Tuesday, September 2, 2014

CTP Series and Author Spotlight: The Synsk Series by K.C. Finn

A NEW LOOK FOR THIS BEST-SELLING SERIES:
















In anticipation of the upcoming release of the third book in the Synsk series by K.C. Finn— A Place Halfway— the entire series got brand new covers. Read below for information on the upcoming release of A Place Halfway by K.C. Finn and find out how you can start reading this young adult series for FREE today! 


COMING SOON: A Place Halfway by K.C. Finn
(Book #3 in The Synsk Series)
Release Date: October 24, 2014




A struggling psychic girl steps out into the big, wide world amidst the murky depths of racial segregation in England, 1961.

As a teenage psychic, Josephine Fontaine knows what it’s like to be different. At Peregrine Place, a school full of youngsters with gifts just like hers, sixteen-year-old Josie is growing tired of her life and looking for excitement beyond the grand manor house’s walls. When an opportunity arises to work in a local music bar, she jumps at the chance, learning to balance her new job with the pressures of studying the ways of the Synsk.

There she meets the charming Tommy Asher, a fellow psychic with a talent for music, and Jake Bolton, a handsome, surly stranger with coffee-coloured skin. Throw in the return of her old crush Dai Bickerstaff, and Josie finds herself embroiled in a drama much bigger than she could have imagined, especially when certain parties take issue to her developing a friendship with a boy who isn’t white-skinned. When a mysterious record mogul offers Josie help to improve her psychic gifts, her world turns totally upside down, and she begins to question everything she thought she knew about the world, her family, and even herself.

Coming of age was never so intense as it will be for Josie in the winter of 1961.


FREE BOOK: The Mind's Eye by K.C. Finn
(Book #1 in The Synsk Series)

A girl with a telepathic gift finds a boy clinging to his last hope during the war-torn climate of Europe, 1940.

At fifteen, Kit Cavendish is one the oldest evacuees to escape London at the start of the Second World War due to a long term illness that sees her stuck in a wheelchair most of the time. But Kit has an extraordinary psychic power: she can put herself into the minds of others, see through their eyes, feel their emotions, even talk to them – though she dares not speak out for fear of her secret ability being exposed.

As Kit settles into her new life in the North Wales village of Bryn Eira Bach, solitude and curiosity encourage her to gain better control of her gift. Until one day her search for information on the developing war leads her to the mind of Henri, a seventeen-year-old Norwegian boy witnessing the German occupation of his beloved city, Oslo. As Henri discovers more about the English girl occupying his mind, the psychic and emotional bonds between them strengthen and Kit guides him through an oppressive and dangerous time. 

There are secrets to be uncovered, both at home and abroad, and it’s up to Kit and Henri to come together and fight their own battles in the depths of the world’s greatest war.


Leighton's Summer by K.C. Finn
(Book #2 in The Synsk Series)

A teenage boy with something to prove gets caught up in a web of crime and deceit in England, 1945.

In the weeks leading up to his sixteenth birthday, gifted psychic Leighton Cavendish finds himself suddenly packed off to Blackpool, a glittering teenage paradise filled with plenty of opportunities for amusement—and trouble—to ensue. With only a preoccupied grandmother to keep an eye on him, Leighton’s desperation for adventure leads him out into a world of holidaymakers, candy and carnival rides—the ideal place to spend six weeks away from home.

But Leighton’s psychic visions are encroaching on his fun, trying to warn him of the danger that lurks beyond the shimmering lights of the Golden Mile. Who are the mysterious thieves Leighton sees in his head and what do they want with the children they seek? A girl called Faye holds the answer, but she has enough problems of her own. 

Amid the climate of a tourist town recovering from the impact of the Second World War, two lost teenagers will discover a shocking truth about human greed and together they will try to fight against it. For Leighton and Faye this will be a summer to remember—a summer filled with challenges that must be overcome.

A summer that turns a boy into a man. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:

Born in South Wales to Raymond and Jennifer Finn, Kimberley Charlotte Elisabeth Finn (known to readers as K.C., otherwise it'd be too much of a mouthful) was one of those corny little kids who always wanted to be a writer. She was also incredibly stubborn, and so has finally achieved that dream in 2013 with the release of her first three novellas in the four-part Caecilius Rex saga, the time travel adventure The Secret Star and her new urban fantasy epic The Book Of Shade.

As a sufferer with the medical condition M.E./C.F.S., Kim works part time as a private tutor and a teacher of creative writing, devoting the remainder of her time to writing novels and studying for an MA in Education and Linguistics.

K.C. Finn signed with Clean Teen Publishing in late 2013. Her books The Mind's Eye and Leighton's Summer were released in early 2014.




