Review: Georgetown Academy Book One by Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz

Title: Georgetown Academy Book One

Authors:  Jessica Koosed Etting and Alyssa Embree Schwartz

May Contain Spoilers

From Amazon:

It’s the beginning of a new political administration. That might not mean much at most high schools, but at Georgetown Academy, Washington D.C.’s most elite prep school, January 20th means new alliances, new flings, and new places to party.

While freshmen—nicknamed “interns” for their willingness to jump into bed with anyone higher on the D.C. totem pole—navigate the not-so-friendly halls of GA searching for Algebra and Bio classes, the school’s lifers have other things on their minds.

For self-proclaimed D.C. royalty Brinley Madison (of those Madisons), the first day of school is all about establishing the social hierarchy and playing the part of perfect political wife to her boyfriend, the outgoing Vice President’s son. Too bad he has a wandering eye that puts Bill Clinton’s to shame. Can she keep him, and her own secret vice, in check?

Ellie Walker, Brinley’s best friend, floats through the halls on the arm of golden boy Hunter McKnight (the JFK of GA). But when her ex-boyfriend, Gabe, returns to town and her Senator mother’s political nemesis is reelected, Ellie’s life starts to snowball out of control.

Shy, quiet Evan Hartnett is more into books than beer, and her closet is full of t-shirts and jeans instead of Jason Wu and Jimmy Choo. No one’s ever really noticed her—but she’s been noticing them. When her star rises as an intern at D.C.’s most-watched political news show, she soon finds the two worlds colliding in ways that make her question what’s secret and what’s fair game.

New girl Taryn Reyes is all laid-back, California cool; with a father who’s in line to be the first Hispanic president, she’s ready to dive into the D.C. scene with an open mind. But when her fellow students turn out to be more interested in spreading rumors than making friends, she realizes that forging a drama-free path might be a lot harder than she thinks.

With so many new friends and former flames in the mix, things are bound to get a little heated. And while diplomatic immunity might keep the cops away, there’s not much it can do about the press.

In a town where one teenage misstep can turn into a national scandal, the students at Georgetown Academy will have to be on their best behavior—or, at least, they’ll have to make the world believe that they are.

Because there’s only one rule: whatever you do, don’t get caught.


Review:

When I was approached to review Georgetown Academy, I was excited to dive into the book.  Coliloquy, the publisher, is defining itself as a cutting edge digital publisher, and they are actively attempting to engage more reader interaction.  From their website:

Coliloquy is a next-generation digital publisher, leveraging advances in technology to enable groundbreaking new types of books, new revenue models, and new forms of author-reader engagement.”

Now, I love the idea of this, but after reading the first installment of the Georgetown Academy series, I wasn’t impressed with the reader interaction.  There is one point in the story where the reader can choose one of the characters and follow her POV for a short sequence of events.  I found this more tedious than ground-breaking  because I had to reread the same scene four times to get all of the girls’ perspectives.  This just slowed the pace of the story for me.  What would I like to see in future releases?  Maps of key places, including the school, illustrated character bios, even emails and text messages sent by the protagonists.  How about adding some audio, too, and including voice mails, etc?  That would be so cool, and to me, that would more fully engage my attention.

Despite my quibble with the interactive features, I did enjoy this introduction to the Georgetown Academy series. I had a good sense of how each of the characters ticked, and felt that I was able to get into their heads as they each dealt with all of the drama tossed their way.  And each of them is drowning in drama!  If you like books with lots of angst, lots of social pressure, and intense interpersonal relationships, this is the series for you.  Once I settled into the story, I was very engaged in the lives and trials of Evan, Taryn, Ellie, and Brinley.  Better yet, I liked some more than others, and found that they each had a unique personality.  Dealing with their parents’ successes and setbacks, boyfriend troubles, and the press kept each of them on the edge.  These teens are in  a larger than life setting, and not all of them are as well equipped to deal with the stress.

Because Georgetown Academy Book One is so short, I found the initial character introductions the slowest aspect of the story.  Just when I felt that I had a handle on the protagonists, the story shuddered to an abrupt ending.  Was I invested in the story?  You bet!  I immediately wanted to start reading Book Two!  So be aware that the beginning of the book drags a bit, but then, as the mishaps and gossip start piling up, GA is difficult to put down. 

Grade:  Wavering between a B and a B-

Review copy provided by publisher

Interview with Mia Marlowe, Author of Waking Up With A Rake and Giveaway!

Mia Marlowe is celebrating the release of Waking Up With a Rake.  She and Connie Mason collaborated on the book, and Mia was able to drop by the virtual offices to chat about the book and her partnership with Connie.  She also brought along a copy of Waking Up With a Rake for one of you to win!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Describe yourself in 140 characters or less.

[Mia Marlowe] I’m a wife and mother who’d rather have an adventure than a new sofa and is incredibly lucky to be able to make things up for a living.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you tell us a little about Waking Up with a Rake?

[Mia Marlowe] Waking Up with a Rake is Book 1 in the Royal Rakes series. It all starts with a historic crisis in the succession. In 1817, Princess Charlotte died along with her newborn son. All of England mourned, especially since she was the only legitimate grandchild of King George III. Suddenly the younger unmarried brothers of the Prince Regent realized they had an opportunity to wed, bed and then sire the child who would one day wear the crown.

