Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike Review

Earthbound by Aprilynne Pike
Available NOW
Hardback 338 pages
Razorbill 
Personal Copy
To Buy Links-
Amazon/ Kindle/ Audible/ Barnes and Noble/ 
Book Depository/ Indiebound/ Kobo

Goodreads-  Tavia Michaels is the sole survivor of the plane crash that killed her parents. When she starts to see strange visions of a boy she’s never spoken with in real life, she begins to suspect that there’s much about her past that she isn’t being told. 

Tavia immediately searches for answers, desperate to determine why she feels so drawn to a boy she hardly knows. But when Tavia discovers that the aunt and uncle who took her in after her parents' death may have actually been responsible for the plane crash that killed them--and that she may have been the true intended victim--she flees for the safety of Camden, Maine, where the boy she sees in her visions instructs her to go.

Now, Tavia is on the run with no one to trust. No one, that is, except for her best friend and longtime crush, Benson.

Tavia feels torn between the boy who mysteriously comes to her at night and the boy who has been by her side every step of the way. But what Tavia doesn't know is that the world is literally falling apart and that to save it she will have to unite with the boy in her visions. Only problem? To do so would mean rejecting Benson's love. And that's the one thing Tavia Michaels swore she'd never do.

Review

They do say better late than never right? I read this as soon as it came out but I'm just now reviewing it. Sorry, for that because it's a great novel, the start of a new supernatural/paranormal series that I really loved! First there is a unique sort of romance. Well, there is a triangle of sorts but, not really. You can tell where Tavia's interests lie.  As always, the book blurb is totally misleading. I'll clear it up.

Tavia has been the only survivor of a plane crash. In order to avoid publicity, her aunt and uncle keep that secret and she is not allowed to contact her friends at home. She is in New Hampshire, home is Michigan. Benson, her crush, is something that has developed just over the last few months as she's been visiting the library. He helps her with her studies as she is basically homeschooling herself. So it's not like she's liked him since the fourth grade or anything, in fact, it has only been a month since she finally came clean about who she actually was and that she realized she was falling for Benson. But now, there is this strange boy that disappears right in front of her, who dresses in period costume and feels like he's someone she should know, someone she misses. And she's not sure if she should tell anyone about him or keep him to herself. There, I should have written the blurb.

Tavia, is a unique character. She is orphaned, broken-both physically and emotionally, damaged. All of a sudden she starts seeing this boy in period costume and these silver symbols on buildings. Is she being stalked? Is she just seeing things? Or, from the strain of everything, is she losing her mind? Tavia (rhymes with cave not mauve thank you author for working that into the book) is cautious in not jumping to conclusions. She has a therapist that she talks to, but everything in her urges caution with this boy. She was headed to an art school interview with her parents when the plane crashed and so she hasn't been able to even doodle since then. Everything she loves has been ripped from her in that plane crash. Everything familiar has been taken from her. Even her hair from the brain surgery they did and a little act of frustration on her part is foreign to her. She looks in the mirror and doesn't know who she is anymore. But this is not a young woman that feels sorry for herself. She wonders why she survived. How she survived. But she doesn't feel sorry for herself. She walks to the library despite her limp. She does her schoolwork at the library. That's where she met Benson, he's a library intern. She walks to physical therapy. She goes to therapy. She endures bloody and graphic nightmares. All without complaint. She really tries to feel connected and grateful to Reese and Jay the only relatives she has left. And then this weird boy comes into her life and everything she's known since the accident begins to unravel. And still, Tavia plays it smart. Except for one major mistake. And it makes all the difference.

To say that Tavia is a well developed character is understated. From every limp to every doodle to every thought, you understand every thing about her. Benson, as somewhere between a main character and a secondary character is a little murky. You don't know if you can trust that he's on Tavia's side as it becomes clear that there are sides. And then there are Reese, Jay and Elizabeth, Tavia's therapist. They all seem to want her to get better, have her best interests at heart, but there is a question again about their loyalty.

There is non-stop action after a certain point and it's hard to keep up. The supernatural element is one that is unique. The boy that Tavia is drawn to is explained believably and what might be construed as a love triangle goes away. The ending is a brutal battle between Tavia and her foes and it isn't completely clear who survives and who doesn't, except, well, Tavia or there wouldn't be a series. But that isn't the end. There is one more chapter that sets up the next book. No cliffhangers, (Thank You) but great potential for the next in the series. I cannot wait for the next book!!

There is a great romance in this, history, action, mystery and a fabulously unique supernatural element I haven't seen in my previous reading in YA. The writing is to the point with enough detail for you to picture where you are and what's going on and the characters' state of mind, but leaves you room to fill in the blanks.


Find Aprilynne Pike Online -


And BTW Aprilynne Pike is testing out the Google Glass Glasses and she has a great post about it on her blog. I happened to go to a signing where she was wearing them and she looked like she was incredibly smart and from the future. I'm thinking she is probably incredibly smart. But not from the future, just her ideas :)


Monday, October 28, 2013

Just One Year by Gayle Forman

Just One Year by Gayle Forman
Available Now
Hardcover 323 pages
Personal Copy
To Buy Links-
Amazon/ Kindle/ Audible/ Barnes and Noble

Goodreads-  The heartrending conclusion—from Willem’s POV—to the romantic duet of novels that began with Allyson’s story in Just One Day

After spending an amazing day and night together in Paris, Just One Year is Willem’s story, picking up where Just One Day ended. His story of their year of quiet longing and near misses is a perfect counterpoint to Allyson’s own as Willem undergoes a transformative journey, questioning his path, finding love, and ultimately, redefining himself.


