Thursday, November 29, 2012

And By The Way by Denise Deegan (A Butterfly Novel)

And by the Way by Denise Deegan
Kindle, The Book Depository, Indiebound
At Strandbrook College, we are Kids Of. Kids of diplomats, media stars, musicians, artists, actors, oh, and wealthy people who aspire to all of that. I'm the kid of a rock star. Means nothing to me. When Mum died, six months ago, I didn't just lose her, I lost my dad - to work. The only thing he does now is annoy me. He hires people like 'The Stylist' who wears bullets in her belt and makes him look like a hobo. Seriously. But 'The Rockstar' isn't the only person who drives me mad. There's David McFadden, a guy in my class who could have helped but didn't. Now, it's too late. I don't want his help. Because I'm not going to trust anyone, love anyone, rely on anyone. That way I'll never be hurt again. If only I could solve the problem of Rachel, my best friend, who won't let me pull back just like that. Even David McFadden won't stay out of my face. But I'm not going to fall for his blue eyes, his windswept hair or the plaited leather on his wrist. And when he says he wants to help, I'm sure as hell not going to listen...

The author of this book, Denise Deegan approached me to read her three novels when I got a chance and I agreed because 1) She was extremely polite in asking me 2) Worked really hard at getting me the novels because for some reason since she's in Ireland and I'm here, she can't gift them to me from Ireland. Some Amazon Law. 3) And it's set in Ireland. I haven't read a YA novel set in Ireland.
So, I started it on the holiday weekend, and I couldn't put it down! Alex, the main character is broken and jaded and angry and expects nothing but to be let down for the rest of her life. When she lost her mother, she lost everything. "The Rockstar" as she calls her dad behind his back, hired a chef, a security guard (not like the ones that walk around the mall), and sent her to a shrink. She closed herself off from everyone but her Gran and Homer, her dog. Her philosophy is, if you don't care about someone, then losing them won't hurt so bad. But she's got two best friends, one a bit smarter than the other and she's wise to what's happening. Shaking her isn't too easy. And then there's David McFadden, the American that she's paired up with for sailing class and who makes her actually laugh. But she can't laugh, because that would mean forgetting her mother.

Alex is caught between honoring her mother's memory and needing desperately to move on. She's so afraid to move forward because if she let's herself be happy, she's afraid the world will rip that happiness away from her again. This is one of the most emotional and well written YA novels I've read this year, and you know I've read a lot. I was reading with my throat constricted trying not to cry in the car. I didn't want to have to explain it was over a book. But this is just not any book. This is a cathartic book about losing someone, letting go, moving forward, remembering, healing, loving, just about any emotion you could have, you'll feel. Alex does indeed have a romance, but she has a lot of mending fences too. I think the relationship between her and her father is what got to me the most. God did I let loose when I was home in my bed with my tissues and my pillow. Denise Deegan can wring the emotion right out of you until you're just a mess.

Alex is so well written and so complex. You know why she reacts to things the way she does and you understand but you're hoping for her to change a little earlier than she does. But she does put her big girl panties on in the end. Her father, he grows up from someone we don't know at all and kind of hate to someone we understand and feel for and empathize with. Some of Alex's friends we like, some we may not. David, God love him that boy was amazing. And we got to see all the different sides of him that made him who he is. So yes, the characters were very well developed as was the story line. 

You know that little percentage at the bottom of your e-reader that tells you how much of the book is left. Let's just say I was sweating this one out until the very last few percentages!
I really don't know where this book has been hiding except it came out in 2011. I'm sad it's over as I feel like I could read about Alex forever. But I have two other books about her best friends called And For Your Information and And Actually.

Another note, there is some Irish teen slang in it that was fun to read. It didn't take long to figure out what it meant, but it was fun to learn some new words and how the teens over there speak to each other. Not much different from here, they just use different words. That just upped the enjoyment factor on this fabulous novel. I'll be diving into And For Your Information very soon!

Thanks to Denise Deegan for the free copy of And by The Way for review. She'd like anyone interested to know that you can get a review copy from her if you'll do a review. Just contact her at :
deegancommunications@gmail.com
Facebook
Blog
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You won't be sorry if you read this novel. Denise Deegan is a well seasoned author in Ireland, she's just trying to cross the Atlantic!

Heather

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday is a meme started by Jill at Breaking the Spine and is a great way to show what books we are dying to get our greedy little hands on in the coming weeks, months, year. Below is my choice.


