Thursday, 8 February 2018

Review: More than We Can Tell by Brigid Kemmerer

More Than We Can TellMore than We Can Tell

Author: Brigid Kemmerer
Publisher: Bloomsbury Publishing
Pages: 304
Release date: 8th March 2018
Genre: Young adult Contemporary

Synopsis (Goodreads) *While this book exists in the same universe as Letters to the Lost, it is a standalone title.*

Rev Fletcher is battling the demons of his past. But with loving adoptive parents by his side, he’s managed to keep them at bay...until he gets a letter from his abusive father and the trauma of his childhood comes hurtling back.

Emma Blue spends her time perfecting the computer game she built from scratch, rather than facing her parents’ crumbling marriage. She can solve any problem with the right code, but when an online troll’s harassment escalates, she’s truly afraid.

When Rev and Emma meet, they both long to lift the burden of their secrets and bond instantly over their shared turmoil. But when their situations turn dangerous, their trust in each other will be tested in ways they never expected. This must-read story will once again have readers falling for Brigid Kemmerer’s emotional storytelling.
 

Review: 2.5 out of 5 stars

More Than We Can Tell follows the story of Rev and Emma, We first met Rev in ‘Letters to the Lost’ but this can be read as a stand-alone.

Rev and Emma both have personal struggles; Rev is a foster child who was taken in and adopted by amazing parents and continue to help him to move forward after surviving an abusive childhood; when he is contacted by his birth father it triggers past feelings and hurt as well as confusion, his parents have also taken on a new foster child so there are a few changes in his life. On a night out he comes across Emma who is a game designer with a father who is quite absent and a mother who doesn’t understand her passion; they connected despite their differences.

Honestly, I was intrigued by both of these characters and their back stories but I didn’t find any chemistry between them and their dialogue felt stilted, I also felt they were quite reliant on one another despite barely knowing each other; they also spent a majority of the book apart so there wasn’t a lot of face to face interactions.

Brigid Kemmerer covered a lot of subjects in this book such as cyber bullying, physical, sexual and mental abuse, relationship breakdowns and friendship drama but I would have liked more of a resolution to these problems rather than a mention.

What I did enjoy was the mystery of Emma’s troll, I had an inkling of who it was from the onset and I was right! I was also quite intrigued about Matthew, the new foster child and my heart truly broke for him. I thought Rev’s foster parents were wonderful.

Overall, I didn’t love this book; it had its positives but for me there was more negatives and the biggest of all was the morose feel that it had. I couldn’t fault Brigid Kemmerer’s writing but I will have to pass on any more books in this series.

Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this title.



Brigid KemmererAbout the author: BRIGID KEMMERER is author of LETTERS TO THE LOST (Bloomsbury; April 4, 2017), a dark, contemporary Young Adult romance; THICKER THAN WATER (Kensington, December 29, 2015), a New Adult paranormal mystery with elements of romance; and the YALSA-nominated Elemental series of five Young Adult novels and three e-novellas which Kirkus Reviews calls “refreshingly human paranormal romance” and School Library Journal describes as “a new take on the supernatural genre.” She lives in the Baltimore area with her husband and four sons.

Wednesday, 24 January 2018

Review: Lies that Bind (Anastasia Phoenix #2) by Diana Rodriguez Wallach

Lies That Bind (Anastasia Phoenix #2)Lies that Bind

Author: Diana Rodriguez Wallach
Series: Anastasia Phoenix #2
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 300
Release date: 6th March 2018
Genre: Young adult Contemporary


Synopsis (Goodreads): The Italian Job meets Bourne Identity meets Spy Kids in this sequel to Proof of Lies.

What if saving yourself meant destroying everyone you love?

Still reeling from everything she learned while searching for her sister in Italy, Anastasia Phoenix is ready to call it quits with spies. Then she and her friends learn that Marcus’s—her kinda boyfriend—brother, Antonio, has also gone missing. Luckily, they track down Antonio in a fiery festival in England, only to learn he has been working for the enemy, Department D, the whole time. But Antonio wants out. And so does Anastasia.

But before any of them can leave espionage and their parents’ crimes behind them, a close friend turns up dead. No one is safe, not while Department D still exists. So Anastasia and her friends embark on a dangerous plan to bring down an entire criminal empire, using every Dresden Kid they can find.

As their world becomes surrounded by spies, and the children of spies, Anastasia starts to question who she can really trust. Including her best friends…

Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers from the first book

Lies that Bind is the second book in the Anastasia Phoenix series, I thoroughly enjoyed the excitement of the first book Proof of Lies so I was most eager to start on this.

