Book Review: This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas

Saturday, April 30, 2011

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas
Publication Date: 25th May, 2010
Source: Through trade

Goodreads Description:
A CHILLING NOVEL ABOUT THE ISOLATION OF BEING STALKED AND THE ABUSE OF POWER.  Olivia Peters is over the moon when her literary idol, the celebrated novelist and much adored local priest Mark D. Brendan, offers to become her personal writing mentor. But when Father Mark’s enthusiasm for Olivia’s prose develops into something more, Olivia’s emotions quickly shift from wonder to confusion to despair. Exactly what game is Father Mark playing, and how on earth can she get out of it?
This remarkable novel about overcoming the isolation that stems from victimization is powerful, luminous, and impossible to put down

My Review:

Favourite Quote:  But I have faith in the people that surround me now, and I know beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will catch me if I let myself fall.  And so I do.  I let myself fall.

Sometimes a book surprises you and that is the case with This Gorgeous Game.  I thought it would be good but I never expected to love it as much as I did.  There are just so many brilliant elements to this book like exceptional writing, a thought provoking plot and outstanding characters that makes this one of my favourite reads.   

17 year old Olivia wins a writing competition.  Her prize is a scholarship for the summer to study a writing course and be mentored by Father Mark at the Holy Mary University.  Olivia is super excited at first to be learning from her literary idol and also a well respected and adored priest.  Father Mark showers attention and praise on Olivia.  But soon his keen interest for Olivia turns into something more. 

It is a intense read in a subtle kind of way.  It explores such dark areas which such sensitivity.  I would say it is emotional put never painful to read.  And talk about a powerful story.  It just lingers with you for days and days after you have finished.   

The characters are impressive.  Olivia had such an utterly convincing voice.  You could really feel her excitement and joy turn to pain, confusion and a sense of helplessness.  And Father Mark ~shudders~.  The emotional pain he caused Olivia will definitely make you angry and creep you out a little.

However there are also plenty of moments in this book that will bring you happiness like Olivia's relationship with her family, friends and Jamie.  Jamie is a guy Olivia meets at the University.  There romance is absolutely beautiful.  It was written in a subtle way that didn't take away from the important issues this story deals with.

Overall, This Gorgeous Game is a standout story for me.   A real and honest read that will leaving you saying WOW.

Overall Rating: 5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot: 5/5
Characters: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Cover: 5/5

For more info:  Visit Donna Freitas' website

For more reviews: Inkcrush

** A BIG THANKS to Nomes for this rec!

Interview and GIVEAWAY with Danielle Weiler

Thursday, April 28, 2011

I am excited to have another brilliant Aussie author stopping by for an interview.  Today I have the very talented Danielle Weiler. debut author of Friendship on Fire.  You can read my review for Friendship on Fire here.

I am always curious with authors - why YA?
A few reasons. Firstly, it’s what comes into my head and sets up house in there. I only get stories about teenagers and ‘coming of age’ older YA characters attacking me during my sleep. I fear for anyone who ever asks me to write a crime or fantasy novel. I could probably stretch to Chick Lit but it’s just not as interesting as seeing a young person flounder around and grow from their misadventures.

What inspired you to write Friendship on Fire?  
Honestly? I woke up one Sunday morning in Melbourne in 2009 and a girl with accidentally dyed red hair was vividly in my head as the school captain of a conservative school who was about to get into big trouble with the principal. I tried to ignore her, saying to myself that I was way too busy teaching to even think of writing a novel. But the first line kept repeating itself in my head – always with the first lines. “You would think that at a school as large as mine, one could go unnoticed and subtly anonymous for one day…” and it snowballed from there – seriously. Think projectile vomit but in a literary, non-gross sort of way.

Did you always have a clear idea of Daisy's journey before you started writing or did the story change once you began writing?
Yes I did. I don’t know why. I wrote a plot outline straight away with all the major plot points and I knew the story was going to encompass her entire last year of school – I can’t write these 2-4 week things. And if some readers think 471 pages is massive for a contemporary YA novel, I had to cut out 15,000 words before I even got to the end product. I could have written about Daisy forever and I also wanted to give people value for money.
I never got writers block as such, but toward the end (I’d already written the exact ending) I sort of didn’t know how to tie it up, like how much detail to include about end of year events and I kind of baulked at it for a few weeks until the seniors at school got sick of waiting and threatened to fill in the blanks on their own. It can also be hard knowing what a character is about to do and still having to write them through it, knowing it’s going to hurt the heck out of themselves or someone else. The one thing I did decide part way through was what to do with Daisy’s best friend, Rachael. That’s all I’ll say before I give away too much.