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Sunday, August 31, 2014

Early Review: Trial by Fire (The Worldwalker Trilogy #1) by Josephine Angelini


Title: Trial by Fire
(The Worldwalker Trilogy #1)
Author: Josephine Angelini
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends
Exp Pub: September 2, 2014
Source:  Publisher
Pre-order: Amazon  |  B&N

From Goodreads: 

This world is trying to kill Lily Proctor. Her life-threatening allergies keep her from enjoying experiences that others in her hometown of Salem take for granted, which is why she is determined to enjoy her first high school party with her best friend and longtime crush, Tristan. But after a humiliating incident in front of half her graduating class, Lily wishes she could just disappear.

Suddenly, Lily is in a different Salem—one overrun with horrifying creatures and ruled by powerful women called Crucibles. Strongest and cruelest of them all is Lillian . . . Lily's other self in this alternate universe.

What makes Lily weak at home is what makes her extraordinary in New Salem. In this confusing world, Lily is torn between responsibilities she can't hope to shoulder alone and a love she never expected.

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Lily Proctor is a unique heroine in the sense that she’s an outcast. She suffers – truly suffers – from severe allergies that made me realize how lucky I am I only have to stay away from cats. This poor girl has to stay away from EVERYTHING. It has certainly kept her on the outskirts of the popular crowd that her best friend Tristan inhibits. Tristan is a great friend; but when they decide to take a chance at more, it ends with devastating results. Lily just wants to disappear. Be careful what you wish for… Lily goes from the frying pan to the INFERNO! She finds herself in an alternate world – one that mirrors her own in some ways and is a complete opposite in others. And this world already has a her in it. An evil (and fascinating) her – Lillian. Lillian has huge plans for Lily, but Lily is no cowering wallflower and strikes out on her own in the strange new world. Little does she know she’s being manipulated and guided straight into the arms of Rowan – friend and lover-turned-enemy of Lillian… who he believes Lily is. Rowan is a mechanic – which has a totally different meaning there than it does here – and most importantly, he was Lillian’s mechanic until he was cast aside. Rowan possesses the knowledge to help Lily and teach her how to be the crucible she was meant to be. While Lily’s world made her sick and powerless, this new world makes her a force to be reckoned with! Cue the angst and adventure because this wild ride has just begun!

I loved Josephine Angelini’s Starcrossed, and I couldn’t wait to see what she’d give us in Trial by Fire – this talented author did not disappoint! I was intrigued from the beginning and completely captivated when Lily’s world was turned upside down. All of the characters are very enjoyable, and I love Rowan. I have so many questions, though – especially his lack of appearance in our world. This makes me nervous! Spirit walking, Crucibles, Mechanics, the creepy Woven… I was so absorbed in this magical tale Ms. Angelini weaved that it was a jolt when I finished the book and came back to my world – which was mundane in comparison, to say the least. I want to go back! I need so much more, and the wait for book two is going to be a painful one – and I don’t even have a mechanic of my own to get me through.  Sigh.  Fantasy readers and lovers of paranormal will definitely want to grab this up!

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 
                                                                                       
chelesiggy

Early Review: Frayed (Connections #4) by Kim Karr

Title: Frayed
(Connections #4)
Author: Kim Karr
Publisher: NAL Trade
Exp Pub: September 2, 2014
Source:  Publisher
Pre-order: Amazon  |  B&N

He didn’t think, he didn’t question—he just acted.

What she wanted, she took—without regard.

It was only one night, but it changed everything.

After losing his fiancĂ©e, Ben Covington is unsure he’ll ever love again. But when he sees Bell Wilde, he’s so deeply drawn to her, that he’s thrown for a loop. Maybe it’s purely sexual chemistry that’s igniting this spark between them...or maybe it’s his second chance at love.

Bell has just gotten her life back on track and may not be up for the challenge of Ben Covington. But once they’re reunited, there’s no holding back—even if a secret from Bell’s past just might shatter them both.

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I’ve been curious about the Connections series by Kim Karr for some time, and I’ve heard a lot of great things about it and the characters it contains. While I am a stickler for reading books of a series in order, I broke my own cardinal rule with Frayed for a couple of reasons. The main one being that this book belongs to Ben.  I’ve been hearing not-so-great things about Ben Covington since reading the reviews for the first book. Seems Ben was a bad, bad boy; and due to the overwhelming love for the MC’s of book one, he landed himself on the not-so-desirable list for several readers. I thought maybe I could get a different perspective since I’m not invested in River and Dahlia (yet). Maybe this Ben just needed a chance and a reader with no grudge to bear. So I dove in, and I have to say the author did a really great job of telling a fresh story but filling in the blanks for me so I didn’t feel out of the loop. I loved the flashbacks, and fans of the series will appreciate the cameos of previous characters. I thought Bell was adorable and really funny, and I liked Ben… but the story really got good for me when these two decided to be “just friends.” Ha! It is clear from the beginning that Ben and Bell are drawn together by some undeniable force and could never be just friends. Watching them dance around the elephant in the room and fight their attraction to each other was fun to read about. There were some pretty serious secrets divulged and a whole lot of heartache to be had. Some of the story wasn’t for me, but there was enough I did like to know that I would very much like to start at the beginning of the series and that Ms. Karr can certainly tell an intriguing story.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for my honest review. 
                                                                                       
chelesiggy

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Early Review: Mary: The Summoning by Hillary Monahan


