Thursday, 3 December 2015

Review: Plus One by Elizabeth Fama

Written by: Elizabeth Fama
Published by: Farrar Straus Giroux
Edition: Hardcover
Pages: 373
Purchase from:  Amazon UK |  Book Depository

It takes guts to deliberately mutilate your hand while operating a blister-pack sealing machine, but all I had going for me was guts.
Sol Le Coeur is a smudge - a night dweller in an American rigidly divided between people who wake, live, and work during the hours of darkness and those known as Rays who live and work during the daylight. 

Impulsive, passionate, and brave, Sol deliverately injures herself in order to gain admission to a hospital, where she plans to kidnap her newborn niece - a Ray - in order bring the baby to visit her dying grandfather. 

By violating the day-night curfew, Sol is committing a serious crime, and when the kidnap attempt goes awry it starts a chain of events that will put Sol in mortal danger, uncover a government conspiracy to manipulate the Smudge population, and throw her together with D'Arcy Benoit, the Ray medical apprentice who first treats her, then helps her outrun the authorities - and with whom she is fated to fall impossibly and irrevocably in love. 


This story had me going round and round in circles because I couldn't quite decide if I loved it or if I just liked it. There was moments of sweetness that was just beautifully written and set the story off amazingly, but then I found the story extremely predictable so I couldn't settle down and get emerged into the story because I kinda guessed what was going to happen very early on. It was because of that, that I thought the overall story was only good not great. 
"Believe me I don't want to set the world on fire I just want to start a flame in your heart."
Another momentous thing that I didn't get along with was the character development. For me, the characters seemed quite flip floppy. As in they kept going to and from different personalities, they just seemed very rushed and forced in some cases. Don't get me wrong there were a lot of parts of Sol that I genuinely enjoyed. I loved her fiestyness and her loyalty and her love for her grandfather but then when it came to the relationship with D'Arcy I honestly didn't believe it, it felt way too forced and it way too predictable. So I couldn't enjoy because I saw it coming from a mile a way and it didn't sit well with me. 
'The bridge was geologically ancient, an impassive observer, surrounded by life that was fleeting in comparison: trees that would only survive hundreds of years, tourists who would only live decades, insects that would thrive only for weeks.'
One thing that I absolutely adored about Plus One was the writing. It was just magical in the ways things were described, like the everyday objects and the comparisons between night and day. Everything was written so well that it really helped how they were pictured in your mind. It really kept me going when things became slightly knowing with the story and I'm glad it did because it did turn out to be an entertaining read, even with all the grievances I had with it.

'There was a smart, sunny girl out there right now somewhere, a Ray on a trajectory that would cross his path, a girl who made sense with him.'
All in all, while I didn't love this book, I did enjoy it. There were moments that really stood out and shouted among the pages. The writing was brilliant, I only thought the story was predictable and the characters needed more development but it didn't stop me from devouring it in just two days. While I wasn't quite gripped from the beginning, I was hurrying to find out the conclusion and that, to me, is the value of a good story.
Plus One
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Wednesday, 2 December 2015

Whatcha Reading Wednesday: Plus One - Elizabeth Fama

Wednesday 2nd November


 So this reading slump I am currently in is destroying me! But I find its high time I kick my way out of it with this gorgeous looking Plus One by Elizabeth Fama. I don't know a lot about this book but I find that when you're in a reading slump you don't really want to know a lot about the book you just hope that it will be enough to grab your attention and so far, from just the cover alone this book is screaming, jumping and pulling my attention from all my other books. I just have this need to get stuck into it, which I haven't felt for a long time.




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Thursday, 26 November 2015

Review: The Death Cure - James Dashner

Written by: James Dashner
Series: The Maze Runner, Book #3
Published by: Chicken House
Pages:329
Purchase from: Amazon   |  Book Depository

The Trials are over. WICKED is planning to restore the survivors' memories and complete the final cure for the Flare.
But Thomas has already remembered more than they think. And he knows WICKED can't be trusted...
The time for lies is over. But the truth is more dangerous than Thomas could ever imagine. Will anyone survive the Death Cure?


I do not even know where to begin with this review. There were times when I loved it but there were times that I couldn't help but resent it. It was so frustrating with how it kept going back and forth with the action but, having said this, I couldn't put it down for a second so it definitely succeeded in keeping me gripped from beginning to end, no matter how much I started to dislike it. 
'I don't think there is a right or wrong anymore. Only horrible and not-quite-so-horrible.'
After reading the first two books in the series, you can read my reviews of them here, I did have a lot of expectations that I didn't think were really answered in this book. There were a lot of times where I kept thinking 'well now were getting there' but then it kept zigzagging to another problem that needed to be solved immediately so it felt as though it kept pulling me from one problem to another without really having a good explanation. It felt as though the problems were just being created for tension's sake and not really being significant to the story. Now I'm not saying this was the case for every single twist within the story. In some cases the twists were well thought out and a complete and total surprise but there were just so many that didn't feel impactful enough and they felt as though they were thrown in so to add more tension in an already drama filled book. In my opinion, it just wasn't needed so it didn't add anything. This is where my main frustration lied with this conclusion to the trilogy. 
'As we tried to instil in each of our subjects over and over, WICKED is good.'
Now I'm not going to lie, this isn't one of my favourite series ever but it did leave me wanting more after reading each book. Something about this trilogy just kept gripped from beginning to end no matter how many problems I had with it. So while this conclusion to the series didn't really excite me as much as I hoped there is no denying that it has that sort of quality that pulls you and keeps you reading more and more just because you have this compelling need to see how it ends and that is a quality of a good story, to keep the reader absorbed no matter how much it frustrates you.
'So let's say our bloody goodbyes, and then you can promise to remember me from my good old days.'
In conclusion, while this series wasn't really my cup of tea I can't help but admit that it really is entertaining enough that I had to keep going to the end. I did find myself getting extremely irked with some parts of the story making me go from loving it too hating it with each passing chapter. I just kept see-sawing from one emotion to the other making it hard to say on whether or not it was a good conclusion to the series because it did have that one redeeming quality of having that extremely engrossing feel that makes a brilliant story. 
The Death Cure (Maze Runner, #3)
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Sunday, 8 November 2015

Cover Reveal: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand, doesn't get released until March next year. But with a title like that how can we not get overly excited by the thought of this book. And seeing as Sourcebooks Fire revealed the cover a couple of days ago, we can now get a clearer imagine on what we will be anticipating for next couple of months.

