Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Review: Who is Mackie Spence by Lin Kaymer


A love story about a girl who comes back from a near-death experience with powers no one can explain

With a strong, appealing boy narrator, Who Is Mackie Spence? is a story no boy would be ashamed to read and no girl would want to miss
This ecological and mythological story is spiced with everyday questions of young love: if someone you care about has a destiny beyond your town-even beyond your world-do you give her up?

Jeremy has known Mackie Spence all their lives, growing up together on a small island in the Atlantic. But after a near-drowning accident, Mackie is changed. She's different, and if no one else can see it, Jeremy can. But maybe he's only looking through the eyes of love, as his feelings for Mackie have gone way beyond childhood friendship. She's even more beautiful, but it's as though she has a new soul . . . or something. Jeremy can't explain it; he's a jock, a real-world kind of guy. Then things start happening that he couldn't explain even if he could find the words. One night, at the local nature rehab center where Jeremy and Mackie volunteer, Jeremy sees with his own eyes how terrified, dangerous, injured birds of prey grow calm in Mackie's presence. It's as if they know her. She doesn't understand or even seem to notice. Without being some kind of stalker creep, Jeremy makes it his job to grow more protective of Mackie, and sees her with wild otters and other creatures in situations that are beyond belief. And finally, something happens that not only changes Jeremy's future, but the way he will see life, forever.


Hardcover, 208 pages
Published January 2nd 2015 by Merit Pres

Terri's Thoughts

**I won a copy of this book in a giveaway on Goodreads.  In exchange I will offer my honest review**

It is hard to hone in on what I really feel about this book.  I have not read the other reviews however I did notice that they have been a little less than favorable.  I am afraid to admit it that I am leaning that way as well and here is the reason why.

This book seems to be geared to the younger end of the YA spectrum, perhaps middle school age.  I think people expecting a high school type read may be disappointed.  The book is very clean and the characters seem to less mature than any of those I know of the same age.  I think as a result people can't identify. It is not common to see a 16 year old asking permission to do absolutely everything and it was the case in this story for both Jeremy and Mackie.

Unfortunately this makes it hard to see the good parts.  It is a cute story.  Young romance mixed with a bit of mythological paranormal (if that exists??).  I think properly marketed to a young audience that this story could see a lift in its current reviews.

For me I thought it was a cute story.



About the Author
Lin Kaymer is deeply attached to the wildlife of Puget Sound. Lin worked as a graphic designer and newspaper columnist. She loves to write during the rainy months of the year. Her favorite writers include Charlotte Bronte, Alexandre Dumas, Ruth Ozeki, Charlaine Harris, and Studs Terkel.

Tuesday, 28 April 2015

Review: Trouble From the Start by Rachel Hawthorne

Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Lauren Barnholdt, and Susane Colasanti, Trouble from the Start is a sweet and romantic read about a good girl who falls for a bad boy.

Avery knows better than to fall for Fletcher, the local bad boy who can't seem to outrun his reputation. Fletcher knows he shouldn't bother with college-bound, daughter-of-a-cop Avery. But when their paths cross, neither can deny the spark. Are they willing to go against everything and let their hearts lead the way? Or are they just flirting with disaster?

A companion novel to Rachel Hawthorne's paperback original The Boyfriend Project, this title is perfect for fans of summer beach reads and sweet treats.


ebook, 400 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by HarperTeen 
Genre: Young Adult/Romance

Kristine's Thoughts: 

**I received an advanced readers copy from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!**

If I had to use one word to describe this book I would have to say cute. I can really see young readers liking this story. Although it was at times predictable and perhaps not so original it still held enough "cute" moments to look past that.

There were also some lessons and great teaching moments for young readers in regards to rumours, reputations and judging books by their covers. All subjects that are very relevant to the teenage population. I thought that the author penned it in a very realistic light and that it will resonate with many young people.

I do have to say that although this book does deal with some heavy issues it is a clean story that is appropriate for even the youngest fans of this genre. The language is appropriate and there is only a little kissing.

I did not read The Boyfriend Project before reading this book and it was not necessary in order to follow along. Having said that, I will probably go back and read it in the hopes that it is as cute as this book was.




About the Author
Rachel Hawthorne believes in happy endings and adopting older rescued dogs. She also writes as New York Times bestselling author Lorraine Heath and as J. A. London with her son, Alex. She lives near Dallas, TX, with her husband and pooch named Jake.


Connect with Rachel








Monday, 27 April 2015

Review: Ever After at Sweetheart Ranch by Emma Cane


The only thing hotter than a cowboy...

Math teacher Lyndsay De Luca never surprised anyone—least of all herself—until this summer. First, she secretly published her debut romance novel. Then, she started dating Will Sweet, the cowboy of her dreams. And now, Lyndsay's scrambling to hide the juiciest tidbit of all: that the hazel-eyed hero of her steamy fiction is the same guy whose kisses have become her mind-blowing reality.

...Is a cowboy in love.