I totally gushed and gooed over Just One Day. It is one of my all time favorite books. It was life changing for me. So, Just One Year had a lot to live up to. Did it meet my expectations? Yes and no. 

I loved reading Willem's point of view, learning about what shaped him and about his family. I wouldn't have realized his depths from reading Just One Day. But to know he was using Allyson as an escape in a way from facing something painful in his past made him less carefree and hipster backpacker and more real. This was absolutely an in depth study of who Willem is and who he became as he spent his one year becoming and growing. In a way, he spent the year after Allyson finding himself just as Allyson spent her year after him, not only looking for him but also finding herself.

The ending. That's what it all boils down to, doesn't it. That ending. For me I could have had it go on forever. But the parallels between Willem and Allyson's lives and Willem's parents lives was a great addition to the story and kind of cemented the ending. I think it really was just enough. What more  was there to tell. And I loved the reference to our favorite rocker Adam Wilde!!

Of the two, Just One Day was the better novel. I can't put my finger on why but for me it was. I think it's more about the way it spoke to me as opposed to the story it told. 

In any case, I totally recommend it and both books. Incredible stories, both of them and so memorable.
You'll never forget these characters.




Thursday, October 24, 2013

The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #2) by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Traitor (The Iron Fey: Call of the Forgotten #2) by Julie Kagawa
Available October 29th
Harlequin Teen
Paperback 352 pages
Received E-ARC for review through NetGalley
TO BUY LINKS-
Amazon/ Kindle/ Barnes and Noble/ Indiebound/ Book Depository/ Kobo

Goodreads-  In the real world, when you vanish into thin air for a week, people tend to notice. 

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for-his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again. 

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all. 
Review

So, I'm just going to chalk my reaction to The Lost Prince up to the fact that I couldn't imagine a Fey book without at least Puck and Ash in it and I didn't like Ethan's sulky, whiny voice. Because my opinion of this book is totally different. It isn't fair to expect the characters in these books to be anything like the characters in the original or first generation- Ash, Puck and Megan. And they aren't like them at all.

Again, Ethan is pulled into the world of the Fey when Annwyl shows up at his house searching for Kierran. She is fading and she is desperate to see him one last time before she does.  Ethan, with a bit of a hero complex and because Kierran is his nephew agrees to help. He's got some ideas. Ethan, with the help of Kenzie, is a tad less defensive, a tad less sulky and whiny. I could not stand the "Poor Me" attitude he had in the last book. Ethan, your a dude, suck it up and get over yourself. You have to deal with faeries. Other people have to deal with mental illness or cancer. We've all got our problems. Move on! Seriously I almost stopped reading it. But Kenzie seems to have given him a reason to lighten up. He even laughed in this book. And seemed to understand Meghan a little more. 

The book is told from his point of view completely but it's got some humor in it and the sulk is lightened to a bearable level. It doesn't hurt that Ethan is falling in love with Kenzie and everything looks a little better as long as she's there. And it also helps him empathize with Kierran and his desires to help him save Annwyl since Kenzie herself has her own clock that is ticking down.

Kierran is hard to understand. I know he wants to save Annwyl and he feels a certain debt to the Forgotten. But so many times in the novel he seems to have that "Ash" face, cold hard stare, blank face. On Ash I understood it. He was winter fey and that was him warring with duty and desire. But with Kierran, hmm, maybe the same thing? I don't' know but he has the "Ash" face (my words not Kagawa's) a lot in this novel. You expect him to be a traitor just because of that. He shuts off. And in the end, he'll do anything to save Annwyl. And he thought he was in trouble with his parents before!

I am not going to spoil it by telling you who all is involved but if I say chaos and mayhem you might know who joins them on a quest to get Annwyl's banishment revoked. Yep, you probably guessed right.  The addition of that certain someone also adds to the fun of the book. I hate to think I have to have him in the book to make me like it, but I do think I liked it more because he was in it. What's more, a certain Ice Boy, showed up for a rather huge battle. You can just feel his power even now through the pages when he enters the fray. He is unbeatable.

There are all kinds of betrayals and twists and battles and oh, the betrayals. Did I say that? That Summer Queen. Ugh! And then such an unexpected one...well not so much but you just can't believe it. And a cliffie? Seriously? But yeah, there is a rather large one. Very disappointed by that. Like we need a cliffie to read the next book.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen for the E-Arc through NetGalley. I was not compensated for my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Just a note for those that order from Amazon. For some strange reason, the price of the paperback at the time of my writing this 10/23/ is $5.99, cheaper than the Kindle. So you might want to order it rather than purchase the Kindle. I have no idea how long this will last.

