Thursday, 31 January 2013

Review: Ultraviolet by R.J Anderson

Ultraviolet by R.J Anderson
Publisher: Orchard
Publication date: 2nd June 2011.
My rating: 4.5 stars

Once upon a time there was a girl who was special.

This is not her story.

Unless you count the part where I killed her.

Sixteen-year-old Alison has been sectioned in a mental institute for teens, having murdered the most perfect and popular girl at school. But the case is a mystery: no body has been found, and Alison’s condition is proving difficult to diagnose. Alison herself can’t explain what happened: one minute she was fighting with Tori—the next she disintegrated. Into nothing. But that’s impossible. Right?

Ultraviolet reminded me of one of my all time favourite films Shutter Island. After finishing the book I sat there thinking to myself what has just happened?

In Ultraviolet we are told the story through Alison; she’s found herself in a psych unit after admitting she killed Tori a girl from school. Tori, hasn’t been seen since, but her blood was found at school at the spot where Alison the last person to have seen her had a confrontation with her. Alison’s mum has always believed Alison’s not right, so Pine Hills is the best place for her, whereas everyone else including Alison herself just wants to discover the truth.

Ultraviolet took me a while to warm up to, it had an unusual premise, but once we started to get down to the nitty gritty with Alison, I found myself fallen head first into an unbelieving world, but in no way I wanted to leave.

Ultraviolet was multi-layered and complex, but Anderson was able to produce a masterly woven plot. It had aspects where I assumed I knew what was going to happen, but then was totally flummoxed by what was around the corner. I liked the way Anderson slowly took us into Alison’s life, and opened nooks and crannies that even Alison hadn’t been aware of, how we were pushed deeper into her life and emerged with so many fascinating facts.

Alison was a character who I enjoyed being with, she couldn’t understand what was going on either, whether she really killed Tori, so I liked going through this journey with her, slowly unravelling the mystery surrounding herself and what really happened. It was like she was wearing blinkers her entire life and she couldn’t really see what was really happening. Until that one person came into her life who had that faith in her that she needed to give her the confidence to believe in herself. This one character I’m just a loss for words when describing him, it could probably be best summed up by Alison

“I was terrified of losing..., a soul mate so perfectly made for me that even now I was half afraid I’d invented him”.

And Alison nails it with this quote what Ultraviolet is really about. We are often led to believe so much, but how honestly can we say that it’s true? It’s like me and my best friend can see the same fight but have totally different takes on it afterwards. My sense of reality can be quite different to another’s. In essence Anderson has been able to play on this in an unbelievable way with Ultraviolet.

I went into Ultraviolet with one story, but left with so many more. With Ultraviolet just be prepared for the unexpected.

Tuesday, 29 January 2013

Review: The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher

The Opportunist (Love Me With Lies, #1)

The Opportunist by Tarryn Fisher
Publisher: Self-Published
Publication date: November 14th 2011
My rating: 5 stars

 Olivia Kaspen has just discovered that her ex-boyfriend, Caleb Drake, has lost his memory. With an already lousy reputation for taking advantage of situations, Olivia must decide how far she is willing to go to get Caleb back. Wrestling to keep her true identity and their sordid past under wraps, Olivia’s greatest obstacle is Caleb’s wicked, new girlfriend; Leah Smith. It is a race to the finish as these two vipers engage in a vicious tug of war to possess a man who no longer remembers them. But, soon enough Olivia must face the consequences of her lies, and in the process discover that sometimes love falls short of redemption.

I think that after the first time you give your heart away, you never get it back. The rest of your life is just you pretending that you still have a heart.

After reading a review of The Opportunist, a while back I had planned on staying far away from this story.  It sounded like drama and frustration, and I have little patience for either.  But after my trusted friend Arlene badgered encouraged me to read this, I had to give in.   As I expected there was drama, (lots and lots and lots!) BUT there was very little frustration.  After reading a few pages I was COMPLETELY hooked, and couldn’t put this book down.  The story is riveting, and the writing was amazing!  I’m currently pimping this story to anyone who’ll listen, so I’ll have more victims people to gossip with. 