Ever since Will's high-school sweetheart died in a tragic accident, he hasn't been able to commit to a long-term relationship. Lyndsay is the first woman in years who's been able to catch—and keep—his attention. When they team up to teach Valentine's teens about ranch life, Will discovers it's not just her sexy-as-hell smile that has him hooked. Will she be the one to finally break down the walls around his guarded heart?



ebook, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Avon

Terri's Thoughts

** I received and advanced copy of this book from the publisher Avon via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is April 28th 2015**

This book is part of the Valentine Valley series, book number 6 I believe with some novellas thrown in as well.  The good news is that this can be read as a stand alone.  Other characters are prevalent in the story that perhaps had a story of their own previously however it was not confusing or needed to read this.

What can I say about this story.  It delivered exactly what you would expect of a story of this genre.  There were strong male and female characters, strong family and community ties, sizzling chemistry and some hot scenes.  Did I forget to mention the male is a hot cowboy?  You get the picture.  This has the right formula when you are looking for that little bit of distraction with a good ole romance.

What I enjoyed the most about the story is that Cane almost poked a little bit of fun at the romance genre. I giggled when Lyndsay was worried about the communities reaction to her romance novel she published since it had some steamy scenes in it.  It was almost like Cane was asking the reader to wait for the "real" steamy scenes.  It is hard to explain but I appreciated it.

Overall I enjoyed this story.  While it did not deliver any wow moments I also did not expect it to.  What I expected was a couple of hours curled up with (in this case) a hot cowboy and some good old fashion romance.  Mission accomplished.

About the Author


Emma Cane grew up reading and soon discovered that she liked to write passionate stories of teenagers in space. Her love of “passionate stories” has never gone away, although today she concentrates on the heartwarming characters of Valentine Valley, her fictional small town in the Colorado Rockies.

Now that her three children are grown, Emma loves spending time crocheting and singing (although not necessarily at the same time), and hiking and snowshoeing alongside her husband Jim and two rambunctious dogs Apollo and Uma.

Emma also writes USA Today bestselling historical romances under the name Gayle Callen.
Website:    
Twitter:   EmmaCane 


Sunday, 26 April 2015

Review: Changing His Game by Megan Erickson

He controls the game, but she’s rewriting all the rules…

Marley Lake is no stranger to awkwardness, but getting caught watching a dirty GIF by the company’s hot new IT guy exceeds even her standards. That is, until she realizes he's as turned on by it as she is. But with a big promotion on the line, she refuses to let her current dry spell be her downfall. Maybe.

Austin Rivers has no business lusting after the irresistible editor of Gamers Magazine. He's a secret partner in the business—and technically Marley’s boss. One look at that GIF, though, and he’s ready to install a whole lot more than just software…as long as she never finds out who he really is.

But reality’s not as virtual as it seems, and when Austin’s identity jeopardizes Marley’s promotion, he has to change his game or risk losing the only woman with the cheat code to his heart.


Kindle Edition
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Entangled: Brazen 
Genre: Contemporary Romance/Erotica

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

Marley and Austin meet when Austin comes to fix her computer at Gamers Magazine where Marley is hard working, ambitious and serious about her career. She thinks he's the IT guy and even though he is the silent owner of the magazine, he does nothing to correct it. When he sees the dirty GIF on her computer depicting the type of scene he desires and realises she does too, there is instant attraction and chemistry.

Enough of the plot...this all happens at the beginning and gives you a fair idea of where things are headed. If you  guessed a story full of half truths, lies of omission along with some sexy/dirty action involving dirty mouths, movie theatres and video games you would be correct. There is plenty of heat to be found within the pages of this book and some unusual and unique areas and or ways that it occurs. The story moves quickly and it can easily be finished in a day providing you have the time. I liked the fact that it moved quickly because it didn't become monotonous and it stayed fresh. I find a lot of books that have a lot of sex in them get repetitive after a while but this one did not and moved along nicely.

I enjoyed getting to know the characters in this book and I loved the relationship between Marley and her brother. There were quite a few laugh out loud moments when they were together. I found myself on numerous occasions trying to figure out who the next book will be about as this was the first book in the new Gamers series.

I will be keeping my eyes open for the next instalment in this series and for more from this author. I am not a gamer in any sense of the word but it did not impact my enjoyment of the book at all.








About the Author
Megan worked as a journalist covering real-life dramas before she decided she liked writing her own endings better and switched to fiction.

She lives in Pennsylvania with her husband, two kids and two cats. When she's not tapping away on her laptop, she's probably listening to the characters in her head who won't stop talking.

Connect with Megan

 

Saturday, 25 April 2015

Review: The Secrets of Attraction by Robin Constantine


Set in the same world as The Promise of Amazing, this smart, surprising, and romantic follow-up to Robin Constantine's debut novel follows two New Jersey teens as they become friends and fall in love. Perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins, Sarah Mlynowski, and Jennifer E. Smith.

Madison Pryce thinks she's got everything figured out—she's working on a portfolio for a summer art program and hanging with her friends. Plus she has her hot boyfriend, Zach. But then a visit from a family friend turns Maddie's life upside down.

Jesse McMann is still reeling from a breakup that shattered his heart and his band. Then pride (and some goading from his bass player and fellow barista) forces him to find a new drummer—and the inspiration to write music again.

