12 Days of Giveaways – Day 10 For the Young Adult Reader

In the grand scheme of literary history, the young adult genre is relatively new. When I was a young reader, there was no genre aimed at young adults. Adolescents moved to “adult” literary genres relatively quickly. Now, there is a rich and diverse world of books for not only young adults, but anyone who wants to see what this great genre has to offer. I’ve fallen in love with tons of young adult books, as you may have surmised if you’ve read my review of FangirlSee below to check out how you can win one of the two awesome packages we have up for grabs this time.

Young Adult Package 1:

troujlhThe Rest of Us Just Live Here by Patrick Ness – What if you aren’t the Chosen One?

The one who’s supposed to fight the zombies, or the soul-eating ghosts, or whatever the heck this new thing is, with the blue lights and the death?

What if you’re like Mikey? Who just wants to graduate and go to prom and maybe finally work up the courage to ask Henna out before someone goes and blows up the high school. Again.

Because sometimes there are problems bigger than this week’s end of the world, and sometimes you just have to find the extraordinary in your ordinary life.

Even if your best friend is worshipped by mountain lions.

Award-winning writer Patrick Ness’s bold and irreverent novel powerfully reminds us that there are many different types of remarkable.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

cpgChangeling by Philippa Gregory – Italy, 1453. Seventeen-year-old Luca Vero is brilliant, gorgeous—and accused of heresy. Cast out of his religious order for using the new science to question old superstitious beliefs, Luca is recruited into a secret sect: The Order of the Dragon, commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate evil and danger in its many forms, and strange occurrences across Europe, in this year—the end of days.

Isolde is a seventeen-year-old girl shut up in a nunnery so she can’t inherit any of her father’s estate. As the nuns walk in their sleep and see strange visions, Isolde is accused of witchcraft—and Luca is sent to investigate her, but finds himself plotting her escape.

Despite their vows, despite themselves, love grows between Luca and Isolde as they travel across Europe with their faithful companions, Freize and Ishraq. The four young people encounter werewolves, alchemists, witches, and death-dancers as they head toward a real-life historical figure who holds the boundaries of Christendom and the secrets of the Order of the Dragon.

(Giveaway is a hardcover)

Young Adult Package 2:

vdmVelveteen by Daniel Marks – Velveteen Monroe is dead. At 16, she was kidnapped and murdered by a madman named Bonesaw. But that’s not the problem.

The problem is she landed in purgatory. And while it’s not a fiery inferno, it’s certainly no heaven. It’s gray, ashen, and crumbling more and more by the day, and everyone has a job to do. Which doesn’t leave Velveteen much time to do anything about what’s really on her mind.

Bonesaw.

Velveteen aches to deliver the bloody punishment her killer deserves. And she’s figured out just how to do it. She’ll haunt him for the rest of his days.

It’ll be brutal… and awesome.

But crossing the divide between the living and the dead has devastating consequences. Velveteen’s obsessive haunting cracks the foundations of purgatory and jeopardizes her very soul. A risk she’s willing to take—except fate has just given her reason to stick around: an unreasonably hot and completely off-limits coworker.

Velveteen can’t help herself when it comes to breaking rules… or getting revenge. And she just might be angry enough to take everyone down with her.

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

mtshmMary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan – There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her.

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them–Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna–must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go.

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: “Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY.” A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror.

Once is not enough, though–at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary’s wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary–and Jess–before it’s too late?

(Giveaway is a paperback ARC)

Giveaway Instructions – (Special thanks to Hyperion, Delacorte, and Harper Collins for our giveaway copies!)

Two lucky winners will have the opportunity to win ONE of the two packages listed above! For your chance to win simply leave a comment below about a Young Adult author you enjoy and would recommend to others.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Thursday, December 31, 2015.  The winner will be picked at random and announced on Friday, January 1, 2016.  Open to US residents only. Good luck!

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#90 A Review of Changeling (Order of the Darkness #1) by Philippa Gregory

Philippa Gregory is and has been my favorite historical fiction author for years now.  She single-handedly got me OBSESSED with learning about the British Tudor period.  Each and every time she comes out with a new book I run around my apartment, shouting the news, then enter a period of nail-biting anticipation until its actual release.  When I heard that Gregory was beginning work on a young adult series, I was pumped that an entire new audience would get to experience her writing.

The first installment in Gregory’s new Order of the Darkness series, Changeling takes place smack dab in the middle of the Italian Renaissance: 1453.  We first meet Luca Vero, a 17-year-old genius who, after being kicked out of a religious order due to heresy charges (also known as using science to counter religious beliefs), is inducted into The Order of The Dragon: a secret group commissioned by Pope Nicholas V to investigate odd “dark” occurrences across Europe.  We then meet Isolde, a bright teenage girl who has the misfortune of being sent away to a nunnery following her father’s death in order to prevent her from inheriting his estate.  For some unknown reason, the nuns that inhabit the convent where Isolde resides begin to report having strange visions, and Luca and his order are sent to investigate.  Despite their attempts to the contrary, Luca and Isolde find themselves developing feelings for each other.  Luca vows to make sure that his investigation is very thorough to explore all avenues of possible explanations.  After a successful yet harrowing escape, they find themselves traveling all across Europe, discovering all sorts of mysteries and mystical creatures under investigation by The Order of the Dragon. Will they be able to discover the true meaning of all these strange occurrences?

I have loved almost all of Gregory’s other books, so the bar was set pretty high for Changeling.  The book is really divided into two parts: a mystery in the Abbey and a mystery the group finds on the road during their travels.  The whole first half of the book (Abbey mystery) was interesting and intriguing.  Diving into Isolde and Luca’s back stories was fascinating, as we learn about Isolde’s family and Luca’s constant thirst for knowledge (it’s this thirst that is essentially what drives him out of his monastery.)  The second half of the book is where it got a little crazy for me.  The group winds up near a village where legend has it that a werewolf has been caught.  Luca obviously doesn’t believe that such creatures exist and decides to open an investigation.  The outcome of the investigation was a bit too off the wall for me.

Will I continue reading the Order of Darkness series? Hell yes.  Luca’s sidekick Freize is hysterical, and his attachment to Isolde’s “sister” Ishraq is adorable.  I’m interested to see how things progress between Luca and Isolde as well.  With both of them having sworn sacred oaths to God (being a nun and a monk) it’ll be interesting to see what Gregory does with their relationship.  As always, Gregory’s stellar writing was a delight to read.  Her ability to clearly describe every scene and circumstance is what draws me to her novels time and time again.  I’m so happy she’s chosen to bring her delightful skills as a writer and knowledge as a historian to a whole new generation.

3 out of 5 Stars

This is my thirty-ninth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

Changeling by Philippa Gregory
Simon Pulse (2012)
Hardcover: 272 pages
ISBN: 9781442453449