A new month, a new theme and this month I'm celebrating all things Fantasy and Mythology. Quite often dystopian and science fiction venture into the fantasy genre, so the term is used loosely.
As always, there will be a few advanced reading copies thrown in, series continuations and young adult's most wanted titles.
Included this month will be:
Life is good. Cami is
away at her dream college with her dream man by her side. She thinks if
she can just get through with meeting Hunter’s family that everything
will be perfect. Little does she know that life’s about to turn upside
down again when Hunter is called to infiltrate a gang whose specialty is
chopping and racing cars. His contact happens to be a beautiful curvy
girl who is the gang leader’s sister and he has to pose as her
boyfriend. Communication with Cami is basically forbidden to help keep
Hunter, however, can’t stand being away from the girl
he really loves, and he sneaks away one night to meet her across town.
He doesn’t know the gang leader, Ripper, has suspicions about him
already and he’s following him to see where he goes. He surprises Hunter
and Cami, and Hunter quickly introduces her as his cousin who is having
some car trouble. He thinks all is well until he discovers he has one
serious problem. Ripper likes Cami and decides to pursue her, drawing
her into the same dangerous world he’s supposed to bring down.
he keep his cover without having Cami get caught in the crossfire? Will
the two of them survive having to watch each other fake it in the arms
of another? Or will their hot stolen kisses destroy everything?
Since Cami discovered that boyfriend Hunter was an undercover cop, she's only now slowly picking up the pieces. Dylan Hunter Wilcock is an undercover agent, having met Cami when posing as a student, saving her from the clutches of Clay. Now a student at college, Cami is following her love of music at the University of Arizona, with Hunter close by. Hunter is still a part of the force, and having only just recovered from his last case, and now needs to go back undercover.
It's a missing person case involving a mechanic and the police suspect his partner, Ripper. Ripper's sister has come forward with information and wants to find out what happened to her former boyfriend a little more than twelve months ago now.The problem is, Hunter needs to pose as Roberta's latest boyfriend, and play the role convincingly. Manny, the missing boyfriend and Ripper were allegedly involved in a car racketeering, using the two truck from the body shop, either selling the cars for parts and luxury vehicles on the black market. Hunter is expected to cut all ties, including not contacting Cami under any circumstances. He'll be given a new car, his undercover alias and brother in law and fellow agent Chris, is posing as Hunter's older, drug addict foster brother, living in a run down shack. As soon as Hunter makes contact with the secretive and dangerous Ripper, he is taken into the fold.
Luckily Cami has Hunter's best friend Russ to keep her company, Hunter had risked his life to save Russ, and now he'll do anything to protect Cami. But he isn't a substitute for Hunter. Cami realises that Hunter's job is dangerous, but his experience does nothing to curb her worry. If only she could see him, speak to him to ensure that he's alright. Hunter can't go another day without seeing the love of his life and arranges a secret rendezvous, but he didn't plan on being followed by Ripper, who can't seem to take his eyes of Cami.
Hunter's personal and professional life are now one in the same, and his only concern now is protect Cami, now that Riper has set his sights on her. Cami has suddenly become Hunter's foster sister, easily passed off as brotherly concern and warning Ripper to stay away from her, but when Ripper starts becoming suspicious and questioning why Hunter can date his sister, but why he won't trust Ripper with his. Hunter has no choice but to allow Ripper to see Cami, he needs to keep her safe and not react to Ripper's advances.
But seeing Hunter interact with Roberta, playing the role of doting boyfriend is all too much. She doesn't want to give him an ultimatum, but how will she be able to spend the rest of their lives with Hunter undercover in dangerous situation, or not coming home at all? He can't lose her, and will do anything to protect her and keep her in his life. But when their cover is blown and the situation turns into a deadly game of hide and seek, will Cami and Hunter survive to create the future they so desperately wanted?
