove).


Book info: OCD Love Story / Corey Ann Haydu. Simon Pulse, 2013.    [author site]  [publisher site]   Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: When familiar compulsive behaviors won’t keep her most recent obsession at bay, Bea struggles to stay close to her new boyfriend whose own OCD may end their relationship after Date 8.

Whatever triggered Bea’s OCD a few years ago has been firmly locked away by the Boston teen, and she doesn’t agree with Dr. Pat that group therapy will help. But there she finds Beck, the boy she kissed at a dance after the power went out, a guy with his own secrets, sorrows, obsessions, and compulsions.

Suddenly obsessed with the safety of a couple she overheard at Dr. Pat’s office, Bea finds compulsions once again overtaking her daily life, despite the welcome distraction of time with Beck. Can her sanity withstand the strain? Can her relationship with Beck last beyond his obsession with the number 8? (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality, by Elizabeth Eulberg (book review) – pageant big sis breaks loose

book cover of Revenge of the Girl with the Great Personality by Elizabeth Eulberg published by PointPageant fees week after week, check.
Hair falls for a seven year old, check.
Reality check for Mom… nope.

Oh, yes, Lexi realistically could be tagging along after her little sister to beauty pageants every weekend of the year – thank goodness for her supportive friends, especially when her mom’s obsession with Mackenzie’s pageant appearances gets out of hand.

Check out this video interview to find out where the title came from (she told this story at TLA2014, too), then find this 2013 release in hardback or paperback now at your own local library or favorite independent bookstore.

Where’s the line between looking good and living for your looks?

Book info: Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality / Elizabeth Eulberg. Point, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Her little sister is a Texas beauty pageant princess, so if 16-year-old Lexi wants more from life, she’ll have to overcome the “great personality” label and make her own way (despite their mom).

Downsized into a doublewide trailer because child support won’t cover house rent and Mackenzie’s pageant costs, Lexi feels unappreciated as she saves up for the fashion internship in New York City.

Cam thinks Lexi’s crush on Logan (boyfriend of beauty queen Alyssa) is ridiculous, Benny challenges her to a makeover in teeny steps, and she dares him to let cute guy Chris know his feelings.

Will she really stop hiding behind baggy clothes and messy hair?
Will Lexi and Benny ever escape their judgmental small town?
Will these pageants never ever end?

An average gal in the land of the gorgeous, Lexi decides that she must craft the ultimate Revenge of the Girl With the Great Personality if she ever wants to be herself. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Pawn, by Aimee Carter (book review) – doomed or destined by the Test?

book cover of Pawn by Aimee Carter published by Harlequin TeenOne chance to rise above poverty,
one Test determines your life,
and all the rules are a lie!

In this future America, the Hart family’s dictatorship is unbreakable, anyone over 60 is sent Elsewhere, and only Kitty’s unique eye color saves her from poverty – at a steep price that’s too dangerous to refuse!

Read the first chapter of Pawn  here, then find book 1 of the Blackcoat Rebellion series today at your local library or independent bookstoreCaptive arrives on November 25th.


Book info: Pawn (Blackcoat Rebellion, book 1) / Aimee Carter. Harlequin Teen, 2013.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Kitty can trade a lifetime of servitude for wealth and luxury – if she can successfully masquerade as the USA prime minister’s niece and stop the rebellion which Lila began!

Doomed – dyslexic orphan Kitty Doe just failed the Test and is tattooed as level III, sentenced to menial labor in a city far from her beloved boyfriend Benji.

Destined – her contract purchased by Prime Minister Hart, her body Masked and remade to replicate his popular niece, even Lila’s mother and fiance help Kitty become the wealthy level VII teen for her adoring public.

Determined – as Kitty learns more about outspoken Lila’s desire to help common folks, she dares to contact the Blackcoat rebels – but can she risk losing Benji forever?

