Today I’m excited to tell you about the paperback release of Philippa Gregory’s Order of Darkness: Changeling, This is Gregory’s first foray into YA- you probably know her best as the author of The Other Boleyn Girl. Order of Darkness: Changeling is the first book in a new historical series, and has a supernatural twist.
Read on to learn more about it, check out the book trailer, and enter to win a copy for yourself.
Here’s a little about Changeling, book one of the Order of Darkness series:
Dark myths, medieval secrets, intrigue, and romance populate the pages of this first in a four-book teen series from the #1 bestselling author of The Other Boleyn Girl.
The year is 1453 and all signs point to it being the end of the world. Accused of heresy and expelled from his monastery, handsome seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is recruited by a mysterious stranger to record the end of times across Europe. Commanded by sealed orders, Luca is sent to map the fears of Christendom and travel to the very frontier of good and evil.
Seventeen-year-old Isolde, a Lady Abbess, is trapped in a nunnery to prevent her from claiming her rich inheritance. As the nuns in her care are driven mad by strange visions, walking in their sleep, and showing bleeding wounds, Luca is sent to investigate and driven to accuse her.
Forced to face the greatest fears of the dark ages—witchcraft, werewolves, madness—Luca and Isolde embark on a search for truth, their own destinies, and even love as they take the unknown ways to the real historical figure who defends the boundaries of Christendom and holds the secrets of the Order of Darkness.
About the author:
Philippa Gregory is the author of several internationally bestselling novels, including The Other Boleyn Girl and The White Queen, and is a recognized authority on women’s history. She lives in the north of England with her family and welcomes visitors to her website, PhilippaGregory.com. Order of Darkness: Changeling is her first novel written for teens.
Order of Darkness: Changeling is available now in paperback, and you can learn more about the series by visiting the official site.
Ready to dive into the medieval world? Simon Teen and Big Honcho Media have 2 copies of the book up for grabs!
Two winners will receive a paperback copy of Order of Darkness: Changeling.
And the winners are: Candice and Ronnie! Congrats!
I’m a little particular about the first book I read in a new year; superstitious that it should be a good one to start the year off right. I settled on Falling For You by Lisa Schroeder, and it didn’t let me down. I’ve only read one book by Schroeder (The Day Before), and it was actually my first verse novel. Falling For You, however, is not written in the author’s signature verse style, though poetry does play a role in the storytelling. This time around, Schroeder uses flashbacks that lead to a traumatic event in the protagonist’s life. This hook kept me reading to see how the mystery would resolve.
The cover (and title) suggest Falling For You is romantic and about a torrid love affair. And yes, there is a kiss in the rain, but it’s a little more complicated than that and there’s more to the story than romance. Rae lives with her mother and stepfather and has a troubled home life. To say her stepfather is not a good guy is an understatement. Her mother is in over her head with him and is not there for Rae the way she should be. Rae does have some positive things in her life though- poetry is a creative outlet for her to get her frustrations out, her job at the floral shop and her supportive work family keep her spirits up, as well as her good friends at school. Rae’s romantic life is picking up steam as well, with the new cute boy Nathan taking an interest in her.
Speaking of romance, it’s not all a bed of roses for Rae. Nathan is a little stalker-y and there’s something “off “ about him. Rae’s friend Leo is super sweet though and he really gets her. I was rooting for the two of them to get together though I could understand that her own life experience shaped her romantic decisions. I wouldn’t call this a traditional love triangle, but things are certainly messy.
Rae is a lovely character who is always there for others regardless of her own bad situation. Her home life troubles are very serious but they don’t stop her from working hard at work and school, or caring for others- including total strangers. I like how Rae writes poetry to deal with her financial and personal struggles, though I wished many times that she would confide in one of the many caring people in her life. She doesn’t let life get her down and her strength is inspiring. Rae’s turbulent home life is something I think many will be able to relate to and it’s not often addressed in YA.
In addition to the mystery leading up to what happens to Rae, there’s another mini mystery about a good Samaritan sending flowers anonymously to people in need. It’s a nice message that doing nice things for others can help you heal yourself as well.
The flashbacks work well in the story and flow nicely. I never found the transitions between past, present and future tense in the story telling to be jarring. The poetry works well to illustrate Rae’s struggles and also for fans accustomed to Schroeder’s verse novels.
A sweet story overall- though some of the home scenes are tough to stomach at times, the tone is ultimately hopeful. Falling For You has a nice blend of drama and romance and it’s an interesting new direction for Schroeder.
I have the pleasure of being the next stop on the A November to Remember tour to celebrate The Vincent Boys!
