Tuesday, 2 September 2014

Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Don't Touch
Blurb (from Goodreads):
A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.

Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.

Caddie can’t stop thinking that if she keeps from touching another person’s skin, her parents might get back together…which is why she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every inch of her skin.

It seems harmless at first, but Caddie’s obsession soon threatens her ambitions as an actress. She desperately wants to play Ophelia in her school’s production of Hamlet. But that would mean touching Peter, who’s auditioning for the title role—and kissing him. Part of Caddie would love nothing more than to kiss Peter—but the other part isn't sure she's brave enough to let herself fall.

Perfect for fans of Laurie Halse Anderson, this debut novel from Rachel M. Wilson is a moving story of a talented girl who's fighting an increasingly severe anxiety disorder, and the friends and family who stand by her.

Includes back matter from the author.



Don't Touch by Rachel M. Wilson

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


Don't Touch(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
15-year-old Caddie has problems with anxiety, panic attacks, and compulsive hand-washing, and her parent’s separation is just making things worse.
Starting at a new school Caddie isn’t sure how she’ll cope with her new rule – no touching; because if she touches someone, then her dad will never come home again.
Can Caddie maintain the ‘no-touching’ rule? And can she really play Ophelia in the school play whilst hiding her own issues?


This was an okay story, but I wanted it to be more about Caddie’s anxiety and OCD, and less about drama school.

Caddie was an okay character, and it was clear that she was having a tough time of things. Her parent’s separation was a major obstacle for her, and her obsessive hand washing, and no-touching rule showed how much she was affected. I did understand where she was coming from though, and those kinds of compulsive thoughts are a hard cycle to break.

The storyline in this was okay, but I got bored of all the stuff about the play. Drama has never been a subject that I’ve liked, and all the talk of drama school and the play just didn’t entertain me. I liked the bits about Caddie struggling to cope, but the play rehearsals and stuff just didn’t interest me.

There was some romance, and Caddie did seem to like Peter, it was difficult for her to really connect with other people because of the no-touching rule, so there wasn’t a great deal of romance in this one until the end.
The ending to this was okay, and I was glad that Caddie had begun to get a grip on her anxiety and obsessional thoughts.
Overall; okay story about a girl struggling with anxiety,
6.5 out of 10.


Monday, 1 September 2014

Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Albert Whitman & Company and NetGalley.
Stronger Than You Know
Blurb (from Goodreads):
After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she’s sure she’ll never belong. Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy’s got a whole list of reasons why she’s crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family. But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother’s trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in the new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?

Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

My rating: 3.13 of 5 stars



Stronger Than You Know(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Albert Whitman & Company and NetGalley.)
16-year-old Joy has spent her entire life in a caravan with her mother and her continual string of abusive boyfriends. Joy has been abused emotionally, physically, and sexually, but now she’s free to live the rest of her life with her aunt, if only she can come to terms with what has happened to her.
Can Joy heal? And can she learn to not be scared of men?


This was an okay story, but I didn’t like it as much as I expected to.

Joy was a really messed up girl. It was obvious how much her life with her mother had affected her, and it was obvious that those sort of wounds wouldn’t be healed overnight. I did feel sorry for her and what she had gone through, but I also wanted her to open up and begin to heal too.

The storyline in this was okay, but it just felt a bit lacking to me. The story was basically concerned with Joy overcoming her past, and learning to move on with her future, but there wasn’t a whole lot else to it until the very end. The whole story was concerned with Joy’s journey, and that just wasn’t quite enough to keep me interested unfortunately.
There was a touch of romance, which was okay, but I didn’t really like that either.
The ending was okay, and we did get a bit more action towards the end, but it really was the very, very end, and it didn’t last long then!
Overall; okay story, but I didn’t love it,
6.25 out of 10.


Sunday, 31 August 2014

My Control (Inside Out #4.1) by Lisa Renee Jones

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley.
My Control (Inside Out, #4.1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Mark's POV novella

I have lost the man I once was, letting guilt and heartache define who I am. Darkness has controlled me, and one woman has seen what no one else has seen in me, what I do not wish to exist. My hunger for her has driven me to the edge of sanity, but no more. She's about to find out that the Master has returned.
 

