Category Archives: Books I Received From The Publisher

Truly Madly Famously

Finished Truly Madly Famously by Rebecca Serle. I received a copy from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

In this romantic sequel to Famous in Love, new Hollywood “It Girl” Paige must navigate love with her co-stars, both on and off screen and all in the public eye.

Lights, camera, love!

After being plucked from obscurity, Hollywood’s newest starlet, Paige Townsen, has a hit film to her name and Rainer Devon on her arm. But being half of the world’s most famous couple comes with a price, and soon Paige finds herself dodging photographers; hiding her feelings for her other costar, Jordan Wilder; and navigating tabloid scandals that threaten to tear her and Rainer apart-and end her career as quickly as it began.

Rebecca Serle’s sequel to Famous in Love is filled with the kind of celebrity drama and swoon-worthy romance fit for the silver screen.”

Famous in Love was one of my favorite books from last year and I knew that if I only got one book from BEA this year, it was going to be this one (and that it would be my first read of the books I got at BEA).  There are rumors that the planned trilogy will only be a duology now and, if that’s true, I am content with the ending we got.  (Although I hope to see Paige, Rainer, Jordan and Alexis again—and please, Rebecca Serle, give Alexis a spinoff novel!)

In this novel, Paige is a lot more comfortable with her Hollywood life and fame than she was in Famous in Love, and she is happy with her choice to stay with Rainer.  But of course that would make for a boring book so the drama comes back for her pretty quickly. :)

These books are just absolutely fun reads.  I can’t wait to see what Rebecca Serle does next, even if it has nothing to do with Paige.

Highly recommended.


Until Beth

Finished Until Beth by Lisa Amowitz.  I received a copy from the publisher for review. (Note: This is the publishing company I work for but this is not one of my books.)

Summary (from Goodreads):

Talented rock guitarist Beth Collins has been barely holding herself together for months, ever since her boyfriend and bandmate became the latest victim in a string of suspicious disappearances. When her brother is injured an accident and she sees something dark billowing around him as he hovers close to death, she’s convinced her sanity is collapsing for good.

Then she’s accepted by a boarding school for the musically gifted. All of her new friends are bursting with talent, but they’re also keeping secrets. Can she trust Vincent, who’s so sweet that his very touch makes her fears melt away? Or Xavier, who’s trying to tell her something but is hiding even more?

And will anyone be safe when her true Talent comes out?”

The first thing you should know is that this is the start of a series. The second thing? Once you are finished with Until Beth, you will be absolutely desperate to read the next book.

Beth is a kickass heroine.  There’s some tragedy in her life and epic levels of weirdness but she refuses to give up.  She is seriously awesome, too.  She’s a kickass friend and always does what she feels she needs to do to keep her friends safe—sometimes even at her own expense.

I spent a lot of the book not knowing what was going on, and also not knowing who to trust.  If you read this—and you should—be aware that nothing’s going to make sense at first.  Even so, this is an insane ride and you’ll never want to get off.

Highly recommended.

Max the Brave

Finished Max the Brave by Ed Vere.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.  Click here to enter a giveaway (good luck)!

Summary (from Goodreads):

Max the Brave is a brilliant new picture book from Ed Vere. This is Max. Max the Brave, Max the Fearless, Max the Mouse-catcher…But, in order to be a Mouse-catcher, Max needs to know what a mouse is, so off he goes to find out. This hilarious new picture book from the phenomenally-talented Ed Vere introduces a new and lovable character, with Ed’s trademark bold illustrations and clever story. Other Ed Vere titles to look out for: Banana; Bedtime for Monsters; Mr. Big; The Getaway Ed Vere studied fine art at Camberwell College of Art and has been writing and illustrating children’s books since 1999. He is published in both England and the US. Ed is also a painter, working from his studio in east London and is represented by galleries in London and Los Angeles. After a year and a half living in Barcelona, Ed now lives and works in London.

After finishing, my book and cape (thank you Sourcebooks!) went to stay with a young friend of mine, and as you can see, he’s a fan, too. :)

Max the Brave 2 Max the Brave

I don’t read picture books very often, but Max the Brave makes me want to change that.

This book is absolutely adorable and my goddaughter (Rory the Brave) is going to love it when she gets it for Christmas.

Max is the best mouse-catcher ever—or would be, if he knew what a mouse was.  He tries to learn more about what mice are and how they look, but not everyone is as forthcoming as he would like.