Here is the cover I am talking about, full sized in all its unique greatness...


Now I don't know about you but I am so excited to get my hands on this book, and from the cover and the title alone I can tell it's going to unique, but why not learn a little bit more from the premise and about the author to get a better taste of what's to come. Plus, keep reading for an awesome giveaway and hilarious sneak peek below.

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Book Summary

Title: The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever
Author: Jeff Strand
Release Date: 1st March 2016
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire

After producing three horror movies that went mostly ignored on YouTube, Justin and his filmmaking buddies decide it’s time they create something noteworthy, something epic. They’re going to film the Greatest Zombie Movie Ever. They may not have money or a script, but they have passion. And, after a rash text message, they also have the beautiful Alicia Howtz—Justin’s crush—as the lead.

With only one month to complete their movie, a script that can’t possibly get worse, and the hopes and dreams of Alicia on the line, Justin is feeling the pressure. Add to that a cast of uncooperative extras and incompetent production assistants, and Justin must face the sad, sad truth. He may actually be producing The Worst Zombie Movie Ever…


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Jeff Strand gives readers a sneak peek at his latest novel The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever, and shares his five favorite zombie movies:

Jeff Strand’s Five Favorite Zombie Movies:

My five favorite zombie movies are very similar to many other people’s five favorite zombie movies. I could’ve gone the condescending click-bait route and written about “The Five Best Zombie Movies You’ve Never Seen!” but, no, I’m going with my five real favorites….

#5: DAWN OF THE DEAD (2004 version). I was one of the many people bellowing, “You can’t remake DAWN OF THE DEAD! This is blasphemy! Blasphemy!!!” But somehow this remake to a sequel (but not a sequel to the remake) turned out to be awesome. Not quite as good as the original (SPOILER ALERT: That’s #3 on this list) but one of my all-time favorites.

#4: RE-ANIMATOR. I’ve now seen plenty of movies that are more over-the-top insane than RE-ANIMATOR, but this was the first movie where I simply couldn’t believe what I was watching. It was hard to believe that a movie so dark and gruesome could be so funny.

#3: DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978 version). Shameful confession: When I first saw this in high school I thought it was stupid and boring. Fortunately, I matured and accepted that it’s one of the high points of zombie cinema. It’s the reason I know to duck before walking toward spinning helicopter blades.

#2: RETURN OF THE LIVING DEAD. Fast zombies long before 28 DAYS LATER! The first time zombies ate brains! It doesn’t often get the credit it deserves, but this is one of the most influential zombie movies ever.

#1: SHAUN OF THE DEAD. The greatest zombie comedy ever. The greatest zombie movie ever. The greatest MOVIE ever.

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About the Author

Jeff Strand has written more than twenty books, and is a four-time nominee (and four-time non-winner) of the Bram Stoker Award. Two of his young adult novels, A Bad Day For Voodoo and I Have A Bad Feeling About This, were Junior Library Guild picks. Publishers Weekly called his work “wickedly funny.” He lives in Tampa, Florida.

Connect with Jeff

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Excerpt from The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever

The vampire, whose fangs were too big for his mouth, turned to the camera and hissed.

"Don't look at the camera," said Justin Hollow, the director.

"I keep poking my lip on these things," said Harold, spitting the plastic fangs out onto the ground. He hadn't been a very frightening example of the undead before, and he was even less scary with no fangs and a thick line of drool running down his chin.

"Cut!" shouted Justin, loud enough to be sure that the command was heard by his production crew of two. "C'mon, Harold. Stay in character. We're three hours behind schedule."

"I don't care. I hate this. You promised that I'd get all the girls I wanted. So where are all of the girls I want?"

Justin let out his thirty-ninth exasperated sigh of the night. "The movie has to come out first."

"It's not even a real movie."

Justin bristled. It was a full body bristle, head to toe, which he hadn't even realized was physically possible. Bobby, who handled sound recording, and Gabe, who handled everything else, both stepped back a couple of feet. Neither of them truly believed that they were about to witness a murder, but they wanted to get out of the splash zone, just in case.

Had this been one of Justin's movies, he would have very slowly lowered his camera, stared directly into Harold's eyes with a steel gaze, and then after an extremely dramatic pause asked "What...did...you...just...say?"

His actual response, delivered in a squeakier voice than he would have allowed from his actors, was: "Huh?"

"I said it's not a real movie." Harold started to wipe the fake blood off his mouth. It didn't come off, and probably wouldn't for several days. Justin had planned to feel guilty about this later, but now he wouldn't bother. "Nobody's ever going to see it. You probably won't even finish it."

"I finished my last three movies!" Justin insisted. "I got hundreds of hits on YouTube!"

That statement was technically accurate, though it was the lowest possible number of hits you could get and still use "hundred" in its plural form. The only comment anybody posted about his latest film had been "This twelve year-old filmmaker sort of shows promise," which really frustrated Justin since he was fifteen.

Harold shrugged. "This is a waste of time. I've got better things to do on a Friday night."

"Nobody ever said this was going to be easy," said Justin, who had indeed said that it was going to be easy when luring Harold into the role. "You can quit now, but what are you going to think about your decision ten years from now?"