I loved Daisy's family and how they played such an important part in the story (especially her brothers). Did your own family life influence you at all? 
Absolutely! I have 5 older brothers and 2 very supportive parents. I didn’t have an active grandparent in my teen years though so Nanna came from my imagination. I wouldn’t know how to write about older sisters – I’d have to research that one! I told/tell my mum everything. My parents are teachers though, my dad car crazy but not as spacey as Daisy’s dad. My brothers I kind of mashed together and spread them out again and when Daisy was going through her issues I thought ‘now what would Damon/Brendon/Shannon/Jamieson/Tristan say about this?’ and went from there. I was so incredibly proud of them then (and still am) and they were very tough on me but very loving in their ‘guy’ ways and I have the sense of humour I do today because they wouldn’t let me be a princess.   

I noticed on your website that you said you have been writing stories since you were six. What has your road to publication been like and what was your first story about?
I think I’ve distracted myself from writing for a long time, partly because it takes a lot of energy and discipline and I wasn’t sure if I had that. But I do, and it hurts not to write. I was the editor of my uni mag and year book so I had to write articles for it every fortnight and I tried to write a really bad novel when I was 13 about 5 girls who went on a crazy school camp and told bad ‘why did the koala fall out of the tree?’ jokes. I got to 40 pages then gave up because my mum didn’t like the character’s mother because she smoked. Well, that and I was trying to keep up with my brothers. Because I did an English degree and had to constantly read weekly texts for that, I didn’t read YA until a long time AFTER I wrote FoF, which is a bit stupid. I didn’t realise the power of reading on your own motivation and writing. I had no idea about clich├ęd characters or contemporary styles or storylines or blogs or anything. I just wrote Daisy’s story how I saw it and I was so green it wasn’t funny.  

I love imagining a soundtrack to go with the books I am reading.  Do you have one song that would be on the playlist for Friendship on Fire? 
I have a series of songs, actually. When I was planning my book launch, I wanted a play list of music that I listened to while I was writing. The artists include: Sixteen Cities, Switchfoot, Tenth Avenue North, Foo Fighters, Anberlin, Brooke Fraser, Leeland… but one that stands out is “You Are” and “You Are More” from Tenth Avenue North.

Now for a fun question:  If you got stranded on a deserted island with one literary character, who would it be?
Haha my first instinct would be to say Nate because he certainly wouldn’t let us get bored. Then I’d say Roman because he’s amazing company but if I ventured outside my book I’d have to try Mr Darcy. I’d love to have a big, fat argument with him and watch him huff and puff and then make him fall in love with me (assuming I didn’t have my current husband, Edward. Shh I won’t tell if you won’t)

What are some of your favourite Aussie YA titles?
“Everything Beautiful” by Simmone Howell – had me in absolute stitches and amazed at her ability to fit so many important words into once sentence.
“On the Jellicoe Road” by Melina Marchetta – I’m not really why as I found it stressful and soooo sad but the style was so clever and the way everyone interacted and were so believable that I didn’t want it to end. I wanted to know more. The parallels between past and present were handled well too.
There are plenty more but these two come to mind.

Have you got any plans for any future titles?  Can you tell us anything about it?
The first thing people generally ask me after they finish FoF is – is there going to be a sequel? I do have a sequel in the back of my mind about Daisy’s life at Uni but I’m not sure if it will go anywhere soon. I have written a second book about a reckless girl called Milly that I wrote over a 4 week period while working full time which nearly killed me but she wouldn’t shut up either so I had to start that. I’m in the process of having that looked at. I need to practice writing less…which is hard for me…so yesterday I spent the whole day shaving 9,000 words off the manuscript to try to make it to the first milestone of 80,000 words. There’s more info on my website but I’m really hopeful and excited about having people read it and give me feedback on the change of style and completely opposite character to nice-girl Daisy.

Thank you so much Danielle for stopping by and answering my questions.  I love the sound of your upcoming project.  Milly sounds like an interesting and fun character and I can't wait to meet her.  And I agree that "You Are" by Tenth Avenue North suits this book perfectly.

Danielle is giving one lucky reader the chance to win a copy Friendship on Fire.  It is opened INTERNATIONALLY!!!!

How to enter:
* Simply leave a comment in the section below with your name and email address.
* You must be a follower to enter.
* If you are participating in the
Aussie YA Reading Challenge 2011 you get 5 extra entries.    Make sure to note this also in the comment section.
* Contest ends 3rd May 2011 (midnight Australian EST) and winner will be selected by as in accordance with my giveaway policy.

Good luck to everyone!

My Book Boyfriend #15

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the awesome blogger Missie at The Unread Reader.   What is My Book Boyfriend you might ask.  Well it is a weekly meme where we talk about a literary crush including stats, a picture of what you imagine he looks like and some quotes from him that make you swoon.  If you are interested in participating please check out Missie blog The Unread Reader.

My heart begins to pound.  He's bouncing a soccer ball - knee to knee to instep to knee - diagonally to my right.  It's difficult not to move closer, like he suddenly has me in his gravitational pull, and I can't help but admire his dark features, the way his T-shirt shifts against his body as he moves, so fluid, so graceful and quick to meet the ball as it ascends, descends, ascends with every bounce.

