Sunday, February 22, 2015

Mini Reviews #29

This week I wrote three (not so short) reviews of YA contemporary novels that have very special protagonists with immensely emotional stories. EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU by Moriah McStay, BETTER THAN PERFECT by Melissa Kantor and THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE by Cynthia Hand are three fabulous reads that I can all recommend!

Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

"One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.
   And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?"(Goodreads)
   EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU is one fabulous debut! The story is told from the perspectives of Fiona, the girl with the scars, and Fi, the girl without the scars. What a smart idea to explore the numerous possibilities of two alternate lives. How one accident never happening would change the life of one girl, influence her self-confidence, her perception and her relationships. I loved that Fiona was the girl we got to met first. She is the broken one, but she is also the original and she really deserves to tell her story.  
   It is set in their eleventh grade, twelfth grade and college freshman year. This arrangement was very attractive because it allows us to get a feel for their stories without getting lost in too many details while allowing a glimpse at the future. 
   This debut also shines with its two beautiful love stories! I have massive crushes on Trent and Jackson. Fi and Fiona's love stories are messy, romantic, tragic. They are perfect with all their imperfections!
   With EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU Moriah McStay wrote a twofold emotional story about Fiona, the scarred girl who has to make brave decisions and Fi, the perfectly intact girl who has to cope with an incredible loss and romantic complications of the best friend kind. I loved them both!

4,5/5 ****/* EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU - A sensible read about one very special girl.

Moriah McStay tells EVERYTHING THAT MAKES YOU with an incredibly gentle and heart-warming finesse. The moment Moriah McStay decided to make her debut novel about two alternate lives for a girl with a face deformity, she won this reader as a big fan of her writing. I can't wait to find out what her next project will be.

Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publishing Date: March 17th 2015
Length: 352 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, friendship, college
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  
Author's Homepage

Better Than Perfect by Melissa Kantor

"Juliet Newman has it all. A picture-perfect family; a handsome, loving boyfriend; and a foolproof life plan: ace her SATs, get accepted into Harvard early decision, and live happily ever after.
   But when her dad moves out and her mom loses it, Juliet begins questioning the rules she’s always lived by. And to make everything even more complicated there’s Declan, the gorgeous boy who makes her feel alive and spontaneous—and who’s totally off-limits. Torn between the life she always thought she wanted and one she never knew was possible, Juliet begins to wonder: What if perfect isn't all it’s cracked up to be?"(Goodreads)
   BETTER THAN PERFECT was a great read, because it represents themes, problems and inner conflicts many young adults can relate to.
   Juliet's family has massive problems caused by the divorce of her parents. Her mother tried to kill herself and failed. Now Juliet has to deal with her shock and grief. Juliet has to find a way to trust her father again and to let him be a part of her life, too. Her relationship to her parents is delicate and it takes a lot of work and trust to forge a new bond, to make their love stronger than before. I was emotionally involved in their family drama from the first pages. 
  Her family's instability is suddenly causing problems in other parts of her life, too. She isn't sure of going to Harvard anymore, that she wants to be together forever with her boyfriend Jason, that she wants to spend her days studying only. BETTER THAN PERFECT is about a teenager whose life is turned upside down with one tragic event and learning to find out what she really wants in life. The emotional changes, small and big, her decisions and feelings were absolutely understandable, making Juliet an incorruptible protagonist readers will root for. Melissa Kantor told her story with great sensitivity and skill.
   Juliet's decision to join Declan's band turns her controlled world around. The band scores with their Irish charm. I loved the passionate, care-free feel music added to Juliet's story. Just like her feelings for Declan did. Juliet and Declan's story isn't your typical YA love story, but something different to get lost in.

4/5 **** BETTER THAN PERFECT - A sensitive and optimistic story about family, new love and a new awareness of life! 