SPYGLASS BY PHOEBE NORTH

PUBLISHED BY SIMON AND SCHUSTER
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE JULY 23, 2013 (assuming the Mayans are wrong)

The author has a rather lengthy comment on the Goodreads site about Terra, the main character that gives some insight into her and what is going on on the spaceship.

Goodreads Synopsis-
My darling daughter,

Know that I never would have left the Earth if it hadn't already been doomed. . .


The generation ship Asherah coasts through space, bound for a planet its passengers have never even seen. On the eve of their arrival, sixteen-year-old botanist Terra discovers that her orderly society has fractured. Walking home one night through the long-abandoned engine rooms, she witnesses the murder of an innocent man. Now, called on by the Children of Abel, a group of rebels intent on destroying the High Council, Terra must prove her mettle--assassinate the ship's rising captain. In order to carry out her task, Terra must betray her father, deceive her teacher, and challenge everything the Council has ever taught her was true. 

The rebels think that Terra has nothing left to lose. But when she falls for Silvan Rafferty, the boy that she's meant to kill, Terra learns that "doing your duty" isn't always as easy as it seems.

Also if you'd like to check out the "Lucky 13s" the novelist that have their debut novels coming out next year, here is their website. It's a huge list of MG and YA authors! So much to look forward to and I can't wait!

Now what are you waiting for? I'd love to know!

Heather

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The Handler and The Scribe Novellas from the Mind Jack Series by Susan Kaye Quinn Review

The Handler by Susan Kaye Quinn (Mindjack Origins #2)
 Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords,
Goodreads Summary
It's time for Julian Navarro to fulfill the mission left to him by his dead parents: to spark a revolution that would allow mindjackers to live freely in a mindreading world. While his ability allows him to mentally control the instincts of others, Julian wants to win jackers to his cause with words, not weapons. But when his first recruit has a secret--and bloody--history, Julian has to decide how far he'll go to ensure his revolution isn't snuffed out before it starts.

The Handler is a short novella (9,000 words or 30 pages) in the Mindjack Origins series, which are companion stories to the bestselling Mindjack Trilogy. The Handler is Julian's story and takes place in the time period between Open Minds and Closed Hearts. It contains (minor) spoilers for those two novels.

The Handler started off a little choppy to me, probably because it's been awhile  since I've read Closed Hearts, but it fell into place pretty quickly. In the Mindjacking world, where this new ability has just been outed, one can never be too careful. There are so many abilities out there that even Julian doesn't know about and it's hard for him and his sister to protect themselves from every threat they can imagine. What he doesn't expect is the beautiful desperate girl that comes through his door disarming his sister without even jacking her. And try as he might, he just can't get a read on her, it's like trying to grab a hold of a slippery fish with greased hands. And then his recruit he was expecting, the one that is skittish and ready to run shows up. And Julian has to make a decision, one that he'll probably have to make time and again in his new revolution. He just wasn't expecting to have to make it on the very first day. This is a fast paced novella that gives you a glimpse into the way things started before Kira joined the group. It gives some background information on how Julian chose and who he chose and why. In any case, it's a great little piece of fiction in the series to hold you over until the third book FREE SOULS comes out! 


The Scribe  (Mind Jack Origins #3)
by Susan Kaye Quinn
Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Smashwords
Goodreads Summary:
Twenty-three-year-old Sasha is in search of a mindjacking Clan that won’t force him to use his unique skill—he can’t face the prospect of erasing any more souls. A revolutionary Clan leader offers him a chance to serve a higher purpose, but Sasha’s wary that it’s only a trick to use his ability. When a beautiful female jacker seeks refuge with them, and her former Clan leader wants her special skill back at any cost, Sasha has to decide if there are any causes worth the cost of using his ability one more time.

The Scribe is a short novella (12,000 words or 40 pages) in theMindjack Origins series, which are companion stories to the bestselling Mindjack TrilogyThe Scribe is Sasha’s story and takes place in the time period between Open Minds and Closed Hearts. It contains (minor) spoilers for those two novels.

