Sunday, September 29, 2013

Never Let You Go by Emma Carlson Berne

Megan never meant to hurt her best friend, Anna. She made a mistake, and she’s spent all year trying to regain Anna’s trust. So when Anna invites her to spend the summer on her uncle’s farm, Megan is excited…and relieved. The past is finally behind them.
On the farm, Anna quickly falls for Jordan, a rugged summer-hand. Megan and Jordan have their own spark, but Megan’s betrayed Anna once before and she’s not about to do it again.
Still, the more time that Megan and Jordan spend together, the harder it is to deny their chemistry. But Anna doesn’t like to be ignored—and she doesn’t forgive and forget. What started out as the perfect summer is about to take a very dark turn....
Paperback, First Edition, 240 pages  Goodreads
Published December 4th 2012 by Simon Pulse ISBN  1442440171 (ISBN13: 9781442440173)

This was a story that I had a love/hate relationship with. I found myself constantly going back to the story because of the growing suspense. But I also kept putting it down because of this unhealthy relationship that Megan had with Anna. 

Anna is emotionally unstable. Even after several squabbles with Anna, Megan desires and seems willing to do anything to keep Anna as a friend. It's explained that Megan doesn't really fit in and Anna has always stood up for her, so Megan feels responsible to keep her happy at all times in appreciation for not making her a complete outcast her whole life. 

Anna has a lot of issues she does not deal with in a healthy way. The reader is introduced to the characters knowing there is a lot of background history in their lives. The story continues to gradually add suspense leading us to believe bad things are going to happen on this farm during their summer jobs. And it does go wrong, horribly wrong. 

I did enjoy that the author took it there in the end. Really played up to a horror story in the end and I even got emotional during a tragic scene and like Megan, it broke my heart. 

The romance is a slowly building one. There is an instant attraction between Jordan and Megan, but it grows with the story and not something I would call insta-love. The main focus of this story is the friendship between Anna and Megan, completely focused on emotional highs and lows that come along with young love and heartbreak. Only taken to the next level. Jealousy runs wild and Anna is somebody you don't want to be left alone with at night. 

4 Stars 

Saturday, September 28, 2013

Silent Echo: A Siren's Tale by Elisa Freilich

Haunted by silence, a mute teenage girl is mysteriously given back her voice ... and it is divine.

Rendered mute at birth, Portia Griffin has been silent for 16 years. Music is her constant companion, along with Felix, her deaf best friend who couldn’t care less whether or not she can speak. If only he were as nonchalant about her newfound interest in the musically gifted Max Hunter.

But Portia’s silence is about to be broken with the abrupt discovery of her voice, unparalleled in its purity and the power it affords to control those around her. Able to persuade, seduce and destroy using only her voice, Portia embarks on a search for answers about who she really is, and what she is destined to become.

Inspired by Homer’s Odyssey, SILENT ECHO: A Siren's Tale is an epic story filled with fantasy, romance and original music

 My Review:
This is the first book I have read that involves deaf/mute characters. Although the main character Portia does find her voice in the story. She decides to keep it hidden for awhile, leaving the first portion of the book sign language and body expressions. 
Although her relationship with Max is pretty sudden and a love at first sight kind of relationship. I thought that the struggle she felt between Max and Felix was very understandable and relatable. Max and Portia have a bond with music and poetry. I suppose one of my favorite things about the story was the serenading that Max does to win Portia's heart. It was refreshing and unique from anything else I have read this year. A very romantic read.

When Portia begins to notice the physical changes happening to her, it scares her. She doesn't want to open up to anybody about the changes she is going through but finds a special bond with the school nurse. It also reunites a relationship with her neighbor that had fallen apart years ago. But is also hinders her relationship with Felix, her deaf best friend who they have shared everything with for years. This struggle between the characters relationships and how to relate to each other as they are all experiencing the events together really spoke to me and I think all the elements of the story are balanced well.

The novel is a mixture of these relationships alongside the music, poetry and connection of Portia's story to The Odyssey. It was very intriguing the connection the author weaves between the two and I now have the desire to read The Odyssey for myself. 

Portia shows different sides of herself as she's is going through this major change in her life. She has to fight a battle within herself, does she want to stay good or let the evil overtake her? This inner struggle leads to a physical confrontation at the climax.

I found myself not wanting to put this book down. The combination of elements made for a very entertaining read. There is poetry, romance, music, fighting and a connection to the Sirens of The Odyssey.
About Elisa Freilich:
Raised in rural Monsey, New York, Elisa spent her days reading whatever crossed her path and developing a keen appreciation for the ever-present music in her home – from classical to rock.

