Wednesday, 13 September 2017

Review: Summoner by S.D. Grimm

SummonerSummoner

Author: S.D. Grimm
Publisher / Source: Entangled Teen
Release date: 4th September 2017
Genre: Young Adult

Synopsis: When Allie’s best friend dares their group to play a game in a cemetery—something she calls “witching”—Allie never expects what it might mean for her. When she plays, she doesn’t just find bodies, she summons their souls. But one soul wants more than Allie is willing to give.

And the boy next door could be the key to saving her.

Cody Burkhart. Straight from Montana, cowboy hat wearing, and smoking hot, he’s just the thing to help Allie become “normal” again after the death of her mother. And as her newly appointed Guardian, he’s also just the thing to help Allie ward off the vengeful spirit who’s after her soul. Except Cody has his own demons to slay that keep him closed off. But as the full moon approaches, so does their only chance to break the curse, and Cody will have to make the biggest sacrifice of all.

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

Our MC is Allie Billings who has avoided her closest friends since the death of her mother, trying to reconnect she joins them on a dare to the local cemetery for a night of witching. Allie doesn’t believe in witching but after this night her opinion changes when she becomes bonded to a evil spirit by summoning her soul.

The plot was engaging as we see Allie do everything she possibly can to learn more about what is happening but she soon finds out her only hope could be from her new neighbour Cody Burkhart, her guardian who is also needing to work out his role between Allie and the spirit, Katerina that has bonded to her. They both end up working against a full moon deadline which could mean a sacrifice by the end of it.

I really liked Allie and Cody as characters, they have both felt loss and were able to bond over this and their slow building romance didn’t feel forced but came naturally which I enjoyed; it also wasn’t at the forefront of the story. The side characters were each written well, the freaky souls included.

I don’t tend to read ghost books, I’ve never enjoyed them but I liked S.D Grimm’s writing style and her entertaining and at time freaky storyline. It was a fast paced read with a few twists that kept things enjoyable.

Overall, Summoner kept me riveted from the beginning and I couldn’t wait to see what would happen; the characters were written well and the plot was intriguing. I will definitely read more books by this author.

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



S.D. GrimmAbout the author: S. D. Grimm’s first love in writing is young adult fantasy and science fiction, which is to be expected from someone who looks up to heroes like Captain America and Wonder Woman, has been sorted into Gryffindor, identifies as rebel scum, and loves elevensies as much as afternoon tea. Her patronus is a red Voltron lion, her spirit animal is Toothless, and she totally has a superpower. She is represented by Julie Gwinn of the Seymour Agency, her office is anywhere she can curl up with her laptop and at least one large-sized dog, and you can learn more about her upcoming novels at www.sdgrimm.com

Wednesday, 30 August 2017

Review: Trusting You and Other Lies by Nicole Williams

Trusting You And Other LiesTrusting You and Other Lies

Author: Nicole Wililams
Series: -
Release date: 20th June 2017
Publisher / Source: Random House Children’s - Netgalley
Pages: 293
Young Adult Fiction

Synopsis (Goodreads) USA Today and New York Times bestselling author Nicole Williams delivers a seductive summer romance worth swooning over. Perfect for fans of Sarah Dessen and Stephanie Perkins.

Phoenix can't imagine anything worse than being shipped off to family summer camp. Her parents have been fighting for the past two years--do they seriously think being crammed in a cabin with Phoenix and her little brother, Harry, will make things better? 
On top of that, Phoenix is stuck training with Callum--the head counselor who is seriously cute but a complete know-it-all. His hot-cold attitude means he's impossible to figure out--and even harder to rely on. But despite her better judgment, Phoenix is attracted to Callum. And he's promising Phoenix a summer she'll never forget. Can she trust him? Or is this just another lie?

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

Trusting You and Other Lies was a quick, easy and light-hearted read and was kindly provided to me by Random House Children’s via Netgalley.

Our main character Phoenix isn’t overly thrilled to be spending her summer as a camp counsellor at Camp Kismet, not an ideal situation because of the current strain within her family but she sees it as an opportunity to work through a few problems and spend some time with her younger brother Harry.