Mindjack Trilogy (novels): Open Minds, Closed Hearts, Free Souls
Mindjack Origins (shorts): Mind Games, The Handler, The Scribe 


Recommended Reading Order
Mind Games (prequel short story to Open Minds)
Open Minds
Closed Hearts
The Handler
The Scribe
Free Souls
 - coming soon

Now this is Sasha's story and he has the most incredible power I've ever read. I'm not going to tell you what it is. His name "The Scribe" might give you some indication but it is a powerful thing and any of the Clans would want him. But he's escaped to Julian. He wants to never use his "power" ever again. It takes a piece of him every time he uses it and he's used it so many times under his old Clan leader who basically raised him. Now that Clan leader is back and he wants the helpless girl that's just fled to Julian. As Arlis, the Clan leader lays seige to Julian and Sasha's new base of operations, Sasha has to war with himself, can he use his power for good instead of evil and at what cost to him? Will he stay sane if he uses it this time? 
I'm not really sure what Sasha's power does to him, but it's painful for him as well as his victim. Maybe because he's a good soul who's been forced to do so many wrong's. But I think he also has to see all the wrong's the person he is working on has done and it's painful and he gets afraid that he'll get lost in the craziness. But you'll have to see how he ends up and who helps him. This is a story I really wanted to read because once you read about his "talent" you don't forget it. He will stick with you in Closed Hearts. Most everyone will. I loved this story and seeing him find his peace and safety. Another excellent tide over until FREE SOULS comes out!

For more information, see MindjackTrilogy.com

I highly recommend this series if you haven't started it. The first novel kind of sneaks up on you with it's storyline. The second novel will blow your bangs back and have you falling on your butt with all the action and the storyline. I was crying at the end. Lots of drama at the end. I don't know what to expect in the third one, except for mind blowing action and storylines and hopefully some cheering. It's a very fresh breath of air as far as story lines go. The language is updated for the future-things are mesh instead of cool and the technology is very interesting and probably not far off. You're missing out if you don't read this series!

Heather

Monday, November 26, 2012

Sappire Blue by Kerstin Gier Review

Sapphire Blue by Kerstin Gier translated by Anthea Bell
Amazon, Kindle, Audio Book CD, Audible Audio book Barnes and Noble, Indie Bound
Goodreads Summary:
Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
 
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.


******THERE ARE SPOILERS FROM THE FIRST NOVEL RUBY RED IN THIS REVIEW AND IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THAT ONE GET ON IT! YOU'RE MISSING OUT ON A GREAT STORY!************

So Sapphire Blue picks up right as Ruby Red left off and Gwen is confused by Gideon's actions as any girl would be. Here she thought he was in love with cousin Charlotte and now he's kissing her in a church no less. And she's kissing him back! Until that damn Gargoyle starts talking to her. Now not only can Gwen see ghosts but she can see Gargoyle ghosts, demons cursed to live in the bodies of gargoyles. But he does help her quite a bit, helping her spy on the secret society which though she is a time traveler and it involves her, she is not privy to the information. And more importantly she's interested in what goes on between Gideon and her horrible cousin, Charlotte.

I will say right now, there is no way you can't like Gwen. Just like you can't hate Charlotte. They are polar opposites. Gideon, well the jury is still out on him but the last few pages of the book leads me to believe I will eventually love him. This is a book full of mysteries, time travel with two rogue time travelers that  have one of the time traveling machines. They go back and forth in time trying to thwart the attempts of Count St. Germain to do something wrong. But they have no one on their side to help them. Except the secret society believes Gwen somehow is convinced by them somewhere in time to help them. If they only knew what we know about them, they'd be even more wary.

Gideon starts to suspect something when he's injured in what should have been a simple trip to the past and the last face he saw was a smiling Gwen. It doesn't help that Gwen has been secretly meeting with her grandfather in the past trying to make sense of things that happen in the future coming back reeking of cigarette smoke. Every day, they must go back into the past at least four hours to keep from doing it spontaneously in the middle of somewhere in the wrong clothing in the middle of danger. So they have a safe room for them to elapse into. That's what Gwen has been doing but then she's been venturing to her grandfather's office to meet up with him. Until Gideon decides he'll start elapsing with her and that ends the conversations with grandpa.

Are you confused? It actually isn't hard to understand at all. It's the simplest time travel novel I've ever read, steeped in mystery, romance, history and betrayal. I can't tell you how happy I was to get this novel  from my friendly UPS man that doesn't even ring the bell anymore since my dog is doorbell enough. It is translated so completely flawlessly that nothing is awkward or sounds unusual. 