My Control by Lisa Renee Jones

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


My Control (Inside Out, #4.1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Gallery, Threshold, Pocket Books and NetGalley.)

This was short, sexy, and filled with both emotion and intrigue! I really didn’t want it to end!

I have to say that I love reading about Mark and Crystal, they’re so right together, but she also pushes him out of his comfort zone, and forces him to feel things that he doesn’t want to feel. It is so good to see Mark not in control for once!

The storyline in this was good and led on from the previous two novellas about Mark and Crystal. It was really good to see more of these two, and to also see the effects of things we discovered in ‘No In Between’ on Mark and his relationship with Crystal. I got so into this book that I didn’t want it to end, and I can’t wait to find out what happens in ‘I belong to you’!
There were some sexy scenes in this, and as usual they were steamy, but I loved how the sex wasn’t the only thing about this book, there was mystery too.

I really enjoyed this, and I really can’t wait to read ‘I belong to you’ now!
8 out of 10


Saturday, 30 August 2014

The Sandman (Joona Linna #4) by Lars Kepler

Sponsored post: I received a paperback ARC of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins.
The SandmanBlurb (From Goodreads):
The No 1 Swedish thriller by the author of The Hypnotist and The Fire Witness
During a cold winter night in Stockholm a young man is found walking alongside a railway bridge. The hospital declares that he is suffering from hypothermia and legionella. They also discover a death certificate stating that the man has been dead for over seven years.
The man was a victim of the serial killer Jurek Walter, who was arrested by Detective Inspector Joona Linna.
Jurek Walter was convicted to forensic psychiatric care, a sentence served in total isolation. But where has this man been during all these years? Due to an unexpected testimony the case is reopened.
Someone needs to get under Jurek’s skin and fast.

The Sandman by Lars Kepler

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


The Sandman(Source: I received a paperback ARC of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins.)

This was an interesting crime novel, but I did find the pace a little slow.

Joona was an interesting character, and it seemed like he had really quite drastically changed his life because of the serial killer known as ‘The Sandman’. The Sandman himself was a really creepy guy, and he certainly did seem to have an air of the paranormal, as well as the sociopath about him.

The storyline in this was alright, but the pace was really slow. It seemed like there was a lot of stuff in there that was inconsequential to the story, and it just slowed everything down.
There were some creepy moments in this, and some blood-shed, although I actually found the actions of one of the doctors to be extremely unprofessional and disgusting, and he should have been in prison himself!

The ending to this had a bit of action, but also left us with a bit of a cliff-hanger. While this was an interesting book, it wasn’t a particularly pleasant book though, so if you don’t like creepy stuff, blood, and lots of dead bodies, I wouldn’t read this!
Overall; interesting crime story,
6.5 out of 10.


Thursday, 28 August 2014

Ghost House (Untitled #1) by Alexandra Adornetto

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley.
Ghost House (Untitled, #1)
Blurb (from Goodreads):
From the New York Times bestselling author of Halo comes the start of a beautiful and powerful new series.

After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother's country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…

Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander's past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own.


Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto

My rating: 3.75 of 5 stars


Ghost House (Untitled, #1)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Harlequin TEEN and NetGalley.)
17-year-old Chloe is devastated when her mother dies unexpectedly, and then angry when her Grandmother wants her to go and live with her in England for a while whilst she grieves.
Once Chloe arrives at her Grandmother’s stately home, which doubles as a bed-and-breakfast, she is surprised to find that her ability to see ghosts may come in handy with the number of ghosts floating around the property, and even finds herself attracted to the boy called Alex.
What painful past caused the ghosts to be so unsettled? And can Chloe really help?


This was an interesting ghost story, and even though it did have a rough patch, I ended up really enjoying it.