This is a series that really should be read in order to fully understand the events that have already taken place, enough of a recap is given but it may still be quite confusing.

After trekking all over the place in the first book in search of Anastasia’s sister Keira and having a danger-filled and thrilling adventure; Anastasia is now staying in London with friends when they find out Marcus’s brother Antonio has gone missing. Now determined to take down Department D and locate other Dresden kids, they set out to collect enough evidence to shut them down once and for all.

I was impressed by the world-building and the intense plot is fast paced and full of non-stop action although it did very much mimic the first book; as with Proof of Lies I couldn’t quite guess who could and couldn’t be trusted! It really was a search for the truth throughout the whole book and many secrets were exposed.

Lies that Bind was an exciting sequel! It was mysterious, filled with wonderful characters that progressed throughout the book and the ending that leaves you satisfied but also wanting more. This book seemed to have more angst and drama than the first book which made me quite edgy.

What frustrated me in the first book was the hot and cold relationship between Marcus and Anastasia so I am pleased to see some progression. They worked well together and I thoroughly enjoyed their interactions.

I found Diana Rodriguez Wallach’s writing to be engaging and the storyline was exciting; I am definitely eager to read more books by this author.

Thank you to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Lies that Bind.


Diana Rodriguez WallachAbout the author: Diana Rodriguez Wallach is the author of the Anastasia Phoenix series, three YA spy thrillers set to debut beginning in March 2017 (Entangled Publishing). She is also the author of three award-winning young adult novels: Amor and Summer Secrets, Amigas and School Scandals, and Adios to All The Drama (Kensington Books); as well as a YA short-story collection based on the Narcissus myth, entitled Mirror, Mirror (Buzz Books, 2013).


In 2011, she published a highly regarded essay in Dear Bully: 70 Authors Tell Their Stories (HarperCollins). It was the only essay chosen from the anthology by Scholastic to be used in its classroom materials. Diana is featured in the anthology, Latina Authors and Their Muses (Twilight Times Books, 2015), and she is currently on staff as a featured blogger for Quirk Books.

In 2010 Diana was named one of the Top Ten New Latino Authors to Watch by LatinoStories.com, and she placed second in the International Latino Book Awards. She is an advisory board member for the Philly Spells Writing Center, and is an active advocate for inner-city public schools. She holds a B.S. in Journalism from Boston University, and currently lives in Philadelphia.

Visit Diana's website to learn all about her: dianarodriguezwallach.com

Diana is represented by Taylor Martindale Kean of Full Circle Literary.

Proof of Lies Lies That Bind (Anastasia Phoenix #2)

Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Review: Where I Found You by Heidi R. Kling

Where I Found You (Sea, #1)Where I Found You

Author: Heidi R. Kling
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Pages: 307
Release date: 4th December 2017
Genre: Young adult Contemporary

Synopsis (Goodreads): After her mother's plane went missing over the Indian Ocean, seventeen-year-old Sienna Jones gave up everything she loved about living in California. No more surfing. No more swimming. No more ocean, period. Playing it safe, hiding from the world, is the best call. 

Until her dad throws down the challenge of a lifetime: spend the summer with his humanitarian team in Indonesia, working with orphans who lost everything in a massive tsunami. 

The day they arrive, Sienna meets a mysterious boy named Deni, whose dark, intense eyes make her heart race. Their stolen nights force her to open up and live in a way she thought she couldn't anymore. When she’s with Deni, she remembers the girl she used to be… and starts to feel like the woman he sees in her. 

A woman he wants for his own.

Gulp.

But when Deni’s past comes looking for him, Sienna’s faced with losing another person she loves. She can’t do it. Not again. 

Fortunately, this time, she has a plan.

Review: 2 out of 5 stars

Where I Found You is the first book in the Sea series by Heidi R. Kling and
follows the story of seventeen year-old Sienna Jones who after three years is finding it hard to move on with life following the tragic death of her mother and is being encouraged by her friends and father to start to do things that she once loved like swimming and surfing, something that she hasn’t been able to do. When her father purchases her a plane ticket to accompany his team on a humanitarian project to tsunami devastated Indonesia she is most reticent but agrees to go along.

What I did enjoy about Where I found You was learning about the Indonesian culture and customs and how the Indonesian people were dealing with the after effects of the Tsunami, it was utter devastation to see how affected the children and the area that was hit were coping and how they were attempting to move on and rebuild their lives. Sienna was working with a group of orphaned children and helping them with their loss through therapy, this aspect was written well.

