Tuesday, 15 April 2014

Blog Tour: Read the First Chapter of STORM by Brigid Kemmerer.


Storm by Brigid Kemmerer || Release date: April 17th 2014
(First published 2012)

Secrets are hard to keep when your life's at stake.

Becca Chandler is suddenly getting all the guys; all the ones she doesn't want. When she saves Chris Merrick from a beating in the school parking lot, everything is about to change. Chris is different from the guys at school... really different. He can control water just like his brothers can control fire, wind, and earth. The brothers are powerful and dangerous. And now that Becca knows the truth, so is she.

When the mysterious new kid, Hunter, turns up, Becca thinks she can trust him. But when he goes head-to-head with Chris, Becca's left wondering who's hiding the most dangerous truth of all.


********** 


>>Click the top-left arrow to read in full screen.
>>Or READ/DOWNLOAD HERE.



Follow the STORM Blog Tour


Sunday, 6 April 2014

Stacking The Shelves #5 - New Books From Becca Fitzpatrick, Lauren Barnholdt, Ali Harris & More!

Stacking The Shelves is hosted at Tynga's Reviews.
Links Lead to Goodreads 

I haven't done a Stacking The Shelves post in about three weeks now, so I have a LOT of books to share. Let's get to it! Also, I need to go on a Netgalley/Edelweiss ban. Seriously.

Received for Review 



Written in the Stars by Ali Harris (Netgalley)
Open Road Summer by Emery Lord (Netgalley)

The First Last Kiss by Ali Harris was my favourite read of 2013 and I've been very excited to get my hands on her new release - even more excited when I spotted it on Netgalley a whole two months before it releases. Yay! Can't wait to get started on this.

Open Road Summer has been getting a bunch of review love from my Goodreads friends and it looks like a pretty sweet summer read! 




Above by Isla Morley
Black Ice by Becca Fitzpatrick (Edelweiss)
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer (Blog Tour)
The Long Fall by Julia Crouch

I hadn't heard a whole lot about ABOVE by Isla Morley until it landed on my doorstep, but let's just say after reading the Press Release and accompanying blurbs, my interest is most definitely piqued for this one! 

BLACK ICE, the highly anticipated new novel from Hush, Hush author Becca Fitzpatrick showed up on Edelweiss - I grabbed - and then the day after I was approved the copy EXPIRED (?!!) Thankfully, as already mentioned I had GRABBED as I have previous experience with Edelweiss copies expiring twenty-four hours after the approval email has been sent. This happened to me with Lauren Oliver's Delirium and let's just say I learned my lesson. I now grab copies from Edelweiss immediately, and currently have 48 days to read Black Ice before it expires on my eReader.

I'm on the Blog Tour for STORM by Brigid Kemmerer on April 15th. I've heard a lot of good things about this one and the Goodreads reviews seems wholly positive. 

I'm totally sold on the premise of THE LONG FALL by Julia Crouch a summer mystery which takes place in two time periods; Greece in 1980 and present day London. Sounds good!



The Best Thing I Never Had by Erin Lawless (Blog Tour)
The Hurricane Sisters by Dorothea Benton Frank (Edelweiss)
Through to You by Lauren Barnholdt (Edelweiss)
American Blonde by Jennifer Niven (Edelweiss)

Man, I really need to cut back on my Edelweiss requests! The Hurricane Sisters sounds like a great summer saga and I'm always excited to check out anything new by Lauren Barnholdt. I haven't heard much at all about American Blonde, but I LOVE anything Old Hollywood so I'll check it out! The blurb of The Best Thing I Never Had promises that it's perfect for fans of One Day so that sounds good to me!



Bought


If Only by A.J. Pine
The Love of my Life by Louise Douglas


Phew! And that is it! This post tells me that while I turn down a lot of books I'm sent for review, I'll still never have enough time to read ALL THE BOOKS! It's a good problem to have, I guess. Could be worse!