Title: Mary: The Summoning (#1)
Author: Hillary Monahan
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Exp Pub: September 2, 2014
Source:  Publisher
Pre-order: Amazon  |  B&N

From Goodreads: 

There is a right way and a wrong way to summon her. 

Jess had done the research. Success requires precision: a dark room, a mirror, a candle, salt, and four teenage girls. Each of them--Jess, Shauna, Kitty, and Anna--must link hands, follow the rules . . . and never let go. 

A thrilling fear spins around the room the first time Jess calls her name: "Bloody Mary. Bloody Mary. BLOODY MARY." A ripple of terror follows when a shadowy silhouette emerges through the fog, a specter trapped behind the mirror. 

Once is not enough, though--at least not for Jess. Mary is called again. And again. But when their summoning circle is broken, Bloody Mary slips through the glass with a taste for revenge on her lips. As the girls struggle to escape Mary's wrath, loyalties are questioned, friendships are torn apart, and lives are forever altered.

A haunting trail of clues leads Shauna on a desperate search to uncover the legacy of Mary Worth. What she finds will change everything, but will it be enough to stop Mary--and Jess--before it's too late?

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"It had been exciting until it turned terrifying..."  

There was a time in my life, years ago, that I loved a good scary read.  I went through a major Stephen King and John Saul phase, and I’ve always been a Poe fan.  To this day, I still adore Dean Koontz and devour the Odd Thomas series.  But at this point in life I lean toward lighter reads, fluctuating from contemporary romance to fantasy and being satisfied with the thrill of dystopians.  I’ve always enjoyed urban legends – but there is one that I could never find the courage to read about or even watch. Supernatural even based an episode around it, and it remains the only one in nine seasons that I haven’t watched.  Yep, Bloody She-whose-name-shall-not-be-typed.  Now, to quote Michael Scott, I’m not superstitious… but I am a little stitious. I mean, why tempt fate?  No matter how many dares were cast at me when I was a kid, I never went into a dark bathroom and said THAT NAME.  Uh-uh.  No way.  So OF COURSE when I saw Mary: The Summoning, I ran the other way, right?  ’Cause that’s what rational people do when they’re afraid of something.  Well, put me on the crazy train and let me lick the windows all the way to Loony Land because I requested that book faster than you can blink. What better way to cure oneself of a paralyzing fear than to face it head on?  It said it was ages 12 and up.  I told myself: I’m way, WAY in the up… so it should be fine. Fine? Two weeks later, and I’m still sleeping with the light on and avoiding the mirror.  I. Am. Such. A. Weenie.  Even though I am easily terrorized by thoughts of HER, braver (reasonable) readers will have no such issues with this story.  So aside from the blinding fear and making sure there was no reflection on my Kindle while I read, I admit I enjoyed this book. The actual summoning was very interesting, and I was comforted to know that it wasn’t that easy to get “M” to make an appearance.  Unfortunately, I couldn’t connect with the teenage girls in the story.  Some of their antics and even mannerisms verged on annoyance – I was especially exasperated with one in particular, but I think that was the whole point.

I did love what Hillary Monahan did with the character Mary Worth!  I was very intrigued with the history revealed; and when her old letters to her sister were read, I was genuinely fascinated.  Now, I don’t know if this was creative license on the author’s part, or if this truly stems back to the legend.  I did no research – you can call it lazy, I call it self-preservation.  The vivid descriptions Ms. Monahan gives of “M” were exactly as grotesque and fearsome as they should be… and the beetles?! *SHUDDERS*

"'She's coming,' I whispered, my voice 
drowned out by a series of earsplitting whines. 
'She's here.'" 