"I'm going to think, wow, it sure is nice to be such a well-paid dentist."

Harold walked off the set. It wasn't an actual set, but rather a small park near Justin's home, where they were filming without a permit. Justin knew he should shout something after his ex-actor. Something vicious. Something devastating. He thought about shouting "You'll never work in this town again!" but, no, it had to be something that Harold would consider a bad thing.

"Fine!" Justin shouted. "But when we record the audio commentary track for the Blu-Ray, I'm going to talk about how you abandoned us, and how much happier everybody was with the new actor who took your role, and how we all agreed that he should have been cast in the first place, and how he had so many girlfriends that he couldn't even keep track of them, and how they all found out about each other and had a great big awesome catfight in his front yard! And I'll pronounce your name wrong!"

Harold continued walking, apparently not heartbroken.

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Giveaway

Enter to win an Advanced Copy of The Greatest Zombie Movie Ever by Jeff Strand

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Spotlight Tour: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

It's Spotlight Tour Time!
This time its to celebrate the release of Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins, a Young Adult science fiction romance novel that cleverly intertwines time travel within the story.

Like with every Spotlight Tour a small sneak peak is given, along with a cheeky giveaway, but first let's gather more information about the book and the author.


Until We Meet Again

Author: Renee Collins
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Release Date: 3rd November 2015
Genre: Young Adult Fiction

They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time
Country clubs and garden parties. The last thing Cassandra wants is to spend the summer before her senior year marooned in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. Cass craves drama and adventure, which is hard when she just feels stuck.
But when a dreamy stranger shows up on her family’s private beach, claiming that it is his property—and that the year is 1925—Cass is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making. As she searches for answers in the present, Cass discovers a truth that thrusts Lawrence’s life into jeopardy. It won’t matter which century he is from if he won’t live to see tomorrow.

Desperate to save the boy who’s come to mean everything to her, Cassandra must find a way to change history…or risk losing Lawrence forever.



Buy the Book
Amazon  |  Barnes&Noble  |  iBooks  |  BAM  |  IndieBound

Excerpt
Prologue
The beach is empty. In the fading glow of twilight, the waves roll up to the rocks in sweeping curls of white foam. The sand glistens like wet steel. The grass bends low in the briny night wind. Always changing, yet always the same. I imagine the beach has looked like this since the beginning of time.

Stepping onto the soft terrain, I feel transported to some ancient evening, eons ago. Long before my uncle claimed this land as his own. Long before man even dared to taint these shores.

I wish the fleeting vision was true.

My gaze falls to the full moon’s reflection on the water. It’s broken into shards on the black sea, tossed about with each wave. A small, white shape catches my eye. It’s in the glare of the reflection, so I nearly miss it.

I step into the wave break. A seabird, dead and limp, is rolling back and forth in the foam. Her wings are spread open, her white-and-brown-speckled breast exposed.

I lift the small creature into my palm. What killed her? I wonder. There’s no sign of injury. Did she drown in the sea? Pinching her brittle, fragile leg gently between my fingers, I notice a small metal band snapped around her ankle. The sight of it startles me. Examining it closer, I catch the faint impression of numbers and letters etched into the band, but something in me resists reading them. I can’t say why.

What does it matter, anyhow? The poor creature is dead. And she reminds me that there is no going back. Time howls on, like the wind. And it is not only weaker creatures like this bird that succumb to it. Even the strongest man will fall before its crushing forward push.

I set the bird out into the water. As the tide pulls her away, I accept this truth. Soon the summer will be over. Too soon.

Chapter 1
Cassandra
Date: July 8.
Days at my mom and stepdad’s new summer home: 22
Hours spent at the froufrou country club: 0
Hours spent on the fancy private beach: 0
Hours spent lying on the couch bemoaning my lack of a life: somewhere in the 100s.
Number of times Mom has told me to make some new friends and stop moping around: also somewhere in the 100s.

To paraphrase Shakespeare: Oh, for a muse of fire to convey how utterly and completely bored I am.

Given the circumstances, it should be clear that I have no choice but to try to sneak into my neighbors’ yard and swim in their pool at 2:00 a.m.

My two accomplices are less than ideal. Travis Howard and Brandon Marks are local royalty of this ritzy, historic neighborhood slapped on the coast of Massachusetts’s North Shore. Both have the classic all-American look—tall, sparkling blue eyes, and a crop of blond hair that’s been gelled to scientific levels of perfection. But given the circumstances, they’ll have to do.

Brandon can barely keep pace as we cut along the tailored brush that adorns the Andersons’ back fence. Maybe because he’s too busy shooting nervous glances behind us.

“We’re being followed,” he says.

Travis and I exchange a look.

“Chill out, dude,” Travis says.

I sigh. “Seriously. I didn’t pack my smelling salts, so try not to faint.”

Travis holds out his fist for a bump.

Brandon is resolute. “At the very least, we’re being watched. You think these people don’t have security cameras?”

“No clue,” I say brightly.

“Well, that’s reassuring.”

“I try.”

I probably should have come on my own. Trouble is, I need a pair of hands to boost me over the fence. My little brother, Eddie, couldn’t do it, since he’s three. And for obvious reasons, I couldn’t ask Mom or Frank. That left the only other person I knew here: Travis.

He and I met at a garden party. How bourgeois is that? I was so bored I was ready to claw my eyes out. Then I saw this crazy guy doing a chair dance, to the utter shock of the local hens, and I decided he might be okay. Travis is pretty cool. He reminds me a little of my friend Jade back in Ohio. A delightful troublemaker. Having Travis’s buddy Brandon tagging along, however, has proved to be an unwelcome change of plans.