What I didn’t enjoy was the rushed romance, I didn’t feel the connection between Sienna and Deni at all and everything happened so quickly; it was too much, unrealistic and the way Sienna continually defied the strict traditions and the rules of the orphanage as well as her father made her look like a spoiled brat. I didn’t enjoy this aspect whatsoever; she didn’t seem to show any respect at all.

Sienna was a character that didn’t grow on me over the course of the book and Deni was a bit mysterious and secretive, he was a bit of an unknown; I did like the secondary characters – the children of the pesantren (orphanage) showed strength and resilience despite their PTSD and were able to connect with Sienna as she too suffers with night terrors and grief over the loss of her mother; reading the conflict between Sienna and her father was difficult as well as her loathing towards his Team Hope colleague Vera who he had started to show affection towards. I was keen to see the relationship between Sienna and Spider explored further.

Where I Found You is a book about grief and loss but also hope; the author has written about one of the most devastating natural disasters and you are saddened and reminded of the utter loss and turmoil that the Indonesian people experienced, it was heart-wrenching.

Unfortunately, I didn’t love this book and I won’t be continuing with this series. Thank you to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Where I Found You.



Heidi R. KlingAbout the author: Heidi R. Kling writes books about normal girls in fantastic situations. 

Her debut novel SEA (Penguin/Putnam) was a finalist for Northern California Book of the Year," an IndieNext Summer Pick, Goodreads “Mover and Shaker," Scholastic Reading Pick, and Gateway Reader’s Award Finalist among other generous accolades. SEA, which launched June, 2010, is a bittersweet love story set in the aftermath of the devastating 2004 Indonesian tsunami, and is set to relaunch with Entangled Teen December 4 as WHERE I FOUND YOU (Sea series #1) with its sequel WHERE THE SEA TAKES ME out April, 2018! 

After earning her MFA in Writing for Children from the New School in New York, Heidi returned to the Bay Area where she lives with her family in a tiny seaside village like the towns in her books.

She's also the author of the acclaimed PAINT MY BODY RED (for fans of Speak and 13 Reasons Why), bestselling romantic comedy NOT OKAY, CUPID and the Spellspinners of Melas County series about feuding witches and warlocks. 

Please visit her on twitter (Heidi R. Kling) where she loves to live-tweet TV shows, overuse gifs and chat with her readers about books, love and travel. She's very fortunate to write stories for a living and is grateful to you for reading them!
http://heidirkling.com

Monday, 8 January 2018

Review: This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter

This Heart of MineTHIS HEART OF MINE

Author: C.C. Hunter
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA
Pages: 384
Release date: 27th February 2018

Synopsis: A new heart saved her life—but will it help her find out what really happened to its donor?

Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie is heartless. An artificial heart in a backpack is keeping her alive. However, this route only offers her a few years. And with her rare blood type, a transplant isn’t likely. Living like you are dying isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. But when a heart becomes available, she’s given a second chance at life. Except Leah discovers who the donor was — a boy from her school — and they’re saying he killed himself. Plagued with dreams since the transplant, she realizes she may hold the clues to what really happened.

Matt refuses to believe his twin killed himself. When Leah seeks him out, he learns they are both having similar dreams and he’s certain it means something. While unraveling the secrets of his brother’s final moments, Leah and Matt find each other, and a love they are terrified to lose. But life and even new hearts don’t come with guarantees. Who knew living, took more courage than dying?

This Heart of Mine is a haunting, poignant tale about living and dying, surviving grief, guilt, and heartache, while discovering love and hope in the midst of sadness.

Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars

I had just finished the Mortician’s Daughter by C.C. Hunter when I saw This Heart of Mine pop up on Netgalley and despite initially not thinking that I would enjoy it as much as I have her Shadow Falls series and also the new One Foot in the Grave series, I found this heart-warming story truly wonderful.

Our main character is Seventeen-year-old Leah MacKenzie who is being kept alive by an artificial heart after contracting a virus; she is confined to her home until a donor heart is received. Matt is in need of extra credits at school so he agrees to tutor Leah, their connection is instant but she is a little clueless about who he is as he is an identical twin to Eric.

When tragedy strikes, Leah receives the long awaited call to receive a new heart but guilt hits as she knows someone died for her to live and that person is Matt’s brother Eric. Eric was an organ donor so his brave decision provided her with life.

