Friday 31 May 2013

Review: Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith

Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith
Publisher: Katherine Tegen Books
Publication date: May 28th 2013
My rating: 3 stars

Wild Awake was a strange read. I remember when I first read the blurb last year I was so excited to get my hands on a copy, it had the signs of a mystery and a romance all rolled into one. And when I started my copy it was great; Kiri receives a call out of the blue saying that she has to collect her sister’s stuff. Kiri’s freaked, her sister died in a car accident five house years ago, what stuff could she have left?

I was all aboard on discovering the mystery behind Kiri’s sister Sukey’s death. Before this call out of the blue, Kiri’s life was all planned out, whilst her parents were away she would practice piano for her big and upcoming showcase and in the rest of the time, she would practice for the battle of the bands with her friend Lucas.

But then she had to deal with getting to the bottom of the truth, what had really happened to Sukey? Kiri had always looked up to Sukey, no matter that her family had abandoned her, the time she spent with her meant so much. Kiri had a lonely road ahead of her, it was a murky and dangerous path, and so I felt for her that she had no one to help her through it.

I really wanted to enjoy Wild Awake more, but the connection I had with Kiri’s character at the beginning sort of whittled out after her character took a nose dive into an abyss. She started behaving erratically, making impulsive decisions that her brother stayed home longer to keep an eye out on her, it was a depressing time for Kiri, and I totally understand why she went down that route with all the pressure and lies she had been told. But the Kiri which evolved was just too wild for me.
I don’t have a list of flaws for Wild Awake that could explain why it didn’t work for me. I think one of the reasons could be that I had this idea that Wild Awake would be a fun mystery read, but it ended up being a much darker read. It did deal with some realistic issues really well. But I think I just read this book at the wrong time and thus wasn’t able to connect with it as much as I’d hoped. 

Wednesday 29 May 2013

Review: Angelfall by Susan Ee

Angelfall by Susan Ee
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: May 23rd 2013
My rating: 5 stars

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back. Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Wow just Wow. I can’t believe I waited this long to read Angelfall. I remember two years ago when there was so much hype surrounding this little book, and I just brushed it away (I blame my wariness surrounding paranormal genes at the time). But Angelfall goes to show just how angel themed books should be written. I only have a few angel book favourites that I could probably name all on one hand, that’s how much it takes to hold a book like this in high regard. And Angelfall couldn’t have come at a much better time. I was going through a reading phase where I was just reading for the sake of reading. So in typical fashion I decided to start a few chapters of Angelfall on my day off and before you know it I’m almost near the end and I’ve found myself enamoured by every single page.

Angelfall is set in the world where angels call the shots. San Francisco is in utter chaos, with riots and robberies occurring, no one is able to control the humans and then you have angels loping about picking at their prey as they want. Penryn finds herself in a tough situation, her sister Paige and her mum have just left their safety of their house, when they find an angel being attacked by a mob of angels. Penryn and her family hide, but are quickly spotted and before she can even think what’s going on, Penryn finds herself helping the injured angel. But there ends up being a cost, as soon as the mob decides to back track, one of them grabs Paige and flies off with her. Penryn is distraught, her mother has run off and the only option left is to continue to help the injured angel, he will be the only one that will know how to get Paige back, even though he’s not in the best of shape as he’s just lost his wings.

With this injured angel I didn’t know what to think, could Penryn even trust him? He must have not been your typical angel if he was being set upon by another group of angels. But my earlier fear was easily pacified as the better I got to know our injured angel Raffe. He was surly, moody, and had a fantastic sense of humour (just how I like them). It often takes a lot for a character to win me over, but I think with Raffe’s first few lines I was quickly part of the Raffe adoration club. He was quick to bring a smile to my face with his no nonsense humour. Raffe and Penryn made a fine pair; they couldn’t be more different (a human and angel getting along who would have thought it?). But I could feel the connection between them. Before there was mistrust between them, but as they progressed with their journey to achieve their own means they became a solid team.

I adored Penryn’s character. She perfectly depicted my ideal MC; she was sassy, intelligent, and super tough. She had her fair share of hurdles to deal with, but even with Raffe by her side was able to deal with a lot of them on her own. I adored her will and determination and also how she always didn’t listen to Raffe when he thought he knew best.