I am such a huge fan of this series. The books have such beautiful covers. They are reminiscent of the period dresses that Gwen gets to wear when she goes back to the past. I think I'd like to be in her shoes, except for the teen angst. Oh and I forgot to mention the comic relief, Xemerius. He time travels with her from the past by latching on and then helps her when her cousin tries to embarrass her, hangs upside down from chandeliers, constantly asks for a dog. He is a great break in the tense lessons she has to take when people call her "stupid child" while grilling her about 18th century politics and teaching her the dances of the period.

If you haven't read this series, I really suggest it to anyone. It' fairly chaste, just some kissing, and absolutely a lot of fun. Gwen is not a shrinking violet. She will not play the fool and she doesn't bow down to anyone just because she's female. I really love her and her mental retorts if only she'd say them out loud! Now to wait until next Fall for the next book. YIKES!

Heather

Monday, November 19, 2012

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill Review

Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound
Goodreads Summary:
Meant to be or not meant to be . . . that is the question. 
It's one thing to fall head over heels into a puddle of hazelnut coffee, and quite another to fall for the—gasp—wrong guy. Straight-A junior Julia may be accident prone, but she's queen of following rules and being prepared. That's why she keeps a pencil sharpener in her purse and a pocket Shakespeare in her, well, pocket. And that's also why she's chosen Mark Bixford, her childhood crush, as her MTB ("meant to be").
But this spring break, Julia's rules are about to get defenestrated (SAT word: to be thrown from a window) when she's partnered with her personal nemesis, class-clown Jason, on a school trip to London. After one wild party, Julia starts receiving romantic texts . . . from an unknown number! Jason promises to help discover the identity of her mysterious new suitor if she agrees to break a few rules along the way. And thus begins a wild goose chase through London, leading Julia closer and closer to the biggest surprise of all: true love.
Because sometimes the things you least expect are the most meant to be.

I loved this book! Julia, better known as "Book Licker" is as straight as they come. She follows all the rules whether it's unpack your suitcase as soon as you arrive or always carry a map with you. She's sure to follow them. I understand her need for order, her need to please, therefore follow the rules. I liked her even though I know some people had complaints about her. It takes a lot of time and effort to follow all the rules that society, school, parents, friends etc have laid out. So is it any wonder she hasn't had much fun and she's so uptight and let's face it, a little angry. If she let's go then she might unravel, and who would she be without all her rules to keep her in line. I think she was a little scared to let go, to find out who Julia really was. 

So she gets paired with Jason. He was endearing at times, but also a jerk. His actions were a little more erratic and confusing. He takes Julia to a party and then abandons her. Julia hasn't had enough to drink to really let go yet, so she's able to shake off the unattractive and offensive boys. But then as the night wears on, she's able to pretend she's someone else. And she loves not being "Book Licker". And that's when she gives out her number to so many boys she can't remember who the boy is that is texting her on the "only to be used for emergencies" phone provided by the school trip organizers. Jason takes advantage of that situation, something she expects and says he'll help her win him over if she writes their reflection papers. What ensues is a week of chasing the mysterious Chris around the streets of London trying not to get caught while Julia breaks the rules and finally learns to have fun. I see a lot of character growth in her since the story is told from her point of view and it's great to see. She let's go of a lot of preconceived notions and barriers she has and opens up to new possibilities that don't limit her.

But Jason starts out acting like a five year old and pretty much remains a five year old, getting out of trouble with his charm, a smile or a kiss. I see no character growth in him, no real change in him and he really did need to grow up. There were plenty of opportunities where he could have stepped up and been a grown up, but he just never showed that kind of character. I realize it's fun to act childish and there was a lot of alluding to why he acted that way so it would have been nice if he had gotten some closure or part of his issues "fixed" so he could have grown up a wee bit.

The story line was fun and different. I'm not saying there isn't another story out there like it, but it felt fresh and fun to me and it was a great contemporary romance. Julia learned a lot and not from the guide books. And in the end it was maybe not the lightest of romances I've read, but definitely fun.

I received a copy of the novel from NetGalley for review. I was not compensated for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

Heather

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Book Signing with the YA Muses You know them Find out who they are!

The YA Muses
So in late October there was a writing workshop down here in Charlotte. I would have loved to have attended, but I could not afford it. The panel of writers was a great group of writers, one of the only writing blogs I follow regularly. Who are they? The YA Muses! Veronica Rossi, Talia Vance, Katherine Longshore,
Donna Cooner and Bret Ballou! I bet you recognize some of those names. The only one I didn't meet was Katherine Longshore, she wasn't able to make it.
So, want to see the pictures? Here ya go!


