Monday, February 23, 2015

Book Review: THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer R. Hubbard



THE SECRET YEAR
by Jennifer R. Hubbard

Release date: December 23, 2010
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Speak
Pages: 192

Colt and Julia were secretly together for a year, and no one ever knew, not even Julia's boyfriend. Why would they-they were from two different crowds. Julia lived in her country club world and Colt . . . didn't. Then Julia dies in a car accident. Colt is devastated but can't mourn openly, and he's tormented that he may have played a part in her death. And when Julia's journal ends up in his hands, he is forced to relive their year together-just when he is trying to forget. The problem is, how do you get over someone who was never really yours to begin with?






Fictitious Delicious Rating: 3

I've had this one sitting on my shelves for a long time, folks. Which is kinda strange, because I've wanted to read this book from the moment I first heard about it.  (Isn't that the way it always goes--too many books, too little time.) Anywho, I knew that this would be the year I picked it up.  While I certainly liked this book and don't regret even one moment I spent reading it, it didn't sing to my heart like I expected it to.

I think there's a little too much telling in lieu of showing in Colt and Julia's love story.  We're told over and over again how much Colt loves Julia and the side she shows to him when they're alone together.  But what we're shown is how miserable she is to him outside of their private love affair and the horrible things she says to him to remind him that they could never be together in "real life".  See, Colt comes from the wrong side of the tracks and Julia has a boyfriend who fits perfectly in her well to do world.  They rendezvous in the backseat of her car once a week.  And he really loves her.  I didn't feel that love so it was difficult to feel the same sadness Colt was feeling after her death.

Hubbard did a nice job of portraying Colt's dysfunctional family. I LOVED Tom, Colt's brother. HIS love story is one that I could get into.  There's a handful of secondary characters that blended together for me, but one stands out big time.  Thank goodness for Syd. That girl is a great friend and it was fun/sad/heartwarming watching her interact with Colt.  

I'll definitely be picking up Hubbard's TRY NOT TO BREATHE in the future.  I like reading these boy POV stories and am hopeful that I'll connect to that story in a way I just didn't in this one. 




Monday, February 16, 2015

Blog Tour: THE THIRD TWIN by CJ Omololu



We're lucky enough to participate in a lot of really great blog tours here on Fictitious Delicious.  None has been as emotional as this one.

You may have heard CJ's story, she's an amazing author with amazing friends who are supporting her as she battles Stage 4 colon cancer that has spread to her brain, hips, spinal cord, and several organs. Until recently we weren’t sure if CJ would make it to the release date of THE THIRD TWIN, but with the help of some modern medicine, and a whole lot of good thoughts and prayers – it looks like things are good to go for the big day.

I couldn’t be happier to be one of the bloggers on this tour, helping to support this book and the amazing strong woman who wrote it!



THE BOOK


THE THIRD TWIN
by CJ Omololu

Release date: February 24, 2015
Publisher: Delacorte
Genre: Young Adult Thriller
Pages: 336


Identical twins. Identical DNA. Identical suspects. It's Pretty Little Liars meets Revenge in this edge-of-your-seat thriller with a shocking twist.

When they were little, Lexi and her identical twin, Ava, made up a third sister, Alicia. If something broke? Alicia did it. Cookies got eaten? Alicia's guilty. Alicia was always to blame for everything. The game is all grown up now that the girls are seniors. They use Alicia as their cover to go out with boys who are hot but not exactly dating material. Boys they'd never, ever be with in real life.

Now one of the guys Alicia went out with has turned up dead, and Lexi wants to stop the game for good. As coincidences start piling up, Ava insists that if they follow the rules for being Alicia, everything will be fine. But when another boy is killed, the DNA evidence and surveillance photos point to only one suspect: Alicia. The girl who doesn't exist. As she runs from the cops, Lexi has to find the truth before another boy is murdered. Because either Ava is a killer…or Alicia is real.






THE REVIEW
CJ is one of those authors I've always intended to read.  When I had a chance to join in on this AMAZING tour, it was time to stop intending and start doing. And, WHOA. Am I glad I did. THE THIRD TWIN is a thriller in every sense of the word (aka it's got a good mystery and a thrilling boys.  Yes, plural. *eyebrow waggle*)

Lexi and Ava are characters that you'll feel pretty strongly about.  Personally, I really liked Lexi but was put off my Ava's carefree attitude when THINGS start happening in their lives.  It's at that point where I started disliking (and becoming very suspicious of) Ava. See, Lexi and Ava have a made up third sister named Alicia.  They share this pseudonym to date boys that they'd like to date, but simply wouldn't in their real life.  When the boys start dying, Lexi wants to come clean about their made up sister and Ava wants to continue on as if it's just another day in the high life. It was kinda infuriating.