Smitten is book two in the Crush series, and unfortunately was all too similar to The Fast and the Furious. Undercover agent infiltrating a auto operation, dating the sister of the main suspect, it was just rewritten and tweaked slightly. Regardless, it was still entertaining, but in Smitten, Hunter and Cami are two separate people, apart from the occasional rendezvous. I enjoyed Crush, the first book in the series, but only after the storyline morphed into somewhat of a thriller, after looking like another teen bad boy, innocent girl romance. But Smitten didn't pick up where Crush had left readers.
The action was almost non existent and the few appearances of Hunter's best friend Russ, felt more as though he was just scenery until he features in his own series. The ending was pretty much wrapped up without knowing what happened to the new characters, and an all too brief epilogue. It just felt unfinished and quickly put together to capture the buzz that Crush generated.
(Crush: Book Two)
Written By Lacey Weatherford
Published 21 / 06 / 2013
Thirteen year old best friends Stephen and Marco attempt a go for broke heist to break into the high school prom and get Marco onstage to confess his love for, and hopefully steal the heart of, Benji, the adorable exchange student and bass player of the prom band.
Of course, things don't always go according to plan, and every heist comes with its fair share of hijinks
Stephen has been Marco's shadow or sidekick as long as he can remember. It's the end of Eighth grade, and although Stephen will be moving onto High School, Marco is moving to a new school altogether, Clinton Preparatory Academy, to add injury to insult, Marco is excited to be making the move. The two thirteen year old boys are criminal masterminds, solving crimes and foiling heists., but it's been a while since the last time either of them have worked on a case, not since Stephen's father.
Marco isn't gay, he's dramatic, he's loud and it just so happens that he likes boys, one boy in particular, Benji. Marco has been in love with Benji since the day he arrived, with his charming English accent and impressive soccer skills. Benji isn't openly gay, so Marco has no idea if whether he's straight or not, but the half Italian, half Japanese pint sized rocket needs to find out before it's too late. Benji is heading on his summer holiday back to England earlier than expected, so Marco needs to finally make a declaration of his intentions, but Marco doesn't know the meaning of the word subtle. He plans on crashing the High School prom where Benji's band has been scheduled to play, and publicly confess his love.
But someone at their school has other plans, to make what little time Marco has left at middle school, as miserable for him as possible. Not all students are as accepting of Marco's sexuality, and they aren't afraid to express their disgust. While the boys are working on what could possibly be their last case, the scroll found in the hands of a miniature karate figurine, placed in one of their classrooms. Marco has always been the eyes and ears of their operation, while Stephen handles the documentation, taking notes and photographic evidence for each case. But when it seems the target may in fact be Marco, suddenly the reconnaissance work doesn't seem so fun.
After Marco's locker is vandalised while the collective students are in an assembly, his locker beaten in and it's contents tossed into the hallway, whoever the culprit is, this feels personal, and judging by the folded note that Stephen finds at the scene, Marco's safety might just be in jeopardy. When Marco's parents left for Japan, they've left Marco with Stephen and his loud, chaotic family, while they bring home Marco's new adoptive sister... While Stephen works on a plan to keep Marco safe.
The Great Prom Heist is appropriately named, considering Marco plans on stealing Benji's heart. The plan is to rent tuxedo's, forgery and a break in at the school and making it to the microphone on stage, sounds simple enough. But as the two boys rope in Stephen's sister Julia and his crush Sasha, it seems likely that the suspect of Marco's downfall is Luke, bully and the only one that Marco seems to hesitate around. It almost seems that Marco needs to impress him, and Stephen fears that Luke may also hold Marco's affections. But Luke is often cruel, and it's widely known that he isn't too thrilled that Marco had won the place of esteemed student, while Luke has come second place... Yet again. He has motive, but so does Benji... If Benji doesn't return Marco's affections.
As the night approaches, their plan of making it to the prom is unraveling, when the boys are chased down and confronted by the teen homophobes. But it's clear that this isn't the first time it's happened, and Marco refuses to believe that the bully involved would go so far as to hurt him... Until now. The least of their problems will be making it to the prom, but will Marco ever get the chance to tell Benji before it's too late?
