ARC REVIEW: Secret of the Sevens by Lynn Lindquist

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Secret of the Sevens

Lynn Lindquist

Published June 2015 by Flux

YA > Contemporary | Mystery

arc via publisher

 

 

3 ★★★ 1/2

 

 

Purchase links:

Amazon | BN 

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

Everyone at Singer, a boarding school for underprivileged kids, knows the urban legend of the Society of Seven. Decades ago, the original members of the secret guild for elite students murdered the school’s founder and then perished in the fire they lit to hide the evidence. Or so the story goes. Talan Michaels doesn’t care about Singer’s past. He’s too focused on his future and the fact that he’ll be homeless after he graduates in May. To take his mind off it, he accepts a mysterious invitation to join a group calling itself the Sevens. He expects pranks, parties, and perks. Instead, he finds himself neck-deep in a conspiracy involving secret passages and cryptic riddles about the school’s history. Even worse, he’s now tangled in web of lies someone will kill to keep hidden.

 

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 [tour schedule]

 

 

 

REVIEW:

Secret of the Sevens is really a surprising read for me. There were some things that I wished happened in a a different way but overall, my feelings after reading this book is contentment. I enjoyed the whole reading experience and I would not complain if there’ll be more.

First thing that I surprisingly enjoyed is the main protagonist’s voice. I rarely read YA books that is in a male’s perspective. Not that I’m avoiding them (because I’m not) but because I rarely encounter them. And our main lead here, Talan, was kind of an ass (and he knows it!!) But he is also very funny and likeable and he can be so sweet and adorable. You can really see him growing through out the book that’s why you can’t help but root for him and his friends. Speaking of, did you ever read someone from a book and wished they can be real so that they can be your friend? I totally felt that towards Talan.

The romance was really not in the focus here but when it’s being highlighted, I actually found myself liking it very much. It was a bit unexpected and Talan and her love interest is not your usual match made in heaven kind of couple. But as I mentioned above, this book has a lot of surprises and it turns out, the romance is one of the best element in this book.

And of course, the mystery. The secret societies, puzzles, cryptic messages and sketchy people. It kept me invested and guessing most of the time. I’m such a sucker for old and haunting history so this book really caught my attention the whole time. Would I recommend Secret of the Sevens? Yes, I definitely do. A fun main protagonist, secrets and puzzles plus old and haunting set up. Secret of the Sevens is absolutely deserving of your time.

 

AUTHOR:

 

Author photo

Website | Twitter 

 

Lynn Lindquist lives in a suburb of Chicago with two overly-social sons and a mutt named Slugger who wisely hides under the bed most days. The hordes of teenagers that regularly frequent her house (think Panama City Beach during spring break) provide fodder for her young adult novels and growing anxiety disorder. Ever since her sons broke the Guinness Record for Largest-Rager-Thrown-While-a-Parent-Was-Out-for-the-Night, she enjoys spending her free time at home entertaining friends, cooking, reading, and writing. Thankfully, her favorite things in life are her sons, words, and kids, so she wouldn’t have it any other way.

She is represented by Katherine Boyle at Veritas Literary Agency.

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

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ARC REVIEW: The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly by Stephanie Oakes + Giveaway!!

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The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly
Stephanie Oakes
Expected publication: June 9th 2015 by Dial/Penguin

 

400pages (kindle edition)
arc via publisher

 

5 ★★★★★

 

Purchase links:
Amazon | BN | TBDKobo

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

With a harrowing poetic voice, this contemporary page-turner is perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson’s Speak, Julie Berry’s All The Truth That’s in Me, and the works of Ellen Hopkins.
The Kevinian cult has taken everything from seventeen-year-old Minnow: twelve years of her life, her family, her ability to trust.
And when she rebelled, they took away her hands, too.
Now their Prophet has been murdered and their camp set aflame, and it’s clear that Minnow knows something—but she’s not talking. As she languishes in juvenile detention, she struggles to un-learn everything she has been taught to believe, adjusting to a life behind bars and recounting the events that led up to her incarceration. But when an FBI detective approaches her about making a deal, Minnow sees she can have the freedom she always dreamed of—if she’s willing to part with the terrible secrets of her past.
The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly is a hard-hitting and hopeful story about the dangers of blind faith—and the power of having faith in oneself.

 

 

BYB_BLOGTOUR
[tour schedule]

 

REVIEW:

 

Once in a while, you’ll read a book and it will completely blow your mind and you’ll be helpless and just recommend it to EVERYONE. The Sacred Lies of Minnow Bly just took my breath away. Literally. This book is everything I’ve been looking for this year. I don’t give my 5 stars that easy, in fact, I only gave one book a five star this year so far (not counting this book) But in here, its like five star is not enough.

