Sunday, April 12, 2015

Review: Grift by Jason Mosberg

Why would a 17-year-old girl pretend to be a high class escort?

Piper is a con artist whose canvas is the city of Las Vegas. She rolls with a crew of young grifters including a card-counting genius, a tourist-hustling pool shark, and a pocket-picking magician. Together, this crew of teenage outlaws live with their mentor Max in the penthouse of a hotel casino. They work hard and play harder. But unlike the others, Piper must balance her hyper-real Vegas fantasy with the reality of raising her 14-year-old half-sister Sophie. Disaster strikes when the Las Vegas mafia kidnaps Sophie and demands a multimillion-dollar ransom. With only five days to piece together the money, the crew races the clock to save her.

My Rating


My Review

If anyone talks to me about books for more than thirty or so seconds, they'll learn that I appreciate the dark stuff in the way that people appreciate warm weather or fine wines. (Alright, maybe it's a little bit creepier than those examples.) I like a novel that isn't afraid to get down and dirty, and the promise of that is what drew me to Grift in the first place. In reality, plenty of teenagers are put in "adult" situations, so why shouldn't that be reflected in YA?

Well, I was not disappointed in Grift, which was a wild ride that got realistically and deliciously gritty. Piper was a great voice, in the fact that she felt like an actual teenager. Not because her way of speaking and thinking was dumbed down, but because it wasn't. She was intelligent and had personality, and enough sense she gathered from all the situations she had been in. A little something like a YA antihero (which, by the way, I'd love to see more of), I thoroughly enjoyed reading from her perspective.

A reason why the characterization of Grift was so good is because the characters all had flaws. They acted like humans instead of some kind of superhuman literary images of perfection (who may even go on and on about how "bad" they are though they do nothing wrong). These characters don't always do the right thing. They can be selfish and greedy and make bad decisions and it's so wonderfully wrong and so wonderfully human.

Despite the fact that this is contemporary, a whole new world is created in the novel. Because it gives a believable account of what it would be like for teenage grifters in Las Vegas. It almost comes out as heightened reality, and will suck readers right into the story. Not to mention high stakes that would have my acting teach salivating. Although the idea of teenagers racking up six-digits in a short amount of time to spend on a poker game seems ridiculous when looking at my college tuition rates, it definitely makes for some heart-pounding action.

Because the suspense is great, the action doesn't stop, and readers will probably be holding their breath for a couple of pages as they wait to see what happens next. I have very few complaints, and would definitely recommend the novel to those who enjoy high-stakes and taking a walk on the darker side. Grift has a very cinematic quality that makes for an enjoyable an relatively quick read. 

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Cover Blast: Until Beth by Lisa Amowitz

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?

Title: Until Beth
Author: Lisa Amowtiz
Publisher: Spencer Hill Press
Expected Publication Date: September 29 2015

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.
So stay tuned because Lisa is very hyper and has to create stuff to stay alive.
Lisa is represented by Shannon Hassan of Marsal Lyon Literary Agency

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cover Reveal: Jin in Time (Part One) by Karin De Havin

Title: Jin In Time (Part One)
Author: Karin De Havin
Release Date: March 14 2015
Publisher: 9 Yards Publishing

Spending senior year with the father who abandoned her is the last thing seventeen-year-old Esme wanted. But when her guardian grandmother dies, she has no choice. The only thing she has left of her once happy life is her grandmother’s antique vase—until she discovers it comes with a bowler-hatted genie. Jin guarantees he’ll do whatever it takes to make her happy again. 

Esme soon realizes hiding a genie isn’t easy, so she gives Jin a modern makeover and stashes him in the school library. One tiny hiccupher dad’s the principal. When word spreads that Esme is spending all her free time with a cute British guy, she’s busted, and her dad uses his all-powerful parental authority to ground her. If that's not enough, she learns her father plans to marry a woman who could win evil-stepmother-of-the-year, and her daughter is the top mean girl at Esme's new high school. 

Esme hopes to turn her luck around now that she has a genie to help her deal with her problems. But she realizes ten wishes aren’t so awesome after all, when she finds out they are powered by Victorian-era magic. And she thought having a genie would be fun. 

About The Author:

Karin De Havin is a historian, turned writer. Karin writes Young Adult fantasies as well as New Adult contemporary stories from her timber frame home in the Pacific Northwest. She lives with a pair of tuxedo cats that like to help her write by jumping on the keyboard, and her pianist husband who occasionally is known to wear a tuxedo and tinker with the keyboard too.

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