First of a trilogy set in a future USA where one Test determines everything and some folks aren’t playing by their own rules. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Now You Tell Me! 12 College Students Give the Best Advice They Never Got, by Sheridan Scott, Nancy Allen, Anya Settle (book review)

book cover of Now You Tell Me! 12 College Students Give the Best Advice They Never Got by Sheridan Scott, Nancy Allen & Anya Settle published by ArundelGet up,
show up,
keep up!
Yes, classes are the main reason you go to college!

Great advice from real students who survived and thrived at college fills this book: get to know future classmates before you arrive on campus, try new things (but not everything!), stay hydrated, stay healthy, and remember that the dorm staff is there to help you.

You should be able to find this 2012 release at your favorite local library or independent bookstore – its advice is timeless! Download a free excerpt here.

What advice would you share with someone going to college or another new situation?

Book info: Now You Tell Me! 12 College Students Give the Best Advice They Never Got / Sheridan Scott, Nancy Allen, and Anya Settle. Arundle Publishing, 2012.   [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Who better to tell you the real story about college life than recent graduates? This Now You Tell Me title can help you enjoy the good life at college while avoiding major pitfalls.

Whether at a small college or large university, several folks recommend waiting until the end of your first semester (or first year) to declare a major.

Read on for advice about dealing with difficult professors, your roommate’s dating and housekeeping habits, and other common situations of college life.

A dozen different experiences fill this book, so it’s no surprise that some advice contradicts what someone else earlier (join/don’t join a sorority/fraternity, etc.).

So put back half of the stuff you’d planned to take, bring your adventurous spirit, and learn from these 12 varied experience to make your college time the best it can be.

Orleans, by Sherri L. Smith (book review) – post-hurricanes, Delta Fever rules

book cover of Orleans by Sherri L. Smith published by GP Putnam's SonsCategory 6 hurricane blasts New Orleans,
incurable blood disease rampant,
the Gulf Coast states excised from the USA.

In 2056, Fen tries to remember everything that her scientist-parents taught her before Delta Fever felled them, like countless thousands after Hurricane Jesus (which made Katrina look like a mild breeze) – but will it be enough?

Get a taste of Fen’s life in the free short story “Orleans: Carnivale” here, then look for the 2013 hardcover or recently released paperback to travel deep into dangerous Orleans, one of my #weneeddiversebooks 48-hour Reading Challenge favorites this year.

As Sherri wrote in my copy of the book, “Tribe is life” – it’s up to Fen to ensure her tribe’s survival now.


Book info:  Orleans / Sherri L. Smith. G.P. Putnams’ Sons, 2013 (hardcover); Speak, 2014 (paperback). [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: Carrying the hope of her tribe in 2056’s death-dealing Louisiana swamps, Fen will leverage any advantage to ensure their survival, including an outsider scientist’s misguided help.

In drowned New Orleans, descendants of mega-hurricane survivors live and die in tribes based on blood type to slow the incurable Delta Fever’s mutations. After an ambush, only Fen and Lydia’s baby remain of the O-Positive tribe. She must get that baby over The Wall before Delta Fever gets into her blood!

Scientists in the Outer States still seek a cure for Delta Fever; Daniel has found it. To test the cure, he sneaks into the Separated lands in a quarantine suit, hoping to survive long enough to see the results.

When blood farmers capture them, Fen and Daniel work to escape so they can get Baby Girl over The Wall… at least, that’s what Fen plans.

This ecological disaster adventure from the author of Flygirl  tests the boundaries of trust and humanity as surely as the soldiers guarding The Wall will shoot anyone trying to leave the Delta. (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Friends With Boys, by Faith Erin Hicks (book review) – one ghost too many

book cover of Friends With Boys by Faith Erin Hicks published by First Second BooksFirst day of public school jitters,
a ghost overstaying her welcome,
Mom gone away suddenly,
everything was so much easier in homeschool!

Canadian artist Faith Erin Hicks melded Nova Scotia’s long seagoing history and her personal experience of being homeschooled with 3 brothers to create this coming-of-age story with a ghostly twist.

