Tag Archives: New adult

Guest post: Writing characters – how to make them believable by S.C. Stephens

16 Sep

Please welcome fab author S.C. Stephens to One More Page today with a little guest post to celebrate the release of her new novel, Furious Rush. S.C. Stephens is a bestselling author who enjoys spending every free moment she has creating stories that are packed with emotion and heavy on romance.

In addition to writing, Stephens enjoys spending lazy afternoons in the sun reading fabulous novels, loading up her iPod with writer’s block reducing music, heading out to the movies, and spending quality time with her friends and family. She currently resides in the beautiful Pacific Northwest with her two equally beautiful children.

I truly believe that everyone does things for a reason. A guy sleeps with a ton of women–there’s an underlying reason. sc stephensStealing, drugs, drinking–somewhere, buried deep at times, there’s a reason behind it. One of the key parts of making a character believable, is showing the reader that reason, and letting them know why the character does the things they do. That’s what my editors call character motivation and it’s a major plot-mover.

Every writer’s process works differently, but for me, I have the two main characters drawn up in my mind long before anything is on the page about them. I imagine what their problems might be, what keeps them apart, what eventually brings them together, and then I consider how those things might happen in real life.

It feels very natural for me to think about them as people, and by the end of the story, it’s almost as if they’ve become real people to me. In my THOUGHTLESS series, Kellan was inspired by ­­­­music, and the lifestyle that musicians have. In FURIOUS RUSH, Hayden was the natural hero to me for Kenzie in this high pressure sport. Where she is strict and regimented, he is wild and adventurous. Just being around him causes her character to grow. He’s the yin to her yang.

furious rushFURIOUS RUSH by S.C. Stephens (Piatkus) is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

For Mackenzie Cox, racing motorcycles is in her blood. Born into a family legacy, she’s determined to show the world that she has inherited her father’s talent in this male-dominated sport. The last thing Kenzie needs is to be antagonised by her rival team’s newest rider, Hayden Hayes. Hayden, exceedingly arrogant and outrageously attractive, immediately gets under Kenzie’s skin and she can’t help but be distracted.

As Kenzie and Hayden push each other on the track, the electric energy between them off the track shifts into an intense – and strictly forbidden – attraction. The only rule between their two ultra-competitive teams is zero contact. Kenzie needs a win, and she also needs to stay away from Hayden. Unfortunately for her though, one thing has become all too clear: she can’t.

Fuelled by passion, driven by desire, Hayden and Mackenzie both want to win more than anything else. Except for, maybe, each other. But anger, jealousy and extreme competitiveness aren’t their only obstacles . . .

Find out more about S.C Stephens and her writing at: http://authorscstephens.com/

Book review: Last Call At the Nightshade Lounge by Paul Krueger

12 Jun

nightshade loungeCollege grad Bailey Chen has a few demons: no job, no parental support, and a rocky relationship with Zane, the only friend who’s around when she moves back home. But when Zane introduces Bailey to his cadre of monster-fighting bartenders, her demons get a lot more literal. Like, soul-sucking hell-beast literal. Soon, it’s up to Bailey and the ragtag band of magical mixologists to take on whatever-or whoever-is behind the mysterious rash of gruesome deaths in Chicago, and complete the lost recipes of an ancient tome of cocktail lore. 

So, who hasn’t felt like they could do anything when they’d had a cocktail or two?! This book is for all those cocktail lovers who’ve dreamed of being a superhero (or Buffy!) and is a quirky and fun urban fantasy story. Last Call At the Nightshade Lounge is a fun and original urban fantasy novel set in Chicago. Although the book falls into the ‘new adult’ age bracket, I think it would appeal to young adult and adult readers too and there is a good breadth of diverse characters with someone for everyone to root for! The story focuses on Bailey Chan. Bailey has just left university and is facing a number of new adult issues; finding her way in the world, finding her first job and hoping to escape from living with her Mom and Dad.