Stephanie Oakes’ writing is stunning. It’s powerful and gripping. I found myself holding my breath in every revelation, every secret, every word that Minnow drops. I was enthralled and hypnotized the whole time I was reading, like Stephanie has a very powerful hold on me and I’m not even complaining.

There’s a lot of things that made this book a success and one of them is our intriguing main character, Minnow Bly. From the very first chapter, I know she’s gonna challenge me. And yes she did. The whole time I was not sure if she’s telling the truth or if she was just playing me. She really made me think and my whole body and mind was invested to this story because of her voice. She’s handless, but she’s not a victim. She definitely has secrets, but does that mean she’s the villain?

Minnow wasn’t the only memorable character that Stephanie Oakes created. My heart is still mourning and aching for Jude. Every character, every person that Minnow interacted with… they leave something in you. They matter. They’re authentic.

The plot of this book is obviously created by a brilliant mind. And you will agree with me once you read it. The writing, the atmosphere, the whole construction of the story… I couldn’t think of any word but BRILLIANT or/and perfect.

I don’t even know if this review made some sense to you or if it convinced you in any way so I’ll just sum it up in here: THIS BOOK IS EPIC AND I KNOW YOU’LL LOVE IT SO DO YOURSELF A FAVOR A READ IT. That is all.

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

author pic 1

Website | Twitter | Tumblr

Stephanie Oakes is a teacher and YA author from Washington State. Her debut novel, THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY (Dial/Penguin, June 9, 2015), about a girl who escapes from a religious commune only to find herself at the center of a murder investigation, is based on the Grimm fairy tale, “The Handless Maiden.”

THE ARSONIST, her second YA mystery through Dial/Penguin, is scheduled for publication in fall 2016.

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

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Win a finished copy of THE SACRED LIES OF MINNOW BLY and some swag (US Only)

Giveaway starts June 1st – Giveaway ends June 11th

 

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AUTHOR TAKEOVER #006: Marci Lyn Curtis, author of: “THE ONE THING’ + giveaway!!

author takeover

 

Author Takeover is a new feature here in HBT where we let our current favorite authors took over the blog. Expect Guest Posts, Interviews, LOTS of Playlists, giveaways and of course, a bunch load of FUN!


You guys,  I am so excited to have Marci on the blog today! She’s so sweet and full of awesome. Read through the interview that we did and be sure to enter the giveaway!

 

The Book..

 

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The One Thing

Expected publication: September 8th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
YA > Contemporary | Romance
 

Purchase it: amazon | bn

 

 

About the book..

 

“A soaring tale of life and love, of sacrifice and renewal, and learning to see people as they really are.”
Maggie Sanders might be blind, but she won’t invite anyone to her pity party. Ever since losing her sight six months ago, Maggie’s rebellious streak has taken on a life of its own, culminating with an elaborate school prank. Maggie called it genius. The judge called it illegal.
Now Maggie has a probation officer. But she isn’t interested in rehabilitation, not when she’s still mourning the loss of her professional-soccer dreams, and furious at her so-called friends, who lost interest in her as soon as she could no longer lead the team to victory.
Then Maggie’s whole world is turned upside down. Somehow, incredibly, she can see again. But only one person: Ben, a precocious ten-year-old unlike anyone she’s ever met.Ben’s life isn’t easy, but he doesn’t see limits, only possibilities. After awhile, Maggie starts to realize that losing her sight doesn’t have to mean losing everything she dreamed of. Even if what she’s currently dreaming of is Mason Milton, the infuriatingly attractive lead singer of Maggie’s new favorite band, who just happens to be Ben’s brother.
But when she learns the real reason she can see Ben, Maggie must find the courage to face a once-unimaginable future…before she loses everything she has grown to love.

 

The author..

 

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connect: twitter | website | goodreads page | facebook

 

Marci Lyn Curtis grew up in Northern California, where she went to college and met an amazing guy in a military uniform. Two college-aged kids and one dachshund later, she lives in Maryland, where she laughs too loudly and eats peanut butter off spoons. Her YA contemporary debut, The One Thing, comes out September 8th, 2015 via Disney-Hyperion.

Say hi to her on her at marcilyncurtis.com.

The Interview..

 

Hi Marci!! Thanks for stopping by on the blog!! We’re so excited! To start off, can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 🙂

Hi Paula! Thanks so much for having me!