Juliet was such a congenial protagonist because even though she seems to have everything, we fast learn that she is vulnerable and indecisive, too. Her life isn't as perfect as everyone thinks. I love stories like BETTER THAN PERFECT which have great character development to offer. Melissa Kantor's newest book was an altogether comforting and empowering read.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: February 17th 2015
Length: 336 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, family, friendship, divorce, music
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  
Author's Homepage

"The last time Lex was happy, it was before. When she had a family that was whole. A boyfriend she loved. Friends who didn't look at her like she might break down at any moment. Now she's just the girl whose brother killed himself. And it feels like that's all she'll ever be. As Lex starts to put her life back together, she tries to block out what happened the night Tyler died. But there's a secret she hasn't told anyone-a text Tyler sent, that could have changed everything. Lex's brother is gone. But Lex is about to discover that a ghost doesn't have to be real to keep you from moving on."(Goodreads)
   THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE is a contemplative and moving YA contemporary read by Cynthia Hand. From past reading experience with her UNEARTHLY series I knew that I could rely on Cynthia Hand's excellent writing. I knew her protagonist Lex would be one character worth getting to know.
   Only a few pages into Lex's story, I noticed that hers was the story of her brother, too. How Lex lives her life is strongly connected to the fact that she just lost her brother. So through Lex's perspetive we find out what kind of person Tyler was, why the love for his family wasn't enough to keep him alive. It wasn't at all easy for Lex and the reader to understand Tyler's suicide. So it takes some time for the story to reveal details and insights about his death. Who wouldn't understand that Lex is in shock and emotional disturbance?
   I was so glad that Lex still had her parents, Steven and friends who supported her. Despite her separation from Steven, he is still her anchor and someone she deeply cares about. Theirs is a very cautious and delicate love story, perfectly in tune with the story's overall spirit. 
   Because she can't deal with her feelings on her own Lex has to see someone. She writes down her thoughts about her brother and what hurtful and dark thoughts are occupying her mind. Sometimes the story markedly slowed down when Alexis had her therapy sessions or was writing about past memories. There isn't anything super exciting about Lex's story, anything that is overly surprising or nerve-wracking. This story's power lies more in the quiet and character-wise strong and moving moments.

4/5 **** THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE - A brave story about loss, recovery and, most important, love.

After BOUNDLESS, the last book in Cynthia Hand's UNEARTHLY series, readers definitely knew about her talent for delicate, sometimes teary and emotionally complex plots. I would describe THE LAST TIME WE SAY GOODBYE as a quiet read, more on the contemplative side. What deeply touched me was that Cynthia Hand can in some way relate to the story she wrote for Lex and her brother Tyler. She did a great job with her newest book!

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: February 10th 2015
Length: 400 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, tragedy, suicide, family, romance
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  
The Last Time We Say Goodbye Excerpt  
Author's Homepage

Monday, February 9, 2015

Mini Reviews #28

In my new Mini Reviews post in February I'm sharing three daring YA reads with you. ON THE EDGE by Allison van Diepen was one of my favourite books last year. AFTER HOURS by Claire Kennedy is a debut novel, coming out in June 2015. And LIES I TOLD by Michelle Zink is released in April 2015.

On the Edge by Allison van Diepen

"Maddie Diaz never should have taken that shortcut through the park. If she hadn't, she wouldn't have seen two members of the Reyes gang attacking a homeless man. Now, as the only witness, she knows there’s a target on her back.
But when the Reyes jump her on the street, Maddie is protected by a second gang and their secretive leader, Lobo, who is determined to take down the Reyes himself. Lobo is mysterious and passionate, and Maddie begins to fall for him. But when they live this close to the edge, can their love survive?" (Goodreads)
   At first Lobo's identity is a mystery for Maddie. Mystery is always a good strategic element to catch a reader's first attention. It takes some time for Maddie to find out who her secret hero is. But when she does, she finds out everything. Lobo's past is moving and his loyalty and passion should win over every last indecisive reader. His and Maddie's love story is emotional and intense and one of those live-in-the-moment kinds that can only get better with each page.
   The Miami setting Allison van Diepen picked is perfect for ON THE EDGE. Criminality, gangs and the threat they pose to Maddie and Lobo make the story a fine thrill ride.