So in case you didn't know how to seek out Julie Kagawa you can find her here-



Tuesday, October 22, 2013

The Faerie War Blog Tour by Rachel Morgan Review and Great Big Giveaway


Oh, I guess all good things must come to an end. So I suppose if the Creepy Hollow series has to end, it goes out with a bang and I get to be one of the first ones to read it!!  It's been no secret that I have loved this series for it's unique characters, it's incredibly fresh take on Faerie and what they do- protect humans from nasty fae attacks. This series started as a set of novellas and turned into three full length novels with a companion novel explaining the world of Creepy Hollow. I'm sad to see it end, but I'm sure Rachel Morgan has something equally entertaining and fresh waiting just around the corner!

The Faerie War (Creepy Hollow #3) by Rachel Morgan
Available Now
Paperback 242 pages
Received e-ARC from Author for review
To Buy Links- Amazon US | Amazon UKBarnes & NobleApple iBookstoreCreateSpace print

Goodreads- The fate of the fae world is in her hands ...

Violet Fairdale is in big trouble. Her home is gone, her beloved forest lies in ruins, the guy she gave her heart to has deserted her—and she doesn’t remember any of it. The powerful Lord Draven is taking over, brainwashing guardians into fighting for him. No one is safe from the evil spreading throughout the fae world.

As alliances are forged between the remaining free fae, Vi struggles to reclaim her identity and figure out where she belongs in this new world. When someone from her past shows up, life gets even more complicated. He brings with him a long-forgotten weapon and an ancient prophecy that places Vi at the center of the fight against Draven. With the future of the fae world at stake, can Vi carry out the prophecy’s instructions before it’s too late? 


Review
All of the Faerie Realms are in a state of destruction. The Guilds are destroyed the Guardians brainwashed into working for Draven. And Violet Fairdale is being held captive by the Reptiscilla, the fae she once hunted as a Guardian herself. But she doesn't remember any of it. She has no memories. And she isn't sure if someone did this to her or if she did it to herself. The only thing from her past that she has is a note in her pocket from someone that says he had to leave without saying goodbye but he would return soon. And his name "Ryn".

Ryn in the meantime is on what he considers a pointless mission to find something for Vi's father, some ancient artifact needed to kill Draven. But he believes his search is in vain. The landmarks just aren't there and they are so ancient who's to say they haven't disappeared completely. Until he practically falls into the entrance to the cave.

And the rest of the fae? The ones that haven't fallen to Draven's brainwashing? They are in a secret location building allies with the other fae preparing to make a stand.

This is definitely more action than the other two books in the series. Vi has no memory for most of the book and in fact only accidentally runs into Ryn who rescues her and Jamon, the reptiscilla she's been hiding out with. Ryn, is patient and kind, trying to help her remember him, but never pushing her, however, there is work going on in the lab to fix a potion to bring her memory back when they ascertain she took a "forget" potion. 

In the meantime Vi has to figure out who she is. The author does something really interesting with her main character in this last book. Vi grows, but she softens and allows for some mistakes, some humanity, some emotion to show through. All the things you'd think would make your character weak, it makes Vi vulnerable and I think I like her most in this book. I finally realized how gruff and removed she was in the previous two books. But in this one, even though she doesn't know who she is, she'll accept a challenge from Ryn when they are in a rough situation because she thinks that sounds like something Vi would do. But the need to be the best, one up someone, have the best time, that girl is gone. Her walls have dropped and she is a much nicer, kinder person for it. She notices more, she loves more, she feels more. It makes her a better guardian and person. She needs that when she finds out what caused the destruction of the Faerie Realms.

Ryn, is changed. His playfulness is gone. Times are serious. His mother is missing and even though he's found Vi, she doesn't remember him. Did she want to forget him? And how will they beat Draven? He has the power, the numbers and the magic. They only have one weapon and very little to go on to find the one that can deliver the death blow. But Ryn is a never say never kind of guy and he thinks outside of the box. If you were ever to get trapped in a dungeon for five days separated by a brick wall from someone for, hope it's Ryn. Just sayin', he'll keep you entertained....

I have loved this series and I'm so sad to have it end, but there were some amazing twists throughout the whole series and this one as well that made it so fresh. I love Rachel Morgan's spin on Faerie and I really can't wait to see what else she has in store for the future. This is a definite must for lovers of Faerie Tales.
Probably a PG-13 book. Maybe just PG.
The Creepy Hollow Series

I received a copy of this novel from the author for review.


  Rachel Morgan was born in South Africa and spent a large portion of her childhood living in a fantasy land of her own making. After completing a degree in genetics, she decided science wasn’t for her—after all, they didn’t approve of made-up facts. These days she spends much of her time immersed in fantasy land once more, writing fiction for young adults. When she isn't writing, she's reading (duh!), catching up on addictive TV series, and baking things that almost always include chocolate.
Rachel's Links

Rachel is hosting a Huge Giveaway so make sure to sign up below and follow the tour!

This is the jewelry!
And the books!

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Monday, October 21, 2013

Blog Tour- Surrender and Lantern and Poison by Rhiannon Paille (The Ferryman and the Flame Books 1 and 1.5) Review and Giveaway



Today the Ferryman and the Flame Tour stops by my blog for a review and a giveaway. Last month I reviewed 0.5- Skeleton and Dust in the series that told the creation myth of the Flames and laid the foundation for the villains and the High King Tor. Confused? I'll help you out in my review.

Surrender (The Ferrymand and the Flame #1) 
By Rhiannon Paille
Available Now
Received copy for review for blog tour
Paperback 402 pages
To Buy Links-

Goodreads- How far would you go to save everything you ever loved? 