This book is a complete delight from the text to the pictures to the perfection that is Max (the brave).

Highly recommended.

After You

Finished After You by Jojo Moyes.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

How do you move on after losing the person you loved? How do you build a life worth living?

Louisa Clark is no longer just an ordinary girl living an ordinary life. After the transformative six months spent with Will Traynor, she is struggling without him. When an extraordinary accident forces Lou to return home to her family, she can’t help but feel she’s right back where she started.

Her body heals, but Lou herself knows that she needs to be kick-started back to life. Which is how she ends up in a church basement with the members of the Moving On support group, who share insights, laughter, frustrations, and terrible cookies. They will also lead her to the strong, capable Sam Fielding—the paramedic, whose business is life and death, and the one man who might be able to understand her. Then a figure from Will’s past appears and hijacks all her plans, propelling her into a very different future. . . .

For Lou Clark, life after Will Traynor means learning to fall in love again, with all the risks that brings. But here Jojo Moyes gives us two families, as real as our own, whose joys and sorrows will touch you deeply, and where both changes and surprises await.

After You is quintessential Jojo Moyes—a novel that will make you laugh, cry, and rejoice at being back in the world she creates. Here she does what few novelists can do—revisits beloved characters and takes them to places neither they nor we ever expected.”

I was very nervous about reading this because I loved Me After You so much, and I was not expecting there to be a sequel.  And I was excited for the same reason.

In a letter that came with my review copy, Jojo Moyes asked that readers/reviewers keep details to themselves, so this is going to be a pretty flimsy review.  But all you need to know is that I loved Me After You and I loved After You.

This is not Me After You.  But I loved the chance to spend more time with Lou and with her family.  I’m grateful that I got to spend more time with these people and that I got to see how Lou was doing.

Highly recommended.

All-American Boys

Finished All-American Boys by Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

In an unforgettable new novel from award-winning authors Jason Reynolds and Brendan Kiely, two teens—one black, one white—grapple with the repercussions of a single violent act that leaves their school, their community, and, ultimately, the country bitterly divided by racial tension.

A bag of chips. That’s all sixteen-year-old Rashad is looking for at the corner bodega. What he finds instead is a fist-happy cop, Paul Galuzzi, who mistakes Rashad for a shoplifter, mistakes Rashad’s pleadings that he’s stolen nothing for belligerence, mistakes Rashad’s resistance to leave the bodega as resisting arrest, mistakes Rashad’s every flinch at every punch the cop throws as further resistance and refusal to STAY STILL as ordered. But how can you stay still when someone is pounding your face into the concrete pavement?

But there were witnesses: Quinn Collins—a varsity basketball player and Rashad’s classmate who has been raised by Paul since his own father died in Afghanistan—and a video camera. Soon the beating is all over the news and Paul is getting threatened with accusations of prejudice and racial brutality. Quinn refuses to believe that the man who has basically been his savior could possibly be guilty. But then Rashad is absent. And absent again. And again. And the basketball team—half of whom are Rashad’s best friends—start to take sides. As does the school. And the town. Simmering tensions threaten to explode as Rashad and Quinn are forced to face decisions and consequences they had never considered before.

Written in tandem by two award-winning authors, this tour de force shares the alternating perspectives of Rashad and Quinn as the complications from that single violent moment, the type taken from the headlines, unfold and reverberate to highlight an unwelcome truth.”

I’m a huge fan of Jason Reynolds and now I want to read Brendan Kiely’s first book, too.  This book is incredibly timely and hard to read.

The story is told in alternating chapters by Rashad (victim of police brutality) and Quinn (who saw the incident—which, if we’re being honest, should really be called assault—but who is incredibly close to the officer who assault Rashad and who is conflicted about what to think and whom to believe, even though he actually DID see pretty much everything).

It’s not surprising exactly but everything here is so complicated.  It’s obvious that Paul is carrying around a lot of anger, but does that really discount all the good he does?*  There are no easy answers**, and everyone takes sides.

This book is really great and if you want to see a case like this from both sides, this is for you.

Highly recommended.

* = I would actually argue yes, that putting someone in the hospital with internal bleeding and broken ribs and a broken nose DOES discount all the good he does.