5/5 ***** ON THE EDGE - An enticing and thought-provoking YA read with a unique message.

This book is a statement and appeal for civil courage and awareness. Allison van Diepen makes the issue of human trafficking the central theme of her new YA book. Being the author of seven teen novels, one notices her writing routine and her feel for a good story. Maddie and Lobo's smouldering romance is skilfully woven into a rousing story filled with high criminal energy, team spirit and the fight for justice.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: November 25th 2014
Length: 304 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, thriller, gangs, criminality, romance, Miami
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  
On the Edge Excerpt  
Author's Homepage

After Hours by Claire Kennedy

"Isa, Xavi, Peter, and Finn know that a job at the high-end Waterside Cafe isn't just about waiting tables. It's about the gossip, the hook-ups, the after-hours parties and, most of all, it's about Tips. Tips--the high-stakes game based on dares. Whoever completes the most dares wins the collected money. A sum that could change a wasted summer into a Summer to Remember." (Goodreads)
   AFFTER HOURS was a fast read for me, because at first all four characters presented us with engaging personal stories, secrets and wishes. I was quickly drawn into the game of Tips, too. It held many possibilities to steamy and entertaining dares. I thought Claire Kennedy's debut could be a hot YA read,  maybe even as good as some of my favourites.
   To sum up, I can say that my initial adoration for the story, Isa and Finn's initial attraction and Xavi and Peter's forbidden romance, quickly turned into incredulity halfway through AFTER HOURS. I have no understanding for Claire Kennedy turning the game into a shady, sleazy business. 
   Characters are allowed to make mistakes. I get that. But they should also get the chance to learn from them. Finn's secret was almost repulsive and Isa was a total drama queen. Xavi and Peter were too naive to be good for them.

2/5 ** AFTER HOURS - Exaggerated dares, impossible teenage behaviour and ignorant characters.

This debut, I had been looking forward to with excitement, turned out to be a letdown in the end. With Isa, Xavi, Peter and Finn we've got four narrators. So much fun, I  had thought! But none of them lived up the my expectations, given many opportunities to behave responsibly and never embracing them. This story was simply too messed up for me to recognize the special debut spark I'd seen in the premise.

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: June 16th 2015
Length: 256 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, game, restaurant
Source: Edelweiss

Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

"What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you've told yourself? Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family. But it’s all a lie.Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines' biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught...including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark." (Goodreads
Grace and her brother's past is a sad one. Sympathy points for that! Now their adoptive parents are using them, all for a lousy coup. I couldn't take these people seriously sometimes. The parents were simply infuriating characters!
   Grace's story is also about learning how to be an ordinary teenager and have fun, make new friends. I was curious how a life built on lies would be for a teen. Her life style came across as a daring social experiment I wanted to see the result to, but in the end all the plotting and deceiving and espionage were too much for me and her family's means to reach their goal only seemed ridiculous. 
Grace and Logan were a cute couple, but their love was a victim to Grace's lies, too.
   One thing that kept me reading was Grace's relationship to her brother. Because in the moments the two of them got to talk about their feelings I finally felt like I was witnessing a real and honest connection between two people in this book.
   I would be happy about a sequel to LIES I TOLD. It could turn the story in a different direction and possibly encourage me to rethink my opinion about this first book. Not sure if there will be a sequel though.

2,5/5 **/* LIES I TOLD - A big con, betrayal and the struggles of a teen torn between right and wrong, family and love.

Grace's story is based on deception and lies. My first instinct was to feel compassion for her, the poor girl who was coerced into criminal operations. That changed quickly some chapters into the story and a few rather uneventful, overly descriptive pages later. I read LIES I TOLD as a standalone and while the story had potential, I was disappointed that it missed out on the morale in the end.  