Kismet arrives in the unlikely form of Grayson Barrett, who tries out for Jesse's band, and whose girlfriend is BFFs with the cute girl who orders a chai latte after yoga every Thursday: Maddie. What Jesse and Maddie thought they knew about the secrets of attraction and the rules of romance changes once they start falling for each other.


ebook, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Balzer + Bray

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 April 28th 2015**

I am going to start this review a little bit different than normal and begin with a topic that has nothing to do with the plot of the story.  I want to talk about the book cover.  I know, I know....never judge a book by it's cover...and I don't.  BUT....if you are going to put people on your cover they should at least match the general description of the characters in the book.  The reason why I bring this up is because I have seen it happen time and time again where they don't match and this is the FIRST time I can recall in recent history where it actually matches!  Madison had short blond hair...so does the cover model, Jesse has shaggy hair....you get the picture. It may seem trivial to some but it is a great relief to see the attention to detail between what is written in the pages and what is put on the cover.  My sister (and fellow blogger) and I have had endless rants on this topic and I can't wait to point out a case where they got it right!

Ok perhaps I have lost focus.  Back to the review.  I didn't realise it but there was a book that came before this one that features some of the same characters.  It didn't impact my enjoyment any or leave any blank spaces that needed to be filled.  The only real aspect that you could tell about the previous book is that the two characters in this one who were blissfully happy must have been the ones it focused on.

This was a good YA love story with likable main characters and an even better supporting cast of characters.  As seems pretty typical the character of Jesse was slightly better than Madison.  I'm not sure why the male characters are always so much better to me.  Is it an accurate portrayal of girls/woman?  Am I not able to see in to the mirror?  Enough philosophy, it is what it is.

I will not divulge plot as I do not want to give any spoilers.  I think this story will be enjoyed by the YA demographic who is looking for a good romance.  For me it brought me back to high school and the friendships and loves (won and lost).




About the Author

Robin Constantine is the author of The Promise of Amazing and The Secrets of Attraction. A born-and-raised Jersey girl, Robin likes to spend her days dreaming up stories where love conquers all, eventually, but not without a lot of peril, angst, and the occasional kissing scene. She loves swoony books, flip-flops, dark chocolate and the full moon.


Website: 
Twitter:  RConstantine14



Thursday, 23 April 2015

Review: Encore to an Empty Room by Kevin Emerson

Summer always wanted Dangerheart—the band of talented exiles she manages—to find success. Now that they've become an overnight sensation, her hard work is really starting to pay off.

So how come her life seems to be snapping like an old guitar string?

Maybe it's because part of her knows that college applications are due soon, but another part of her can't imagine leaving her life behind—especially when the band is on the verge of a record deal and her relationship is becoming something more than she ever dreamed of. And especially when there's a chance of finding another missing song written by the famous dead rocker who is also Caleb's father.

But are Caleb, the band's future, and the lost songs more important than college? Summer will have to decide. It's time to choose who she wants to be, even if that might mean kissing Caleb good-bye.

Filled with infectious music, mystery, and romance, this electrifying sequel to Kevin Emerson's Exile doesn't miss a beat.

Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books 
Series: Exile #2
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I requested this book from Edelweiss because I thought the synopsis sounded good and at the time I did not realise that it was a sequel in a series. In fact, it wasn't until I was reading it that I began to think that it may be a sequel. Why was that? Because it made absolutely no sense what-so-ever. You know how some sequels can still be read and enjoyed without knowing anything about the first book? Well this is not that book. The story and the characters were confusing and I couldn't relate to them. I found them boring and the plot was like nails on chalk board. Again this could be because I didn't read the first book so had no vested interest in the characters. Finally at 40% I had to give up on the book because I thought it was that bad and I didn't think it would be fair to rate it when I didn't know the whole story. Hopefully with the books read in the proper order it would be an enjoyable read but I question if that is possible from what I read.


About the Author
Kevin Emerson is the author of twelve novels, including Exile and The Atlanteans series. Kevin is a singer, drummer and guitarist and has played in bands since high school. He has toured across the country and in Europe and the UK, and now lives in Seattle, one of the best music cities in the world.

Connect with Kevin




Wednesday, 22 April 2015

Review: Invincible by Amy Reed


Evie is living on borrowed time. She was diagnosed with terminal cancer several months ago and told that by now she’d be dead. Evie is grateful for every extra day she gets, but she knows that soon this disease will kill her. Until, miraculously, she may have a second chance to live.

All Evie had wanted was her life back, but now that she has it, she feels like there’s no place for her in it—at least, not for the girl she is now. Her friends and her parents still see her as Cancer Girl, and her boyfriend’s constant, doting attention is suddenly nothing short of suffocating.

Then Evie meets Marcus. She knows that he’s trouble, but she can’t help falling for him. Being near him makes her feel truly, fully alive. It’s better than a drug. His kiss makes her feel invincible—but she may be at the beginning of the biggest free fall of her life.



Kindle Edition, 336 pages
Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Katherine Tegen Books

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 is April 28th 2015.