I liked Bailey from the start; she’s bright and clever and a little bit of an overachiever but not so much that it put me off and I loved her realistic take on the world. While Bailey works out what she’s going to do with her life, her high school friend Zane has found her a job as a bar back in his uncle’s bar and this is where the fun really starts. Bailey accidentally stumbles into the secret and ancient society of barkeepers that Zane’s uncle’s bar provides a cover for and discovers that cocktails really can be magical. Last Call At the Nightshade Lounge is a book for fans of TV series like Heroes and Buffy and I could see this as a TV series in its own right.

The chapters are faced paced and the blend of action, romance, magic and Bailey’s story is an excellent little cocktail in its own right. I love how Quirk Books make their books look special too. The story chapters in Last Call at the Nightshade Lounge are interspersed with pages and recipes from The Devil’s Water Dictionary – the cocktail manual that Bailey is given when she starts her undercover work protecting the citizens of Chicago from the horrible ‘tremens’.  These are all cocktails that you can actually make and there are 15 delicious sounding recipes for you to try from the Screwdriver to the White Russian. I loved the histories included about each drink and its creation and the manual pages not only gave depth to the story but added and extra dimension to the book.

As the story progresses it becomes clear that strange things are happening in Chicago and even the tremens are acting differently. The race is on to make the ultimate cocktail – a drink that will bestow immortality on its owner. As Halloween approaches Bailey and her new friends have their work cut out and as the tension built I couldn’t put this book down. I’ll be eagerly looking forward to Paul Krueger’s next novel!

4/5

Last Call At The Nightshade Lounge is out now in paperback and ebook formats from Quirk Books.

Find out more about Paul and his writing at: https://paulkrueger.net/

I’d like to thank Jamie at Quirk Books for providing me with a review copy of this novel.

Book review: The Moment of Letting Go by J. A. Redmerski

4 Sep

9780349410043You can follow the rules or you can follow your heart…

Sienna Murphy never does anything without a plan. And so far her plans have been working. Right after college, she got a prestigious job and gained the stability she’d always craved – until work takes her to the sun-drenched shores of Oahu and places her in the path of sexy surfer Luke Everett. For the first time, she lets her heart take control. Drawn to his carefree charm, she makes a spontaneous and very un-Sienna-like decision to drop everything and stay in Hawaii for two more weeks.

Luke lives fast and wild. When he meets Sienna, he’s convinced that some no-strings-attached fun is just what she needs. As their nights quickly turn from playful to passionate, Luke can’t deny the deep connection he feels. But there’s a reason Luke doesn’t do long-term. He can’t promise Sienna forever, when the enormity of his past has shown him just how fragile the future can be . . .

The Moment of Letting Go is the first book by J. A. Redmerski that I’ve read but having heard such good things about her previous novels I was keen to read this one. The beautiful Hawaiian setting and promise of a handsome surfer lead might also have played a part too :-)

Workaholic event planner Sienna is sent to Hawaii to organise a high-end wedding and during her two days there she meets surfer Luke who teaches at the hotel that she is staying at. The spark between them is immediate and in a very uncharacteristic move Sienna decides to take some holiday and extend her stay in Hawaii so that she can get to know Luke better. I loved the spur of the moment, spontaneous storyline and this book appealed to my sense of adventure and romance.

Both Luke and Sienna are in their early twenties and young, free and single which made Sienna’s sudden change of plans plausible and I thought the story was an original take on the New Adult romance theme. I liked Luke and Sienna as characters although I did find myself suspending my disbelief a little that Sienna could be so successful in her job so quickly! I liked the initial contrast between her cautious character and Luke’s as laid back adventurer and as as the story progressed I thought both characters developed well to show that they were much more than their initial impressions.

The dual narrative kept the story interesting and I loved that we got to see both sides of the relationship as it developed. The theme of letting go is a strong one throughout the book as Sienna confronts her fears and Luke comes to terms with the events of his past. The mix of holiday romance, adventure and fun with more serious themes worked well and although this was a quick read I found that I cared about what happened to both characters. There’s also a strong supporting cast and I particularly liked Seth and Kendra’s story too.

The Moment of Letting Go is a fast paced whirlwind romance that I enjoyed a lot. It’s the perfect end of summer read and will definitely leave you with a warm glow!