As is always the case in a good murder mystery, I had the killer pegged incorrectly all along. No surprise there. (Some day I'll learn that everyone has the potential to be the killer in a murder mystery story. Today was not that day.) One thing that Omololu did that no other mystery has done for me, though, was to get me emotionally attached to a character that eventually falls victim to a horrible act of murder. There's one death in particular that I did not expect and didn't believe actually happened even after it did. But it did happen. And I'm still sad. (Damn you, CJ! *shakes fist*) My sadness was relieved only by the unexpected awesome thing that happened. (Thank you, CJ! *pumps fist*)

Slashed faces, pools of blood, sweet kisses, water fountain frolics and twisty plot lines will all be found in the pages of THE THIRD TWIN.  You should put your face in the pages of this book when it hits the street next week.  It's really good, guys!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR


CJ OMOLOLU is the author of the ALA-YALSA Quick Pick Dirty Little Secrets and several other YA novels. She loved to read but never thought to write until she discovered that the voices in her head often have interesting things to say. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and their two sons.

Find CJ:  Website | Twitter | Facebook





BUY THE THIRD TWIN





THE GIVEAWAY

25 Prizes. 16 Winners. One Huge Giveaway filled with signed books, gift cards + more!

Must be 13 + To Enter. Shipping restrictions are listed after each prize in the form, All open to US, some open INTL. 

One entry per person, per household.

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

Book Blast: THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST by Holly Black

Remember that time I confessed my desire to marry Holly Black after finishing her latest release, THE DARKEST PART OF THE FOREST? No? Well, go read my review and then come right back here.

As it turns out, my awkward desire could become a reality IF I'm willing to pay the right kind of price. See, the Alderking in Fairfold can give you all you desire. Turns out I'm not willing to pay the price, so Holly Black is safe from receiving my marriage proposal.  

What do YOU desire? Follow this really freaking cool flowchart to determine whether or not you should bargin with the powerful Alderking.




So, are you making the bargin? Tell me about it!



Monday, February 9, 2015

Book Review: WHEN REASON BREAKS by Cindy L. Rodriguez



WHEN REASON BREAKS
by Cindy L. Rodriguez

Release date: February 10, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Pages: 304


13 Reasons Why meets the poetry of Emily Dickinson in this gripping debut novel perfect for fans of Sara Zarr or Jennifer Brown.

A Goth girl with an attitude problem, Elizabeth Davis must learn to control her anger before it destroys her. Emily Delgado appears to be a smart, sweet girl, with a normal life, but as depression clutches at her, she struggles to feel normal. Both girls are in Ms. Diaz’s English class, where they connect to the words of Emily Dickinson. Both are hovering on the edge of an emotional precipice. One of them will attempt suicide. And with Dickinson’s poetry as their guide, both girls must conquer their personal demons to ever be happy.

In an emotionally taut novel with a richly diverse cast of characters, readers will relish in the poetry of Emily Dickinson and be completely swept up in the turmoil of two girls grappling with demons beyond their control.







Fictitious Delicious Rating: 4



Man, oh man.  There's a boatload of YA books about suicide hitting the streets this season. So many that I have to take a step back from some of them because the heavy subject matter weighs heavily on my heart.  It's time for this girl to get some fluffy in her life.  That being said, I am SO GLAD I read this beautiful book.  It started out strong and never let up.

In the first chapter you see that someone has attempted suicide. What you don't know is who it is and whether or not that attempt was successful.  Rodriguez masterfully goes back in time to tell you the story about a circle of friends and the circumstances that lead up to the suicide attempt.

This story alternates between a number of characters, most notably Emily Delgado and Elizabeth Davis. These two girls live different lives and come from different backgrounds but find some common ground in the poetry of Emily Dickinson. Both of these girls have inner demons to deal with and you'll find that they deal with them in very different ways.  What you may not realize, though, is that their personalities and their relationships with their peers, teachers, and family members all represent pieces of the life of the poet that brought them together.  Make sure you read the authors note at the end of the book. Rodriguez is basically a genius.

I was a little concerned about keeping Emily and Elizabeth's character straight in my mind. Especially after learning that Elizabeth's real name is Emily. I had to go back and reread some scenes a few times to remind myself of who is who.  Their voices are unique enough to make that a non-issue pretty quickly.

