Book Of The Month - April



Each month we will take a look back at everything we have reviewed and each of us will pick a favourite!

Vicki's Pick

So this one doesn't actually hit the shelves until June here in the UK but is one you must add to your wish list! Utterly addictive, romantic and original I found it physically impossible to stop reading this book and loved every word.

Forgotten by Cat Patrick



Each night when 16 year-old London Lane goes to sleep, her whole world disappears. In the morning, all that's left is a note telling her about a day she can't remember. The whole scenario doesn't exactly make high school or dating that hot guy whose name she can't seem to recall any easier. But when London starts experiencing disturbing visions she can't make sense of, she realizes it's time to learn a little more about the past she keeps forgetting-before it destroys her future.

Part psychological drama, part romance, and part mystery, this thought-provoking novel will inspire readers to consider the what-if's in their own lives and recognize the power they have to control their destinies

Lyndsey's Pick

A new take on an age old battle of Heaven vs Hell and adds in some seriously hot boys and excitement! What more can you want?

Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers



Frannie Cavanaugh is a good Catholic girl with a bit of a wicked streak. She has spent years keeping everyone at a distance—-even her closest friends—-and it seems as if her senior year is going to be more of the same . . . until Luc Cain enrolls in her class. No one knows where he came from, but Frannie can’t seem to stay away from him. 
What she doesn’t know is that Luc is on a mission. He’s been sent from Hell itself to claim Frannie’s soul. It should be easy—-all he has to do is get her to sin, and Luc is as tempting as they come. Frannie doesn’t stand a chance. But he has to work fast, because if the infernals are after her, the celestials can’t be far behind. And sure enough, it’s not long before the angel Gabriel shows up, willing to do anything to keep Luc from getting what he came for. It isn’t long before they find themselves fighting for more than just Frannie’s soul.
But if Luc fails, there will be Hell to pay . . . for all of them.

So what book was your favourite read from the last month? Let us know in the comments! 


Book Review: Darklight by Lesley Livingston

Darklight is the second book in the Wondrous Strange series by Lesley Livingston. It was released in paperback on 26th October 2010n by Harper Teen and the book is 336 pages long.

Plot
Kelley Winslow has a far from normal life. Recently, she found out that she was a Faerie Princess as well as falling in love with a changeling, Sonny, and managed to save New York, as well as the rest of the mortal world. All she wanted was to make it as an actress!

Now that Sonny has been banished back to the Otherworld, Kelley has way too much time on her hands. The hunters responsible for the previous attack need eliminating and that lays in Sonny’s hands but the task may be more than he is capable of. He also has to kill Queen Mabh. A series of strange events lead Kelley into the Otherworld and back into Sonny’s arms but there is no time for happy reunions. An enemy like no other is after Kelley and could cause a whole lot of trouble and destruction for everyone.

What I thought
Wondrous Strange was one of the first YA series that I started and absolutely loved. Having only just gotten round to reading the second instalment, I have no idea why it took me so long. I was quickly reminded why I was hooked. I wish I hadn’t wait so long now!

Darklight’s plot is quite complex. This is not a book that you will be able to get though unless you have read Wondrous Strange. There is so much going on all of the time and I think it would be quite impossible to follow. That being said though, I loved how many twists and turns were thrown in. It kept the story extremely interesting and I felt like I could never figure out what was going to happen next. The whole book is a mystery to begin with and I loved how everything unfolded bit by bit. The book is very fast paced and there are few times where the story slows down at any point.

Kelley is still the same amazing girl that I grew to love in the first book. What I love the most about her is the fact that she is quite unlike any other heroine. Yes, she is feisty and kick ass like I would want her to be but there is a totally different side to her. As she is an actress, you can never really be too sure about what is really going on with her and I really enjoyed this. I like not knowing what is going on at every single second and how Kelley always keeps that bit of mystery about her. The chemistry between her and Sonny was as fabulous as ever, even if they weren’t around together too much. I would have liked to see them together more though and for their relationship to progress more than it did.

While there were quite a few new characters introduced in this book, there was one I favoured over all the rest. Fennrys could have been a fantastic love rival for Sonny and on some levels, I think I would have favoured him. ‘Fenny’ has quite a large part in this book but I still wanted more from him. I wanted to know all about him, just like I got to find out about Sonny in Wondrous Strange. The addition of this character certainly spiced things up a little bit although it could have gone a whole lot further if I had my say about it! I hope that he will be a character who sticks around for the next book.