Jamie is one of the nice guys.  A student at university, part of the local church comedy group and the type of guy who will be there for you no matter what.

Little by little, Jamie's fingers creep closer to mine, until our pinkies touch, then wrap around each other, and soon one, two, three, all our fingers are entwined.  We stay like this, touching fingers, brushing palms, pulling apart for different prayers and rituals, only for our hands to find each other again, all the while staring at the altar, at the priest.

I lean forward and say to Jamie, "Kiss me again," and he does and I am saved.

What do you think of Jamie?
My review for This Gorgeous Game will be posted this week.

Thanks Missie again for hosting this meme and giving me a reason to post shirtless pics!

Book Review: Friendship on Fire by Danielle Weiler

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Friendship on Fire by Danielle Weiler
Publication Date: March, 2011
Source: From author for a honest review

The first few days of year 12 are disastrous for school captain Daisy Brooks.

But Daisy’s life takes a sudden turn when she is dared by Skye, the leader of the Blonde Brigade, to meet the mysterious, drop-dead gorgeous stranger, Nate, from rival school Addison Grammar. Daisy’s instant attraction to him disrupts her world. But what about her best friend Roman? How will he respond to this intruder?

Daisy is a vulnerable, yet fiery girl going through the chaotic phase between teenage and adulthood. She is about to discover the complexities of relationships, the etiquette of friendship and, most of all, her development as a woman.

Is it too late for Daisy to realise that the choices she makes shapes who she is and who she will become?

My Review:

Favourite Quote:  "It was only now, alone in my moment of reminiscence, with the rain drizzling softly on the shack's roof, that I felt the full effects of falling in love with him."

I love the cover line on this book "Tempestuous and vulnerable, Daisy struggles to navigate her way towards adulthood".  I think it sums this story up perfectly.  Friendship on Fire is set over Daisy's final year in high school.  Weiler did a brilliant job of writing a real, honest and emotional tale that captures the good, bad and ugly moments of the phase between teenager and adulthood.  So many of the issues that Daisy had to deal with I did too at the same age especially in regards to romance and friendship.  And as I read along I was like that is exactly how I felt.

Despite it being 471 pages (that is huge for a contemp) it is intensely readable.   Normally I am afraid of books that large but I can say this never dragged for me. There is one point in particular in the story (which I can't talk about since I don't spoil the book) where it completely becomes unputdownable as you want to know how things are going to turn out.

Daisy is a resonant and endearing character.  She is feisty yet a sweetheart and has addiction to lollies especially Redskins (yum!).   I quickly connected with her on a more on depth level.  They are also a interesting bunch of secondary characters that again I don't want to talk about so I don't give anything away.  But let just say some I never trusted, some I loved from the moment they appeared and some completely surprised me in a good way. 

What I adored most about this novel was the outstanding family dynamics.  Daisy comes from a big family consisting of Mum, Dad, Nanna and three older brothers.  I feel in love with them especially her Dad and brothers.  They brought humour and fun but also some good solid advice.  They would have to be one of my favourite literary families ever.

There is plenty of romance which again I can't really talk about (sorry).  But I can tell you there is yummy kisses and great chemistry.

Overall Friendship on Fire is an impressive debut that you really get emotionally invested in.  I can't wait to see what Weiler writes next!

Overall Rating: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 3.5/5

For More Info:  Visit Danielle Weiler's website.

Note: This is an Aussie title.  Great for those of you participating in the Aussie YA Reading Challenge.  Also I will be GIVING AWAY a copy on Thursday (INTERNATIONAL) so keep an eye out for that!

Book Review: This Side of The Grave by Jeaniene Frost

Saturday, April 23, 2011

This Side of The Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Published: 22nd February, 2011
Source: Bought

Danger waits on both sides of the grave.
Half-vampire Cat Crawfield and her vampire husband Bones have fought for their lives, as well as for their relationship. But just when they've triumphed over the latest battle, Cat's new and unexpected abilities threaten to upset a long-standing balance . . .
With the mysterious disappearance of vampires, rumors abound that a species war is brewing. A zealot is inciting tensions between the vampires and ghouls, and if these two powerful groups clash, innocent mortals could become collateral damage. Now Cat and Bones are forced to seek help from a dangerous "ally"—the ghoul queen of New Orleans herself. But the price of her assistance may prove more treacherous than even the threat of a supernatural war . . . to say nothing of the repercussions Cat never imagined.

My Review:

Favourite Quote: "Ask me if I sparkle and I’ll kill you where you stand.”

This Side of The Grave was a blast to read!  It is full of action and adventure, smexy romance and plenty of laugh out loud moments.

Frost writing has great pacing constantly keeping you on the edge of your seat while being entertained especially by the dialogue full of humour.  I don't think this This Side of The Grave is the strongest plot wise in the series but still it is good.  Frost still manages to come up with interesting ways to keep Cat and Bones and the gang in danger.