It's around this time of year that I always seem to take a break from blogging, and it's no different this year. I am partaking in a couple of blog tours this month, but apart from that it'll probably be pretty quiet around here for the next few weeks as I have other important things to do like binge watch House of Cards, catch up on True Detective and check out the new season of Game of Thrones, although maybe not at 2 in the a.m. 


Current Read: Far From You by Tess Sharpe. 




Friday, 4 April 2014

Book Review: A Kiss in the Dark by Cat Clarke.


Product details:
Publisher: Quercus.
Paperback, 384  pages.
Release date: April 3rd 2014.
Rating:  4 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source: Received from publisher for review.

When Alex meets Kate the attraction is instant.

Alex is funny, good-looking, and a little shy – everything that Kate wants in a boyfriend.

Alex can’t help falling for Kate, who is pretty, charming and maybe just a little naive…

But one of them is hiding a secret, and as their love blossoms, it threatens to ruin not just their relationship, but their lives
.



Intense and gripping, A Kiss in the Dark is another page-turning winner from Cat Clarke. Filled to the brim with love, lies, secrets and heartache, Clarke’s latest offering demands to be read in one-sitting, thanks to its timely subject matter and jaw-dropping plot twists and turns.  I’ve said this before of Cat Clarke’s books, and after reading A Kiss in the Dark, my thoughts remain the same: YA doesn’t get much better than this.

Alex and Kate are virtual strangers. Actually, scratch that. Virtually these two know each other pretty well, having met on an internet forum where they’ve chatted on an off for a while. Tonight is the night that they get to meet in person. And it goes well. It goes really well. Both Alex and Kate are a little shy, a little innocent, a little unsure-footed in the ways of romance. Kate has an overprotective mother which has rendered her na├»ve to the ways of the world, while Alex is the sweet, sensitive type; his only concession to typical boyish behavior, a love of skateboarding.  Together, Alex and Kate are a perfect fit. And soon, they are inseparable.

What follows could be a simple, sweet tale of first love; and A Kiss in the Dark is certainly a sweet love story in parts. But. This is Cat Clarke, so, you just know there’s going to be a twist in the tale. And, this twist, when it happens is not just any little old twist. Oh, no. It’s big. I’m staying far, far away from spoiler territory here, so I’ll say is, Bravo, Cat Clarke, Bravo! Now, that is how you write a twist.

A Kiss in the Dark is one of those books that’s quite difficult to review without spoiling the big reveal. 1. Because the reveal comes along very early in the story and 2. Because once you’ve read A Kiss in the Dark, you’re just going to want to talk to everyone about the twist. I will say that before reading A Kiss in the Dark I had very little knowledge of what the book was about past the ‘first love’ and ‘a big secret’ both of which are mentioned in the blurb. But Cat Clarke’s books are on my auto-read list for a number of reasons. Her books hook you immediately. And I mean immediately. I picked up both Undone and A Kiss in the Dark meaning to read just a few chapters and ended up binge-reading both all in one sitting. In the future I’ll be sure to clear a couple hours for a Cat Clarke release. Clarke also writes great characters; characters that are realistic and relatable – characters you can really identify with and root for.

Interestingly enough, though I can’t mention what it is, I saw a documentary on the very subject matter dealt with in A Kiss in the Dark a year or two ago. At the time I was left uncomfortable and intrigued in equal amounts, so make of that what you will. I will say that the documentary in question (which was based on real life A Kiss in the Dark incidents) went a lot further than Clarke does in this book. Of course, that’s entirely understandable since Clarke is working within the boundaries of YA. It also would have made for a much darker read and entirely reconstructed the motives of her character if she had ‘gone there.’

That too, would have been interesting to see.