Lesley Livingston certainly has a knack for using a whole range of characters/ creatures without making it seem too much. I read another book recently where a similar thing was done and I HATED it but not this series. The different characters blend so well together and their history and mythology are so well written that it all just fit together perfectly for me. There is a great mix of good and evil characters and some that I never thought I would see in a book in this genre. Depending on where you get your ideas from, leprechauns can either be cute things at the end of a rainbow with a pot of gold or something completely evil (if you have seen the horror films). I really loved how these creatures were used and that they were even used in the first place.

Darklight did leave me with some unanswered questions but knowing that there is a third and final book in this series eased my mind a little bit. I cant wait to get my hands on Tempestuous and to find out where Kelley and Sonny’s journey will take them. I do hope they have a happy ending though!

Book Review: Die For Me by Amy Plum

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.
Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.
Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.
While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love? (From Goodreads.com)

Yes I’ve said it before; I am a sucker for a pretty cover. And just look at this one…beautiful * sigh * How could you not lust after such a gorgeous book? The appeal doesn’t end there though. Reading the synopsis had me drooling. A tragic heroine…check, mysterious and handsome hero…check, stunning setting of OMG Paris! …check check! Amy Plum’s debut seemed to have it all.

Die For Me brings something new to the YA paranormal genre…Revenants. I had no idea what a revenant would be and part of the fun of this book was discovering just that, so I’m not going to spill any beans there. I loved the idea behind them though and thoroughly enjoyed discovering their secrets.

The book starts off fantastically and is incredibly readable; in fact I read it in just a couple of easy sittings. I liked main character Kate and got behind her right away. She’s a loner and struggles to make friends, hiding behind her vivacious sisters limelight. She reminded me a lot of myself. Vincent is an intriguing character too; handsome and mysterious with an air of danger to begin with, he’s pretty hot! Die For Me doesn’t just centre around him though, there’s a whole family of Revenants and I loved hearing the stories and influences behind each of them and seeing the dynamics behind the tightly knit group.

While Die For Me offers an original and different story, it does tread a well worn path at times and has a familiar feel to it (dare I mention the ‘T’ word?) The setting and the paranormal creatures may be something new, but at times the similarities were almost too glaring. There was one notable absence though…no love triangle..yay! Though there are hints that one character may wish there was, I’m hoping this isn’t something that’s continued into the next book.

Despite groaning a little bit when things became just a little bit too ‘Twilighty’ (There, I said it!) I did really enjoy Die For Me. Amy Plum’s writing is easy and compelling. There’s enough new stuff to keep the reader interested and by dripping information in slowly it has a mysterious quality that will ensure you’re glued to the pages. On the romance front it certainly doesn’t disappoint, with both the gorgeous setting and doomed love between Kate and Vincent causing me to swoon repeatably. There’s also a nice bit of action to keep the book exciting and a very well drawn and believable creepy villain to loathe. If you like Paranormal Romance, then you’ll love Die For Me and I recommend it.





Published by Atom (UK) May 2011
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.

Waiting On Wednesday: Token Of Darkness

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine

Token Of Darkness by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes



Cooper Blake has everything going for him—until he wakes from a car accident with his football career in ruins and a mysterious, attractive girl by his side. Cooper doesn’t know how Samantha got there or why he can see her; all he knows is that she’s a ghost, and the shadows that surround her seem intent on destroying her.
No one from Cooper’s old life would understand what he can barely grasp himself. . . . But Delilah, the captain of the cheerleading squad, has secrets of her own, like her ability to see beyond the physical world, and her tangled history with Brent, a loner from a neighboring school who can hear strangers’ most intimate thoughts. Delilah and Brent know that Cooper is in more trouble than he realizes, and that Samantha may not be as innocent as she has led Cooper to believe. But the only way to figure out where Samantha came from will put them all in more danger than they ever dreamed possible. (From Goodreads.com)

Published July 2011 by Random House (US)

Book Review: Blood Magic by Tessa Gratton


 
Blood Magic, the first book in The Blood Journals series by Tessa Gratton was released on 7th July by Random House and the book is 416 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing an ARC for review.

Plot
Since the death of her parents, Silla Kennicott sees a lot of blood. She can’t stop thinking about what really happened and what the police are saying happened. When a mysterious book arrives in the mail. Silla’s whole life is turned upside down. Apparently, there was a lot more to her father than she could have ever imagined. He did magic. Blood Magic!

