Top Ten…New-To-Me Authors I Read In 2014

You guys…only SIXTEEN days until Christmas and only ONE WEEK until Hanukkah! After that it’s like a minute until New Year’s Eve. Where has the time gone? I’m hoping that you’re all enjoying your holiday season and that where ever you may be, that you’re staying safe, happy and warm! My husband and I are currently preparing for a big storm to hit our area which always seems to happen this time of year! When the weather gets like this, all I want to do is get my wood stove roaring and curl up with a good book by an amazing author, like the ones in my top ten list today.

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

As some of you may know, I’m new to Young Adult books as of this year, so pretty much every author is a new author to me. I’ve read so many fantastic books in 2014 by so many fantastic authors, so it was pretty difficult for me to narrow it down to just ten! I buckled down though and managed to come up with a list of ten ridiculously talented women who are also suppppper kind to their readers! Needless to say, they’re all the perfect package…beauty, brains and sass for days!

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Sarah J. MaasAC GaughenEmery LordHeather DemetriosLeigh Bardugo
Cora CarmackHuntley Fitzpatrick / Stephanie PerkinsLaini TaylorRae Carson

Pretty epic list of female authors right? This is just a small list of authors I fell in love with this year. If given free rein I could have easily come up with ten more! Did I list one of your faves?

Exquisite Captive Giveaway: Granting Wishes All Month Long

Welcome to Day 8 of the Exquisite Captive Blogger Caravan Giveaway Relay! I’m so excited to host today’s giveaway of one hardcover copy of Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios, as well as a signed book-plate!

BloggerExclusive3_A

First things first! I’d like to announce yesterday’s winner! Congratulations to…

MARIA CRUZ!!!

Rachel will be contacting you to get your mailing information.

Didn’t win? Have no fear friends! The giveaway relay continues today here at What Sarah Read and you’re getting another chance to win! Here’s a video from Misty over at The Book Rat to get you all caught up on the relay and how to participate!


Here’s a quick snapshot of important details…
  • Giveaway is open to US participants only.
  • Each giveaway begins at 9am EST.
  • It ends at midnight EST that day
  • The winner will be announced on the next blog at 9am EST.
  • If you didn’t win, you can enter the next blog’s giveaway. If you did win, feel free to follow the rest of the relay to congratulate future winners!
FINALLY…if you haven’t already be sure to check out my review of Exquisite Captive!

entry

GOOD LUCK! Today’s winner will be announced tomorrow at 9:00am on
The Artsy Reader Girl!

Exquisite Captive Blogger Caravan Relay Giveaway!

You guys…I’m so excited to be a part of the Exquisite Captive Blogger Caravan and this giveaway relay (starting TODAY) is pretty epic! For the next month a hardcover edition of Exquisite Captive with a signed bookplate will be given away EVERY WEEK DAY (US only)! Daily giveaways run from Nov. 3-Dec. 4th and each blog will host a giveaway of the book for one day only. The winner will be announced the next day on a new blog – they’re basically passing the book baton.

Here’s a quick snapshot of important details…

  • Each giveaway begins at 9am EST.
  • It ends at midnight EST that day (or whenever each blogger specifies).
  • The winner will be announced on the next blog at 9am EST.
  • If you didn’t win, you can enter the next blog’s giveaway. If you did win, feel free to follow the rest of the relay to congratulate future winners!

If you’re looking for more information check out this video from the lovely Misty from The Book Rat!

Make sure you memorize the blogger schedule below & visit each day for your chance to win!