In fact, maybe because of the heart-wrenching twist at the end of Undone, I was expecting similar here, but instead Clarke takes A Kiss in the Dark in a different direction, changing the narration late on in the book. It makes sense in a way, but for me the narration change was quite abrupt, and at that point I was very invested in the original narration. I felt the story lost a little of its momentum here. Also, at this point, I kept on expecting a killer twist right at the end. But that’s not what this book is all about.  I am too fond of my killer twists at times, it’s true.

A timely tale of relationships in the age of the internet, of self-acceptance, of adversity, honesty and of love against the odds, A Kiss in the Dark kept me hooked from start to finish, and is yet another great read from Cat Clarke. I’m counting down the days to her next book already!
 

Tweet why you want a signed competition copy of Cat Clarke’s A Kiss in the Dark between the 31st March and 4pm on 4th April. Make sure you @Cat_Clarke & include the #AKITD to be in with a chance of winning. The winner will be announced on Friday 4th at 4:30pm. Good luck.

Wednesday, 2 April 2014

Delightful Debutantes Revisited: Catching up with Cat Clarke!

Hi, Cat. It’s been a while since we last spoke on the blog (way back in 2010 to be exact – right around the release of your debut novel Entangled). Since then, you’ve written more great books! What’s been your best author or fan experience to date and how has your writing life changed since those early days?

What a great question! I think my best author experience was at the Salon du Livre de Jeunesse in Paris late last year. It’s this huge children’s book fair, filled with people who are crazy about books. I got to meet so many lovely fans and bloggers – it was kind of overwhelming. I was signing books for so long I got cramp in my wrist – that’s NEVER happened before! I think for the first time in my career I almost felt like a real author. (ALMOST!)


As for my writing life, well it hasn’t changed all that much. I’m faster at writing now, which is just as well, because deadlines are a big feature in my life! Oh, and I now have two dogs to distract me from my work. Weirdly, I’ve managed to be more productive since getting the dogs. All that walking in the park has turned out to be very valuable thinking time!


I recently read A Kiss in the Dark and my jaw literally dropped within chapters. You know how to surprise your readers, huh! And you know how to write a great plot twist. Undone totally made me cry, by the way. Now I want to know what books have shocked you and made you cry (or maybe both!)

Thank you so much. I do like to try to surprise readers whenever I can! It’s quite rare for books to shock me, but one that did recently was The Fault in Our Stars. I can’t say why, but it also made me cry. A lot. That’s probably the most I’ve cried when reading a book. Another recent read that made me cry (and laugh out loud) was A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson. I seem to be reading a lot of tear-jerking books recently!

Cat Clarke writes great books!


Of all the characters you’ve written, do you have a particular favourite? Who can you imagine yourself hanging out with in real life? Are there any characters you would like to revisit in the future?

I have a bit of soft spot for Jack from Torn and Kai from Undone. I think they would both be fun to hang out with. They’d probably get on really well, actually! I quite like Alex from A Kiss in the Dark too. If I was looking for a drinking buddy, I’d probably give Grace from Entangled a call… which I might end up regretting.

As for revisiting a character, I get asked a lot about Sasha from Undone. A lot of people seem really keen to know how things turn out for her. I don’t think I’ll ever write her story though… but never say never!

Since we last talked UKYA has really grown in popularity. What are some of your favourite UKYA books? Also, if you’ve read any upcoming UKYA releases you think everyone needs to read, please share.

My absolute favourite UKYA novel has to be Looking for JJ, by Anne Cassidy. I loved it so much I’m almost too scared to read the sequel, Finding Jennifer Jones, which has just been released.

The UKYA book I’m most looking forward to this year is Say Her Name by James Dawson. I haven’t had a chance to read it yet, but it will be top of my TBR pile as soon as I can get my grubby little hands on a copy.

Finally, I hear your next book is a psychological thriller called Safe and Sound. It’s no secret that I love a good psychological thriller (and I bet this one will be all kinds of twisty!) Tell me more!

