Sunday, 31 August 2014

Review: Student Bodyguard for Hire by Callie James

When her younger brother becomes victim to Ridgeview High’s worst group of bullies, Peyton Greene sets out to hire the most feared student in school to protect him. It never occurs to her that the antisocial, two-time senior won’t agree to do it, even for the large sum she’s willing to pay.

Sam Guerra can’t afford to pick a fight at school and risk another expulsion, but after witnessing the beginning of a humiliating locker room beat down, he gets involved anyway. Soon more students approach him with offers of money and requests for protection. Having zero interest in becoming anyone’s bodyguard, he finds other students willing to take his place for the same fee. A growing list of names rapidly morphs into a reason to approach the pretty geek again, and despite the stark differences in his and Peyton’s backgrounds, they begin seeing each other outside of school.

But everything changes when Peyton transforms the list into a bodyguard website for a class project. Not long after go-live, she’s struggling to maintain the burgeoning database of bullied students matched with student bodyguards. What happens next turns the senior class assignment into a non-profit, nationwide project that will ultimately tear her parents' marriage apart and the town in two as it fuels the hot topic of violence to stop violence in an already divided nation. Her struggle to do the right thing becomes even more complicated when she learns of Sam’s dark past and equally violent present—information that could compromise their relationship, her reputation, and the integrity of a successful, anti-violence project she refuses to quit.


Paperback, 324 pages
Published May 19th 2014 by Callie James
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received a copy of this book through a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.

This book is definitely a young adult book geared towards people of that age. It is a cute story about young love while at the same time tackling the issue of bullying in high school. The story between Peyton and Sam is not an original one but enjoyable all the same. They are two extremely different people from completely different backgrounds who find themselves drawn to each other by circumstances. In this case, Peyton approaches Sam with a proposition in order to help her brother escape the bullying he endures daily at school. She thinks that if Sam can help, because of his reputation, that it will stop and she won't have to worry about him anymore. Although he declines her request and money he still finds himself helping the very next day. The relationship slowly develops from there.

But...

Both have secrets, insecurities and issues that complicate things around every corner. Sam has physical scars that he doesn't want Peyton to know about and a job that he is sure will drive her away. Peyton's father forbids her to see Sam and her anti-bullying website takes all of her time, causes issues at school and she starts to receive threats. Their surprising relationship seems doomed with every turn of the page.

Over all the story is good. The plot and characters are well developed and both Sam and Peyton are like able and relatable. The story did drag a little bit towards the middle but other than that it flowed nicely. While the story centred around the relationship between Sam and Peyton I wish that the bullying issue was explored a little more thoroughly. Yes, it was a big part of the story but I craved more. I wanted more of a story and resolution when it came to the threats to Peyton and the media attention that she received around her website.

Young readers will probably really enjoy this book.






About the Author

I spent the first three decades of my life in Portland, Oregon, before picking up everything and moving to the South for much needed sunshine and a change of pace.

When I'm not reading or penning young adult novels, I'm absorbed in all things supernatural, fantasy and sci-fi. Most recently, I've become hopelessly addicted to the BBC and anime.

My husband and I are also very devoted to our numerous adopted animals. 


Connect with Callie

 

Saturday, 30 August 2014

Review: Insurgent by Veronica Roth


One choice can transform you—or it can destroy you. But every choice has consequences, and as unrest surges in the factions all around her, Tris Prior must continue trying to save those she loves—and herself—while grappling with haunting questions of grief and forgiveness, identity and loyalty, politics and love.

Tris's initiation day should have been marked by celebration and victory with her chosen faction; instead, the day ended with unspeakable horrors. War now looms as conflict between the factions and their ideologies grows. And in times of war, sides must be chosen, secrets will emerge, and choices will become even more irrevocable—and even more powerful. Transformed by her own decisions but also by haunting grief and guilt, radical new discoveries, and shifting relationships, Tris must fully embrace her Divergence, even if she does not know what she may lose by doing so.


Terri's Thoughts

As with the first book in the series I am pretty late to the party with reading this.  With all of the hype surrounding this series my review almost seems like it is not required however if I read it I review it!
Since this is the second in the series there may be the potential of spoilers for anyone who has not read the first book.

My thoughts will be short, I loved the first book and I loved the second book.  I was glued to it to find out where the story would take me and I read it in less than a day.  I am only going to include a few random thoughts/recommendations/comparisons

1.  I recommend reading this story immediately after the first one.  I had left a considerable amount of time between the two and I had trouble remembering who some of the secondary characters were.