Eric apparently commit suicide, something Matt vehemently denies; after the transplant both he and Leah are again bought together through visions / dreams they both have of what could have possibly happened so begin to investigate Eric’s relationships and the events which led up to his death.

Leah was such a wonderful character, warm, caring and strong but she had a fear of things going wrong and never looked too far into the future; her relationship with her parents is wonderful despite her mother’s overbearing behaviour but you could see the love that they had for each other. Matt was strong and determined; he had lost so much with the recent passing of both his father and his brother so I could never quite grasp his behaviour and whether he was living in the belief that his twin wouldn’t kill himself or if he was suffering from post-traumatic grief; it was hard to tell and I was eager to find out what had happened. All of the characters were written very well, I especially loved Leah’s heart doctor.

I really enjoyed the romance aspect; I did have my doubts initially, wondering if Matt was drawn to Leah because Eric was their connection through the donor heart but they truly complimented each other well; there were a few tough moments; especially for Leah but they both stood by one another; I just wish she could have been more forthcoming about what she had to endure daily.

C.C. Hunter’s writing is gripping and had me hooked right from the start; I can’t fault the characters or the wonderfully heart-warming and also mysterious storyline; I enjoyed it all. If you haven’t picked up a book by this fabulous author, you are truly missing out!

Thank you kindly to St Martin’s Press via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review This Heart of Mine by C.C. Hunter.



C.C. HunterAbout the author: C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. www.christie-craig.com

C.C. would love to hear from you. Because of deadlines, it may take her a day or so to get back with you, but she will reply. cc@cchunterbooks.com

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Review: One Foot in the Grave (The Mortician’s Daughter #1) by C.C. Hunter

One Foot in the Grave (The Mortician’s Daughter # 1)One Foot in the Grave

Author: C.C. Hunter
Series: The Mortician’s Daughter
Pages: 325
Publisher: EverAfter Romance
Release date: 31st October 2017

Synopsis:

Her dad’s job is with the dead . . . and he’s bringing his work home with him.

Once again, seventeen-year-old Riley Smith is the new kid in school and her dad’s career has her back to being dubbed a freak. Truth is, she’s a much bigger freak than her classmates think. The only company she keeps these days is the dead who follow Dad home from work. She can see them. She can speak to them. And Fate seems to think she can help them solve their last problems so that they can move on to the other side. Which is odd, because with the loss of her mother and her father’s alcoholism, she’s got enough problems of her own.

But nothing could prepare her for the next tormented young spirit who darkens Riley’s door. The young woman’s death wasn’t the accident everyone believes. Soon Riley finds herself face-to-face with the killer and her only protection comes in the form of another spirit, Hayden, a boy her age with a heart-melting smile and understanding eyes that make her feel safe. If she can escape becoming the killer’s next victim, Riley knows she’ll have to help Hayden move on too, but what if she can’t let him go?

Links


Review: 5 out of 5 stars

One Foot in the Grave is the first book in The Mortician’s Daughter series by C.C. Hunter. I have adored everything that I have read by this wonderful author so I was eager to dive into this and it didn’t fail to disappoint.

Our MC is seventeen-year-old Riley Smith, the daughter of a mortician who seems to bring the ghosts home with him much to Riley’s annoyance as she has the ability to communicate and see the dead as well as help them to resolve their issues and move on.

Riley was such a great character, she has never fit in at school because of her father’s occupation and her mother died when she was four years-old but she is ready for a new start in her new school and to start afresh. It is her second move in a short period of time as her father keeps losing his jobs, she believes as a result of him being a closet alcoholic but she hasn’t been able to prove it.

When a ghost comes to Riley, she realises that he is very different to the others, he looks different and is more ‘real’, he is also very clearly hiding something but she can’t stop her growing feelings for him the more time that they spend together clearly knowing that there can be no future between them.

I thought Hayden was great and I was able to guess his story from the beginning but I wanted to know more! I loved his interactions with Riley but I never felt a romance was a possibility especially when there was someone ‘living’, Jacob Adams that was paying her attention. It was a strange love-triangle.

The story also follows a ghost who has come to Riley begging for help to find her ring to pass on to her family but Riley soon realises that she didn’t die by accident and when she stumbles across the location she also stumbles across the murderer who has his sights now on Riley.

There was a lot going on in this book which made for an exciting read! Between Riley’s feelings between two boys, her father’s issues, her ghostly problems, a serial rapist with Riley on his mind; it was entertaining and mysterious with a great cast of characters. The ending has also left me eager for the next book in the series, Two Feet in the Grave.