Kaliel was warned about her love for the Ferryman. One day he will marry the land and leave Avristar forever. She doesn't listen, and because of what she is-- a Flame-- one of nine apocalyptic weapons, she sparks a war. In a desperate attempt to save her home and her love, Kaliel tries to awaken Avred, not knowing she may have to make the ultimate sacrifice.



Review
*****SPOILER ALERT THIS IS THE COMPLETE RUNDOWN OF THE FIRST NOVELLA IN THE SERIES. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND IT TO UNDERSTAND THE FIRST BOOK. I'M EXPLAINING IT IN CASE YOU WERE AS LOST AS I WAS AT THE BEGINNING OF SURRENDER UNTIL I FIGURED OUT WHAT WAS GOING ON*************
So let me get you caught up to date. In Skeleton and Dust, Kaliel named Aria, was created with the other Flames, gemstones that are actually Apocalyptic weapons meant to destroy the Valtayana. The were created by Tor, the only one of the twelve kings and queens of Avrigost that didn't not become power hungry and corrupt. Without him the kings and queens cannot have complete domination. They destroy every land they pursue him to and in Skeleton and Dust he is determined to stop them. So he takes some special sand that he can sift his body through and goes to a volcano and creates the deadly flames. But one turns out to be a girl, Aria. And she speaks for the other flames. And when the time come for war, she speaks for the flames and declares that they do not want to fight a war for the inhabitants of this island that have fled in cowardice. In the end though, the flames fight, but without Aria. She has fallen in love with the Ferryman, the one who takes the dead to the otherside. And he loves her. His name is Kallow. But Aria is the ultimate weapon and when she checks on the Flames and Tor she sees them losing. She and Kallow hug and stare into each others eyes while she rains down the stars onto the land and destroys everything. When Tor emerges from the lake where he has taken refuge, he finds the flames in their stone forms and as he had promised Aria, he gathers them to give them real lives, scattered throughout the world. He also finds the Valtayana turned to dust, each a different color. He collects each one in a different leather pouch to entomb for eternity for safe keeping. But there is no sign of the Amethyst Flame, no sign of Aria, the Kaliel, and no sign of Kallow. And that is Skeleton and Dust in it's entirety.

Now I explained that to you because I had to go back to it half a dozen times to figure out what the hell was going on in the beginning of Surrender. Kaliel is there but she isn't a Flame. Yet, Tor's old mate is there, much older. And there is a boy Krishani who seems to be linked to Kaliel but his name isn't Kallow. And neither of them have retained memories of their past. But then Tor promised to give all the Flames new lives and even though he couldn't find Kaliel/Aria, that seems to be what she's gotten. And Kallow as well, though he is now known as Krishani. However, Krishani is destined to marry the land as is Kaliel and serve the people of Avristar. But the two of them have kind of mixed up magic. It fails time and time again. And then they meet and fall in love and it seems that their kind isn't known to have those kinds of feelings. And then when it is discovered that Kaliel is a Flame all sorts of measures are taken to make sure she is hidden because she has prophetic dreams telling her the other flames are being taken or dying and they are sure that Crestaos is coming for Kaliel. She is by far and away the most important of the Flames.

And then it is discovered that Krishani is to be the next Ferryman, releasing the souls of the dead and there is no way they can be together for he can't keep her safe. And in one act in rebellion, the two do something that reveals her location to anyone and everyone and bring war to the shores of Avristar. Kaliel is so concerned about making sure Krishani not getting killed that she is willing to sacrifice herself to Crestaos and Krishani is so worried about Kaliel not sacrificing herself that he is willing to get killed by Crestaos. There is a very climactic ending and it will leave you waiting for the next book.

This novel is probably better for 16 and us crowd and definitely lovers of fantasy. Like I said, I had to refer back to the first novella to get what was going on. But once I understood, I moved right along. The world is built very well and the love story between Krishani and Kaliel is very sweet.


Lantern and Poison (The Ferryman and The Flame Untold Stories Novella 1.5)
By Rhiannon Paille
Available Now
Purchased
To Buy Links-

Goodreads- This is SURRENDER from the villain's POV. 

Hadwen is no more. The Daed have no choice but to travel to Avrigost to awaken Crestaos. They're thrown into a whirlwind quest for the Flames, not knowing how ruthless and sadistic Crestaos can be.


Review

So it's always interesting to read from the villain's point of view, but this isn't exactly the villain's point of view. It's just what the villains do during Surrender. You don't get to hear Crestaos thoughts which I'd really like to know. I think he's slightly crazy. But maybe there is some plan to his madness. It does show how they capture the Flames they do and what happens to them. Nothing very nice. It is interesting to see the dynamics between the various followers of Crestaos. There is definitely some dissension among the ranks.

Again definitely for the 16 and up crowd. I purchased this copy for review.