My favourite thing about this book and the whole series is the characters.  My friend Tina ~waves~ uses this term "it is like visiting old friends" and I think that is what reading this series is like.  Cat and Bones is one of the most amusing couples.  I love their playful yet sweet relationship.  They still have a great spark even though this is book 5.   Although some of their sexy time had me laughing so bad that I had to but the book down and until I got it together again.   And how could forget the distinctive bunch of secondary characters especially Vlad.  I love the witty banter between all the characters.

Overall, if you looking for a fun, fast paced and sizzling paranormal adult read, then I suggest giving this series a try.  

Overall Rating: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 4/5

For More Info: Visit Jeaniene Frost's website.

For  More Reviews: The Unread Reader & Supernatural Snark.

Check out the cover for book 6 One Grave At A Time!  Can't wait for more.

Book Review: Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Sixteenth Summer by Michelle Dalton
Publication Date: 3rd May, 2011
Source: S&S Galley Grab

Anna is dreading another tourist-filled summer on Dune Island that follows the same routine: beach, ice cream, friends, repeat. That is, until she locks eyes with Will, the gorgeous and sweet guy visiting from New York. Soon, her summer is filled with flirtatious fun as Anna falls head over heels in love.
But with every perfect afternoon, sweet kiss, and walk on the beach, Anna can’t ignore that the days are quickly growing shorter, and Will has to leave at the end of August. Anna’s never felt anything like this before, but when forever isn’t even a possibility, one summer doesn’t feel worth the promise of her heart breaking….

My Review:

Wow! What an awesome debut.  This book if full of things I love - ice cream, sweet yet delicious kisses, hot summer days, ice cream, the beach and did I mention ice cream!

Sixteenth Summer is a feel good read from start to finish.  The kind of book you devour in a couple of hours and grin the whole way through.  The writing is a style that makes for an effortless read.  Dalton also had great eye for detail when it came to describing the beautiful beach side setting and obviously the delicious ice cream since I keep mentioning it.  Seriously there is a lot of ice cream in this book!  It also has great characterization.   Anna is the type of character who reminds you how wonderful it was to be sixteen.  And Will he is just gorgeous and so sweet.

The romance is how you imagine the perfect summer love.  Seriously I don't think first love gets any sweeter than this book.  It is the kind of love most girls dream of.   It might be a little unrealistic but it didn't stop me from going awwwwww the whole way through.

Overall, Sixteenth Summer is the perfect summer read.  So for those of you in the northern hemisphere this is a must have for your beach bag this summer.  And for us over here in the southern hemisphere this is a must have to make you feel all warm and fuzzy this winter.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Writing: 5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Romance: 5/5
Cover: 5/5

For more info:  Visit Simon & Schuster

My Book Boyfriend #14

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the awesome blogger Missie at The Unread Reader.   What is My Book Boyfriend you might ask.  Well it is a weekly meme where we talk about a literary crush including stats, a picture of what you imagine he looks like and some quotes from him that make you swoon.  If you are interested in participating please check out Missie blog The Unread Reader.

Now on to the shirtless pics.........

Finn from Stay

He had cargo shorts on, no shirt.  Tousled black hair, the scruffy start of a beard, the kind of eyes you'd call sweet. 

(My pick for Finn is my favourite male model Mario Teixeira.  I am having trouble typing this post and trying to wipe my drool!) 

Finn is one of those good guys who likes to walk around shirtless.  Just a genuinely nice person who loves his family.  He works with his brother running a sailboat.  Is sweet, a great listener and the type of guy that makes you feel safe and happy.

The radio that had been playing was off now.  It was quiet between us, too.  Finn was looking my eyes like he'd found something good  there, and I was looking back in his.  His face had started to look familiar to me.  I wanted to kiss him so bad, and you could feel that space where you knew it was going to happen.  I looked at his mouth.  I wanted to lean in to it.  Instead, my own voice surprised me.
      "I want to kiss you, but I want to look forward  to the thought of kissing you for a while first."
      "I know exactly what you mean," he said.  "Exactly."

"I had a great idea," I said.
I was looking at his mouth.   He had a terrific mouth.
"I wonder if that is the same great idea that I had," he said.
"You think-" But I was interrupted.  He kissed me then, finally.  A sweet, sweet kiss.  A delicious, perfect kiss that made me think of peaches and summer and days you go to sleep late. 

(Look ladies I finally posted a pic with a guy wearing a shirt for a change.  He is still hot)

But he was smiling.  He was like one great big Sunday afternoon - the kind where you stay in your p.j.'s and watch movies and eat popcorn.  Where life is at its uncomplicated best.

What do you think of Finn?
I know some of you are fans already.
I hope these pics made you day.

Thanks Missie for hosting this meme.  And NO you can't have Finn ;)  

Aussie New Releases - April

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Here are some Aussie titles that have been recently released. Note some are late March releases that I missed last month.