I did not realize at first however this is the second story of Reed's that I have read.  You can find my review of Damaged here . Once I made the connection I can now see how similar the two stories are in style.
This is one of those stories that is hard to review because there is simply so much going on.  The synopsis of the story only gives a portion of the plot away and I feel that if I spend any time discussing it that it could be seen as a spoiler or impact someone's outlook on the story.

The story starts out as advertised with Evie in the hospital battling cancer along with her other cancer patient friends.  This part of the story is very touching as it explores the close relationship that is forged between those who are in a similar situation. It is also very sad as some of these stories inevitably are.

It is what happens after Evie comes home from the hospital that has me a little bit conflicted.  I can honestly say that she was a horrible person.  Although I can't pretend to know what it would be like to come out on the other side of an illness that you are not supposed to survive I do know what it is like to come out of an illness that limited my ability to enjoy life.  I was grateful for those that helped me through it and I felt blessed that I had family and friends who had made sacrifices to assist me.  I never once took it for granted as Evie did. 

Ok...maybe I am judging.  Others would argue that she was suffering from survivor guilt.  That she did not feel worthy.  I get it.  What I don't get is how Evie could not take the advise of her dying friends last wish for her and that was to live large.  I really couldn't see any justification for how she treated anyone in her life.  It was downright vulgar.

I am going to stop here because this is the point where I risk giving away too much.  All I can say is that the story does not end here.  There is more to it than Evie surviving an illness that was supposed to kill her.  It touches on many other socially relevant topics.

Also...it appears that there will be a part two to this sometime later this year.  I am very curious how the story will progress as there are many different directions that can be taken from where it left off.  All I hope is that we have a kinder Evie as she was too much for my sympathy in this one.



About the Author

Amy Reed was born and raised in and around Seattle, where she attended a total of eight schools by the time she was eighteen. Constant moving taught her to be restless and being an only child made her imagination do funny things. After a brief stint at Reed College (no relation), she moved to San Francisco and spent the next several years serving coffee and getting into trouble. She eventually graduated from film school, promptly decided she wanted nothing to do with filmmaking, returned to her original and impractical love of writing, and earned her MFA from New College of California. Her short work has been published in journals such as Kitchen Sink, Contrary, and Fiction. Amy currently lives in Oakland with her husband and two cats, and has accepted that Northern California has replaced the Pacific Northwest as her home. She is no longer restless.

Website: 



Tuesday, 21 April 2015

Review: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Quinn Sullivan lost the love of her life when her boyfriend, Trent, died in an accident their junior year. In an attempt to get closure, she reached out to the recipients of his donated organs. Though some answered her letters, the one Quinn feels matters most--the person who received Trent's heart--has been silent.

Nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas has spent the last several years in and out of hospitals waiting for a heart transplant. Now that he's finally received a new heart, Colton is regaining strength, and he's walking away from his bedridden past with no intention of looking back. He doesn't want to know about the person who had to die so that he could live. He only wants to move forward.

But Quinn can't let it go. Venturing outside the system to find Colton, Quinn takes a risk in hopes of finally laying her memories to rest. But what begins as an innocent conversation quickly becomes an attraction--and to make matters worse, Colton has no idea how they're connected. His zest for life pulls Quinn from her months of sorrow but leaves her torn between honesty and utter betrayal. Because no matter how hard she's falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she's lost.


Kindle Edition, 304 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by Harper Teen 
Genre: Young Adult/ Contemporary

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from Harper Teen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book caught me by surprise a little bit. Despite of the fact that it is YA (and I am not) and it was somewhat predictable and a little cliche, I found myself really liking it. Not just liking it a little bit but liking it a lot. The characters drew me in and made me care and the story was exactly what I was in the mood for.

The story was about more than just finding the person who received Trent's heart. It was about learning to move forward and that it was ok to do so. It was about Quinn figuring out her place in the world without him. Of course, there were plenty of half truths, lies of omission and secrets to keep the budding relationship between Quinn and Colton very interesting.

In short, it was a very cute story and I flew through the pages. I really think that fans of YA/contemporary are going to like this one. It touches the heart strings in all the right places.


About the Author
Jessi Kirby is a writer for young adults whose first book, Moonglass, was named an ABA New Voices Pick. She is also the author of the novels In Honor and Golden. Jessi works as a middle school librarian in Orange County, CA, where she lives with her husband and two kids.


Connect with Jessi






Monday, 20 April 2015

Review: Paradise City by C.J. Duggan


There's bound to be trouble in Paradise . . .

When her parents decide a change will be good for her, seventeen-year-old Lexie Atkinson never expected they'd send her all the way to Paradise City. Coming from a predictable life of home schooling on a rural Australian property, she's sure that Paradise will be amazing. But when she's thrust into a public school without a friendly face in sight, and forced to share a room with her insipid, hateful cousin Amanda, Lexie's not so sure.

Hanging out with the self-proclaimed beach bums of the city, sneaking out, late night parties and parking with boys are all things Lexie's never experienced, but all that's about to change. It's new, terrifying . . . and exciting. But when she meets Luke Ballantine, excitingdoesn't even come close to describing her new life. Trouble with a capital T, Luke is impulsive, charming and answers to no one. The resident bad-boy leader of the group, he's sexier than any boy Lexie has ever known.