The Vincent Boys is a seductive story of attraction and betrayal. This November, the Vincent boys are helping us remember the guys who have both stolen and broken our hearts.
playing ideal girlfriend to Sawyer Vincent. Sawyer is perfect, a regular Prince Charming, but when he leaves town for the summer, it’s his cousin Beau who catches Ashton’s eye. Beau is the sexiest guy she’s ever seen, and even though he’s dangerous, Ashton is drawn to him.
Beau loves his cousin like a brother, so the last thing he wants to do is make a move on Sawyer’s girl. Ashton is off-limits, absolutely. That’s why he does his best to keep his distance, even though he’s been in love with her forever. When Ashton wants to rekindle their childhood friendship in Sawyer’s absence, Beau knows he should say no.
Ashton and Beau don’t want to hurt Sawyer. But the more they try to stay away from each other, the more intense their urges become. It’s getting way too hard to resist….
A crush-worthy guy that reminds me of Beau from the book would have to be Friday Night Light’s Tim Riggins (aka Taylor Kitsch). You know the type – womanizer, bad-boy, tortured soul. Riggs was also in kind of a similar situation to Beau with the Jason/Lyla love triangle, which is another reason he came to mind. Tim is such an underdog and I always rooted for him to catch a break. And Beau captured my heart as well, and like Tim he has great chemistry with his girl. Now I’m feeling all nostalgic for FNL! Awww, why did it have to end?
About the author: Abbi Glines can be found hanging out with rockstars, taking out her yacht on weekends for a party cruise, sky diving, or surfing in Maui. Okay maybe she needs to keep her imagination focused on her writing only. In the real world, Abbi can be found hauling kids (several who seem to show up that don’t belong to her) to all their social events, hiding under the covers with her MacBook in hopes her husband won’t catch her watching Buffy on Netflix again, and sneaking off to Barnes and Noble to spend hours lost in the yummy goodness of books.
Giveaway! Time to celebrate The Vincent Boys with a date night! I’m a big fan of movie dates as you know so I’m very excited about this giveaway. One lucky entrant* will receive a copy of The Vincent Boys and a Date Night Kit including everything pictured below:
· Makeup bag
· Lip gloss
· $25 Fandango gift card for the date night flick
*Must be at least 13 years of age, giveaway is open to US addresses only. All prizing provided by Simon & Schuster.
Congrats to Emily who won The Vincent Boys Date Night Kit!
Book Info: YA Contemporary, Purchased copy, PB 289 pages
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
I’m on a contemporary kick right now so the release Live Through This came at just the right time. I enjoyed Mindi Scott’s first book Freefall last year, but I was really wowed by her sophomore book. I started reading it one night before bed, and before I knew it I looked at the clock and it was getting way too late and I reluctantly had to go to sleep. This book is a gripping and haunting read, and one of those you’ll want to read straight through to the end to find out what happens, so make sure you have a few uninterrupted hours of reading time before you start in.
Live Through This is a story close to the author’s heart and I think that’s why 15-year-old Coley’s story feels so authentic and powerful. The book covers a difficult subject that you don’t read too much in YA books – sexual abuse. It is a tense and uncomfortable read at times, but very worthwhile as well.
In Live Through This, Coley outwardly has a great life – good friends, a boy named Reece who is crazy about her, and she’s a top dancer on her school team. Just about the only problem anyone sees with her is that she had a falling out with her best friend Alejandra, and that’s creating tension in dance competitions. But what no one knows is the story of what’s going on behind closed doors- Coley is a victim of sexual abuse.
The reader doesn’t know who Coley’s abuser is until midway through the book, and that made me feel on edge, as my imagination was going overtime trying to figure it out. I really felt for Coley’s situation and could understand her complex emotions and reluctance to ask for help, given the circumstances. My heart just broke for her.
Though this is a heavy read, there are some very sweet moments as well. Reece is a really nice guy for Coley and they do this adorable thing where they say over the top song lyrics to each other in a flirty way, and bond over giraffes. Coley also has an awesome friend named Noah who provides some great one-liners.
If there’s one thing that I wanted more from this book, it’s that I wish it were a little longer and the ending was expanded upon. I’m still more than pleased, but I just cared for the characters and wanted the story to continue a while more.
I’m thankful that Mindi Scott wrote this book, and I hope it gets into the hands of YA’s that are in this tragic situation and gives them hope. I’m looking forward to reading more from this author.
Edited to add: Hey, is there a Hole revival going on? Live Through This is the title of their critically acclaimed second album. And- this week on Glee, Brittany and Sam performed Hole’s Celebrity Skin. Music is not really a theme of the book, but I just thought it was interesting to mention.