As frightening as ‘she’ was… once the letters were read, I found myself feeling bad for her and hoping that there was something from the past the girls could uncover that would put her to rest and grant her peace. Am I really that soft-hearted that I could feel sorry for a malevolent spirit?  No worries.  That dead crazy heifer did something so horrid my pity went straight out the window. I wanted this ghost b*tch gone. Do you want to know what she had the audacity to do??  Do you??  Then I guess you'll just to have to read it ;)

I know this: I must be a masochist because I have to have the next book.  I loved the ending, which wasn’t exactly a cliffhanger since one aspect of the story was wrapped up – but another… well that was just beginning.  The last words on the page were chilling to this scaredy-cat – but in a great way, as in the way that I know I won’t be forgetting what took place among the pages and that no refresher read will be needed before the next book releases.  No, really… not necessary!  I think this is a great read for teens who enjoy a little “scare” in their stories.  I offered to buy it for my teen who politely declined and asked me if I was crazy.  Well… clearly.

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 
                                                                                       
chelesiggy

Book and Author Spotlight: Chasing Justice (Piper Anderson #1) by Danielle Stewart


Title: Chasing Justice 
(Piper Anderson #1)
Author: Danielle Stewart
Published: January 14, 2014
Free: Amazon  |  B&N

From Goodreads:

Piper Anderson has been given a fresh start in the picturesque town of Edenville, North Carolina. But her plans of settling into a normal life are derailed when she witnesses a prominent judge in her community committing a violent assault. Running from her own past and fueled by a passion to make the judge answer for his crimes, Piper is forced to decide if she’ll play by the rules or achieve justice in her own way. 

Complicating things further, Piper finds herself fighting a powerful attraction to rookie cop, Bobby Wright. Although she’s increasingly enamored with Bobby, his staunch belief in the justice system is in stark contrast to her own. She may not share his opinions about the effectiveness of the law, but she certainly can’t deny how safe she feels when she’s in his arms or how every kiss leaves her desperate for more. 

For Piper, the idea of finally living an ordinary life with a man to love is tempting. However, fate keeps placing the judge, quite literally, in her path. Will she decide the only way to win is to be as wicked as the judge, but with righteous intentions? And more importantly, will Bobby choose to let her go, or follow her as she crosses the line and takes justice into her own hands?

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Here's where you can find Chasing Justice FREE:


The entire Piper Anderson series collection is currently only $0.99:

Amazon  |  B&N

To learn more about author Danielle Stewart, you can connect with her here: 


chelesiggy

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sloppy Seconds #8: On Dublin Street by Samantha Young

Welcome to Sloppy Seconds which is a monthly feature hosted by myself and Teresa of Readers Live A Thousand Lives. Sloppy Seconds is a feature in which Teresa and I buddy re-read some of our very favorite books and then post our thoughts and feels. So sit back, relax, grab a glass of wine, and re-live some great reads with us!


Title: On Dublin Street
Author: Samantha Young
Publisher: Penguin Group
Published: December 31, 2012
Purchase: Amazon | B&N

From Goodreads: 

Jocelyn Butler has been hiding from her past for years. But all her secrets are about to be laid bare… 

Four years ago, Jocelyn left her tragic past behind in the States and started over in Scotland, burying her grief, ignoring her demons, and forging ahead without attachments. Her solitary life is working well—until she moves into a new apartment on Dublin Street where she meets a man who shakes her carefully guarded world to its core.


 Braden Carmichael is used to getting what he wants, and he’s determined to get Jocelyn into his bed. Knowing how skittish she is about entering a relationship, Braden proposes an arrangement that will satisfy their intense attraction without any strings attached.


 But after an intrigued Jocelyn accepts, she realizes that Braden won’t be satisfied with just mind-blowing passion. The stubborn Scotsman is intent on truly knowing her… down to the very soul.


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OUR DISCUSSION
**spoilers ahead**

Teresa Mary Rose
Wifey! Re-reading On Dublin Street with you was AMAZING! I don't think we could have picked any better! 

Michele Belle
This is the kind of book that begs to be read more than once, and I love that these discussions demand we make the time to revisit our favorite stories and fictional characters. Braden Carmichael is a man you can never get enough of (and I am not ashamed to admit that even after our re-read, I could sit down and read it cover to cover again). 

Teresa Mary Rose
It really does! There is no such thing as too much Braden just not possible. And I am right there with you, I could easily start this book all over again already. Now I cannot remember, did we bond over Braden or did I push him on you early on in our friendship? I know I am a Braden pusher haha 

Michele Belle
Oooo, this goes back to the very beginning of our beautiful friendship.  I believe I asked if you had read it, and you had, and you... let's see, how shall I put this... STRONGLY ENCOURAGED me to start it IMMEDIATELY.  So I did -- and then I had the book boyfriend hangover of ALL TIME, which led to major discussions between the two of us followed by the "he's mine" "noooo... he's mine" exchanges but fortunately resulting in a unique and perfect compromise cementing our bond. 