Relay Schedule

November 3rd: Adventures of a Book Junkie
November 4th: Alexa Loves Books
November 5th: Lili’s Reflections
November 6th: ForeverBookish
November 7th: Supernatural Snark
November 10th: RealityLapse
November 11th: Hello, Chelly
November 12th: What Sarah Read (HEY! That’s ME!!)
November 13th: That Artsy Reader Girl
November 14th: A Glass Of Wine
November 17th: The NerdHerd Reads
November 18th: The Book Rat
November 19th: Book Chic
November 20th: Great Imaginations
November 21st: Falling For YA
November 24th: The Quirky Reader
November 25th: Book Whales
November 26th: The Best Books Ever
November 27th: The Unofficial Addiction Book Fan Club
November 28th: A Reading Nurse
December 1st: Michelle and Leslie’s Book Picks
December 2nd: Bewitched Bookworm
December 3rd: Bookish Broads
December 4th: Eater of Books

Good luck…and be sure to check out my review of Exquisite Captive

Review: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Publication Date: 10/7/14 by Balzer+Bray
Pages: 467 | Format: Paperback ARC
Purchase this book

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself. 

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

***

Many thanks to Nicole at The Book Bandit Blog for gifting me her ARC of Exquisite Captive. Her fabulous generosity in no way affected my review.

What a complex and intriguing story Heather Demetrios has given us in Exquisite Captive! At times the subject matter was difficult and I found myself wondering why the main character was making some of the choices she made, but in the end I was left with a better understanding of each characters unique, and sometimes dark, complexities. The beauty of this book was that Demetrios was able to weave an imaginative and magical story while shining a light on a very real issue in society today.

Demetrios challenges us through her writing to look beyond the surface and try to understand the motives behind Nalia, the main character’s, actions. So often in real life, we are quick to judge and condemn people (women specifically) for “allowing” bad things to happen to them. Far too often we don’t take the time to look beyond the initial judgement to try to understand what’s going on and what we can do to help.

In Exquisite Captive, Nalia has been a prisoner her whole life. She grew up as part of the highest of jinni castes that rules over the land of Arjinna with a heavy hand. As a young girl, Nalia is forced by her mother to do things she doesn’t want to do, the memory of which continues to haunt her every day. As a teenager, she is the sole survivor a horrific uprising that kills every member of her caste and is eventually forced into a brutal slave trade known as The Dark Caravan. From there she is transported from her world of Arjinna to Earth as you and I know it, and is sold to a cunning and ruthless business man. Malek is bent on making Nalia fulfill his every wish and command through total control, both physically and emotionally. He is not kind to her, punishes her for even the smallest of infractions and controls every facet of her life. This just deepens Nalia’s feelings of failure and worthlessness. Throughout much of the story there is a theme of Nalia needing something or someone to hold on to, that is until finally she realizes that she has the strength she needs to fight for what is right.

After three years under Malek’s rule, Nalia is completely broken emotionally, but when he begins to reveal another side to his madness, it causes Nalia to question her feelings towards him. It’s a strange and complicated relationship, and at first I wasn’t sure how I could ever understand it. Demetrios does an outstanding job of letting Nalia’s character open up to me as a reader and that helped me to understand how her desperate need for acceptance and love is what initally drove her to act in the way she did.  She had been starved of any feeling of worth her whole life, so when it is presented to her she clings to it, no matter what the source. I won’t deny that some people may not appreciate the relationship Demetrios created between Nalia and Malek, but personally, I thought it demonstrated the honest and painful truth that is sometimes present in real-life abusive, co-dependent relationships.

source: renataowen.tumblr.com

source: renataowen.tumblr.com

Thankfully, Nalia is forced to confront these very painful truths in her life due a to a long-hidden secret finally being discovered. Not only is her own life in danger, but the life of someone she holds so dear, as well as the entire jinni race. It was such a fantastic experience to watch Nalia take an emotional journey of finding out who she truly is as person, outside of what has happened to her; her desire to be needed turns into a desire to be free. In this journey, she meets Raif, a leader of the jinni revolution, and a man of deeply rooted passions and full of mystery. In the beginning, their relationship is based out of necessity as they both need the other to succeed in their individual battles, but along they way a deeper connection is forged. They realize they need to work together to succeed and the dynamic between Nalia and Raif quickly became one of my favorite aspects of the story. I adored what he, and his sister, brought into Nalia’s life. It was wonderful change for Nalia to finally see what true admiration and dedication from another person was like.