If you are after a mysterious, entertaining and well-written paranormal YA, I highly recommend this book.

Thank you to EverAfter Romance via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review One Foot in the Grave.



C.C. HunterAbout the author: C.C. Hunter grew up in Alabama, where she caught lightning bugs, ran barefoot, and regularly rescued potential princes, in the form of Alabama bullfrogs, from her brothers. Today, she's still fascinated with lightning bugs, mostly wears shoes, but has turned her focus to rescuing mammals. She now lives in Texas with her four rescued cats, one dog, and a prince of a husband, who for the record, is so not a frog. When she's not writing, she's reading, spending time with her family, or is shooting things-with a camera, not a gun.

C.C. Hunter is a pseudonym. Her real name is Christie Craig and she also writes humorous romantic suspense romance novels for Grand Central. www.christie-craig.com

C.C. would love to hear from you. Because of deadlines, it may take her a day or so to get back with you, but she will reply. cc@cchunterbooks.com

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

Review: Breaking the Ice (Juniper Falls #2) by Julie Cross

Breaking the Ice by Julie CrossBreaking the Ice

Author: Julie Cross
Series: Juniper Falls
Pages: 300
Publisher: Entangled Teen
Release date: 26th December 2017

Links


Synopsis:

Haley Stevenson seems like she's got it all together: cheer captain, "Princess" of Juniper Falls, and voted Most Likely to Get Things Done. But below the surface, she's struggling with a less-than-stellar GPA and still reeling from the loss of her first love. Repeating her Civics class during summer school is her chance to Get Things Done, not angst over boys. In fact, she's sworn them off completely until college.

Fletcher Scott is happy to keep a low profile around Juniper Falls. He's always been the invisible guy, warming the bench on the hockey team and moonlighting at a job that would make his grandma blush. Suddenly, though, he's finding he wants more: more time on the ice, and more time with his infuriatingly perfect summer-school study partner.
But leave it to a girl who requires perfection to shake up a boy who's ready to break all the rules.

Each book in the Juniper Falls series is STANDALONE:
* Off the Ice
* Breaking the Ice

Review: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Breaking the Ice is a light-hearted read by Julie Cross and is a part of the Juniper Falls series.

Our MC’s are Haley Stevenson and Fletcher Scott, both great characters but they couldn’t be any more different.

Haley is the Princess of Juniper Falls and is involved in everything, she is a sweetheart but also quite a sticky beak. Fletcher has quite a few secrets, he’s reserved, nerdy and doesn’t like anyone to know his business; they complimented each other well but their interactions at times did drive me completely crazy!

The plot is quite predictable; Haley is struggling academically so she takes her civics class during summer school, this is where she learns more about Fletcher and inserts herself into his life to improve her GPA. Fletcher loves hockey and yearns for less bench time and more time on the ice but with his health issues it hasn’t been a possibility. This book was entertaining and was without all the unnecessary YA angst.

The romance was done well but there was a lot of push and pull and no clearly defined relationship between them but Haley knew upfront that Fletcher wasn't a committed sort of guy; they complimented each other well and communicated in a way which didn't leave room for miscommunication which I liked but I would have liked a few more mushy, romantic scenes between them, I felt like the ending was very rushed for them.

All of the side characters were wonderful! I do hope we see more of them in the next books, especially Jamie.

Julie Cross’s writing is great and there quite a few laugh out loud moments but I did also find that there were parts of the book where I found myself skimming. Breaking the Ice is also the second book in the series but it can most definitely be read as a stand-alone, I never at all felt lost.

Thank you to Entangled Teen via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review Breaking the Ice.


Julie CrossAbout the author: Julie Cross is a NYT and USA Today bestselling author of New Adult and Young Adult fiction, including the Tempest series, a young adult science fiction trilogy which includes Tempest, Vortex, Timestorm (St. Martin's Press). She's also the author of Letters to Nowhere series, Whatever Life Throws at You, Third Degree, Halfway Perfect, and many more to come!

Julie lives in Central Illinois with her husband and three children. She's a former gymnast, longtime gymnastics fan, coach and former Gymnastics Program Director with the YMCA. Shes a lover of books, devouring several novels a week, especially in the young adult and new adult genres.

Outside of her reading and writing credibility's, Julie Cross is a committed--but not talented--long distance runner, creator of imaginary beach vacations, Midwest bipolar weather survivor, expired CPR certification card holder, as well as a ponytail and gym shoe addict.