Olivia and Caleb were together in college and had a horrible breakup.  Actually, horrible is an understatement.  The scars left a permanent mark on both of them, and continue to hurt even now.  Olivia runs into Caleb years later and finds that he’s lost his memory.  Initially, Olivia plans on just walking away and leaving things well enough alone, but she runs into Caleb a second time, and he wants to see her.  Unable to resist the draw, Olivia starts seeing him again, all the while keeping the past a secret.  She knows her days are numbered, because Caleb will eventually get his memory back, but she loves Caleb so much she’s willing to take what she can get. 

I have to say this story utterly consumed and HAUNTED me.  If I had to use one word to describe this story, it would be INTENSE.  We get this story in Olivia’s POV, and she is one passionate and obsessive character when it comes to life, but especially when it comes to Caleb. 

He was my crack. I could never get enough, and when I had him I was already thinking about when I could have him next.

Caleb was like a hurricane that swept through my life, stirring up things inside of me that I never knew existed.  He’s a longing I will never cure.

Not that she lets many people see that.  She has a wall as thick as Fort Knox around her heart, she’s so guarded.  Even though you’re not in Caleb’s head you can tell he feels exactly the same about her.  These two so desperately love and need each other, yet their manipulations and lies completely sabotage everything!!  Normally this type of behavior would completely frustrate me and I’d want to chuck my Kindle across the room.  This story was the exception.  Tarryn Fisher so skillfully makes you empathize and feel for the characters, you can see why they do the things they do. 

Most of the time I find that alternating from the present to the past continually, annoys me.  It didn’t here.  I can’t gush enough about the brilliant way things were slowly revealed, ratcheting up the story a little more each chapter until the tension is about to kill you.  My stomach hurt reading this, because I kept wondering when the bottom would fall out. 

My heart and head still hurt, and even though it’s days past since I’ve read it, I continually think about this story.  I read Dirty Red, the sequel the next day, in one sitting.  As I said in the outset, my friend Arlene convinced me to read this.  We attended a book convention this last weekend, and all we did the whole time was gossip and theorize about this series! We convinced my husband to read this, too and he was right along with us in our obsession.   I still can’t get this story out of my head.  It was heart pounding, stomach clenching INTENSE, and I loved it!!! 

Right now this story is a steal of a deal for .99 cents on Amazon.

Monday, 28 January 2013

Review: The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan

The Boys of Summer by C.J. Duggan
Publication date: 17th December 2012.
My rating: 4.5 stars

Quiet seventeen-year-old Tess doesn’t relish the thought of a summertime job. She wants nothing more than to forget the past haunts of high school and have fun with her best friends before the dreaded Year Twelve begins.

To Tess, summer is when everything happens: riding bikes down to the lake, watching the fireworks at the Onslow Show and water bomb fights at the sweltering Sunday markets.

How did she let her friends talk her into working?

After first-shift disasters, rude, wealthy tourists and a taunting ex-boyfriend, Tess is convinced nothing good can come of working her summer away. However, Tess finds unlikely allies in a group of locals dubbed ‘The Onslow Boys’, who are old enough to drive cars, drink beer and not worry about curfews. Tess’s summer of working expands her world with a series of first times with new friends, forbidden love and heartbreaking chaos.

Don’t you just love those nights where a book has you up until the early hours in the morning, when you have to go to work the next day really early but you just don’t care? The Boys of Summer was one of those books. It was fun, had a fresh summery vibe going on that has you aching for the vibrant summer days. I didn’t realise how much I needed a book like this until I picked it up.

The Boys of Summer did take me a while to get into, but bam as soon as the Onslow boys were introduced I knew there would be no going back for me. Tess had agreed with her best friends Adam and Ellie over the summer holidays to work at the Onslow hotel, it’s not how Tess had planned to be spending her summer, but her friends insisted it would be a whole lot of fun and plus at least she would be spending it with her best friends. But she didn’t expect Adam to be involved in a freak accident and be shipped off to his Nan’s for the summer holidays; neither did she expect Ellie to be infatuated with the Onslow boys. But Tess soon realises that there’s something which draws her to 22 year old Toby, despite him having a girlfriend and her acting like a moron in the hotel whenever he makes an appearance. Ellie knows she shouldn’t be hanging out with him and the rest of the boys. But Ellie and Tess promised to make this one summer they wouldn’t forget.

