Friday, January 30, 2015

Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Spring

Buzz Books 2015: Young Adult Spring

Published by: Publishers Lunch Buzz Books

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I was super excited to get my hands on this as it holds 40 excerpts from 2015 Spring/Summer books! Here are a few that sound good to me and are going on my wishlist:

99 Days by Katie Cotugno - From the author of How to Love comes another stunning contemporary novel, about a girl who returns to her hometown for 99 Days—to face the two brothers she loved and left.

Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything. She has every right to hate me, of course: I broke Patrick Donnelly’s heart the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

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

Day 12: Gabe wouldn’t quit till he got me to come to this party, and I’m surprised to find I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me—and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me. Eighty-seven days of summer to go, and history is repeating itself. The last thing I want is to come between the Donnelly brothers again . . . but the truth is, the Donnellys stole my heart a long time ago.

Kissing Ted Callahan (and other guys) by Amy Spalding- With a voice similar to MTV’s breakout hit “Awkward” and a set-up reminiscent of E. Lockhart’s The Boyfriend List, Kissing Ted Callahan (and Other Guys) is an addictive YA read about the soaring highs and embarrassing lows of dating in high school.

The Haunting of Sunshine Girl by Paige McKenzie - Book One is about an “adorkable” teenager living in a haunted house. Shortly after her sixteenth birthday, Sunshine Griffith and her mother Kat move to the rain-drenched town of Ridgemont, Washington. Sunshine and her mother have always shared a special bond, but from the moment they cross the Washington state line, Sunshine feels a mysteriousness she cannot place. And even if Kat doesn’t recognize it, Sunshine knows something about their new house is just… creepy. In the days that follow, things only become stranger, as Sunshine is followed by an icy breeze, and eventually, the child’s voice she hears on her first night evolves into sobs. She can hardly believe it, but as the spirits haunting her house become more frightening—and it becomes clear that Kat is in danger—Sunshine must accept what she is, pass the test before her, and save her mother from a fate worse than death.

Buzz Books Spring/Summer 2015

Buzz Books 2015

Published by: Publishers Lunch Buzz Books

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

I was super excited to get my hands on this as it holds 40 excerpts from 2015 Spring/Summer books! Here are a few that sound good to me and are going on my wishlist:

Gonzo Girl by Cheryl Della Pietra - Alley Russo is a recent college grad desperately trying to make it in the grueling world of New York publishing, but like so many who have come before her, she has no connections and has settled for an unpaid magazine internship while slinging drinks on Bleecker Street just to make ends meet. That’s when she hears the infamous Walker Reade is looking for an assistant to replace the eight others who have recently quit. Hungry for a chance to get her manuscript onto the desk of an experienced editor, Alley jumps at the opportunity to help Reade finish his latest novel.

After surviving an absurd three-day “trial period” involving a .44 magnum, purple-pyramid acid, violent verbal outbursts, brushes with fame and the law, a bevy of peacocks, and a whole lot of cocaine, Alley is invited to stay at the compound where Reade works. For months Alley attempts to coax the novel out of Walker page-by-page, all while battling his endless procrastination, vampiric schedule, Herculean substance abuse, mounting debt, and casual gunplay. But as the job begins to take a toll on her psyche, Alley realizes she’s alone in the Colorado Rockies at the mercy of a drug-addicted literary icon who may never produce another novel—and her fate may already be sealed.

Luckiest Girl Alive by Jessica Knoll - As a teenager at the prestigious Bradley School, Ani FaNelli endured a shocking, public humiliation that left her desperate to reinvent herself. Now, with a glamorous job, expensive wardrobe, and handsome blue blood fiancĂ©, she’s this close to living the perfect life she’s worked so hard to achieve.

But Ani has a secret.

There’s something else buried in her past that still haunts her, something private and painful that threatens to bubble to the surface and destroy everything.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

The Reluctant Psychic by Suzan Saxman & Perdita Finn

The Reluctant Psychic
by Suzan Saxman & Perdita Finn

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Published by: St Martin's Press
Genre: Memoir, Supernatural
Rating: 4 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

We all, as children, had our imaginary friends and monsters in the closet. But for Suzan Saxman, those friends and monsters didn’t go away—and they weren’t imaginary.