One last VERY IMPORTANT thing.  YAY FOR DIVERSITY! Both Emily and Tommy (and their families) brought a richness to the story line that simply couldn't have existed were they not Latino. No doubt this story wouldn't be the same without the Día de Muertos piece.  I think Tommy is one of my favorite characters (aka crushes) this year.  He's so great!

I can't wait to see what Rodriquez has up her sleeve next.  I'm reading whatever she's writing.


Thursday, January 29, 2015

Blog Tour: PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD by Michelle Falkoff



Welcome to our stop on the PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD blog tour! You fellow music lovers are going to enjoy this one. I'm excited to share with you some of my favorite quotes from this book today.

Be sure to check out the other stops on this tour sponsored by the dynamic duo behind Rockstar Book Tours.


               01/26/15 Novel Novice – Guest Post
               01/27/15 Me, My Shelf and I – Review + Excerpt
               01/28/15 Such a Novel Idea – Review
               01/29/15 Fictitious Delicious – Review
               01/30/15 Once Upon a Twilight – Interview

               02/02/15 Bumbles and Fairy Tales – Guest Post 
               02/03/15 Fiktshun - Review
               02/04/15 Tales of a Ravenous Reader - Interview
               02/05/15 Swoony Boys Podcast – Guest Post 
               02/06/15 Falling For YA – Review + Excerpt




THE BOOK


PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD
by Michelle Falkoff

Release date: January 27, 2015
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Pages: 288


A teenage boy tries to understand his best friend's suicide by listening to the playlist of songs he left behind in this smart, voice-driven debut novel.

Here's what Sam knows: There was a party. There was a fight. The next morning, his best friend, Hayden, was dead. And all he left Sam was a playlist of songs, and a suicide note: For Sam—listen and you'll understand.

As he listens to song after song, Sam tries to face up to what happened the night Hayden killed himself. But it's only by taking out his earbuds and opening his eyes to the people around him that he will finally be able to piece together his best friend’s story. And maybe have a chance to change his own.

Part mystery, part love story, and part coming-of-age tale in the vein of Stephen Chbosky’s The Perks of Being a Wallflower and Tim Tharp’s The Spectacular Now, Playlist for the Dead is an honest and gut-wrenching first novel about loss, rage, what it feels like to outgrow a friendship that's always defined you—and the struggle to redefine yourself. But above all, it's about finding hope when hope seems like the hardest thing to find.





THE QUOTES

Many of my favorite quotes are quotes that I can't share with you today because they contain spoilers. SO MANY profound realizations hit characters at the end of this book and those realizations are brilliant! They're the kind that make you clinch your heart because they're that good.  In the meantime, here are a few of my favorite sharable quotes. Some are cryptic and I apologize for that.  Believe me, though,  you don't want to be spoiled.

"Can we talk?" - Chapter 26.  Three small words that make a BIG impact in this story. I was kind of shocked to hear them!

"I missed him so much I finally didn't even feel bad thinking about it; I just sank into it, let it roll over me in waves." - Chapter 24.  This is a feeling that anyone who has lost someone whether that's through a death or a breakup can identify with.  Sometimes the pain is so great that it's too much to even think about.  It was here that I connected the most with Sam.

"I was starting to get how much the surprise of the gift was part of the fun, sometimes even more so than the present itself." - Chapter 14.  I was in a hotel room all by myself when I read this book and scared myself when I yelled out a big ole' "YES!" when I read this line. Truer words have not been spoken.

"Look, you actually did something useful," I pointed out. "Even if it was by accident." - Chapter 13. This made me GOL (giggle out loud) and warmed my heart. It comes from one of my favorite scenes in the whole book.

"For Emma" Bon Iver - Chapter 24. OK, I know this isn't a quote--it's more a chapter heading, really, but this song. THIS SONG. It haunts my bones. It has some weird control over my body and makes me tear up every time I even think about it.

And THAT is what I loved most about this book. The idea that we have the universal language of music that connects us to people in ways that mere words cannot. It is through the songs on Hayden's playlist that you feel and understand his pain. Falkoff's use of the playlist to tell a story is beautiful!



ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Michelle Falkoff's fiction and reviews have been published in ZYZZYVA, DoubleTake, and the Harvard Review, among other places. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop and currently serves as Director of Communication and Legal Reasoning at Northwestern University School of Law. This is her first novel.