Let’s see…me in a nutshell: I was raised in Northern California (which explains why I’m an almost-hippie/vegetarian/general nutcase), where I went to college and met my husband. He’s in the Coast Guard, sowe’ve lived all over the United States: Florida, Los Angeles, the Big Island of Hawaii, Tennessee, Connecticut, Honolulu, and now Maryland. I also have huge lovefor international travel. The moments I’ve spent in Belize, Honduras, Mexico, Germany, France, and Italy were some of the biggest of my life.

What else? Ah. Well. Sometimes I have a day-job in radiology. By “sometimes” I mean I go in a few days a month in order to talk to people who aren’t fictional. And by “in radiology” I mean that I do MRIs and mammograms. (i.e. I cram people into small, noisy tubes and squash squash SQUASH breasts.) 😉

 

Your debut is a Contemporary Romance, is this the genre you originally wanted to write?

Absolutely! Although I like to keep the romance secondary to the real meat of the plot, because I believe strongly that real change, real growth, does not occur because you meet someone great, but because you overcome something great.

 

How would you introduce your main character to us?

Ahhh…Maggie. Maggie. I wrote this book because I couldn’t get her out of my head, so I could probably write a 300-page biography on her. 😉 In short, she’s hilarious, stubborn, strong, and, very recently, visually impaired.

 

Your book cover is really gorgeous, but would you change it if you could? And how did you decide on the cover?

Great question, Paula! Here’s the thing about The One Thing: it’s about a lot of things. My cover’s illustration somehow manages to weave many of these moving parts together, something that would be incredibly difficult with a model and a camera. Also, my cover is unique—it stands out. I like the fact thatonce it’s sitting on a shelf it won’t blend in with all the others.
As far as the cover decision, after the Hyperion team chose the illustration, they sent me five or six different color schemes and allowed me to weigh in on the final cover.

 

Who is your favorite character to write? And the not-so-favorite one? Can you share with us why?

This is a tough question, because I’m extremely attached to all of my characters.If I exclude Maggie from this, I’d have to say my favorite is ten-year-old Ben, who stole my heart every time I wrote him into a scene. Ben completely owns his life, including his spina bifida, and is a testament to What Can Be instead of What Isn’t.
I honestly don’t have a least-favorite character. I’m crazy about all of them. I’ll tell you this, though: there was a character (Clarissa, a classmate of Maggie’s), who my editor urged me to pull into the storyline during the revision process.
My editor: “Let’s develop Clarissa some more and weave her into the plot!!!”
My immediatethought: Um. Let’s not. She’s too boring to breathe air.
You know how you feel when you have a pebble stuck in your shoe, but don’t have the opportunity to stop and shake it out? That feeling? That was Clarissa for me.She was my pebble. Possibly even a my boulder. But after many days of creative cursing, several late nights, and one very big ah-ha moment, I changed her personality completely and ended up falling in love with her

 

It is obvious that your book will have a huge music aspect, what kind of researches did you do?

Luckily, I didn’t have to do a lot of research on this aspect of the novel. I’ve always been passionate about music, so that part of the story seemed to fall right into the plot without any extra work on my part.

 

What will readers expect from the romance aspect in this book?

I don’t want to give up too much of the plot, so let’s just say the romance is slow-burn, and runs the gamut through the storyline: love-hate, friendship, and, well…passion.

 

The synopsis really sounds super unique, what kind of research did you do?

Oh wow. This story required a crazy amount of research. So much so, that I gave up on the book several times overin the very beginning, only to be dragged right back into it by the nagging storyline and a huge cast of characters that I just couldn’t shake from my head. Fact is, this book seemed so much bigger than me. I’m not visually impaired, nor do I know anyone visually impaired.I didn’t want to marginalize visual impairment, but at the same time I didn’t want it to be the focus of the novel. So I spent days/hours/months researching blindness online.

 

How did the idea of the book come to you? Is there a question or a person or something that inspired you to write The One Thing?

I wish I could say that I had this Big Moment or a Big Dream where something inspired me to write this story. Truth is, I have no idea when or how or why the story came to me. All of a sudden it was just…there, picking at the back of my brain until I started making notes. Eventually those notes grew into a folder, which grew into a clumsy first draft, which grew into a story that has become extremely close to my heart

 

Are you working on something new already? Do you have a WIP that you can tell us about? 🙂

Yes! I can’t say too much about it, but in a nutshell it’s about an orphan pickpocket forced to live with the uncle who betrayed her family. There’s more, naturally. Ooooo…there’s more. Romance. Deception. Surfing. Shocking revelations. Violins and—
Gah! Okay. Shutting up now.