It’s late, but humidity still hangs in the air. Not as oppressive as during the day, but enough to make the hair against my neck damp. Crickets chirp loudly in the surrounding brush, which makes me uneasy somehow, as if their incessant noise will draw attention to us. As if they’re crying, “Look! Look! Look! Look!” to some unseen guard. Brandon’s nerves must be contagious.

Luckily, I spy the edge of the fence before I can dwell on my uneasiness for too long.

“We made it,” I say.

Gripping the bars, I look for a good spot to grab midway up. Travis helps me with the inspection.

“Right over here,” he says, motioning. “The ground’s a little higher on the other side, and those bushes will break your fall.”

“Nice,” I say, impressed. “You have a lot of experience breaking into private property?”

“Yeah, except we usually go for cash and high-value items. Breaking in to go swimming should be a nice change of pace.”

I smirk and he gives me a Mr. Teen USA wink.

“All right then,” I say. “Hoist me up.”

Brandon steps in between us. “Are we seriously doing this? You know, your stepdad’s house has a huge private beach. If you want to swim so badly, can’t we go there?”

“You’re missing the point, Brandon.”

“You never explained the point.”

“Only a fool asks to understand that which cannot be grasped,” I say, pretending to quote some ancient philosopher.

Travis blinks. “Dude. That was deep.”

“I know, right?” I turn back to Brandon. “See? He gets it.”

“This is really stupid,” Brandon says, unamused.

I pull out my phone. “So, I guess you don’t want to be in the group shot then?”

Travis comes to my side and puts his arm around me. “Sweet! Selfie time.”

I hold out my phone, and he and I make an overly enthusiastic thumbs-up pose.

Brandon folds his arms impatiently across his chest. “Can we get on with this?”

“Well, look who’s eager to have some fun,” I say, giving him a hearty slap on the back. “About time you came aboard.”

Brandon shakes his head and holds out his interlocked hands. Travis stands across from him. Together, they form the perfect ladder. Pushing off of their shoulders, I reach for the top of the fence. One push and my leg tips over the edge.

“Got it!” I shout. Perched on the top of the wall, I survey my target. The pool is lit, even with the Andersons away for the week, and it gleams an appealing turquoise blue in the dark night. If I had time and my stuff, I’d paint the scene. For now, however, an immersive, performance-art type of scenario will have to suffice.

“Let’s do this,” I say, hopping onto the grass below. I land firmly on my feet and unlatch the side gate.

Brandon remains frozen at the threshold. “Cass…”

“Let me guess. You don’t think this is such a good idea.”

Travis laughs. “Seriously, dude, don’t be such a pansy.”

He starts through the gate when Brandon grabs his arm. “Trav. You know why we can’t.”

Travis says nothing, but a shadow crosses his expression. I frown. “What?”

When Travis doesn’t reply, Brandon exhales. “We could go to jail.”

“Oh, don’t be so dramatic—”

“No, seriously. We’re both…kind of on probation.”

He officially has my attention. “Explain.”

Travis shakes his head. “It’s not that big of a deal. Brandon’s freaking out.”

“Then tell me,” I say.

His eyes shift away from mine. “It was me and Brandon and some of the guys from the lacrosse team. One night a few weeks ago, we were a little drunk. It was late. And we sort of…broke into a liquor store.”

Brandon scrambles to explain before I can react. “It wasn’t my idea. We never would have done it—it was really stupid, okay? Anyway, we got caught, but Austin’s dad pulled some strings and got us off with a warning.”

I nod slowly. “I see. So, you got Daddums to skirt the law for you?”

“It’s not like that,” Travis says, but I can tell he’s really embarrassed.

Brandon sighs. “I can’t get into trouble. I’ve got a lacrosse scholarship on the line, and my parents would murder me if I screwed that up. Trav’s the same.”

I’m not sure which is more irritating, the sham justice system in these ritzy areas or the fact that there’s actually a legitimate reason to cut our little excursion short.

I fold my arms. “So after all this, we’re leaving?”

“I never said that,” Travis says, defensive.

Brandon glares. “Don’t be an idiot, Trav. It’s not worth it.”

I can tell by the look Brandon gives Travis that he actually means I’m not worth it. Irritation flares up in me.

“Well, I haven’t come all this way to wuss out now. You boys and your lacrosse scholarships are free to go back home.”

“Fine,” Brandon says. “I’m out of here.”

He storms off without a glance back. Travis lingers, but I can tell he’s seen the error of his ways and wants to go as well.

“Go ahead and leave,” I say. “I’m over the fence. I don’t need you anymore.”

Travis sighs. “Brandon’s right. We should probably get out of here.”

I plant my fists on my waist. “Nope. I’m going to swim.”

“Cass.”

“Seriously, go. I can take it from here.”

“I’m not leaving you alone at two in the morning. It isn’t safe.”

I laugh. “How very gallant, Travis.”

“I’m serious. It isn’t safe.”

With only a smile, I turn and head for the pool. He calls my name in a sharp whisper, but I ignore him.

Little garden lights illuminate the path and surround the flagstone patio. The pool shimmers. You’ve got to hand it to the Andersons. They have a nice place here.

I circle the pool thoughtfully, then dip one toe in the water. “Ideal temperature.”

No simple entrance into the pool will do. It’s got to be diving board or nothing. With determination, I march to the elaborate diving area and grip the ladder.

Travis calls my name again. I glance over my shoulder with a sigh. He’s in the shadows by the shrubs.

“You’re crazy,” he whisper-yells.

“Guilty as charged, Travis, my dear.” I blow him a kiss and climb the diving-board ladder. My nerve ends tingle as I approach the long plank. It’s a stupid little thing, but I feel more alive now than I have all summer.

“Okay. Here goes nothing. One…two…”

The porch lights snap on with the fury of midday sun. It startles me so much that I throw my arms up to block it and almost fall backward into the pool.