I’m finishing the first draft as we speak! I’m really excited about this book. I’ve been able to explore some things that really fascinate me, so I’ve really enjoyed writing it. Weirdly enough the writing of this book has been a lot less angsty than usual, even though there’s a fair bit of angst in the story!

Thank you so much for having me on your blog!

*********

Thanks for the great catch up, Cat! I can't wait to read Safe and Sound

Tweet why you want a signed competition copy of Cat Clarke’s A Kiss in the Dark between the 31st March and 4pm on 4th April. Make sure you @Cat_Clarke & include the #AKITD to be in with a chance of winning. The winner will be announced on Friday 4th at 4:30pm. Good luck.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Tempus Blog Tour: Holly Lauren talks Fave Couples in YA +++ Win a Copy of Tempus (International!)


Tempus by Holly Lauren || Release date: November 25th 2013

Chapel Ryan isn't crazy. At least, that's what she's been trying to convince herself of for most of her life. But after being hallucination-free for three years, Chapel finds herself facedown on her English classroom’s gritty linoleum floor. When she looks up, everyone around her is suspended in animation. Mouths hang open mid-yawn, feet hover mid-cross, Ms. Freeman’s arm flexes mid-sentence diagram. It's another hallucination. Or, is it?

Chapel prepares to tear herself back to reality when something happens. Something that has never happened before in any of her hallucinations--someone moves. And not just any someone—it’s the new guy with a scar over his lip and a reputation as black as his perfectly styled hair. And all of the sudden Chapel's white-knuckle grip on her life has slipped, and with it, her assurance that what she's experiencing isn't real.

**********


Guest Post:  Holly Lauren talks YA Couples



My sister and I are always highlighting scenes and quotes on our Kindles and sharing them with one another. I am going to share 5 of our favorites “couples” scenes below. So, actually, that title should say we love instead of I love. (But if my sister were writing this, she’d probably take all the credit.)



BE WARNED. WE ARE GIRLY AND SILLY AND BASICALLY LAME.



1. Jace and Clary from City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

"How did you know I had Shadowhunter blood? Was there some way you could tell?"

The elevator arrived with a final groan. Jace unlatched the gate and slid it open. The inside reminded Clary of a birdcage, all black metal and decorative bits of gilt. "I guessed," he said, latching the door behind them. "It seemed like the most likely explanation."

"You guessed? You must have been pretty sure, considering you could have killed me."

He pressed a button in the wall, and the elevator lurched into action with a vibrating groan that she felt all through the bones in her feet. "I was ninety percent sure."

"I see," Clary said.

There must have been something in her voice, because he turned to look at her. Her hand cracked across his face, a slap that rocked him back on his heels. He put a hand to his cheek, more in surprise than pain. "What the hell was that for?"

The other ten percent," she said, and they rode the rest of the way down to the street in silence.



2. Tris and Four from Divergent by Veronica Roth

“You think my first instinct is to protect you. Because you're small, or a girl, or a Stiff. But you're wrong."


He leans his face close to mine and wraps his fingers around my chin. His hand smells like metal. When was the last time he held a gun, or a knife? My skin tingles at the point of contact, like he's transmitting electricity through his skin.


"My first instinct is to push you until you break, just to see how hard I have to press." he says, his fingers squeezing at the word break. My body tenses at the edge in his voice, so I am coiled as tight as a spring, and I forget to breathe.”



3. R and Julie in Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

As she dampens my shirt with sadness and snot, I realize I'm about to do another thing I've never done before. I suck in air and attempt to sing. “You're . . . sensational . . . ,” I croak, struggling for a trace of Frank's melody. “Sensational . . . that's all.”

There's a pause, and then something shifts in Julie's demeanor. I realize she's laughing.


“Oh wow,” she giggles, and looks up at me, her eyes still glistening above a grin. “That was beautiful, R, really. You and Zombie Sinatra should record Duets III.”

I cough. “Didn't get . . . warm-up.”



4.  Mara and Noah in The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

“Have you kissed many boys before?" he asked quietly.