From the top left going clockwise Veronica Rossi with her book Under The Never Sky.
Me with Donna Cooner author of Skinny (I later found out she doesn't like to be hugged, oops)
Talia Vance with her book Silver and a necklace with a replica of the cover. She has a new book (not the sequel yet) coming out in June called Spies and Prejudice from Egmont.
And the last picture is one of my favorites of Donna Cooner and Bret Ballou. You can see Donna's book Skinny in the foreground. Brett isn't published yet, but he is sure to be published soon. You can't read his blog posts and not realize his talent. I've read some things he left out of novels and they were really good, so I can't wait to read what he does leave in a novel.

The authors were at a huge library in Uptown Charlotte that is not only a library, but a children's theater and has a great studio where families can go together and make films and videos or music to bring stories alive.

The signing was sponsored by Park Road Books one of the very few independent book stores still around in Charlotte.

I cannot tell you how wonderful it was meeting everyone! Donna Cooner and I discussed the frustration at the larger bookstores placing her FICTION book in the NON-FICTION SELF HELP section of the Teens section in the book store. No one is going to find it there. It's not self help!

Then Bret and I talked about what he had going on. He was working on something that he just had to let go of but now it sounds like he's got something he's really happy with and maybe we'll see in a couple of years. (You know how the publishing biz goes.)

This was a really exciting event for me and my youngest son talked to a couple of the authors about writing as well. He's a writer himself (he'll probably be published before me) and they answered his questions with such patience. He keeps asking me when the next book signing is. At least I finally have someone willing to go with me!

I really hope you'll check out the YA Muses Blog sometime. They always have great reviews, updates about their books, guest posts and writing tips. And sometimes there are pictures of pets and even Bret's cute baby.

Thanks Muses for coming to Charlotte. Next time, I'm coming to the seminar with a manuscript!

Heather

Friday, November 9, 2012

Surrender by Elana Johnson Review and Giveaway with AToMR Tours


Surrender by Elana Johnson
Amazon HardcoverPaperbackKindleBarnes and NobleIndiebound
Goodreads Summary:
Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…
Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.
All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque...

********May Include Spoilers if You have not read POSSESSION*********************

Well, I feel like two completely different authors wrote Possession and Surrender. While Possession posed so many questions and had things that just didn't sit right or make sense, Surrender reads smoothly and continuously with the viewpoints alternating between Gunner and Raine, two characters not seen in Possession. I love that kind of narration as I love to hear the male POV, but this one wasn't quite as much about feelings. There was a lot of action, but this is a book mainly about hiding out, mind control, who knows what, and stealth.

Raine is someone I instantly liked. She defies the most powerful person in Freedom, somewhere we know from Possession is the place we are most likely not inclined to want to go if we were to be gifted. But Raine is gifted and her talent leaves her drained and shamed when she is forced to use it. So she joins a resistance group to defy the man that makes her do this and thumb her nose at the authorities. She wants freedom. Her match is her best friend, but like a brother to her and she finds herself falling for Gunnar despite trying hard not to. I liked Raine for her spunkiness, her know how to fight the system and her empathy for Vi.

Gunnar, well, let's see. He loves his mom so much that he leaves before her memory can be wiped of him when he shows up on the Director's list of talented kids that he wants to recruit. He has "sick" skills on a hoverboard and he is empathic as well as having techno skills (can control technology with his energy or voice) and has a very compelling voice. And when I say compelling I mean he can make you do anything. He's one of the good guys though and doesn't want to brainwash people. He feels the same way about Raine as she does about him even though he's matched to Starr, someone he feels nothing for.

Then there is Violet who is a shell for most of this book and Zenn, her escort and informant for most of this book. Violet has been brainwashed and her memory wiped by Raine (she was forced) so that she doesn't remember Jag. Zenn, for his own reasons, keeps her in the dark.

This entire book is about relationships, the resistance, escape, Raine's memories and what she sees happening if people get what they most desire. It's about hiding out, planning a revolution and not knowing who to trust. Stolen moments, stolen memories, regaining those memories and how a song or a smell can bring back those memories.  

This novel was really well written. It was so different from the first novel. I enjoyed it a lot and can't wait for the novella coming out  Regret and the conclusion (I think) Abandon. There is also a short story available on Goodreads for download called Resist.