And what a summer it was! Despite the five year age gap I enjoyed every single moment the girls spent with the Onslow boys; Stan, Sean and Toby. They were such decent guys, never to take advantage of the girls, always respected them, but most of all showed them a fun time. Each one of the guys brought something different to the book, they had me in hysterics with their endless banter, brought a smile to my face with their double entendre messages especially from Sean, but most of all I felt like there was something missing when they weren’t around. Don’t get me wrong, I thought Tess was a great mc, she did occasionally over think things and then at other times rush into things without thinking things through. But things were always livelier and upbeat when the boys were around. But despite this book focusing on everyone having a good time, Duggan was also able to weave through a story of heartache. Duggan definitely was able to work with both aspects extremely well. It was awful watching Tess having to go through such a tough time, but the way Tess matured through the book and overcame these issues was done extremely well overall.

Duggan also had a habit of leaving you with a teasing sentence of what’s to come, I liked and didn’t like this aspect as most of the time it left an utter feeling of dread in the pit of my stomach of what could be around the corner.

Overall The Boys of Summer is a perfect example of what summers are meant to be about. With a fantastic set of characters, you will be missing out on a lot of fun by not picking this up.    

Sunday, 27 January 2013

Giveaway & Excerpt: Oxford Whispers by Marion Croslydon

Oxford Whispers (The Oxford Trilogy, # 1)
Today I'm excited to share with you a little about Oxford Whispers by Marion Croslydon.
Publication Date: October 8th 2012
Publisher: Carlux Publishing

Madison LeBon is dead set against the dead.

Her fresh start at Oxford University is a brand new beginning. She finally has a chance to turn the page on her psychic powers and cumbersome voodoo heritage. Snakes, dolls, ghosts, and spirits: Farewell…

Not quite.

When the tragic lovers in a painting—the subject of her first history class—begin to haunt her, she must accept her gift before life imitates art. The lovers warn her against their own nemesis, a Puritan from the English Civil War. Unfortunately, said nemesis is now going all homicidal on Madison.

College becomes more complicated when she falls hard for Rupert Vance, a troubled aristocrat and descendant of one of the characters in the painting. With the spirit of a murderer after her, Madison realizes that her own first love may also be doomed…


“First time here?” asked a clipped voice behind her at the jammed-up counter. 
She turned around and leaned against the bar to support herself as she lifted her gaze from the light blue shirt he wore, to a crisp collar, and followed the line of his neck to the handsome face above.  

Earl Boy himself. 

Madison cleared her throat, but only managed a ‘Yes’ that sounded like a croak. 

He’s hotter than the hinges on the gates of hell.

He chuckled, clearly enjoying her agitation.  But his voice was soft when he asked, “American? Where from?”

The smell of his freshly laundered clothes drifted over her.  Bergamot or lavender, Madison couldn’t say which, but the fragrance contrasted with the sweat and cheap perfume of the crowd.

“Louisiana,” Bad Boy is chatting me up.

The full-lips-slash-chiseled-cheekbones combo was full-on cliché, but would melt a freaking iceberg.  

He gave her a rueful smile and she tried turning away, but couldn’t find the necessary space at the crowded bar. Pivoting her head, she strained for a better view of possible avenues of retreat.

“You arrived with Ginger Girl.”

“No idea who you’re talking about…Blondie.” The steel in her voice had chinks in it.

Sparkles lit up in his eyes, and her heart missed a beat. Shivers—chilly then warm—ran down her spine, and back up again.  The student bartender shook her elbow and signaled toward a glass on the bar.  She held out the exact change, keeping her arm strong, her hand still, but her new ‘friend’ stopped her midway.

“Allow me. I’m Rupert, by the way.”

Sounds like the start of something interesting! 

Marion's Bio: 
In addition to being an author, I spend a good deal of time with books, DVDs and listening to my mp3 player; all for the sake of inspiration, of course. My debut series, The Oxford Trilogy, has been a blast to write because I can indulge in my favorite types of music: Country and English rock. My main goal as a writer is to make readers dream bigger and cause their hearts to beat a little faster. Since my writing is all about sharing dreams and stories, I love connecting with fellow readers and authors.