From an early age, Suzan knew instinctively that she had to hide her true self. She couldn’t talk about the specters who haunted her, waking and dreaming. In bed with a childhood fever, winged beings guarded her; bullied and friendless at school, she ate lunch silently under the steps of St. Theresa’s with the ghost of a nun; paralyzed with fear, she woke each night to see a man with no eyes, watching her; and she kept watch at the window, every day, while her real father was at work and Steve, her other father, was with her mother. It was the 1960s in suburban Staten Island and she tried to hide it all—to silence the spirits, ghosts and her own developing abilities to tap into people’s futures. She tried to be a daughter her mother could love.

I love memoirs that are easy to read, yet get to the heart of the matter. The Reluctant Psychic is just that kind of memoir. It's about a very gifted oracle and not only the story of her life here in this incarnation, but those of her past incarnations. She has a knack for telling people what they need to hear and for staying in touch, lifetime and lifetime again with the same souls.

This book reveals her journey to the partial understanding of her gift, finding her soul mate, and her mistakes along the way. An excellent read if you are interested in what makes a psychic tick.

The Line Between by Tamsyn Bester

The Line Between
by Tamsyn Bester
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Published by: Tamsyn Bester - January 15, 2015
Genre: NA, Romance,
Rating: 4 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

There’s a fine line between love and hate, so fine that you don’t know you’ve lost balance until it’s too late. I’m not sure exactly when I lost my balance, all I know is that he was to blame. Dane Winters. The boy who’d spent most of his life hating me for reasons I never understood.

** ** ** ** ** **

It was no secret that I hated her, but only I knew why. She was off-limits. And then our separate worlds collided with one tragedy. It wasn’t her fault, I knew that, but I wanted her to hurt the way I did, and I needed someone to blame. She was an easy target. Kennedy Monroe. The girl I’d picked on all our lives. And the woman I barely tolerated. Until the line between love and hate was no longer visible…

Although I'm really not a fan of angsty novels, I really loved this one. Yes, there is a lot of back and forth, fighting and trying to one-up each other, but it didn't bother me. I liked it. It was written well.

Dane wasn't the easiest to like in the beginning. He did some very very mean things to Kennedy over the years and they weren't of the "I like you so I'm going to tease you" variety. They were downright nasty. So, when Dane and Kennedy reconnect in college, I wasn't so keen on her liking him just because their was crackling attraction between them. I understood why he didn't like Kennedy at first, but I was never really sold on the extent of the hateful things he pulled on her. And while I do believe there's a thin line between love and hate, I hated Dane more than liked him. He did, however, begin to grow on me.

Overall, I found myself cheering for Dane and Kennedy to get together. They were better working together than fighting each other to keep apart.

I really loved the secondary characters of Reid and Jade. I hope the author's next book is about their relationship. I'd totally read that.

Sparrow 59 by Devon Ashley

Sparrow 59
by Devon Ashley
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Published by: Devon Ashley - December 14, 2014
Genre: NA, Thriller, Mystery
Rating: 4.5 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Bourne Identity meets Mr. and Mrs. Smith for the new adult crowd.

Members of the CIA’s specialized team Sparrow were all murdered in one quick sweep. But when Samantha finds herself suspiciously spared and Drew missing, she doesn’t want to believe what the CIA claims – that Drew is not only alive and has defected from their organization, but is facilitating the deaths of prominent research developers worldwide. Now the only member of Sparrow who hasn’t been killed off, Samantha finds herself under serious investigation by association – and a prisoner within her own home.

Just when she’s on the verge of being labeled a murderer and a traitor herself, Drew activates a beacon only she can see, taunting her from across the world. He knows she’s watching, and she knows he could be gone forever if she doesn't oblige his silent request. With nothing left to lose and everything to gain, Sam goes rogue to track him down and clear her good name. But when she finally catches up to her partner of four years, he hasn’t a clue who he is or what he’s done, and the men chasing him down suddenly want to acquire her as well.

Frantic yet determined, Samantha is forced to protect a man she no longer trusts in order to learn why he went astray – and why his associates are determined to retrieve him. But is Drew really a victim himself in a much greater scheme, or will his memories prove lethal, leading Sam into harm’s way like a lamb to slaughter, ultimately risking the life of the only member of Sparrow he managed to save?

