October 4, 2013

Casual Friday: Spotlight on WILD CARDS by Simone Elkeles

Happy Friday, Misfiteers! Have you been as totally bowled over by this month's great releases yet as we have? Today we're celebrating one of them, a hot new romance by Simone Elkeles called WILD CARDS featuring the dual POVs of football-playing Ashtyn and new-to-town Derek.

From Goodreads: 

After getting kicked out of boarding school, bad boy Derek Fitzpatrick has no choice but to live with his ditzy stepmother while his military dad is deployed. Things quickly go from bad to worse when he finds out she plans to move them back to her childhood home in Illinois. Derek’s counting the days before he can be on his own, and the last thing he needs is to get involved with someone else’s family drama.

Ashtyn Parker knows one thing for certain--people you care about leave without a backward glance. A football scholarship would finally give her the chance to leave. So she pours everything into winning a state championship, until her boyfriend and star quarterback betrays them all by joining their rival team. Ashtyn needs a new game plan, but it requires trusting Derek—someone she barely knows, someone born to break the rules. Is she willing to put her heart on the line to try and win it all?

Now, I was lucky enough to snag an ARC for WILD CARDS at BEA, and by "lucky" I mean "lucky" but also it was the number one thing I wanted and so I ran for it like the devil until I got one and no, no one looked at me funny at all. ANYWAY. I really enjoyed the hot romance of this one, and definitely recommend it to fans of Elkeles' other books and/or of Miranda Kennealy's CATCHING JORDAN. 

When I was done with it, I passed it along to Misfit Erica, who I knew would be a huge fan too, and judging by her Goodreads review, I wasn't wrong ;) 

We got to love it, and now it's your turn! We'd love to send that wonderful ARC to one more destination - you! (Provided you live in the US - sorry!) So if you want it, leave a comment telling us why and how to contact you! Not sure? Maybe this excerpt will help convince you it's a book you need to have in your arsenal ;)

My muscles are tense when we pull into the driveway at my stepmother’s childhood home in a small suburb of Chicago.
As soon as we step out of the cars, an older man I assume is Brandi’s father appears on the front porch of the two-story redbrick house. The dude is staring at Brandi as if she’s a stranger.
I don’t know what went down with Brandi and her old man.
She didn’t explain much, except to say she left home right after her parents’ divorce and hadn’t been back . . . until now. Brandi grasps Julian by the hand and tugs the tired kid up the porch stairs. “This is my son. Julian, say hello to Grandpa.”
Brandi’s son is a cool kid who can talk your ear off. But he’s acting shy right now and doesn’t say hello to his grandfather.
 “And this is my stepson, Derek,” Brandi finally says as she
waves her hand in my direction.
Her father looks up. “You didn’t say anything about a stepson when you called.”
“Didn’t I? I’m such a flake I must’ve forgotten to tell you, with all the moving and packing and . . . other stuff. Derek can stay in the den.”
“The den is filled with boxes,” he tells her. “And I gave the old couch that was in the den to charity a while back.”
“If you’d rather, sir,” I drawl, “I can sleep on the porch. Just give me a blanket and toss me scraps of food every now an’ then and I’ll be just fine.”
 “I’ll move the boxes and put a blow-up bed in the den,” her dad says, reluctantly giving in when he realizes that I’m not about to hightail it back to California.
 “I’m cool with that,” I say.
 “Derek, can you and my dad bring our stuff in the house while I put Julian down for a nap?” Brandi asks.
Before I can answer, she slips through the front door with
Julian, leaving me alone with her grouchy old man.
Her father scans me up and down. He doesn’t look impressed.
 “I don’t expect you to call me Grandpa.”
“I wasn’t plannin’ on it.”
“Good. I suppose you can call me Gus.” He disappears inside. I’m tempted not to follow, but I have no choice. He leads me down a hall to a back room and swings open a door.
“This’ll be your room. I expect you to keep it clean, do your own laundry, and make yourself useful.”
“Do I get an allowance?” I joke.
The guy looks at me with a deadpan expression. “You’re a real comedian, aren’t you?”
“To people with a sense of humor, yeah.”
He makes a harrumph sound in response.
I follow again when he makes an about-face and heads back to the car. It doesn’t take us long to lug everything into the house. There’s no conversation. This is definitely going to be an interesting living situation— not in a good way.
I’m moving boxes to the corner of my room to clear space
when Gus reappears. Without a word, he hands me an air mattress and leaves me to figure out how to inflate it.
I shove my suitcase behind the door and take in my new room. This place doesn’t feel like home— not by a long shot.
Suddenly this house feels like it’s suffocating me.
I head to the backyard. I walk through a small garden of weeds to a big wooden shed. An old padlock on the latch is open, so I push back the door.
Rusty garden tools hang on wall hooks, bags of weed killer are scattered on the workbench, and little metal buckets crowd the floor. I kick a bucket aside, then pick up a second one, thinking about everything that’s changed in the past two years.
I swear under my breath and whip the bucket across the shed, the sound of the metal hitting the wall echoing in the small space.
“Stop or I’m calling the police!” demands a girl’s voice from behind me.
I turn to find a hot chick about my age with blond hair in one long braid snaking down her chest. She’s blocking the doorway and holding a rusty pitchfork. She looks like she’s ready to stab me to death, which lessens her hotness factor, but not by much.
“Who’re you?” I ask, taking in her black T-shirt and matching hoodie.
 “You thugs from Fairfield think you can come here and—”
I hold up a hand, halting her tirade for the moment. Me, a thug? That’s hilarious. This girl’s thug radar is way off. “I hate to break the news to you, sweetheart, but I’ve got no clue where Fairfield is.”
“Yeah, right. I’m not stupid. And I’m not your sweetheart.”
“Put the pitchfork down, honey.” I take a step closer to her
and the exit.
“Not on your life. I’m warning you . . . take one step closer and I’ll stab you.” One glance at her shaking hands tells me she doesn’t have the nerve to go through with her threat.
I put my hands up in mock surrender. I’m standing directly in front of her now, the points of the pitchfork an inch away from my chest. “You really don’t want to stab me.”
 “Yes, I think I do.” For a second I’m sure the warrior girl’s about to lower her weapon, until I hear something creak behind me. As I glance over my shoulder, a bracket holding a bunch of tools on the wall crashes to the ground.
The sound startles the girl and she drops the pitchfork. On my foot.
What the—
She stares at the pointed tine sticking out of my left shoe
and her mouth opens in shock. Before I know it, she backs up and
slams the door shut. I’m swallowed by darkness as I hear the padlock snap into place. Two thoughts cross my mind: she thinks I’m a thug and I think she’s a wackjob.

Need to have it as badly as I did? Tell us why in the comments for a chance to win* an ARC! 
*Sorry, U.S. and Canada only
Simone Elkeles is the New York Times and USA Today bestselling author of the Wild Cards series, Perfect Chemistry series, Leaving Paradise series and How to Ruin series. All three books in the Perfect Chemistry series have been YALSA Top Ten Quick Picks for Reluctant Young Adult Readers and the Illinois Association of Teachers of English named Simone 2008 Author of the Year.  Simone's funny way of looking at the world shines through in novels that are bursting with sarcastic wit, edgy characters, and exhilarating drama. You can find her at www.simoneelkeles.com.


erica m. chapman said...

I loved this SO much!! I can't wait to read the next one ;o) Great post!

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