Phoenix wasn’t an instantly likeable character, she complained, she whined and she could be dramatic but there was growth throughout the book and I came to like her as a character.

Helping to train Phoenix is head counsellor Callum, he is a little rough around the edges and often ran hot and cold so it did talk a while for me to warm up to him but once I did I worked out where he was coming from and why he was the way he was. Phoenix and Callum complimented each other well.

Trusting You and Other Lies didn’t come without drama and a bit of angst but it wasn’t over the top or frustrating. I found the pacing to be slow in parts so I was skimming on the odd occasion. I loved Phoenix’s relationship with her brother Harry, they shared a sweet bond.

I didn’t completely love Trusting You and Other Lies as I have Nicole William's other books but it was an easy, entertaining read with some great life lessons in it.  

Thank you to Random House Children’s via Netgalley for the opportunity to read and review this book.



Nicole  WilliamsAbout the author

I'm a wife, a mom, a writer. I started writing because I loved it and I'm still writing because I love it. I write romance because I still believe in true love, kindred spirits, and happy endings. 

Nicole loves hearing from her readers. You can connect with her on:

Facebook: Author Nicole Williams
Instagram: author_nicole_williams
Twitter: nwilliamsbooks

Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Review: Wildfire (Hidden Legacy #3) by Ilona Andrews

Wildfire (Hidden Legacy, #3)Wildfire

Author: Ilona Andrews
Series: Hidden Legacy
Publisher: Avon
Genre: Paranormal Romance / UF
Pages: 400
Release date: 25th July 2017

Books in order:
  1. Burn for Me
  2. White Hot
  3. Wildfire

Synopsis (Goodreads): Just when Nevada Baylor has finally come to accept the depths of her magical powers, she also realizes she’s fallen in love. Connor “Mad” Rogan is in many ways her equal when it comes to magic, but she’s completely out of her elements when it comes to her feelings for him. To make matters more complicated, an old flame comes back into Rogan’s life…

Rogan knows there’s nothing between him and his ex-fiance, Rynda Sherwood. But as Nevada begins to learn more about her past, her power, and her potential future, he knows she will be faced with choices she never dreamed of and the promise of a life spent without him.

As Nevada and Rogan race to discover the whereabouts of Rynda’s kidnapped husband and are forced to confront Nevada’s grandmother, who may or may not have evil motives, these two people must decide if they can trust in each other or allow everything to go up in smoke.
 

Review: 5 out of 5 stars

Contains possible spoilers for the previous book

The Hidden Legacy series has fast become one of my very favourites! Wildfire, is the third book in the series and follows on where White Hot left off and is probably the best book that I have read so far this year!

In White Hot Nevada learned that her Grandmother, Victoria Tremaine is the Prime of her house and will do anything to capture Nevada and her sisters to keep House Tremaine intact; Nevada’s only options are to join with her crazy grandmother or to start her own house so in Wildfire we see the beginning of House Baylor emerge.

We also have Mad Rogan’s ex Rynda Sherwood recruiting Nevada and the Baylor agency to locate her missing husband Brian, this aspect was exciting and I was eager to see what was to come of the Sherwood’s because this woman drove me absolutely crazy and how Nevada held her cool was beyond me!

There is also a secret conspiracy with certain houses trying to destabilize Houston so a powerful leader name Caesar can rule. There was so much going on but thankfully the pacing flowed well and nothing was overlooked or rushed, everything was done with purpose and blended the storyline beautifully.

The characters are nothing short of amazing (animals Zeus and Teddy included), there has been so much character growth and each of them have played a pivotal role in the overall story. The relationship between them all is amazing! I love them all and how they interact; seeing Nevada become a well-respected part of Rogan’s powerful team has been wonderful to watch. They have all faced challenges but they have come out stronger from it.

The romance between Nevada and Connor is one of my favourites; I absolutely adore their banter, their at times crazy interactions; the way he not only protects her but also supports her leaves me swooning; he doesn’t always agree with her choices but he backs up her decisions and vice versa. They complement each other well, both in their strengths and their weaknesses,

I cannot fault the writing style, the fast-paced plot or amazing world-building; it is all perfect.