After her college years at Boston University, Elisa continued her creative pursuits, working as a junior VP of Marketing at a corporate graphic design agency and, later, as an interior decorator. Eventually, Elisa left the workforce to raise her family, in her now hometown of Englewood, NJ.

When Elisa is not writing, her creative outlets still abound. She is fierce with a set of knitting needles, a hot glue gun and any ingredients that can somehow be fashioned into a sinful and highly caloric babka.
(Giveaway!) Goodreads: 

Friday, September 27, 2013

Joyland by Stephen King #Audiobook

"I love crime, I love mysteries, and I love ghosts," says Stephen King, who has combined these elements into a wonderful new story. Joyland is a whodunit noir crime novel and a haunting ghost story set in the world of an amusement park.

It tells the story of the summer in which college student Devin Jones comes to work as a 'carny' in small-town North Carolina and has to confront the legacy of a vicious murder, the fate of a dying child, and the way both will change his life forever. It is also a wonderful coming-of-age novel about friendship, loss, and your first heartbreak. Who dares enter the funhouse of fear? 
Paperback, 283 pages
ISBN  1781162646 (ISBN13: 9781781162644)

 I listened to the audiobook of Joyland  (Simon and Schuster) Which was a pretty fast listen at only 7 1/2 Hours. I think the narrator  Michael Kelly, gave a good representation and voice to the main character.

This is my first Hard Case novel and it was the shelving I saw on Goodreads as "Horror, Thriller and Crime" that I was attracted to the most. I was ready to invest myself into a scary thrill ride with a "carny" element.

Although the writing of course is impressive as it's the master author Stephen King. I was disappointed in the end about the lack of Suspense and investment I had in the story. The main character was very dull and barely carries the story. But I suppose the most disappointing part was that the investigation/crime that should have been the focus in the story really became a background to the coming of age story that plays main stage.

The novel was not at all what I was expecting, or thought that I was getting. It should be considered foremost as "a story of friendship, loss and heartbreak" than a mysterious crime that gets too little focus and a very poor ending that left me wanting.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Vortex (Tempest #2) by Julie Cross #audiobook

Julie Cross's Vortex is the thrilling second installment of the Tempest series, in which the world hangs in the balance as a lovelorn Jackson must choose who to saveJackson Meyer has thrown himself into his role as an agent for Tempest, the shadowy division of the CIA that handles all time-travel-related threats. Despite his heartbreak at losing the love of his life, Jackson has proved himself to be an excellent agent. However, after an accidental run in with Holly—the girl he altered history to save—Jackson is once again reminded of what he's lost. And when Eyewall, an opposing division of the CIA, emerges, Jackson and his fellow agents not only find themselves under attack, but Jackson begins to discover that the world around him has changed and someone knows about his erased relationship with Holly, putting both their lives at risk all over again.
Hardcover, 368 pages  Goodreads
Published January 15th 2013 by St. Martin's Griffin  ISBN  0312568908 (ISBN13: 9780312568900)

As some of you may know I didn't love Tempest, the first book in the series, but I was very impressed and engrossed when it came to listening to the audiobook for Vortex. The story was pretty intense and the growing twists to the plot were intriguing and had me listening for hours a day to see where this story would go. And boy does it end with a surprise!

As with the first book Jackson is completely longing for and obsessed with Holly. He is constantly thinking about her, reminded of her and only wants her. What I loved about this story is the variety of new characters that are brought in and getting to know Jackson's character more on a deeper level. I like his family's background and some of the time traveling he gets to do regarding the mystery to discover more about the Enemies of Time. 

The audiobook,  Narrated By Matthew Brown  and a Length: 12 hrs and 27 mins(Macmillan Audio )
really flew by. Even though Jackson continually obsesses about Holly, the revolving stories of his CIA training and his family really get complicated and more complex as the series continues.
4 Stars

Monday, September 23, 2013

Mia Hoddell #giveaway Book Blitz! Elemental Killers

Deadly to Love (Elemental Killers #1)
by Mia Hoddell
Release Date: February 2013
Genre: YA/Romance/Paranormal/Fantasy
ISBN: 978-1-291-41025-9

The world is dangerous – but love will kill you.

Little did Serena Jackson know that one simple, flirty remark to an anonymous guy online would lead to her world being changed forever.

She doesn’t know him, but inexplicably, is drawn. She knows it is wrong but she agrees to meet.

His real name is Kai. He is beautiful. And immediately Serena feels herself blindly falling for him even though she senses a lie. She knows he is hiding something and it terrifies her.