Teresa Mary Rose
Ahhh yes... it is all coming back to me now. We discussed Braden for DAYS I believe. And this was back in our goodreads message/emails portion of our friendship and we just went on and on and on *sigh* I love it that Braden made our bond stronger. The fact that we can share Braden (my book hubby) really says something... to quote our favorite caveman "I don't like to share." 

Michele Belle
We did! I don't think we'll confess how many days or how many messages, but let's just say that book was THOROUGHLY discussed and dissected! 

Wifey! You can't start quoting Braden this soon in the discussion -- you know I'll melt into a worthless puddle of swoon and become... to quote Joss... "a mushy asshat."  Haha!  Oh, how I love our caveman. And the only thing I love more is Braden with Joss -- those two... sigh. You do the words -- I'm in a swoon. 


Teresa Mary Rose
Yeah... no... best not share that information. 

I'm sorry, I just couldn't help myself! I had to quote him there, it was just too perfect. Oh Braden and Jocelyn together are just perfect. I cannot get over how well those two mesh together. Wifey, I love this series, you know I love this series, but I forgot just how good this book is and how it blows the rest of the books in this series out of the water. 


Michele Belle
We'll keep that just between us then. 

I know. I love the emotional impact the story had on both of us.  There is a particular scene in the kitchen -- you know the one because we have been over it numerous times -- that caused me physical pain.  Like, put-the-book-down, hug-myself, cry-like-a-banshee pain. Not only did those two put each other through hell, but they put us readers through the wringer!  This book is special because it started everything, and Braden and Joss are just so hard to compete with.  But the mention of every character in their book just made me long to read every single installment in this amazing series.  I can't say this book blows the others out of the water because I just love them all so much but in different ways.  I know this is where we tend to differ on the other books, but Jo is a character who I didn't think I liked at all ... and absolutely fell head-over-heels in love with in the second book.  But then... oh just forget it -- to choose a favorite book in this series would be like asking a mother to choose her favorite child.  I hold them all dear to my heart.  But every time -- every single time -- Braden and Joss have a mention or cameo... it's like a glorious homecoming, and everything is right in the world.  And for the love of all that is HOLY... Adam and Ellie!!!! 


Teresa Mary Rose
I cannot even think about that kitchen scene without wanting to cry. That scene hurts so so bad. You are so right, they put us poor readers through so much pain! It hurts to know that they are so right for each other but my poor poor Jocelyn fights it so hard. 

Now I just need to bring this up... I adore how well Braden knows Jocelyn! He just knows how to handle her and her past. He knows when to push her and when to let her work things out herself. It is a true testament to how much he loves her and just how perfect they are for one another. 


Braden and Joss really are very hard to compete with. I still adore the other books, I really do, but this one is just special for me. And I am right there with you on Jo! I kinda hated her in this one but then I fell in love with her and Cam too of course, but that is another discussion. Oh and little Hannah! She is such a cutie! I am with you though, as I read through the other books in the series I always have a moment when I get to see Braden and Joss again. AND ADAM AND ELLIE THOSE TWO!!! 


Michele Belle
Exactly!!  Oh.  My.  Heart!  Joss does fight incredibly hard, and I feel for her more than I can express.  What she went through... what she lives with -- it just hurts so much.  And Braden just gets it.  Even before he truly knew her... he got her.  Braden sees Jocelyn.  He sees beyond that tough exterior and that impenetrable wall she has built.  He has his own past that helps him understand her, and I love that our demanding caveman has so much patience with her as she works through everything.  You are absolutely right -- they are perfect for one another.  They are two halves that make a whole. 

And I can't wait until we re-read that book so we can delve further into Jo and Cam's story.  LOVE THOSE TWO!  Oooo yes!  Hannah!!  I love that sweet girl!  Sigh.  I never, ever want to be without this world Samantha Young has created.  I just need it to go on for always.  Okay? 


I want to mention something about Jocelyn and her issues.  I absolutely love that the author made her struggles so realistic in the sense that her problems were bigger than those that she could work out on her own or that even a friend or someone as wonderful as Braden could solve.  Joss saw a therapist and we readers got to sit in on some of those sessions.  I found that to be very responsible of the author; and although I don't know what a true session with a therapist would be like and can't weigh in on any specifics, I just thought it was essential that readers see how important it is to seek a professional when dealing with things beyond our reach. What are your thoughts? 


Teresa Mary Rose
Yes... perfectly put. Braden just knew Joss... even before he really knew her. Also, I love the reversal of the relationship in this book. That the girl is the one with commitment issues and the guy is the one who is pushing for more. 

Jo and Cam's story is easily my second favorite of the series! I am so with you. I never ever want this series to end! And we get Cole's story soon which is sure to be AMAZEBALLS. 