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: April 7th 2015
Length: 352 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, lies, deception, fake identity
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  
Author's Homepage

Sunday, February 8, 2015

ARC Giveaway: Lies I Told by Michelle Zink

A few days ago I found this ARC of Lies I Told by Michelle Zink in my mailbox. I decided to give it away to one lucky reader who then gets to read Michelle's newest book early. This book is not out until April 2015. Good luck!

What if, after spending a lifetime deceiving everyone around you, you discovered the biggest lies were the ones you've told yourself?

Grace Fontaine has everything: beauty, money, confidence, and the perfect family.

But it’s all a lie.

Grace has been adopted into a family of thieves who con affluent people out of money, jewelry, art, and anything else of value. Grace has never had any difficulty pulling off a job, but when things start to go wrong on the Fontaines' biggest heist yet, Grace finds herself breaking more and more of the rules designed to keep her from getting caught...including the most important one of all: never fall for your mark.

Perfect for fans of Ally Carter, Cecily von Ziegesar, and Gail Carriger, this thrilling, high-stakes novel deftly explores the roles of identity and loyalty while offering a window into the world of the rich and fabulous.

Summary by Goodreads 

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Friday, February 6, 2015

Book Review: A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Title: A Thousand Pieces of You (Firebird #1)
Author: Claudia Gray
Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: November 4th 2014
Length: 368 pages
Keywords: YA, thriller, sci-fi, romance, dimension travel
Source: Edelweiss

Every Day meets Cloud Atlas in this heart-racing, space- and time-bending, epic new trilogy from New York Times bestselling author Claudia Gray.

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him.

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Summary by Goodreads

The very best books are those that surprise you! A few years ago I read Claudia Gray's EVERNIGHT series and wasn't that impressed by her writing. Therefore my initial scepticism. But I decided to give A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU a chance. It sounded so good and in the end it was exactly up my alley. I am beyond thrilled that there will be two more books in the FIREBIRD series. Right now after the first book, I can honestly say that I can't get enough of Claudia Gray's new story universe.

The author sends her protagonist Marguerite after the killer of her father. For truth and revenge this girl is willing to risk everything. She even crosses dimensions to other parallel universes. The Firebird is a precious invention. It is the device that allows her to travel and the reason why her father was murdered in the first place. 
   With Marguerite crossing dimensions she has to be in strong shape, mentally and physically. She is constantly confronted with alternate lives that could have confusing effects on her emotions.  

Marguerite's family and the relationships to her father, mother and sister make up a very big part of A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU. The reason she is doing all this dimension hopping is because she lost her father and has a big hole in her chest. Going to another dimension could mean her father would still be alive there, or an entirely different person. Meeting a version of her father that was still alive could be devastating for her. 
   The different constellations and how they change and fit back together in every dimension really fascinated me. Claudia Gray did a fabulous job letting us be part of Marguerite's emotional world.

Marguerite, Theo, Paul. They are friends. Or at least they had been, until Paul supposedly murdered Marguerite's father. Now Theo helps her go after Paul.
   Their relationships are all connected by the fact that Paul and Theo are students of Marguerite's father and she has deeper feelings for the two men, too. Marguerite's feelings don't just show up out of nowhere. The three of them have history together and she has liked the boys for quite some time now. Both for different reasons. 
   Bonus, the fact that they were already attending college and them being so smart, gifted and on such a high level of intelligence, gave the story a more grown-up feel.

Pretty interesting is the dichotomy between physics and arts displayed in A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU. Physics, engineering and rational thinking have an enormous influence on Marguerite's family. Both her parents are professors. 
   But Marguerite's interest lies in painting. She is an artist, an aesthete. And in every dimension she is going to, art has an impact on her life. It's her creative and versatile way to look at things the way they are and the way they could be, that defines her. I loved that side of hers!

Marguerite travelling to other dimensions should not be confused with her travelling through time. Meaning that she isn't able to influence her past. In other dimensions her life, her family, the world itself could be quite different from Marguerite's own dimension. Things being different in another dimension would depend on how advanced the other dimension is or how life-changing decisions vary from the version Marguerite is living now. 
   Claudia Gray created a very complex web of plot events and possibilities here. I just love the intricacy she put behind her story. Everything in A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU appeared profoundly and extensively researched and well thought-out.