Alas, she never saw a ghost in her house like Maggie does…


Book info: Friends With Boys / Faith Erin Hicks. First Second Books, 2012.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [fan-created book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: The ghost lady may be Maggie’s smallest worry now, as being homeschooled with her three big brothers hasn’t prepared her for the people-part of attending high school.

Mags liked Mom as her teacher, but wanted to play with her brothers instead of do girly stuff with her – maybe that’s why Mom left their small coastal town in the Maritimes.

Her twin brothers fight constantly (as usual), but don’t hang out together (not usual), her oldest brother likes theater, but distrusts Maggie’s new friend Alistair, mohawked senior Alistair decided that not being a jerk to his sister Lucy was more important than being a volleyball jock, so now the team hates him, and Lucy is fascinated by ghosts and their town’s history, which all leads to a teeny-little museum caper… by the way, Dad is the police chief now.

This graphic novel follows Maggie as she tries to find her place in the high school hierarchy and make the ghost go back to the cemetery – is that really so much to ask?  (One of 6,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)

Hello, June! Howdy, Blogathonners!

image of runner with computer mouse for Blogathon

Blogathon HQ banner courtesy of
Michelle Rafter of Wordcount

Howdy, book fans and Blogathonners!

If you’re new to the BooksYALove party, please note that I love young adult books, love connecting the right book to the its perfect reader, and never (ever) give away the ending!

On June 6-8, I’ll be participating in Mother Reader’s 9th Annual 48 Hour Book Challenge, this year celebrating Diversity in Kids’ Books by reading and writing about young adult and middle grade books with characters of diverse race, cultural heritage, and family. My 48 hours will include writing about some of the books I’m reading that weekend for future BooksYALove posts – so many good books with diverse casts, but so many more needed. #weneeddiversebooks for all ages

I’m also doing a year-long challenge hosted by Bookish blog, trying to get my TBR shelf under control.

For most folks, TBR signifies “to-be-read” books, but for me and other bloggers, it means “to be reviewed” – in other words, all those great books from last year (or earlier) that we still haven’t talked about, even though we liked them a lot. The siren song of the newest book is so compelling, you know.

I’ve recommended 30 books with pre-2014 publication dates so far (like these), but added none to that list in May (I was resting between April AtoZ Blog Challenge and June Blogathon) – I will introduce a few more in June, for sure.

Of course, I’m looking forward to our traditional Blogathon features like Haiku Day and Word Cloud Day, as well as alerting y’all to each summer week’s free complete audiobooks available for download through the SYNC Audiobook program (Thursday-Wednesday).

Please subscribe to email updates or follow BooksYALove using the links in the right sidebar.

Happy June! Happy reading!





Crossing the finish line! April AtoZ & TBR2014 Challenge wrap-up

Hooray and three cheers!

cartoon of chocolate cake with 4 birthday candles

Celebrate! (c)OCAL

1. It’s BooksYALove’s fourth birthday!

2. I successfully completed all 26 days of the AtoZ April Blog Challenge (as entry #785). I didn’t have time to visit many AtoZ bloggers, didn’t get many comments or new followers (all the reasons we usually do blog challenges), but I did post on-time every day according to the alphabet and recommended 25 books, which is why I forced myself to do AtoZ during such a busy time for me.

3. For the TBR2014 Challenge (I’m #30 on list), I’m now up to 30 titles toward my goal of recommending 50+ books with 2013 (or older) copyright dates during this year!

Here are April’s 20 additions to my TBR2013 list – just click on the title to get my no-spoiler review in a new window:

All My Noble Dreams and Then What Happens – India’s independence fight and a young British lady’s heart

Americus – graphic novel about freedom to read, book-banning, and bullies

The Apprentices (Apothecary, book 2) – friends battle Cold War peril to save the world

Between the Devil and the Deep Blue Sea – beautiful boy, terrible talent, death by the shore

Break These Rules: 35 YA Authors on Speaking Up, Standing Out, and Being Yourself

The Butterfly Sister – literary mystery as college tragedy repeats itself?