And for the giveaway-



Friday, October 18, 2013

Blog Tour- The Art of Letting Go by Anna Bloom Review and Giveaway















The blog tour for Anna Bloom's New Adult Romance The Art of Letting Go (the Uni Files) is stopping by Buried in Books today. I have a review for you and there is a giveaway at the bottom of the post. I wasn't originally on the tour, but after I read an excerpt of the book, I just had to read it! You can follow the rest of the tour stops HERE! There is a little information about Anna Bloom at the bottom of my review as well.
Here we go!
The Art of Letting Go (The Uni Files: Year One)
by Anna Bloom
Available Now
e-book 393 pages
Received a copy for blog tour for review
To Buy Links-
Kindle U.S./ Kindle U.K./ Goodreads

About The Art of Letting Go (The Uni Files- Year One):
One year. One woman. One Diary. One question: can you ever stop history from repeating itself and if you could what would you do to stop it? When Lilah McCannon realises at the age of twenty-five that history is going to repeat itself and she is going to become her mother—bored, drunk and wearing a twinset—there is only one thing to do: take drastic action.

Turning her back on her old life, Lilah’s plan is to enrol at university, get a degree and prove she is a grown-up.

As plans go, it is a good one. There are rules to follow: no alcohol, no cigarettes, no boys and no going home. But when Lilah meets the lead singer of a local band and finds herself unexpectedly falling in love, she realises her rules are not going to be the only things hard to keep.

With the academic year slipping by too quickly, Lilah faces a barrage of new challenges: will she ever make it up the Library stairs without having a heart attack? Can she handle a day on campus without drinking vodka? Will she ever manage to read a history book without falling asleep? And most importantly, can she become the grown-up that she desperately wants to be.


With her head and her heart pulling her in different directions can Lilah learn the hardest lesson that her first year of university has to teach her: The Art of Letting Go?


Review


 Today I am sharing with you the first honest to God New Adult Romance that I can get behind and say that if you don't read this book/series you will miss out on an incredibly witty, romantic, steamy love story that puts most other romances in this category to shame. Candace is always sending me emails saying "I think you'll like this one" as she gets me and my tastes. She is never wrong. She sent me this one and I said no because October has been the month from hell. But then I read an excerpt somewhere and I was hooked. So I asked to join the tour, because sometimes, you just know a book is meant for you. The Art of Letting Go was meant for me. I hope you love it as much as I do!

Lilah is such a fun character! She is funny, unaware of her finer qualities, very aware of her faults and seems to know quite a bit about Taylor Swift songs. She has just quit her job at the bank making gobs of money to become a student at the University and she finds herself living with teenagers at the age of 25. She believes she might have made a mistake until she meets Ben, the lead singer of the band playing at the "Fresher's Ball." After having broken some of her "rules" Lilah thinks:

"My life could be lived to a Taylor Swift album right now. If my life was ever made into a movie that is all there would be: Taylor Swift belting away in the background a song for every day that I sit here on my bed....She would croon about all sorts of teenage love and angst." (loc.1196)

Lilah keeps a journal so we can read about her escapades and feelings. She's stubborn. She is noble. But she also gets in her own way. She tries to do the right thing but it's really hard to say if she is doing the right thing. She definitely shows character growth, especially at the very end. She has proven that she can act like a grown up in some ways.  She is laugh out loud hysterically funny. And April 14, because she writes in a journal and it is a journal entry, made me cry. I hope that Lilah has grown up enough to follow that question mark!

Ben, oh Ben! Who doesn't love a man who cooks for you, loves your "squidgy bits", fireman carries you home after you've had too much to drink, and sings "Hey there Delilah" to you since that is your name?" Ben gets Lilah. He loves her soul deep never caring about running down her face, night after makeup or that she can't cook. He doesn't care that at 25 she's still not a grown up. Ben love Lilah, all the ugly parts and the beautiful parts and the inbetween parts. And he doesn't cheat on her, or ever give up on her. He does this one thing, this one grand gesture, it is so amazing and any man that would do that for me, he would have my heart for as long as he wanted. It has nothing to do with singing to  her, which he does. Nothing to do with romantic dates, which he does well. It is the most caring thing I have ever seen a man do. He's also funny and dishes it right back to Lilah. They are a perfect match.

Lilah makes great friends with Meredith in her dorm and she becomes friends again with her twin brother whom she has shared a flat with for years but has never really liked. These two characters serves as sounding boards for her and support when she needs it. She even has parents to whom she isn't speaking for most of the book as her father has disowned her for leaving the job at the bank he got her and going to Uni.

So why do you ask am I so besotted with this book? First Lilah, she's someone that I understand. She isn't sure of herself. She's not stick thin and beautiful and just doesn't know it. That is not her. Also she isn't a genius. No, if she's going to pass Uni, she's going to have to do a lot better than she's done this year. She's spent most of the year stalking, ogling, and obsessing over Ben. And then there was the drinking. I don't think you have it all figured out at 25. But I love that she followed her instincts to leave a job she hated and tried something new. And it led her to something amazing-Ben and new friends. And I love that she didn't knuckle under to pressure to go back to the job she hated when her father threatened to take the flat away that she and Tristan shared.
I loved her sense of humor, her honesty at least with herself and her compassion.

Yes, there was sex. Lots and lots, but it happens off the page, never described and it isn't needed for the story to work. That's why it's good. There is a real story here, not just sex with some words written around it. There are parents involved, both Lilah's and Ben's. The main characters are not broken individuals. No, they are pretty much everyday people who might have some insecurities, but nothing like what I think most NA has in it. There are no tragic pasts. The drama is pretty low key. What more can you ask for? It is truly a compelling novel and I need the next book in the series right now! The ending leaves you with a small, smidge of hope. But one book was not enough of Lilah and Ben so I am glad there will be more!