Amidst the stolen moments of knowing looks and heated touches, Lexie can't help but wonder if Luke is going to be good for her . . . or very, very bad?


Expected publication: April 28th 2015 by Hachette

Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher Hachette via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication data is April 28th 2015**

OMG....I have to wait until September to read the next in the series?!?!  That is simply cruel that I can't get my next fix of the drama that is Lexie's life until then!

It is safe to say that this story hooked me.  I will admit to being a little bit surprised, I expected it to entertain me but not as much as it did.  This type of story is a guilty pleasure for me however I usually keep my expectations tempered.  This story changed up the formula for me.

I am not going to give spoilers but I am going to give my thoughts on where I see this story progressing going forward. I do not know how many books this series will amount to however it felt like this inaugural story was setting up a framework for things to come.

The chemistry between Ballantine and Lexie was evident from the beginning and there verbal sparring was entertaining.  I eagerly awaited each moment they had together to see where it was going to go.  I also sensed some chemistry between Lexie and a certain other character and I feel that it is setting the framework for a future plot twist.  Do I sense a love triangle in the future?  It certainly appears that way and the relationship between the characters certainly adds to the drama factor. 

That is all I am going to say.  I would recommend this to fans of NA and YA although there is a bit of sexual content so YA audience be warned (so maybe not).  This story to me seemed to fit outside of the usual formula of the genre and I found that refreshing.  I also think that the story was framed in such a way that several instalments could be made and it would still be compelling to keep wanting to come back for more.  I personally can not wait until the next book is out so I can find out what happens.



About the Author


C.J Duggan is an Internationally Number One Best Selling Author who lives with her husband in a rural border town of New South Wales, Australia. When she isn't writing books about swoony boys and 90's pop culture you will find her renovating her hundred-year-old Victorian homestead or annoying her local travel agent for a quote to escape the chaos.

Website: 
Twitter:  CJ_Duggan



Sunday, 19 April 2015

Review: Every Last Promise by Kristin Halbrook

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson and Gayle Forman, Every Last Promise is a provocative and emotional novel about a girl who must decide between keeping quiet and speaking up after witnessing a classmate's sexual assault.

Kayla saw something at the party that she wasn't supposed to. But she hasn't told anyone. No one knows the real story about what happened that night—about why Kayla was driving the car that ran into a ditch after the party, about what she saw in the hours leading up to the accident, and about the promise she made to her friend Bean before she left for the summer.

Now Kayla's coming home for her senior year. If Kayla keeps quiet, she might be able to get her old life back. If she tells the truth, she risks losing everything—and everyone—she ever cared about.


Kindle Edition, 288 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by HarperTeen 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from HarperTeen via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

This book was a quick and easy read for fans of YA. Not only was it easy to get through but it also dealt with a very relevant subject. As I was reading I was reminded of numerous stories on TV that were similar. Some of them were on the news and others on those news magazine shows. I remember watching a few and getting so infuriated over the way an entire town could turn a blind eye simply because someone brings pride to their town, specifically when it comes to sports. This story tackled this subject in a relatively successful way.

The story is told in two different time frames, Spring and Fall/ before and after the accident. This is a style that I really like and keeps the pages turning. I found myself more drawn to the Fall/after because I really liked how it showed the way that the students could so easily ostracise Kayla because of one person and how that one person determined the way everyone acted and treated her. This is real and typical in high schools and small communities. I also liked how Kayla struggled with what to do. It is so easy when you are on the outside to say what is the right thing but when you are living it it's much harder. I feel that the author did a good job at showing this.

My really big problem with this book is with the synopsis. It tells too much of the story which ruined the impact that the book would have had. It would have been so much better had I not already known what Kayla witnessed before the accident. A reader would be way more riveted if they didn't know in advance particularly because of the way the book was layed out. I liked the book but I think I would have loved it if there was more of a mystery around what happened. Unfortunately because of the synopsis, too much of the story is given away.

My recommendation would be to read it without reading the synopsis and you will enjoy it a lot more. I try not to read them when I can but I had read this one and it did impact my enjoyment and my rating.



About the Author
Kristin Halbrook is the author of Nobody But Us. When she isn’t appeasing her sense of wanderlust, she lives in Seattle, where gray skies and good coffee make ideal writing conditions.



Connect with Kristin







 

Saturday, 18 April 2015

Review: Conspiracy of Blood and Smoke (Prisoner of Night and Fog #2) by Anne Blankman


The girl known as Gretchen Whitestone has a secret: She used to be part of Adolf Hitler’s inner circle. More than a year after she made an enemy of her old family friend and fled Munich, she lives with a kindly English family, posing as an ordinary German immigrant, and is preparing to graduate from high school. Her love, Daniel Cohen, is a reporter in town. For the first time in her life, Gretchen is content.

But then, Daniel gets a telegram that sends him back to Germany, and Gretchen’s world turns upside-down. And when she receives word that Daniel is wanted for murder, she has to face the danger she thought she’d escaped-and return to her homeland.