While trying to figure out who her father really was, Silla meets Nick, the new guy in town. Finding Silla in a cemetery should have totally freaked Nick out, especially when he saw what she was doing but he calmer than anyone else would have been. He already knows about the magic. While Silla and Nick get closer, they realise that someone else in town knows about their secret and the magic and they will do anything it takes to get the book from Silla!

What I thought
Blood Magic was one of my most anticipated books of the year and as soon as I heard about it, I immediately knew I had to read it. Attending a Random House blogger event only made me want this book more after hearing more about it. From the very first page, Tessa Gratton’s beautiful writing stands out from anything else I have ever read. Her words drew me straight into the story and I felt immersed the complex and interesting world that she created. Blood Magic is dually narrated between main characters, Silla and Nick.

It isn’t very often that I fully love a female main character but Silla was an exception. I felt so much for Silla and the things she had been put through/ experienced and that was before the book actually got into full swing. Silla has had far from an easy life and with the death of her mother and father, nothing seems to be getting better. The whole town where Silla lives has one idea about what happened to her parents but she refuses to believe them, causing some tension and confliction between her and other people. Having to deal with the death of your parents must be bad enough but then having to cope with everything else must have pushed Silla over the edge. I could completely understand why Silla reacted to some things in certain ways and I think I would probably do the same.

I was really happy for Silla once Nick turned up. She was in desperate need of cheering up and I think Nick was the perfect solution to this. They had instant chemistry that was extremely hot but I still wanted so much more from them. Knowing how each was feeling towards the other, I think this part of the story could have been expanded on but knowing that there are going to be further books in the series put my mind at ease a little bit. There was also a fair amount of funny/ cheeky banter between Silla and Nick due to their personalities. This was a really good thing as it lightened up the story and times where it was all getting a little bit too serious.

As soon as Nick arrived in the story, I fell a little bit in love with him. Instantly, I could tell that there was something different about this guy and wanted to find out what he was all about. Nick has a great personality, which only made me like him more. He was cheeky and a little bit full of himself in all of the right places but there was much more to him than what I originally thought. As much as I loved this side of Nick, I also loved the way he was with Silla. Nick was able to show a much deeper side of his personality and I truly believed that he really felt something meaningful for Silla. Nick also has quite a bit of a past even though he doesn’t really remember all of it. I loved these parts of the story as it gave Nick’s character much more depth than him just being a hot and charismatic teenage guy.

The whole idea of Blood Magic was extremely interesting, if not a little hard to read at times. This is a book that is not for the feint hearted and even though I can take quite a lot, some of the scenes were a little hard for me to get through. That being said, Gratton writes in such a way that doesn’t make the blood letting seem sick or wrong at any time. I think it was more the whole idea of blood that grossed me out a little bit rather than the actual Blood Magic. I really enjoyed the parts of the story which were told from the point of view of a diary. These parts really added more depth to the plot and made it all feel more real. The fact that the Blood Magic had a whole background and history made everything about this book more exciting for me. I wanted to know to exact point of origin of the magic, who could do it and why they could do it. The character who wrote the diary also gave the story another dimension and a new and fresh voice compared to the rest of it.

Blood Magic has so much going for it and I completely loved reading it. There is plenty of mystery which provided action and tense moments between many of the characters. The pacing was fantastic, with exciting and fast plot twists which kept me guessing throughout. There was a few times where I kept changing my mind about what was going to happen next and I loved this. I felt as if, no matter what I thought, anything could happen next and I didn’t see some things coming at all. I am so happy that this book lived up to my expectations and I will be wanting the second book in the series as soon as it is available. A must read!

Book Review: Dead Beautiful by Yvonne Woon

Dead Beautiful is the debut novel from Yvonne Woon. It was published by Usborne and has a release date of 1st May. The book is 512 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a review copy.

Plot
After Renee discovers both of parents dead in what appears to be a double murder, she is placed in the care of her Grandfather, who she has not seen for quite some time. As his granddaughter, there is only one place suitable for Renee. Gottfried Academy, a remote and mysterious school dedicated to subjects like philosophy and Latin. Here, she meets Dante who has way more secrets than should be possible. Despite getting off to a bad start, Renee and Dante cannot control their feelings together, even when dating is strictly forbidden at the school.

A dark and terrifying mystery reveals itself at Gottfried and Renee begins to question everything she has been told about the school. Is Dante everything she thought he was or is he a part of something bigger. Something deadly.