Author Links:

Social Media links: Blog: http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com
WriteOnCon: http://writeoncon.com

I received a copy of this book for review from the author. The opinions expressed in this review are my own. I was not compensated for this review.

Thanks to AToMR for arranging this tour and allowing me to be a part of it. I've found a great new series!

Here are the other blogs participating in the tour:




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Thursday, November 8, 2012

Possession by Elana Johnson Review and Giveaways AToMR Blog Tour

 Possession by Elana Johnson
Amazon Hardback,Paperback Kindle, Barnes and Noble, IndieBound, Simon and Schuster
Goodreads Summary-
Vi knows the Rule: Girls don't walk with boys, and they never even thinkabout kissing them. But no one makes Vi want to break the Rules more than Zenn...and since the Thinkers have chosen him as Vi's future match, how much trouble can one kiss cause? The Thinkers may have brainwashed the rest of the population, but Vi is determined to think for herself.
But the Thinkers are unusually persuasive, and they're set on convincing Vi to become one of them...starting by brainwashing Zenn. Vi can't leave Zenn in the Thinkers' hands, but she's wary of joining the rebellion, especially since that means teaming up with Jag. Jag is egotistical, charismatic, and dangerous--everything Zenn's not. Vi can't quite trust Jag and can't quite resist him, but she also can't give up on Zenn.
This is a game of control or be controlled. And Vi has no choice but to play.

Wow! Where to start. I am a character lover first and foremost. If I can't get behind a character, well I'm probably not going to like the book. So this book presented a bit of a problem for me. The majority of the people we run across are villains, plain and simple. You know them, they always have the power. But Vi has some pretty natural power of her own that she never knew she had and from the very moment she was probably born, she's been manipulated. She gets arrested for taking a walk with her "match" Zenn who is in Special Forces training. Does he come to her aid? No, he steps back from her as if he is trying to hide out. (Excuse me while I cross out some negatives in the books as I just put two pieces of the puzzle together). Vi is pretty straightforward. What you see is what you get. It's just that she has no idea that she has any kind of special talents so when she uses them, she doesn't realize she's used them. 

Anyway she gets locked up with-wait for it remembering she's been arrested for walking in the park with a boy, her government chosen "match"- again, she gets locked up with a BOY! And not just any boy, but a really bad boy. From the badlands. He's a baddy. (yes the book does use that word often). So there's a toilet in the corner and she's stuck with a boy. I found that part a bit hard to swallow when the government preaches no touching even between mother and child. But they don't mind her taking her clothes off and doing her business in front of a "baddy." As I'm reading my notes, and I had a copious amount of them, I'm finding they make sense now that I've read the complete novel. So I'll just say hang in there. I wondered why there are twice as many guards around Vi than Jag, just read further into the novel.

Jag was okay, but only just. He kept ditching Vi at crucial moments. She saved his butt busted him out of jail only for him to get miffed that she called him different and he leaves her wandering around in the woods trying to make it out of the city into the badlands so she can be free. When she shows up two days later he's all excited to see her. He says he looked for her but I'm not buying it. Later he says he loves her, but when all things point to her betraying him, he quickly believes that's exactly what she's done. So quick to not trust her. And Jag cries. Sobs I believe the word was used. I cannot take my hero sobbing. I can take a tear or two, but not sobbing. Especially over something that happened a long time ago. So I'm not team Jag.

Zenn, oh Zenn. You sound gorgeous you traitorous bastard. Giving gifts and kisses and all the time using  Vi for one purpose or another. And then not even going to her aid when they arrest her for walking with him when he made the date. Jerk! I cannot tell who's side he is on. First he seems to be on one side then the other. His eyes are glazed over and that means he's being controlled, then he'll break through and you see the guy you thought he was. But it's so hard to figure out.

 With all the mind control and gifted and non gifted and more powerful and less powerful, it got confusing reading the story. I wrote on page 204 "I have no idea what's going on." But I never stopped reading. It's fascinating. Mind reading, manipulation, reading technology, wiping memories, that is all such fascinating territory to me so I absolutely loved it. I eventually found my way back.

So, the novel is not without it's problems, lots of what? And overuse of words or phrases-baddies, perfect white teeth- but none of it was enough to make me not finish the novel. In fact it was a fast read.  And yes I would recommend it highly. Tomorrow I will review Surrender the second novel and I can already say that the problems I had in the beginning with the first novel aren't in the second.