2.  The violence and death count is considerably higher in this installment.

3.  There are a lot more plot twists to be had in Insurgent.

4.  I am still madly insanely in love with Four (Tobias).  In him the perfect character has been created.

I want to thank my two nieces who told me that I am not too old to read this series.  Although never as good as the book I can't wait to see the movie adaptation and to read the third novel in this series.






About the Author



Veronica Roth is from a Chicago suburb. She studied creative writing at Northwestern University, and wrote DIVERGENT (Katherine Tegen Books, May 2011) and INSURGENT (May 2012). The third and final book in The Divergent Trilogy, ALLEGIANT, will come out on October 22, 2013. In the meantime she will spend endless hours browsing Wikipedia in her pajamas as she eats corn flakes. (Or some other kind of bland breakfast cereal.)

 Website:  


 

Thursday, 28 August 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #43

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are...
 
(Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
(Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog.

This weeks question is...


Tell us about a book character you’d trade places with - Suggested by Escaping Within Pages



Kristine's Answer






I would trade places with Becky Bloomwood from Confessions of a Shopaholic. No matter how much money she spends that she doesn't have she always seems to have someone there to bail her out and she always comes out smelling like a rose.


Terri's Answer

I have thought about this one for a long time and I honestly can not think of a character I would like to trade places with.  The reason for that is I tend to read really tragic stories about characters who have to deal with horrible life events.  For that reason I would not want to trade and I am grateful for the simple life I have.

Who would you trade places with?

That is our Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of ours with a link to your blog and we will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc, bloglovin, email, facebook and/or twitter.





Review: Broken by Lauren Layne

When Olivia Middleton abandons the glamour of Park Avenue for a remote, coastal town in Maine, everyone assumes she’s being the kind do-gooder she’s always been. But Olivia has a secret: helping an injured war veteran reenter society isn’t about charity—it’s about penance. Only, Olivia’s client isn’t the grateful elderly man she’s expecting. Instead, he’s a brooding twenty-four-year-old who has no intention of being Olivia’s path to redemption . . . and whose smoldering gaze and forbidden touch might be her undoing.

Paul Langdon doesn’t need a mirror to show him he’s no longer the hotshot quarterback he was before the war. He knows he’s ugly—inside and out. He’ll do anything to stay in self-imposed exile, even accept his father’s ultimatum that Paul tolerate the newest caretaker for three months or lose his inheritance. But Paul doesn’t count on the beautiful twenty-two-year-old who makes him long for things that he can never have. And the more she slips past his defenses, the more keeping his distance is impossible.

Now Paul and Olivia have to decide: Will they help each other heal? Or are they forever broken?


ebook, 270 pages
Expected publication: September 2nd 2014 by Flirt 
Genre: New Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This is the second book by Lauren Layne that I have read and I have to say that I was not disappointed. In fact, the main character Olivia, was introduced in Isn't She Lovely which happens to be the other book that I read by this author. Don't worry...you don't need to read it in order to follow along. In fact, I was a little nervous because I didn't really like Olivia in Isn't She Lovely but that quickly changed after reading only a couple of pages of Broken.

This book is the story of what happens when you put two rich and privileged people together who have issues, ghosts and strong personalities that are broken in more ways than one. Olivia is running from her life in an attempt to seek penance for a mistake that she made that hurt people and left her feeling like she was a terrible person. Paul is hiding from life while battling his physical and psychological scars. He wants nothing more than to be left alone. The last thing he wants is his father sending a beautiful young woman to care for him that would have been the type he would have dated before his time in Afghanistan forever changed his life.

The story is told from both Paul and Olivia's point of view, letting the reader get inside both of their head. I loved that! Paul is mean, nasty and self loathing but at the same time he is hot and sexy in an utterly damaged kind of way. Olivia's character starts out kind of weak and vulnerable but gains strength and depth with each turn of the page. The chemistry between these two are off the charts and makes from some incredible reading.

I absolutely adored this book. I was glued to the pages and finished it in half a day. There was so much pain, emotion and depth to the characters and story that I couldn't wait to find out how it would all play out. This is not the sweet, romantic love story that you typically read about. It is filled with pain and regret and is hauntingly dark at times. For this, I thought it was beautiful and recommend it to any fans of this genre.





About the Author
Lauren Layne is a snarky smartass with a serious weakness for happily ever afters.

Marrying her high school sweetheart was a good start. *cue Disney soundtrack.*

But Lauren wanted all romance, all the time.