4/5

The Moment of Letting Go is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Piatkus for providing a review copy of this book.

Find out more about J. A. Redmerski and her writing at: http://jessicaredmerski.com/

 

Book review: Sweet Ache by K Bromberg

23 Jul

Hawkin Play, the bad boy rock star with a good guy heart, has lived a lifetime of cleaning up after his twin brother’s mistakes. Hunter’s most recent screwup could land Hawke in jail and risk the band’s future. Hawke agrees to guest lecture at a local college to stay in the judge’s good graces-and a bet with his bandmate to seduce his sexy teaching assistant is icing on the cake.

Quinlan Westin is harder to bed than Hawke imagined. She knows his type and is determined to avoid the rocker at all costs-even if their attraction runs deeper than simple lust.

Just as Hawke might finally be winning over the girl, his brother has other plans. When Hunter realizes his twin finally has a weakness, he’ll stop at nothing to take advantage…

Sweet Ache is the sixth novel in Kelly Bromberg’s Driven series but don’t worry if you haven’t read any of the others – I hadn’t either and this story stands perfectly well on its own.

This is the story of Hunter and Hawkin Play (such great names!) and their turbulent relationship as brothers. There’s emotional turmoil a-plenty and having pegged Hunter as the quintessential bad boy rocker at the start of the book, I was surprised as his back story was revealed. If you weren’t already enraptured by his flirtatious personality, good looks and musical talent, I think you’ll find it hard not to love him when you find out what he’s gone through and is still going through in his life!

Quinlan Westin makes a fab female lead and can certainly give as good as she gets. The banter between Quin and Hawke sparked off the page from the start. With a very well written love/hate relationship, Bromberg sure knows how to build the tension between her leading man and woman and I was hooked from the beginning.  This book comes with a hot, hot, hot romance rating from me and boy do those sparks fly!

I liked the way Bromberg put Hawk into a situation that was out of his comfort zone and set the scene for him to meet Quin but aside from the romance element to this novel there is a dark and emotional side that tore at my heart strings. As Hunter and Hawk’s back story and relationships with their parents was revealed, I was shocked – it takes a lot to surprise me in a book but I did not see the twist in the tale coming which makes Sweet Ache a story that I won’t forget easily.

It’s always good to discover a new author and I really enjoyed this book so it’s great to see that Kelly has a large back catalogue for me to read in future!

4/5

Sweet Ache is out now in paperback and ebook formats from Piatkus.

Find out more about K Bromberg and her writing at: http://www.kbromberg.com/

I’d like to thank the publisher for sending me a review copy of this book.

Author interview: D B Nielsen

8 Mar

Today I’m delighted to welcome D B Nielsen to One More Page to tell us about her new adventure series Keepers of Genesis. The four-part series perfect for fans of Twilight and A Discovery of Witches. A magical blend of romance, fantasy and fascinating ancient history. The second part, SCROLL, publishes this week. Welcome to One More Page!

Denise#1-PortraitPlease could you tell us a little about yourself?

I was born in British Hong Kong and immigrated to Australia with my family when I was six-months-old. I spent much of my childhood travelling the world with my family as my Dad is an architect. Now, I divide my time between Sydney and London, and enjoy visiting the cathedrals, crypts and museums all over the world. My dream project is to do a series of book tours in the Champagne region of France and High Tea establishments everywhere.

Have you always wanted to be a writer?

When I was a little girl I wanted to be a princess, a ballerina, and eventually a children’s doctor. But I always enjoyed writing. When I was in high school, I would write short stories and poetry for the school magazine and even entered a few newspaper/ magazine writing competitions.

I never formally studied creative writing – I think if you love to write (and have people read your work/s) then you’re a writer whether you’re published or not. Instead, I studied Humanities at university, majoring in English Language and Literature and Linguistics (Semiotics) and became a university lecturer. But I continued to write for fun and it was only when some of my students encouraged me to publish my novel that I thought about writing professionally (and not just publishing academic essays and articles for journals which many people would consider boring!)