What I thought
To start off, I have to say how much I love the cover for Dead Beautiful. The contrast between the green and black give the book a dark and eerie feeling even before you begin to read the story. Before I got sent this book, I had fallen a little bit in love with the cover and would have bought it if I saw it myself in a shop. The cover model, her pose and the surroundings, really catch your attention and draw you in, making you wonder what the book is about.

Renee was a great female MC and one that I really liked. Not only is she intelligent, outspoken and a strong character, she doesn’t really care too much about what others think about her. Renee knows how to speak her mind and doesn’t really care if people think she is in the right or not. I loved how strong a character she was and the fact that she was coping with so much all at once and dealing with it all so well. Having to deal with a new school, new people and having a new guardian all at the same time after the death of both parents would have been way too much for me!

Seeing as Renee was first put into the care of her Grandfather, I would have liked to have seen this explored more. Very little time is spent on the two characters together and this was a real shame. I think that a lot more could have been said about this aspect of the story and that it should have bothered Renee more than it did. Maybe the second book in this series will expand on Renee and her Grandfather’s relationship though.

I have heard mixed opinions about the main male character and love interest, Dante, but I absolutely adored him. As a male character, he was pretty much everything I could have ever wanted him to be. Not too much is given away about him for quite some time and this gave him a strange and mysterious persona throughout. Dante is smoking hot but at the same time he is deep, meaningful, different, shy and all round amazing. There was so much for me to love about this guy and so much that wasn’t shown on the surface. The real Dante wasn’t brought out of his shell for a little while though but it was nice to see the progression of his character as the plot got into full swing.

Dead Beautiful has quite a dark feel to the story which begins with the cover. I knew that there was going to be a lot of mystery and a lot that wouldn’t be explained for some time but I really enjoyed this. I loved not knowing what was really going on and how the story was going to pan out. Once I thought I had everything figured out, something else happened and I found myself being proved completely wrong. Some of the story does move along at a quite slow pace but I think that was needed. It really drew out the intensity of the story and what was happening to Renee.

One of the biggest things that I loved about this book was the inclusion of Latin and philosophy. Latin plays a pretty major part in the story and I found everything about it fascinating! I love when a story adds in that something extra that makes it stand out to everything else. I was a little worried to begin with about how much Latin was going to be used and how easy it would be to understand but I needn’t have worried. Nothing is overdone and it is all made very easy to understand, especially as I had no prior knowledge of Latin at all.

Because of Latin and what it stood for, a seriously hot male character and plenty of mystery and intrigue, Dead Beautiful will be a book that I remember for a long time.

Blog Tour: Dead Beautiful - Q&A with Yvonne Woon

Yvonne WoonToday, we are hosting a stop on the blog tour for an amazing book, Dead Beautiful, by Yvonne Woon!
I loved this book and couldn't put it down so I was excited to be able to ask the author some questions!

The book will be published by Usborne on 1st May and you can see my review of it later on today!!

Dead Beautiful (Dead Beautiful, #1)Could you explain a little for anyone who hasn't yet read the book, why Latin is such an important element of the story?
At the beginning of the book, Renee is sent to a boarding school called Gottfried Academy, which has a strange, classical curriculum. She takes classes like philosophy, horticulture and Latin, though she soon discovers that some students are much better at Latin than others. Her boyfriend, Dante, for example, is practically fluent. Latin is also engraved over the archways of the buildings, so it sort of haunts her all the time. All she knows is that it’s a dead language, and that is somehow ties all of the mysteries at the school together. I don’t want to say anything more because it might spoil the ending!

Why did you choose to use Latin over a different dead language?
I like how Latin is hidden everywhere – in our medical jargon and legal language, in our school mottos and degree names. Even a lot of the phrases we toss around in casual conversation are actually abbreviated Latin. So in that way, it seemed both dead yet still very much alive. I thought that it was perfect for Gottfried.

Where did the inspiration come from to use Latin?
I was actually doing research in the university library for one of my classes, when I looked up and noticed a huge Latin phrase engraved over the doorway of the room. I knew I had to use it in Gottfried.

How familiar were you with Latin before writing Dead Beautiful?
Not very.  I had learned a little about its construction and history in school, but never took a formal course on it. I was, however, trained in other languages, and knew a good deal about how languages worked and differed from each other in construction. So I wasn’t totally in the dark.