Now she writes fictional happy endings, and considers her job done well if you swoon while reading her books.

Don't worry. You will.

Once upon a time she lived in a Manhattan high-rise, but now she's on the laid-back train in the Seattle area. If you ever find yourself in Issaquah, she'll probably buy you a drink. Maybe.


Connect with Lauren
 

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Review: Island of a Thousand Mirrors by Nayomi Munaweera


Island of a Thousand Mirrors follows the fate of two families, one Tamil, one Sinhala as they straddle opposite sides of the long and brutal Sri Lankan civil war. Narrated by the eldest daughter of each family, the story explores how each woman negotiates war, migration, love, exile, and belonging. At its root, it s a story of a fragmented nation struggling to find its way to a new beginning.


Hardcover, 256 pages
Expected publication: September 2nd 2014 by St. Martin's Press
Terri's Thoughts
I won a copy of this book in a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is September 2, 2014.

This story caused a myriad of emotions for me and really opened my eyes to the civil war in Sri Lanka.  I will be the first to admit that while I like to consider myself educated about world events this is something I knew very little of.  I am glad that I had the opportunity to learn more through fiction.

I was reading this story at the cottage while surrounded by people and paused numerous times to enter in to debates about what I was reading.  This was the highlight of the story for me as it caused me to stop and think and discuss with others.  It opened my eyes to the reality that there may not be a right or a wrong side to everything and sometimes although a cause may be honorable the actions taken in the name of a cause (on both sides) are wrong.

At times I struggled with some of the characters as they had names that were unfamiliar to me however I was able to get past that.  The story really came to life in part three and I was glued once I got there.  This really showed both sides of the story and made it real.  I don't know if any of this is based on personal experience or knowledge (I hope not) but it really depicted that there are no winners in a civil war.

I really enjoyed this read and feel fortunate that yet again I have been educated through my love of reading.  I highly recommend this book to those who like to read about real events even if the story is fiction.

 
About the Author


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

Blog Tour & Giveaway: The Last Thing by Briana Gaitan


The Last Thing Blog Tour Aug 15- Sept 2nd

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The Last Thing by Briana Gaitan
Release Date: August 15th
Designer: Cover it designs

Add to Goodreads


Synopsis

Plagued by past mistakes in both love and life, Quinn Bardot is in a bad place. With nowhere else to turn, she escapes to LA clinging to the promise of a fresh start. 

Chase Crowley is known for being selfish and unbelievably persistent. All he's ever wanted is to become a successful actor. But now that he is about to have it all, he finds that something is still missing. Money and fame isn't what he expected.

After a fervent encounter, the two of them are thrown into a situation that neither is prepared for. Can Quinn extinguish her fears and let Chase in? Can Chase learn to put someone else's needs before his own?

The Last Thing is a novel all about love, Hollywood, and accepting what life throws at you even if it is the last thing you want. 

(This is a New Adult Romance novel & contains language & adult situations. Not recommended for readers younger than 17)
***The Last Thing is a stand alone book with NO cliff hanger ending. It is book one in the Hollywood Timelines series.***

  Buy from Amazon (US)

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book directly from the other in exchange for an honest review.

I want to start out by saying that I think there is a new voice in NA fiction. When I first signed up for this blog tour I will admit that I was a little reluctant because The Last Thing is Briana Gaitan's first NA book. I was worried that a jump from Sci-Fi to NA would be a big stretch and that it would show in the writing. There was no need for me to worry as she made the transition flawlessly and penned a story that I am sure that all fans of NA will enjoy.

This is a story of two very opposite people that are similar in that they are both flawed. Quinn is a small town girl who flees to the big city to live with her cousin in the world of TV and movie stars. She is running from her past that is filled with guilt, loss, sadness, gossip, nightmares and tragedy. Chase is a hunky movie star who is use to having any girl he wants on any given night but he never dates. The pages of this book are what happens when their two worlds collide and take them in an unexpected direction.

There are a few lust filled pages for fans that like their stories a little on the steamy side but it is not over done. I applaud Gaitin for this as I find that sometimes in this genre there is so much sex that it over powers the story. There was just the right amount of heat that it did not take away from the plot and the bigger picture.

The story flowed nicely and it was a quick and easy read. I enjoyed getting to know all of the characters as well as a look at the Hollywood celebrity scene. It appears that the next book will be centred around Quinn's cousin Ginger. She is a fairly big part of this story and I have to say that I wasn't exactly pleased with the direction she was going. Having said that, I can't wait for the next book to find out what happens in her life.