Black Glass by Meg Mundell - YA dystopia fiction.  (No international release date yet).
Dangerously Placed by Nansi Kunze - A YA romantic thriller. (Ebook available now and paperback being released internationally in October)

Thyla by Kate Gordon - YA paranormal fiction. (Ebook available)
Enticed (The Violet Eden Chapters #2) by Jessica Shirvington - YA paranormal fiction about angels. (Not available internationally yet but the first book in the series Embrace is to be released internationally in October, 2011)

Want to read some Aussie books that are available internationally yet?  Sign up for the Aussie YA Reading Challenge and  join GO AUSSIE BOOK TOURS.

Book Review: Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle

Monday, April 18, 2011

Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle
Publication date: 1st June, 2011
Source:  Thanks to Pan Macmillan Australia
Blake Duchamp...

He's all that Winter Adams can think of. Ever since their fateful meeting at Pilgrim's Lament. Ever since he looked at her with those emerald eyes. Ever since he saved her life.

But Blake isn't all that he seems. There is a strangeness about him, something dark and otherworldly. Something dangerous. In his attic is a secret he would kill to defend, but Winter seems to have a special ability to make him forget his duty. And he is her only protection against the gathering darkness.

The only problem is, to protect Winter, Blake must risk exposing her to an even greater danger. Himself.

My Review:

Favourite Quote: Blake titled his head at her as if she was a particularly tricky problem to solve.  Their eyes locked, and for one delirious moment Winter had the sense again that Blake wanted to kiss her.  It was an irrational, impossible, wonderful instinct - an instinct her body reinforced through its reaction.  Flushed with heat, her pulse quickened, and everything stood out in exquisite detail.  The stars in the sky, Owl Mountain, a tooth of darkness in the distance, a stray lock of Blake's hair stirring in the breeze, the sensual curve of his lips, and  his eyes.  Most of all his eyes.

Isn't that quote gorgeous?  Winter's Shadow is a dark and appealing read that is so beautifully written.  It's pages are full of intrigue and mystery that make it hard to put it down.

Hearle writing is hypnotic.  He has a great eye for details especially when it came to describing the setting.

Through the broken pane of the stained glass window she could see the remnants of an ancient graveyard, all but hidden by the tall grass and weeds that had crept in from the surrounding woods.  Blackened tombstones rose above the grass here and there like strange fungi, weathered by the elements and the passage of time.  Standing over of the graves, dressed in a simple gray suit, was a young man.

The pace starts very slowly, maybe a little too slow in the first half but it does pick up and then you find yourself completely captivated by this tale.  The plot is refreshingly different from other paranormal reads out there. Hearle has certainly created an interesting and unique concept that is full of dark and eerie secrets that gently unravel ensuring you are kept in suspense until the end.
Winter's Shadow is mainly told from Winter's POV.  We do get flashbacks to 1878 and Blake's narrative briefly that allows us to understand the story better.   Both Winter and Blake are likeable and well crafted characters.  However, Blake would be the standout out character for me.  He was a complex and alluring.

The ending was satisfying but at the same time wanting more.  I am left hoping there is more to Winter's and Blake's story. 

Overall, Winter's Shadow is a strong debut novel.  It you are looking for an exceptional paranormal romance that is smart, spellbinding and original than you shouldn't miss this.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Romance: 4/5

For more info: Visit MJ Hearle's website.

Note: This book is an Australian title for those of you participating in the Aussie YA Reading Challenge.   No international release date yet.  But I am hoping to arrange a book tour for this in the near future with Go Aussie Book Tours.

In My Mailbox #24

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.


Enticed (The Violet Eden Chapters #2) by Jessica Shirvington - Aussie YA paranormal romance (angels) series.  Thanks to Hachette Australia.
Friendship on Fire by Danielle Weiler - Aussie YA contemp.  Also debut author of 2011.  Thanks to Danielle Weiler.


The Ex Games & Major Crush by Jennifer Echols - YA romantic comedies.
Falling Under by Gwen Hayes - YA paranormal romance and debut author of 2011.
Between the Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys - Historical fiction and debut author of 2011.
Rosebush by Michele Jaffe -  YA thriller.
It's Not Summer Without You by Jenny Han - Book 2 in this contemp series.  I have already read it and loved it even more than the first one.  The final book gets released soon.
Slayed by Amanda Marrone - YA paranormal read.
Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly - What I would consider mix genre - historical and contemp.  I have read so many amazing reviews for this book.
Shattered Sky by Helene Young - Aussie adult romantic suspense. 

Most of these swaps were made through the Aussie Swap Group.   Also got a bunch of swag through Aussie Swap, so thank you ladies!

Waterfall by Lisa Tawn Bergren (ebook) - I have read so many rave reviews for this YA historical fiction (and I did hear their were Italian hotties running around shirtless fighting with swords). 
What did you get in your mailbox?