I really liked Chloe, and I liked how she changed throughout the book. I really couldn’t stand her at the beginning, she behaved like such a brat, she was selfish, and mean, and mocked British people! I was so glad that during the story she changed, growing up, realising what was important and what wasn’t, and having the strength to do what needed to be done, even if she didn’t want to.
The storyline was quite good, although it did have a rough patch. At 47% I didn’t think I was going to like this book, especially because of one of the ghosts who seemed to be telling Chloe that he was in love with her! I was really not impressed by that!
Thankfully the story picked up after this though, and even expanded, turning this story from a story about a girl and a ghost, to a story about a girl with the strength to save people she loved, and to put tortured ghosts to rest.

There was some romance, and funnily enough, I was kind-of glad when this turned into a love triangle. I really was not loving the whole ‘a ghost is in love with me’ thing, and so the arrival of a real live human boy to the mix was a bit of a relief!

The ending was good, and I liked the way things were resolved. The very last chapter left us with a bit of a cliff-hanger though, and I really want to read the next book in the series now to find out what is going on!
Overall; good ghost story,
7.5 out of 10


Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Feral by Holly Schindler

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
Feral
Blurb (from Goodreads):
The Lovely Bones meets Black Swan in this haunting psychological thriller with twists and turns that will make you question everything you think you know.

It’s too late for you. You’re dead. Those words continue to haunt Claire Cain months after she barely survived a brutal beating in Chicago. So when her father is offered a job in another state, Claire is hopeful that getting out will offer her a way to start anew.

But when she arrives in Peculiar, Missouri, Claire feels an overwhelming sense of danger, and her fears are confirmed when she discovers the body of a popular high school student in the icy woods behind the school, surrounded by the town’s feral cats. While everyone is quick to say it was an accident, Claire knows there’s more to it, and vows to learn the truth about what happened.

But the closer she gets to uncovering the mystery, the closer she also gets to realizing a frightening reality about herself and the damage she truly sustained in that Chicago alley….

Holly Schindler’s gripping story is filled with heart-stopping twists and turns that will keep readers guessing until the very last page.



Feral by Holly Schindler

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


Feral(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
17-year-old Claire was the victim of a horrible attack that left her scared both physically and mentally. When she moves to the small town of Peculiar, she somehow finds herself involved in uncovering an attack on another girl that resulted in her death.
Who killed Serena? And will Claire find out before something happens to her?


This was an okay story, but it did seem to drag a bit.

Claire was an okay character. The attack that happened to her at the beginning of the book was horrific, so it was really brave of her to carry on with her life the way she did after everything she had been through. I did wonder at times though how much of the weird stuff that was going on was really paranormal in nature, and how much was due to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder following the attack.

The storyline in this was pretty good, but I found the pace to be a bit too slow. At the 35% mark I felt like I had been reading for ages, and very little had happened. I wanted things to develop quicker, I wanted to get answers quicker, I want more spooky stuff, and more excitement, but the slow pace made this drag for me, which was disappointing. There were some gruesome scenes, that I would expect to find in a horror story, but there weren’t a lot of them, so this was quite light on the horror (thankfully).
There wasn’t really any romance in here, other than as a detail of the mystery rather than an actual romance.
The ending to this was okay, and I was glad to find out what had really happened to Serena, I just wish it hadn’t taken quite so long to get there though.
Overall; okay story, but it dragged,
6.5 out of 10.


Tuesday, 26 August 2014

The Swap by Megan Shull

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.
The Swap
Blurb (from Goodreads):
“YOU BE ME...AND I'LL BE YOU.”

ELLIE spent the summer before seventh grade getting dropped by her best friend since forever. JACK spent it training in “The Cage” with his tough-as-nails brothers and hard-to-please dad. By the time middle school starts, they’re both ready for a change. And just as Jack’s thinking girls have it so easy, Ellie’s wishing she could be anyone but herself.

Then, BAM! They swap lives—and bodies!

Now Jack’s fending off mean girls at sleepover parties while Ellie’s reigning as the Prince of Thatcher Middle School. As their crazy weekend races on—and their feelings for each other grow—Ellie and Jack begin to realize that maybe the best way to learn how to be yourself is to spend a little time being someone else.