Heather
I received a copy of this novel for a fair and honest review. I was not compensated for my review. The opinions expressed are my own.

If you'd like to get in touch with Elana Johnson here are her links below:

Social Media links: Blog: http://elanajohnson.blogspot.com
WriteOnCon: http://writeoncon.com
Here is the link to the other blogs participating in the blog tour:


And here is the Giveaway!









Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Flutter by Gina Linko Review

Flutter by Gina Linko
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble, Indiebound
Goodreads Summary:
All Emery Land wants is to be like any other 17-year-old—to go to school, hang out with her friends, and just be normal. But for as long as she can remember, she’s suffered from seizures. And in recent years they’ve consumed her life. To Emery they’re much more than seizures, she calls them loops—moments when she travels through wormholes back and forth in time and to a mysterious town. The loops are taking their toll on her physically. So she practically lives in the hospital where her scientist father and an ever-growing team of doctors monitor her every move. They’re extremely interested in the data they collect when Emery seizes. It appears that she’s tapping into parts of the brain typically left untouched by normal human beings.
Escaping from the hospital, Emery travels to Esperanza, the town from her loops on the upper peninsula of Michigan, where she meets Asher Clarke. Ash’s life is governed by his single-minded pursuit of performing good Samaritan acts to atone for the death of a loved one. His journey is very much entwined with Emery’s loops. Drawn together they must unravel their complicated connection before it’s too late.

Well, this started out really interesting. Emery is in the hospital having seizures when she sleeps in which she visits the past or the future according to her. It's been happening all her life. It's how she knew her mom's childhood dog lost his leg in a car accident when her parents told her mom it lost it to cancer thinking it more humane. Her mom didn't even know this information. But dad, dad is a scientist and can't find the science behind this theory. What's worse, mom is dead and there is no one to protect Emery except herself, which isn't very easy. There is a team of doctors and none of them believe her "loops" as she calls them. When she took a book light with her and left it there, she came back and didn't have it with her. This isn't given any notice by the doctors, the "team".  What spurs Emery into action is when her father starts discussing removing a part of the skull from the "subject", not even daughter anymore. And the fact that her best friend, the one that she used to think was the only one that believed her stories, made fun of her and admitted to not believing her story. Anger and desperation sends her to Esperanza, a town one little boy that she keeps seeing in the loop says to her.

Then the story gets weird to me. It stops making much sense to me. A boy named Ash is there and she has some kind of instant connection to him, but she pushes him away, almost angrily and irrationally. There are a lot of coincidences in Esperanza. Things that were in her loops appear there. But the one thing I couldn't buy was the relationship between Ash and Emery. It was the only thing that made the story off for me. And considering where the loops were leading her and what they were doing to her, that was the fate she was born to? Why be born at all?

I know some may think what a beautiful love story and it is a story of redemption and she finally gets some happiness. But I just didn't like the way it seemed that even as a little girl she seemed to be born to lead her to Ash to go through the loop.

I didn't like Emery as a character. She was wishy washy about Ash. Even when she knew she liked him, she pushed him away. I understood her loops were weird and hard to explain, but considering everything, she had nothing to lose. And Ash, remained an enigma the entire first three fourths of the books. I felt like we needed to know them rather than have them stumble over their past pain and regrets and not understand them for such a long time. I will say, Gia, the best friend that lost her belief in Emery did redeem herself. And the townspeople of Esperanza were absolutely wonderful, warm hearted, generous, protective people. I'd love to know the people that protected Ash and Emery and took care of them.

In all, I thought this was an odd story. I didn't buy the romance so it left the story kind of lacking for me. I do think teens will find it enjoyable and probably have an easier time suspending belief when they read this story. It's a very clean read.

Thanks to the publishers Random House for an e-ARC of this book through NetGalley. I did not receive any compensation for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Heather

Monday, November 5, 2012

Alibi Omnibus by Twist Literary Review and Giveaway



Today I'm proud to be hosting the AToMR blog tour of ALIBI featuring all four of the short stories in one book. Each book has a totally different author and is written from a different character's point of view. This is a new type of reading experience that TWIST LITERARY has tried out with this series. Each book, Charles, Palmer, Mason and Rowan are published individually as well and then later it came out as a full book. I personally would have loved to have read the book as short stories had I known about them because time is always at a premium for me, I'm sure for you, too. So you can read the short version each month or wait for the full version. I prefer the shorties. 
You can find more information and contact Twist here:
Twitter@TwistLiterary
Alibi by Twist Literary
Spring Valley's golden girl is found floating face-down in her boyfriend’s pool, hands bound behind her back, head bleeding, drugs and alcohol in her system. Her friends are the only suspects – and they all have reasons to want her dead. Everyone has an alibi, but no one is innocent.