Website           Facebook       Twitter: @MCroslydon

Now here's the awesome part.  Marion Croslydon has generously offered to giveaway a e-copy of Oxford Whispers to one lucky winner. Thank you! The giveaway is INTERNATIONAL so fill out the rafflecopter below for a chance to win! The only requirement is that you follow the blog.   

Friday, 25 January 2013

Blog Tour: Nobody But Us by Kristin Halbrook

Hello everyone, today I'm hosting a tour stop for the Nobody But Us blog tour hosted by Shane @ Itching For Books. I'll be sharing an excerpt with you guys, but first here's a little bit about the book. 

Published: January 29th 2013.
Bonnie and Clyde meets IF I STAY in this addictively heart-wrenching story of two desperate teenagers on the run from their pasts.

They’re young. They’re in love. They’re on the run.

Zoe wants to save Will as much as Will wants to save Zoe. When Will turns eighteen, they decide to run away together. But they never expected their escape to be so fraught with danger....

When the whole world is after you, sometimes it seems like you can’t run fast enough.

Nobody But Us, told in alternating perspectives from Will and Zoe, is an unflinching novel, in turns heartbreaking and hopeful, about survival, choices, and love...and how having love doesn’t always mean that you get a happy ending. Described as “beautiful, heartbreaking, and exhilarating” by Kody Keplinger, author of The DUFF, Nobody But Us will prove irresistible to fans of Nina Lacour, Jenny Han, and Sara Zarr.


He guides my hand into third and fourth gears, and by now were soaring down the road. It’s exhilarating, like my first taste of real freedom, to be in control of a machine that can take me far, far away from where I’ve been. I’m enjoying the ride so much that I pass right by the diner we’re supposed to eat at.
“Oops” I turn the steering wheel, but we’re still going really fast and I don’t know how to slow down. I can’t take my foot off the gas, because I remembered what happened last time, and breaking would be pointless. I steer as hard as I can, putting my whole body into the movement. The wheels screech on the road, and I yelp. We’re headed for a ditch. “Will!”
“It’s okay. Use the brake and the clutch at the same time. I’ll downshift.”
It’s too much to keep track of – the wheel and the shifting and the brake, the clutch, the gas – and my head’s spinning and there’s the ditch and my feet get tangled under the dash. I’ve got the clutch but forgotten the brake or the other way around, but as we slow, I hear a nasty grating sound and see Will wince again.
“The clutch baby.”
My hands are gripping the steering wheel like it’s a lifesaver. I take a breath and try to focus on the pedals. The clutch goes in and I’m turning the wheel for all I’m worth. The car’s slowing down, but not fast enough. "Will!”
He leans over and takes the wheel. “Brake! Just brake!”
I slam both feet on the middle pedal, and we slide halfway into the ditch with a shudder. A shattering sound splits the air as a semi truck whizzes past us, horn blaring, driver’s middle finger extended out the window.
I try catch my breath. It feels like I’ve been running for miles.
“I’m sorry.”
“No. you did great.” His voice is a little shaky. “We’ll try again later. But I’m hungry so...” We get out and push the car back to the road. I’m useless because every time he lifts his arms to push, I get the urge to tickle his sides. We end up sprawled on the weeds, hands and mouths seeking, twice, before I am flushed and out of breath enough to leave him alone.
I want it to always be like this. Cars in ditches and tickling and kissing in the weeds because we can’t help ourselves.
I never want us to be able to help ourselves.

This extract was probably one of my favourites from Nobody But Us, it shows Zoe and Will having a small moment where they're just having fun and have left all their worries behind for the time being. Moments like these are hard to come by for Zoe and Will and so this is one of the reasons why this extract stood out for me.

Kristin Halbrook is a Seattleite who loves good coffee, good food, good music, good sports, good causes, and good reads. She’s both intense and a goofball, introverted and gregarious. Nobody But Us is her debut novel.

Wednesday, 23 January 2013

Waiting on Wednesday #19

Is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases were eagerly anticipating.

The book I'm most excited about this week is..