Book Review: Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Playing Hurt by Holly Schindler
Release date: 8th March, 2011
Source: Bought

Star basketball player Chelsea "Nitro" Keyes had the promise of a full ride to college—and everyone's admiration back home. Then she took a horrible fall during senior year. Now a metal plate holds her together and she feels like a stranger in her own family.
That summer, Chelsea's dad hires Clint, a nineteen-year-old ex-hockey player and "boot camp" trainer, to work with her at a northern Minnesota lake resort. As they grow close, Chelsea finds that Clint's haunted by his own tragedy. Will their romance end up hurting them all over again—or finally heal their heartbreak?

My Review:

Favourite Quote: "Funny thing about fear, I guess, is that if you just look away from it, toward something else - like dark eyes in a beautiful face, a lock of black hair hanging over a sweaty forehead - you realize you've turned a full hundred-and eighty degrees away from fear.
You're staring straight into your own strength."

I have been dying to read Playing Hurt even since I heard about it back in June last year.  I love a good YA contemp romance (which it is) especially one with a gorgeous cover like this and while overall I enjoyed it I am left feeling a little teeny bit disappointed.   

First up, I love the premise.  Two broken ex athletes meet over the summer, fall for each and learn to face their fears.   It was romantic, touching and leaves you feeling all warm and fuzzy.  It is written in dual narration switching from Chelsea to Clint in each chapter giving us a good insight into each character head and heart.

Chelsea and Clint were both well rounded characters that are easy to empathize with.  I think you could feel both their guilt, pain and angst.  The secondary characters were pretty standard and nobody stood out.  It was pretty much all about Chelsea and Clint which I didn't mind at all.

They had a great connection and loads and loads of chemistry.  The pages were sizzling!  I felt it was realistic portrayal of how older teens act especially how sometimes your hormones take over.  There are some make out and sex scenes in this book that are quite steamy for young adult book but I thought they were well done.

What stop this book from being a 5 star read for me was the writing.  Now it wasn't bad at all, it was pretty and thoughtful kind of prose but it was way too wordy for my liking.  I felt like I could skim parts and still know what is going on.  It just seem to drag the plot out too much.    It took me 4 days to read this when normal it would be 2 days.

Overall, despite the couple of things that bothered me Playing Hurt was a good solid read that I am glad I read.  It is a story about not being afraid to live your life and to take chances for something you love no matter how much it scares  you.

Overall: A high 3.5/5
Writing: 3/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Romance: 5/5
Cover: 5/5

For more info:  Visit Holly Schindler's website.

For more reviews: Visit Goodreads.

My Book Boyfriend #13

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the awesome blogger Missie at The Unread Reader.   What is My Book Boyfriend you might ask.  Well it is a weekly meme where we talk about a literary crush including stats, a picture of what you imagine he looks like and some quotes from him that make you swoon.  If you are interested in participating please check out Missie blog The Unread Reader.

Clint from Playing Hurt

"But this guy? Hair as shiny and black as feathers of a raven.  Skin licked by the sun.  And a body sculpted by sheer strength.  The width of his chest, the curve of his biceps beneath the short sleeves of his T-shirt, the smooth tapering of his hips...he smiles at me, and I recoil.  Not from him, but the way my entire body is responding to him.

(I picked model Chad White my boyfriend as Clint.  He definitely is one of the sexiest men alive)

"Nice to meet you, Chelesa," he says, the pitch of his voice deliciously low - like the dark filling of a chocolate truffle candy.  He smiles at me with this we're only at the beginning."

Clint is an ex-athlete who is afraid to love again.  He is also a great guy who works hard and always helps out his family and friends. 

"As we kiss, I push him towards the shower.  Our mouths are still locked as I twist the cold knob full force, then grope for the hot, adding just enough to take the edge off.  We're still kissing as we step into the cool stream.  But these kisses are more....tender, pleading.  Please? our kisses beg, while answering, at the same time, yes."

Clint picks up my hand, puts it against his chest.  I can feel his heart beating so hard it must hurt.  "That's for you," he whispers.

What do you think of Clint?

I notice that I seem to be only posting shirtless book boyfriend pics lately......Ooops!
They are just prettier ;)

My review for Playing Hurt will be up tomorrow.

Thanks Missie for hosting the meme.

Saltwater Moons by Julie Gittus

Monday, April 11, 2011

Saltwater Moons by Julie Gittus
Published: August, 2008
Source: Gifted

Goodreads Description: In the beginning it seems so simple. A poem in the mail. A weekend invitation to the coast. But when Sun says yes to a midnight walk, her life becomes suddenly complicated. Saltwater Moons tells the story of Sun Langley during her final months of Year Twelve. There's the intensity of her first relationship, complicated by the fact she continues to exchange poems with her boyfriend's best mate. It's a story about love and betrayal, about constantly longing for the things we can't have.

My Review:

Favourite Quote:  "Time stretched, expanded so there was just him and me and the closeness, and I thought how it was all very well to tell yourself what you should and shouldn't feel but in the end the should word didn't make the slightest scrap of difference."