Was a lot of research involved?
Sort of. When I decided to incorporate Latin, I tried to teach it to myself (why I thought this was possible, I still don’t know!), and then did just enough research to be able to write about it without sounding totally wrong. But the great thing about fiction is that you can make things up, so I took what I knew and its history and structure, and elaborated.

The majority of your readers will not have any experience with Latin. How did you work it into the story without it being overpowering and still understandable?
Thanks! Sadly, I can’t really take credit for that, because like many readers, I, too have very little experience with Latin. So explaining too much or speaking in complicated terms was never even possible for me to do, as my understanding of Latin is very limited.

Will the strong use of Latin continue in other books in the series?
It will come back a little in the second book, Life Eternal, though Renee and Dante’s story actually takes a few strange turns, and they end up in a slightly different setting, which involves a lot of French.

Do you have any personal favourite sayings either in Latin or that come from Latin?
I like the phrase ‘homo unius libri’, which means ‘the man of one book’. Or more literally, the man of only one idea. It was historically known as an insult to be a person of only one dogma.

Thanks so much Yvonne!

Please come back later on in the day to see what I thought about Dead Beautiful!!

Book Review: The Opposite Of Amber by Gillian Philip + Part 4 of Big Gype!

'They found the fifth girl right after the snow melted ...the place where he left her was winter water, crazed with ice-feathers and dusted with snow. The traces from her body were gone, the ones that said his name, but she had an extra skin of ice that protected her and she looked perfect, like Snow White'.

Ruby and her older sister Jinn live together on their own, just about making ends meet. Jinn is beautiful, with glittering blonde hair, and makes it her business to look after Ruby. They are horrified by, but try to ignore, the local newspaper stories of prostitutes who are murdered, their bodies eventually discovered underwater. Then the no-good Nathan Baird turns up on the scene - again - and Jinn starts to change. First Nathan moves in with Jinn and Ruby, making Ruby feel an outsider, and then Jinn and Nathan move out, leaving Ruby alone. Jinn no longer has time to look after Ruby. And it seems to Ruby that Jinn herself needs looking after. Her beautiful glittering hair starts to lose its shine. And then Jinn disappears.

A deeply moving, chilling, and incredibly powerful thriller that celebrates the love two sisters have for each other and mourns the events beyond their control that will conspire to drive them apart.

The Opposite Of Amber is a surprising book. Firstly, I presumed from the publishers blurb on the back it was going to be a murder mystery, tense and full of suspense. It isn't like that at all really, although there is an element of mystery about it. It's really about the relationship between two sisters, Ruby and Jinn and their lives in a run down Scottish seaside town and the traumas which haunt both them and their fellow residents. The second surprising thing was how hooked I actually became to this book. It started off quite slow and I wasn't sure I was going to enjoy it, yet before I knew it the story of Ruby and Jinn had crept right under my skin and didn't let go.

Told in the first person from Ruby, Gillian Philips places the reader directly in this character's head. Ruby's had a lot to deal with over the years and as a result doesn't talk much, so her thoughts are particularly important to the story. They are written so well it's impossible not to become fully involved and care for her and I found her love for Jinn, the sister who brought her up, very touching.
The setting also came across beautifully through both the characters and descriptions. I know towns and people like the ones in The Opposite Of Amber and Philip's portrays them with shocking truth.

The Opposite Of Amber is brutally honest both in language and themes and isn't the easiest book to read but it is a worthwhile one. It's beautifully written using enough dialect and slang to make the characters and setting believable without alienating those who may be unfamiliar with it. This is a book which will open your eyes, make you think and whose main characters Ruby and Jinn will haunt you long after the last page.




Published by Bloomsbury April 2011
Thanks to the publishers for providing a copy for review.

Due to a last minute hitch we're stepping in to provide the final part of Big Gype, Gillian's online exclusive short story featuring characters from The Opposite Of Amber. You can read the first three pieces at 1. Book Babblers 2. Here (where you can also enter to win one of five copies of The Opposite Of Amber) and 3. The Overflowing Library Enjoy!