Over all, this book was a very solid read that I am happy to have had the opportunity to read. Not only did I enjoy the book but it has provided me with a new author to watch. I think that Gaitan has a bright future in the NA genre and I look forward to reading the rest of the Hollywood Timeline series. 

 

 


About the Author


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Briana Gaitan grew up in the South, but calls herself a geek at heart. She is a blogger,author,and fangirl who loves Star Wars, Star Trek, and Jewelry (bet you never thought you'd hear those three things in a sentence together) For fun, she loves watching any show on the SyFy channel, relaxing with her family, reading, and listening to indie music (sometimes all at the same time). Briana loves to write stories where there are no limits to the imagination. She is also the co-author of the fantasy Ethereal Underground series.



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Monday, 25 August 2014

Review: The Villa by Rosanna Ley


When Tess Angel receives a solicitor’s letter inviting her to claim her inheritance – the dilapidated but beautiful Villa Sirena, perched on a clifftop in Sicily - she is stunned. Her only link to the island is through her mother, Flavia, who left Sicily following World War II and cut all contact with her family. Could this be Tess’s chance to find out why?

Initially resistant to Tess going back to her roots, Flavia realises the secrets from her past are about to be revealed and decides to try to explain her actions. She compiles a book of her family’s traditional Sicilian recipes as a legacy to pass on to her daughter and tells her story which began in the summer of 1944 when she rescued an injured English pilot in the countryside near her home in Cetaria and helped nurse him back to health.

Meanwhile, Tess’s teenage daughter Ginny has lost her sense of direction. She is stressed by college and by her blossoming sexuality and consumed by questions that she longs to ask her father - if only she knew where he was.

Tess, a qualified diver, discovers the beauty of the underwater marine conservation area of Cetaria and falls in love with her inheritance. But there is a mystery attached to The Mermaid’s Villa concerning the missing Il Tesoro. What is this treasure and what does it have to do with her family? Tonino Amato and Giovanni Sciarra both seem to want to help her find out. She is drawn to Tonino, who creates dazzling mosaics from sea glass in the ancient baglio and tells her of the myths and legends of Sicily. But Giovanni warns her against him. Why are they sworn enemies and who can she trust? Tess must navigate a way through the prejudices of Sicilian history and the opposition of her family’s enemies in order to find out.



Paperback, 551 pages
Published 2012 by Quercus Books
Terri's Thoughts
I received a copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  thank you!

This is not the easiest book to review.  On one hand it is a really interesting story and on the other it seemed to fall a little short in execution in some areas.

I will start with the positive.  This story takes place for the majority in Sicily and the author does a wonderful job of describing the scenery.  In addition to that, those who love the food of Sicily will really enjoy the constant references and recipes for their dishes.  I understood none of it however I am not much of a cook so take it for what it is.

The story blends a little bit of mystery and a little bit of a love story.  I loved how it reflected on the love story of Tess in the present day and then traveled back to her mothers story.  I am drawn to stories that are drafted this way and the book did not disappoint.

On a not so favorable note, I found the mystery a little far fetched and lacking a certain something.  Also the story if Ginny almost seemed a little surplus and could have been left out altogether as this was a long read.  I really didn't get the concept of the her "ball".  Although I know what it was referring to it just was a little weird and could have been described differently.

Overall this was an interesting read and will appeal to those who have an interest in the area of Sicily and its customs.  A solid 3 stars




About the Author     

Rosanna Ley has worked as a creative writing tutor for over 15 years. Affiliated to several colleges and universities in England, she also runs her own writing courses in the UK and abroad. She has worked with community groups in therapeutic settings and completed an MA in creative writing for personal development in order to support this. Her writing holidays and retreats take place in stunning locations in Italy and Spain and whilst not teaching or writing she mentors and appraises the work of new writers. Rosanna has had numerous articles and short stories published in UK magazines, and 12 novels of contemporary fiction published in the U.K, Germany, Greece and the U.S.A under a pseudonym. Her books are inspired by the culture and landscapes of Italy, Sicily and the Canary Islands and feature strong female voices from the past and present, along with an intense undercurrent of mystery and romance. Rosanna spends some time every year travelling around Europe looking for writing inspiration and more tranquil settings for writing holidays. She loves cliff walking and her favourite writing place is somewhere with a sea view. When she is not travelling, Rosanna lives with her artist husband in a Victorian cottage in West Dorset by the sea.