Angelfall was set in a brutal world, with people doing anything as a means to survive. But the journey that we go through with Penryn and Raffe through the atrocities is a beautiful one. I was actually stamping my feet at times as Raffe could be so closed off, the small emotional glimpses that we got of his character I absolutely adored, I just wished there were enough pages in this book to get some more. And don’t get me started on the ending, it certainly wasn’t how I was expecting thing to end, but I did admit it did leave me feeling a little bereft and teary.

Angelfall is a truly brilliant first book in what I believe will be a mind blowing series. October seriously cannot come soon enough. Also next time if any of you recommend a book to me please make sure I start it straight away and not two years later. Shake me if necessary!

Tuesday 28 May 2013

Review: He's Gone by Deb Caletti

He's Gone by Deb Caletti
Publisher: Bantam
Publication date: 14th May 2013
My rating: 3.5 stars

“What do you think happened to your husband, Mrs. Keller?” The Sunday morning starts like any other, aside from the slight hangover. Dani Keller wakes up on her Seattle houseboat, a headache building behind her eyes from the wine she drank at a party the night before. But on this particular Sunday morning, she’s surprised to see that her husband, Ian, is not home. As the hours pass, Dani fills her day with small things. But still, Ian does not return. Irritation shifts to worry, worry slides almost imperceptibly into panic. And then, like a relentless blackness, the terrible realization hits Dani: He’s gone. As the police work methodically through all the logical explanations—he’s hurt, he’s run off, he’s been killed—Dani searches frantically for a clue as to whether Ian is in fact dead or alive. And, slowly, she unpacks their relationship, holding each moment up to the light: from its intense, adulterous beginning, to the grandeur of their new love, to the difficulties of forever. She examines all the sins she can—and cannot—remember. As the days pass, Dani will plumb the depths of her conscience, turning over and revealing the darkest of her secrets in order to discover the hard truth—about herself, her husband, and their lives together.

He’s Gone is the hauntingly beautiful tale of a wife at loss after her husband goes missing. Dani and her husband Ian came back from a party one night and then her husband isn’t seen again. The worst part is that Dani can’t even remember when she saw him last. She was sure he came into the house with her, but she had taken some Vicodin pills with a couple of wine glasses, so her memory is a little bit blurry. Then when days stretch into a week, with no clues fingers start pointing towards Dani, she has no evidence to back her up and the way she’s erratically behaving, it seems as though she’s more involved than she’s letting on.

With He’s Gone I was hooked into finding out the mystery behind Ian’s disappearance, the little clues that we got, several people could have potentially been involved; Ian’s ex wife Mary, Ian’s kids, Ian’s maybe mistress on the side or even Dani’s ex husband Mark. Dani and Ian didn’t get together in the best way, they were both married at the time and had a brief affair, and once Dani had left Mark, Ian was still indecisive about what he wanted, constantly flickering back and forth between Mary and Dani. And with kids involved on both sides, it made Dani’s and Ian’s relationship, even more strenuous. So the mystery surrounding Ian’s disappearance was one heck of a complicated one. 

The difficult thing for me with He’s Gone was that that there was an incredible amount of detail to Dani and Ian’s back story. I enjoyed learning about how Ian and Dani first got together and I know the back story was crucial to the case and what sort of people Dani and Ian had become today, but sometimes the richness of detail could be a little overwhelming. I’m not sure if this is Caletti’s style of writing, as this is the first book I have picked up by her, but some of the detail I could have done without. This is my only criticism for He’s Gone, because otherwise He’s Gone was a pretty decent read. Caletti does an amazing job of getting you right into Dani’s mind; it’s not the best place to be in at times; she’s full of self doubt and guilt. But being able to get into the murky depths of her memories was at the same time a scary yet fascinating feeling. Dani had been through so much, and at the beginning I was totally on her side, but then Caletti starts giving you niggling feelings, Dani’s self doubt over Ian’s disappearance tends to grow increasingly, that at parts I suspected that she had lost it and killed Ian. I liked how Caletti thoroughly messed with my head.

