Squirrels and books!

Today has been a day filled with work from about 6 AM to…um…it is still continuing now.

There were brief interludes to eat dinner and take the dog for a walk. The dog, incidentally, has hit a milestone in his life: today he caught his first squirrel. I am a little perturbed by this development, and he was utterly delighted. (For the curious: It was a ground squirrel. He nosed it up off the ground, shook it, flung it in the air. We called him off at that point, and–good dog!–he actually came. But he was very, very insistent in wanting to go back to where we found the squirrel, convinced that we’d made him leave behind the newest, best toy ever.)

Despite all that, here I am, to distribute copies of Warrior and to tell you about some books I read over the weekend during the few hours when I was not working, and which, incidentally, I have extra copies of. For you.

First, the winners of Warrior are: Llehn and Cris. Congratulations! Send me your snail mail addresses at courtney@courtneymilan.com.

And now, the books.

  • Emma Wildes’ My Lord Scandal. This is a book about a rake and a sheltered virgin. But it is not the book you think–the rake is actually really honorable at heart (even though he is, after all, a rake), and the virgin, while a virgin, is so matter-of-fact and straight-forward and in charge of her life. There is no misunderstanding. There is no kicking and screaming on the part of either of the characters, when they realize that love is descending with nasty, clawed teeth. There is no stupidity. In fact, one of the most delicious things about this book is that it’s a straight-up love story: you really do believe that Alex and Amelia are really, really good together, and that they are going to be deliriously happy together for the rest of their life.

    And yet there is constant tension throughout, with never a dull moment. These are two of the most likable characters I’ve seen–for their forthright honesty, their commitment to each other, and their ability to cope with some really awful situations. I’m not sure I can describe the awesomeness that is this book. It’s sort of like, I’m reading it, and thinking, “Oy, setting up for misunderstanding in three, two, one…Wha? They didn’t! Yes! He didn’t do that! Awesome!”

    Also, this book is incredibly hot. I’m just saying. Loved, loved, loved this book.

  • The DUFF by Kody Keplinger. This book is a YA book. It uses words like “asshole” and “fuck,” though. There is Cherry-Coke induced violence. I didn’t count the number of times that the main character has sex (with the same guy). So this isn’t precisely your grandma’s YA. It’s an edgy, raw book–one where the heroine does some things that feel almost dangerously self-destructive. But as the book progresses, we start seeing that her coping mechanisms aren’t as downright awful as you might think. And yeah, Bianca, the heroine of this book, is more than a little bitter. But we see that she has reasons–real reasons to be.

    Wesley is the romantic love interest, and he is not romanticized one bit–not by the book, the story, or Bianca, who is so straight-forward and clear-thinking, that I want to stand up on cheer. There is no “but he loves me so it is okay!” justifications going on here. There is no “I must prove myself to him by some act of painful self-sacrifice!” vibe, either. It’s just about Bianca, figuring out what she deserves, and realizing that she doesn’t have to be the sweetest little piece of docile cherry pie ever to get it.. There are some parts of this book that are laugh out loud funny. There are some parts that are downright brilliantly heart-stopping. There is one scene where I finally, finally start cheering for Wes. Neither Wes nor Bianca have to be perfect–nor do they have to apologize for their imperfections to each other. At the end of the day, I think these two like (and I do use the word “like” advisedly) each other for their imperfections, not in spite of them.

    I’m not sure how to describe this book to readers of adult romance, but just think about it this way: If Victoria Dahl’s heroines were in high school? Yeah. They would be Bianca. And if that doesn’t sell you on it, I’m not sure what will!

    This is one of the best YA books I have read this year, if not the best. Straight-up no-nonsense awesomeness.

So: there’s my last week’s reading in a nutshell. (Actually, there were more books–but these were the three huge standouts.) These books were such huge standouts that I actually went to the bookstore today for the purpose of getting extra copies to give away. Normally, extra copies just sort of magically appear, because I can’t help myself. These…these I went to get on purpose.