Website: 


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Review: If I Stay by by Gayle Forman

On a day that started like any other, Mia had everything: a loving family, a gorgeous, admiring boyfriend, and a bright future full of music and full of choices. In an instant, almost all of that is taken from her. Caught between life and death, between a happy past and an unknowable future, Mia spends one critical day contemplating the only decision she has left. It is the most important decision she'll ever make.

Simultaneously tragic and hopeful, this is a romantic, riveting, and ultimately uplifting story about memory, music, living, dying, loving.



Paperback, 262 pages
Published April 6th 2010 by Speak (first published 2009)  
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

This book has been sitting on my literal bookshelf for quite a while now. My sister and co-blogger picked it out for my daughter for Christmas a few years back. At the time I don't think it had yet to gain the popularity that it now has. With the movie hitting theatres this weekend I thought I'd better read it before going to watch it. I have to warn you that I have seen the movie trailer quite a few times and I think that it in some way impacts my view on the book.

I am going to keep my thoughts short because this book has been reviewed a ton. This book is a sweet, moving and emotional story that I adored. It is written in a simple and understated way so that even the youngest of YA fans can enjoy it while us older ones can too. There is a little swearing and talk about sex but it is mild compared to what is out there today. The only thing that stops me from giving it a full five stars is that I didn't feel the emotional connection between Mia and Adam as strongly as I would have liked to. This is probably due to watching the movie trailer where I felt it so strongly that it brought tears to my eyes.

The way it ended left me anxious for Where She Went and I am sure that I will be reading it sooner rather than later. Now that I have read the book, I can't wait to go see the movie!

Check out the movie trailer below...








Connect with Gayle


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Review: I Want it That Way by Ann Aguirre


Nadia Conrad has big dreams, and she's determined to make them come true—for her parents' sake as well as her own. But between maintaining her college scholarship and working at the local day care to support herself, she barely has time to think, let alone date. Then she moves into a new apartment and meets the taciturn yet irresistible guy in 1B….

Daniel Tyler has grown up too fast. Becoming a single dad at twenty turned his life upside down—and brought him heartache he can't risk again. Now, as he raises his four-year-old son while balancing a full-time construction management job and night classes, a social life is out of the question. The last thing he wants is for four noisy students to move into the apartment upstairs. But one night, Nadia's and Ty's paths cross, and soon they can't stay away from each other.

The timing is all wrong—but love happens when it happens. And you can't know what you truly need until you stand to lose it.


Paperback, 352 pages
Expected publication: August 26th 2014 by Harlequin HQN
Terri's Thoughts
I won an advance uncorrected proof of this book via a Goodreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is August 26, 2014.

This read was a really nice surprise for me.  I had a pre-conceived notion what this story would be like and it turned out to be better.

The highlight of this story for me was the chemistry between Nadia and Daniel.  Not the part where it was hot and heavy but the part leading up to that.  The silent chemistry between the two and the unexplainable pull that they had with each other.  The scenes with Nadia on the balcony and the looks that were exchanged were more intense than any of the ones where they hit the sheets. 

I liked how the characters were driven but not flawless.  The fact that they had commitments to honor that kept them from seeing each other for days at a time was realistic.  I loved all of the supporting cast from Nadia's roommates to Daniels son.  They added an extra element to the story since they were also flawed but loveable in their own ways.

If I had to critique the story I would say that after a while I found Daniel (Ty) to expect too much from Nadia as their relationship progressed.  His boundaries were too much in my opinion.  I would have preferred the denial of their attraction to last longer over the stringent guidelines that were set for the relationship. 

I will have to give Aguirre kudo's for how she wrote this story.  She made the supporting characters (in 2B) to be compelling enough that I want to see their stories.  Upon researching this book I saw that there are two more installments due out later this year that tells their stories!  I'm not sure if she was thinking ahead when she wrote this one or if it just happened that way but she sparked enough interest that I will also be reading those ones.

About the Author

Ann Aguirre is a New York Times & USA Today bestselling author with a degree in English Literature; before she began writing full time, she was a clown, a clerk, a voice actress, and a savior of stray kittens, not necessarily in that order. She grew up in a yellow house across from a cornfield, but now she lives in sunny Mexico with her husband, children, and various pets. She likes all kinds of books, emo music, action movies and Doctor Who. She writes all kind of fiction in multiple genres, both YA and for adults.
     


Friday, 22 August 2014

Feature and Follow Friday #42

Feature & Follow Friday is a weekly meme that allows book bloggers to interact with each other and find new blogs! It has two hosts, Parajunkee and Alison Can Read. The rules are...
 