My genre is YA/ NA paranormal romance, which I also love to read – you’ve got to be a fan of the genre to be a writer of the genre!

Tell us about SEED: Keepers of Genesis I

SEED is best described as The Mortal Instruments meets The Da Vinci Code. It follows the journey of Sage Woods, the seventeen-year-old daughter of an eminent archaeologist, who uncovers the disturbing secret about a powerful, hidden artefact; unearthed in modern day Southern Iraq (formerly ancient Mesopotamia). With its discovery, an ancient conflict is reignited and Sage is placed in terrible danger as, unwittingly, she stumbles into an invisible war. She is embroiled in a quest that takes her from the British Museum to the Louvre to the Vatican Secret Archives and realises that her blossoming romance with the mysterious, alluring St. John Rivers is inextricably tied to the artefact. Up until now, St. John has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Sage is determined to delve deeper to uncover his dark secret and his connection to the artefact. It is a decision that will have a devastating effect on humankind…

Do you have an academic background in History?

Readers might be surprised that I have very little background in archaeology and history. I love the subject but I never formally studied it beyond my first year at university. Yet, in the novel, there’s a lot of historical details which I tried to make as accurate as possible.

What are the main themes or ideas behind the series?

I think there are quite a few messages within the novel. One of them is that history is often stranger than fiction or fantasy. If we can understand the past, we can make sense of ourselves and our world.

Also, I want readers to understand that some things have to be taken on faith. There is much to discover still in our world – the unknown, the unexplored, the unseen – but, in the end, the story is about us; about love and mortality; the human condition.

Do you draw on personal experiences in your writing?

I would love to meet these characters or go to these places but my life is much more ordinary than that! I think the only sections I can safely say are based on events in my own life are the recipes in the novel and the Christmas celebrations I describe with the specific cultural and familial traditions and customs. The character of Sage’s mum is, perhaps, similar to my own mum who was also an artist/ designer – so she’s the only character in the novel that is close to being real.

How do you combine writing with work commitments and family life?

I’m a mum and I have four children (aged from 2 years old to 18 years old) who keep me on my toes!

Parenting comes first. I often feel guilty that I might need to lock myself away to write and have to leave the kids to my husband to take care of (he’s wonderful with them but I hear them through the closed door and just itch to get involved in their dramas) – though mainly I try to write late at night when the kids are in bed and asleep.

I don’t write every day or to a schedule but I am trying to be more disciplined as I admire writers who can write 2,000 words a day and stick to a schedule. But I’m more a stop-and-start, when-the-mood-takes-me, bash out a chapter in a day then take a hiatus for two weeks, get some inspiration from other authors/ reviewers/ readers and bash out another few thousand words, get distracted by my family (kids demanding food/ drinks/ misplaced toys/ misplaced clothes/ toilet trips…) and grind to a stop (swearing in frustration because I want to write but have to prioritize), then do it all over again.

On the upside, I do have a plan of where I want my novel to go and work around that. I always have a mental map of about half the chapters (including the beginning, climax and denouement) and let the rest work itself out.

Also, I get to spend time with the kids (dance class, soccer practice, baking brownies, school concerts, kids’ parties all have their place in my life) – but my secret is to be organized with everything else so that when I get time, I can lock myself away for an hour or two to write (and try not to feel guilty!)

On a personal note, I wrote the novel virtually one-handed whilst nursing my infant son. Typing one-handed is not my forte but I managed to write SEED within three months – a fact I’m very proud of!

Do you have any hobbies besides writing?

When not writing I love to cook. I especially love baking – cookies, cakes, brownies, scones … just about anything really. I use it as an excuse to procrastinate when writing. When I was young, the kitchen was my mother’s domain but the thing she’d let me cook was desserts. So every Saturday when my brothers went to play soccer and after my netball games, I’d rush home and bake a cake or cupcakes. It seemed to give lots of pleasure to everyone. Now I bake for my kids.

What novel do you wish you had written?

Of the classics, I wish I had written Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice as there is something rather wonderful about the story of a young, headstrong, independent woman marrying the ideal man (who appreciates her for her brains and not just because she’s attractive).