This is the first book in the Coalition series by Devon Ashley. I've never read anything by her anymore, but I'll certainly look into her other books, as she is an amazingly entertaining and informative writer.

I happen to love espionage, mystery and thrillers with a dash of romance, and this book had it all. The storyline kept me guessing and the pace was continuous, never slowing for a moment. Each character was drawn to 3-D life and I felt like I knew them and how they'd react to certain situations before even they knew what they were going to do.

The ending is intense, but the promise of the beginning of the next book has me excited. She can't put out the second installment soon enough for me!

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

More Than This by Jay McLean

More Than This
by Jay McLean
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Published by: Skyscape - July 21, 2014
Genre: NA, Romance
Rating: 3 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

When Mikayla imagined her prom night, she envisioned a fairy-tale evening full of romance. So when betrayal and tragedy come in quick succession, Mikayla is completely destroyed. Suddenly, everything she loved and everyone she relied on are tragically, irrevocably gone.

Jake, a handsome boy she just met, happens to witness her loss. With no one to turn to, Mikayla is forced to depend on this near stranger and his family, and he in turn is determined to take care of her. But Mikayla—thrust into adulthood with no one to guide her—is desperate to contain her grief and hide what she considers to be her weakness. Mikayla and Jake both want more, but despite their growing closeness and intense chemistry, she tries to keep her distance and protect her heart. As he does everything in his power to win her trust, Mikayla must choose between remaining alone and safe or letting love in.

While this was a very sweet romance, you have to suspend disbelief a bit. You have to be able to believe that a robber would be skilled enough to shoot 3 people clean in the head. You have to believe that within a day of meeting a new person, there family will let you move in with them and redo their entire garage (even add a window in the garage 1 day) to look like your old bedroom. You also have to believe that the murderer won't give up his accomplice at the end of the book and that person will simply get away with their part in the murders. Ok - had to get that out of the way.

With all of that said, Jake and Kayla are very sweet together. I would love to have a Jake. He gives her everything she needs, including space, until she is ready to fully be with him. Sweet, as I said before, although there are definitely some hot and heavy scenes for the typical NA fans like me.

I definitely recommend it if you can suspend belief a bit.

Wicked Ways by Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush

Wicked Ways
by Lisa Jackson & Nancy Bush

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Published by: Kensington Books - November 28, 2014
Genre: Mystery, Suspense, Supernatural
Rating: 2.5 Stars

NOTICE: I received this book for free in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Greatest Terrors

Elizabeth Gaines Ellis is an ordinary suburban wife and mother. That's what she tells herself as she flits between her realtor job, yoga class, and caring for her daughter, Chloe. But for months now, Elizabeth has worried that she's far from normal…that she's somehow the cause of a series of brutal, horrible deaths.

Are The Ones

Her mean-spirited boss. A bullying traffic cop. Her cheating husband. Elizabeth had reason to be angry with them all. She didn't mean for them to die. No one will take her fears seriously--except the private investigator prying into her past. . .

Too Close To See

The more scared and angry Elizabeth becomes, the higher the death toll grows. But those who wrong her aren't the only ones in danger. Because others have secrets too, and a relentless urge to kill without mercy or remorse…

I've read many thrillers by Lisa Jackson over the years, so I was eager to read her latest. I'm not familiar with Nancy Bush.

Unlike all previous Lisa Jackson books (that I've read), this one deviated from the formula a bit. Quite a few characters had special "gifts." The supernatural element seemed strange at times any time talk of Siren's Song was mentioned. In it lived a house full of women with gifts. Elizabeth comes to learn that she is related to them.

I'm not one for supernatural books, so I wasn't as into this as most people will probably be. I was expecting another hair-raising thriller from Lisa and this book just didn't fit that bill.

Also, there were a lot of loose ends and important details left out of the book. It was never explained who the killer really was in relation to Elizabeth in terms of where they first met. It was mentioned that they went to high school together, but never if they interacted or anything of that nature. There wasn't a lot that convinced me the killer's unnatural obsession with Elizabeth made sense.