(Required) Follow the Follow My Book Blog Friday Hosts {Parajunkee & Alison Can Read}
(Required) Follow our Featured Bloggers
Put your Blog name & URL in the Linky thing. You can also grab the code if you would like to insert it into your posts.
Grab the button up there and place it in a post, this post is for people to find a place to say “hi” in your comments and that they are now following you.
If you are using WordPress or another CMS that doesn’t have GFC (Google Friends Connect) state in your posts how you would like to be followed
Follow Follow Follow as many as you can, as many as you want, or just follow a few. The whole point is to make new friends and find new blogs. Also, don’t just follow, comment and say hi. Another blogger might not know you are a new follower if you don’t say “HI”
If someone comments and says they are following you, be a dear and follow back. Spread the Love…and the followers
If you’re new to the follow Friday hop, comment and let me know, so I can stop by and check out your blog.


Question of the Week: What book/series do you think would make a better TV show than a movie?

 

I think that most book series where there are multiple books stands a better chance of doing well in TV vs. the movies. The writing and quality of TV is so much better than it use to be whereas I find that movies are getting cheaper in quality all the time.

 

What book/series do you think would make a better show?

 

That is our Feature and Follow Friday for this week! Comment down below if you're a new follower of ours with a link to your blog and we will make sure to follow you back. You can follow us via gfc, bloglovin, email, facebook and/or twitter.

 

Thursday, 21 August 2014

Review: A Hole in my Heart by Rie Charles

Are there wounds too deep to heal, pains too sharp to share? And if a family survives by cutting the ties that bind them, can they ever be whole again?

After losing her mother to illness and her father to his work, Nora Mackenzie must leave her home in the interior of B.C. for a North Vancouver school. Estranged from her classmates, her family, and the life she's lost, Nora walls herself off from the people around her. At the same time, her young cousin, Lizzie, is facing an uncertain future as one of the first children to undergo open-heart surgery. As the operation approaches, Nora discovers that she is not the only person in her family isolated by fear and grief.


Paperback, 128 pages
Expected publication: August 25th 2014 (CAN) October 14th 2014 (US) by Dundurn
Genre: Juvenile Fiction


Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy of this book from Dundurn Press via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This is a sweet story about a twelve year old girl who is undergoing many changes in her life and the emotions that go with it. It is about her struggle to understand her feelings and those around her. She has lost her mother, moved to a new place where she can't seem to make friends and at the same time her cousin and best friend gets ready for open-heart surgery in the 1960's.

I have to admit that at times I found Nora to be immature and whiny and had to remind myself that she was only twelve. Perhaps she was even a little immature for a twelve year old but her circumstances made it a little understandable and a little less annoying. Younger readers may relate to her a little better than someone of my age. At the heart though is a beautiful story with a strong message that young people dealing with grief and loneliness will be able to relate to. It is told through Nora's perspective along with letters from her cousin Lizzie in an way that has the pages and story moving quickly.

I think this book would be a great read for young people that are struggling with their feelings about death, grief and understanding. It is a solid read for young people.





About the Author

Rie Charles was a social worker who worked with families in the various crises of their lives. She translates this fascination with people's narratives into books for young people. She has one previous YA novel, No More Dragons. Rie lives in British Columbia.



Wednesday, 20 August 2014

Review: What I Love About You by Rachel Gibson


New York Times bestselling author Rachel Gibson returns to Truly, Idaho, and to the fate of sexy SEAL Blake Junger

GIMMEE A B-R-E-A-K!

Ex-high school cheerleader Natalie Cooper could once shake her pom-poms with the best of them. But she's paid for all that popularity—her husband's run off with what's left of their money and a twenty-year-old bimbo named Tiffany. Leaving Natalie to manage a photo store and having to see some pictures she, well, really shouldn't.

GIMMEE A S-H-O-T!

Then she comes toe-to-manly chest with Blake Junger. Exiled to a remote cabin in Truly, Idaho, Blake wants nothing to do with anyone. Instead, he's determined to struggle with his demons and win—all on his own. But the last thing he needs is Natalie distracting him with her luscious curves and breaking down the barriers of his heart.

GIMMEE YOUR H-E-A-R-T!


ebook, 384 pages
Expected publication: August 26th 2014 by Avon
Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is August 26, 2014.

This is a good read to pass the time.  This story is aimed towards those that like a little steam in their romance as there is plenty to offer in this one.