Of the contemporary novels, I wish I had written The Time Traveler’s Wife by Hiffenegger as it made me laugh and cry and think about a love that lasted a lifetime and beyond.

I would love to write futuristic dystopian novels – I know that this is probably a trend with The Maze Runner, The Hunger Games, Divergent, etc… out at the moment, but I have a couple of ideas that are slightly different from the books published at the moment and I’m hoping to be able to write them down when I finish the KEEPERS OF GENESIS series.

Of all the characters you’ve ever written, who is your favorite and why?

I think it would have to be Gabriel Chevalier because he’s such a charming, capricious, mischievous figure. Think Loki in The Avengers and Thor film series – that’s Gabriel. But Gabriel is quite charismatic and humorous too (and he’s secretly a very deep character but the right girl will be needed to unlock all his secrets).

Tell us about the second book, SCROLL, in the KEEPERS OF GENESIS series SCROLL JACKET JPEG

The second book in the series is SCROLL. It follows Sage’s sister’s journey (so the narratives in the novels are alternating between books) and her trials and tribulations. Unlike her sister, she’s confused about love and involved in a love triangle – but she’s very attracted to the Byronic hero-villain/ the bad boy figure, Phoenix (also known as Finn). Here’s an extract of the next book (soon to be published):

He leant forward, his eyes now so dark a blue that they were almost black in the emptiness of the shadowy gallery.

‘Oh, I understand perfectly,’ he said, his tone now mildly amused. ‘But do you?’

I scowled up at him as I took a step back. ‘Do I what?’

‘Do you understand what it is that you want?’

He stepped closer to me as he spoke, forcing me to retreat until I found my back pressed up against the stone monument that I had admired only moments before, ironically mirroring the event of the previous night.

I shook my head hesitantly. ‘What are you talking about? You’ve lost me. You constantly speak in riddles and I don’t understand you.’

‘Again, you do not see, because you do not choose to see, Saffron.’

This time when he said my name it was like a caress that tingled through me, electrifying every nerve ending in my body.

‘You make me forget, Saffron…’ His voice drifted off.

Staring up at him, I asked, ‘Forget what?’

But he ignored my question.

‘Is it so wrong?’ he mused again, speaking more to himself than to me.

I frowned in dismay. ‘What?’

‘Is it so terrible to want what you should not? To crave what you cannot have? Do you fear to seize what you desire? What is forbidden?’

I found the very breath strangled in my throat. Somehow our conversation had wandered down a different path and I was alarmed by the direction which it was now taking.

I didn’t know if I was ready for this.

And I had a strange feeling that Finn wasn’t just talking about me but himself. I wasn’t afraid of the wild look in his eyes, but it made my stomach flutter in an uncomfortable way, sent my pulse hammering through my veins.

I moved, but he was quicker, placing himself directly in my path.

‘Let me pass, Finn,’ I demanded futilely. But even to my own ears, my voice lacked conviction.

The top of my head scarcely reached his shoulder and I felt dwarfed, yet oddly protected, by his height and solid muscle. He slowly bent down, his lips brushing against my ear, making me shiver in reaction as his breath fanned the tendrils of loose hair curling around my left earlobe.

‘Fear and passion are but two sides of the same coin.’ The scent of fruit was stronger now. ‘You’ve felt fear, Saffron, but have you ever really felt passion?’

Musical notes dropped from his lips like pearls, seducing me.

‘We all are afraid of losing ourselves, of losing control and being possessed, and consumed. And yet, like moths drawn to the flame, we crave it.’ Finn’s eyes seemed to see into my very soul. ‘Against our better judgement, we’re tempted … and it would be so easy to give into that temptation…’

‘Finn, please. Let me pass,’ I said again, my voice even weaker. I tried to clear my throat, but instead my mouth felt dry like sandpaper.

‘You give me an order, Saffron, yet I do not feel the force of it. Perhaps you do not mean it…’ he whispered seductively into my ear. ‘Yet you could make any demand of me, if you only knew your power…’

What are you reading now?