**= Well, okay, not true.  Easy answer: Paul is wrong.  Easy AND true.

The Scorpion Rules

Finished The Scorpion Rules by Erin Bow.  I received a copy for review from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

A world battered by climate shift and war turns to an ancient method of keeping peace: the exchange of hostages. The Children of Peace – sons and daughters of kings and presidents and generals – are raised together in small, isolated schools called Preceptures. There, they learn history and political theory, and are taught to gracefully accept what may well be their fate: to die if their countries declare war.

Greta Gustafsen Stuart, Duchess of Halifax and Crown Princess of the Pan-Polar Confederation, is the pride of the North American Precepture. Learned and disciplined, Greta is proud of her role in keeping the global peace, even though, with her country controlling two-thirds of the world’s most war-worthy resource — water — she has little chance of reaching adulthood alive.

Enter Elián Palnik, the Precepture’s newest hostage and biggest problem. Greta’s world begins to tilt the moment she sees Elián dragged into the school in chains. The Precepture’s insidious surveillance, its small punishments and rewards, can make no dent in Elián, who is not interested in dignity and tradition, and doesn’t even accept the right of the UN to keep hostages.

What will happen to Elián and Greta as their two nations inch closer to war?”

I absolutely love the concept behind this book—it seemed so plausible, the idea that the way to force the world to get along would be to force each country to surrender the king’s/president’s/high political leader’s child basically hold that kid hostage to ensure there would be no wars?  (Note: this is not to say that I think it’s a GOOD idea; it’s actually a horrible idea.)

It seems like it should be really simple, right? But not so fast.  Because obviously at some point, you’d have to do what’s best for your country, even if it means that you’d lose your kid.  AND, of course, there’s way more to it that that.

I’m guessing this is going to be the first book in a series, right? I would definitely read the second one.

The Invisibles

Finished The Invisibles by Cecilia Galante.  I received a copy for review from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

In the vein of Meg Donohue and Jennifer Close, comes Cecilia Galante’s adult debut about the complicated and powerful bonds of female friendship–a compelling, moving novel that is told in both the present and the past.

Thrown together by chance as teenagers at Turning Winds Home for Girls, Nora, Ozzie, Monica, and Grace quickly bond over their troubled pasts and form their own family which they dub The Invisibles. But when tragedy strikes after graduation, Nora is left to deal with the horrifying aftermath alone as the other three girls leave home and don’t look back.

Fourteen years later, Nora is living a quiet, single life working in the local library. She is content to focus on her collection of “first lines” (her favorite opening lines from novels) and her dog, Alice Walker, when out-of-the-blue Ozzie calls her on her thirty-second birthday. But after all these years, Ozzie hasn’t called her to wish a happy birthday. Instead, she tells Nora that Grace attempted suicide and is pleading for The Invisibles to convene again. Nora is torn: she is thrilled at the thought of being in touch with her friends, and yet she is hesitant at seeing these women after such a long and silent period of time. Bolstered by her friends at the library, Nora joins The Invisibles in Chicago for a reunion that sets off an extraordinary chain of events that will change each of their lives forever.

The Invisibles is an unforgettable novel that asks the questions: How much of our pasts define our present selves? And what does it take to let go of some of our most painful wounds and move on?”

This is an interesting concept and, as you know, I am a huge fan of books that feature friendship at their center.

I loved the friends and the idea that your friends from high school can still reunite after years and be there for you, even if you went for years without hearing from them.

However, there’s one big aspect of the book that I had a problem with…except I can’t really discuss it because of spoilers.  (Suffice it to say that a character had an abortion and it was apparently a hugely traumatic thing, something that negatively affected that character for the rest of their life.  And I know women who have had abortions and their lives are fine.  It was a necessary thing, and they don’t have any trauma because of it.)

That felt like a bit of a cheap stunt to me, and it really affected my enjoyment of the book.

Infinite In-Between

Finished Infinite In-Between by Carolyn Mackler.  I received a copy for review from the publisher.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Printz Honor author Carolyn Mackler returns with this striking new novel that chronicles the lives of five teenagers through the thrills, heartbreaks, and joys of their four years in high school.

Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….

Zoe feels like she will live forever in her famous mother’s shadow. Jake struggles to find the right connections in friendship and in love. Mia keeps trying on new identities, looking for one that actually fits. Gregor thought he wanted to be more than just a band geek. And Whitney seems to have it all, until it’s all falling apart around her.