Gretchen must do everything she can to avoid capture and recognition, even though saving Daniel will mean consorting with her former friends, the Nazi elite. And as they work to clear Daniel’s name, Gretchen and Daniel discover a deadly conspiracy stretching from the slums of Berlin to the Reichstag itself. Can they dig up the explosive truth and get out in time-or will Hitler discover them first?


Hardcover, 416 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by Balzer + Bray
 
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 April 21st 2015**

I was pretty excited for this story as I had read the first in the series last year and had enjoyed it immensely.  Sadly I can not find the review I posted on my blog so I cannot post a link however it can be found on Goodreads.  Warning.....read The Prisoner of Night and Fog first.  This is not a story that can be read as a stand alone (well maybe however the impact would be much less).

One of the pitfalls of discovering a series at the beginning is that you have such a long wait between books.  This is what happened with this book and I found the first story coming back in bits and pieces as I read the second one. 

I really don't know what to say about this story that I didn't mention in the review of the first book.  I am a huge fan of historical fiction and wartime stories in particular that I was predisposed to be a fan of this.  I liked how fact and fiction were mixed in together to create this story.  Hitler was real, as was Gorring (sp?), and Churchill.  To have them as active characters within the story somehow makes them seem a little more than some names in the history books. 

The story of Gretchen and Daniel carries on in this instalment.  I do admit that I really did not feel their chemistry as much as in the first book.  I'm not sure if it is the plot or if it was intentional however I was hoping for a little more of a heart wrenchingly beautiful/tragic connection.  Maybe I was expecting too much?  My guess is that this will come to a climax in the next book.  Since we all know the story of WWII and Hitler I can only imagine the direction it will take.

Another plus for this story is that it is actually geared towards a little bit of a YA audience in my opinion.  Although it can be enjoyed all, it is nice to see a story in this genre that can appeal to a younger audience.  It can be a heavier subject matter and one avoided by the younger audience and I feel that this story can bridge that gap.

I look forward to the next chapter of this story!

 
 
About the Author
 

Anne Blankman may have been meant to be a writer because her parents named her for Anne of Green Gables. She grew up in an old house with gables (gray, unfortunately) in upstate New York. When she wasn't writing or reading, she was rowing on the crew team, taking ballet lessons, fencing and swimming. She graduated from Union College with degrees in English and history, which comes in handy when she writes historical fiction.

After earning a master's degree in information science, Anne began working as a youth services librarian. Currently, she lives in southeastern Virginia with her family. When she's not writing young adult fiction, she's playing with her daughter, training for races with her husband, working at her amazing library branch, learning to knit (badly), and reading.

Website: 
Twitter:  AnneBlankman



Thursday, 16 April 2015

Feature and Follow Friday #68

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 Week's Question:

Here is €/£/$100,000. Buy something. Anything at all! What would be the first thing you choose, and why? - Suggested by Journey Through Fiction

Terri's Answer:

This one is easy for me!  I have always said that if I won some money the first "luxury" item I would buy would be a Fendi purse.  Why?  I don't know but I have always said I will own one.  Although this is something that doesn't necessarily cost a lot of money I cant justify the cost of it unless I have some extra money that I didn't have to work my butt off to get.  Odds are I would probably buy Kristine one also!

Kristine's Answer:

The practical side of me would pay off my mortgage but the fun side would book a fabulous vacation that would hit all of the places on my bucket list. I guess because Terri would buy me a purse I would take her with me too. Hubbies can stay at home with the kids and fur babies. :)

What would you buy?

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: Finding Paris by Joy Preble

A page-turning, evocative novel for fans of THIRTEEN REASONS WHY and SPEAK, about a girl who must follow a trail of mysterious clues to discover what happened to her sister.

Sisters Leo and Paris Hollings have only ever had each other to rely on. They can’t trust their mother, who hops from city to city and from guy to guy, or their gambler stepfather, who’s moved them all to Las Vegas. It’s just the two of them: Paris, who’s always been the dreamer, and Leo, who has a real future in mind—going to Stanford, becoming a doctor, falling in love.

But Leo isn’t going anywhere yet… until Paris ditches her at the Heartbreak Hotel Diner, where moments before they had been talking with physics student Max Sullivan. Outside, Leo finds a cryptic note from Paris—a clue. Is it some kind of game? Where is Paris, and why has she disappeared?

When Leo reluctantly accepts Max’s offer of help, the two find themselves following a string of clues through Vegas and beyond. But the search for the truth is a not a straight line. And neither is the path to secrets Leo and Max hold tightly.


Kindle Edition, 272 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by Balzer and Bray 
Genre: Young Adult

Kristine's Thoughts:

I received an advanced readers copy from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Thank you!

I'll start with the positives of this book. It was an extremely easy book to get through and providing you have the time it can be done in one sitting. The writing was good which also made finishing the book quickly an easy thing to do.

But...

I wasn't a big fan of the story. It took on too much of the artificial feel just like the setting it took place in. The big turning point in the story was a very serious one but I didn't feel like it was really dealt with. It was glossed over without much result. Perhaps it is because of the demographic that this book is aimed towards but I didn't think that it really worked. I'm not sure if there was suppose to be a plot twist or a shocking turn in the story but I saw it coming a mile away. The persons name was mentioned way too many times throughout the story for it not to be obvious. I won't mention the other "shocker" for fear of giving out spoilers but it wasn't a surprise to me either.