I love discovering Indie authors so there are a few books from the #IndieBooksBeSeen movement I’m dying to read (including JC Brennan’s A Fine Line, Robert A Palmer’s Relyk, CL Schneider’s The Crown of Stones and Renee N Meland’s The Extraction List) but I’m also interested in those books recommended to me by my readers. I deliberately stay away from any books containing angels and Nephilim whilst I’m writing, but I have just discovered Rachel Caine’s The Morganville Vampires series and I’d also like to look into Jennifer Armentrout’s books that so many of my readers just love.

SCROLL: KEEPERS OF GENESIS II by DB Nielsen is published on 12th March

Find out more about DB Nielsen and her writing at: www.dbnielsen.com  or follow her on Twitter @db_nielsen

 

Book review: Thoughtful by S.C. Stephens

16 Feb

thoughtfulThe only place Kellan has ever felt at home is on stage. Gripping his guitar in a darkened bar, he can forget his painful past. These days his life revolves around his music and his band mates, and that’s the way he likes it. And then one woman changes everything . . .

Kiera is the kind of girl Kellan has no business wanting – she’s smart, sweet, and dating his best friend. Certain he could never be worthy of her love, he hides his growing attraction . . . until Kiera’s own tormented heart hints that his feelings might not be one-sided. Now, no matter the consequences, Kellan is sure of one thing: he won’t let Kiera go without a fight.

It’s been a while since I read a New Adult novel so when the chance to review Thoughtful as part of a blog tour came up, I  grabbed it. It threw me a little that this is actually the fourth book in the Thoughtless series – Thoughtless, Effortless and Reckless make up the original series and this novel goes right back to the beginning to tell the story from lead male character, Kellan’s point of view. As I haven’t read any of the other books I was a little worried but I’m happy to say that Thoughtful stands perfectly as a book on its own.

Reading Thoughtful has definitely made me want to read the rest of the Thoughtless series and I’m sure this book will bring a whole host of new fans to the series and its leading man Kellan Kyle. Kellan is the lead singer in a Seattle-based band and as would be expected, gets more than his fair share of the attention from the ladies. I really enjoyed getting to know Kellan (he even has his own Facebook page!). It was nice to read a story written from the male perspective and as I read about the tough time he had growing up I had a lot of sympathy for him and right from the start of the book was wishing for a happy ending for him.

This wouldn’t be a New Adult romance book without a fair amount of angst and as Kellan is reunited with his old friend Denny and meets Denny’s girlfriend Kiera, the tension in the book jumps to a whole new level. The chemistry between Kellan and Kiera is undeniably hot yet they both have Denny at the heart of their good intentions. I’m not usually a fan of stories that involve cheating but the twists and turns of the Kellan, Denny, Kiera love triangle had me hooked.

Thoughtless is a substantial read at over 500 pages but I flew through it and couldn’t wait to find out what would happen in the end. As well as the main storyline, there was plenty to keep me turning the pages as the other band mates have their own story lines and the band pushes upwards to bigger and better things.

If you’re a fan of authors like Samantha Young and Tammara Webber then you should definitely add S.C. Stephens and her books to your reading list!

4/5

Thoughtful is out in paperback and ebook formats on February 24th.

Find out more about S.C. Stephens and her writing at: http://authorscstephens.com/

 

Book review: Echoes of Scotland Street by Samantha Young

8 Oct

scotland streetShannon MacLeod has always gone for the wrong type of man. After she drifted from one toxic relationship to the next, her last boyfriend gave her a wake-up call in the worst possible way. With her world shattered, she’s sworn off men – especially those of the bad-boy variety.

Cole Walker is exactly the sort that Shannon wants to avoid – gorgeous, tattooed, charming, and cocky. But his rough exterior hides a good man – one who’s determined to pull Shannon from her self-imposed solitude and win her heart.

As Shannon begins to open up, the passion between them ignites to blazing levels. But when her past comes back to haunt her, her fears may destroy the trust Cole has built between them – and tear them apart for good . . .

