Wednesday, February 26, 2014

BLOG TOUR: REVIEW - THAT ONE SUMMER by C.J. Duggan


Today I am very pleased to be a part of the blog tour for That One Summer through YA Bound Book Tours. I have positively enjoyed her previous books The Boys of Summer, which you can find me review here, and An Endless Summer, where you can find here. I can tell you that she doesn't disappoint in this one. My stop today is a review, be sure to visit other in the tour through her the tour schedule, here

That One Summer (Summer #3)
by C.J. Duggan
Release Date - 17/12/2013
Buy - The Series


Loving Chris Henderson would be wrong. Diabolically disastrous. I mean, what is there about him to love? He’s moody, bossy, brooding, a control freak, and that’s on a good day … but there was one achingly obvious fact that haunted my every thought, every minute of every day …

He sure could kiss.

As the countdown to the new millennium begins, there is one thing everyone agrees on: no one wants to be in Onslow for New Year’s Eve.

So that can only mean one thing: road trip!

No longer the mousey, invisible, shy girl from years ago, Tammy Maskala is finally making up for all those lost summers. A new year with new friends, which astoundingly includes the bossy boy behind the bar, Chris Henderson.

She likes her new friends (at least most of them), so why does she secretly feel so out of place?

After chickening out on the trip, a last-minute change of heart sees Tammy racing to the Onslow Hotel, fearing she’s missed her chance for a ride. The last thing she expected to meet was a less-than-happy Onslow Boy leaning against his black panel van.

Now the countdown begins to reach the others at Point Shank before the party is over and the new year has begun. Alone in a car with only the infuriating Chris Henderson, Tammy can’t help but feel this is a disastrous start to what could have been a great adventure. But when the awkward road trip takes an unexpected turn, Tammy soon discovers that the way her traitorous heart feels about Chris is the biggest disaster of all.

Fogged up windows, moonlight swimming, bad karaoke and unearthed secrets; after this one summer nothing will ever be the same again.
Well, C.J. Duggan has done it again. I will always enjoy a good contemporary romance, I mean who wouldn't I guess you could say I'm a hopeless romantic, the written word will always succumb to that for me. 

That One Summer continues in the Austrailian Summer of the last day of  1999 and the beginning of the brand new millennium. We continue the relations between the Onslow Boys and they greatest adventures. This novel seeks the likes of Tammy, when her best friend Amy returns to the Onslow Hotel, and with the like of Sean and the other boys, she feels widely outside of her comfort zone. To be accepted and part of such a popular, and to be honest, hot swoon-worthy guys who have a reputation to uphold. She didn't know that an outcast such as herself would be finding herself in a van for a New Years Trip with the moody likes of Chris Henderson, my oh my! 

Chris Henderson was a very yummy character to see as Duggan's lastest redavous within her novel. He is however, a little bit more of a cliche than the rest of the Onslow Boys. He was brooding, moody, distracted, and the most unenthusiastic person/ handsome man you could meet. Cracking a smile upon her permanent frown is hard to come by for Chris until the very beautiful (as she is) Tammy comes for the ride. I have to agree this makes me think of Bridget Jones in the most minimal form... In a way though, beneath that tough exterior he really is the shy boy boy who has fallen deeply and madly in love with Tammy Maskala,

What I was surprised about was that I only twigged it was the 1900s that this series was set in.. its not evident in her writing at all and her style screams modern to be. I can just imagine everything now, in this time, it was very present and I loved how her writing can be adapted to converse between two eras. When previous protagonist become the secondary characters that us what I really admire about this series. It gives the book a real sense of family, friendship and love. There is the forever the characters that have been created by this author. 

I don't compare very easily with other authors but I would be hesitant to say that The One Summer are not far beyond the the writing and premise of Katie McGarry. C. J. Duggan creates a seamlessly beautiful summer romance between a group's most shy and vulnerable personas. 

Rating - 5

Don't forget to enter the giveaway below... Thanks for stopping by. 


Wednesday, February 19, 2014

MINI REVIEWS - A BREATH OF FROST by Alyxandra Harvey & ANYTHING TO HAVE YOU by Paige Harbison

A Breath of Frost (The Lovegrove Legacy #1)
by Alyxandra Harvey
Publisher - Bloomsbury
Release Date - January 2nd 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository
                      
A Breath of Frost is just as it said 'Perfect for the fans of Cassandra Clare'. It does show some similarities between both the series but I felt that as this is my first from this author, It's an average read. For me it reminded me a little of the Blue Bloods series by Melissa de la Cruz without the vampires of course. Constantly I felt obliged to put this book down, but I plunged on through, it wasn't a total disappointment. I think it was Emma and Cormac that truly saved me.

