Spotlight On: YA Fantasy (Plus Giveaway!)

Growing up, fantasy novels had a big part of my heart, and they always will. Contemporary novels took a long time to grow on me, science fiction sometimes contains too much science for me to handle, and mysteries are still a struggle for me to this day, whereas, ironically, fantasy novels always felt like coming home. Reading fantasy felt right, and, even when I go through periods of time where I do not read as much, there is nothing like a really fantastic fantasy novel or series. Today, I am going to tell you about some of my favorites, and, if you stick around to the end, there’s a giveaway for one of them, thanks to my partner Tor Teen!


Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Love à la Mode by Stephanie Kate StrohmLove à la Mode by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Published by Disney Hyperion on November 27, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 304
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Take two American teen chefs, add one heaping cup of Paris, toss in a pinch of romance, and stir. . . .

Rosie Radeke firmly believes that happiness can be found at the bottom of a mixing bowl. But she never expected that she, a random nobody from East Liberty, Ohio, would be accepted to celebrity chef Denis Laurent's school in Paris, the most prestigious cooking program for teens in the entire world. Life in Paris, however, isn't all cream puffs and crepes. Faced with a challenging curriculum and a nightmare professor, Rosie begins to doubt her dishes.

Henry Yi grew up in his dad's restaurant in Chicago, and his lifelong love affair with food landed him a coveted spot in Chef Laurent's school. He quickly connects with Rosie, but academic pressure from home and his jealousy over Rosie's growing friendship with gorgeous bad-boy baker Bodie Tal makes Henry lash out and push his dream girl away.

Desperate to prove themselves, Rosie and Henry cook like never before while sparks fly between them. But as they reach their breaking points, they wonder whether they have what it takes to become real chefs.

Perfect for lovers of Chopped Teen Tournament and Kids Baking Championship, as well as anyone who dreams of a romantic trip to France, Love la Mode follows Rosie and Henry as they fall in love with food, with Paris, and ultimately, with each other.

Throughout the years, I’ve had ups and downs with Strohm’s books. With each one, I’ve liked the book a bit more, but there’s never been one I could unreservedly love. Until now. Love à la Mode melted my heart and served it up on a plate of happiness. I’ve been wanting a YA MasterChef for ages, and I finally have it!


I’ve Got You Covered (3)

I’ve Got You Covered is a monthly post about beautiful, swoonworthy cover art set to be released in the coming months. This feature replaces my prior Cover Snark feature. Here, I’m only talking favorites, thought there will definitely be the occasional friendly snark or pun here and there. Covers are broken up into age groups, so skip to the ones that interest you if you want. YA is obviously my focus, but I check certain adult/middle grade imprints as well. Obviously, it’s all about my personal tastes. 😛

Tell me your favorites when you’re done, but for now relax and enjoy the beauty.

Middle Grade

1. Aquicorn Cove – Katie O’Neill

Thoughts: As a middle grader, I would have whined to my parents SO HARD for them to buy me this.


The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen White

I received this book for free from Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, & Karen WhiteThe Glass Ocean by Beatriz Williams, Lauren Willig, Karen White
Narrator: Vanessa Johansson, Saskia Maarleveld, Brittany Pressley
Length: 13 Hours, 43 Minutes
Published by Harper Audio on September 4, 2018
Genres: Historical, Romance, Mystery
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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From the New York Times bestselling authors of The Forgotten Room comes a captivating historical mystery, infused with romance, that links the lives of three women across a century-two deep in the past, one in the present-to the doomed passenger liner, RMS Lusitania.

May 2013

Her finances are in dire straits and bestselling author Sarah Blake is struggling to find a big idea for her next book. Desperate, she breaks the one promise she made to her Alzheimer's-stricken mother and opens an old chest that belonged to her great-grandfather, who died when the RMS Lusitania was sunk by a German U-boat in 1915. What she discovers there could change history. Sarah embarks on an ambitious journey to England to enlist the help of John Langford, a recently disgraced Member of Parliament whose family archives might contain the only key to the long-ago catastrophe ...

April 1915

Southern belle Caroline Telfair Hochstetter's marriage is in crisis. Her formerly attentive industrialist husband, Gilbert, has become remote, preoccupied with business ... and something else that she can't quite put a finger on. She's hoping a trip to London in Lusitania's lavish first-class accommodations will help them reconnect-but she can't ignore the spark she feels for her old friend, Robert Langford, who turns out to be on the same voyage. Feeling restless and longing for a different existence, Caroline is determined to stop being a bystander, and take charge of her own life ...

Tessa Fairweather is traveling second-class on the Lusitania, returning home to Devon. Or at least, that's her story. Tessa has never left the United States and her English accent is a hasty fake. She's really Tennessee Schaff, the daughter of a roving con man, and she can steal and forge just about anything. But she's had enough. Her partner has promised that if they can pull off this one last heist aboard the Lusitania, they'll finally leave the game behind. Tess desperately wants to believe that, but Tess has the uneasy feeling there's something about this job that isn't as it seems ...

As the Lusitania steams toward its fate, three women work against time to unravel a plot that will change the course of their own lives ... and history itself.

At this point, I basically read every Beatriz Williams audiobook I can get my hands on. They’re reliably fun, though they often tend to the melodramatic. This marks my first experience with both Willig and White, though I’ve had the former on my to-read list probably since about 2005. The Glass Ocean, a fictionalized accounting of espionage aboard the Lusitania is a thoroughly enjoyable listen.


Book Talk: Making Up – Lucy Parker

I received this book for free from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Book Talk: Making Up – Lucy ParkerMaking Up by Lucy Parker
Series: London Celebrities #3
Published by Carina Press on May 28, 2018
Genres: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 335
Format: eARC
Source: NetGalley
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Author of Act Like It and Pretty Face Lucy Parker returns readers to the West End, where it’s fireworks onstage and off in a sexy enemies-to-lovers showdown.

Once upon a time, circus artist Trix Lane was the best around. Her spark vanished with her confidence, though, and reclaiming either has proved…difficult. So when the star of The Festival of Masks is nixed and Trix is unexpectedly thrust into the spotlight, it’s exactly the push she needs. But the joy over her sudden elevation in status is cut short by a new hire on the makeup team.

Leo Magasiva: disgraced wizard of special effects. He of the beautiful voice and impressive beard. Complete dickhead and—in an unexpected twist—an enragingly good kisser.

To Leo, something about Trix is…different. Lovely. Beautiful, even though the pint-size, pink-haired former bane of his existence still spends most of her waking hours working to annoy him. They’ve barely been able to spend two minutes together for years, and now he can’t get enough of her. On stage. At home. In his bed.

When it comes to commitment, Trix has been there, done that, never wants to do it again. Leo’s this close to the job of a lifetime, which would take him away from London—and from Trix. Their past is a constant barrier between them.

It seems hopeless.

Utterly impossible.

And yet…

Lucy Parker’s debut didn’t totally wow me, but it was great fun. From there, her books have just been getting better. Pretty Face is one of my favorite contemporary romances, even though it’s an age gap romance, which I usually super do not like. Making Up comes in second, but it’s still so very good.