Overall, Wildfire is a highly satisfying, thrilling and intense page-turner; full of kick-butt characters and fantastic dialogue as well as an amazingly strong heroine and a phenomenal alpha male, I can’t recommend this book and series highly enough.



Ilona AndrewsAbout the author: Ilona Andrews is the pseudonym for a husband-and-wife writing team. Ilona is a native-born Russian and Gordon is a former communications sergeant in the U.S. Army. Contrary to popular belief, Gordon was never an intelligence officer with a license to kill, and Ilona was never the mysterious Russian spy who seduced him. They met in college, in English Composition 101, where Ilona got a better grade. (Gordon is still sore about that.)

Gordon and Ilona currently reside in Oregon with their two children, three dogs and a cat. They have co-authored two series, the bestselling urban fantasy of Kate Daniels and romantic urban fantasy of The Edge.

Monday, 14 August 2017

Review: Our Broken Pieces by Sarah White

Our Broken PiecesOur Broken Pieces

Author: Sarah White
Publisher: HarperTeen
Genre: Young adult
Pages: 288
Release date: 8th August 2017

Synopsis (Goodreads): From Wattpad phenom Sarah White comes a steamy teen romance about one girl’s quest to find herself after a traumatic breakup.

The only thing worse than having your boyfriend dump you is having him dump you for your best friend. For Everly Morgan the betrayal came out of nowhere. One moment she had what seemed like the perfect high school relationship, and the next, she wanted to avoid the two most important people in her life. Every time she sees them kiss in the hallways her heart breaks a little more.

The last thing on Everly’s mind is getting into another relationship, but when she meets Gabe in her therapist’s waiting room she can’t deny their immediate connection. Somehow he seems to understand Everly in a way that no one else in her life does, and maybe it’s because Gabe also has experience grappling with issues outside of his control. Just because they share so many of the same interests and there is an undeniable spark between them doesn’t mean Everly wants anything more than friendship. After all, when you only barely survived your last breakup, is it really worth risking your heart again?

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

Our MC is eighteen year-old Everly Morgan who is in her senior year of high school; everything for her was seemingly perfect until she caught her long-time boyfriend cheating on her with her best friend. As a result, Everly is sent to a therapist to help overcome her heartache and to also treat her anxiety; it is here that she meets Gabe who was there to see his own therapist.

Break-ups are always hard but Everly is finding it extremely tough as she has lost the two most important people in her life, their relationship is also being flaunted in front of her on a daily basis at school; her other friends are also taking sides so she is more or less dealing with everything alone until her weekly therapy appointments end up being the start of a new friendship for her with Gabe.

Gabe and Everly’s relationship seemed effortless, they knew each other’s problems so nothing was avoided or hidden, they shared a connection and a trust that slowly began to develop into something more. I enjoyed the romance aspect and despite Everly dwelling on her loss at the beginning we really saw her strengthen as a character as the book progressed.

I enjoyed the characters interactions; Everly with her family, her therapist, with Gabe and also with his sister who has her own personal struggles. I felt the author dealt with the problems very well.

What I didn’t like was the abrupt ending, I felt like more was needed; an epilogue would have been ideal but there was nothing; it put a dampener on the overall book where it ended for me unfortunately.

Despite this, I did enjoy Our Broken Pieces and the authors writing style and will definitely read more books written by her.

Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Our Broken Pieces.



Friday, 11 August 2017

Review: Dreamfall by Amy Plum

Dreamfall (Dreamfall #1)Dreamfall

Author: Amy Plum
Publisher: HarperCollins
Genre: Young adult / Thrillers and Suspense
Pages: 288
Release date: 2nd May 2017

Synopsis (Goodreads) Cata Cordova suffers from such debilitating insomnia that she agreed to take part in an experimental new procedure. She thought things couldn’t get any worse...but she was terribly wrong.