My guess is that the younger readers of this genre may like the book a little better than I did. I just wished for a little more when dealing with such a serious and relevant topic.




 

About the Author
Joy Preble is a Texas girl who grew up in Chicago and a former high school teacher who now writes full time, which means she gets paid for making up stuff. No one has ever left her mysterious notes. She is, however, a fan of cross-country road trips. Joy is also the author of the Dreaming Anastasia series and the Sweet Dead Life series.


Connect with Joy



Wednesday, 15 April 2015

Review: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno


Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything—how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.


Hardcover, 384 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by Balzer + Bray

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 April 21st 2015.

I sit to write my thoughts about this story with mixed feelings.  There were times when I was truly invested in Molly's story and I was in her corner and then there were times when I felt she deserved everything coming to her.  I just couldn't support her the whole way through the story.

The beginning of the book was exactly what I was looking for.  A girl who had made a mistake and was coming back to face them.  I enjoyed watching Molly try to move forward and enjoy a new romance.  I thought this would be a story about growing up, moving forward and healing old wounds.

Wrong!  Halfway through the story it became clear that this was about a girl who had zero self control and whose actions were dictated by hormones alone without any regard for what was right or wrong.  This could have been pulled off if the focus was more on the emotional connections between the characters but alas it is not.  I really do not enjoy reading about someone who does not learn from her mistakes.

While the story does head towards a type of redemption near the ending it felt a bit too little too late for me.  I just really couldn't stand in Molly's corner as much as I tried.  I also could not see any appeal in Patrick as he seemed self centered and self serving throughout the entire story.

I just wish the story took a slightly different angle.  Its hard to stay invested when you can't support the leading character.



About the Author
     
Katie Cotugno went to Catholic school for thirteen years which makes her, as an adult, both extremely superstitious and prone to crushes on boys wearing blazers. She routinely finds herself talking about the romantic endeavors of characters on TV shows as if they actually exist in the world.

Katie is a Pushcart Prize nominee whose work has appeared in The Broadkill Review, The Apalachee Review, and Argestes, as well as on Nerve.com.

The great loves of Katie's life include child's pose, her little sister, and mozzarella and honey sandwiches. She lives in Boston (and in sin) with her boyfriend, Tom.


Tuesday, 14 April 2015

Review: Crushed by Lauren Layne

Lauren Layne’s latest novel about the healing power of redemption tells the story of a crush gone wickedly wrong, proving that what you want isn’t always what you need.

Growing up in New York, Michael St. Claire never expected to spend his twenties wearing cowboy boots. But that was before he learned about his real father, a total stranger with a family in Cedar Grove, Texas. Once in the Lone Star State, Michael meets Kristin Bellamy, who is exquisitely refined and everything Michael always thought he wanted in a woman. The only problem is that Kristin is dating Michael’s new half brother, Devon.

Kristin’s mouthy, curvy sister Chloe has always been in love with Devon Patterson. So when Michael offers to help Chloe break up Devon and Kristin, Chloe agrees to a deal that seems too good to be true. Before long, Chloe finally gets her man, only to make a startling discovery: She no longer wants the guy she had to fight for—she wants the one who stood by her side.

After all he and Chloe have been through, Michael swears he’s damaged goods. Can Chloe convince him that love is worth the risk?


Kindle Edition, 240 pages
Expected publication: April 14th 2015 by Flirt 
Series: Redemption #2
Genre: New Adult/Contemporary Romance

Kristine's Thoughts:

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

I read  Isn't She Lovely and Broken before reading this book although it can be read as a stand alone. Michael is a character that appeared in both of the previous books and we get to hear his story in Crushed.

I'm not going to re-tell the story. You can read the synopsis to get a good glimpse of what the story is about. What I will say is that Lauren Layne is fast becoming one of my favourite authors to read in this genre. I find myself looking forward to each new book with the knowledge that I am going to be left completely satisfied.

This book had the perfect combination of angst, humour, sex and incredible characters to keep me glued to the pages all night. When I say all night I mean straight through the night while the rest of the world was asleep so that I could finish it in one sitting. It was very easy to read with short chapters that alternated between Michael and Cloe which I loved. Although I liked Michael I have to admit that it was Cloe that did it for me in this book. I adored her witty and spunky personality and I loved the fact that she was a real woman in her physical characteristics. There were numerous laugh out loud moments when I was reading her chapters.

If you are a fan of this genre than this is a great and entertaining read. If you have never read a book by Lauren Layne then I ask why? What are you waiting for? You will not be disappointed just as I have yet to be. I can't wait to see what she comes out with next!



About the Author
Lauren Layne is the USA Today Bestselling author of contemporary romance.

Prior to becoming an author, Lauren worked in e-commerce and web-marketing. In 2011, she and her husband moved from Seattle to New York City, where Lauren decided to pursue a full-time writing career. It took six months to get her first book deal (despite ardent assurances to her husband that it would only take three). Since then, Lauren's gone on to publish ten books, including the bestselling Stiletto series, with several more on the way in 2015.