Big Gype 4

‘What the feck are you doing carrying a knife?’
‘That—that kind of thing. That just happened. Never thought I’d. Really do it.’
‘You didn’t, right?’
We were both gasping for breath and her face was white under the streetlamps, bone-white. Don’t suppose mine was much better. I never used a blade on anyone before; never. I hadn’t thought it would take such force to plunge it in. I hadn’t thought the feeling would tingle up my hand and into my arm. I hadn’t thought he’d bleed so much.
Jinn had begun to cry, glinting starlit tears streaking her face. ‘D’you think he’s dead?’
‘Nah. He ran off, didn’t he?’
‘We are gonnae be in so much trouble.’
‘No you’re not. I am. I’m not gonnae tell them it was yours. Christ, those knives are a fiver in Tesco. I’ll get you home. Right? I’ll see you tomorrow.’
‘Nathan? When you get me home.’
‘What?’
‘Gonnae stay?’
*
I did.
The little sister was fast asleep, so Jinn’s mother had taken the chance to go out for a drink. She was even later back than we were, and I was out earlier in the morning, so it wasn’t a problem.
I don’t think it would have been a problem anyway. Poor Jinn.
Me, I had a problem, and its name was Dad. When I sloped home in the grey dawn, he was still up waiting. I can’t tell you how unusual this was, but he had his reasons.
‘Nathan,’ he said. ‘Christ almighty, Nathan.’
His eyes were red and sleepless and his face was about as grey as mine. I was a bit surprised he didn’t look angrier. He looked more scared than furious, and you know, that was worse.
‘Richie Muir,’ he said.
‘Who?’
‘Richie Muir!’ This time he yelled it. ‘Did you get in a scrap with him yesterday?’
My tongue hovered over a lie, but on balance there didn’t seem any point.
‘You know he works for Christy Fyfe? Christy Fyfe, the big sonofabitch I owe money to?’
No, but I’d guessed it by now. Nothing else would have put the frighteners on my dad like this. ‘That Richie Muir’s a bastard,’ I said sullenly.
‘He’s a dangerous bastard.’ Dad raked his hands across his thinning hair, and I realised he was even older than I thought.
I licked my lips, my heart thudding. ‘You mean he still is?’ Thank God for that anyway.
He gave me a look that was all reproach. ‘If you were going to do it, you might have made a better job of it.’
I thought about that. Still I was glad I hadn’t.
‘So what are we going to do?’
‘Do? We’re gonnae leave, obviously. And we won’t be back till Richie Muir’s dead.’ His voice softened a bit. ‘Not that unlikely, since you’re not the first to stick a blade in him. And you won’t be the last. Go and pack.’
‘What, now?’
‘Now. Today. Get your stuff.’
Surprising how the first panicked thought in my head was of Jinn. But I couldn’t take her. Obviously.
No. Couldn’t.
*
I had to tell her. It was harder than I’d have believed possible a month ago. It almost made it worse that she put such a bright face on it, and smiled, and stroked my cheek like she really was sad for me.
‘It’s my fault,’ she said. ‘Sorry.’
‘Don’t be,’ I said, ‘’cos it isn’t.’
I skimmed another pebble across the lapping water and counted.
‘Five.’
‘Six,’ she corrected me, squinting into the light. ‘You ever coming back?’
I put my hands in my pockets. ‘I’ve got to go,’ I said, and kissed her.
Biting her lip, she looked past my shoulder. ‘I’ll miss you.’
My dad swung open the car door, tapped his fingers on the wheel, smoothed his sweating bald patch. I turned back to Jinn.
‘I’ll come back, yeah.’
I smiled. I kissed her again, properly this time.
‘I’ll bring you a present,’ I said.
--- * ---


Waiting on Wednesday: Love Story

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Jill @ Breaking The Spine and allows us to spotlight upcoming books we are eagerly anticipating.

Love Story by Jennifer Echols 

Erin Blackwell is headed to college in New York City to study creative writing and earn a living as a romance novelist. Her grandmother has other plans: she approves of the college, but she wants Erin to major in business and then come back home to Kentucky to run the family’s famous racehorse farm. There is no way Erin will agree. Studying in New York and writing her way into a career is her escape from the farm and the family tragedy that happened there. So Erin’s grandmother decides Erin really will live life as a starving artist. She takes Erin’s future job running the farm, her inheritance, even her college tuition, and gives them all to Hunter Allen.

Hunter has lived on the farm for years. He’s Erin’s age, he’s the stable boy, and he’s the romantic dream of every girl in her high school. But he was involved in the family tragedy. Erin has always given him a wide berth. And he’s a slick opportunist. She’s furious that he fooled her grandmother into giving him Erin’s birthright and sending him to Erin’s college.

At least she’s free of him in her creative writing class. So she pens a story that has haunted her lately, in which the horse farm heiress at the very first Kentucky Derby starts a forbidden affair with the lowly stable boy. Unfortunately for her, the day she’s sharing this story with her New York classmates, Hunter walks in. He’s switching to her class. And after reading about himself in Erin’s story, he writes his own sexy assignments that lure Erin into dangerous fantasies about what could have been between them, and what might be.


