Tuesday 19 February 2013

Book Review: Notes From Ghost Town by Kate Ellison +++ Giveaway (US/CAN).

Product details:
Publisher: Egmont USA.
Hardcover, 336 pages.
Release date: February 12th 2013.
Rating: 4 out of 5.
Ages: 14+
Source:Received from Media Masters for review.

They say first love never dies...

From critically acclaimed author Kate Ellison comes a heartbreaking mystery of mental illness, unspoken love, and murder. When sixteen-year-old artist Olivia Tithe is visited by the ghost of her first love, Lucas Stern, it’s only through scattered images and notes left behind that she can unravel the mystery of his death.

There’s a catch: Olivia has gone colorblind, and there’s a good chance she’s losing her mind completely—just like her mother did. How else to explain seeing (and falling in love all over again with) someone who isn’t really there?

With the murder trial looming just nine days away, Olivia must follow her heart to the truth, no matter how painful. It’s the only way she can save herself.

When Olivia Tithe kisses her best friend Lucas Stern, she thinks it the start of something special.  Instead, she’s about to find out that the kiss she’s been waiting for is the end of life as she knows it. And not in a good way.   As soon as she opens her eyes after the kiss, art student Olivia finds herself stranded in of grey – colorblind.  And that’s not all.  A week later, Stern is dead, and Olivia’s mother, a woman who has struggled all her life with mental illness, is the prime suspect in his murder.   Olivia, though, is convinced of her mother’s innocence, and when the ghost of Stern visits her and assures her of the same, Olivia sets out on a mission to free both her mother, and the ghost of her lost love, who can’t rest easy until he finds out the truth.

But it Stern real? Is he imagined? Or is Olivia about to succumb to the same illness that may have cost her mother her freedom?

A compelling read from start to finish, Notes from Ghost Town is a murder mystery that flirts with the unusual and unknown, dealing with topics of murder, death and mental illness.   At its core, though, Notes from Ghost Town is the story of a girl who’s had her life turned upside down and inside out, and who is struggling to make sense of it all. 

Olivia, herself, is a great character, and by that I mean that she reads as very real.   Moody and bratty – she’s prone to outbursts especially where her dad and soon-to-be new wife are concerned, but she’s capable of great love too, as evidenced not only in her dealings with Stern, who she never wants to let go, but also in her relationship with her adorable soon-to-be step-sister, Wynn.  Those two had such a cute relationship, and it really showed all the good that was in Olivia, because for the most part, we don’t get to see the best of her in this book.  Angry and confused, she lashes out at almost everybody, gets a little too drunk a lot, neglects any and all of her friends and responsibilities and flirts with a boy who likes her only because she thinks this might help her get over Stern. Okay, also, because he’s really hot. But no matter how long she spends flirting with Austin, it’s Stern who is always on her mind.  Olivia’s grief is right there on every page – it’s raw and real, and even if you don’t really like Olivia (I did, by the way), you’ll probably find yourself rooting for her because of this.

The mystery in Notes from Ghost Town is pretty well done.  Because of the inclusion of the ghost of Stern in the storyline, I was always second guessing what exactly was going on in Olivia’s life.  And while I did figure out in the end where the story was going, it took me a little while to get there, which is always good, because lately I’ve been finding every twist and turn in my YA reads a little too obvious for my liking.  This one had just the right amount of ambiguity to keep me guessing.

Refreshing in its originality and beautifully written, Notes from Ghost Town kept me hooked right until the end.  Kate Ellison is definitely an author worth checking out.  I missed out on her debut The Butterfly Clues last year, so that’s one I definitely have pick up sometime soon.


Giveaway! Thanks to Media Masters one lucky reader can win a hardcover copy of Notes from Ghost Town and a copy of the newly released paperback (complete with pretty new cover!) of The Butterfly Clues by Kate Ellison. 
Competition is open to readers in the US/Cananda and closes February 28th 2013.
 Fill in the Rafflecopter form below to enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. this sounds fantastic.  I hadn't heard of it until now, but your review makes me really want to read it.

  2. I am still very very torn about this book... I read your review and there are parts that I think will love while others will make me cringe. The unnecessary flirting part? 
    On the other side, I love when there are wonderful family bonds and I'd love to see her with her little sis... 

  3. This is such a beautiful review Leanna, I adore books when they're fresh and original and keep you wanting more. I don't think I had this on my tbr pile before but I think I will have to check it out soon! :)

  4.  It's definitely worth reading, Jessie. I enjoyed it a lot! :)

  5.  Her little sis is SO cute!! About the flirting - there are a lot of heavy themes in this book, so the flirting adds a little light relief. It's fun. Also, the guy is HAWT. :)

  6.  Thanks, Jasprit. I think you'd like this one. It's a little bit different from the usual YA fare. I found it very refreshing. :)

  7. I originally thought that this book was to scary for me but Jenny assured me that it wasn't and since you liked it, I will have to add it to my TBR list. I like that you weren't able to figure out the mystery right away.  Great review, Leanna!

  8. Reviews have been all over the place for this book. I will say that I don't love the cover photo-it looks like she's hugging herself? But your review makes me feel as though I need to check this book out-I love that it had you second guessing. I really like a story that keeps you on your toes. Thanks for sharing.

  9. I really enjoyed your review. I haven't heard of the book or the author so it was interesting to learn more. :)

  10.  I am interested in the supernatural aspects of the story and I'd really like to see what Kate Ellison does with the material. Thanks for the review and for hosting this giveaway.

  11. I love the covers of the books! I haven't read them yet, but thanks to you they are on my to read list! I like your review on Notes from the Ghost Town, it sounds like an interesting book, with some good mystery. I love paranormal mystery books! 

  12. Great review. I haven't read any books by this author, but both of these books sound really good. Love to read them. Thanks for this chance to win them.

  13.  It's not scary - it's a mystery with a pretty sweet love story. I think you'd like it. :)

  14.  Sounds like you'd like this one, Anastasia! :)

  15. I'm so glad to hear it is was a good book since I've had my eye on this one for awhile.  Love books dealing with ghosts and the mystery surrounding them!.  Thanks for your thoughts!

  16. Becky @ Stories & Sweeties25 February 2013 at 03:22

    I have to make time for this one really soon, it sounds like something I would love. I have a soft spot for good sibling relationships. :)  The mystery sounds good, too---it's always nice when it keeps you guessing!

  17.  I think you'd like this one, Becky!

  18. Thank you for this review.  I just discovered your website.  This definitely sounds like an interesting read.

  19. I think this book sounds really fascinating - who doesn't love a good paranormal mystery? Your review was great; I really really want to read this book now :)

  20. This is on my list of books I hope get picked up in the UK - terrific review Hun


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