Find Michelle: Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads





BUY PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD





THE GIVEAWAY

There is a tour-wide giveaway for 3 copies of PLAYLIST FOR THE DEAD (US/Canada ONLY)
Giveaway ends on February 10th at 11:59 p.m. Pacific

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Book Review: FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK by Melina Marchetta



FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK
by Melina Marchetta

Release date: September 29, 2008
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
Publisher: Viking Australia
Pages: 416


Finnikin of the Rock and his guardian, Sir Topher, have not been home to their beloved Lumatere for ten years. Not since the dark days when the royal family was murdered and the kingdom put under a terrible curse. But then Finnikin is summoned to meet Evanjalin, a young woman with an incredible claim: the heir to the throne of Lumatere, Prince Balthazar, is alive.

Evanjalin is determined to return home and she is the only one who can lead them to the heir. As they journey together, Finnikin is affected by her arrogance . . . and her hope. He begins to believe he will see his childhood friend, Prince Balthazar, again. And that their cursed people will be able to enter Lumatere and be reunited with those trapped inside. He even believes he will find his imprisoned father.

But Evanjalin is not what she seems. And the truth will test not only Finnikin's faith in her . . . but in himself






Fictitious Delicious Rating: 5+



Once upon a time, a girl named Amy told her friend Jen to read a little book called FINNIKIN OF THE ROCK. Amy even blogged about how much she loved this book, but still Jen did not listen. Years passed by and poor Finnikin and his epic story remained neglected on Jen's Kindle.  Then one day, Jen joined a TBR challenge and made it her mission to finally pick up the book that Amy insisted she read so long ago. And it was good.  REAL good.  So good, in fact, that she blew up Amy's phone with texts that contained lots of exclamation points and proclamations of love.  Amy's final words? "I told you so."

And she did.  RIGHT HERE.  Amy's review of this book is so well crafted that I beg you to read that review--you'll be convinced that it's a story that must land on your TBR list immediately.  Just don't ignore it for four years like I did, okay?

I want to add one piece for you here.  This book started out so strong.  I was hooked from page one. (OK, it was page four, but you know what I mean.)  Sometimes fantasy can take some time to get into because you're trying to remember characters and lands and histories but that did not happen to me in this book.  What DID happen, though, was a lull about 40% of the way in.  The characters, history and story line all had my attention, but the pacing slowed down to a point that left me a little frustrated.  It was like you just KNOW there's more coming but you want the more to happen right now right now right now! Keep pushing through that spot because you will be rewarded handsomely.

There's a reason why half the world thinks that Melina Marchetta is a genius.  I'll second the sentiment that no one can tie together characters/events like she can.  She left me aghast in the revelations of this world and then pushed me over the edge with the consequences of those revelations. I can't even share with you my favorite line because of spoilers, but I dare say you'll be gripping your heart and having all the feels for these characters.

Can't wait until my schedule allows me to read Froi's story.  That boy has a tale to tell, no doubt.




Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Book Blast: A COLD LEGACY by Megan Shepherd


I am so excited that A COLD LEGACY by Megan Shepherd releases today and that I get to share the news, along with an excerpt from the book!

If you haven’t yet heard about this wonderful book by Author Megan Shepherd, be sure to check out all the details below.


This blast also includes a giveaway for a signed copy of the book and swag courtesy of Megan and Rockstar Book Tours. So if you’d like a chance to win, enter in the Rafflecopter at the bottom of this post.



THE BOOK



A COLD LEGACY (The Madman's Daughter #3)
by Megan Shepherd

Release Date: January 27, 2015
Genre: Young Adult Horror
Publisher: Balzer+Bray/HarperCollins
Pages: 400

After killing the men who tried to steal her father’s research, Juliet—along with Montgomery, Lucy, Balthazar, and a deathly ill Edward—has escaped to a remote estate on the Scottish moors. Owned by the enigmatic Elizabeth von Stein, the mansion is full of mysteries and unexplained oddities: dead bodies in the basement, secret passages, and fortune-tellers who seem to know Juliet’s secrets. Though it appears to be a safe haven, Juliet fears new dangers may be present within the manor’s own walls.

Then Juliet uncovers the truth about the manor’s long history of scientific experimentation—and her own intended role in it—forcing her to determine where the line falls between right and wrong, life and death, magic and science, and promises and secrets. And she must decide if she’ll follow her father’s dark footsteps or her mother’s tragic ones, or whether she’ll make her own.

With inspiration from Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, this breathless conclusion to the Madman’s Daughter trilogy is about the things we’ll sacrifice to save those we love—even our own humanity. 