To me, the true star of this novel is the legend and folklore Demetrios created for her jinni race. All fives castes are supremely unique and captivating, each having its own defining features and beliefs. I’ve always been fascinated with Arabian mythology and supernatural beings, and was immediately drawn into the story and it’s mysticism. I adore how Demetrios used the four natural elements; earth, air, water and fire, to create four distinct jinni societies, at once so separate from each other but also strongly connected to the other.  To watch Nalia uncover the true extent of her powers was also intensely magical in and of itself. Demetrios does a stellar job of describing the magic the jinni posses, and she demonstrates it so beautifully in some key scenes throughout the novel. I was so drawn into the jinni world and culture and I can only hope that we get to explore it even further in the books to come.

Exquisite Captive is a story that grabbed me from the very first page and pulled me along on a wild and transformative journey. There were times where my heart broke for Nalia, times when I wanted to scream at her for decisions she was making, times when I truly understood the price she was paying, and times when I passionately rooted for her as she fought to reclaim her life.  This is a story of passion, of pain and ultimately of the power that can be found in freedom.

rating 5

I hope this review has you excited to read Exquisite Captive and if you’re looking for more goodies to get you in the jinni mood be sure to visit Heather Demetrios’ Exquisite Captive Pinterest board and Dark Caravan Cycle tumblr. You should also listen to this amazing playlist she created for the folks over at Epic Reads!

Learn more about the playlist here

Top Ten…Character-Driven YA Contemporaries

Not gonna lie, I had to Google the term “character-driven novels” before I started in on this post! I mean, I had an idea of what character-driven means, but I just wanted to make sure I was on-track with my choices. I found that character-driven novels tend to focus on the internal development of a character or characters such as changing of attitudes or some sort of personal discovery. Turns out my choices this week are PERFECT and that I should never have doubted myself. See…that experience right there would make a perfect character-driven novel…orrrrr short story…maybe? Maybe not?

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

Source: The Broke and The Bookish

The books and authors listed below basically read as a master class of YA contemporary novels. They are why I fell in love with YA and, wouldn’t ya know, they all fall into the category of character-driven novels! Pretty great how that worked out huh?

cover source: goodreads

cover source: goodreads

Eleanor & Park and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
Amy & Roger’s Epic Detour and Since You’ve Been Gone by Morgan Matson
My Life Next Door and What I Thought Was True by Huntley Fitzpatrick

The two authors I’ve featured below released their debut novels in 2014 and, thankfully for us, they have novels releasing in 2o15! I’ve been fortunate enough to read both of their 2015 releases (THANK YOU ANDI!!) and I can say with 100% confidence that they are even better than the debut novels that came before them. I honestly didn’t think that was possible!

cover source: goodreads

cover source: goodreads

Something Real and I’ll Meet You There (releases February 2015) by Heather Demetrios
cover source: goodreads

cover source: goodreads

Open Road Summer and The Start of Me and You (releases March 2105) by Emery Lord

Have you read any of the books listed above? Would you agree that they are character-driven novels? Let me know what you think in the comments section below!

Waiting on…I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios

Hello, my name is Sarah and I’m a Heather Demetrios fangirl! Admittedly, I’ve only read Heather’s debut novel Something Real, but it was so wonderful that I knew I had found something special in her writing. Heather has an innate ability to get to write truly authentic characters who you whole-heartedly care about. She gets right down to the core of emotions and pulls you through them to the other side. Heather’s writing just takes it to another level for me. PLUS…I’ve had the absolute pleasure of emailing with Heather just a little bit and she is quite possibly one of the nicest people ever. She’s so gracious, and kind and I truly appreciate all the love and support she has sent my way.