What she doesn’t realise is that her entire life has been built on secrets and lies. The people she loved left her in the dark for a reason.

She trusted them. She trusts Kai. But as he pulls her straight into the heart of the danger the lies and deadly secrets are revealed. They overwhelm her, and the person she once was no longer exists as she is thrown into a ruthless world of elemental forces. The price of truth is her life—and now the world wants her dead.

Add it to your Goodreads Lists!

Available from:
Amazon (Kindle) | Amazon (Paperback) | Lulu
and only 99c / 77p on Kindle for September!

“I couldn't put it down. So I finished it last
night and all I can say is WOW! This book was amazing and different.”
Brianna (Book Blogger)

I loved how the author took a different
approach to writing a love story in modern times with the paranormal element present.
I thought it was absolutely wonderful and refreshing.
Marvelous!” Kathy H (Amazon Reviewer)

I will admit I scoffed at the way it
started but in the end I had fallen in love with this story…completely
untraditional it was a very original idea, not to mention modern.
This story had
such a good plot and the story structure was sound.
Kacii – The Kooky Bookworm (Book Blogger)

About the Author

Mia Hoddell lives in the UK with her family and two cats. She spends most of her time writing or reading and loves anything paranormal. Mia always had a love of writing but never reading. She was more interested in sports and hated sitting still - despite getting three poems published before the age of sixteen. Finally though, she found some novels that captured her interest and developed a love of reading which is now one of her favourite hobbies.

Mia began with poems before moving on to short stories. Although she enjoyed this, Mia found she had too much to tell with too little space, so later on she created her first series 'The Wanderer Trilogy' and from there other ideas have emerged. With a total of nine books planned at this moment, she is busy working on her second series 'Elemental Killers' before moving onto the next idea on her ever growing list.




Happy with the amount of photos I had collected I started to head back out of the forest, still flicking through my shots. As well as close ups, I had taken a few landscapes and as I was almost at the edge of the forest I noticed something in one of the photographs that made me stop.
In the left hand corner was a figure that looked mostly human, but was blurred as if they were moving on the spot.
A cold shudder shot through me.
Looking over my shoulder I became slightly panicked and felt as if someone was following me.
My eyes flicked and searched the shadows. Even though there was no sign that anything had ever been behind me, the forest looked different now - dark and threatening.
Instinctively I broke away and ran, still clutching the camera that was displaying the freaky image. Surrounded by trees I didn’t stop until I was free of the forest and back in the open light and sight of my house.
Throwing open my door, I slumped against the inside of it, regaining my breath from the short sprint. Once I had recovered I looked down at the photo once more, just to make sure that I hadn’t been seeing things. The old saying “the camera never lies,” came into my mind and for the first time I wished it not to be true. Sure enough though, as I looked down at the screen, the figure was still there and this time I noticed a red and orange glow around where its feet should have been. The image almost looked like the person was on fire but I thought I would have surely noticed if there had been a burning man in front of me.


Mia Hoddell is giving away an Amazon gift card this month only there is a slight twist: the more entries she receives the more money she will put on the gift card to giveaway! For example:

No matter what = $5
100 entries = $10
150 entries = $15
200 entries = $20
and so forth...
So if she gets 1000 entries she will give away $100, there’s no limit!

To enter all you have to do is buy or have bought Deadly to Love. It's only $0.99 or £0.79 on Amazon for the duration of the giveaway! This will also unlock extra entries for you so you can earn more points by sharing the giveaway. Remember the more entries she gets the bigger the prize for you so share!

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Substitute Creature (Tales from Lovecraft Middle School #4) by Charles Gilman


When a giant nor’easter dumps a blanket of snow on the village of Dunwich, Massachussetts, Robert Arthur and his friends find themselves marooned inside Lovecraft Middle School. The kids have no choice but to spend the night—while snacking on cafeteria food, sleeping on classroom floors, and facing off against a mysterious substitute teacher who may have a sinister secret. The latest adventure in the Lovecraft Middle School series features more adventures, more outrageous monsters, and another terrifying lenticular cover!  Hardcover, 176 pages Expected publication: September 24th 2013 by Quirk Books 

              In the fourth book of the Lovecraft tales (should be read in order) the school is a lot colder now that a huge snowstorm has hit and Robert and his mother find themselves trapped inside. As the temperatures continue dropping, danger awaits around every corner....and one among them is not what she seems. 

              What I loved most about this book was the relationship between Robert and Karina, the friendly ghost of the school. We get to see a lot more of her in this story. She is struggling with the fact that everybody can see her, but she cannot escape with the rest of them and the questions that will bring when they do escape. 