That is actually something I have written in my notes to discuss, because I too love that aspect. I love that Joss recognizes that she needs to talk to someone and that she does have stuff she needs to work through. Braden is wonderful and Ellie is wonderful, but them alone could not fix Joss. She has to be willing to fix herself to an extent and while Braden may help her realize this, in the end it is herself that makes the decision to work through her issues. 


Michele Belle
That is something I adore, too!  It was a nice detour from other story lines of a similar nature. 

I'm so excited for Cole's story!  His friendship with Hannah was something I loved in Hannah's story and I can't wait for more.  Speaking of friendship, I just adore the relationship between Joss and Ellie.  Joss has a best friend in Rhian, but their history is a painful one.  Those two enabled each other and completely unintentionally kept one another from moving forward.  I like that they worked through that, but I especially liked that that was a non-issue with Ellie.  Joss needed a friend like Ellie who was truly a ray of sunshine to her dark past.  When she realized that her self-preservation tactics and barricades were hurting Ellie, it really made an impact and I believe helped her turn the corner she needed to turn. 


Excellent point.  A loving support group is crucial, but only Joss could do the work and learn how to heal. 


Teresa Mary Rose
Cole's story is sure to be another winner! I loved Joss and Ellie's frienship! Ellie really allows Joss to see that it is okay to love someone else and that letting someone in isn't a bad thing. As much as Braden helped Joss, I really think Ellie had the bigger impact. 

Now I have a few things I want to discuss certain scenes in particular and what not. First, I need to comment on Jocelyn's use of profanity because I love it. It really endears me to her. Second, I want to discuss the scene after Braden and Jocelyn's first time together when he makes her cuddle. I just love that scene. And lastly, I want to discuss Elodie because as much as I love her there is one scene where I got really mad at her and I am sure you know which one I am talking about. Your thoughts?


Michele Belle
Jocelyn's entire inner dialogue makes me giggle!  She's so funny -- even when she doesn't mean to be.  And the WAY she uses profanity.  Hilarious.  Oh my goodness, the few moments after the... ummm... shared bliss... when she realized he wasn't leaving and she tried to kick him out and he wanted to SPOON!  I love every line, every word, and every second of reading that.  

Elodie.  I absolutely love Elodie and Clark, and I would love their story.  But boy oh boy, do I know that part.  Elodie made a huge mistake in how she worded that little talk.  She didn't know Joss well enough to *ahem* impart that wisdom.  I only forgive her because it was her mother's love for Braden and not being able to handle seeing him hurt that led her to approach Joss like that.  She must have felt horrible when she learned more about Jocelyn's past and how devastating her words were -- even though she thought she had Braden's best interest at heart.  That was the beginning of the awful downward spiral right there.


Teresa Mary Rose
Her use of profanity is the best. I think I really love it because it reminds me of the stuff that goes on in my head. That whole scene is just perfection. OH and then the scene where he sneaks in bed and she literally kicks him onto the floor. I die every time! 

I'm glad you share my feelings on that moment. I adore Elodie and I know that she thought she was looking out for Braden but boy oh boy did she start some trouble there. She put a lot of bad things into Jocelyn's head. I know she was looking out for Braden but I was so mad at her for that.


Michele Belle
I loved the "kicking him out of bed" moment.  Poor Braden.  He had his hands full with Joss.  Hands-down one of my favorite relationships.

It was a mess!  And how about sweet angel Ellie?  Her running commentary on the "luncheon date with Isla" was almost the nail in the coffin.  Geez Louise.  At that point I yelled "STOP HELPING!!"  


Another favorite aspect: the flashbacks. I am so very happy that even with the panic attacks they brought on, Joss could appreciate how wonderful and loving her family was.  It was one of those things that was extremely bittersweet.  It was beautiful, but it hurt so much.


Teresa Mary Rose
Yes he really did. But they really are a wonderful couple and just work so well together.

Oh Ellie... her too. Again, coming from a good place but NO JUST NO. Everyone needed to stop and let Braden handle it... HE HAD IT UNDER CONTROL!


Yes, so much pain, but at the same time it was beautiful. I love that she was able to come through it and appreciate her family again.


Michele Belle
The epilogue is perfect, and I love that we don't have to say goodbye there.  There's more Joss and Braden in Castle Hill (wonderful novella), and of course we get to 'check in' on them from time to time in the other amazing books of this series.

Teresa Mary Rose
Oh the epilogue makes me cry all the happy tears! The moment where they discuss kids and Braden just goes "Are you done?" LOVE LOVE LOVE! Just a perfect example of how well Braden knows Joss. 

*sigh* Castle Hill is the novella that puts all other novellas to shame! So perfect and I love checking in on them again and again.

Okay are we ready for quotes?