Marco Impossible is quirky, telling the story of two lifelong friends who are essentially complete opposites. Told from Stephen's point of view, but the story surrounding Marco, their friendship, battling bullies and at the age where they are no longer children and forced to grow up far sooner than any child should need to. Marco is brilliant, each day he seems to face his demons and the close minded views of a bully who fears what he doesn't know, Marco is gay, he isn't contagious. Both boys are struggling with their first crushes, but the prospect of Marco not seeing Benji again before he's shipped off to the Academy, spurs him into action.
The underlying story is one boy's ability to rise above the bullying and not being afraid to be an individual. I can't imagine being a thirteen year old gay boy, the bigotry flying his way would be enough to scar most teens for life. But Marco is strong and proud, or gives the impression that he is. Sometimes it's just easier to stick our head in the sand than to look at the bigger picture. To tell someone that you're hurting, and not be afraid to admit that we're scared. Hannah Moskowitz has created a story that is beautifully written and inspiring. I fell in love with Marco, he just leaves that impression on you.
Written By Hannah Moskowitz
Published 13 / 03 / 2013
Thirteen year old best friends Stephen and Marco attempt a go for broke heist to break into the high school prom and get Marco onstage to confess his love for (and hopefully steal the heart of) Benji, the adorable exchange student and bass player of the prom band. Of course, things don't always go according to plan, and every heist comes with its fair share of hijinks.
This is my first Hannah Moskowitz novel, but I've read incredible reviews on Marco Impossible. I had almost forgotten that I had this one and sorry that I've taken so long to get to it.
If time allows, I've also lined up Smitten by Lacey Weatherford, which is book two in the Crush series.
Whatever you're reading this weekend, I'd love to hear your thoughts. While your at it, pop over to Sporadic Reads.
Soul Oath is book two is Juliana Haygert's awesome paranormal, dystopian, mythology romance series, Everlast. And now, read from Micah's point of view, with the release of Cup of Life, both Out 25th November, 2013.
It’s been three months since Nadine last heard from Victor, Micah or Ceris, allowing her to concentrate on her own life. But until Victor and Micah find the scepters that will restore them as true gods, their human bodies will require her healing touch and it’s only a matter of time until they wreak havoc on her life again.
As if to prove that, Victor shows up at the hospital dragging along with him a swarm of demons. Nadine is forced to flee to safety. Despite her attempts to keep her loved ones protected, the demons find her, and they bring her to Imha, the goddess of Chaos.
Now, confronted by her greatest fear, Nadine finds a new motivation. Vengeance. And when seeking revenge, no risk is too great, including her own life.
While Juliana Haygert dreams of being Wonder Woman, Buffy, or a blood elf shadow priest, she settles for the less exciting, but equally gratifying, life of a wife, mother, and author. Thousands of miles away from her former home in Brazil, she now resides in Connecticut and spends her days writing about kick-ass heroines and the heroes who drive them crazy.
Cassandra fears rocking the family boat. Instead, she sinks it. Assigned by her English teacher to write a poem that reveals her true self, Cassandra Randall is stuck. Her family's religion is so overbearing, she can NEVER write about who she truly is. So Cass does what any self-respecting high school girl would do: she secretly begins writing a tarot-inspired advice blog. When Drew Godfrey, an awkward outcast with unwashed hair, writes to her, the situation spirals into what the school calls 'a cyberbullying crisis' and what the church calls 'sorcery'. Cass wants to be the kind of person who sticks up for the persecuted, who protects the victims the way she tries to protect her brother from the homophobes in her church. But what if she's just another bully? What will it take for her to step up and tell the truth?
Cassandra Randall wants to be independent, to succeed and be an individual in her own right. Pity she isn't sure who she actually is. Seventeen year old Cass is an unwilling member of the Joyful News Bible Church, in small town Sterling Creek. She's a self confessed closet Atheist, in a family of staunch believers. But that isn't why Cass finds herself feeling pensive, an online social media survey has exposed her inability to evolve and delve into new experiences. What does she have in her life, that is uniquely Cass?