The final chapter was also very rocky. It felt like the authors were trying to throw in a bunch of details at the end, and rather than write them out, occurrences were almost in bullet-points. Strange.

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

TTT: Top 5 Debuts of 2015

From the Broke & the Bookish

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Top 5 Debuts of 2015!

1. Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay - Hasn’t everyone wondered what if? One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride.

2. Like It Never Happened by Emily Adrian - Can you say theatre-themed book?

3. Bookishly Ever After by Isabel Bandeira - When Phoebe finds out that Dev, the hottest guy in the clarinet section, might actually have a crush on her, she turns to her favorite books for advice. I was totally a band geek who played clarinet AND brought a book to slumber parties, much to the chagrin of my friends. lol.

4. Etta and Otto and Russell and James by Emma Hooper - I've gone. I've never seen the water, so I've gone there. I will try to remember to come back. Etta's greatest unfulfilled wish, living in the rolling farmland of Saskatchewan, is to see the sea. And so, at the age of eighty-two she gets up very early one morning, takes a rifle, some chocolate, and her best boots, and begins walking the 2,000 miles to water.

5. When Reason Breaks by Cindy L Rodriguez - Two different teens struggling with trauma come together over their love of Emily Dickinson. Emily's poetry has gotten me through a few hard times too, especially this one.

Friday, January 2, 2015

The Charlotte Chronicles by Jen Frederick

The Charlotte Chronicles
by Jen Frederick

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Published by: All Night Reads - December 8, 2014
Genre: N/A, Romance
Rating: 3 Stars

Charlotte and Nathan were supposed to be forever. They grew up together. Their families were intertwined. Charlotte was Nathan's first love. Nathan was Charlotte's first everything.

Until they weren't.

How do you hold on to the person you know in your heart you are supposed to be with when everything and everyone in the universe is telling you it's over?

How many times does a heart break?
When is enough…..enough?
How long is forever?

I've had a hard time rating this novel. I have to be honest and say that with 25% left in the book, I stopped reading. It wasn't because the writing was bad or even the story. It just went on too darn long. It was obvious what was going to happen during the last quarter of the book and I didn't feel like reading a dragged-out version of it.

Another issue that I had was that the turmoil that broke Charlotte and Nate apart as teenagers really wasn't that bad. I get that he was embarrassed but was that any reason to run off to the Navy and not speak to Charlotte for 9 years? Probably not. I also didn't like the new Navy Nate that showed up 9 years later. Being controlling isn't romantic or enticing to me.

I know I wrote quite a few dislikes, but although this wasn't the right book for me, I don't want to discourage others from reading it. I think a lot of other New Adult lovers will really like it, angsty saga and all.

White Nights by TT Kove

White Nights
by TT Kove

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Published by: Less Than Three Press - January 14, 2015
Genre: LGBT, M/M, Romance, Novella
Rating: 3 Stars

Radimir has loved Aleksandr for more than a decade. Long convinced that Aleksandr will never love him in return, however, he has spent the years drifting from bed to bed, unable to settle when what he really wants is out of reach. And has been all the more out of reach since an impulsive, ultimately disastrous night together while out hiking. And will definitely be forever gone when Aleksandr returns to St. Petersburg.

Aleksandr wishes he could forget the night he gave in to a long-held desire for his friend, but more than anything he wishes that one night had led to so much more. But Radimir is a player, and Aleksandr doesn't want to be simply another conquest.

Then family turmoil strikes Aleksandr hard, and he realizes the stability he's always wanted was there all along...

Being a novella, the story wasn't too in-depth, but I definitely felt the author's attempt at revealing the back story of the two friends-turned-lovers.

Radimir, a player, and Aleksandr, a perpetual pessimist, have missed their chance to be together for years because they were each afraid that the other didn't reciprocate their love. Radimir lost himself in other men, trying to forget Lesya (Aleksandr) and the other man practically lived like a monk.

Although the story is short, I was happy to finish reading it all the way through. The secondary story is the love story between the boys' mothers.

The only thing I'm confused about is the title, although it looks like it's book 4 in the "Arctic" series. . .

If you're looking for a short, quick m/m romance, pick this one up.