Michele Belle
I loved "Are you done?"  He is the all-knowing caveman.  Lol

This book just offers so many different things.  Sweetness, hotness, some mysterious back-stories, unique relationships, unexpected friendships, wonderful family, heartache, and the promise of happily-ever-afters.


Oh, you know I am!  I promise I whittled them down and tried to leave the smexiest ones for you to share 


"'You're good with the words, I'll give you that.' 
'I'm good with my hands. Will you let me give you that?'" 

"'Why do you insist on calling me Jocelyn?' ... 

'Joss is a girl's name. Possibly a tomboy's name.' He smirked. 'Jocelyn, on the other hand, is a woman's name. A really sexy woman's name.' ... 
Okay, he could call me Jocelyn." 

"'I wanted to create something beautiful in place of all the ugliness.'" 


"My heart ached for little boy Braden." 


"Sometimes words aren't needed for you to know a change has come upon you. You can share a look with a friend that cements a deeper understanding between you, and thus a stronger bond. A touch with a sister or brother or parent that says 'I'm here, no matter what' and suddenly someone who was just a relative, a person you love, turns out also to be one of your best friends." 


"'Delusional numpty.' ... 

'Did you just call me a numpty?' 
'Yup. A delusional one.' 
'What, may I ask, is a numpty?' 
'A person demonstrating a lack of knowledge of a situation; a silly person; an idiot; a dumbass.' ... 
'Numpty. Good word.'" 

"For anyone who saw me, knew they were watching a heart in the process of it breaking." 


"That's how Braden found us the next day -- lying with our heads tucked into one another, holding hands, sleeping with dirty, tear-stained cheeks like two little girls." 


"'I know you love me, Jocelyn, because there's no f*cking way I can be this much in love with you, and not have you feel the same way. It's not possible.'" 


"I liked pre-Braden Joss. She was spunky and cool and independent. Post-Braden Joss was kind of a mushy asshat." 


"Jealousy is a horrible thing. The pain of it is almost as consuming as heartbreak, and I would know because I was feeling both at the same time." 


"'Breathe, babe. Just breathe.'" 


Okay, Wifey hit me with the smexy quotes.  I'm ready.  Haha! 

Teresa Mary Rose
That right there is blurbworthy!!! 

OH MY GOSH SO MANY AMAZING QUOTES.. I need a second to bask in all the feels

.
..
...
....
.....
"You know, Braden, I've watched you over the last few months and you're such a gentleman to everyone but me. What's with that?" "I want you in my bed. Gentlemen are boring in bed." Good point. "Gentlemen are gentlemen in bed. They make sure you're having a good time." "I'll make sure you're having a good time and that you're okay with everything that we're doing. I just won't be well mannered about it."

""I would say it was nice to meet you, but I was naked, so... it wasn't. I have a lot to do. I'll tell Ellie you dropped by." Laughing, Braden shook his head and stood up to pull on his suit jacket. "You're a hard nut to crack." Okay, clearly I had to lay it out clear and simple for this guy. "Hey, there will be no cracking of this nut. Now or ever." He was choking on laughter now as he stepped toward me, making me back into the couch. "Really, Jocelyn... why do you have to make everything sound so dirty?" My mouth fell open in outrage as he turned and left… having the last word."


"I miss someone who gets me. I called a woman on my research team a bitch - you know, in a friendly way - and she told me to go to hell. And I think she really meant it." "Rhian, we've talked about this. Normal people don't like to be called names. For some reason they tent to take that personally. And you are a tad bitchy, by the way."


At that, Braden looked affectionately amused. "Sex and holidays." "Uh, what?" "I'm making a list of things that make you agreeable." I scoffed, pushing my foot into his leg. "And all you got is sex and vacations?" "The length of this list is not my fault." "Are you saying I'm disagreeable?" He raised an eyebrow. "Woman, how stupid do you think I am? You really think I'm answering that? I want to get laid tonight."


"Braden shrugged and reached casually over to the kettle to turn it on. "About bloddy time. You two were giving me a headache." My mouth fell open along with Adam's and Ellie's. Not once in the entire time we'd been dating did Braden let on that he knew what was going on with Adam and Ellie. That sneaky bastard. "You really are a know-it-all pain in the ass," I announced, brushing by him rudely. I stopped quickly at Ellie and Adam to say, "I'm happy for you." And then I hurried down the hall to the bathroom to get away from Braden and his perceptive, growly, inflexible ass. I heard Braden's soft, scratchy laugh, his delicious voice echoing in my head as he countered, "She loves me, really.""


"I also wondered when the hell she'd started getting so good at lying. She couldn't lie for shit when I first met her. Oh. My fault?"


"Because" - he sighed - "you make me laugh, you challenge me, and you turn me on like no one else can. I feel like I'm missing something really important when you're gone. So important I don't feel like myself. I've never felt like someone was mine before. But you're mine, Jocelyn. I've known that from the moment we met. And I'm yours. I don't want to be anybody else's, babe."