Best friend Kayla is increasingly becoming unattached to Cass, Cass having grown up within Kayla's shadow. The tall, dark and mysterious girl now choosing to spend her time delving into the world of art, once again leaving Cass behind. But when Cass is approached by the popular Gordon High mean girls to work on the layout of the school Gazette, this may be Cass's chance to leave a mark, finally finding something that is completely hers. She didn't expect it to occupy so much of time.
Cass is forced to attending youth group meetings within the church, and being lectured on all things fire and brimstone is wearing thin. Little sister Dicey happily trails along, while older brother Eric believes, but skips church at all costs. Eric is gay, unbeknownst to their parents, the church doesn't look kindly upon people straying from their beliefs, nor does the small minded church community. Withdrawn Drew attends church, alone, of her own free will. Cass has known the shy and self aware girl since the two were both young, but dodges Drew's attempts at friendship. Known as Drew The Shrew, Drew has skin issues, confidence issues. not to mention her aversion to personal hygiene. But she's lonely, and no matter how hard Cass pushes the kind hearted girl away, she's determined to befriend her.
Cass has been set a task in her literature class, to sing her own praises. How is she supposed to write a Song of Myself, if she can't even complete a social media questionnaire? It isn't until bookshop browsing leads her to buying a deck of tarot cards, that she realises that this could in fact be her own unique trait and on the advice of best friend Kayla, Divinia Starr is born. An online tarot reading service, posting fake readings. But when Cass uses her position at the Gazette to advertise her blog, she never expected the support and backlash that were to follow.
It seems that Cass isn't the only one that knows that Eric is gay, after being attacked by small minded bigots, she realises why her brother refuses to attend church. Eric is in a loving relationship and the uptight church patrons have him questioning his own beliefs. In a world created equally, why should he have to hide who he truly is? But it still doesn't help Cass from completing her own Song of Myself, and on the verge of failing her class, she pushes her assignment to the back burner, trying to discover herself.
When mean girls Britney and Annika discover Drew's musings in Cass's bag, her intimate poetry goes viral posted on the Divinia Starr blog. Worse still, in a moment of panic, Cass confesses who they belong to. Drew is publicly humiliated, the two girls posting as case and inviting others to join in on the nasty and hateful entertainment... And Drew has been pushed too far.
Cass needs to own up to her mistakes, starting with the tarot cards, failing class and the blog that the church have fought so hard against. To finally stand to account, for drew, for Eric and for the charming Darin, the boy who knew her Song of Myself, even before Cass could write it.
Sometimes Never, Sometimes always could possibly be the coming of age novel that represents small town America. Cass is a follower but desperately wants to march to the beat of her own drum, she just doesn't know how. Her parents believe in the power of prayer, that supernatural novels are the devils work and that teenagers have no right to privacy. What happens when teens are forced into leading a life of sunshine and rainbows? They rebel, but Cass's rebellion is subtle, it's the influence of others and her lack of self confidence that are her undoing.
Elissa Janine Hoole has woven a story that incorporates fears that all teens will relate to, cyber bullying, finding independence, the loss of friendship and first crushes, the inclusion of small town bigotry and the church's extreme views against, well, basically everything that could be seen as fun, may leave staunch followers a little uncomfortable. I'm by no means religious, but do understand that religion should be based on forgiveness and respect for your fellow man, but the Joyful News Bible Church is extreme in their views. I really enjoyed it, it was engaging, and the supporting characters leave an impact, even the Gordon High mean girls. I would love to read Drew's story, she could be the inner voice of most struggling teens.
Sometimes Never, Sometimes Always
Written By Elissa Janine Hoole
Expected Publication 08 / 11 / 2013
Thank you to Flux and Netgalley
When he opens his eyes, Willem doesn’t know where in the world he is, Prague or Dubrovnik or back in Amsterdam. All he knows is that he is once again alone, and that he needs to find a girl named Lulu. They shared one magical day in Paris, and something about that day, that girl, makes Willem wonder if they aren’t fated to be together. He travels all over the world, from Mexico to India, hoping to reconnect with her. But as months go by and Lulu remains elusive, Willem starts to question if the hand of fate is as strong as he’d thought... The romantic, emotional companion to Just One Day, this is a story of the choices we make and the accidents that happen, and the happiness we can find when the two intersect.