The Distance Between Us The Distance Between Us
by Kasie West
Publication Date: July 2nd 2013
Publisher: Harper Teen
Seventeen-year-old Caymen Meyers studies the rich like her own personal science experiment, and after years of observation she’s pretty sure they’re only good for one thing—spending money on useless stuff, like the porcelain dolls in her mother’s shop.

So when Xander Spence walks into the store to pick up a doll for his grandmother, it only takes one glance for Caymen to figure out he’s oozing rich. Despite his charming ways and that he’s one of the first people who actually gets her, she’s smart enough to know his interest won’t last. Because if there’s one thing she’s learned from her mother’s warnings, it’s that the rich have a short attention span. But Xander keeps coming around, despite her best efforts to scare him off. And much to her dismay, she's beginning to enjoy his company.

She knows her mom can’t find out—she wouldn’t approve. She’d much rather Caymen hang out with the local rocker who hasn’t been raised by money. But just when Xander’s attention and loyalty are about to convince Caymen that being rich isn’t a character flaw, she finds out that money is a much bigger part of their relationship than she’d ever realized. And that Xander’s not the only one she should’ve been worried about.

I can't wait to pick this up! I loved Kasie West's paranormal story, Pivot Point  So I'm sure she'll amaze us with her venture into contemporary!  Sounds like a "vanilla queen's dream"!

So what are you waiting on?  Link us up, we'd love to know. :)

Tuesday, 22 January 2013

Review: Burn for Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian

Burn For Burn by Jenny Han & Siobhan Vivian
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publication date: 25th October 2012
My rating: 4 stars



Lillia has never had any problems dealing with boys who like her. Not until this summer, when one went too far. No way will she let the same thing happen to her little sister.

Kat is tired of the rumours, the insults, the cruel jokes. It all goes back to one person– her ex-best friend– and she's ready to make her pay.

Four years ago, Mary left Jar Island because of a boy. But she's not the same girl anymore. And she's ready to prove it to him.

Three very different girls who want the same thing: sweet, sweet revenge. And they won't stop until they each had a taste.

Being a huge fan of Jenny Han’s books, when I first heard about Burn for Burn, I knew I had to get my hands on a copy. Also Siobhan Vivian was an author whose books I had been promising myself to getting around to for ages. So I knew picking up this book would be a win-win situation!

Burn for Burn focuses on three girls, Kat, Mary and Lillia who are forced to work together on one common goal; revenge. You know the saying revenge is a dish best served cold? Well this saying totally applied here. The three girls had their own reasons for getting their own back on Reeve, Alex and Rennie. Whereas Kat and Lillia used to be close friends until Rennie ruined it, Mary’s the school newbie. But the three girls manage to form a united alliance, with devious plans up their sleeves, they’re sure to get their comeuppance.

Burn for Burn lets us into the story through povs from Mary, Kat and Lillia. As I read through the chapters I really felt I got to know Kat and Lillia, the hardships they had to experience, the pressure they had to deal with and keeping their mouth shut when necessary. But with Mary, I don’t know, I liked getting her back story, how she had a tough time and how much it took to get to where she is now. But there were aspects concerning her which I just didn’t get like her super creepy aunt, I think it was purposely done this way to just scratch the surface with Mary’s character, but I think I wanted more from her.

The so-called revenge plan I was totally on board with, I agreed that all three deserved their just deserts especially Rennie, ugh I couldn’t stand this girl! And by the end of the book my opinion didn’t change of her, but Alex really grew on me as the as the book progressed, I began to feel really sorry for him and hoped the girls would stop their revenge act towards him. Also Reeve being the obnoxious boy that he was really messed around with my feelings at the end.

Overall Burn for Burn was an exceptional first book to a fresh new series. I really feel as if I know Kat and Lillia so well already and so I can’t wait to see which direction book two Fire with Fire will take us to next!

Monday, 21 January 2013

Mini Reviews: Radiant & A Killer First Date

Radiant (Unearthly, #2.5)

Radiant (Unearthly #2.5)
Publisher: HarperTeen
Publication date: December 4th 2012
My rating: 4 stars

 From New York Times bestselling author Cynthia Hand comes a riveting original novella (available only as an ebook) set in the world of the Unearthly series.

Clara is desperate to get away—from the memories that haunt her in Wyoming and the visions of a future she isn't ready to face—and spending the summer in Italy with her best friend, Angela, should be the perfect escape. . . .