"We both really did. But that's over now. From now on I'm completely in charge. I think we'll have a lot less drama, and definitely no more breakups, if I'm in control of this thing."


"Sometimes the clouds weren't weightless. Sometimes their bellies got dark and full. It was life. It happened. It didn't mean it wasn't scary, or that I wasn't still afraid, but now I knew that as long as I was standing under the sky with Braden beside me when those clouds broke, I'd be all right. We'd get rained on together. Knowing Braden, he'd have a big-ass umbrella to shelter us from the worst of it."


Michele Belle
Haha!  I'm glad you liked that! 

Wifey, I predicted you would choose most of those, and you didn't let me down one bit!  Perfect quote picks!!!  Those capture some of my favorite moments in the story!  How are we going to recover from this re-read?  Our first sloppy hangover. 


Thank you for *insisting* I read this one sooner rather than later and for sharing all the wonderful moments with me.  We'll always have Dublin Street. 


Teresa Mary Rose
The simple answer is we are not going to recover... but I think we have come up with some sort of a plan to start moving forward with our next SS pick *winks* I am so glad we were able to share our love of Braden! 


On Dublin Street (On Dublin Street, #1) Until Fountain Bridge (On Dublin Street, #1.5) Down London Road (On Dublin Street, #2) Castle Hill: A Joss and Braden Novella (On Dublin Street, #2.5) Before Jamaica Lane (On Dublin Street, #3) Fall from India Place (On Dublin Street, #4) Echoes of Scotland Street (On Dublin Street, #5)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Early Review: The Aftermath by Jen Alexander


Title: The Aftermath
Author: Jen Alexander
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Exp Pub: August 26, 2014
Source:  Publisher
Pre-order: Amazon  |  B&N

From Goodreads: 

Sometimes, I dream that I'm someone else.

A girl with dark hair who doesn't worry about hunger
or thirst or running from flesh-eaters.

In her world, those sorts of things don't exist.

Since the spring of 2036, when the world changed forever, Claudia and a small clan of survivors have roamed the streets of a very altered Nashville: polluted and desolate, except for the ever-present threat of cannibal Hoarders. Together they must undergo punishing tests of endurance and psychological challenge sometimes with devastating consequences all just to live another day.

With food and water in dwindling supply, and with danger lurking around every corner, no one can be trusted. And as her world starts to make less and less sense, Claudia begins to realize something terrifying: she is just a pawn in some sort of game, and all of her actions are being controlled from afar by a mysterious gamer. So when she meets a maddening and fascinating outsider named Declan, who claims to be a game moderator, she must decide whether to join him in exchange for protection and access to the border.

If they play the game right, they are each other's best hope for survival and a life beyond the only world Claudia's ever known: the terrifying live-action game known as The Aftermath.

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Imagine struggling day after day in a post-apocalyptic world – starving, stealing, and killing with your clan – only to one day become aware that the words coming out of your mouth are not your own. You’re not in control of your movements and haven’t been for quite some time.  The people you thought were your friends are also being manipulated by others and powerless to do anything about it.   When Claudia becomes sentient, she finds out she’s in a worse nightmare than she ever imagined.

Deception, secrets, controversy, and conflict set the stage for this book. I honestly don’t know what would be worse:  realizing you’re a character in a game being controlled by someone else or being the type of person who would “play” a human being. 

“Because The Aftermath?  It’s the worst game of them all.” 

The Aftermath was a very different read for me.  I am not a gamer.  In fact, I know nothing about games, RPG or otherwise.  I do enjoy a great dystopian and unique concept, and this book delivered that. I don’t want to give anything away, because discovering things as they unfolded was one of the best parts. 

One thing a lot of dystopians leave out is the why.  Why has the world become what it is?  What happened that the government would allow such things to take place? The author does a great job of giving the reader those answers in a fascinating way without it feeling like an information overload.  I really enjoyed that.  I was very intrigued by the idea of a treatment for those who were considered violent as well as attempts to rid the world of such a “disease.”  There were a few elements of the story that I wasn’t overly fond of, but to expound on that would be spoilery and really just comes down to personal taste. 

I didn’t connect with the characters as much as I would have liked; but given what they are going through, I suppose that’s understandable.  The book ends with a cliffhanger; and as much as I wish that weren’t the case, I know I won’t hesitate to grab the next book.  Even with the abrupt ending, this book is action-packed; and I’m anxious to find out what happens next!  Gamers and lovers of dystopia will appreciate this exciting story. 

“Sooner or later, there won’t be any humanity left to salvage.” 

I received an ARC of this book from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review. 
                                                                                       
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