THE EXCERPT
p.21-24

Montgomery stopped the horses outside a tavern. He came to the carriage door, opening it just a crack to keep the rain from drenching us. “I’m going to ask directions. We can’t be far now.”

We watched him saunter over the muddy street as though he didn’t even feel the bite of freezing rain. A face appeared in the tavern window. The door opened and he spoke to a woman in a wool dress for a few moments, then stomped back through the mud. “This village is called Quick,” he told us. “The manor’s only five miles from here.”

“Did you hear that?” Lucy murmured to Edward, still stroking his hair. “We’re almost there. Just hold on. Everything will be all right once we arrive.”

Montgomery’s eyes shifted to me. Neither of us wanted to remind Lucy that the prospect of Edward’s fever breaking—and the Beast’s reappearance—was almost more frightening than the fever itself. Delirious, he was less of a threat.

“Let’s go then,” I whispered to Montgomery. “And quickly.”

He closed the door and in another moment we were moving again, passing through the rest of Quick. Then all too soon the village was nothing but fading lights. The storm grew and the road became rougher, and all the while Edward’s eyes rolled back and forth beneath shuttered lids.

Thunder struck close by, and Lucy shrieked. Montgomery whipped the horses harder, pulling us along the uneven road impossibly fast, trying to outrun the storm. I twisted in the seat to look out the back window at the pelting rain. A stone fence ran alongside us.

“We must be getting close,” I said.

“Not soon enough,” Lucy breathed. “We’re going to crash if he keeps driving like this!”

The road widened, straightening, letting us travel even faster. Lightning struck close by, blinding me. The horses bolted. Lucy screamed and covered her eyes, but I couldn’t tear mine away. The lightning had struck an enormous oak tree, twisted from centuries of wind. The oak took flame, blazing despite the rain. A smoking gash ran down the trunk—the lightning’s death mark. I watched until the rain put out most of the flames, but it still smoldered, billowing hot ash into the night.

The horses pawed the earth, and I grabbed the window to steady myself. At this wild speed, just hitting a single rock at the wrong angle would send the carriage shattering to the ground. It was madness to go so fast. Couldn’t Montgomery calm the horses?

Just when I feared the carriage would careen out of control, it stopped short, throwing me against the opposite wall. I tangled in Lucy’s limbs as the chains around Edward’s body clinked. Balthazar grunted, jerking awake at last. We scrambled in the bottom of the carriage until the door flew open.
Montgomery stood in the pelting rain. I feared he’d say we’d broken another strut or the horses had gone lame or we’d have to spend the night in the harsh storm.

But then I saw the lights behind him, and the night took shape into a turreted stone manor with bright lamps blazing and gargoyles on the roof vomiting rain into a stone courtyard.

Montgomery’s eyes met mine beneath the low brim of his hat.

“We’ve arrived,” he said.



BUY A COLD LEGACY






THE AUTHOR



Hello! 

I’ve been many things, like a professional exchange student, park ranger in Montana, and LOST enthusiast, but what I am now is a writer.

I think it’s fair to say I was born into it. I grew up in the mountains of North Carolina, raised behind the counter of my parents’ independent bookstore, Highland Books in Brevard. Ah, so many free books. But I never thought being a writer could be a real career. After college I thought I’d end up as a foreign service officer somewhere dashing and exotic, like Canada. I studied French, Spanish, German, and Russian and still speak a few of those. Then I joined the Peace Corps and spent two years in Senegal, where I learned a few more languages I’ll never speak again and lived in a mud hut with no electricity or running water. You can probably imagine how that experience went, but if you’re curious, here are the dirty details

It wasn't until a chance aquaintance read something I wrote and said, "have you ever considered being a writer?" that something clicked and I realized it was possible. My husband encouraged me, and I quickly fell head-over-heels in love with writing and children's literature in particular. I started out writing articles, which have appeared in Faces, Appleseeds, and Calliope magazines, and stories for younger children. I soon realized I wasn’t sweet enough to write fiction for that age and found myself writing young adult literature instead, which doesn’t require nearly as many tender moments and includes a lot more cursing.

When I'm not writing, I can usually be found horseback riding, day dreaming at coffee shops, or hiking in the beautiful mountains of Western North Carolina. I love to hear from readers, so please drop me a line!

I am represented by Josh Adams of Adams Literary.
Author Photo by Kristi Hedberg Photography

Find Megan: Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr | Goodreads


THE GIVEAWAY

1 winner will receive a signed copy of A COLD LEGACY and swag! US Only.
Ends on February 6th at Midnight EST!




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