Echoes on Scotland Street is the fifth in Samantha Young’s On Dublin Street Series and another brilliant New Adult romance read from this author. Don’t worry if you haven’t read the other books in the series; each story stands alone perfectly well but if you are a fan then you’ll be delighted to know that this book focuses on the grown up Cole Walker!

Having really enjoyed the previous book in the series, Fall From India Place, I was eager to find out what happened next to Hannah and Marco and I wasn’t disappointed. I love how Samantha Young has woven her characters into a great big connected family and cleverly puts in updates about them whilst bringing new readers along with what’s happened so far in the story.

In this book we meet Shannon, who has moved to Edinburgh to escape a particularly nasty ex-boyfriend; the latest in a series of bad relationship choices. I liked Shannon from the start and although she’s been hurt she comes across as strong and able to handle herself. With her red curls I imagined her as a modern day version of Merida from Brave! As I found out more about Shannon’s past I was willing her to succeed in her new life. Samantha Young is brilliant at creating characters that you care about and I think Cole and Shannon are my favourite pairing yet!

Cole is without a doubt going to be heading to the top of many readers ‘hot book boyfriends’ lists. Without giving the story away, I loved the way that Samantha Young set up the relationship between him and Shannon and she certainly knows how to build the tension.

The book tackles a number of themes surrounding abusive relationships and does this well, giving a clear message that the emotional outfall is as bad as the physical. Trust is a key theme throughout the book and I thought it was built well into the story.

Echoes of Scotland Street has plenty lighter moments and humour too. One of my favourite characters was Shannon’s colleague and flat mate Rae – a no nonsense, tell it like it is, feisty tattoo artist who is not afraid to speak her mind. I loved her quips and the banter between all of the staff at the tattoo studio.

As you can probably tell, I thoroughly enjoyed this book and am already looking forward to the next book in the series which will be out in summer 2015!

5/5

Echoes of Scotland Street is released today in ebook formats and will be published in paperback in January 2015.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing me with a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Samantha Young and her writing at: http://authorsamanthayoung.com/

 

Book review: Roomies by Sara Zarr And Tara Altebrando

7 Sep

ROOMIESWhen Elizabeth receives her first-year roommate assignment at the beginning of summer, she shoots off an email to coordinate the basics: TV, microwave, mini-fridge. She can’t wait to escape her New Jersey beach town – and her mum – and start life afresh in California.

 That first note to Lauren in San Francisco comes as a surprise; she had requested a single. But if Lauren’s learned anything from being the oldest of six, it’s that you don’t always get what you want, especially when what you want is privacy.

 Soon the girls are emailing back and forth, sharing secrets even though they’ve never met. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives … and each other.

Roomies is a brilliant book, perfectly capturing that awkward time before going off to university/college and when you’re waiting for a major life change. I think this novel will appeal to a lot of readers as it’s not just about meeting your room mate for the first time but about growing up, gaining independence and leaving home for the first time; topics we can all relate to at different stages.

The story is told over a single summer as Lauren and Elizabeth (known as EB) get their college room mate allocations and make first contact. I found it fascinating and brilliantly realistic how the two girls reacted to each other over email and what it said about their characters. Elizabeth is an only child and lives with her Mum in New Jersey. Lauren is the complete opposite in terms of family set up and lives in San Franciso with her large family and very lovely mum and dad.

As the girls clearly illustrate, there are pros and cons to both set ups and I thought their attempts not to judge each other were brilliant. Interestingly, we are also privy to their own thoughts in sections written in first person narrative so can clearly see what has been filtered! I enjoyed the way this gave a rounded perspective on the dramas of both their lives, really showing their hopes and fears about the future and starting college.

I thought both girls were great characters but found myself slightly more drawn to Lauren, perhaps because her family set up was more similar to my own? Lauren’s parents are brilliant characters and now top my list of fab fictional mums and dads. There was one scene between Lauren and her Dad that actually made me well up and I loved that they were so realistically written.

There’s plenty to hold readers’ attention in Roomies with sub plots about parents, work and boyfriends and some great twists that kept me engaged. The book has a great romance element as each girl meets someone she cares for at seemingly the wrong time. I could easily have carried on reading about Lauren and EB and would I’d love a follow up to see what happened next!