He’s Gone at times was a heavy read, it dealt with issues of abuse, loss and complicated relationships. But it was also a story which looked in detail at the clues and assumptions we pick up and make of people along the way. It’s a story which puts a lot of things into perspective and makes you want to stop and think a lot of things through.

Monday 27 May 2013

Review & Giveaway: The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan

The Beautiful and the Cursed
The Beautiful and the Cursed by Page Morgan
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Publication date: May 14th 2013
My rating:  4 stars

After a bizarre accident, Ingrid Waverly is forced to leave London with her mother and younger sister, Gabby, trading a world full of fancy dresses and society events for the unfamiliar city of Paris.

In Paris there are no grand balls or glittering parties, and, disturbingly, the house Ingrid’s twin brother, Grayson, found for them isn’t a house at all. It’s an abandoned abbey, its roof lined with stone gargoyles that could almost be mistaken for living, breathing creatures.

And Grayson has gone missing.

No one seems to know of his whereabouts but Luc, a devastatingly handsome servant at their new home.

Ingrid is sure her twin isn’t dead—she can feel it deep in her soul—but she knows he’s in grave danger. It will be up to her and Gabby to navigate the twisted path to Grayson, a path that will lead Ingrid on a discovery of dark secrets and otherworldly truths. And she’ll learn that once they are uncovered, they can never again be buried.

I’m not one who usually reads historical fiction, but this one appealed to me. Mystery, horror, with a gothic feel, set in Paris!  I couldn’t resist and I’m glad I gave this story a chance!

Seventeen year old Ingrid is flung into a world where mythical creatures are anything but myth, when her mother, sister and she move to Paris from London.  Her mother plans on renovating an old abbey into a gallery to exhibit her art, and during the renovations Ingrid, her sister Gabriella and Grayson are to stay in the abbey’s old rectory, only Grayson is missing when they arrive.  He was sent ahead to locate and purchase a property suitable for his mother’s endeavor and he chooses the old abbey.  Ingrid and Gabby are horrified to find the rectory and abbey old, musty, creepy and haunting.  Surrounded by gargoyles sitting as grotesque sentries at the top of the building the place gives Ingrid shivers.  Turns out there’s a reason for that.

When they arrive and find Grayson missing with reports of local girls disappearing as well, Ingrid and Gabby are more than alarmed and they make plans to find him. Reluctantly involved in the quest is Luc one of the abbey’s servants.  He’s young and beautiful and Ingrid finds out there’s more than meets the eye when it comes to Luc.  Not just Luc, there’s a whole other world in Paris that Ingrid and Gabby discover just under their noses, and unfortunately their brother Grayson found himself smack in the middle of it. 

This story was an intriguing mix of fantasy, mystery, and horror and interspersed with romantic tension.  The story is told in the third person and switches from the perspective of Ingrid, Gabby, Luc and Grayson so that we get to know each character a little more intimately. 

Seventeen year old Ingrid is still reeling from humiliation over an incident in London, so moving to Paris is a welcome change but finding her twin Grayson is missing is like a stab to the heart.  She is very close to her brother, almost like an invisible cord connects them, so she knows he’s in danger but still alive.  Fifteen year old Gabby is impetuous and outgoing, so she doesn’t think twice about consequences when she bands together with her sister Ingrid to find Grayson. 

Grayson’s disappearance is wrapped up in Luc’s secret world, so he’s not going to let Ingrid and Gabby search for Grayson by themselves.  He’s connected and bound to all residents of the abbey, but finds himself even more so to Ingrid.  She’s also affected by Luc, with his striking good looks and infuriatingly hostile attitude.  As much as Ingrid would like to ignore Luc, she finds out he is one of the keys to finding her brother.

I really liked the original idea of this world and its creatures, and the setting of Paris back in the 1800’s was mysterious and intriguing.  But there’s a lot going on with this being the first book in a series, setting up and explaining the world, and creatures.  There are several POVs and a descriptive style of prose, and all this combined made it a little difficult to get into the story at first.  Once I settled in, though, the story got a whole lot more interesting, even if the pacing was a little slow. 

There are a few attractions and romances a-brewing with Ingrid and Gabby. Shades of a love triangle with Ingrid, Luc and another character, Vander, who is also part of this mystical world, made me a little nervous.  I can’t stand love triangles, but so far the situation is bearable, because Luc seems to be the clear winner, even though their romance is in the forbidden category.  He’s definitely my pick.  Gabby’s romance was of the antagonistic variety, which made it a little more fun and lighthearted. 

All in all, this is a promising start in a series with an original concept, and while it didn’t leave on a cliffhanger, it left you wanting more.  I will be picking up the sequel to see what happens next. 

I'm giving away my copy of The Beautiful and the Cursed to one lucky reader.  This is for an Advanced Readers Copy and the giveaway is INTERNATIONAL.  Just fill in the rafflecopter below for a chance to win.  Good luck and thanks for stopping by! 

Sunday 26 May 2013

Showcase Sunday #27

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

Hi everyone, I hope you've all had a fabulous couple of reading weeks, it's been a while since we last posted our Showcase Sunday post, but I've still be doing great in terms of holding back on requesting review books. Out of my haul only two were actual review copies! This is what I received.

Thank you to Macmillan Children's and Disney Book group.

Tumble & Fall by Alexandra Coutts | Rose Under Fire by Elizabeth Wein | Parallel by Lauren Miller | In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters | Over You by Emma Mclaughlin & Nicola Kraus | Underworld by Meg Cabot

Tumble & Fall I had been immensely excited about, it looks and sounds absolutely amazing. And after devouring Code Name Verity last year, I had to see what Wein had in store for us next. Parallel and In the Shadow of Blackbirds had been receiving some amazing reviews in the last few weeks, that I finally caved and decided I needed to know what the hype was about. Over You is a book that I've had my eye on for sometime and when I saw it up for a really good deal I was quick to snatch a copy and finally Meg Cabot's Abandon series, it feels like ages ago that I picked up the first book, so I'm excited to dive back in.

Lets see what Rachel received over the last few weeks.

Thank you to Grand Central Publishing, HarperCollins, HarperTeen, Atria Books, William Morrow, Entangled Teen, Hatchette Book Group, Netgalley, and Edelweiss. 

There are so many greats here, I need to pinch myself! I’m giddy over This Girl by Colleen Hoover, Full of Grace by Misty Provencher, and Darkouse by Karina Halle. She wrote Sin’s & Needles which was instantly a favorite for me! 

We would love to see what books made it to your haul this week, leave us a link in the comments below and we will be over soon to check it out!

Friday 24 May 2013

Review: Quicksilver by R.J Anderson

Quicksilver (Ultraviolet #2) by R.J Anderson
Publisher: Orchard Books
Publication date: May 2nd 2013
My rating: 4 stars

Back in her hometown, Tori Beaugrand had everything a teenaged girl could want—popularity, money, beauty. But she also had a secret. A secret that could change her life in an instant, or destroy it. Now she’s left everything from her old life behind, including her real name and Alison, the one friend who truly understood her. She can’t escape who and what she is. But if she wants to have anything like a normal life, she has to blend in and hide her unusual... talents. Plans change when the enigmatic Sebastian Faraday reappears and gives Tori some bad news: she hasn’t escaped her past. In fact, she’s attracted new interest in the form of an obsessed ex-cop turned investigator for a genetics lab. She has one last shot at getting her enemies off her trail and winning the security and independence she’s always longed for. But saving herself will take every ounce of Tori’s incredible electronics and engineering skills—and even then, she may need to sacrifice more than she could possibly imagine if she wants to be free.

With quite a few sequels set for release this year, Quicksilver was definitely one of my highly anticipated releases. I absolutely adored Ultraviolet with its twists and turns, so couldn’t wait to get back to a fantastic set of characters. 

I loved getting the story from Alison in Ultraviolet, so was surprised to learn that we would be getting Tori’s pov instead in Quicksilver. Alison was a sure favourite, so I wasn’t sure how I’d feel being inside Tori’s head, especially the way things had ended. But Tori’s character did surprise me with her honesty, depth and rawness. I thought Alison had it all to deal with, but Tori’s family also had to make a lot of sacrifices along the way. With the scientists at GeneSystem after Tori and Constable Deckard also joining the pursuit. Tori and her family had no other option but to leave everything behind and make a new life for themselves in Canada. Tori also has the relay, so she didn’t know when Mathis could beam her back. Her life was even more on the edge now with everything being able to be taken away in the blink of an eye.

Whereas before I didn’t want to read this story from Tori, as the story progressed I really began to appreciate her character. She was resilient, even though everything was against her and she was the only one who could make Faraday stop to think things through. I always had secret hopes that two of my favourite characters from Ultraviolet would make an appearance, so I was ecstatic of Faraday’s appearance so early on. He was so haggard, run down and of course being elusive as ever about what went down with Mathis. Then when I was finally getting warmed up to his character he would disappear. Faraday the poor guy was so full of self doubt and guilt, that I wanted to shake him at times. But once again his incredible talent and skills won me over in the end. I would love to have a friend as Faraday who could hack e-mails and cause diversions whenever necessary.

Quicksilver in my eyes is a solid follow up to Ultraviolet. There is a lot to get your head around with building of transmitters and talk of shutting down wormholes. But when you’re invested into the story and characters as much as I was you can get through this technical jargon quite easily. I hope that one day Anderson decides to revisit these wonderful characters, as Anderson has created such a magical world that I know I will have a hard time leaving. (I can already see several re-reads of this fabulous series in the near future).  

Thursday 23 May 2013

Review: Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick

Gorgeous by Paul Rudnick
Publisher: Scholastic
Publication date: 30th April 2013
My rating: 3 stars

Inner beauty wants out. When eighteen-year-old Becky Randle’s mother dies, she’s summoned from her Missouri trailer park to meet Tom Kelly, the world’s top designer. He makes her an impossible offer: He’ll create three dresses to transform Becky from a nothing special girl into the most beautiful woman who ever lived. Becky thinks Tom is a lunatic, or that he’s producing a hidden camera show called World’s Most Gullible Poor People. But she accepts, and she’s remade as Rebecca. When Becky looks in the mirror, she sees herself – an awkward mess of split ends and cankles. But when anyone else looks at Becky, they see pure five-alarm hotness. Soon Rebecca is on the cover of Vogue, the new Hollywood darling, and dating celebrities. Then Becky meets Prince Gregory, heir to the British throne, and everything starts to crumble. Because Rebecca aside, Becky loves him. But to love her back, Gregory would have to look past the blinding Rebecca to see the real girl inside. And Becky knows there’s not enough magic in the world. A screamingly defiant, hugely naughty, and impossibly fun free fall past the cat walks, the red carpets, and even the halls of Buckingham Palace, Gorgeous does the impossible: It makes you see yourself clearly for the first time.

But instead I'm the most useless sort of Prince; I'm a idiot with a closetful of extremely uncomfortable formal clothing and a trunkful of extremely impressive engraved stationery for writing notes of abject apology to everyone. And I have no idea what to do, because after everything you've told me and after the fact that I've chosen to believe it, I'm still left with only one very real question."
"Which question?"
"Who are you?"
Gorgeous was a strange book, overall I did enjoy it, but I can’t exactly say that I loved it. There were parts that I adored and parts which had me utterly baffled, hopefully I can put my finger on what I mean in my review because I feel as if I’m on a bit of a see-saw.

When Becky’s mum dies, she makes her promise that she will say yes. Becky is heartbroken over the loss of her mum but also baffled by what her promise means, until eventually she finds out.  She’s left a number by her mum and immediately she’d plucked from normal Becky Randle from East Trawley to top super model for Tom Kelly Rebecca Randle. Within the first few weeks she’s making movies with heart throb Jate Mallow and covering Vogue magazine. But she doesn’t get how Tom did it, he designed her one beautiful red dress and it changed her dramatically, Becky’s more confident than she’s ever been, but her features have also changed within an instance, she’s hardly recognisable as Becky Randle, but super imposes as a glamorous model. What exactly has Tom Kelly done? And what are the repercussions? Becky can’t just expect this all for free can she?

Everything happened so suddenly for Becky that I did not understand anything either. Becky did deserve her time in the limelight she’d been living 17 years in a trailer with her mother who was eating herself away. But what I wanted to know was why Tom Kelly picked Becky amongst millions and how did he work his magic? Some of the explanations behind Becky’s big change I wasn’t expecting, but one of the big surprises I didn’t really get the purpose of, even when I think about it weeks after finishing Gorgeous I’m still confused about.

Despite my qualms about the mystery, there were some decent secondary characters which made this book for me; Rocher and Prince Gregory. What I liked about both of the characters was that they weren’t afraid to say what they thought. I definitely prefer characters that get to the point instead of faffing about. Also despite following a dark shady path, the story is laced with some nice humorous scenes along the way; one of my favourites was Rocher’s kerfuffle with Lady Jessalyn at Ascot.

At times I did feel like giving up on Gorgeous as there were passages which were so rambly, descriptions of people could go on for a bit, which at times I did find unnecessary. But I think the ending to Gorgeous did win me over. So if you’re looking for a different type of read with an unexpected twist, a story about growing up and finding your place in the world I would definitely recommend giving Gorgeous a try.

Wednesday 22 May 2013

Blog Tour, Interview & Giveaway: Spirit (Elemental #3) by Brigid Kemmerer

Hello readers! Today I'm excited to be part of the Blog Tour for Spirit by Brigid Kemmerer because both Jasprit and I are huge fans of this series!  With five SMOKING HOT boys, who can blame us?!! Spirit release May 28th, just a few short days away and we were lucky enough to have Brigid stop by and answer some of our most pressing questions! But that's not all, we have a giveaway, and some additional fun to kick off Spirit's release. All of this awesome was organized by the lovely Wendy at  The Midnight Garden. Thank you for allowing us to participate!

Rachel: Hi Brigid! I’m so excited to have you on the blog because I’m a huge fan of those HOT Merrick Boys The Elemental Series!!

I read that you came up with the idea of writing about four brothers while you were in high school.  Which of the Merrick boys or Hunter would you have been drawn to while there?  Someone like Nick: smart, responsible, good-guy or someone like Gabriel: cocky, hot tempered jock with a soft heart underneath, or someone like Hunter: tattooed, pierced, and intense? 

Brigid: Oh wow, this is a great question! When I was in high school, I probably would have been terrified by an intense guy like Hunter, especially with the tattoos and piercings. Then again, I probably would have been intrigued by him, too. I went to an all-girls Catholic high school, so I would have wanted to bring him home, just to see what my mother would say. I totally would have gone for a guy like Gabriel, just because I think he would have called me on my BS. I worked on a horse farm and I used to challenge guys to arm wrestling matches. I imagine a guy like Gabriel would have been like, “Bring it on.” And then he would have won. And that would have been HOT.

Rachel: Are any of the characters inspired by or based on real people?  If so, can you make some introductions? Lol! Just kidding.  Well, mostly….

Brigid: Haha, not the guys. They’re all straight out of my head. Becca’s mother was very loosely based on my mom, who is a night nurse.

Rachel: Spirit, in my opinion, was a lot darker, emotional, and intense than the other books in the series.  Was it hard on you to write in that mind set? 

Brigid: Hunter’s book was so hard for me to write. Both Hunter and Kate are struggling with who they are and who they want to be. There’s a lot of indecision and fear on both sides of the table. I was so emotionally wrung out by the end of Hunter’s book that I wasn’t sure I even wanted to continue the series. Then I wrote Nick’s novella and I realized that I wasn’t tired of the series, I was just exhausted from Hunter’s and Kate’s inner struggles – not to mention what happened to them in the end.

Rachel: Gabriel and Layne are my favorite couple in the series.  I just love that Gabriel’s reaction and feelings for Layne exposes his big heart, as does his relationship with her younger brother, Simon.  Do you have a favorite couple?  Or maybe a couple that’s easiest to write?

Brigid: Well, until I wrote Nick’s book, I would have agreed with you. I loved writing Gabriel and Layne’s relationship. But then I wrote Nick’s book, which actually features two couples: Nick and Adam, and Quinn and Tyler. I loved both their developing relationships so much that I’m actually mourning the story. I might need to write a few extra chapters just to fully get them out of my system.

Rachel: I have to say I was surprised by Nick’s story in Breathless.  I did NOT see that coming, but maybe I’ve been a little dense, lol!  Did you know from the start about Nick or is it something that came to the surface as his character developed?

Brigid: When I first wrote Storm, I had an inkling about it. It was definitely in the back of my head, and it was always Nick. I wasn’t thinking, “I should make one of these guys gay.” It was always him. I just didn’t know if I could pull it off. But then a friend (who is gay) asked me if I’d consider making Nick a gay character. Even though it was in the back of my head, I was initially resistant to the idea. I was scared, honestly. I wasn’t worried about backlash or anything like that. I didn’t want to do it wrong, you know what I mean? But I had a third novella under contract, and I knew I wanted to write it from Nick’s point of view. I sat down to write, and I put a guy in front of him, wanting to see what would happen. Well, Adam happened, and he’s one of my favorite characters to introduce to the series.

Rachel: I’ve noticed you’re very accessible to your readers, and I appreciate that you answer so many questions about the series on your website.  What would be the one of the more interesting question/comment you’ve received?  Have they ever given you ideas for your stories?

Brigid: I love talking to readers! I always feel badly when people start off an email or a tweet with, “I’m sorry to bother you…” It’s never a bother! Seriously, I’ve met so many awesome people since beginning this writing journey. I can’t imagine turning off the social media. It’s so much fun.

I get a lot of interesting emails. Sometimes people send me fanfiction, which is incredibly flattering, but it’s really, really difficult for me to read. It’s like hearing someone else animate my children. It’s just … jarring, you know? I’ve also had people ask very detailed questions as if the characters were real people. Like … “If Gabriel and Layne ended up getting married and having a child, would the baby be a Fire elemental? Or …” I love questions like those because even though they’re sometimes tough to answer, I know it means someone has grown close enough to the Merrick boys to feel like they’re a part of their lives.

Rachel: Are you currently working on Nick’s book?

Brigid: Just finished! It’s off to my editor! Cross your fingers for me, ‘kay?

Rachel: Can you give us any teasers for the upcoming books? 

Brigid: Of course! How’s this: someone we thought was dead will make a reappearance at the end of Nick’s book. 

Rachel: Oh my goodness, Brigid!! What a teaser!!  Now I have all sorts of speculations (and hope) running through my brain!

Thank you so much, Brigid for stopping by.  I can't believe Spirit will just be releasing because I'm already primed and excited for the next story!  


Publication Date: May 28th 2013
Publisher: Kensington Publishing 
Purchase Links: Amazon | Barnes & Noble
With power comes enemies. Lots of them.

Hunter Garrity just wants to be left alone. He’s learned the hard way that his unusual abilities come at a price. And he can’t seem to afford any allies.

He’s up to his neck in hostiles. His grandfather, spoiling for a fight. The Merrick brothers, who think he ratted them out. Calla, the scheming psycho who wants to use him as bait.

Then there’s Kate Sullivan, the new girl at school. She’s not hostile. She’s bold. Funny. Hot. But she’s got an agenda, too.

With supposedly secret powers rippling to the surface everywhere around him, Hunter knows something ugly is about to go down. But finding out what means he’ll have to find someone he can trust…

Brigid Kemmerer started writing in high school, and her first real “novel” was about four vampire brothers causing a ruckus in the suburbs. Those four brothers are the same boys living in the pages of The Elemental Series, so Brigid likes to say she’s had four teenage boys taking up space in her head for the last seventeen years!

Connect with Brigid on her:

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Check out the other tour stops for more features and goodies: 

Tour Stops: 
5/20  The Midnight Garden  
5/23  Hobbitsies 
5/27  Saz101
5/28  Realm of Fiction 
5/29  Stuck in Books 
5/31  Cuddlebuggery

Kensington Publishing has generously provided a free download for Elemental (Elementals #0.5) where we first meet the Merrick brothers!  Click HERE and enter promo code: VCARD

Make sure you cast your vote below for favorite Elemental boy before entering the rafflecopter below for a chance to win a copy of Spirit generously provided by Kensington Publishing! Thank you for stopping by and good luck!