Saltwater Moons is a beautiful and touching coming of age story.  It is a story about being young making mistakes and how we learn and change from them for the better.

First up, the writing is gorgeous.  There is poetry scattered within it's page.  It is a gentle kind of prose that subtly effects your emotions.   Just absolutely beautiful writing.

"A quietness descended between us, a stillness I didn't know how to break."

"But plans come to nothing when your story unravels in a direction you never imagined."

And Gittus voice reflect true life especially when it comes to sex, dating and friendships.  She handles these issues with such honesty that is sometimes missing from YA.

Saltwater Moons is a character driven novel and all are well written (even the one I didn't like).  Sun is easy to relate too and someone you care about as she struggles with her relationships - romantic, friendship and family.   She has a romantic soul and a character who makes mistakes.   Stupid mistakes like we all do as a teen.  But in the end we learn from them as did Sun.    Tycho, gorgeous, artistic type of soul who isn't without his flaws.  However he paints, makes music, knows poetry and can surf ~swoons~.  Mark though is one of the biggest jerks I have read in a while.  I really, really, really disliked him but they are plenty of guys out there like that in real life.

Overall,  Saltwater Moons is an impressive and eloquent story.  I am definitely excited to see what Gittus has in store for us next.

Overall Rating: 4/5
Writing: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 5/5

For More info:  Visit Julie Gittus' website.

For More reviews:  Inkcrush


Sunday, April 10, 2011

In My Mailbox was created by Kristi at The Story Siren and inspired by Alea at Pop Culture Junkie.

Well today is a special in my mailbox edition because thanks to my wonderful husband I got a KINDLE!!!!  He is the best husband in the world.  I have been thinking of getting one for a while and since we will be travelling overseas soon my husband decided to buy me one so I don't take a suitcase full of books with us.  I love that you can have a book within 1 minute, whatever you feel like reading.....although that is a little dangerous for a book addict.  I still will buy my Aussie books and my favourites in print but it is nice to have both options.

It has a sport cover on it at the moment so it doesn't get damaged while I am travelling.  I plan of getting a pretty cover when I get back!

Wild Roses by Deb Caletti - I am a big Caletti fan.  She really writes such heartfelt contemps.  And I love the cover of this edition.
Not That Kind of Girl by Siobhan Vivian - After reading Audrey's review of this recently I rushed out and ordered a copy and it has finally arrived.  YA contemp.
Camille by Tess Oliver (not pictured) - A 99 cent book for my kindle.  Heard good things about this paranormal read.

August by Bernard Beckett - Thanks to Jess at The Tales Compendium.  This is an award winning NZ author who's books I have been eyeing off for a while now.  This is part thriller and part love story. 

This Gorgeous Game by Donna Freitas - YA contemp.  Heard amazing things about this from Nomes.
Nothing Like You by Lauren Strasnick - YA contemp.  Also again another rec from Nomes.

What did you get in your mailbox?

Go Aussie Book Tour

Friday, April 8, 2011

I know that I am constantly going on about Aussie books that most of you can't read but now you can. Thanks to the brilliant idea of Missie at The Unread Reader I am happy to announce the Go Aussie Book Tours for those of you participating in the Aussie YA Reading Challenge 2011 hosted by me.  You can sign up at anytime (like right now if you haven't) for the Aussie YA Reading Challenge 2011.  Just go here.

Here are the tour details thanks to Missie (as per post at The Unreader Reader:

Mission Statement:
The mission of Go Aussie Book Tours is to promote Australian authors and books. Many phenomenal Aussie titles are not readily available in the U.S. and we would like to give readers the opportunity to read these books while generating buzz for Aussie YA!

What is a Book Tour?
A book tour is when a highly anticipated title is passed from one book blogger to another.  Tours provide an opportunity for the book blogger to read and review the title for their blog. In the case of the Aussie YA Reading Challenge 2011, an additional opportunity is provided for bloggers to work on completing their goals for the reading challenge. Each blogger will be responsible for covering their own shipping expenses. Packages MUST be sent via United States Postal Service with delivery confirmation. Delivery confirmation information must be sent to the host for tracking purposes. The last person on the tour will then ship the book back to the host.

Tour Rules:
  • Go Aussie Book Tours are exclusive for U.S. participants of the Aussie YA Reading Challenge 2011. If you haven't already signed up for the challenge, you can here.
  • U.S. residents only.
  • Interested participants are allowed to sign up for multiple tours but the max is three (3).
  • Each participant will be responsible for covering their own shipping expenses. Packages MUST be sent via United States Postal Service with delivery confirmation.
  • When a book is received, participant must e-mail the host a notification. At that time, the mailing address of the next person on the tour will be provided.
  • Each participant will have ONE WEEK (7 days) to read the book.
  • Book received must be reviewed and reviews MUST be linked on Aussie YA Reading Challenge review posts found on Irresistible Reads.
  • Tours will be limited and small. Schedule will be based on reader interest.
  • Failure to comply with the rules will result in immediate removal from the tours.
  • Any questions/concerns can be directed to
Please Remember: All the book on this tour are from Missie's personal library and many were purchased by her. The books are not easy to obtain in the U.S., nor are they easy to replace. That is why we are sharing them. We don't want one bad apple to ruin the tour for the rest of the participants. Please be respectful of the mission, the rules, and the books you receive.