So Marguerite's journey takes us to California, London, Russia, even to an oceanographic station.  
   Her adventure in Russia was gorgeous! It was by far my favourite part of the story and I was mesmerized by how it influenced Marguerite's story as a whole, but could also create its own story in the story. I wish we could get an entire book with that magical and sophisticated Russian winter wonderland the author fabricated. 
   Claudia Gray's writing in A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU has a great imaginary and visionary power in itself. I never wanted the story to end!

5/5 ***** A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU - My favourite read of 2014! I loved every minute of this book!

With her new book, A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU, Claudia Gray outdid herself. Marguerite's story is filled with dimensional travel extravaganza, tech concern conspiracies on a very big scale and one of the most emotional family stories YA had to offer for me in 2014. A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU has a stunning cover. It is artsy. It is dashing. And it is complex. Just how I love my books! 

"Fingers trembling, I unscrew it and scrawl on a tattered poster on the wall of the alley. This is the message I must pass on, the one goal I have to remember after everything else I am is gone.
Then I can only wait to die."  ― p.1-2

A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU you might enjoy ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill, PIVOT POINT by Kasie West or UNRAVELING by Elizabeth Norris. ALL OUR YESTERDAYS and UNRAVELING are just as fast-paced as Claudia Gray's A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU. PIVOT POINT explores the concept of two alternate futures.

* Have a look at the gorgeous cover for the second FIREBIRD book!

* Read an excerpt of A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU.

* Click here for a Q&A with Claudia Gray on the cover of A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU.

* For more information about Claudia and her books visit

* Thanks to Harper Teen for providing me with a review copy via Edelweiss.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Book Review: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

Title: This Shattered World (Starbound #2)
Author: Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publishing Date: December 23rd 2014
Length: 390 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, sci-fi, space travel, romance, war 
Source: Netgalley

Jubilee Chase and Flynn Cormac should never have met.

Lee is captain of the forces sent to Avon to crush the terraformed planet's rebellious colonists, but she has her own reasons for hating the insurgents.

Rebellion is in Flynn's blood. Terraforming corporations make their fortune by recruiting colonists to make the inhospitable planets livable, with the promise of a better life for their children. But they never fulfilled their promise on Avon, and decades later, Flynn is leading the rebellion.

Desperate for any advantage in a bloody and unrelentingly war, Flynn does the only thing that makes sense when he and Lee cross paths: he returns to base with her as prisoner. But as his fellow rebels prepare to execute this tough-talking girl with nerves of steel, Flynn makes another choice that will change him forever. He and Lee escape the rebel base together, caught between two sides of a senseless war.

Summary by Goodreads

In the fashion of THESE BROKEN STARS, THIS SHATTERED WORLD is told from two alternating perspectives by two very different characters. Jubilee is a soldier, trained by the government in order to keep order and peace. Flynn is a rebel and set on freeing his planet, Avon, from the military's tight reign. Avon's problems are their private problems, too, which definitely makes them star-crossed lovers. The two fight against each other. And when they know they can trust each other, they are fighting for the war to finally end.

The moment Flynn and Jubilee meet in a bar for the first time, you just know that their relationship is not going to be easy. Both carry emotional baggage with them. They are both very intelligent characters strongly defined by their goals and their pasts. Jubilee's personality is shaped by very methodical thinking and rational acting patterns. Whereas Flynn is more the emotional and passionate type. You never know what happens next, because their romance isn't as predictable as people might think. Especially in times of war their romance is bitter-sweet and every second of their young lives is endangered.
   Many attacks and the whole rebellion in general are leaving us with many casualties, violent crimes and victims. This second book in the STARBOUND series is much more fast-paced than the first, the characters are always charged up, the action top-notch. 

The spaces in between chapters are filled with bits and pieces of the story of a little girl who is plagued by illusions and memories and who is also witnessing strange occurrences and feelings of fright and loneliness. I wasn't too interested in these parts. But as readers fast guess they are an important part of explaining Jubilee's past. 