His question brought my mind back into focus. I raised an eyebrow. "Boys? That's an assumption."

Noah laughed, the sound low and husky. "Girls, then?"

"No."

"Not many girls? Or not many boys?"

"Neither," I said. Let him make of that what he would.

"How many?"

"Why—"

"I am taking away that word. You are no longer allowed to use it. How many?"

My cheeks flushed, but my voice was steady as I answered. "One."

At this, Noah leaned in impossibly closer, the slender muscles in his forearm flexing as he bent his elbow to bring himself nearer to me, almost touching. I was heady with the proximity of him and grew legitimately concerned that my heart might explode. Maybe Noah wasn't asking. Maybe I didn't mind. I closed my eyes and felt Noah's five o' clock graze my jaw, and the faintest whisper of his lips at my ear.

"He was doing it wrong.”



5. Peeta and Katniss in Mocking Jay by Suzanne Collins

“Peeta and I grow back together. There are still moments when he clutches the back of a chair and hangs on until the flashbacks are over. I wake screaming from nightmares of mutts and lost children. But his arms are there to comfort me. And eventually his lips. On the night I feel that thing again, the hunger that overtook me on the beach, I know this would have happened anyway. That what I need to survive is not Gale's fire, kindled with rage and hatred. I have plenty of fire myself. What I need is the dandelion in the spring. The bright yellow that means rebirth instead of destruction. The promise that life can go on, no matter how bad our losses. That it can be good again. And only Peeta can give me that. So after, when he whispers, "You love me. Real or not real?" I tell him, "Real.”



And, because I am a shameless writer, here’s one of my favorite scenes from my debut novel, TEMPUS, out now:



BONUS: Zay and Chapel from Tempus by Holly Lauren

Chapel made a complete circuit, peeking through the breaks in the stream, but she still didn’t see him. Had he left her there? The thought burned a hole through her excitement.

The song changed again. This time it was something more current. A woman singing about going around and around.

Tell me now, tell me now, tell me now, tell me now you know.

Chapel pulled her hair over her shoulder and wrung it out. She felt cold for the first time.

Don’t know how to feel about it. Something ‘bout the way you move.

She backed up to the center of the ring, making herself visible. She wondered if she should leave.

Makes me think I can’t live without you, and it takes me all the way.

“Chapel.” His voice was right behind her.

I want you to stay.

She turned slowly. Met his eyes.

I want you to stay.

All pretense of play was gone as his fingertips brushed against her chin.

"You're not at all what I thought you'd be,” he said.

Her heart thundered in her ears, along with the pulsing water around them. "What did you think I'd be?"

He drew his dark eyebrows down. "I thought you were just another girl."

She swallowed. "But instead I’m . . .”

Not." He dropped his hand, stared at his fingers.

His breath was warm against her cheek as he stepped even closer and leaned his mouth toward hers.

She was paralyzed.

Not by fear. Not by indecision. But by the feeling that the moment was unique. That it was monumental for them both. That they were lowering their shields, holstering their weapons—at least for that perfect span of time.

He kissed the side of her temple, just over her trio of freckles. When he leaned back and studied her, water droplets from his hair showered her like rain.

“Zay,” she whispered, and her voice, her always sure, always steady voice, shook. “I want—” She didn’t finish.

“I want, too,” he said simply.

Then she closed her eyes. His hand came around the back of her neck, and with his thumb, he angled her jaw toward him.

“So beautiful,” he whispered. 


**********

Want to know more about Zay and Chapel?

Well, now you can. Thanks to GMTA Publishing I have TWENTY e-copies of Tempus up for grabs. 
Available formats are: .mobi, PDF and ePub. ---> If you don't have an ereader but still want to enter you'll be able to read the book on Adobe Editions and Kindle for PC.
Competition is open Internationally.
Competition Closes: April 11th 2014.
Read my review of TEMPUS by Holly Lauren.



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