Wednesday, April 12, 2017

SYNC is a free summer audiobook program specifically geared toward young adults. And starting in less than a month, SYNC will give you free access to two complete audiobook downloads a week - a current young adult title along with a thematically paired classic or required summer reading title. The offerings change each week and are only available for download until the next offering is announced a week later. I've included a list below of all of the scheduled downloads for this summer. SYNC will have all the details on how to download, so be sure to check back over there at the end of this month!

Here are some of the titles I'm most looking forward to:

The Picture of Dorian GrayThe Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy (Hitchhiker's Guide, #1)BeastThe Witch's Vacuum Cleaner and Other StoriesBetween Shades of Gray

And I've already listened to these and highly recommend:

Of Beast and BeautyPlus One

SYNC also has samples of the audiobooks on offer, if you care to check those out prior to downloading the whole audiobook.

I am seriously so excited for some of these titles and also to experience some favorites again. Every year I am just so impressed with the offerings from SYNC!

in years past, I've done a weekly post showcasing which titles will be featured so you know when to go grab them. I don't know if I'll get around to doing that this year, but I'll try my best to tweet updates about which titles are available each week.

Which titles are you most excited about?

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Title: Duels and Deception
Author: Cindy Anstey
Series: n/a
Publisher: Swoon Reads
Publication Date: April 11, 2017
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
Miss Lydia Whitfield, heiress to the family fortune, has her future entirely planned out. She will run the family estate until she marries the man of her late father's choosing, and then she will spend the rest of her days as a devoted wife. Confident in those arrangements, Lydia has tasked her young law clerk, Mr. Robert Newton, to begin drawing up the marriage contracts. Everything is going according to plan.

Until Lydia—and Robert along with her—is kidnapped. Someone is after her fortune and won't hesitate to destroy her reputation to get it. With Robert's help, Lydia strives to keep her family's good name intact and expose whoever is behind the devious plot. But as their investigation delves deeper and their affections for each other grow, Lydia starts to wonder whether her carefully planned future is in fact what she truly wants…

Well, this book was utterly charming. I read a lot of adult historical fiction novels, and I usually love when the characters flout societal norms for a risqué tête-à-tête...or two. But in this case, I was happy to see the young gentleman acting so gallantly and in defense of the main character's reputation.

It's difficult to imagine how hard it was in those days to maintain one's integrity and always act accordingly, especially compared with society today. But even so, Miss Lydia Whitfield stands apart as a headstrong and capable woman of means. She always endeavors to maintain a modicum of decorum, but she also has a knack for making things happen in just the manner she planned. Until someone takes matters into their own hands and makes things happen to Lydia.

I greatly enjoyed the element of mystery to this story, though I did figure out the gist of it pretty early on in the story. And I loved that Mr. Robert Newton made it his mission to discover the truth behind the abduction, going above and beyond his duties as Lydia's solicitor. They were so utterly guileless in their affection for each other and it was completely endearing but also totally frustrating at times because I just wanted so badly for them to kiss already. =)

On a side note, I initially thought this book was a sequel of sorts to Love, Lies and Spies, but it is a completely separate story. Both books can be read on their own in whatever order you choose. But you should definitely read both if you're a fan of wholesome, clean fun by way of historical fiction. Duels and Deception was adorable, quirky, and just plain delightful, and I can't wait to read more from Cindy Anstey.


GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

Cindy Anstey spends her days painting with words, flowers, threads and acrylics. Whenever not sitting at the computer, she can be found—or rather, not found—traveling near and far. After many years living as an expat in Singapore, Memphis and Belgium, Cindy now resides with her husband and energetic chocolate labrador in Nova Scotia, Canada.

Find Cindy:

WebsiteGoodreads | Twitter | Facebook

Tuesday, April 4, 2017

Title: Letters to the Lost
Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Series: n/a
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Childrens
Publication Date: April 4, 2017
Source: ARC received from publisher
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Add to Goodreads
Juliet Young always writes letters to her mother, a world-traveling photojournalist. Even after her mother's death, she leaves letters at her grave. It's the only way Juliet can cope.

Declan Murphy isn't the sort of guy you want to cross. In the midst of his court-ordered community service at the local cemetery, he's trying to escape the demons of his past.

When Declan reads a haunting letter left beside a grave, he can't resist writing back. Soon, he's opening up to a perfect stranger, and their connection is immediate. But neither Declan nor Juliet knows that they're not actually strangers. When life at school interferes with their secret life of letters, sparks will fly as Juliet and Declan discover truths that might tear them apart.

I can't believe how long it's been since I read something new from Brigid Kemmerer. I loved her Elementals series. It was fun and romantic and action-packed. This book is nothing like that series and yet it is still just as amazing.

Wait, I lied. They are similar in that the brothers in the Elementals series have a world of hurt thrust upon them and the hits just keep coming throughout the series. The same could be said of both Juliet and Declan: they've both had something tragic occur to their families, something that seems impossible to overcome. And just when it looks like they might not be able to, they find each other.

This is the second book in as many weeks that I've read featuring the secret pen pal aspect, and I must admit, I really like this method of getting to know the characters...and them getting acquainted, as well. I'm not usually super interested in books focused on grief because I'm not very good at dealing with it myself, but the letter-writing aspect had me intrigued. Plus, I know that Brigid made even elemental powers seem realistic, so I knew she would be able to portray the characters' grief genuinely but without leaving me a sobbing mess.

I loved the connection these two characters shared, in their correspondence and outside of it, even if they weren't aware it was that same connection they were drawing on. I liked that Declan wasn't your typical bad boy, that there was more to him than just acting out. And that people finally started to see beyond that brusk exterior to the boy hurting beneath. I also like that Juliet was one of the first people to do so, even if she was one of those making assumptions about what kind of person Declan was based on rumors and heresay. Both characters showed so much growth and changed so much, just in the short span of time they'd started writing to each other, and I really appreciated that that relied more on their connection than their growing attraction, though I enjoyed that aspect, as well.

Also, the friendships in this book were life-affirming. Friendship should be about support but not being a pushover, and I liked that despite the many tragedies inflicted on these characters, they still managed to be there for each other. (I'm also very glad to see that Rev is getting his own book because there was obviously so much more to his story than what we get in this book.) It was also refreshing to see so much family involvement, especially as the story progressed.

Considering that I'm not a huge fan of this type of story normally, I could not put this book down. In fact, I found myself sneaking it in at work or any other chance I could get. I don't think you can help but be invested in these characters. That connection they share is nearly palpable, and you'll need to see how it plays out.


GIF it to me straight:

About the author:

BRIGID KEMMERER is author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

Find Brigid:

Website | Blog | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

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