“All right, kids,” a man’s voice booms. “Fun’s over.”

Who knew an uber rich gated community would have twenty-four-hour guards on staff? Oh wait. I knew. I just didn’t care.

A big man in a bouncer-type jacket strides in at the side of the deck, right near where I entered. To my left, Travis flattens against the house. Trapped. If he runs, the guard will notice for sure.

The beam of a high-powered flashlight blasts in my face.

“Get down from there.”

I shoot a look to the gently rippling pool water, then to Travis, then back to the guard. He’s clearly not in the mood to screw around.

Something about this situation feels so symbolic of this whole summer. There I was, about to plunge into that film internship in New York. Or go to Paris with Jade. Or maybe the acting camp. I hadn’t really decided. Either way, I was ready to start living and get out of Nowhereville, Ohio. And what happens?

Mom and Frank get the crazy idea to rent a beach house in Massachusetts. And because Frank can work remotely with his finance job, they don’t rent it for a week like a normal family. They rent it for the entire summer. And of course, they insist on dragging me and Eddie down with them. To sit on my butt all day and to go to garden luncheons.

“Where are the two guys I saw you with?” the guard calls out.

Cameras. Of course there are cameras. The beam of the flashlight cuts from me to scan the yard. Travis’s whole body tenses, and a wash of guilt passes over me. As much as I initially wrote him off as a rich jock, I actually kind of like the guy. He’s been cool and willing to play along with my ridiculous little shenanigans. I can’t let him suffer serious, long-lasting consequences.

Meeting Travis’s eyes, I mouth the word “go” and then wave to the security guard with both arms. “It’s just me, big guy. Me and my lonesome.”

The flashlight snaps up to me. My pulse races. What I’m doing, I’m not exactly sure. But the recklessness feels good.

“I thought I saw someone else,” the guard says.

He starts to pull the light away to search the yard. I have to act quickly. Drawing in a breath, I pull my sundress over my head and toss it on the patio. For a single, humiliating moment, the guard’s flashlight illuminates my red bra and underwear for all the world to see. Travis better be halfway home by now.

The guard’s voice is calm but laden with warning. “Miss…”

“Last one in the water’s a rotten egg!”
Drawing in a breath, I give one good bounce on the diving board, leap into the air, form the perfect swan position, and plunge into the water.

About the Author

Renee Collins grew up on a beach in Hawaii. Sadly, she never met anyone from the past on those shores, but she did go on to get a degree in History, which is almost the same. She currently lives in Colorado with her family..





Connect With Renee

Praise for Until We Meet Again

“Mystery, romance, time travel, and danger…this one has it all…Suspenseful, poignant, and romantic: well worth the read.” — Kirkus Reviews

“A hazy, romantic mystery that might appeal to fans of Nicholas Sparks.” — School of Library Journal

“Until We Meet Again is tragically beautiful with twists you won’t see coming.”— Martina Boone, author of Compulsion and the Heirs of Watson Island trilogy
"A beach house, a mystery, and time-travel love make Until We Meet Again a romantic, engaging read."— Deb Caletti, National Book Award Finalist for Honey, Baby, Sweetheart

Giveaway
Enter for a chance to win a copy of Until We Meet Again.

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Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Cover Reveal: Don't Get Caught - Kurt Dinan

Don't Get Caught by Kurt Dinan Gets released in April 2016, a huge seven months away, but that doesn't mean that we can't anticipate and admire this book from afar. And what better way to start than admiring the quirky cover that was revealed today!

Down below is the full sized cover in all its glory...


Now that cover just screams quirkiness, but what is the cover without the premise? So here is all the info, about the author and the book, that will just tickle your interest that much more. Plus, keep reading for an awesome giveaway, cheeky sneak peek from the author and excerpt below.

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Book Summary
Title: Don't Get Caught
Author: Kurt Dinan
Published by: Sourcebooks Fire
Pages: 320
Release Date: April 2016
Genre: Young Adult Contemporary

17-year-old Max Cobb is sick of being “Just Max”—the kind of guy whose resume boasts a measly 2.5 GPA and a deep love of heist films. So when an invitation appears in his locker to join the anonymous, untraceable, epic prank-pulling Chaos Club, Max jumps at the opportunity to leave “Just Max” in the dust.
Except that the invite is really a set-up, and Max—plus the 4 other kids who received similar invitations—are apprehended by school security for defacing the water tower. This time, Max has had enough. Time for Heist Rule #6:

Always Get Payback.
Let the prank war begin...

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About the Author
Kurt Dinan is a high school English teacher. He’s had several short stories published, including one in 2010’s The Year’s Best Dark Fantasy and Horror. He lives in Cincinnati, Ohio, with his wife, three young sons, and baby girl. Don’t Get Caught is his first novel.

Describe your book in 140 characters or less?
A high school nobody recruits a crew of misfits for heists and pranks to get revenge on the mysterious Chaos Club. #DontGetCaught

How did you come up with the idea for Don’t Get Caught?
Look, who hasn’t wanted to rob a bank? Or at least hasn’t thought about it? I can’t be the only one, right? Right? So, I suppose Don’t Get Caught is my way of robbing a bank without risking actual jail time because, let me make this clear, I would not do well in prison. I love capers, heists, and schemes, and while the crew in this novel aren’t robbing banks, they are satisfying my criminal thoughts by doing the teenage equivalent of bank robbery--wrecking havoc in their high school.

Tell us about the main character.
Max is a high school nobody, a kid who’s smart enough and nice enough to get by, but who doesn’t really fit in anywhere. So basically, he’s me at sixteen. But what Max has that I certainly didn’t have is a genius-level ability to scheme and a newly discovered gift for leading misfits. He’s underestimated by everyone, a fact that works to his advantage when he decides it’s time to write his name in the wet cement of the universe by destroying a forty-year-old secret society.