The premise of the novel was something I haven't read in a while and it was one that held very little of my interest in beginning. When a group of cousins, Emma, Gretchen and Penelope find out the the true heritage of the Lovegrove Ladies, they become involved in murder, mystery and mayhem upon their own lives and those of them around them. I'm not biased but my I found that Emma was a really intriguing and interesting protagonist that I could connect with easily despite having the same name. (Haha). She was a devoted, caring and loveable character that hasn't had the most easiest of upbringings. Though overall, I felt that the cousin's together show a true and unbelievable tale of power and love to conquer everything that stood in their way. I think a very modern element to the novel that I really enjoyed towards the end.

But when Emma is faced a past friend and love interest, she is courted and helped by the handsome Cormac Fairfax. Cormac has his own secrets and one where he has to make a choice between a lady he loves and his own survival within his own family legacy. What I really did enjoy was the relationship between Emma and Cormac, as the book continued, they really blossomed on their character development, I enjoyed the book a lot more with these two characters taking center stage. I think the use of the two POVs really worked to their relationship's advantage. Emma and Cormac create the perfect distraction to reward the whole book.

I think for me what disappointed me was the writing style and the written content. Don't get me wrong I thoroughly enjoyed the debutante era, it's one of my favourites when it comes to the gowns, the dialect, the society and history. But between the various Parts of the book, towards the middle of the book, my interest really dwindled and I think there wasn't a need for that many separations within the plot. I think the premise could have been explored a lot and create such a beautiful setting, but Emma and Cormac pulled the book together. Aside from obvious lack of certain elements, I'm still looking forward how the plot will progress in the novel.

Rating - 3.5


Anything To Have You
by Page Harbinson
Publisher - MiraInk
Release Date - February 7th 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Despoitory
                   
When it comes to contemporaries, there is no stopping me requesting this one. It had the whole package, love, loss, friendship, boys, complications and pure mayhem. Just from the synopsis I could tell I was going to enjoy this one, it had a promising plotline and interesting characters. Yes it did remind me of my mixed review of Confession's of an Angry Girl/Almost Girlfriend series, like the reality of how underneath it all the life that Paige has written is very real and very true in this modern society.

I'm getting older, and I always wonder if I will ever grow out of Young Adult Books but this one is proof that I won't. That's based on the author's written style and how you relate or connect with the character. That was largely down to Natalie's character. Natalie and Brooke are best friends, but Natalie is very reserved sort of girl, she an ideal of love and romance, the boy to hold hands with and share everything with. She has no interest in being your party girl, she didn't see a reason too. Now that they are starting their final year in school, Brooke wants to set her up with someone, to get Natalie "out there", they start with a party... Old relationships into new ones, friendships are torn and broken...

What I loved about Natalie, was her self-control and how she faced the world everyday... she just want's to get on with her life.I admired that about Natalie, she knew her boundaries and she wasn't afraid of being that girl.  Aside from Natalie's persona, the little things really stood out after that night, her friendship with Brooke's boyfriend Aiden changed, they started hanging more, laughing, flirting, smiling, making each other happy. They knew and I that their relationship had turned a table, one that weren't ready for just yet.  I was completely addicted to this novel and I know she was the reason to it.

What annoyed me was Brooke, I was really disappointed when it just swapped over into her POV going back to very beginning of the book with her perspective... I think even from Natalie's perspective she was quite a pushy friend. She may have her back but I felt she was lost in her own life that she'll destroy another if she wasn't careful. For me it would have been to have continued in Paige's narrative, she held all the cards for a brilliant protagonist. Maybe because Brooke was the sort of character I was hoping to avoid in sharing her feeling with. I really thought that Aiden would have made a brilliant second protagonist if there could be a change in the second one. But in spite of everything the moral of the story was between two best friends who needed to sort their own life and progress from there. With a few reservations, I think this is a average/exceptional standalone read.

Rating - 3.5

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

BLOG TOUR - Rome by Jay Crownover

Today I'm delighted to have my review of Rome, the third novel in the Marked Men series and an Q&A with the author Jay Crownover. This is another brilliant New Adult series that I have only just discovered and I'm looking forward to more in the future. Here is a little bit about the book...


Rome (Marked Men #3)
by Jay Crownover
Publisher - HarperCollins
Release Date - January 2nd 2014
Buy - Amazon | Book Depository 


Cora Lewis is a whole lot of fun, and she knows how to keep her tattooed bad boy friends in line. But all that flash and sass hide the fact that she’s never gotten over the way her first love broke her heart. Now she has a plan to make sure that never happens again: She’s only going to fall in love with someone perfect.