             When the school drops below certain temperatures, creatures from hidden places begin to infest the school and keeps them on the run. Not only trying to survive the weather, but running for their lives, a true hero will emerge in the end, and a dream come true. 

            The Lovecraft Tales are very fun, creep-tastic reads that show a variety of family and friendship relationships as the stories continue.  

Here is a fun youtube video I found regarding the first book in the series Professor Gargoyle

Monday, September 16, 2013

A Conspiracy of Alchemists (The Chronicles of Light and Shadow #1) by Liesel Schwarz


Eleanor “Elle” Chance, that is—a high-flying dirigible pilot with a taste for adventure and the heroine of this edgy new series that transforms elements of urban fantasy, steampunk, and paranormal romance into pure storytelling gold.

It is 1903, and the world is divided between light and shadow. On the side of light is a wondrous science that has transformed everyday life by harnessing magical energies to ingenious new technologies. But each advance of science has come at the expense of shadow—the traditional realm of the supernatural.

Now two ancient powers are preparing to strike back. Blood-sucking immortal Nightwalkers and their spellcasting Alchemist allies have a plan to cover the whole world in shadow. All they require is the sacrifice of a certain young woman whose past conceals a dangerous secret.

But when they come after Elle, they get more than they bargained for. This enterprising young woman, the daughter of a scientific genius, has reserves of bravery and determination that even she scarcely suspects. Now she is about to meet her match in more ways than one: a handsome yet infuriating Warlock named Hugh Marsh, whose agenda is as suspect as his charms are annoyingly irresistible.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published March 5th 2013 by Del Rey

Elle is a strong main character. Very independent, pretty and smart. This is the first Adult steampunk novel that I have completely lost myself in. The others I had read didn't quite fit the expectations that I had for the genre. But sure am glad I decided to pick this one up because it has given me hope to try more! I usually read young adult novels and even though this one is not one, I would still recommend it for all readers.

We start off in Paris, and Patrice is asking Elle to take a package and take a transport in her dirigible as a favor. While discussing the terms in his office, she is also given payment in the form of a diamond bracelet in which an absinthe fairy flies into before she can leave, temporarily locking the bracelet onto her arm. Then all hell breaks loose, she must escape danger, looses the package and gets shot at as she takes off. Only to find out that when she arrives home that her scientist father has been abducted and the group from Paris is still after her.

This leads us on a fun adventure over and through Europe as she must stay ahead of Air Pirates and Alchemists. We meet vampires. oracles, warlocks along the way (to name a few). With her companion, a Warlock named Marsh. She also discovers that he knew her mother and that there is a connection to their worlds that goes beyond her missing father.

The story is interspersed with narration by the absinthe fairy and fun gadgets that light up Elle's eyes during the trip. Her excitement and determination really drive the story and I found it a very fun read. I  recommend this one!
4 Stars

Friday, September 13, 2013

The Prey (The Hunt #2) by Andrew Fukuda

For Gene and the remaining humans—or hepers—death is just a heartbeat away. On the run and hunted by society, they must find a way to survive in The Vast... and avoid the hungry predators tracking them in the dark. But they’re not the only things following Gene. He’s haunted by the girl he left behind and his burgeoning feelings for Sissy, the human girl at his side.

When they discover a refuge of exiled humans living high in the mountains, Gene and his friends think they’re finally safe. Led by a group of intensely secretive elders, the civilisation begins to raise more questions than answers. A strict code of behaviour is the rule, harsh punishments are meted out, young men are nowhere to be found—and Gene begins to wonder if the world they’ve entered is just as evil as the one they left behind. As life at the refuge grows more perilous, he and Sissy only grow closer. In an increasingly violent world, all they have is each other... if they can only stay alive.
Hardcover, US, 304 pages   Goodreads
Published January 29th 2013 by St. Martin's Press ISBN  1250005116 (ISBN13: 9781250005113)
  What I got out of  reading The Prey was something that I was not expecting. The refugee's that Gene and the humans come across in their travels was creepy, cult-like and eerily wrong. The expectations I had about the vampires were met fully. We get a lot of the vampires in the first portion of the novel as they are running away. 

In fact one of my favorite parts about this story was the fast thinking and highly advanced way the vampires adapt. They are still unable to live in the sunlight, but the weaponry and the pure animalistic vibes that come off of the frenzied vampires are truly horrific. Exactly what I look for in a vampire novel.
The story starts off with a lot of violence and gore, and has some sporadically throughout the story. But the main focus is on the human existence outside the city they are running from and what they discover when they get there. 
I am a fan of this series. The first book, The Hunt does a lot of the world-building, and in a rather interesting way. But jumping into this second story as the first book really takes off at the end, I am very pleased with the direction the series went. I love to read books that make me uncomfortable and I have to think about. Especially survival stories, and this one is engaging and terrifying. I recommend it. 