Did your class in high school pull any memorable pranks? Or is there one you wish you had pulled?
My prank life didn’t begin until college when I helped mastermind a promotion for a fake campus concert that almost led to my arrest. But in my final year of high school, the six-hundred members of my senior class were crowded onto bleachers for an all-class picture. I look at that picture now and see an opportunity for chaos. I mean, how much would it have cost to hire an airplane to drop a hundred gallons of water at the precise moment the picture was taken? Or to organize a group of kids to all wear neon shirts and arrange themselves into something profane within the crowd? It’s missed opportunities like this that keep me up at night.

What books formed your thinking or reflected who you were as a child and teen reader?
I read a lot of early Stephen King probably before I was old enough, and then through high school it was mostly comic books and classics. I do specifically remember reading Helter Skelter during my junior year, dragging that non-fiction monster around with me for a month or so. Looking back on it now, that’s probably all of the evidence needed to explain why I didn’t have a girlfriend in high school.


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Excerpt from the book
I may not be a fan of heights, but I especially hate ladders. I always think the rung I’m on is going to break away and send me plummeting. So climbing the water tower ladder in the dark, the rungs sticky for some reason, only worries me more. But despite that, I’d be lying if I didn’t say how awesome this was. The higher I climb, the harder my heart pounds from the adrenaline. I feel like a jewel thief scaling a skyscraper at midnight on his way to stealing the Hope Diamond.

Up ahead in the darkness, Wheeler goes into a mock newscaster’s voice announcing, “Five Asheville High School students fell to their deaths last evening when—”

“Shut up,” Malone says.

The climb takes only two minutes but feels like an hour when the ladder ends at the base of a metal grating no more than four feet wide. If a strong wind blows, a waist-high railing is all that’s there to keep me from hurtling to my death.

“Wow, this is higher than I thought,” Ellie says, looking out over the lights of the town.

Malone, recording everything with her phone, says, “I wish I had my climbing gear. I’d love to repel off this.”

“What was it Jesus said, Ellie?” Wheeler says. “‘I think I can see my house from up here’?”

And me, I want down. And not just down, but to roll in the grass and kiss the earth. Then, as I’m about to wuss out, Ellie’s hand is in mine and she’s leading me along the platform.

“Come on,” she says. “Let’s look for the next clue.”

Her hand is soft and warm, and if the platform gives away right now, I can die a happy man.

“You get to open the next envelope if there is one,” Ellie says. “Or maybe it’ll be like in the movies, and there’ll be a cell phone that rings and—”

My foot kicks something metal sending it clanking and skittering across the platform before dropping into the night.

From the other side of the tower Malone says, “What was that?”

I look down at my feet and see four more of what I’ve just booted—spray paint cans.

And in one horrifying moment, I realize why the rungs were sticky when we climbed.

Red paint covers my hands.

Oh shit.

I lean back for a better view of the water tower to see what’s been spray-painted there. The wet paint trails down from certain letters like red teardrops.

Double shit.

Heist Rule #5: When in doubt, run.

But we don’t get that chance.

Suddenly, the water tower lights blaze to life illuminating the newly painted message for the entire town to see.

Assville High School, Home of the Golden Showers.

Both Malone and Wheeler say, “Shit.”

Ellie says, “Wow.”

Adleta says nothing.

And then a voice booms from a bullhorn below where red-and-blue lights flash in the parking lot.

“This is the police. Come down immediately.”

So much for Don’t get caught.


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Monday, 19 October 2015

Spotlight Tour: Stirring up Trouble by Andrea Lawrence


It's Spotlight Tour Time!!

It's that time again where we celebrate the birthday of a book. This time it is Stirring Up Trouble by Andrea Lawrence, which was released earlier this month on the 12th October. Stirring up Trouble is the third book in a highly adult contemporary series, the Rosewood Series. Like all Spotlight Tours, the celebration would not be complete without a little Excerpt and brilliant Giveaway, which can all be found down below.

So let's kick off this celebration with more information about the book and the author.

Stirring up Trouble
Series: Rosewood series (Book #3)
Author: Andrea Lawrence
Release Date: 12th October 2015
Published by: Simon and Schuster
Genre: Contemporary Romance
When a prim and proper baker and a laid-back bartender have a neighborly disagreement that gets them both in trouble with the law, a sweet reconciliation is stirred up in the playful third romance in Andrea Laurence’s sexy Rosewood series.

Maddie’s life is perfectly sweet. Her bakery’s tasty treats are rising to the top of every must-have list in town, and her commute is just a block away by foot. She loves everything about her little downtown Victorian bungalow—except for her unbearably noisy neighbor, Woody’s. The bar’s obnoxious and sexy owner, Emmett, seems to live to aggravate Maddie. But he mostly thinks she could use a stiff drink to dislodge the stick up her ass. He’s just trying to run his business. Bars stay open late, they play music, they serve alcohol. If she doesn’t like it, why did she buy a house across the street?

When Maddie and Emmett’s battle lands them in front of the local judge, they’re ordered to do several weeks of community service cleaning parks and painting over graffiti. As they scrub away the latest works of art by the town’s anonymous “Penis Picasso,” the baker and the bartender slowly begin to see there’s more to each other than meets the eye. So what happens if they wave the white flag and surrender into each other’s arms?


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Excerpt from Stirring Up Trouble

“You know, Fancy Pants, that’s your problem.”

Her eyes widened as he used his new favorite nickname for her. He didn’t know why it would offend her. She was a fancy pants, through and through. “I don’t have a problem.”

“Yes, you do. You think you’re so much better than everyone else, but you’re not. So what? You studied in Paris. Estelle was a self-taught baker using her grandmother’s recipes, and her chocolate chip cookies were better than yours.”