But not everyone wants the royal dukes to succeed. Lord Rhys Warrington is blackmailed into thwarting the Duke of Clarence’s interest in Miss Olivia Symon by seducing the lady. However, he doesn’t count on her seducing him!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] This is a collaboration with Connie Mason; can you let us know how the two of you teamed up?

[Mia Marlowe] Our talented editor at Sourcebooks, Leah Hultenschmidt and our tireless agent, Natasha Kern deserves the credit. They saw the creative possibilities in pairing us up. Connie and I had met back in 2006 and hit it off immediately. Becoming a writing team almost seemed inevitable.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Can you share the writing process that you’ve developed with Connie?

[Mia Marlowe] We take turns and no one cares who gets credit for what. Connie picked the settings for Lord of Devil Isle, Sins of the Highlander and Lord of Fire and Ice. I got to choose the Regency for our Royal Rakes series. Collaboration only works when everyone parks their egos at the door.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three words best describe Rhys?

[Mia Marlowe] Courageous, smart and, of course, ALPHA!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If Olivia had a theme song, what would it be?

[Mia Marlowe] That question implies a knowledge of popular culture which I do not possess. During the Regency, my heroine would have sung folk songs like “Robin Adair” or vaguely naughty lyrics that claim “And I know she’ll say from behind her Fan, That there’s none can love like an Irishman!” Olivia’s not at all sure she wants to marry an aging prince she’s never met. Shy in social situations, she’d rather ride her beloved mare, Molly and grow orchids in the hot house.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things will you never find in Rhys’ pockets?

[Mia Marlowe] You may find an IOU from someone who owes him money, but you’ll never find a note claiming he’s in debt over a wager. You won’t find a small derringer. He carries a horse pistol from his time in the cavalry. And lastly, you won’t find a “French letter,” the reusable sheepskin condoms of the day (ew, right?). Rhys never goes riding “wearing a raincoat.”

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is Olivia’s greatest regret?

[Mia Marlowe] She often wishes she’d been born a son instead of a daughter. Not only does she think her father would have been more pleased with her, she wouldn’t have to suffer through her mother’s constant interference and unwanted advice!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What are your greatest creative influences?

[Mia Marlowe] As far as other authors go, I love some of the older writers—Mary Stewart, MM Kaye and Victoria Holt. They really knew how to craft engaging stories and use language beautifully. I’m often inspired by the visual arts and by music as well.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What three things do you need in order to write?

[Mia Marlowe] A movie soundtrack in my headphones, my laptop computer and my little dog, Harry snugged by my hip.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What is the last book that you read that knocked your socks off?

[Mia Marlowe] Pretty much anything written by Sherry Thomas. Her characters are complex and her prose is lyrical!

[Manga Maniac Cafe] If you had to pick one book that turned you on to reading, which would it be?

[Mia Marlowe] Lassie, Come Home. My grandparents always brought me a new book every time they visited when I was a child and I treasured every single title. They introduced me to Little Women, the Five Little Peppers and Trixie Belden mysteries. The things we read as children become part of who we are.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?

[Mia Marlowe] I love to travel with my DH, visit art museums and historical sites. I play the piano, noodle with drawing and spend time with my family.

[Manga Maniac Cafe] How can readers connect with you?

[Mia Marlowe] I hope readers will pop by!

My frequently updated website and blog: http://www.miamarlowe.com

Twitter: http://twitter.com/Mia_Marlowe

Facebook: http://facebook.com/MiaMarloweFanPage

[Manga Maniac Cafe] Thank you!

About the book:

WAKING UP WITH A RAKE BY CONNIE MASON AND MIA MARLOWE – IN STORES JANUARY 2013

The Fate of England’s Monarchy Is In The Hands of Three Notorious Rakes.

To prevent three royal dukes from marrying their way onto the throne, heroic, selfless agents for the crown will be dispatched…to seduce the dukes’ intended brides. These wickedly debauched rakes will rumple sheets and cause a scandal. But they just might fall into their own trap…

After he’s blamed for a botched assignment during war, former cavalry officer Rhys Warrick turns his back on "honor." He spends his nights in brothels doing his best to live down to the expectations of his disapproving family. But one last mission could restore the reputation he’s so thoroughly sullied. All he has to do is seduce and ruin Miss Olivia Symon and his military record will be cleared. For a man with Rhys’s reputation, ravishing the delectably innocent miss should be easy. But Olivia’s honesty and bold curiosity stir more than Rhys’s desire. Suddenly the heart he thought he left on the battlefield is about to surrender…

ABOUT THE AUTHORS

Connie Mason is a New York Times bestselling author of more than 50 novels. She was named Storyteller of the Year in 1990 and received a Career Achievement Award from RT Book Reviews in 1994. She currently lives in Florida. Mia Marlowe is a highly acclaimed new voice in romance whose debut novel released in Spring 2011 from Kensington. She lives in Boston, MA. Together, they are working on the next book in the Royal Rakes series, Romanced By a Rake, which will be in stores in June 2013. For more information, please visit http://www.conniemason.com/, http://miamarlowe.com/ and find Mia on Twitter, @Mia_Marlowe, and on Facebook, http://facebook.com/MiaMarloweFanPage.

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