Also, as a note: the author world is very small, and quite often I know the authors whose books I’m giving away. This is not to imply that I’m less than honest in my discussions (alike Sarah Rees Brennan, I just don’t do negative reviews–so I keep my mouth shut, generally.) In this case, I’ve never met either Emma Wildes or Kody Keplinger in my life. We’re not friends. We’re not even acquaintances. And I loved both books enough that honestly, I had to buy extra copies and I had to give them away, because I want everyone to read these books. They are just that good.

So. There you are. If you didn’t win Warrior, you can win another book. And both these books are made of utter awesomeness.

Courtney Milan writes historical romances, which might lead people to think that she could be cool. In reality, she's about four different kinds of geeky. At present, this blog is where Courtney applies semi-dormant geek skills to publishing.

22 thoughts on “Squirrels and books!

  1. Yes, isn’t the DUFF awesome?

    I worry about it–in the same way that my dog worries about his Frisbee, if we accidentally leave it outside.

    Will it get lost in the spate of paranormal-heavy YA books? It is kind of like the anti-Twilight, in the awesomest sense possible. And…the cover. Is not attractive. Which is kind of the point. But will it put people off, so they don’t pick up the book? That would be bad.

    I want that book to sell and sell and sell, because it’s so freaking brilliant. I want to pick up every copy I can find and shove it in the hands of teenagers–behind their mother’s backs, of course–and say, “READ THIS.”

  2. You are really doing a good job of selling The Duff here. I have to add it to my shopping list. Although My Lord Scandal actually sounds more interesting because I love seeing all the tired tropes averted and ignored.

  3. Congrats to the winners! I’m so jealous, but I will get my hands on Warrior one way or the other.
    My Lord Scandal and The DUFF sound like fantastic books, so count me in.

  4. Hey Courtney don’t enter me because I’ve read both of these books and just had to say that I completely agree with you. Both were awesome. I devoured The DUFF in one sitting (it helped that I was sick and didn’t want to move) and you described it perfectly. And I’m a big Emma Wildes fan. I’ve loved everything she writes.

    So thumbs up on your choices for a giveaway! We have good taste, LOL.

  5. There is no smooth way to say, “I want that Emma Wildes book NOW.” That said, Please enter me in the drawing for that Emma Wildes book, which you made sound so good.

  6. WARRIOR just arrived in my mailbox today. I keep staring at the awesome that is its front cover. I’m not going to read the back cover, let alone the first page because I have stuff to do, places to be today and I don’t want my reading pleasure to be interrupted. So I keep staring at the front cover.

    Both of today’s books sound awesome. I already had The DUFF on my radar but I’m going to try to wait for the paperback version. MY LORD SCANDAL I had not yet heard about. Thanks for bringing it to my attention. You have the best giveaways!

  7. Oh wow, I’ve been hearing about THE DUFF around the internet but this is the first time anyone has gone to such lengths to give me a proper description of it.

    Thanks so much for your thoughts!

  8. I’m usually not into YA books but I so want to read The Duff now. And Emma Wildes has been on my radar for awhile but I just haen’t gotten to read it yet.

  9. A good rake and a practical virgin. How can anyone resist? Would love to win this—(but also putting it on my Amazon wish list for later purchase!) Thanks for sharing books/authors! Love reading your little reviews…

  10. I looked up The Duff after you tweeted about it. Did you know Keplinger is a teen?!

    My dogs like to chase this stupid rabbit that keeps coming into our backyard. I mean, to animals our yard must positively reek of “this is my territory keep out,” but it keeps coming back. It deserves to be caught, really, I don’t want to deal with the mess though. It’s gross enough that the dogs think rabbit poop is a great delicacy.

    Since you mentioned work 😀 , I’ve been wanting to ask if you still lawyer at the day job. And (since I’m very wordy today) I totally get why authors don’t do negative reviews and I really like getting recs from authors as long as they’re genuine.

  11. First I have to say: your dog CAUGHT A SQUIRREL????

    You do realize this makes him a deity to every dog in America who’s ever dreamed of catching one? My dog is sitting here now, gazing up in wonderment at the thought. (At least I think it’s wonderment. She may just want breakfast.)

    Anyhow, both books sound fabulous. I’d love to read the Emma Wildes myself, and the Duff sounds AWESOME to put on the free-reading shelf in my high school classroom. It sounds like a much, much more accurate reflection of their intense and messy lives than most YA I’ve seen.

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