Lauren currently lives in Chicago with her husband and spoiled Pomeranian. When not writing, you'll find her at happy hour, running at a doggedly slow pace, or trying to straighten her naturally curly hair.

Connect with Lauren


Monday, 13 April 2015

Review: Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman


Caden Bosch is on a ship that's headed for the deepest point on Earth: Challenger Deep, the southern part of the Marianas Trench.

Caden Bosch is a brilliant high school student whose friends are starting to notice his odd behavior.

Caden Bosch is designated the ship's artist in residence, to document the journey with images.

Caden Bosch pretends to join the school track team but spends his days walking for miles, absorbed by the thoughts in his head.

Caden Bosch is split between his allegiance to the captain and the allure of mutiny.

Caden Bosch is torn.

A captivating and powerful novel that lingers long beyond the last page, Challenger Deep is a heartfelt tour de force by one of today's most admired writers for teens.


Kindle Edition, 320 pages
Expected publication: April 21st 2015 by HarperCollins

Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher HarperCollins via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is April 21st 2015**

I have never in all my life read a book that pitted my objective side so far at odds with my emotional side.  My emotional side will tell you that I did not like this book at all however my objective side will rave about the genius of capturing the topic at hand, mental illness, within its pages.

Let me address my emotional view.  While I really get what Shusterman was trying to achieve with the plot, and acknowledge its brilliance, it did not capture my imagination.  I literally had to stop myself from skipping ahead during all passages about the ship and the captain.  Maybe my imagination is lacking or maybe my thinking is so linear that I couldn't embrace what was being done with the story.  Regardless this made the story very dull for me

BUT...

On the other hand, the parallel between "real life" and Caden's mind were very intelligent.  It described how one can slip in to mental illness and how reality can be distorted.  In my case I appreciated this more after the fact than while reading.  As a very relevant issue within our society I feel it is important to shed awareness on all types of mental illness.  This story highlighted it from an insiders perspective.

To summarize I am no less conflicted than when I first started typing this review.  The actual plot was difficult for me to get in to and I found the story much longer than the 320 pages it claims to be.  On the flip side the fact that it was a difficult read for me would suggest that it accomplished what it set out.  Wouldn't it?  This is one of those stories that I suggest people form their own opinion as opposed to taking the word of others.



About the Author

Award-winning author Neal Shusterman grew up in Brooklyn, New York, where he began writing at an early age. After spending his junior and senior years of high school at the American School of Mexico City, Neal went on to UC Irvine, where he made his mark on the UCI swim team, and wrote a successful humor column. Within a year of graduating, he had his first book deal, and was hired to write a movie script.

In the years since, Neal has made his mark as a successful novelist, screenwriter, and television writer. As a full-time writer, he claims to be his own hardest task-master, always at work creating new stories to tell. His books have received many awards from organizations such as the International Reading Association, and the American Library Association, as well as garnering a myriad of state and local awards across the country. Neal's talents range from film directing (two short films he directed won him the coveted CINE Golden Eagle Awards) to writing music and stage plays – including book and lyrical contributions to “American Twistory,” which is currently playing in Boston. He has even tried his hand at creating Games, having developed three successful "How to Host a Mystery" game for teens, as well as seven "How to Host a Murder" games.

As a screen and TV writer, Neal has written for the "Goosebumps" and “Animorphs” TV series, and wrote the Disney Channel Original Movie “Pixel Perfect”. Currently Neal is adapting his novel Everlost as a feature film for Universal Studios.

Wherever Neal goes, he quickly earns a reputation as a storyteller and dynamic speaker. Much of his fiction is traceable back to stories he tells to large audiences of children and teenagers -- such as his novel The Eyes of Kid Midas. As a speaker, Neal is in constant demand at schools and conferences. Degrees in both psychology and drama give Neal a unique approach to writing. Neal's novels always deal with topics that appeal to adults as well as teens, weaving true-to-life characters into sensitive and riveting issues, and binding it all together with a unique and entertaining sense of humor.

Of Everlost, School Library Journal wrote: “Shusterman has reimagined what happens after death and questions power and the meaning of charity. While all this is going on, he has also managed to write a rip-roaring adventure…”

Of What Daddy Did, Voice of Youth Advocates wrote; "This is a compelling, spell-binding story... A stunning novel, impossible to put down once begun.

Of The Schwa Was Here, School Library Journal wrote: “Shusterman's characters–reminiscent of those crafted by E. L. Konigsburg and Jerry Spinelli–are infused with the kind of controlled, precocious improbability that magically vivifies the finest children's classics.

Of Scorpion Shards, Publisher's Weekly wrote: "Shusterman takes an outlandish comic-book concept, and, through the sheer audacity and breadth of his imagination makes it stunningly believable. A spellbinder."

And of The Eyes of Kid Midas, The Midwest Book Review wrote "This wins our vote as one of the best young-adult titles of the year" and was called "Inspired and hypnotically readable" by School Library Journal.

Neal Shusterman lives in Southern California with his children Brendan, Jarrod, Joelle, and Erin, who are a constant source of inspiration.


Website: