Thursday, 24 July 2014

{Blog Tour + Giveaway} How to Date Dead Guys by Ann M. Noser

22716886Posted by Melanie 
Release Date: July 15th, 2014
Finished Date: June 9th, 2014
Publishers: Curiosity Quills Press
Genre: YA Paranormal, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: eBook
Pages: 302
Buy: Amazon UK / Amazon US

College sophomore Emma Roberts remembers her mother’s sage advice: “don’t sleep around, don’t burp in public, and don’t tell anyone you see ghosts”. But when cute Mike Carlson drowns in the campus river under her watch, Emma’s sheltered life shatters.

Blamed for Mike’s death and haunted by nightmares, Emma turns to witchcraft and a mysterious Book of Shadows to bring him back. Under a Blood Moon, she lights candles, draws a pentacle on the campus bridge, and casts a spell. The invoked river rages up against her, but she escapes its fury. As she stumbles back to the dorm, a stranger drags himself from the water and follows her home. And he isn’t the only one…

Instead of raising Mike, Emma assists the others she stole back from the dead—a pre-med student who jumped off the bridge, a young man determined to solve his own murder, and a frat boy Emma can’t stand…at first. More comfortable with the dead than the living, Emma delves deeper into the seductive Book of Shadows. Her powers grow, but witchcraft may not be enough to protect her against the vengeful river and the killers that feed it their victims.

Inspired by the controversial Smiley Face Murders, HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS will appeal to the secret powers hidden deep within each of us.

The review: How to Date Dead Guys is a really good start to a new series featuring Emma Roberts and her Book of Shadows.
As the synopsis states; Quiet, bookish student – Emma Roberts – finally shows an interest in a boy – Mike Carlson – who just happens to be the brother of her roommates latest beau- Eric - who she watched Chrissy & her sister put a love spell on. She finally has the chance to get to know Mike better on his 21st birthday when he gets smashed and decides to go for a wander, Emma follows him on his adventure but it soon takes a turn for the worst when Mike, decides to go for a swim in the river. The river has taken a few lives over the past few months so Emma decides to join Mike in his night swim in an effort to make sure he gets out alive….. but he doesn’t, he dies and Emma is burdened with guilt. After a particularly nasty encounter with Mike’s mother & brother where they clearly blame Emma, she decides to be pro active and armed with Chrissy’s sisters ‘Book of Shadows’, Emma sets about raising Mike from the dead…… only it’s not Mike that returns…at first…. So it’s up to Emma to put things right and solve the mystery of the rivers victims….. unfortunately, there’s also a pesky cop on her case.
I enjoyed this book and thought the idea behind it was really good. Emma was likable character but a bit of a flake in the beginning, she’s had bad experiences with bullies and hasn’t many friends anyway but that gets even worse following Mikes death and she ends up a very pitiful figure. It was quite heartbreaking watching her bear the burden of a guilt that wasn’t hers and how it affected her, it was horrible when the confrontation with Mike’s loved ones makes her feel even worse and forces her to take desperate measures but this is a turning point for her and as she helps the victims, she becomes empowered in a way by each of them showing her something about herself and themselves, teaching her to live too and it’s then we see her blossom and start to become a more confident person & selfless too.
The storyline was really good and I like a good ghost story that involves people helping them gain some sort of resolution. I used to watch Medium a lot and this book is along those lines with Emma being the only person to see the ‘real’ person beneath the veneer and the only person to help them move on and just as I liked Medium, I like this too and it’s not often I read books like this but when I do, I always enjoy them. The main difference here is that Emma has actually resurrected the spirits into a physical form and I have to say that that did add a certain something to the story because she could interact with them physically too although it was a bit awkward for her to explain the different spirits to people who also interacted with them… but fun too. I liked how each victim got their own little segment of the story and how we find out what happened to them, I also like how Emma interacts with them & then we see Emma help to put things right so they could return to the river. I thought the added threat of the police officer on her tail was good, it added an element of danger, a threat to her mission but I also liked how it turned out. I appreciated that as Emma was sorting others lives out, that her life was getting the same kind of treatment, her parents became more aware of her, she gained some friends that could be way better for her and as I mentioned before – she blossomed in confidence & character. There was one death that wasn’t totally sewn up for me and it leaves me wondering if it will become the series thread but I was very satisfied with the ending and would love to know what happens next for Emma. 
YOU ARE WHAT YOU EAT
I had a lot of beta readers for How to Date Dead Guys. One commented that there was a lot of eating going on in my book.

Perhaps other people don't remember college like I do.
It was all about the food.
Free food, in particular.

A group of female friends would descend upon Chi-Chi's Mexican Restaurant on a weekly basis for their Free Taco Bar Tuesdays. I'm sure they hated the sight of us Cheapskate Sisters, because we only ever bought ONE margarita each, but ate as many tacos as we could cram into our hungry mouths.

Devious little demons, we were.
Figure 1:  Will Date for Free Food?

I never appreciated Mom's cooking until I endured dorm food for a while. To make money, I took a job working in the same dorm cafeteria (added bonus:  scouring out pots of bean soup really helped me work on my gag reflex). Every time a back room dishwashing shift came up, I'd end up scraping some dead mouse or cockroach off the floor as the other girls screamed. It didn't bother me to dispose of the vermin, but it did put a damper on my appetite for the food served there.

Once I moved out of the dorms, I started grocery shopping. It was fun at first. My cart overflowed with huge bags of animal crackers, boxes of cereal, and cups of yogurt. It was the era of carbo-loading, low-fat or no-fat diet. Nowadays, the medical community is falling all over itself regarding the Atkins diet. The pendulum swings so far back and forth on everything, it's a wonder the doctors and dieticians don't get whiplash.
Figure 2: LOVE this.

If a person really is what they eat, in college I would've been a pretzel.
Or maybe an unbuttered bagel.
Figure 3:  Feel free to giggle.

One college roommate wanted to share orange juice to cut down on costs. But instead of mixing in two cans of water with the OJ concentrate (per the directions), she'd always pour in three. When I complained of the taste, she pretended she had no idea what I was talking about.

Liar. I can tell the difference, you know.

College students are such cheapskates. They haul home weeks of laundry at a time, as if their tired moms don't have better things to do.
Figure 4:  True enough.

And when college students go home for the holidays, they gobble down the free food like they haven't been fed in weeks. Better put a lock on your refrigerator door.
Figure 5:  This is just gross...

From undergrad through vet school, students were lured to meetings with the prize of free pizza, ice cream, or sub sandwiches. I once suffered food poisoning from one of these free sandwiches (so bad that I even called the nurse line to inquire politely how many episodes of vomiting constituted an emergency), but it didn't stop me from lining up for the next free handout.
Figure 6:  Political Activism?

The lure of free food continues on as an adult. Meetings, store openings, political groupseverybody's trying to reach your heart by way of your stomach.

So, in other words, I stand by my decision to let my characters eat. After all, when I think back to college, it was all about the food. Free food, especially.
Figure 7:  Hungry Eyes.

Ann M. NoserAUTHOR BIO:
Growing up an only child, I learned to entertain myself. During summer vacations, my greatest form of exercise consisted of turning the pages of a book. Now I’m all grown up, and full of stories half-written in my head. I have to write them down so I can find out what happens next.

HOW TO DATE DEAD GUYS is my first novel.

When I'm not living in my own created fantasy world, I'm a small animal veterinarian and a mother. My writing career began via monthly Pet Vet columns for the local Post Bulletin newspaper. Next I published non-fiction articles in RunMinnesota, the DVM360 journal, and The Wagazine. 

The logical next step was a novel. So here it is. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

{Feature} Waiting on Wednesday (#84)

 
"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
Jess's WoW
18733288
Upside Down
by Lia Riley
Release Date: August 5th, 2014

Book #1 in the OFF THE MAP series
New Adult Contemporary Romance

If You Never Get Lost, You’ll Never Be Found

Twenty-one-year-old Natalia Stolfi is saying good-bye to the past-and turning her life upside down with a trip to the land down under. For the next six months, she'll act like a carefree exchange student, not a girl sinking under the weight of painful memories. Everything is going according to plan until she meets a brooding surfer with hypnotic green eyes and the troubling ability to see straight through her act.

Bran Lockhart is having the worst year on record. After the girl of his dreams turned into a nightmare, he moved back home to Melbourne to piece his life together. Yet no amount of disappointment could blind him to the pretty California girl who gets past all his defenses. He's never wanted anyone the way he wants Talia. But when Bran gets a stark reminder of why he stopped believing in love, he and Talia must decide if what they have is once in a lifetime . . . or if they were meant to live a world apart.

Jess's thoughts:

I found this whilst trolling through netgalley. I like the concept, and I look forward to reading it 1)if  netgalley accepts my request. 2) if they don't, I look forward to it's release. I'm hoping it's as beautiful as it's cover.

Donna's WoW
17928184
Ignite (Defy #2)
by Sara B. Larson
Release Date: January 6th 2015 

Murder, abductions, and forbidden romance abound in this thrilling sequel to Sara B. Larson's acclaimed YA debut, DEFY.

Alexa remains by the newly crowned King Damian’s side as his guard, ever committed to helping him rebuild Antion and reclaim the hope of Antion's people, despite continuing to harbor a secret love for him. However, when another threat to Damian and his kingdom emerges, and blame is cast on their newly forged allies from Blevon, Alexa knows things are not what they seem. With the fate of her nation hanging in the balance once again, will Alexa be able to protect her king and uncover the true enemy -- before it's too late?
Donna's thoughts: 
 I'm so excited for this book! I loved Defy and I just can't wait for more, and the cover is lovely too! 

<What's your "waiting on" pick this week?
Want to participate? 
Grab the logo, post your own WoW entry on your blog, and leave your link at Breaking the Spine. 
Happy Reading!

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

{Review} The Killing Woods by Lucy Christopher

16207813Posted by Donna
Release Date: October 3rd, 2013
Finished Date: July 8th, 2014
Publishers: Chicken House 
Genre: YA Thriller
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 369
Emily’s dad is accused of murdering a teenage girl. Emily is sure he is innocent, but what happened that night in the woods behind their house where she used to play as a child? Determined to find out, she seeks out Damon Hillary, the enigmatic boyfriend of the murdered girl. He also knows these woods. Maybe they could help each other. But he’s got secrets of his own about games that are played in the dark.

A new psychological thriller from the award-winning and bestselling author of STOLEN and FLYAWAY.

The Review: A chilling and compelling read, The Killing Woods is a haunting tale full of mystery and secrets! 

A girl has been found dead in the woods behind Emily’s house and now her Father is being accused of murdering her. Emily’s life is suddenly turned upside down and with her Father suffering from Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder and flashbacks, he can’t remember what really happened that night. Determined to find out what really happened, Emily seeks out the one person who might have some answers, the dead girls boyfriend; Damon. But Damon is hiding his own secrets, secrets that he shares with his friends. Is there something more deadly happening in woods? And what did really happen that night? 

The Killing Woods has been a book that I was torn about reading and the reason for that was I guess you could say I felt the synopsis made the story sound very predictable. For that reason, I put off reading it. But, I just couldn’t get this book out of my head. I kept going back and forth about whether I should take the plunge and read it, and in the end, I just decided too – even though I was hesitant. But after reading, I know that I definitely judged this book before reading it. Was it predictable? No not at all! The unpredictability in this book is actually why I enjoyed it so much because you just couldn’t guess the ending – at all! 

Other than being unpredictable, the plot of the story is  intense and quite highly strung. The story is quite sad and has so many twists and secrets, but it was a very enjoyable read, one that kept me on my toes. 

I really enjoyed both Emily and Damon. With the dual narrative from both Emily and Damon, you can feel the tension from both characters. They’re struggling with the events that have happened but both are desperate for answers, it’s was a little difficult to read how much they struggled to come to terms with it and how it affected their lives. And I was hoping for some romance in the story but honestly, I wasn’t sure how it would fit into this story, but what Lucy Christopher did was just the right touch and more importantly, it felt right and it fit well. 

Overall, this was my first try at reading a book by Lucy Christopher and it was definitely worth a read. One I would recommend to a reader who is looking for something that little bit different but very enjoyable! 

Thank you to Chicken House for giving me the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

{Review} Lipstick Apology by Jennifer Jabaley

5779746Posted by Donna
Release Date: August 6th, 2009
Finished Date: July 15th, 2014
Publishers: Razorbill
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
Source: Gifted 
Format: Paperback
Pages: 321
Sometimes a good-bye is just the beginning.

When Emily Carson’s parents die in a plane crash, she’s left with nothing but her mother’s last words scrawled in lipstick on a tray table: Emily, please forgive me.

Now it’s fall and Emily moves to New York City, where she attracts the attention of two very different boys: the cute, popular Owen, and her quirky chemistry partner, Anthony. With the help of some surprising new friends, Emily must choose between the boy who helps her forget and the one who encourages her to remember, and ultimately heal.

Debut author Jennifer Jabaley has written a wonderful, feel-good romantic comedy with real emotional depth. Full of lovably wacky characters, Lipstick Apology is a heartwarming story about the true meaning of forgiveness.

The Review: Lovable and emotional, Lipstick Apology is an entertaining YA contemporary story that had me hooked from the start. 

When Emily's parents die in a plane crash, her world is left turned upside down. With so much media attention and her mother's strange last words written in lipstick on a plane table, everyone wants to know what it means. To Emily though, she can't find the strength to move on. Months later having no other choice but to move to New York city with her famous aunt, Emily's starts a new school where things sure are different. Finding herself in with the popular crowd and getting the attention of one of the most popular guys at school, Emily does the best with moving on, but the other boy in her life - Anthony, encourages her to try and find out what her mothers message means, but is she ready for the secrets that will unfold?

I've had Lipstick Apology sitting on my shelf for just over 3 years and I can't believe I waited so long to read it. I didn't go into it with much hope because I've noticed it's not a very popular book, however, everyone should read this book if you're a fan of YA contemporary. It's a heart-warming story that can't help leave a mark and it's about moving on after a difficult tragedy and then trying to find yourself. 

I really liked all the characters throughout the story. Emily was very likable, although she could be a tad difficult at times because I found that understandable because of everything she's been through. She had a strong group of friends and family behind and I definitely think that helped. And Anthony, how sweet he is. He's the type of friend all guys need, someone reliable, sweet and someone who can cheer you up no matter what.

In all, I really enjoyed Lipstick Apology and hopefully soon I'll get around to reading Jennifer Jabaley's other story, Crush Control.

Favourite Quote: “Thunder only happens when it's raining. Players only love you when they're playing.” 

Sunday, 20 July 2014

{Feature} Showcase Sunday (#54)

Showcase Sunday is a new weekly meme hosted by Vicky @ Books Biscuits and Tea. We will now be taking part in Showcase Sunday instead of In My Mailbox. If you'd like to join see HERE for more details.

For Review:

 

Saturday, 19 July 2014

{Author Promo + Giveaway} Dianna Hardy & Mila Gray

18866847The Spell of Summer 
by Dianna Hardy
Release Date: June 17th, 2014
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance 
Words can change everything, but can they change your destiny? 

Meredith is leading a straight-laced life in London with her straight-laced fiancé, determined to forget her reckless, wild-child past. They're about to get married.

Jamie is an old, poetic soul with a broken heart returning home to Cornwall to get his life back in order.

What binds them?

One chance meeting thirteen summers ago; one innocent spell spoken after one perfect night...

And now history is unravelling; the past and present, merging...

Words can change everything, but can they change your destiny?

And in the messy world of magic, what part does love play?

It's summer all over again, but the spell has only just begun.

An Accidental Spell, First Love, Second Chances and a Giveaway!

Living, loving and letting go… These are the themes for The Spell of Summer, book one in a brand new, magical contemporary romance series, by Dianna Hardy. Completely different from her other works, this series touches on real life issues and emotions, all set by the sunny shores of Cornwall, and is a heartfelt, summer read, with a slight, magical kick. It can be read as a standalone.

If you loved Practical Magic, you’ll love this gem!

What reviewers have said:
"...a wonderful contemporary romance with a paranormal twist." (Book Reviews By Lynn)

"...addictive and amazingly wonderful." (The Paranormal Bookshelf)

“Dianna always manages to touch me with her writing and this one was no different, I felt a LOT! This beautiful book proves that Dianna really can turn her hand to anything!” (Fiction Fascination)
Dianna HardyAUTHOR BIO:
Dianna Hardy is the international bestselling author of The Witching Pen series, and the Eye Of The Storm series. She writes paranormal / urban fantasy and contemporary fiction that's twisted in plot, big on the romance, high on the erotic, with a dusting of humour. She currently lives in Surrey (United Kingdom) with her partner and their daughter, where she writes full-time.
20935107Come Back to Me 
by Mila Gray 
Release Date: June 19th, 2014
Genre: NA, Contemporary, Romance
Home on leave in sunny California, Marine and local lothario Kit Ryan finds himself dangerously drawn to his best friend's sister, Jessa - the one girl he can't have.

But Kit's not about to let a few obstacles stand in his way and soon Jessa's falling for his irresistible charms.

What starts out as a summer romance of secret hook-ups and magical first times quickly develops into a passionate love affair that turns both their worlds upside down.

When summer's over and it's time for Kit to redeploy, neither Kit nor Jessa are ready to say goodbye. Jessa's finally following her dreams and Kit's discovered there's someone he'd sacrifice everything for.

Jessa's prepared to wait for Kit no matter what. But when something more than distance and time rips them apart they're forced to decide whether what they have is really worth fighting for.

A breathtaking, scorchingly hot story about love, friendship, family and finding your way back from the edge of heartbreak.