Control – in 2051 un-United States, genetic diversity is illegal and profitable

Dead Ends – missing dads, finding friends as unlikely allies

Forget Me Not – dead to classmates through social media; paranormal limbo

Hypnotize Me (book 1 of The Hypnotists) – a powerful gift, wrong hands grasping for him

Little Fish: a Memoir From a Different Kind of Year – graphic novel of small town graduate moving to big city college

Mountain Dog – novel-in-verse of lonely boy, rescue dog in training, hope for safety

Riese: Kingdom Falling – princess faces war and treachery

Screwed – pregnant, disowned, rescued, redeemed

When You Were Here – searching in Tokyo to answer California questions

Where Stars Still Shine – kidnapped by mom as tot, returned to family as teen

The Wild Queen: The Days and Nights of Mary, Queen of Scots

Will in Scarlet – young Robin Hood legend begins

William Shakespeare’s Star Wars: Verily, a New Hope – first of trilogy, forsooth!

A Wounded Name: A Tragedy – Hamlet at boarding school, from Ophelia’s perspective

If a blog challenge sounds like fun to you, join me in the WordCount Blogathon in June – a very supportive community of bloggers, lots of suggestions for posts, connections to find/become a guest blogger, and a chance to “build up your blogging muscles” by posting all 30 days of June. Registration opens in mid-May.

Taking a breather from daily postings in May, but still planning to recommend a few books every week,

(clipart of birthday cake with 4 candles courtesy of OCAL on clker.com: http://www.clker.com/clipart-birthday-cake-four-candles.html)

Z is Zelia in Control, by Lydia Kang (book review) – future genetics, love & power

book cover of Control by Lydia Kang published by Dial Books for Young ReadersGenetic differences are illegal,
the United States aren’t united,
welcome to 2150.

Two sisters with non-standard DNA somehow survive in a society where implanted fingertip IDs control access to public transportation and food delivery. The cartel which develops big money products using illegal genes from these non-persons can’t wait to get them following their doctor-dad’s untimely death…

Chilling sci-fi for our last AtoZ April Blog Challenge entry – first in a new series, filled with danger, science that’s almost here now, and romance blossoming amid the chaos.

Book info: Control (Control, book 1) / Lydia Kang. Dial Books for Young Readers, hardcover 2013; paperback 2015.  [author site]  [publisher site]  [book trailer] Review copy and cover image courtesy of the publisher.

My book talk: After her father’s death and sister’s kidnapping in 2150, Zelia finds allies – and love – among genetically illegal teens being sought by a sinister syndicate.

Beautiful Dylia and medically fragile Zelia are accustomed to moving often with their doctor dad. But they’re not prepared to be orphaned, separated, and fought over by rival groups who claim they have special genetic traits.

Rescued by her Dad’s friend, Marka takes Zelia home to her other 4 teen adoptees – a girl with photosynthetic skin, a guy with 4 arms, and another with 2 active brains. What Cy’s trait is – besides surly sarcasm – remains to be seen. Why is Zelia, who looks like a child at 17 and needs help to breathe, in the safety of Carus when it’s Dylia who has special traits?

Dylia was kidnapped by Aureus group, which creates products using youth with illegal genetic differences – maybe Zel can sequence Dyl’s DNA in Cy’s lab to discover why and find a way to rescue her.

While trying to understand her dad’s connection to Carus, she’s secretly contacted by Q who promises information about Dylia’s whereabouts…for a price.

Can her new housemates help Zel find Dylia? Will they risk leaving Carus?
Is she willing to trade Cy’s growing fondness for this dangerous opportunity?

This medical sci-fi thriller is first in a series, asking tough questions about identity, differences, and society since our ‘now’ leads to our future. (One of 7,000 books recommended on www.abookandahug.com)