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary
Format/pages: Hardcover 464 pages
Format read/Source: eGalley from Simon & Schuster GalleyGrab, read June 24 2011
Rating: 5 / 5 Stars
Forbidden is a brave, powerful and complex book about a taboo topic. The story had me breathlessly on edge, completely consumed in the heart-wrenching tale. This book is a story of taboo love between siblings that develops due to their extremely difficult family circumstances. The author writes the story in such a raw, emotional and believable way that I could not help but be sympathetic to the ill-fated couple’s plight. That the story can elicit such a response with this subject matter is quite an achievement for this author.
Seventeen-year-old Lochan has always been close with his sister Maya, who is thirteen months his junior. They have three younger siblings that they have the responsibility of looking after, since their father abandoned the family and their alcoholic mother is seldom around. Their lives are high-stress as they balance high school with running a household and looking after their siblings. Lochan and Maya have always relied on each other and shared the burden that they are saddled with at home. They grow closer as they take on the roles of parents to their siblings, and soon a romantic type of love develops, though they know it can’t last.
I knew a little bit about the story going into it so was prepared for the taboo subject matter. And of course a similar relationship is explored in the infamous Flowers in the Attic. As I was reading, I was filled with dread waiting for the inevitable other shoe to drop in this unorthodox love story. The story alternates points of view between Lochan and Maya, and we get to know the characters well and the complex feelings they have for each other.
The sibling’s chaotic family life is vividly painted. The younger siblings are their own personalities with their own heartbreaking struggles. Their family dynamic is fascinating to watch as we see them hanging on the edge. It’s incredible that five kids can hold it together alone for so long under the radar. Their mother is a train wreck and it is sad to see the gratitude the older siblings have for her for simply taking the kids out for a few hours once in a while. The family relationship is one of the most compelling aspects of the book. The characters are well written and their emotions hit you straight in the heart.
The tension runs high throughout the book as Lochan and Maya struggle with the intense feelings they have for each other. Their desperate relationship is heartbreaking to watch, as you know it can’t end well. They seem to be meant for each other, which makes it so hard to see their longing and struggle. It definitely made me think about love and relationships in general.
Forbidden is one gripping and emotional tearjerker that I won’t soon forget. It’s beautifully well written with a bold and passionate story.
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Published by: Simon Pulse, May 24 2011
Genre: Young Adult
Format/pages: Hardcover 256 pages
Format read/Source: ARC via Simon & Schuster Galley Grab
Date read: May 15 2011
Rating: 4 / 5 Stars
Abby’s older sister Tess is in a coma after a car accident. Abby has always felt less worthy than Tess and is jealous of her sister’s beauty and charisma. Now that she lies in a hospital bed, Abby visits Tess daily to try to help her wake up. Her motives are not entirely selfless though. Abby wants Tess to get better so that she can leave town with a free conscience after high school. She does not want to have to stay in town out of guilt. She is not having much luck reviving Tess until handsome Eli comes in. Abby swears she sees Tess’s eyelids flutter at the sound of his voice. She decides to bring him in to try to help wake the comatose Tess, even if it means he falls in love with Tess the way so many others have before. As she accepts the fact that Tess may never be the same, she starts to see value in herself and being able to see those closest to her as they really are.
This book is an emotional read and covers issues galore. It is satisfying to read a book with so many rich and layered characters and to see the character’s growth throughout the book. Abby starts out with low self esteem to the extreme. She can’t imagine anyone would take notice of her when her sister’s around, and that if they did it’s only to get close to her sister. Abby is barely holding it together, and doing the best she can to manage her family crisis. However, her lack of self worth comes off as frustrating and irritating at times, especially in the first half of the book. She definitely has some stumbling blocks to overcome. Eli is sweet as the love interest. He is much more than the gorgeous guy that Abby idealizes under the surface.
Everyone has something to hide in this book. As the story unfolds we find out secrets about all the characters. The book came together for me in the second half when the secrets and issues come to light. The book does not shy away from hard-hitting issues and this gives the story more depth and interest.
This book is a fast read with interesting and layered characters and a compelling story. Fans of Elizabeth Scott’s other contemporary books should enjoy this one as well. I haven’t read the author’s first book, Bloom, but apparently there are some familiar characters in this book from Bloom. I’m curious to read that one next. This is the third book I’ve read by Elizabeth Scott, and I’m impressed by her writing and flawed and realistic characters. Her next book As I Wake is due out September 15 2011.
What Elizabeth Scott book is your favorite?
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