Aussie Books on Tour:

Sign Up:
They are all amazing books and some of them have no release date for the US so this might be your only chance to read them.  So go head over to The Unread Reader and sign up now!!!!

A big thank you to Missie for organising this.  You are the best :)

Clarity by Kim Harrington

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Clarity by Kim Harrington
Publication date: 1st March, 2011
Source: Bought

When you can see things others can't, where do you look for the truth?
This paranormal murder mystery will have teens reading on the edge of their seats.
Clarity "Clare" Fern sees things. Things no one else can see. Things like stolen kisses and long-buried secrets. All she has to do is touch a certain object, and the visions come to her. It's a gift.
And a curse.
When a teenage girl is found murdered, Clare's ex-boyfriend wants her to help solve the case--but Clare is still furious at the cheating jerk. Then Clare's brother--who has supernatural gifts of his own--becomes the prime suspect, and Clare can no longer look away. Teaming up with Gabriel, the smoldering son of the new detective, Clare must venture into the depths of fear, revenge, and lust in order to track the killer. But will her sight fail her just when she needs it most?

My Review:

Favourite Quote: "Listen, I gather you have a problem working with a psychic. Believe me, I don't like working with a jackass any better."

Loved it! Clarity is an awesome debut.   It is a hypnotic and intriguing read that I could not get enough of. 

Harrington's effortless style makes for entertaining and absorbing escape.  I love the premise of Clarity.  Clare's gift is retcocognitive psychometry - picking up imprints from objects.  She uses her gift to help solve the murder of a teenage girl working alongside her ex-boyfriend and the new sheriff's son (aka new hottie in town).   It's pages are full of mystery and suspense and I was unable to guess who the killer was.  I thought it was going to be predictable but there was a twist or two that I didn't expect.

Clare is awesome. Feisty, determined and instantly likeable.  I love a character that sticks up for herself.   She might be bullied but she doesn't take their crap laying down.  Clare doesn't mind saying what is on her mind or giving the occasionally elbow to the stomach.

There is a love triangle and it actually worked.  Probably because I couldn't pick between the two guys either, Justin and Gabriel, and also because Clare handled it the right way.   Plus I like the fact that it isn't typical bad boy vs good boy.  Both are just normal guys who make mistakes but have good hearts (and gorgeous as well which never hurts).

My only tiny little complaint with this book is the thriller part could have been a little scarier.  I was surprised but it didn't get my pulse pounding. 

Overall, Clarity had everything I was looking for in a fun reading escape - great characters, fantastic premises and left me with a craving for more.

Overall Rating: 4.5/5
Writing: 4.5/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 5/5
Romance: 4/5
Cover: 5/5

For More Info: Visit Kim Harrington's website.

For More Reviews:  Eating YA Books and  Dreaming of Books

My Book Boyfriend #12

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Book Boyfriend is hosted by the awesome blogger Missie at The Unread Reader.   What is My Book Boyfriend you might ask.  Well it is a weekly meme where we talk about a literary crush including stats, a picture of what you imagine he looks like and some quotes from him that make you swoon.  If you are interested in participating please check out Missie blog The Unread Reader.

Tucker from Unearthly

"Behold, Tucker Avery," she says to me, gesturing up at him.
Her brother resembles her in nearly every way: same hazy blue eyes, same tan, same golden brown hair, except his hair is short and spiky and he's a foot taller.  He is definitely part of the cowboy group, although toned down from some of the others, wearing a simple grey tee, jeans and cowboy boots.  Also hot, but in a completely different way from Christian, less refined, more tan and muscle and a hint of stubble along his jaw.  He looks likes he's been working under the sun his whole life.

(My Tucker is model Raphel Lacchine.  He is how I imagine Tucker even though his hair is longer)

Tucker is witty, gorgeous cowboy who is a true gentleman! ~swoons~

Favourite Quotes:

 I love how he sometimes gets embarrassed by the mushy stuff between us and his voice gets all gruff and he tickles me or kisses me to shut us both up.  Boy, do we ever kiss.  We make out like champions.

"I'm looking at you. Why are you always trying to hide how pretty you are?"

I've been kissed before.  But nothing like this.  He kisses me with surprising tenderness, for all his gusty talk.  Still cupping my face, he gently brushes his lips against mine, slowly, like he's memorising what I feel like.  My eyes close.  My head swims with his smell, grass and sunshine and musky cologne.  He kisses me again, a little more firmly, and then he pulls back to look down into my face.

Have you read Unearthly?
What do you think of Tucker?

Thanks again Missie for hosting this meme.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...
Blog Makeovers by Tara