Amie and Meagan explore what it means to be a female commander, to have a high-ranking position in the military. And on the other hand what it means to be the leader of a rebellion. While THESE BROKEN STARS was set in a very sparse and lonely setting with only two characters most of the story, THIS SHATTERED WORLD totally blew my mind. There are so many characters, changes of setting and plot surprises that make Jubilee and Flynn's story so great. 

Tarver and Lilac, the two THESE BROKEN STARS protagonists, make a guest appearance, too. They get involved in Jubilee's case and help her find a solution. Tarver is a friend of Jubilee and only the mention of his name made me one happy, giddy reader. Now I'm counting on all four of them to show up in the third book in the STARBOUND series again. It is the best when beloved characters come back!

5/5 ***** THIS SHATTERED WORLD - A war-torn planet, star-crossed lovers and a galactic conspiracy. What's not to love about the sequel to THESE BROKEN STARS?

Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner invite us to another planet of their marvellous story galaxy. They are definitely not holding back on evoking strong emotions in their readers every way they can. There are massive casualties in the rebellion on Avon and no one is safe. Not even our two lovers Jubilee and Flynn. How are we ever going to endure the wait for the last book in the STARBOUND trilogy?

"He tugs me off the main path and into the shadows between the bar and the supply shed next door. Then it hits me: I'm not going to make anyone run laps in the morning. I'm a military officer, being captured by a rebel. I'm probably never going to see my troops again, because I'll be dead by morning. 
With a snarl, I jam my hand back and down, sending the blade of the pink plastic cocktail sword deep into the guy's thigh. Before he has time to react, I give it a savage twist and snap off the hilt, leaving the hot-pink plastic embedded in the muscle. 
At least I won't go without a fight." ― p. 10

THIS SHATTERED WORLD you might enjoy AVALON by Mindee Arnett, ACROSS THE UNIVERSE by Beth Revis and  GLITCH by Heather Anastasiu. Teens in space, rebelling, looking for freedom. Accompany them on their way to winning a big war with their enemies and themselves.


* Click here to read an excerpt of THIS SHATTERED WORLD.

* For more information about Amie and Meagan visit and

*Thanks to Disney Hyperion for providing me with a review copy via Netgalley!

Sunday, February 1, 2015

Behind The Pages #10 - Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch

Welcome to my new Behind The Pages post! You can find last month's post of this feature, with Mary Elizabeth Summer and Trust Me, I'm Lying, here. Today I'm sharing a map Sara Raasch annotated from her debut novel SNOW LIKE ASHES. It was one of my favourite reads of 2014! 

What is Behind The Pages all about? I asked some of my favourite authors to annotate a scene, page or more of one of their books. I see the feature as a chance to show readers what's behind a page. Authors can share their favourite writing memories, the music that influenced a certain scene or anything else that comes to their mind. We might get hints to what the characters were thinking and feeling that exact moment or other fun details about their story. Hope you enjoy Behind The Pages as much as I do.

Thanks to all the incredible authors who took the time to annotate a page or scene for us, your comments are always so insightful and fun to read. When readers can't get enough of a book and its characters it only shows how much the author's work means to them, to us. Thank you!


A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.

Sara Raasch has known she was destined for bookish things since the age of five, when her friends had a lemonade stand and she tagged along to sell her hand-drawn picture books too. Not much has changed since then — her friends still cock concerned eyebrows when she attempts to draw things and her enthusiasm for the written word still drives her to extreme measures. Her debut YA fantasy, SNOW LIKE ASHES, the first in a trilogy, came out October 14, 2014 from Balzer + Bray. It does not feature her hand-drawn pictures (Author bio found on Goodreads). 

Get in touch with Sara 



Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch



Sara:  "Shattered by Trading Yesterday is the unofficial theme song of SNOW LIKE ASHES. I listened to this song WAY. TOO. MUCH. while drafting!"