Red, vintage, neon motel sign on blue sky; Shutterstock ID 95002717

Which is precisely why I am eagerly anticipating the release of I’ll Meet You There this February. After reading just the summary for this book, I was reduced to a puddle of emotions and know in my heart that this will be a novel that I’m going to fall so hard for. Story-telling that delves into a character’s life at the precipice of something big absolutely slay me, and the story of Skyler and Josh seems to be just that. I’m ready to learn all about Skyler and Josh; who they are, what they feel…how they love perhaps?! Hopefully! I’m already invested in these two, all I want is to see them figure it all out. I want a story about real people, with real problems who make real choices that have real consequences. Are you sensing a theme here?

Before I go, I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that absolute perfection that is the cover of I’ll Meet You There! The design is so beautiful, with all that gorgeous color mixed in with the gritty and weathered roadside sign. You also get a real sense of the tone and feeling of this book just by looking at the cover. FYI…I made the cover photo below extra large so we could all bask in its glory. So beautiful!

The only thing that bothers me about this book is that we have to wait until February 2015 for it to come out! That’s over five whole months away! There is a light at the end of the tunnel though, we have Heather’s first installment of her new fantasy-adventure trilogy, Exquisite Captive, out in October. So, I guess that will just have to do won’t it! Thank goodness for that!

***

source: goodreads

source: goodreads

I’ll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios
Expected publication: February 3rd 2015 by Henry Holt Books For Young Readers
Pages: 400 | Pre-order this book

If seventeen-year-old Skyler Evans were a typical Creek View girl, her future would involve a double-wide trailer, a baby on her hip, and the graveyard shift at Taco Bell. But after graduation, the only thing standing between straightedge Skylar and art school are three minimum-wage-months of summer. Skylar can taste the freedom—that is, until her mother loses her job and everything starts coming apart. Torn between her dreams and the people she loves, Skylar realizes everything she’s ever worked for is on the line.

Nineteen-year-old Josh Mitchell had a different ticket out of Creek View: the Marines. But after his leg is blown off in Afghanistan, he returns home, a shell of the cocksure boy he used to be. What brings them together is working at the Paradise—a quirky motel off California’s dusty Highway 99. Despite their differences, their shared isolation turns into an unexpected friendship and soon, something deeper.

Gritty, romantic, and ultimately hopeful, I’ll MEET YOU THERE explores the complicated lives of an unforgettable cast of characters. This is the story of teens outside the picket fence. It doesn’t soften the edges of adolescence or the individual consequences of war; it’s life on the fringes—maddening, weirdly endearing…and completely screwed up.

Book Trailer Reveal: Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios

Happy Thursday friends…I’m pretty excited as this post marks my first in the Exquisite Captive Blogger Caravan. Today, I (along with some other fabulous bloggers) have the honor and pleasure of helping to exclusively debut the novel’s unbelievable book trailer!

BloggerExclusive3_A

Today marks the two month countdown until Exquisite Captive is released (October 7th to be exact) and y’all should be really excited! It’s already received a coveted Kirkus Starred Review and is getting some major buzz out in the blogosphere. Here’s a quick little summary of Exquisite Captive, the first book of an epic trilogy, to get you all caught up!

Source: Goodreads

Source: Goodreads

Exquisite Captive by Heather Demetrios
Expected publication: October 7th 2014 by Balzer+Bray
Pages: 480
Pre-order this book

Forced to obey her master.
Compelled to help her enemy.
Determined to free herself.

Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle.

Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?

Inspired by Arabian Nights, EXQUISITE CAPTIVE brings to life a deliciously seductive world where a wish can be a curse and shadows are sometimes safer than the light.

OK, now that you’re an expert in all things Exquisite Captive, without further ado, I give you its exquisite book trailer…see what I did there!

 

Ummm….flailing! Words escape me! Cannot form coherent thoughts! Was that not gorgeous and intriguing and everything you would ever want out of a book! Seriously I know we only have to wait like two more months but I am so anxious to get my hands on this book! It’s going to be amazing!

Well…what do you think? Isn’t the trailer stunning? Are you super pumped for this book? Leave your thoughts below and we can fangirl together!