So would you like to know more about this amazing author that has finally broken through my New Adult lockout?

Anna Bloom-




Anna Bloom is a contemporary romance writer who writes about life as it happens. Combining a busy schedule of looking after two small children whilst working in a local school and completing The Uni Files series she also spends a lot of time imagining kissing hot guys – all in the name of her art.



Find the author: Website/Blog | Facebook | Twitter | GoodReads




And for the 
Giveaway: 
Sapphire Solitaire Necklace (open worldwide)
One prize package for US and one for the UK:
candy, ebook, signed post card and a $20 gift card (£10 UK)


a Rafflecopter giveaway



Thanks to CBB Book Promotions and Anna Bloom for the copy of the novel for review!

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Double Vision- Code Name 711 (Double Vision #2) by F.T. Bradley Review and Giveaway

Double Vision-Code Name 711 (Double Vision #2) by F.T. Bradley
Available Now
Publisher HarperCollins
Hardcover 256 pages
Received from Publisher for review
To Buy Links-
Amazon/ Kindle/ Barnes and Noble/ Book Depository/
Indiebound/  Kobo

Goodreads Synopsis-  Washington, DC. Where spies are everywhere. Lincoln Baker is just a regular kid. Okay, so he had this one undercover mission in Paris and, sure, he might have saved the world, but that's ancient history. He's done being a junior secret agent for Pandora.

The trouble is, Pandora isn't done with him. They've received a threat on the president's life from an agent named Dagger. Now they want Linc to go to Washington, DC, to protect the first daughter, Amy. As if that's not enough, George Washington's legendary coat, rumored to make its wearer invincible, is missing. Pandora needs to find it before Dagger does. Unfortunately for Linc, his by-the-book agent nemesis, Ben Green, is already on the case.

With Amy's help, Linc will have to dig deep into the history of America's first spies to beat Ben at his own game and stop Dagger before it's too late.

This is a blog tour and you can find the other blog tour participants here.

Review

This is the second book in the Double Vision Trilogy, called Code Name 711. At the end of the first book Double Vision, Linc is coming home from a friend's house after having played a video game and he sees a familiar dark SUV parked at the end of his street. Code Name 711 picks up there. Linc is going in as a double for Ben Green again. Two secret agents are better than one and kids can go places adults can't. Plus it will confuse people to see Ben/Linc in two different places. So Linc, ever the schemer, comes up with a plan for him to go on a field trip for Junior Achievers to go to DC so mom and dad and especially Gramps won't be suspicious.

Stuff starts on the plane and doesn't end until the very last pages. Linc and Henry, the gadget guy who is also twelve, are paired up again. Henry has made some great gadgets for Linc and Ben, but Linc and Ben have already had a falling out. The mission, which was explained in a secret room in the Whitehouse with the members of Pandora, including Linc and Ben, is to find another Dangerous Double, George Washington's original coat which makes the wearer invincible. And to save the First Family from being killed. Yes, serious mission.

First, the President is a woman! Thank you F.T. Bradley. Second, and I forgot this in my review of Double Vision, Linc is paired with another girl, Amy,the first daughter, and without her, he would never get his mission off the ground. Ben and Linc make a bet that each one will find the Dangerous Double first. The adults are looking for the assassin. Ben only needs his Junior Secret Agent manual and takes off. Linc goes to Henry and gets his and Ben's gadgets and then meets Amy who takes him to various places to get his mission going as he doesn't know much about George Washington, spies or Washington DC. I love the fact that Amy is not a tag along, but an integral part of his investigation and search. Without her, he would not have any leads. And they do some risky things and use being children as an advantage. It's non stop action again. And an unbelievable ending!

And then there's the setup for the next book..... It should be good!

I'd recommend this series to reluctant readers, both boys and girls. It's an adventure, action book. There's some rivalry between Ben and Linc. It's a good, clean story and goes pretty fast, but there is never a dull moment. Linc is an extremely believable and likable character.

I received a copy of this novel from the HarperCollins for review. The opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Find F.T. Bradley
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Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Double Vision by F.T. Bradley Review and Giveaway

Double Vision by F.T. Bradley
Available Now
Publisher: HarperCollins
Hardcover 256 pages
Received copy of book for review
To Buy Links-
Amazon, Kindle, Barnes and Noble/ Book Depository/
Indiebound/ Kobo

Goodreads Synopsis-  Fans of 39 Clues and Artemis Fowl will enjoy the fun, fresh thrill ride through this humorous, action-packed adventure from debut author F. T. Bradley.

In the trilogy opener, twelve-year-old Lincoln Baker finds himself in a world of trouble! First, Linc’s seemingly harmless prank on a school field trip ends in expulsion and a lawsuit. Then two mysterious figures from a secret government agency called Pandora show up at Linc’s house with a proposition for him.

Turns out Linc looks exactly like one of Pandora’s top kid agents, Benjamin Green, who vanished while on a critical spy mission in Paris. If Linc agrees to take his place, they’ll get him back in school and make that costly lawsuit disappear.