 

Lastly, what’s your three current YA favorite?

Oh boy. I have so many current favorites…do I have to pick just three? Jandy Nelson’s I’ll Give you the Sun absolutely slayed me on every level…Jennifer Niven’s All the Bright Places was basically genius…and—OHHHH—Katya Millay’s Sea of Tranquility. Jeesh,I could go on and on and on, but for the sake of space, I’ll end there. 😉

 

Thanks again, Marci for the Q&A!

 

Because I can’t let this post go by without a playlist, I asked Marci if she can share some song that she listened to while writing her book… and here it is you guys! You never know, one of these songs might inspire you to write! 😀

 

 

Coldplay: “A Sky Full of Stars”
Elle Goulding: “Figure 8”
Goo Goo Dolls: “Not Broken”
Papa Roach: “Scars”
Black Keys: “Gold on the Ceiling”
Imagine Dragons: “Radioactive”
My Chemical Romance: “Ambulance”
Foo Fighters: “The Pretender”
Zedd: “Clarity”

 

Press the play button if you want to listen to playlist!

 

 

The Giveaway..

 

This is open internationally! and the giveaway is only open for a week!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

What’cha think of the new feature? Will you be reading this book? Thanks for stopping by 😀 And don’t forget to share your thoughts!

Paula

ARC REVIEW: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler + Giveaway!!

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The Summer of Chasing Mermaids
Sarah Ockler
Expected publication: June 2nd 2015 by Simon Pulse
368pages (kindle edition)
arc via publisher

 

3 ★★★1/2

 

 

Purchase links:
Amazon | BN | TBD | ItUNES | Kobo

 

 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 

The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom—until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.
Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry—except for one.
Christian Kane is a notorious playboy—insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.
When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though—swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them . . .

 

 

BYB_BLOGTOUR
[tour schedule]

Welcome to my stop for the Summer of Chasing Mermaids tour. WARNING: The word ‘beautiful’ will be overly used. 🙂

 

REVIEW:

 

This is my first from Sarah Ockler and don’t worry because I’m trying to fix this problem by purchasing her previous novels…… so you can stop with the potato throwing now.

The moment I saw the cover of this novel, I know I want it. It was love at first sight. And then I read the synopsis and if it’s possible, I just fell for the book even more. And then positive reviews started coming in that made me want to read the book even more. I think I was gonna combust from want.

And this, I found out, was not a good thing to do. I truly enjoyed reading Summer of Chasing Mermaids, but sadly I didn’t love it so much like I thought I would. I didn’t even swoon that much. But Ockler’s beautiful and poetic prose really kept me reading. I’m such a sucker for beautiful prose. I feel like Sarah Ockler is one of those authors that will write a grocery list and I’ll be interested in reading it. It was so amazing that way.

And I expected mermaids, so maybe that’s one of my mistakes too. Anyway, Elyse was such a deep and well written character. I love her heritage. I love that her heart and words are so beautiful and that everything in her POV reaches out to me and made me FEEL. From the first part of the novel, Elyse did nothing but feel sorry for herself because of the tragedy that happened to her. That’s why I admire how she slowly grew and emerged from the pity party that she created. This book is definitely character driven, it’s one of those books where you do and feel nothing but root for the main character.

The characters besides Elyse was all wonderful. They were engaging and fun to read. Each character had their own way in helping Elyse realize that some parts of her may be broken, but that doesn’t mean that dreaming again is not an option anymore. Christian may not be a big hit to me, but I couldn’t think of any guy that would be perfect for Elyse. They’re like two broken souls who found their missing pieces with each other (yes I know that’s cheesy and cliche) But what can I say, Sarah Ockler brings out that part of me.

The pacing was perfect. One of the many things that was so done well in here was the pacing. Whether its about Elyse’s character development or the romance… it was just right. And I like that. Because it made the book even more authentic and readable.

I’m absolutely a fan of Sarah Ockler now. Her words just slayed me and her lovely characters wiggled themselves into my heart. Summer of Chasing Mermaids is beautiful. The words. The theme. The cover. The whole reading experience. I definitely recommend it.

 

 

AUTHOR:

 

author pic 1

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Tumblr

Sarah Ockler is the bestselling author of young adult novels, including #scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts, Bittersweet, Fixing Delilah, and the critically acclaimed Twenty Boy Summer, a YALSA Teens’ Top Ten nominee and IndieNext List pick. Her latest, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids, hits the shelves in June 2015. 