Williem de Ruiter's only memory of that one day is Lulu. If only he could remember her real name.
Waking up battered and bruised, Williem has been admitted to a hospital in Paris, appearing to have been in a fight. All he has is his bag, passport, wallet and a bright, gold wrist watch, which could be crucial to regaining his memory. He knows that there is someone out there waiting for him, but doesn't remember who, or where she is. She's in a white room, the white room, waiting for him. Dread fills Williem as he knows that time isn't on his side, if he waits, he may just be too late.
Williem heads to Celine's club, he needs the familiar and feels that it may be the connection he needs to find Lulu. As his memories slowly unlock, he recalls that Lulu spoke Chinese and left a parting memory behind in his note book, a character that Williem can identify as Double Happiness. Stopping to ask for help, Williem stumbles across a young man wearing the same shirt, Sous ou Sur, hated by the racists and anti fascists, but it isn't why Williem was beaten. The Double Happiness lead is a dead ending, and Williem has no choice but to return to Celine's club, where Lulu's suitcase was being held.
With no name, address and only souvenirs being stored, Lulu's suitcase holds no clue to the girl that now haunts Williem, on the off chance that she returns to collect her belongings, he writes his name and contact information on the blank postcards in her journal. Williem's only option is to return home to Holland, where he hasn't set foot in over two years. His passport has expired, and his adventure has finally come to a halt... For now.
Finally home, Williem finds himself confiding in childhood friend Broodjie, about his travels and losing hope in finding his Lulu. Holland holds memories that Williem has been determined to bury, his emotionally vacant mother, his father Bram's death and the boat he once built for his wife being sold. Broodjie knows that Williem isn't himself, that finding the mystery girl is just a matter of seven degrees of separation. Constructing a poster board, the two relive Williems memories of Lulu and anything they can connect to where she's been and where she might be now. Club owner Celine is out of the question, after making a pass at Williem, she isn't likely to help him find his American girl. Jacques, the captain of the barge the two shared through Paris, or the intoxicated Danes that snapped a photo of the two aboard.The tour company that she was traveling with, remembering that the group had planned to see a play when Williem had suggested Lulu and her friend see Shakespeare, as performed by Guerrilla Will. All Williem has is her gold watch, shady memories and a vague image of a girl resembling actress Louise Brooks.
In a desperate attempt to find her, Williem leaves with Broodjie for Cancun, where Lulu travels each year with her family... But still no Lulu. Losing himself within Mexico, dispondant, Williem tries to reconnect with his mother in India, flying to see the woman that he hasn't seen in three years, his travels leading to a part in a Bollywood movie. Williem leads a charmed life, always falling on his feet, perhaps that's the reason he's so besotted with finding a girl he barely knows... Or can remember.
When he finally returns to Holland, giving up on finding the girl he felt could see past his charming demeanor and see the lost boy who doesn't know where home is. Williem finds himself back in the park, performing Shakespeare over the summer. Little does he release that once he's stopped searching, his captive audience may have just found him. Perhaps Williem will finally realise the meaning of double happiness after all.
Just One Year is the story of Williem, who's story begins after spending one perfect day with American Allyson. Only Williem can't remember. Williem can't recall a smile, a soft touch of her hand, but the rest alludes him. As he retraces his steps, the memories of Lulu become clearer, except for her name. Is he falling in love with that one perfect day, or the girl behind it?
Gayle Forman has created another brilliant adventure romance, taking us to several corners of the globe. Her descriptions of the surroundings immerse readers within the world she's created, sweeping us up in the romanticism of her characters. I was itching for Allyson and Williem's story to continue and keeping my fingers crossed for a third book for the ultimate happily ever after.
Just One Year
(Just One Day: Book Two)
Written By Gayle Forman
Expected Publication 10 / 10 / 2013
Thank you to one of my fellow bloggers and Random House.