But the mission is a lot more complicated than it seems. A highly valuable copy of the Mona Lisa has gone missing and now Linc must make sure it doesn’t fall into the wrong hands. Too bad Linc isn’t a black belt math genius who can run a four-minute mile like his double, Ben, because he’ll need those skills to make it out alive. . . .

Review

So this is a highly entertaining spy novel in which the spies are twelve and thirteen year old kids thrown into a spy mission and a mystery without a clue about what's going on or how to solve it. But first, before I talk about that, I have to share with you about Lincoln Baker. I think F.T. Bradley has been spying on my 13 yr old son. Linc, as his friends call him has what his friends parents call "Linc Disasters" and they are not allowed to go with him on his "exploring" on field trips. And truly, I don't think Linc wants to do anything wrong. He is just a curious boy. Who might be in need of some medication. Here is what Mrs. Valdez says before they get off the bus at the chicken farm at "o'dark thirty" as Linc says.

"And Lincoln."That's me.   "Yeah-I mean yes, Mrs. Valdez?""Can I count on you to behave?" She gave me one of those death- ray looks.  Mrs. Valdez had reason to be worried."
I won't spoil the fun of finding out what he did but suffice it to say he caused some major trouble on two other field trips. And now they are at a chicken farm. Where they are not allowed to see the chickens. Use your imagination. Just to help you, my son, much like Linc, set the fire alarm off at the YMCA when he was 3. I was trying to book his birthday party. They don't care if he was restless. They get really mad. Guess where he didn't have his birthday party. I identify with Ms. Vasquez and with Linc's parents!

Linc honestly feels bad about causing trouble. Not about what he did at the chicken farm. He thought it was funny and the chicken farmer deserved it, but he is really sorry for causing trouble for his parents and the lawsuit, well it will wipe them out. He feels very guilty. Until a seemingly miracle drops in his lap.

All he has to do is slip into this missing teen spy's place, deliver a package and he's out. Two days tops. And he gets to go to Paris. But nothing is that simple. Soon Linc finds that he is sorely out of shape to be a teen spy, that the missing spy that he bears an uncanny resemblance to seems to be working for the bad guys, and French pastries are the best. Two days turn into a week and the longer it takes to get the missing Mona Lisa, the less chances that the lawsuit against his family will disappear.

But, Linc does have two allies, Francoise, the daughter of the original owner and caretaker of the missing Mona Lisa and Henry, the gadget maker. (The gadget maker is always the best, isn't he?) And with their help, he thinks he might be able to outsmart the bad guys, whoever they may be.

This is a fun book to read, taking you on a dizzying tour of Paris and a breakneck race to save Francoise's father and the painting from the hands of terrorists. And more importantly to Linc, save his family. Linc is outrageously funny, his situations improbable, but fun never the less, and the complete story is a quick and enjoyable read for adults as well as kids. I highly recommend this series!



About F.T. Bradley
I grew up in the Netherlands, where I spent my childhood riding my bike, catching tadpoles, and reading Pippi Longstocking and Roald Dahl books. My very favorite book was The BFG by Roald Dahl. I would read under my covers well past my bedtime, secretly hoping for the BFG to knock on my window.

But somewhere along the way (around my high school) years, I sort of lost the love for reading.

It wasn’t until I was given a paperback thriller many years later that I caught the reading bug again. Like so many reluctant readers, it was all about discovering the right kinds of books. 


After reading many, many mysteries and thrillers, I decided to try my hand at writing (I was pretty bad at it, to be honest). It took a long time before some of my short mysteries started appearing in small press magazines, which encouraged me to keep writing. If you have writing aspirations, don’t give up!

My love for mysteries and thrillers sent me searching for children’s books in the genre, but I quickly discovered that there weren’t many titles that mirrored the great thrillers written for adults. After hearing parents wish there were more good books for reluctant (often boy) readers, I set out to write a fast-paced, exciting thriller written from a reluctant reader’s perspective—and 
Double Vision’s main character Linc Baker was born.



Links-
I have to tell you about the Double Vision Interactive Pages- There are pages about codes and ciphers which are used in Double Vision a lot. Codes that homeless people use to let each other know where it's safe to stay to codes to let Francoise and Linc know where to find something, including Morse Code. On the Codes and Ciphers page on this web page, there are games to play to see how good you are at cracking codes. It says CIA and NSA so be careful what you do on those sites!!

How about Spy tips from the FBI? yep got a page for that!

And for out wonderful teachers and for parents there is a page full of resources on George Washington (comes up in the second book I'm reviewing tomorrow) artists, spies, a CIA page, all kinds of helpful information and extra resources.

And if that wasn't enough I get to give away a copy of each of the two books that are being released one in paperback- Double Vision and Double Vision-Code Name 711- the first two books in the trilogy!


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If you'd like to follow the rest of the BLOG TOUR you can follow HERE.  And FINALLY I have a trailer to share with you!

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice- Review

The Heavens Rise by Christopher Rice
Available Now
Hardcover 336 pages
Amazon/ Kindle/ Barnes and Noble/ Book Depository/
Indiebound/ Kobo

From Goodreads- New York Times bestselling author Christopher Rice brilliantly conjures the shadowed terrors of the Louisiana bayou—where three friends confront a deadly, ancient evil rising to the surface—in this intense and atmospheric new supernatural thriller.