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Foreverland is Dead by Tony Bertauski

18006247Six teenage girls wake with no memories. One of them is in a brick mansion, her blonde hair as shiny as her shoes. The others are in a cabin, their names tagged to the inside of their pants. Their heads, shaved. Slashes mark the cabin wall like someone has been counting.

Hundreds of them.

There’s wilderness all around and one dead adult. The girls discover her body rotting somewhere in the trees. As the weeks pass, they band together to survive the cold, wondering where they are and how they got there. And why.

When an old man arrives with a teenage boy, the girls learn of a faraway island called Foreverland where dreams come true and anything is possible. But Foreverland is dead. In order to escape the wilderness, they’ll have to understand where they are.

More importantly, who they are

Goodreads Link
Amazon Link

Girls, waking up not knowing who they are, having no past. Learning early that they have been implanted with a device that knocks them unconscious if they wander to far from the hut. Fighting for clothes, and food with the heavy feeling of a never ending struggle to survive. But Miranda is different, she explores the high tech, well stocked house. But without knowing how long they are stuck here, can she risk sharing and how much?

Foreverland is Dead takes a darker turn pretty fast. The stink of rotting flesh and struggling just to live through the day. Its pretty obvious from the beginning there is a leader, calling all the shots. She is not about to let anybody show her up, and she'll fight to maintain her power over the other girls. 

First in the series The Annihilation of Foreverland we saw a group of boys struggling with their lives, but now it's the girls turn. Each book can be read as a stand alone or any order. They are dark, with twists you won't see coming and engaging characters you want to see win in the end. 

The story is very powerful and suspenseful. At times keeping the reader on the edge of their seat to see if the girls will make it out of danger, alive. It's dark and incredibly imaginative, violent and creepy. PG-16

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Aspen Cover Reveal #giveaway

About the book: 

One quiet night in Boulder, Colorado, Aspen Yellow-Sunrise Taylor made a mistake.

In the next instant, her life changed forever.

Aspen doesn't want to remember when Katelyn Ryan, a sleek-haired popular soccer player, crossed the yellow line in her car and smashed into Aspen's. But forgetting is pretty hard- because Katelyn may have died - but she didn't leave. Her ghost is following Aspen around, and heading into senior year, it's kind of a problem. Especially when Katelyn's gorgeous former boyfriend Ben appears to be the only person at school with a clue as to how Aspen feels.

Popularity, college, Homecoming Court, hot guys - none of these things ever mattered to Aspen. She's been busy trying to rein in her giant mass of blonde curls, keep her stoner mother Ninny away from Toaster, her mom's awful bongo drumming boyfriend, and prevent her best friends Kim and Cass from killing - or kissing - one another. But with Ben sitting next to her in Physics looking all too gorgeous, Katelyn's spirit dogging her steps, and her obsessive snow-globe collecting therapist begging her to remember all the things she wants to forget, Aspen is thrust into a vivid, challenging world she can't control … and doesn't want to.

A darkly funny, emotionally gripping story of opening up, letting go, and moving on, ASPEN is about the best-worst accident of your life ... and what comes next. 
Release Date: January 2014
Category: YA contemporary

And an awesome cover reveal isn’t complete without an equally AWESOME giveaway, so let’s tell them what they can win... *dramatic pause* 

10 eARCs of ASPEN!
1 tie-dye shirt from Moe’s Broadway Bagels in Boulder, CO (an actual restaurant in the story!) 
2 Grateful Dead bumper stickers! Groovy!
5 Friendship bracelets because WHY NOT?!
1 hacky sack! Rad!
3 flower stickers you can stick to your laptop or desk or wherever! Peace, man!

Just enter the Rafflecopter below and you’re on your way to getting some awesome swag!  The giveaway closes a week from today.

About Rebekah Crane: 
Rebekah Crane fell in love with YA literature while studying Secondary English Education at Ohio University, but it wasn't until ten years and two daughters later that she started to write it. Inspired by her past students, growing up in Cleveland with its fabulous musical theater community, and music of all kinds (particularly the Avett Brothers), she created PLAYING NICE. It is her first published novel, but having an unbridled imagination, it's not the only fantasy world she's lived in (just ask her husband). ASPEN, her second YA creation, is set to release in January 2014. She now lives in Colorado, where the altitude only enhances the experience.

Twitter: @RebekahCrane