For as long as she can remember, Angela has been told that love is dangerous, that she must always guard her heart. But when she met a mysterious guy in Italy two years ago she was determined to be with him, no matter the costs. Now she must decide whether she can trust Clara with her secret, or if telling her the truth will risk everything she cares about.

Alternating between Angela and Clara's perspectives, Radiant chronicles the unforgettable summer that will test the bounds of their friendship and change their lives forever.

Radiant was an amazing novella.  A lot of times novellas can be disappointing and short, but this isn’t the case here.  I highly recommend reading this before reading Boundless, as I think it will be an important piece in the story.

Don’t read this if you haven’t read Hallowed, as it would spoil major plot points. 
This takes place just a few short weeks after the events in Hallowed.  Clara and Angela are spending the summer in Italy, staying with Angela’s family.  Clara is still heartbroken over her mother’s death and Tucker, and can’t get him off of her mind.  Angela can’t get her mystery man out of her head, and we finally get some answers to this nagging bit of the puzzle. 
I didn’t trust Angela in Hallowed.  I always suspected she was hiding something, and this novella sets some things straight in my mind.  I want to smack Angela for something she does, because I think it’s going to come back and bite everyone in the behind later.  I know, cryptic.  Come back to me after you’ve read this and we’ll discuss. 

Christian’s presence is, surprisingly very sparse.  Hmm…wonder what that says about Clara’s final choice.  I guess we’ll all find out very soon!  I’m jumping up and down with anxious excitement over the release of Boundless.  I want to read it immediately, if not sooner!

Okay, you know I have to give you a swoony quote.  It wouldn’t be a “Rachel” review without one.  I won’t tell you who it involves.  You can try and figure it out on your own:

He kissed me so many times, more than I could count, but each time it was like this wonderful surprise.  He always got this I-want-to-kiss-you expression in his eyes, right before he’d draw me in.  My throat aches as I remember the agonizing joy of those few seconds before his lips touched mine. 

A Killer First Date

A Killer First Date by Alyxandra Harvey
Publisher: Walker Children's
Publication date: February 14th 2012
My rating: 3 stars
Nicholas and Lucy have known each other for most of their lives, but now that they've finally admitted their feelings for each other, Nicholas wants to take her on their official first date-away from all the life-and-death drama that has surrounded them lately. Is it too much to ask for just a fun double date at the local carnival with his older brother, Quinn, and Quinn's new girlfriend, Hunter?

A Killer First Date centered on my two favorites couple in the Drake Chronicles: Lucy and Nicholas, and Hunter and Quinn.  It was a cute short story with a little bit of oh-my-heart romance, humor, and fun action. 

Lucy and Nicholas are my favorite couple in the series.  Their relationship started out tension filled and antagonistic.  Here is Lucy’s first line about Nicholas in book one:

“He was gorgeous, there was no use in denying it, but he always knew how to make me want to poke him in the eye with a fork. “

Gradually, their relationship developed into a sweet romance.  Still snarky at times, but that’s what makes it so much fun!   Being in on their first “official date” was too cute.  Unfortunately, the Drakes can’t go anywhere without danger following.  So instead of riding the Ferris wheel, eating cotton candy and winning horrible stuffed prizes, they get: stakes, evil-smelly-vampires, and an out-of-control merry-go-round as part of the evening!  Don’t worry; there are some swoony scenes, too:

“I bet cotton candy tastes good on you.” I swallowed, reflexively licking my bottom lip.  He leaned in closer, his mouth just barely brushing mine when he spoke.  “Ready?”  I nodded, breathless despite myself.  He pulled back as if it was the most difficult thing he’d ever done.  Oh man, I was in real trouble with this new Nicholas.

Hunter and Quinn are in on the fun, making this a double first date.  They’re my second favorite couple of the series.  Hunter the vampire killer (only the bad ones), and Quinn the vampire.  Quinn was quite the ladies man until Hunter came along.  Now he only has eyes for Hunter. 

After finishing this, I’m totally excited to continue the Drake Vampire series with Bleeding Hearts.  If you haven’t picked up this series yet, you should!  It’s fast paced, action packed and full of witty humor! 


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