Published: 19th July by MTV Books (US)

After reading my first Jennifer Echols book recently and loving it, after finishing the book I immediately went to see what else of hers I could get. When I came across this, her next release, I got a bit excited. It sounds like something I am going to adore and cannot wait to get my hands on it!

Book Review: The Taker by Alma Katsu

The Taker is the debut novel from Alma Katsu. It was published by Century on 14th April and the book is 448 pages long. Thanks to the publisher for providing a copy for review.

Plot
In the small town of St Andrews, Maine, A and E worker Luke thinks his shift will be like any other, with patients like any other night, drunks and misfits. When the police turn up with a strange woman who admits to killing someone, Luke realises that this night is going to be like no other. Lanore is also like no other woman he has ever met, she can do things that should be impossible.

Lanore has a strange past and while attempting to talk Luke into rescuing her from the police, she begins her story of how to came to be in A and E that night but Luke was far from prepared for what he is about to hear…

What I thought
First, let me start off by saying how beautiful the cover for this book is. The black background has red roses which have silver stems running down the sides and top of the front cover, as well as the back. Paired with the black edged pages, this makes for a book that immediately stands out next to anything else. If I had not been sent this for review, I would have been picking it up off the shelves to see what it is all about. Seriously eye catching!

I have to be honest and say that when I started reading this book, I didn’t like it at all. I didn’t quite understand where the story was heading, having already gotten through well over 100 pages. The narrative switches between the present and Lanore (Lanny) telling her story and how she came to be at the hospital. A large chunk of the book takes place in her home town but I wasn’t all that captivated. Yes, I could see that it was about to go somewhere eventually but it took its sweet time doing so. When the story really did get going though and some quite shocking things began to happen, my interest was captured.

Lanny was a quite likable character, even though I never really loved her. As she begins telling her story, we quickly find out that she is in love with a boy named Jonathan. So are the rest of the girls in her village though so she has a lot to compete with. At times, Lanny was a really sweet girl, even though naive at the same time. I loved the setting for the beginning of the story though as it was a time when girls were not how they are now and did exactly what their parents told them to do. A time when it was all about your family name and who you were going to marry and these were big issues for Lanny.

As for Jonathan, I didn’t think I had enough of a chance to get to know him. Being the love interest, I wanted to know everything there was to know about him but this wasn’t the case. I found his character to be quite mysterious in the sense that not that much is ever really said about him, apart from the fact that he is beautiful in the beginning of the book. I wish he had more of a presence throughout the story instead of being all about Lanny. I would have liked to have seen a bit more from both characters instead. The same goes for Luke, the doctor. He only really seems to appear as the story flits between past and present and I didn’t think he was needed in the story. I guess he was only there as a way for Lanny to be able to tell her story.

Even though it might sound like I hated this book, I didn’t at all. The story, while having some aspects shouldn't have been, due to the genre, was realistic. The way families are portrayed during the first part was fantastic and I loved getting a look into how people from another time and place lived, survived and evolved. The situations that Lanny got into and how she resolved them were great and I definitely didn’t see some of the twists coming, especially the ending. While the story was good, the characters let it down somewhat. I didn’t feel as though they packed enough of a punch and I wanted so much more from them.

That being said, I still think that this book will be a massive hit and that so many people are going to fall in love with it. Not for me but it has a lot of potential for other readers.

Blog Tour: Gillian Philip...Part Two of Big Gype +Giveaway!

Today as part of Gillian Philips Blog Tour to celebrate the release of The Opposite Of Amber we have the second piece in an online exclusive 4 part short story. To read the first part head over to Book Babblers!
Hope you enjoy, we've also got 5 copies of The Opposite Of Amber up for grabs! Simply enter your name and email in the form at the bottom of the post.

Big Gype (Part 2)

The beach bar was not exactly a little piece of Caribbean on the Breakness shore. It was windswept – for which read bloody Baltic, some days – but it was out of the way, and it had charm. Jinn said it had charm like me: a bit sleazy, but fun.

I can’t say I was entirely unhappy with that.

After that first time, it became our regular rendezvous. Not too regular, mind, because it’s not as if I was going out with her. I was just, occasionally, going out with her. It was the next best thing to staying in with her.