Maddie gasped. “My chocolate chip cookies are made with vanilla beans from Madagascar and chopped milk and dark chocolate from Switzerland!”

“It’s a cookie, not a piece of art that needs provenance to display in a gallery. Some people just want what’s familiar. Nobody’s grandma used vanilla beans from Madagascar. Importing all that fancy stuff might make you feel special, but it doesn’t make you better. Frankly, I think it would hurt your bottom line. You think you’re going to pay back your daddy for this place while you blow money on embossed pink pastry boxes and imported chocolate? This isn’t a patisserie on the Champs-Élysées, Fancy Pants. You might think it sets you apart, but to be successful, you need to know your customer. People around here don’t care where Madagascar is, much less if that’s where your vanilla comes from.”

“People want high-quality products, and that’s what I’m going to give them. My clientele is a little more sophisticated than yours. I suppose you’re well versed in your customers and what they want, right? Beer and football.”

“Damn right, and that’s what I give them.” Emmett turned to face her and leaned down so she heard every word he said. “They want a place to relax and unwind. They want to watch sports and listen to music. You might think that I started bringing those bands in just to keep you up at night, but you’re giving yourself a little too much real estate in my brain, Fancy. It doesn’t have anything to do with you. You’re just an unwelcome distraction.”

Maddie looked up at him, her full bottom lip trembling slightly as he railed at her. “Earlier you said I was beautiful—a sadist—but beautiful. Am I distracting because I drive you crazy or because I’m beautiful?” she asked in a breathy voice that made his chest and his pants tighten at the same time.

Those pouty lips made him want to run the pad of his thumb across them and kiss away her frown. It was a ridiculously unhelpful thought, but like he’d said, she was a distraction in a variety of ways. He wished she wasn’t so attractive because that just crossed the wires in his brain. He’d much prefer her outsides matched her annoying insides, then it would be easy to ignore her.

She had the shiniest hair he’d ever seen. It was always up in a ponytail or a bun, which was a shame because it was like shimmering chestnut silk. He wanted to know what it would look like if it fell free around her shoulders. He wondered how it’d feel to run his fingers through it. Her skin was like porcelain and her eyes like the shells of a robin’s egg. Maddie’s every feature was delicate and feminine, rousing a protective nature in him he wasn’t used to.

And then she opened her mouth and ruined everything.

“Both,” he said

About the Author

Andrea Laurence has been a lover of reading and writing stories since she learned to read at a young age. She always dreamed of seeing her work in print and is thrilled to finally be able to share her special blend of sensuality and dry, sarcastic humor with the world. A dedicated West Coast girl transplanted into the Deep South, she's working on her own "happily ever after" with her boyfriend and their collection of animals including a Siberian Husky that sheds like nobody's business.





Message from the Author
Hey everyone. I’m excited to be here today to tell you about my latest sassy, sexy Rosewood romance – Stirring Up Trouble. This is the third book in the series, featuring the great characters you’ve grown to love and a few you’ve grown to hate. This book features Chamberlain sister and prissy princess, Maddie. She’s purchased an old Victorian home across the street from the town bar, owned by laid back bartender, Emmett Sawyer. These two couldn’t be more different, from the hours they keep, to their ideas of a good time, but sometimes opposites attract and for these two, it’s explosive. But first, they’ve got to stop trying to make each other miserable and that’s going to require the help of the town judge, some sweet treats and the infamous town vandal, the Penis Picasso. Here with me today are Maddie and Emmett. We’ve asked them what sweet treat or frosty drink reminds them of one another, so I’m going to turn it over to them!

Maddie: It just so happens that it’s also Emmett’s favorite treat, but I’d say he’s one of my homemade MoonPies. Now, for those of you who’ve had a MoonPie, they don’t look like much of a gourmet treat on the outside and frankly the ones you get at the gas station really aren’t. They’ve got a reputation as being a little country - but like Emmett - looks can be deceiving and the MoonPies I make in the shop have so many layers of surprising, refined flavors. They’re made with homemade marshmallow cream, sandwiched between freshly baked gingersnap cookies. Then I dip them in a dark chocolate ganache and sprinkle the edges with some crushed, candied pecans. They’re a little spicy and very sweet, just like Emmett. I just can’t get enough of him.

Emmett: Hey, folks. So, if I had to sum up Fancy in a drink... she would be imported French Champagne. The good stuff, not some knockoff sparkling wine. She would be a little sweet, a little dry. If you’re not used to her, she can give you a headache. Some people thinks she’s too fancy for everyday consumption, but once you’ve tasted her, nothing else quite measures up. That’s my Maddie in a glass.

Connect with Andrea
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter  |  Goodreads

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Wednesday, 14 October 2015

Whatcha Reading Wednesday: Night Sky - Suzanne Brockmann and Melanie Brockmann

Wednesday 14th October


This week's currently reading post features Night Sky by Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann. A, so far, non-stop action packed read that is the first book in the Night Sky Series. I gotta be honest I went into this book without knowing a lot about it and it has completely taken me by surprise. 



As it is the first book in the series, I am still getting to grips with the backstory and the characters. Not to mention, no matter how fast paced the story is, it is taking me some time to get thoroughly stuck into it. 

Having said this, I cannot deny the premise of the story and the way in which they are setting the action is completely gripping and I am really interested in finding out what will actually happen to these characters. Meaning that even though I have not read much of the book, the bits where I have got up to are intensely engrossing.

Yet for the mean time, I am just waiting for the push I need to get in gear and jump into unravelling this so far brilliant story.
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Thursday, 8 October 2015

Spotlight Feature: Wild Sky - Suzanne and Melanie Brockmann Feature & Giveaway



It's that time again...time for a Spotlight Feature!

On the 6th October, Wild Sky will be hitting the shelves so what better way to celebrate than to have a little Spotlight Feature, with a big message from the authors following a cheeky excerpt and brilliant giveaway!