The Swap by Megan Shull

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


The Swap(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to HarperCollins and Edelweiss.)
12-year-old Ellie is being bullied by her friends, whilst 13-year-old Jack is being pressured by his father. When they joke that it would be fun to swap lives, they never expect it to actually happen.
Can Ellie learn to go to the bathroom as a boy? And how long can Jack survive for without taking a shower?


This was an okay story, and appropriate for younger teens.

Ellie and Jack were both okay characters, and it was nice how they both grew and learned things about both themselves and their lives during their swap. It was also nice how they each respected each other as well.

The storyline in this was okay, although I would say it’s definitely aimed at younger teens. The funniest part of this was when Ellie realised that she would have to deal with Jack’s tackle when she needed to pee, and Jack getting harassed about whether Ellie had started her period yet!
There was a little romance, but it wasn’t a bit part of the storyline.
The ending was okay, and it was nice how they both learned things from one another, and grew as people.
Overall; nice story for younger teens.
6 out of 10.


Monday, 25 August 2014

A Kiss by the Book (Kiss & Tell #2) by Christy Hayes

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to CAH LLC and Netgalley.
A Kiss by the Book (Kiss & Tell, Book 2)
Blurb (From Goodreads):
College senior Zach Chamberlain’s charmed life has always gone according to script:
Date the prettiest girl in high school, check.
Football scholarship to a division-one school, check.
Heisman contender, check.
Buy engagement ring, check.
On track to graduate with honors, check.
There’s just one glitch. His girlfriend is in love with his younger brother and breaks up with him in the middle of his senior season. Shocked, betrayed, and embarrassed, Zach turns to the only woman he can trust: his nerdy tutor.

Tutoring college athletes at Southeastern State University is more than a job for Jenna Peterson; it’s a way for her to pay it forward after long-ago tragedy struck too close to home. SE State’s golden boy, Zach Chamberlain, isn’t the first jock Jenna’s tutored with cover-boy good looks, and he won’t be the last. When he asks for her help with statistics, Jenna assumes he’s as egocentric as the other athletes on her roster. A wildly inappropriate and lackluster kiss at the worst possible time doesn’t do much to disprove her theory.

Zach will do anything to save face in front of his family, and he uses Jenna’s bleeding heart and unfortunate circumstances to enlist her help over the holidays. Jenna begins to realize Zach is more than a pretty face as his storybook life begins to unravel. When a sprig of mistletoe provides the perfect opportunity for Zach to affirm his skill, the searing kiss pits the playmaker against the rule maker in a kiss to the end. When secrets are revealed and the game’s on the line, will they follow the script, improvise, or throw the book out the window?


A Kiss by the Book by Christy Hayes

My rating: 4.25 of 5 stars


A Kiss by the Book (Kiss & Tell, Book 2)(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to CAH LLC and Netgalley.)

This was a really good YA/NA romance story, although there were once again some funny lines!

I really liked Zach and Jenna in this. I wasn’t Zach’s biggest fan in the first book, after all who moans at their girlfriend for breaking up with them before a big football game? I mean what a tool! Thankfully though I liked Zach in this, even forgiving that line! Zach turned out to actually be a sweet guy, and he and Jenna made a really good match.

The storyline in this was good, and I am so glad that I decided to read it! I switched to this book for a break from another book, but liked this so much that I read 80% of this before going back to the other book! I really enjoyed this one, even though there were a few dodgy lines –

“that flick of her finger made his kickstand spring to attention.”
His kickstand? I’ve never heard it called that before!

“Her tiger was about to meet his lion, and together they’d roar.”
Really?!

“(she) couldn’t help but marvel at his perfect arches. Even his feet were beautiful.”
Again, really?

Anyway, the romance in this was really good, and I really loved how Zach and Jenna slowly got to know each other. The kisses and sex scene were hot, and Zach and Jenna made such a great pair!

The ending to this was pretty good, and I was glad that we got a ‘happily ever after’ for Zach and Jenna!
Overall; great YA/NA contemporary romance,
8.5 out of 10.


