Countdown Pick #1: Love Story by Jennifer Echols
SHE’S WRITING ABOUT HIM. HE’S WRITING ABOUT HER. AND EVERYBODY IS READING BETWEEN THE LINES.
For Erin Blackwell, majoring in creative writing at the New York City college of her dreams is more than a chance to fulfill her ambitions—it’s her ticket away from the tragic memories that shadow her family’s racehorse farm in Kentucky. But when she refuses to major in business and take over the farm herself someday, her grandmother gives Erin’s college tuition and promised inheritance to their maddeningly handsome stable boy, Hunter Allen. Now Erin has to win an internship and work late nights at a local coffee shop to make her own dreams a reality. She should despise Hunter . . . so why does he sneak into her thoughts as the hero of her latest writing assignment?
Then, on the day she’s sharing that assignment with her class, Hunter walks in. He’s joining her class. And after he reads about himself in her story, her private fantasies about him must be painfully clear. She only hopes to persuade him not to reveal her secret to everyone else. But Hunter devises his own creative revenge, writing sexy stories that drive the whole class wild with curiosity and fill Erin’s heart with longing. Now she’s not just imagining what might have been. She’s writing a whole new ending for her romance with Hunter . . . except this story could come true.
After being introduced to Echols' writing with Forget You, I was an instant fan. She draws out a reader's emotions and definitely knows how to make you break out the tissues. Her couples always have obstacles to overcome, and they're usually not minor, but I've got to say, this one sounds like a doozy. I'm totally ready to dive into this one and while I'm crossing my fingers for swoon-worthy romance, I've got the tissues near by just in case.
Countdown Pick #2: Ripple by Mandy Hubbard
Lexi is cursed with a dark secret. Each day she goes to school like a normal teenager, and each night she must swim, or the pain will be unbearable. She is a siren - a deadly mermaid destined to lure men to their watery deaths. After a terrible tragedy, Lexi shut herself off from the world, vowing to protect the ones she loves. But she soon finds herself caught between a new boy at school who may have the power to melt her icy exterior, and a handsome water spirit who says he can break Lexi's curse if she gives up everything else. Lexi is faced with the hardest decision she's ever had to make: the life she's always longed for - or the love she can't live without?
Although this sounds like it could be considered more fantasy than romance, for my purpose it falls into the romance category. Our heroine Lexi eventually finds herself in a love triangle and what kind of reader doesn't enjoy those? All that suspense that comes with them, I love it. Strong emotions, high stakes, and me in the background crossing my fingers that Lexi will choose whichever guy I think is best for her. I may be alone, but I haven't read any of Hubbard's work before but I've heard nothing but good things. Hopefully this will be the first of many of her books that I come to love.
Countdown Pick #3: Juliet Immortal (Juliet Immortal, #1) by Stacey Jay
"These violent delights have violent ends And in their triumph die, like fire and powder,Which as they kiss consume."—Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare
The most tragic love story in history . . .
Juliet Capulet didn't take her own life. She was murdered by the person she trusted most, her new husband, Romeo Montague, a sacrifice made to ensure his own immortality. But what Romeo didn't anticipate was that Juliet would be granted eternity, as well, and would become an agent for the Ambassadors of Light. For 700 years, she's fought Romeo for the souls of true lovers, struggling to preserve romantic love and the lives of the innocent. Until the day she meets someone she's forbidden to love, and Romeo, oh Romeo, will do everything in his power to destroy that love.
I'm always intrigued by retellings and unique twists of classic works but this really got me excited. While the romance may not be centered around the two characters you would assume, the main theme seems to be the fight to keep true love alive. Definitely a fight worth fighting. While I'm not sure how this will all flow and jive with the original opinions we all have for these well known characters, it should be entertaining to say the least.
Countdown Pick #4: Glow (Sky Chasers, #1) by Amy Kathleen Ryan (9/13/11)
What if you were bound for a new world, about to pledge your life to someone you'd been promised to since birth, and one unexpected violent attack made survival—not love—the issue?
Out in the murky nebula lurks an unseen enemy: the New Horizon. On its way to populate a distant planet in the wake of Earth's collapse, the ship's crew has been unable to conceive a generation to continue its mission. They need young girls desperately, or their zealous leader's efforts will fail. Onboard their sister ship, the Empyrean, the unsuspecting families don't know an attack is being mounted that could claim the most important among them...
Fifteen-year-old Waverly is part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space; she was born on the Empyrean, and the large farming vessel is all she knows. Her concerns are those of any teenager—until Kieran Alden proposes to her. The handsome captain-to-be has everything Waverly could ever want in a husband, and with the pressure to start having children, everyone is sure he's the best choice. Except for Waverly, who wants more from life than marriage—and is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.
But when the Empyrean faces sudden attack by their assumed allies, they quickly find out that the enemies aren't all from the outside.
While Ryan may have meant for this series' debt to fall into the dystopian/suspense categories, I saw the hints of a romance and I'm focusing on those elements. Waverly and Kieran have been tasked as two of the few young adults to re-populate the new Earth. While chemistry is apparent, Waverly has her eye on another as well. The plot shows potential and the character descriptions leave me with no doubt that I'll be pulled into this love triangle. The reviewers have begun comparing it to The Hunger Games, and hey, a girl can hope it turns out to be just as great, right?