It’s been a decade since the Delongpre family vanished near Bayou Rabineaux, and still no one can explain the events of that dark and sweltering night. No one except Niquette Delongpre, the survivor who ran away from the mangled stretch of guardrail on Highway 22 where the impossible occurred…and kept on running. Who left behind her best friends, Ben and Anthem, to save them from her newfound capacity for destruction…and who alone knows the source of her very bizarre—and very deadly—abilities: an isolated strip of swampland called Elysium.

An accomplished surgeon, Niquette’s father dreamed of transforming the dense acreage surrounded by murky waters into a palatial compound befitting the name his beloved wife gave to it, Elysium: “the final resting place for the heroic and virtuous.” Then, ten years ago, construction workers dug into a long-hidden well, one that snaked down into the deep, black waters of the Louisiana swamp and stirred something that had been there for centuries—a microscopic parasite that perverts the mind and corrupts the body.

Niquette is living proof that things done can’t be undone. Nothing will put her family back together again. And nothing can save her. But as Niquette, Ben, and Anthem uncover the truth of a devastating parasite that has the potential to alter the future of humankind, Niquette grasps the most chilling truths of all: someone else has been infected too. And unlike her, this man is not content to live in the shadows. He is intent to use his newfound powers for one reason only: revenge.


REVIEW
This is the first novel I've read from Christopher Rice and I debated reviewing it here. This is an adult novel and is recommended for the 18 and up set. The characters are in their twenties but there is a good portion of the story told from their perspectives as teens. I'll tell you right away, I loved this novel so sit back and prepare to read my gushing.

The story is a supernatural one, but fairly believable. Like plague outbreaks and other deadly disease outbreaks, I find it believable that some toxic substance could be festering underground, waiting to be unearthed in the bayous of Louisiana. Have you seen that water? Have you seen what we've done to the environment? Think of all the oil spills and runoffs and other things that have spilled over into the bayous, rivers, lakes, oceans. I'd believe just about any story someone told me about what they saw on the bayou.

What I love most about this story is the setting - New Orleans. There is talk of Katrina and rescue efforts. Anthem is a crewboat captain. He pilots the huge ships down the Mississippi  through the tricky passages of the river keeping his beloved New Orleans safe from the contents of these massive ships. In fact, he becomes the mouthpiece for the other pilots when a newspaper writes a somewhat inflammatory story about them in the paper. His rebuttal is heartfelt and honorable and gives me a new sense of what these men do for a living, how dangerous it is and how important it is. Elysium is on the outskirts of New Orleans. Anthem lives across from the floodwall. I've never been to New Orleans, but I travel there everytime a novel, a good one, set there describes the air, the people, the buildings. I traveled there this time. Especially to the smaller, more intimate places, Rice describes, like the boat, the wreck really where Anthem and Nikki used to meet.

I've seen this novel described as horror, but it isn't in the vein of Stephen King. Not to me. To me, all things are possible in New Orleans. It's got that kind of supernatural feel and you add a little chemical toxins to it and you've got something supernatural. Good or evil, that depends on the bearer of the power. And in the end, it always comes down to good versus evil, the horror to me is if the evil wins.

This is a fast paced novel and its very hard to say much without giving anything away. Suffice it to say that it keeps you guessing, wondering how anything can possibly work out. I so wanted Anthem to have a happy ending. Of all the characters in the novel, he was my favorite. He was just a good ol' Southern boy. My favorite kind. He worked hard for a living. He loved hard, his friends, as well as Nikki. His heart broke, so broken, when Niquette's family car was found in the bayou. He's just a good guy. And I really loved him.

Ben, Anthem's best friend, and a newspaper reporter is a great character. He's spent most of his adult life running around rescuing Anthem from drunken weekends and DUI's. He misses Nikki as much as Anthem does. Spent weeks posting missing flyers of her and her parents with Anthem. And then he became a journalist. And he's best friends with his boss, Marissa, who taught him the ropes. Ben is a great character and you can see why he and Anthem are best friends and why Nikki and the two of them were inseparable.
Ben is gay, there is no love triangle, but he's not the token gay friend. He's intelligent, curious, kind and daring.

Marissa, doesn't care a lot for Anthem, mainly because of all the times Ben has had to bail him out of trouble. She thinks he's a waste of time, wasting his life boozing it up, dragging Ben all over the place. But when Anthem stays sober for six months, he does start to grow on her. She starts out as idealistic, but when the paper is bought out, she toes the company line. It becomes her undoing. Still, Marissa is a great pairing with Ben.

There are other characters that have great depth and motivation and I think Christopher Rice shows his strength in his characters. He could have had them have a fist fight and I still think there was enough in the characters to make it interesting. I love characters and the ones in The Heavens Rise were complex and simple at the same time.

But don't misunderstand me. I'm not saying there is anything wrong with the plot. As complex and simple as the characters are, so is the plot. At it's heart, the plot is revenge. But the details are so intricate, the knot so finely tied and woven, it takes 336 pages to tell it. And believe me, there isn't a page wasted with anything extra.

Again, I do recommend this for the 18 and up crowd. Well developed characters and a supernatural plot make it a really enjoyable read. I couldn't put it down!

Thanks to the publishers at Gallery Books for the e-ARC provided through NetGalley for early Review. I was not influenced by this in my review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Christopher Rice 



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