Sunday, 24 August 2014

Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Mark My Words Book Publicity and NetGalley.
Every Ugly Word
Blurb (from Goodreads):
When seventeen-year-old Ashley Watson walks through the halls of her high school bullies taunt and shove her. She can’t go a day without fighting with her mother. And no matter how hard she tries, she can’t make her best friend, Matt, fall in love with her. But Ashley also has something no one else does: a literal glimpse into the future. When Ashley looks into the mirror, she can see her twenty-three-year-old self.

Her older self has been through it all already—she endured the bullying, survived the heartbreak, and heard every ugly word her classmates threw at her. But her older self is also keeping a dark secret: Something terrible is about to happen to Ashley. Something that will change her life forever. Something even her older self is powerless to stop.


Every Ugly Word by Aimee L. Salter

My rating: 3.25 of 5 stars


Every Ugly Word(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Mark My Words Book Publicity and NetGalley.)
17-year-old Ashley is stuck in an institution talking to a psychiatrist.
What happened to lead Ashley to the institution? Is she really crazy? And where does she go from here?


This was an interesting story, but it was difficult to know what was real and what wasn’t.

Ashley was an interesting character, and I felt so sorry for her and the bullying she had to put up with. I too know what bullying is like and it is not nice, and I totally understood why Ashley found her life so unliveable at times.

The storyline in this was quite interesting, the story alternated between Ashley and a psychiatrist, and the events that Ashley was describing. I found the mystery over what had happened quite compelling, and I wanted to know what had gone on so badly!
The bullying in this was truly awful and reminded me of why I am so glad to be finished with school. The treatment that Ashley received from people who were supposed to be her friends was disgusting, and I hated what they did to her so much. The fact that she had to go through this was just shocking, and to have no-one to turn to was even worse.

There was a touch of romance in this one, but it wasn’t too much. I did have issues about how the romance would develop though, as it seemed to be quite a difficult position that Ashley was forced into.

The ending to this was a little confusing, and I’m still not 100% sure what exactly happened. I was pleased that Ashley finally got some relief though, and seemed to finally be getting something worthwhile out of her life.
Overall; interesting story about bullying,
6.5 out of 10.


Saturday, 23 August 2014

Breathe for Me by Rhonda Helms

Sponsored post: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley.
Breathe for Me
Blurb (from Goodreads):
Isabel’s been cursed since the Middle Ages.

Desperate to escape an arranged marriage, she made a hasty bargain with a demon, asking for liberation from an oppressive husband-to-be and the excitement of travel. But the demon’s “gift” came at a steep cost. Each time he moves her to a new city, her memory’s wiped. No one can touch her bare skin without injury or even death. And she sees the lifespan of every living being (and is, in fact, immortal herself).

All a constant reminder that she’s different than other teen girls.

But New Orleans seems to accept her as she is. She has friends and a real life in this quirky, hot city. Then Isabel meets Dominic, whose deep soul and strong character draw her to him. Her growing love gives her the courage to confront the demon, insisting the curse be broken. But the demon’s price for freedom is much, much higher than she could possibly give.


Breathe for Me by Rhonda Helms

My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Breathe for Me(Source: I received a digital copy of this book for free on a read-to-review basis. Thanks to Spencer Hill Press and NetGalley.)

This was a really good paranormal romance, and I really enjoyed it.

I really liked Isabel and Dominic. It was really sad the way Isabel was limited by the curse inflicted on her, and it must have been awful to have been unable to touch anyone, and Dominic was so strong in the way he tried to help her, even when it meant putting himself in danger.

The storyline in this was good, and I enjoyed it. I loved the way Isabel slowly opened up to Dominic, and I loved the way they both tried to be so strong for one another. The no-touching, no-kissing thing certainly sparked some tension, and I loved the way the pair of them slowly grew to love one another, even against the odds.

The ending to this was really good, and I loved how high the stakes were right up until the end!
Overall; great YA paranormal romance,
8 out of 10.