Sarah is a champion cupcake eater, coffee drinker, night person, and bookworm. When she’s not writing or reading at home in Washington, she enjoys taking pictures, hugging trees, and road-tripping through the country with her husband, Alex.

Visit her website at sarahockler.com or find her on Twitter, Tumblr, or Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

giveaway

 

 

Win (1) of (2) Sarah Ockler’s prize packs that include a hardcover copy of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids and paperback copies of #Scandal, The Book of Broken Hearts and Bittersweet (US Only)

 

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ARC REVIEW: Made You Up by Francesca Zappia + PH Giveaway!!

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Made You Up
Francesca Zappia
Published May 19th 2015 by Greenwillow Books
YA > Contemporary | Mental Health
arc via publisher
 
 
4 ★★★★
 
 
Purchase links:
Amazon | BN | TBD | HarperCollins
 
 

BLURB FROM GOODREADS:

 
Reality, it turns out, is often not what you perceive it to be—sometimes, there really is someone out to get you. Made You Up tells the story of Alex, a high school senior unable to tell the difference between real life and delusion. This is a compelling and provoking literary debut that will appeal to fans of Wes Anderson, Silver Linings Playbook , and Liar .
Alex fights a daily battle to figure out the difference between reality and delusion. Armed with a take-no-prisoners attitude, her camera, a Magic 8-Ball, and her only ally (her little sister), Alex wages a war against her schizophrenia, determined to stay sane long enough to get into college. She’s pretty optimistic about her chances until classes begin, and she runs into Miles. Didn’t she imagine him? Before she knows it, Alex is making friends, going to parties, falling in love, and experiencing all the usual rites of passage for teenagers. But Alex is used to being crazy. She’s not prepared for normal.
Funny, provoking, and ultimately moving, this debut novel featuring the quintessential unreliable narrator will have readers turning the pages and trying to figure out what is real and what is made up.
 
 [tour schedule]
 

 

 Welcome to my stop for the Made You Up PH tour! This book floored me! It was incredible. Check out my gushing and fangirling and if you’re from the Philippines, you can win a print arc copy!! Thanks to PinoyBookTours 🙂

 

REVIEW:

 

 
“Are you real?”

Paula

Right after reading this book, my feelings was all over the place. And if you don’t know, when a book does that to you it only means one thing: the book is all kinds of amazing. Made You Up is such a powerful and poignant novel. It was engrossing to the point that the book is absolutely gripped inside your heart and the desire to let go… is nonexistent.

I love how unreliable our main character is. I’m the kind of reader who always puts herself in the main character’s shoes so that I can truly experience the whole novel. And I would be lying if I say that doing that is such a challenge when you’re reading MADE YOU UP. Is it real? Or is it not? Fear is gnawing inside of me throughout the novel because there’s a possibility that a certain character or a certain event that happened may not be real. And I can’t have that because every character in this story is attached to me from the moment Francesca introduced them to me. They are real. At least to me.

Don’t you just love books that challenges you? That makes you think? That makes you understand another human being that you have different opinion about before? Don’t you just love books that makes you understand? There may be a lot of books with schizophrenic as a main character but only a few can make you sympathize or make you fully feel how that main character feels. Francesca just did all that and I am blown away.

There’s a certain boy that I fell for and I don’t know how to move on from him. Miles. How do I explain Miles to people? Miles is the 70% of reasons why I adore Francesca. There, I said it. Alex is phenomenal as a heroine and I absolutely admired Jetta and the crew, even Celia was dear to me. But Miles, Miles is golden. Not just because he makes me swoon or that he’s hated by everyone or that he has that accent that everybody is making fun of… its because Miles is layered. He’s the kind of guy you WANT to get to know slowly and deeply. Its not because of his baggage or his jerky exterior but because he is Miles. And that’s enough reason.

Made You Up is absolutely, without a doubt, one of the best book I’ve read this year. It’s gripping. It’s emotional. It’s real. A brilliant writing plus thought provoking plot and terrific characters, Francesca just made a recipe for a successful novel that is perfect for every person who can read.

 

AUTHOR:

 

Author photo

Website | Twitter | Tumblr | Goodreads 

 

YA writer represented by Louise Fury of the Bent Agency. My debut, MADE YOU UP, will be out from Greenwillow/ HarperCollins on May 19th, 2015. I like writing, reading, drawing, anime, playing way too much Pokemon, and other things.

 

 

 

 

 

GIVEAWAY:

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

 

TOUR HOST:

 

Pinoy BOOK TOURS

Paula