ALIBI is a 4-part young adult e-book series. Each one-hundred page installment reveals the perspective of a different character: the secret love, the nemesis, the boyfriend, the best friend. As their tales unfold, we learn that Abby is not as perfect as everyone believes, but she’s not the only one with secrets to hide. This page-turning tale of suspense, betrayal, murder, and lust will keep fans of Gossip Girl and Pretty Little Liars up and reading well past curfew.

This was the kind of book I've been looking for the past few months. It's a YA contemporary, but I'd say definitely on the upper end of YA as there is a lot of sexually explicit scenes. That being said, they fit in with what was going on and I didn't think they were overdone or too graphic. Just a warning before you let your 13 yr old read it.

The first book, Charles opens with him being questioned in the police station. We aren't sure why he's the main suspect. But we learn all about what he's been doing through his confession to the police. What he does and does not say. But Charles doesn't know everything. He thinks he's the only one with things to hide, like juggling several girls at once and having a relationship with his cousin's girlfriend.

On to Palmer. She's poor, but smart and she wants a ticket out of Spring Valley. She's gorgeous, but has a reputation and has the biggest secret that could blow the Governor's campaign to smithereens if she reveals it, but it also means she's got the most to lose. She's holding out on Charles, while she seems to be chasing after Mason. A fight with Abby, Abby who planned the whole event for the Governor's campaign that night is not out of the question.

On to Ace, or Mason. We don't know how he got the nickname but he doesn't seem like an Ace at anything. He seems oblivious to what's right under his nose, but we learn what we see isn't what we get with him. His relationship with Abby isn't exactly what he desires and what better way to get rid of her for good?

And finally Rowan. Mousy, stand behind everyone and watch things happen Rowan. She's Abby's best friend, but they really have nothing in common. Only once do they go anywhere or do anything without a boy with them and still it's to meet up with the boys. She's very smart, computer whiz, mechanical whiz and she knows how people act. She learns by watching and knows a lot more than she lets on.

So, what happens? I thought I wasn't going to learn who killed Abby, but I did and man, cold hearted. But the other things I learned about the characters that they themselves revealed about themselves and the others was really interesting. Take Charles, I thought I knew everything about him when he was remembering all his time in the past three months before Abby's death, but he forgot to mention a lot! So we get it from someone else's story. And when something happens in one story that is left unfinished, it gets finished in another story so nothing is left hanging.

One problem, Palmer's story has her and Charles meeting before school starts for the year. Rowan's story has them meeting after school starts for the year. That was the only inconsistency I found which is pretty good considering four different authors wrote the books. And the other thing I would have liked was to see how things worked out after everything was figured out. Maybe a little epilogue. There was a romance I was really interested in and I'd liked to have seen if justice got served. 

The character developments are great because you get to see how they see themselves as well as how the other characters see them. You see them in their element and outside their comfort zones and how they handle those situations. You see their motivations, but it still doesn't give you a clue as to who did what until the author wants you to know. Any of them could have done it. All of them had reason to do it. Abby herself could have done it. You just don't know. Lots of lies, two faced people, back stabbing, manipulation, it was fantastic. Twist literary has another series getting ready to start and I'm putting it on my TBR! I highly recommend this series!!

And if you'd like to follow the tour you can go to AToMR to see the full list of participating blogs.

And for the Giveaway
Twist Literary develops innovative e-books for YA readers, bending traditional storytelling in unexpected ways. Twist introduces the edgy world of its characters, full of secrets, sex, and scandal. It provides an exciting new platform for up-and-coming voices in YA fiction.
Twist Literary develops innovative e-books for YA readers, bending traditional storytelling in unexpected ways. Twist introduces the edgy world of its characters, full of secrets, sex, and scandal. It provides an exciting 
Twist Literary develops innovative e-books for YA readers, bending traditional storytelling in unexpected ways. Twist introduces the edgy world of its characters, full of secrets, sex, and scandal. It provides an exciting new platform for up-and-coming voices in YA fiction.
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