Jinn didn’t drink much alcohol but she had a passion for those disgusting neon Molotovs, and I must have been keen on her because I kept her company and forced them down too, each one made tolerable by two shots of vodka. I’d sit there on the peeling wooden picnic table – cleaner than the actual benches – and hanker after a beer and Jinn’s body. Funny how I didn’t ever push it too far. But then I was sleeping with Annette Norton at least two days a week.

Jinn knew.

‘Poor Annette,’ she said one day, with a wrinkle of her nose.

‘It’s not like she’s my real girlfriend or anything. I’ll dump her if you like.’

‘I don’t like.’ An onshore breeze whipped her silver-blonde hair across her eyes, so I couldn’t quite see her expression. ‘Anyway, you needn’t think you’re getting in my knickers. Isn’t she jealous?’

I shrugged. ‘Nothing to be jealous of.’

‘Yet,’ muttered Jinn.

I didn’t think I could have heard her right, and I wasn’t sure I liked the way my heart tripped and rebooted inside my ribcage, so I said, ‘What?’

She smiled at the dazzling white-capped sea. ‘Nothing.’

I liked that even less.

She didn’t let me sulk. She nudged my arm and nodded at my barely-touched violent-turquoise drink. ‘Don’t know why you don’t just order a beer.’

She’d made me laugh. ‘Neither do I. I’ll just go and get one then. Want another?’

Grinning, she shook her head, and her hair glittered in the sunlight. ‘I’ll just have yours.’

I gave it to her, and went back to the bar. I took no notice of the two thickset guys who sat down at the next ramshackle table; they looked vaguely familiar but not enough for me to care. That was a mistake, but am I meant to be psychic or something? How was I to know?

They were sitting at our table when I came back with my beer, one on either side, Jinn trapped between them on the table top, smiling a nervous smile, knees pressed together and Molotov gripped tightly in two hands. She was laughing at their banter but she was trying not to touch either of them. They weren’t so reserved. The one with a silver ear stud put his hand on her ankle and said ‘Watch you don’t fall, love.’

I stopped and stared. ‘Oy,’ I said.

He gave me a glance, grinning. ‘Who’s the wee snot rag?’

The other one yawned. ‘Not recognise him? Jimmy Baird’s boy.’

‘Is that all! And I thought he was Captain America.’

I felt my ears go hot with fury. ‘Piss off,’ I said.

The one with the ear stud got to his feet, and I kind of wished I hadn’t said it, but I was angry enough to be glad I had. Just. Luckily the other guy intervened.

‘Ach, leave him, you big gype. We’re working, remember?’

‘Aye,’ said the big gype. ‘Right.’

I didn’t like the look he gave me as they swaggered off. I liked it so little, I sat down much closer to Jinn, and put an arm round her, and hugged her, because the breeze was that cold she was shivering.
Find out what happens next at The OverFlowing Library tomorrow!

The Opposite Of Amber by Gillian Philip 'They found the fifth girl right after the snow melted ...the place where he left her was winter water, crazed with ice-feathers and dusted with snow. The traces from her body were gone, the ones that said his name, but she had an extra skin of ice that protected her and she looked perfect, like Snow White'. Ruby and her older sister Jinn live together on their own, just about making ends meet. Jinn is beautiful, with glittering blonde hair, and makes it her business to look after Ruby. They are horrified by, but try to ignore, the local newspaper stories of prostitutes who are murdered, their bodies eventually discovered underwater. Then the no-good Nathan Baird turns up on the scene - again - and Jinn starts to change. First Nathan moves in with Jinn and Ruby, making Ruby feel an outsider, and then Jinn and Nathan move out, leaving Ruby alone. Jinn no longer has time to look after Ruby. And it seems to Ruby that Jinn herself needs looking after. Her beautiful glittering hair starts to lose its shine. And then Jinn disappears. A deeply moving, chilling, and incredibly powerful thriller that celebrates the love two sisters have for each other and mourns the events beyond their control that will conspire to drive them apart. (From Goodreads.com) Published by Bloomsbury April 2011


Win!
Thanks to the very good people at Bloomsbury we have 5 copies of The Opposite Of Amber to giveaway! Enter by submitting your name and email in the form below. Sorry but this giveaway is open to UK mailing addresses only. Closes 12 midnight on Tuesday 26th April. Winners will be drawn at random and notified by email and asked to provide addresses to pass on to the publisher. If we don't hear back from you within 48 hours you forfeit your right to your prize and another winner will be chosen.
Good Luck!!




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