Soon after the experiment begins, there’s a malfunction with the lab equipment, and Cata and six other teen patients are plunged into a shared dreamworld with no memory of how they got there. Even worse, they come to the chilling realization that they are trapped in a place where their worst nightmares have come to life. Hunted by creatures from their darkest imaginations and tormented by secrets they’d rather keep buried, Cata and the others will be forced to band together to face their biggest fears. And if they can’t find a way to defeat their dreams, they will never wake up.

Review: 2 ½ out of 5 stars

To be honest, I expected to like this book a lot more than I did as I have been a big fan of Amy Plum and her books for some time now.

Dreamfall is a book about seven teenagers between the ages of 13-19 years of age who are taking part in an experiment at a world leading sleep disorder clinic to help with their chronic insomnia with the use of electroconvulsive technology which will hopefully cure them all.

Our main narrators are Cata who has severe insomnia and PTSD, Fergus suffers from insomnia stemming from narcolepsy and Jaime is a pre-med student who is observing the experiment, the story is told from each of their POV’s.

Whilst in the experiment, the participants find themselves stuck in a group dream where they are forced to encounter their worst nightmares; this was a result of an earthquake. I found Jaime’s POV to be the most interesting during this time as he/she is witnessing it from the outside in the lab, I enjoyed this aspect more than those within the dream.

I really enjoyed the scientific side but found myself skimming the dream sequences as I found them quite repetitive; the teens were hunted by creatures and tormented by secrets; they were forced to face their worst fears, I didn’t think there would ever be release for them.

What let this book down for me mostly was the lack of characterisation and details we are given about the characters we meet, we don’t truly get to know them as people, it was more as subjects, I also would have liked more of a ‘scary’ plot.

Amy Plums writing style is gripping and engaging and I found the concept to be extremely fascinating and unique but unfortunately it didn’t truly wow me; the twist at the end has left me excited to continue with the series but up until that point I wouldn’t have continued.

The next instalment, Neverwake has an expected May 2018 release date.

Thank you to HarperTeen via Edelweiss for the opportunity to read and review Dreamfall.



Amy PlumAbout the author: Amy Plum is the international bestselling author of the DIE FOR ME series (Indie Next List pick, Romance Times top pick, and recipient of a starred review from School Library Journal). The books have been translated into thirteen foreign languages. The trilogy is accompanied by two eNovellas entitled DIE FOR HER and DIE ONCE MORE and a compendium entitled INSIDE THE WORLD OF DIE FOR ME.

DREAMFALL, the first book of her YA horror duology, will be released by HarperTeen in summer 2017, with the second book, NEVERWAKE publishing in summer 2018. In the new books, a radical experiment to cure chronic insomnia goes wrong, and its seven teenage test subjects are plunged into a shared coma populated by one another’s nightmares; those who die in the dream will also die in real life.

Amy's action/adventure/magic duology, AFTER THE END and UNTIL THE BEGINNING, received starred reviews from Publishers Weekly, 4 1/2 stars from RT Book Reviews, and enthusiastic reviews from Kirkus, USA Today, ALA Booklist and School Library Journal.

After being raised in Birmingham, Alabama, in a rather restrictive environment, AMY PLUM escaped to Chicago to an even more restrictive environment at a university that expelled people for dancing. (And where she was called to the dean’s office for “wearing too much black”.) After all of that restrictiveness, she was forced to run far far away, specifically to Paris, France, where she only wore black and danced all she wanted.

After five years in Paris, she ventured to London, where she got an M.A. in Medieval Art History, specializing in Early Sienese Painting (1260-1348) mainly because it promised almost no hope of finding a paying job afterward.

Amy managed to find work in the world of art and antiques in New York. But after almost a decade of high-pressure lifestyle in the Big Apple, she swapped her American city for a French village of 1300 inhabitants.

After signing with HarperCollins for the DIE FOR ME series, Amy left her job as an English professor at Tours University to write full-time. She now lives in Paris with her two kids and her black lab, Oberon.

She is a huge fan of Edward Gorey and Maira Kalman (and collects both of their books/art), as well as David Sedaris, Amadeo Modigliani, and Ira Glass.