Echoing aspects of John Hughes’s The Breakfast Club, Carolyn Mackler skillfully brings the stories of these five disparate teens together to create a distinct and cohesive whole—a novel about how we can all affect one another’s lives in the most unexpected and amazing ways.”

This is a fast, fun read.  Even though it’s over 450 pages, I was able to read it in an afternoon (short chapters; characters I liked) and I wish it had been longer.  (Sequel with them in college, maybe?)

I think the comparison to The Breakfast Club is pretty apt; these characters really have nothing in common (although, like in The Breakfast Club, some are more popular than others but you still wouldn’t expect to see them spending time together).

I think it’s so easy to relate to everyone’s struggle to define who they want to be, and to try and figure out how to get there from where they currently are.


Waiting on Wednesday: Until Beth


Title: Until Beth

Author: Lisa Amowitz

Release Date: September 29, 2015

Publisher: Spencer Hill Press

Synopsis: She doesn’t just play, she kills it.

Talented rock guitarist Beth Collins has been barely holding herself together for months, ever since her boyfriend and bandmate became the latest victim in a string of suspicious disappearances. When her brother is injured an accident and she sees something dark billowing around him as he hovers close to death, she’s convinced her sanity is collapsing for good.

Then she’s accepted by a boarding school for the musically gifted. All of her new friends are bursting with talent, but they’re also keeping secrets. Can she trust Vincent, who’s so sweet that his very touch makes her fears melt away? Or Xavier, who’s trying to tell her something but is hiding even more?

And will anyone be safe when her true Talent comes out?

Goodreads link:



Book Depository:

Lisa Amowitz


Author Bio and social media links:



Author Bio:


Lisa Amowitz was born in Queens and raised in the wilds of Long Island, New York where she climbed trees, thought small creatures lived under rocks and studied ant hills. And drew. A lot.


Lisa has been a professor of graphic design at  Bronx Community College where she has been tormenting and cajoling students for nearly eighteen years. She started writing eight years ago because she wanted something to illustrate, but somehow, instead ended up writing YA. Probably because her mind is too dark and twisted for small children.


BREAKING GLASS which was released July 9, 2013 from Spencer Hill Press, is her first published work. VISION, the first book in the Finder Series, released September 9, 2014 and its unnamed sequel will release winter, 2016. UNTIL BETH, a YA urban fantasy, will release September 2015.

Author Social Media Links:








Facebook Author Page:








Dream Things True

Finished Dream Things True by Marie Marquardt.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

A modern-day Romeo and Juliet story in which a wealthy Southern boy falls in love with an undocumented Mexican girl and together they face perils in their hostile Georgia town.

Evan, a soccer star and the nephew of a conservative Southern Senator, has never wanted for much — except a functional family. Alma has lived in Georgia since she was two-years-old, excels in school, and has a large, warm Mexican family. Never mind their differences, the two fall in love, and they fall hard. But when ICE (Immigration and Customs Enforcement) begins raids on their town, Alma knows that she needs to tell Evan her secret. There’s too much at stake. But how to tell her country-club boyfriend that she’s an undocumented immigrant? That her whole family and most of her friends live in the country without permission. What follows is a beautiful, nuanced, well-paced exploration of the complications of immigration, young love, defying one’s family, and facing a tangled bureaucracy that threatens to completely upend two young lives.”

I had really high hopes for this book.  I don’t know very much about illegal immigration (or, as they prefer to be called, undocumented) and I had hoped that, at the very least, this book would be able to fill in some gaps there.

I also really loved the idea that Alma would fall for someone from a powerful family that is on the opposite side of that issue.  I know Romeo & Juliet is a cliche, but it works.  (At least for me.)

This book didn’t meet those expectations, but it was incredibly interesting anyway.  I wish their relationship had felt a little less insta-love, but I also remember being a teenager and having these huge, powerful emotions pop up almost instantly.  Like, “We made eye contact; WE ARE GOING TO GET MARRIED.”  (Okay, not THAT bad, but still.)

I think possibly my favorite part of this book is that both characters were a little bit obnoxious.  I feel like in most YA, the characters are fairly perfect.  They may make bad decisions or be a little bit snarky, but by and large, these are great kids who do good things.  Alma is definitely more perfect than Evan is, but they both are obnoxious people.

I think maybe if this book hadn’t been a love story, I would’ve loved it way more.  (Does everything have to have a romance?)