It follows the typical formula of girl meets boy, they hate each other but their chemistry is off the charts.  Followed by a truce, a friendship and them some really hot scenes that make you wonder what had kept them apart for so long.  Add in a humorous best friend, a cute little girl and a puppy and there you go.  It satisfies all the cravings you have for a pleasant read.

Not without fault, I found that the romance progressed a little quickly and Natalie too quick to realize how she felt about Blake.  I had to remind myself that this was fiction and things do not always follow realistic timeline.  That said it did not ruin the story.

For your fill of steamy and sexy, this book will certainly satisfy




About the Author


Rachel was born in Boise, Idaho, USA. Her father worked for a telephone company, and her mother was a house wife. Idaho has the largest population of Basques outside of the Basque lands of Spain. She grew up with kids with last names like Uberuaga, Berriochoa, and Egisquiza, but years later she discovered the rest of the country didn't really know much about the Basque culture or history.

Rachel's storytelling career began at the age of sixteen when she ran her Chevy Vega into the side of a hill, retrieved the bumper and broken glass from the ground, and drove to her High School parking lot. With the help of her friend, she strategically scattered the broken pieces and told her parents she'd been the victim of a hit and run. They believed her, and she's been telling stories ever since. Afther the High School, she married with Mr. Gibson. At 25, she already had three children. One day, her TV broke, and she read her first romance, The Spanish Rose by Shirlee Busbee, she loved it, and six years later she published her first novel. With the publication in 1998 of New York Times and USA Today bestselling author Rachel Gibson's first book, Simply Irresistible, readers discovered one of contemporary romance's freshest voices. Her debut novel was named one of the ten favorite books by the membership of the Romance Writers of America, and other of her three novels were named among the Top Ten Favorite Books of the Year by Romance Writers of America. Her fourth novel, True Confessions, was awarded the RITA, Romance Writers of America's highest honor of excellence. Some of Rachel's other awards and achievements include The Golden Heart Award, the National Reader's Choice, Amazon Editor's Top Pick, Publisher Weekly's Quill nominee and Borders bestselling romantic comedy for 2006. Rachel continues living in her native Boise, and when not writing, Rachel can be found boating on Payette Lake with Mr. Gibson, shopping for shoes, or forcing her love on an ungrateful cat.



Website:     


Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Blog Tour/Giveaway&Character Bio's: Tortured Souls by Kimber Leigh Wheaton



Tortured Souls
The Orion Circle #1

By Amazon Bestselling Author
Kimber Leigh Wheaton
YA Paranormal Romance

Sometimes Rest in Peace isn't an option
Kacie Ramsey sees ghosts—and it's ruining her life. Her mother left, her father blames her, and no matter how hard she tries, she can't keep the ghosts away. Now a new power has emerged. Nightly visions of grisly murders and a relentless predator draw her to the brink of insanity.
When the phantom appears at a party, Kacie's longtime crush, Logan, saves her. He invites her to join the Orion Circle, a group of supernatural hunters with chapters in schools all over the country. Through the Circle, Kacie learns to embrace her spiritual powers, and for the first time in her life she feels in control rather than a victim.
But the Foxblood Demon will not give up so easily. A demented serial killer in life who trapped the souls of the thirteen children he murdered, imprisoning them within the walls of his mansion. Now in death, he plots his return while drawing power from the pure souls of the children. He recognizes something in Kacie he's never seen before—a medium powerful enough to provide a vessel for his tainted soul.
Kacie can't ignore the tortured souls of the children crying out to her every night. With Logan at her side, she will fight the Foxblood Demon. But can they banish this powerful phantom, or will Kacie lose not only her body, but her eternal soul to the monster.

Character Bio's









Kristine's Thoughts:

I received a copy of this book directly from the author in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

Anyone who has read my reviews in the past knows that I can be somewhat picky and critical of books in the paranormal or fantasy genre. I either love them or I hate them with rarely any falling in the middle. Having read one of Wheaton's books in the past and really liking it, I jumped at the opportunity to read this one and I wasn't disappointed.

Let me start off by saying that this series is marketed as a YA paranormal romance but it is appropriate for readers of all ages. In fact, I think that this series would be a great introduction to the paranormal genre for readers who are reluctant to embrace it. Along with the paranormal aspect there is a sweet and entertaining story about young love that fans of YA will truly enjoy.

I never like to re-tell a story as I don't like giving too much away so I will refrain and instead tell you my thoughts...

I really liked the fact that Kacie is aware of her gift when the story begins. The fact that she was not ignorant of her abilities was a refreshing change from a lot of the stories out there.