Hot boy in uniform? Check. Super sexy summertime romance? Check. Heartbreak and loss? Check. Kissing and more? Check Check Check.

If you love Alex and Jack then guaranteed you’ll love Kit and Riley – the guys from Sarah Alderson’s newly released New Adult book COME BACK TO ME (Pan Macmillan) penned under the name MILA GRAY.

Not only is it set in Oceanside just like Hunting Lila but Kit and Riley are also Marines based at Pendleton. That’s where the similarities end however… there are no psys. But there’s way more steam…

Follow Sarah’s alter-ego Mila Gray and find out more about the book which will be released in June.

What reviewers have said; 
"Absolutely heart-breaking, Come Back to Me is a whirlwind of a roller-coaster that will leave you an emotional mess!" (Book Passion for Life)

"Come Back To Me is a tender, heartbreaking love story that will tug at your heart strings and have you reaching for the tissues more than once." (The Shadow Realm) 

"Come Back to Me, really was a gorgeous but heart breaking read, I loved watching the relationship between Jessa and Kit develop...." (The Readers Den)

Win a chance to come to tea (with a friend) to meet Mila Gray!
Sarah is also running a contest at moment where if you review Come Back to Me on amazon you can win a chance to come to tea (with a friend) with me in London on 2nd August at a blogging tea event. Want to enter? All you need to do is comment and like this post once you have reviewed the book; HERE! Click here! Remember to tag Mila Gray in the post too, so she knows you've entered! 

Mila GrayAUTHOR BIO:
Mila Gray is the pen name for Sarah Alderson, author of Hunting Lila, Losing Lila, The Sound, Fated and Out of Control.

Originally from London she has lived in Bali for the last four years with her husband and daughter.

As well as writing young adult fiction under the name Sarah Alderson and adult fiction under the name Mila Gray, she also writes screenplays.

You can find out more at www.milagray.com and on facebook: www.facebook.com/sarahjalderson
Giveaway
Both Dianna Hardy & Mila Gray have kindly offered ONE winner a copy of their book. 
All you need to do is enter via the rafflecopter details. 
Giveaway ends 29th July. 
The copy of Come Back to Me will be send to the winner after 2nd August this is so we can get it signed for you. 

Friday, 18 July 2014

{Review} The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass

18589115Posted by Donna 
Release Date: May 6th, 2014
Finished Date: May 17th, 2014
Publishers: HarperCollins UK 
Genre: YA Dystopia, Romance
Source: For Review
Format: Paperback
Pages: 323
THE SELECTION changed the lives of thirty-five girls forever. Now, only one will claim Prince Maxon’s heart…

It’s swoon meets the Hunger Games in the final instalment of THE SELECTION trilogy!

For the four girls who remain at the palace, the friendships they’ve formed, rivalries they’ve struggled with and dangers they’ve faced have bound them to each other for the rest of their lives.

Now, the time has come for one winner to be chosen.

America never dreamed she would find herself anywhere close to the crown – or to Prince Maxon’s heart. But as the competition approaches its end and the threats outside the palace walls grow more vicious, America realises just how much she stands to lose – and how hard she’ll have to fight for the future she wants.

The breathtaking finale to THE SELECTION trilogy will make you swoon!

The Review: It’s over and I’m so sad! The Selection series is one of my favourite dystopia stories ever and I couldn’t help but be excited and nervous for The One. I was dying to see how it would all end for my favourite characters and it was definitely spectacular. 

As the competition for Maxon’s heart and crown draws to an end, America finds herself in a difficult situation because the rebels are determined to put an end to the casts and ultimately take over the throne. But can America change the fate they’ve all been drawn or will she lose everything she’s worked for?

I’m so thrilled with The One. What a fantastic and beautiful end to end the series, bravo Kiera! Of course I was worried with how things would turn out because of how much I love this series but I believe Kiera Cass did the best she possibly could with the ending and it really reflects in the end. It was exciting, dangerous and very exhilarating, not to mention swoon-worthy, heart-breaking and of course full of love. 

I didn’t think America and Maxon could get any cuter but they did. They are the perfect match – even despite the casts they are given. They really bring the best out of each other and even though they may not agree on everything, they complement each other so well. They are fantastic together and their love really shines throughout this book. 

In all, The One is simply a breath-taking ending and it was more than I could have possibly hoped for. I cannot wait to revisit this series in a few years and start it all over. 

Thank you to HarperCollins UK for the opportunity to review this book in exchange for an honest review!