One for fans of Keris Stainton, Rainbow Rowell and Jennifer E Smith, Roomies is funny, insightful and heartwarming making a clear point that whether you are moving across the country or just down the road, single or coupled up, from a close family or not; change is stressful and its ok to panic a bit! A lovely coming of age novel and I look forward to reading more from these authors.

5/5

Roomies is out now in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank the publisher for providing a review copy of this novel via Bookbridgr.

Find out more about Sara Zarr and her writing at: http://www.sarazarr.com/

Find out more about Tara Altebrando and her novels at: http://www.taraaltebrando.com/

 

 

 

Book news: Three new books from Jessica Sorensen!

27 Jul

I was very excited to see Sphere announce three new books from Jessica Sorensen earlier this week and one of them is already available as an ebook!

jessica new

The Probability of Violet and Luke is out now and will be followed by The Certainty of Violet and Luke on 16th September. And finally, Callie and Kayden are back in The Resolution of Callie and Kayden which will be published on 30th September! Get your e readers ready!

All three books will be published in paperback in 2015.

Find out more about Jessica Sorensen and her books at: http://jessicasorensen.com/

Book review: Harder by Robin York

1 Jul

harderCaroline still dreams about West. His warm skin, his taut muscles, his hand sliding down her stomach. Then she wakes up and she’s back to reality: West is gone. And before he left, he broke her heart.

Then, out of the blue, West calls in crisis. A tragedy has hit his family—a family that’s already a fractured mess. Caroline knows what she has to do. Without discussion, without stopping to think, she’s on a plane, flying to his side to support him in any way he needs.

They’re together again, but things are totally different. West looks edgy, angry at the world. Caroline doesn’t fit in. She should be back in Iowa, finalizing her civil suit against the ex-boyfriend who posted their explicit pictures on a revenge porn website. But here she is. Deeply into West, wrapped up in him, in love with him. Still.

They fought the odds once. Losing each other was hard. But finding their way back to each other couldn’t be harder.

Having been gripped by Caroline and West’s relationship in Deeper earlier this year, I was eager to find out what happened next to this troubled couple next so I was very eager to get my hands on a copy of the follow up, Harder. It’s difficult to review this book without giving spoilers for book one so you might not want to read on if you are planning to read the first book in the series. That said, I think you could read this book without having read book one as there is plenty of recapping and this story has a different focus to that of book one.

In Harder I felt that we got to know Caroline and West, but particularly West a lot better. Whereas book one was about Caroline dealing with the trauma of her ex boyfriend posting naked photos of her on the internet of her and felt to me very much Caroline’s story, book two is very much West’s story. The narrative picks up a few months after the end of the first book with West now back in his hometown of Silt.

West’s Silt is a pretty downtrodden and underprivileged town where his large and complex family fight to survive. It was great to finally meet West’s family and although the majority of them weren’t particularly likeable, it certainly added to my understanding of West’s character and his actions. Harder definitely isn’t a light-hearted New Adult read and there were some scenes that I found very difficult, particularly those involving Frankie, West’s ten year old sister, but it is a gripping story and Robin York surprised me a number of times with the twists in the plot!

If you’re looking for a pair of flawed lead characters I don’t think you could do much better than Caroline and West. I felt that Caroline had grown up a lot in this novel and it was interesting to see the role reversal between her and West. I also loved Caroline’s relationship with her father which is a really positive one. But the character that I cared most about in this book was West’s ten year old little sister Frankie.

Harder takes on the full spectrum of emotions from its characters; it’s dramatic, shocking and sad yet very believable; the romance is still hot and all the more gripping as Caroline and West face new challenges. I was impressed by the strong message that this book had about standing up to the bullies (in all forms) and not being afraid to trust yourself to know what’s right for you. Highly recommended!

4/5

Harder is released today in paperback and ebook formats.

I’d like to thank Poppy at Little Brown for sending me a review copy of this book.

Find out more about Robin York and her books at: http://www.robinyork.com/home/