Rome Archer is as far from perfect as a man can be. He’s stubborn and rigid, he’s bossy and has come back from his final tour of duty fundamentally broken. Rome’s used to filling a role: big brother, doting son, super soldier; and now none of these fit anymore. Now he’s just a man trying to figure out what to do with the rest of his life while keeping the demons of war and loss at bay. He would have been glad to suffer it alone, until Cora comes sweeping into his life and becomes the only color on his bleak horizon.
Perfect isn’t in the cards for these two, but imperfect might just last forever . . .
Is it hard to believe that this is the first book in the series that I've read!? I haven't read Rule or Jet but to be honest with you, it didn't make a difference to me it actually made me more intrigued by the idea of finding out who these people were without reading their own story for myself. I never got out of a series but for me I didn't matter. Its about the character's and the development of such an amazing premise behind it.

Marked Man, Rome Archer is a lot to be desired for. An ex-soldier fighting in the Afghanistan has a lot of scars both metaphorically and physically. He was easily engaged and liked before his release into the war, now he stands between his future and the reality to get there. As a man conflicted by war and death, he has a depth to him that is even more desirable, when it come to the main characters of a NA novel. Jay has a way with words, it didn't take me long to really love him, I mean if this is anything to go by then Rule and Jet must be...yummy for what of a better word I couldn't think of. When an unusually perky, tattooed and lovable character such as Cora swings by the counter of the family tattoo shop, he knew he is in a new lot of trouble.

Written from Cora's perspective, she has suffered a hard loss from a broken heart of being cheated on... constantly absent minded about others around, all she wants is to forget her past and move on with someone else. When you plan you life with a person  who doesn't love just as much it become hard for Cora to really be invested in a relationship. She has been surrounded by a family of brothers for all her life, brought up and raised so they will protect her from anything. What touched me a lot was the love, care and support from such a tight knit family that aren't blood related but are just as close. Rule is a personal favourite of mine and I really looking forward to getting know him a lot more intimately in his own novel.

I think that's how I think of these NA novels of the Marked Men, they are individual because they focus so much on the main character. But the background of their relations form such a loveable family that there is where the series lies within. If you want a Marked Man or a whole family of gorgeous Marked Men then check out Jay Crownover novels, I encourage you all too *winks at you maddly*

Rating - 4.5


A Q&A with Jay Crownover... 


1. The Marked Men series is about men with physical or metaphorical scars, what influenced you to take this theme into a series and how does this differ from other NA novels?

We as humans are all marked in one way or the other, but it's those marks that really define who we are as individuals. I loved the idea of having Rule and Remy...identical in so many ways but really marked in totally different ones. Rule is hyper-honest, blatantly says what’s on his mind and marked his body as a way to stand out and claim his skin as his own. Remy kept secrets, lied and used people, and it affected his life really tragically which we find out in Rome. Of the twins Remy is really the one carrying around ugly, painful marks even though on the outside he his perfect and polished. It was just an interesting concept that could be applied to all of the characters I was dealing with.

I think my NA is different than most other NA because it tends to be a little more on the sexy side and while the stuff I deal with is socially current and relevant I'm looking at it through a much narrower scope of this specific sub-culture of tattooed and rock and roll people. I really think my NA comes from inside the heart of the world rather than me just guessing about how people that move in that circle act. I really do write what I know, I just had way sexier guys, prettier girls and a whole bunch more drama!!

2. Do any of the Marked Men have similar or inspirational qualities from your personal life?

Sure. The Marked Men and their ladies represent MY kind of people. People that are interesting and modified, people that are artistic and interesting. I write all of them from a place where I think this group is a group of characters I would seamlessly fit into if they were real. I think each and every one of the characters thus far has a character trait I either admire in others or find attractive in the opposite sex, or do indeed posses myself. They are all very much a piece of me.

3. There was one question that left me wondering at the end of Rome was; did Cora have the baby, or does that spoil some of the background plot in the next book?

Of course she's going to have the baby. This always baffles me. She's pregnant and clearly can't stay pregnant forever so a baby has to be coming sooner or later. I write about a world that is moving, living and evolving with each book. I didn't feel like she need to go into labour at the end of her book just because. It would have rushed the timeline and it's silly to just wrap a story up with bow just because. Not every romance needs to end with a wedding or a baby or an engagement - and considering my books always move the world and the plot for the previous couples forward I have more space and more room to work with long-term happy endings. If readers really want to learn about the baby or really want to see what happens after Rule proposed to Shaw then they just have to read Nash!

4. Does this series have a moral or personal message you wanted to convey through your writing?
I feel like I always try and convey some major issues that matter to me. You are okay just the way you are, no matter how you look, what you are told, or what the world tries to make you believe.

There is always someone out there that will love the heart of you no matter what it might be buried under physically or emotionally. I like to think the idea that we can make our own family that goes beyond blood ties comes through in my books.

And of course I really try and show that sub-culture and things that are less mainstream are still relevant to the world and that just because someone has made some choices that set them apart from the norm it doesn't mean they love or live any differently than the average Joe.


Thank you to the lovely Jay for being on my blog and interviewing her. So PLEASE read her books... they are brilliant!