Check out videos and extras from Amy at Revenant Central.
 

Tuesday, 8 August 2017

Review: Undercurrent by Paula Weston

The UndercurrentUndercurrent

Author: Paula Weston
Publisher: Text Publishing
Genre: Young Adult
Pages: 383
Release date: 31st July 2017

Synopsis (Goodreads): Eighteen-year-old Julianne De Marchi is different. As in: she has an electrical undercurrent beneath her skin that stings and surges like a live wire. She can use it—to spark a fire, maybe even end a life—but she doesn’t understand what it is. And she can barely control it, especially when she’s anxious.

Ryan Walsh was on track for a stellar football career when his knee blew out. Now he’s a soldier—part of an experimental privatised military unit that has identified Jules De Marchi as a threat. Is it because of the weird undercurrent she’s tried so hard to hide? Or because of her mother Angie’s history as an activist against bio-engineering and big business?

It’s no coincidence that Ryan and Jules are in the same place at the same time—he’s under orders to follow her, after all. But then an explosive attack on a city building by an unknown enemy throws them together in the most violent and unexpected way.

Paula Weston, author of the much-admired Rephaim series, returns with a standalone work: a futuristic thriller that is only slightly futuristic—but utterly and undeniably thrilling. Great writing, heart-burning characters, probing questions about where technology is taking us—and a plot that zips and zings like an electrical current itself. This is a great young-adult writer at the peak of her powers. 

Review: 3 ½ out of 5 stars

Paula Weston’s Rephaim series is one of my all-time favourite YA series! So I was extremely excited to receive a review copy of Undercurrent from Text Publishing. Even more excited to see that I had been quoted on the back of the book (happy dance!).

One thing about this book that shocked me is how realistic it actually was! I can see everything happening in this book actually coming to fruition in the not too distant future which is really alarming.

Undercurrent is a book about eighteen year-old Julianne De Marchi who was born with an electrical current beneath her skin; she struggles to control it and has no idea why she is so different; after an incident at her school she has been watched, monitored and threatened but when an opportunity for work arises with a company that put her activist mother out of work she is eager to go for an interview not knowing her life that day could be at risk.

Ryan Walsh is part of a privatised military group and has orders to watch over Julianne, not aware of her capabilities he is shocked (literally) by his orders and her abilities; he is also surprised by his attraction towards her.

The plot was fast paced and I was never quite sure who could and couldn’t be trusted; we have large corporations, activists against bio-engineering, the military and big business all wanting to use Julianne for one reason or another. The reasoning behind her ability was explained well and I liked the futuristic spin on it all.

I enjoyed Paula Weston’s writing style, there was a lot of Australian lingo in this book which may/may not be confusing. It is a fast-paced thrill ride filled with mystery, action and a frightening look at our future with advanced technology, human experimentation and large corporations changing the way in which we live; extremely scary in this day and age.

I liked the initial interactions between Julianne and Ryan but my interest between them tapered off when he was returned to his family farm to keep her safe. The romance wasn’t at the forefront of the story thankfully because it wasn’t a romance that I fully appreciated. I also didn’t really like the inclusion of Ryan’s family drama, I didn’t feel it was necessary to the story-line at all.

If you go into this book expecting it to be anything like the Rephaim series then you will be sorely disappointed because there are no similarities at all; even the writing style feels completely different.

Overall, Undercurrent is action-packed and thrilling! There is romance, family drama and mystery that all blended well to keep the pace flowing and the plot moving.

Thank you to Text Publishing for the opportunity to read and review Undercurrent by Paula Weston.



Paula WestonAbout the author: Paula Weston is the author of the Rephaim series (Shadows, Haze, Shimmer and Burn). The Undercurrent, a stand-alone speculative thriller set in near-future Australia, will be released by Text Publishing in August 2017.

Paula worked as a print journalist for many years before becoming a government media and communication specialist. Today she also co-owns a two-woman communication and design agency.

She grew up in regional South Australia and now lives in Brisbane, Queensland, with her husband.