Wild Sky
Series: Night Sky #2
Authors: Suzanne Brockmann, Melanie Brockmann
Publishers: Sourcebooks Fire
Release date: 6th October 2015
Genre: Young Adult Paranormal
Destiny has chosen Skylar.

Now it might destroy her.
Skylar is a girl with extraordinary power. A girl with a mission to use her Greater-Than gifts to stop the makers of Destiny from getting people hooked on their deadly drug. But Sky is still mastering her new abilities, and her first mission to destroy a Destiny lab leaves her best friend addicted to the drug. For a few days Cal will be able to walk again – until it kills him. Time is running out for Sky to save the world without sacrificing her friends, to become truly Greater-Than...


Buy the Book

Excerpt

I wish I could say I’d never witnessed a windshield shatter before, but I’d been in a terrible car accident a few years back, soI knew exactly what it looked and sounded like.

There’s a weird silence that happens immediately after something like that, in which everything seemed to occur in slo-mo. I forced my mouth to move.

“Gunshot!” I shouted, because I could see both Cal and Garrett looking wildly around, trying to process exactly what that noise was and what had just happened. “Bullet to car window! Over to the right.”

The broken windshield belonged to a beat-up sedan parked two slots down from us in the Sav’A’Buck lot. Someone had fired agun, just once, probably from somewhere near the grocery store’s front doors, judging from that broken front window. Shards of glass made tinkling sounds as they careened off the front of the car and onto the pavement.

“Gunman at the store door, get down get down get down!” Calvin shouted, and I stupidly turned to look instead of diving onto the floor of his car, and he grabbed me by the shirt and yanked me down just as the shooter must’ve flipped the switch from one shot to massacre, and the gun began going off, popping bullets through the air.


BOOM BOOM BOOM POP BOOM!


I braced for them to hit Cal’s car, covering my head as I prepared for a rain of glass, but the man with the giant gun must’ve been pointing it in a different direction, because I heard the ping of punctured metal and breaking glass, but it wasn’t from our car.

I could hear someone screaming—high-pitched and frantic—even as Garrett yelled, “Calvin, drive!”

“Don’t,” I told Cal as I closed my eyes and focused on that glimpse I’d seen before he’d pulled me to relative safety.

Single gunman. Carrying…

A big gun. And something else…?

I focused on calling up the image, and yes, he was carrying some- thing under his left arm, some kind of brightly colored sack, with his assault rifle tucked into his right elbow—this tall, broad man, maybe twenty years old, buzz cut, scar above his eyebrow.

That screaming—it had been a child’s voice. She was silent now, but I realized with a flash that I hadn’t seen a colorful bag but instead the cheerfully patterned clothing of a little girl. That man with the gun was abducting a little girl. And I bet I knew why.

“Gimme!” I said and reached back to grab one of the water guns from beside Garrett.

“Sky!” Cal exclaimed. “Don’t—”

I didn’t wait to hear what he thought I shouldn’t do. I’d yanked my hood up over my head, hiding my red hair and as much of my face as I could, and I was already out of the car and on the asphalt, heading toward the man who was still firing that gun. He was using it not to kill, thank goodness, but to keep the little girl’s family from following him. I could see with just one glance that she was unconscious, as he tossed her none too carefully into the passenger seat of his shiny black Bimmer. He had a nice car. And I was pretty sure I knew how he’d paid for it—by kidnapping little girls like this one, like Sasha, too, and selling them to the Destiny makers.

Mother. Effer.

Hey! ” I belted out. But my voice was buried beneath the cacophony of his weapon. I had to move fast, or he was going toget into his snazzy car and that little girl would be gone.

I took a deep breath and concentrated. Water versus bullets? Not normally much of a contest there.

But I could do this. Couldn’t I?

Suddenly, I heard Dana’s voice in my head, shouting Fail! Fail! What are you doing, Bubble Gum? You have no backup, you have no plan!

What was I doing? This was insane.


Still thoughts. I closed my eyes and pictured Milo. I breathed him, I felt him, I heard him. Still thoughts, Sky. Just let it go…


And in that moment in which I was specifically not thinking about what I was about to do or what the consequences would be if I failed, I felt and then saw my enormous pile of plastic water pistols—there were sixteen of them total—shoot out from the backseat of Calvin’s car and through the passenger side window that I’d left open. They streamed toward me like metal particles toward a magnet.

Then, just as quickly, all but one—a little green one—swooped in front of me before lining up and hovering in midair.

The little green plastic water gun zoomed over to the man with the real gun and smacked him in the face.

“What the hell…?” He fumbled his weapon as he turned to see me standing there—me and that collection of water guns—and his eyes widened.

“Holy shit, Sky!” With the noise from the assault weapon silenced, I could hear Garrett shouting, and I winced inwardly because he’d used my name.

But whatever he said next was muffled, and Cal’s voice rang out instead. “Hoshitski, look out!”

It was an intentional misdirect, and I tried to stand like a Hoshitski might, no doubt surly from years of being teased. I pitched my voice lower and ordered, “Drop it! Now!”

The gunman’s wide eyes narrowed, and we both knew he wasn’t going to drop his weapon, so before he could turn and kill me, I let loose my TK and blasted him. All of those plastic guns shot water from their barrels with the intensity of sixteen narrow but powerful fire hoses, and it sent the man down onto the ground so hard that I heard his head as it smacked against the pavement.

The gun he’d been holding clattered to the ground.

All of my weapons ceased water-fire and dropped onto the pavement in front of the unconscious shooter.

The silence that followed was eerie. I felt a little dazed, standing there with a single, silly-looking pink water gun still in my hand, staring at the downed man and his big real gun, and then over at the bullet-riddled store front of the Sav’A’Buck.
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