Tuesday 21 May 2013

Review: Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland

Nantucket Blue
Nantucket Blue by Leila Howland
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Publication date: May 7th 2013
My rating:  4 stars

For Cricket Thompson, a summer like this one will change everything. A summer spent on Nantucket with her best friend, Jules Clayton, and the indomitable Clayton family. A summer when she’ll make the almost unattainable Jay Logan hers. A summer to surpass all dreams.

Some of this turns out to be true. Some of it doesn’t.

When Jules and her family suffer a devastating tragedy that forces the girls apart, Jules becomes a stranger whom Cricket wonders whether she ever really knew. And instead of lying on the beach working on her caramel-colored tan, Cricket is making beds and cleaning bathrooms to support herself in paradise for the summer.

But it’s the things Cricket hadn’t counted on--most of all, falling hard for someone who should be completely off-limits--that turn her dreams into an exhilarating, bittersweet reality.

A beautiful future is within her grasp, and Cricket must find the grace to embrace it. If she does, her life could be the perfect shade of Nantucket blue.

Nantucket Blue was more than I was expecting.  I looked at that amazing cover and thought: light summer read, fun and flirty romance, lazy days at the beach.  Sign me up! This was more.  It was a story about defining your identity, best friends, family, loss, and first loves.

Cricket Thompson has been best friends with Jules since eighth grade. Cricket loves Jules and her family almost in a hero worship sort of way.  So when tragedy strikes Jules’ family, Cricket wants to be there with her, comforting and consoling her.  Cricket’s plan of spending the summer with Jules in their vacation home in Nantucket is upset by this tragedy, but Cricket doesn’t give up.  The thought of spending the summer home alone with her mother, and away from Jules is more than she can take, so she makes her own way out there, taking a job as a chamber maid to do so. 

This summer is shaping up to be completely different from what Cricket expected, because Jules is less than thrilled with Cricket’s appearance.  Lonely from Jules’ rejection, Cricket finds solace in Jules’ younger brother, Zack, spending more and more time with him.  Their mutual attraction leaves Cricket breathless and excited unlike any other boy before, but it also stirs up feelings of guilt over what Jules would think.  Cricket is sure she would disapprove.  

I didn’t expect to love this story as much as I did.  I connected with Cricket right off the bat so her journey felt completely personal to me.  I was so ticked off with Jules’ treatment of Cricket, I COULDN’T STAND HER!!  I don’t care if she suffered loss, I don’t think that gave her license to be such a colossal witch!!  But at the same time I’m almost glad that Jules treated Cricket the way she did.  This forced her to wake up and realize she held value and merit all on her own, without Jules.  She made new friends, spent time alone with Zack, got insight on her mother, and landed an internship; all things that probably wouldn’t have happened had she stayed friends with Jules.  I do think Jules got off pretty lightly, but I don’t think things would’ve ever been the same between those two, even if Jules was more repentant.  Sometimes it’s better to cut your losses and move on. 

Now onto the romance!  Cricket crushes on one boy in the beginning, but things in life never go according to plan.  Zack is someone Cricket knows really well, but the attraction when it clicked took her by surprise.  It’s not something she would’ve chosen, because he’s younger than her, but this worked!!  I loved it when she’d realized that Zack was flirting with her or when he sent her heart racing just by looking at him!  The romance left me warm and zinging along.  Just lovely! *sigh*

The boat drifted and his hands did, too, back to my legs, up my arms and neck. We kissed. We drifted and kissed and drifted and kissed as the sky flashed and clapped and bloomed and broke.*

There was a little bit of an unfolding mystery with Cricket’s mother’s past.  Discovering that her mother was an actual teenager with desires and thoughts much like hers had Cricket cringing and yet captivated at the same time.  It had me cracking up! I have to give a “thumbs down” to Cricket’s father.  Some definite groveling is in order, and I certainly don’t think Cricket owes any apology to him!  

I’m impressed with Leila Howard’s debut novel!  Her prose was beautiful and touching without being overly flowery.  Her characters felt real and relatable, and I could almost taste the salt air of Nantucket, right along with Cricket, from her descriptions.  I’ll definitely be on the watch for her next novel!

*Quotes taken from an uncorrected proof and may change in the final copy. 

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