" The once loud music is now hollow in my ears. I gasp for breath, choking on the lack of air around me. Tiny hairs on the nape of my neck rise to attention. Something wicked is behind me. I know I'm the only one here who feels a difference in air pressure. An oppressive weight presses against my skin, making me feel as though I'm underwater. I blink a few times, watching the people around me continue their manic dancing- oblivious to the bogeyman that just entered the room."

The above is literally the third paragraph in the book. If that isn't enough to get your attention then I don't know what is!

I think what I enjoyed the most about the book is the cast of characters and the super sweet relationship between Kacie and Logan. The Orion Circle (a global group of school paranormal researchers) introduces a wide range of quirky, unique and interesting characters. Although not all of them are teenagers, the majority of them are and I loved the typical teenage behaviours and interactions between them all. I would venture to guess that future instalments of this series will revolve around these characters and if that is the case, I can't wait to get my hands on them.

The story flows nicely and the book can easily be finished in one day if you are an avid reader like me. The plot and the characters are also well developed. The paranormal aspect of the story is easy to understand without a lot of the gore (without losing the creep factor) that is typical of the genre, making it appropriate for the youngest of fans of the genre.

In the end, Wheaton blends a YA romance and a YA paranormal story flawlessly for a truly entertaining read with a cast of characters that readers will be eager to follow. I truly enjoyed every minute of this story and can't wait to read more about the Orion Circle.




Blog Tour Schedule



Kimber Leigh Wheaton is a bestselling YA/NA author with a soft spot for sweet romance. She is married to her soul mate, has a teenage son, and shares her home with three dogs, four cats, and lots of dragons. No, she doesn’t live on a farm, she just loves animals. Kimber Leigh is addicted to romance, videogames, superheroes, villains, and chocolate—not necessarily in that order. (If she has to choose, she’ll take a chocolate covered superhero!) She currently lives in San Antonio, TX but has been somewhat a rolling stone in life, having resided in several different cities and states.

Website Twitter * Goodreads Author Page
Facebook * Pinterest





Tour-Wide Giveaway

$25 Amazon Gift Card
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5 sets of signed bookmarks - US only

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Monday, 18 August 2014

Review: Blind by Rachel DeWoskin


Imagine this: You are fourteen, watching the fireworks at a 4th of July party, when a rocket backfires into the crowd and strikes your eyes, leaving you blind. In that instant, your life is changed forever. How do you face a future in which all your expectations must be different? You will never see the face of your newborn sister, never learn to drive. Will you ever have a job or fall in love? This is Emma’s story. The drama is in her manysmall victories as she returns to high school in her home town and struggles to define herself and make sense of her life, determined not to be dismissed as a PBK – Poor Blind Kid. This heartfelt and heart wrenching story takes you on Emma’s journey and leaves you with a new understanding of the challenges to be faced when life deals a devastating blow.

Hardcover, 416 pages

Expected publication: August 7th 2014 by Viking Juvenile

Terri's Thoughts

I won a copy of this book as part of a Goodreads firstreads giveaway in exchange for an honest review.  I was pretty excited because I had previously been turned down for a galley copy of the book.

This was written for a YA audience and I feel that it appropriately represented the demographic.  It captures the journey of Emma as she learns to deal without her vision in a world that is vision obsessed.  The reader is along for the ride as she copes with denial, anger, and acceptance.

I think the part that makes this story a real gem is that it deals with all of the usual teenage drama that a fifteen year old would go through and added to it the aspect of being newly blind.  Although perhaps at a greater extent, Emma still has to deal with insecurities, family, less than truthful friendships, boys and heartbreak.  This to me made the story more real.  The fact that she had to live everyday life with a disability was intensified by the fact that she was dealing with the same issues she would have been before her accident.

There was a good cast of supporting characters.  I enjoyed her family and their differences along with her friends.  I wish that Sebastien had a greater presence in the story as I really loved his character. As a great lover of dogs I can't leave out her companion dog who was present with her throughout the story.  What Emma does with him at the end of the story had me in tears.

This was a coming of age story with the twist of losing ones eyesight.  I think younger readers will be able to identify with Emma because aside from her vision she was dealing with normal everyday issues.  Overall I would recommend this read.





About the Author



Rachel DeWoskin is the author of Foreign Babes in Beijing, a memoir about her inadvertent notoriety as the star of a Chinese soap opera, and a novel, Repeat After Me. She lives in New York City and Beijing and is at work on her fourth book, Statutory.


Website: