Book Review + Giveaway: Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi

Today I get to share with you all my review for the third and final book in the Juliette Chronicles, Ignite Me. Allen & Unwin have generously offered on copy for me to giveaway (open to residents of Australia and New Zealand) so please be sure to check out the end of this post for more information on how to win. 

Title: Ignite Me (The Juliette Chronicles #3)Ignite Me (Shatter Me, #3)
Author: Tahereh Mafi
Genre: Dystopia, Young Adult, Romance, Paranormal
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Publication Date: 1st March 2014
Pages: 416
Rating: 2 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
The exciting and chilling conclusion to the internationally successful Juliette Chronicles series. With Omega Point destroyed,
Juliette doesn’t know if the rebels are alive. But that won’t keep her from trying to take down The Reestablishment once and for
all. Now she must rely on Warner, the handsome commander of Sector 45. The one person she never thought she could trust. He
promises to help Juliette master her powers and save their dying world … but that’s not all he wants with her

My Review:

Juliette is more determined than ever to stop the Reestablishment. Her friends are missing and she presumes them to be dead. Her only ally is Warner – the same man who imprisoned her and caused her no end of psychological trauma only a few months ago. But with his military resources and belief in her, Juliette is stronger than she has been before. And her resolve to bring down the Supreme is as strong and determined as her powers.

I think enjoyment from this book comes down to expectations. I have read both the full length novels in this series (Shatter Me and Unravel Me) and I liked them. Juliette as a character has grown so much. She was fragile and let the world trample on her but now she is strong and holds all the power. Nothing can hurt her unless she lets it. I thought it was great to see her grow and evolve throughout the series and I liked how the writing itself displayed her development. No more things she wishes she was brave enough to say aloud any more. She is in control.

But I was expecting more than a romance. And for most of this book – that’s what I got. Juliette finds herself in a situation where she finds she has feelings for her former tormentor, Warner. The same man who kept her against her will and forced her to unwilling harm a little boy. While all the bad things he does are explained and despite Juliette being able to forgive him – I couldn’t. But I also couldn’t quite correlate the behaviour of Adam Kent from previous books to now. Whilst I liked that this book is different. It’s not just the first boy she sees is her one and only, the progression didn’t feel right to me. It was a little convenient that the Adam of Shatter Me had disappeared completely just when Juliette found herself having feelings for Warner.

Action wise, I was a little disappointed too. There is a lot of build up. Lots of training and getting things in place. But when everything finally kicks off in the last fifty pages or so, it is a little anticlimactic. I was expecting a lot and felt it didn’t live up to my expectations. So much more could have happened and I felt a little let down by the execution of the ending.

Whilst this book didn’t live up to my expectations – I can see why others would enjoy where Mafi takes the story. There’s romance and character development and some great comic relief in Kenji. Ignite Me is well written and creative.

Thanks to Allen & Unwin for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Booktopia | Book Depository | BookWorld

GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Allen & Unwin

I have

1 print edition of Ignite Me by Tahereh Mafi to giveaway

**Open to  Australian and New Zealand Residents only**

Please leave a comment on this post to enter and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close 24th March, 2014

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Interview and Giveaway: Almost Dead by Kaz Delaney

I’m honoured today to share with you all an interview with the author of Almost Dead, Kaz Delaney. Kaz has generously given her time to answer some of my questions about her book, writing and her life as an author. I had a great time reading Almost Dead and I loved reading Kaz’s answers to my questions. You can find my review for Almost Dead here. I also have a copy of Almost Dead to giveaway to one lucky person so make sure you keep reading to the end of the post for more information on how to win. 

Almost Dead

Interview with author Kaz Delaney!

Macey, the main character in Almost Dead sees ghosts and another character, Zordastramus (that name is brilliant!), has psychic abilities. Do you believe in spirits and supernatural phenomenon?

Thank you for having me here Kate! And yes, I do! I’ve had a few spooky things happen that have been way too specific to be random. Once I awoke to a bright light beside my bed and I yelped. It wasn’t there for long, but in it was the image of a child just hovering beside me (children and young people feature a lot in my experiences) – but it was a child from a long ago time. It seemed to be wrapped in swaddling. Frankly, a bit scary. It disappeared very quickly and suddenly the room seemed very black. Anyway, I finally chalked it up to a dream and tried to get back to sleep. However the next morning, our teenage daughter whose room is adjacent to ours asked if I was okay. She said she’d been woken by a bright light coming from our room and heard me cry out. When the light went out again, she figured everything was okay. When she told me that, I knew I hadn’t been dreaming.

Another time during a reading, a psychic kept reassuring me that a friend (distant) with a very unique name, was going to be okay. She was annoyed because I wasn’t reacting strongly enough to the prediction and so kept repeating it over and over with urgency. It meant little to me, and really? I just wanted her to move on and get back to me! 😉 I mean, this friend wasn’t someone I was very close to. I was glad for her that she was going to be okay, but what more did the psychic want me to say? I went home puzzled. The next day, however, I got a phone call from another friend to ask if I’d heard any news reports. She had – and she’d just heard that our mutual friend (the one mentioned in the reading) had been involved in a serious accident. Wow. That was very sobering. (And yes, I did feel the most horrid remorse for being so cavalier. And yes, the prediction was right – she survived and thrived. Thank goodness.)

These are just two random things I remembered, but there have been many. Too many for me to brush them aside. So yes, I do have an open mind about such things. But all that aside – it’s fabulous, fabulous fun to write about!

As someone who grew up on the Gold Coast – I loved the setting! Was it hard for you to decide on the location for Dead Actually and Almost Dead?

You are so lucky! The Gold Coast is one of my favourite places in the world. I love the colour – and the way the natural light makes everything shinier and brighter. I love the buzz; the energy! The atmosphere. I feel alive when I’m on the Gold Coast and had always wanted to set a book there (and NOT just so I could claim my trips as expenses!!! 🙂 ), so it was a no brainer for me.

When I’m there I spend a lot of time people-watching, hopefully not in a creepy way (!) and some of the ideas came from watching young people just having fun, being themselves. When I created the cast and had the outline for Dead Actually, the first in these loosely connected series, I knew the GC was the perfect setting. And it’s proving to be a great choice. So many people can relate to it – even if they’ve just seen it on the telly! It’s just such a cool place!

Kaz Delaney

Author of Almost Dead, Kaz Delaney

Are there any similarities between you and Macey? 

Oh wow – I’d love to answer with a resounding ‘YES!’. I mean, Macey’s so cool. She’s so strong and feisty and sassy. She’s takes no prisoners and she’s so self possessed! Most of us like to think we can rise above what people think about us – but secretly, we do care. And it makes us vulnerable. Macey is one of those rare beings who really doesn’t care. Not in an ‘I-am-so-cool-and-you’re-not’ way, but just because she doesn’t waste time on that kind of trivia.

So, yes, of course, I’d love to say ‘Yes!’

But truth be told, I’m way more of a doormat. I stress over what people think and so I try hard to make people like me. (By the way – would like a back massage with this interview??? 🙂 ) Actually, I truly just believe in being nice to people – that’s my nature.

But we are alike in two ways: Fashion. O.M.G. – I love it. And it’s such amazing fun to have that as a component of these books. Although, it does require serious sacrifice. I mean, do you know the effort involved in trawling designer sites to see what’s happening and who’s designing what??? And the shoes? I have worn my fingers to the bone researching designer shoes! It’s a tough job but thankfully I could steel myself to do the hard yards. True! Do you doubt me? (Excuse me while I untangle myself. It’s not easy typing with your fingers, toes and fallopian tubes crossed…)

Second likeness? We both have a shut-down button. I am much more tolerant and forgiving than Macey, but neither of us suffers fools lightly. It might take me longer to get there, (a LOT longer) but ultimately, we’ll both roll out the spike strip if you’re speeding headlong into stupid-ville. (The difference is that I’ll probably make you a cuppa and point out the error of your ways. Macey will leave you stranded to work it out for yourself. )

Can I just add here though, that Macey is vulnerable like the rest of us. Her vulnerabilities are just buried deeper and therefore much painful when we reveal them throughout the story.

Many authors are categorized as being either plotters (having plotted their novels out in advance) or pantsers (writing by the seat of their pants). Would you consider yourself to be a plotter, a pantser or a little of both?

Definitely both. I ‘have’ to know where the story is going. That’s my safety net. But how I get there is a journey that takes us on many side roads; the scenic route. So, I’m a good mix.

Did you always know you wanted to write?

Absolutely. I had my first work published in the Sun Herald when I was nine years old. Writing has always been my passion. In fact when I was a kid I used to think it was all I could do well. I’m not sure why, because I was a fairly good student – but writing was always the thing I felt most confident about. I don’t think there was ever a time in my life when I considered that I wouldn’t one day write for a living.

What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

It’s fairly busy, actually. Number one, naturally, is reading. I read at every opportunity. I teach, so that takes a fair bit of time. I’m a trivia nut, so I play pub trivia once a week in a team that’s been together for hundreds of years. (At least twenty. 🙂 ) To unwind and keep fit(ish) I walk by the lake and just recently I’ve discovered kayaking! So, I’m so thrilled you asked that question because I get to give an answer that makes me sound really fit and sporty! LOL.

What are you currently reading?

I just finished the gorgeous ‘Cinderella Moment’ by Aussie YA author Jennifer Kloester. Loved it, loved it. Such a sweet story with so much heart. But now I’m reading a book I found on the back of my shelves entitled ‘The List of Seven’, by Mark Frost. It fictionalises Arthur Conan Doyle on a quest against the so-called ‘dark arts’ – spiritualism, psychic prediction etc. I’m not far enough into it to pronounce judgement, but I’m sure it’ll be brilliant once I get into my stride with it.

Dead, Actually

Dead, Actually – a companion novel to Almost Dead

I’ve just finished a mid grade novel that was heaps of fun about kids with special abilities, and have gone back to working on another book in this loosely connected series that will shortly head off to my agent and publisher. Can’t say too much just yet, but it features Flick and a country girl who is suffering the whole fish out of water thing. Macey and Willow both have cameos. After that, is a YA that’s completely different and new, that begins in Paris and ends up (ultimately) in Australia.

Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

I’d love to tell the readers that they must never forget how important they are in the scheme of books and publishing. Without readers, we don’t have an audience – we don’t have an industry!
So, I want to thank you all from the bottom of my heart for supporting us and reading our works so that we can continue to write stories that you will (I hope) love.

Almost Dead is a story I love. It’s one of those special books for me that, as an author, I am so proud of, that I want to burst. I sincerely hope you enjoy it as well. I hope you laugh and cry with Macey and Finn. And I wonder if you will solve the mystery before you get to the end? Mwahahah!

Thank you so much for taking the time to answer my questions Kaz. I enjoyed reading Almost Dead and loved getting to witness Macey’s story!

Thank you Kate! This has been a brilliant interview with loads of fun questions. Clever girl! I am humbled and grateful for this opportunity to talk about ‘Almost Dead’. Thank you, again!

 

 

Giveaway!

 

Thanks to Allen & Unwin

I have

1 print edition of Almost Dead by Kaz Delaney to giveaway

**Open to  Australian Residents only**

Please leave a comment on this post to enter and then

CLICK HERE TO ENTER

Entries Close January 23rd, 2014

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Book Review, Q&A and Giveaway: Game Plan by Natalie Corbett Sampson

Title: Game Plangame-plan-cover-only
Author: Natalie Corbett Sampson
Genre: Realistic Fiction, Contemporary, Young Adult,
Publisher: Fierce Ink Press
Date Published: November 2013
Pages: 360
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Just because the play goes wrong, doesn’t mean you quit the game.

Ella Parker seems to have everything: great friends, an awesome family and a star position on her high school basketball team. The only thing missing from her life is a boyfriend. That changes once she catches the eye of Sam Cleveland. With Sam by her side Ella has it all. When a drunken night results in an unwanted pregnancy, her perfect life is turned upside down and she’s faced with an impossible decision.

Katherine Frayne has always wanted to be a mother. But with the last results of her in vitro fertilization pointing to no chance of a baby, her hopes are dashed. Then her husband Danny suggests they adopt. At first Kat is resistant, but she soon warms to the idea.

Ella and Katherine must navigate their lives amidst tough decisions, the consequences of which not only affect them but those they love the most.

My Review:
Teenage pregnancies and adoption at times may be considered controversial but in Natalie Corbett Sampson handles them beautifully in her debut novel, Game Plan.

Seventeen year old Ella Parker has a plan – to get a basketball scholarship to college. And she’s on track to get there too. There are scouts coming to her games and she’s never been in better form. But then she meets Sam Cleveland. He’s gorgeous and the first boy to ever take an interest in her. Will one drunken accident change every plan Ella’s ever made for herself?

Katherine and Danny Frayne have been married for seven years and trying for a baby for most of them. Unable to conceive naturally, they start looking into the adoption process and find it can be heartbreaking and seemingly hopeless at times.

The contrast between the two stories was beautifully executed. Ella is a girl who never expected to be a pregnant teenager. She’s a good student, never caused her parents any worry and is dedicated to her sport. Her distress at her situation is palpable and understandable. Katherine on the other hand has a deep instinctual need to be a mother. She feels like there’s something missing in her life without a baby and is desperate to do whatever she can to fill that need. I liked her scepticism regarding the adoption process. She’s passionate about becoming a mother but I admired that she didn’t let it completely take over her life.

Plot wise – there aren’t a lot of surprises. But that isn’t a problem. This story’s strengths lay in the honest way the characters deal with their situations and how their real their emotions feel. Both Ella and Katherine are heartbroken but for almost opposite reasons. Ella’s interactions with Sam felt relatable for many people – both in the upswing of the relationship and the way they reacted to the unplanned pregnancy.

I enjoyed reading this book and seeing how Ella and Katherine dealt with the tough situations life handed them. It was a beautiful read and I look forward to reading more from Natalie Corbett Sampson.

Thanks to Fierce Ink Press for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Special Edition Paperback: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | McNally Robinson |Fierce Ink Press

Regular paperback: Fierce Ink Press (best spot!) | CreateSpace | Amazon

AUTHOR BIO

NCS-crop

Natalie Corbett Sampson lives in Hatchet Lake, Nova Scotia with her husband, four school-aged Munsters and a menagerie of pets. Her day job is a speech language pathologist where she loves helping children improve their ability to communicate with the world around them. When she’s not working, writing or sitting in a hockey rink Natalie loves reading, photography and drawing.
Author Links:

Q & A with Natalie Corbett Sampson!

I was lucky enough to get to ask Natalie some questions about Game Plan, writing in general and reading.

  • What inspired you to write Game Plan?

This story came very quickly to me, driving home one night it just sort of tumbled into my head so all I had to do was get it down. A lot of the story came from my own adoption story, even though our family’s journey was very different. A lot of Ella’s story came from my own high school time – I wasn’t a pregnant teen but the insecurities and hopes she felt are pretty common to teens, I think. I have often wondered about birth mothers, how they come to their decision and what they go through. Ella’s experiences are how I imagine it might be sometimes.

  • When you first decided to write Game Plan, did you always know you wanted to focus on both the story of the birth mother and that of the adoptive family too?

They seemed like a good pair of stories to set parallel. Too often adoptions are only seen from one side – you see a family adopt a baby or know of someone who had to place a baby, but they really can’t be separated – during that time or any time after. It’s important to know that while adoption builds one family, it is always linked to a loss.

  • Teen pregnancy can be a very controversial issue in society. Were there any particular parts in Ella and Katherine’s story that were hard to write considering what reader’s reactions might be to your novel?

I’m glad you asked because that was one of the hardest parts for me to settle myself. I wanted Ella’s decision to be sound, and without a baby there’s no adoption. I struggled to portray realistically what would drive a teenager to complete a pregnancy instead of seeking an abortion but I wanted to make sure I wasn’t doing so in a judgmental way. I wanted to make sure the decision to have the baby was right for Ella, not because abortion was wrong, just that it wasn’t right for her.

  • What are you most proud of in Game Plan?

You mean besides getting it finished at all? I’ve been told that it’s real and relatable and that some readers have cried at parts. I’m proud of that. I really hope I have captured an image of a birth mother in a respectful light.

  • Are you fluent in text talk? I have to admit that I had to google some of the text messages characters sent and received in this book!

NO WAY! The first draft had few texts, lots of phone calls… my editor said ‘wait, teens text!’ So I turned them into texts and typed them out long like I text and again the editor reminded me how out of touch I was with new technology and communication. So I went back and ‘translated’ all the long forms into text talk. Then it got fun and I might have gotten a little carried away with it!

  • Are there any novels you’ve read that you think more people should read too?

I read a lot… GoodReads is my favourite app. My latest favourite was The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. I love historical fiction and Phillipa Gregory writes good ones. And of course it should be mandatory for everyone to read the Harry Potter series. I read the Divergent trilogy recently to help with writing my next book and really enjoyed those too.

  • You’re a very busy woman! Between your children, husband, work and other commitments, do you find it difficult to find time to write?

I do, so I’ve made an effort to prioritize and schedule it. I changed my hours at my day job to work longer but fewer days so I could commit two days to writing. It’s very easy to schedule that last and do what I need for everyone else but I’m trying very hard to respect it as a priority.

  • What do you like to do when you’re not writing?

My kids are terribly over scheduled. They are in basketball and hockey, swimming lessons and music… most of my ‘free time’ is spent shuttling to one activity or the other. I take my camera most places I go and force my kids to look cute. I have to read before I can fall asleep.

  • Do you ever suffer from writer’s block? What do you do when it happens?

Yes, it’s horrible! I usually just type something on the page – anything really – and let the words keep coming until they start to make sense and then go back and delete the garbage. It’s so much easier to edit bad work than to stare at a blank page and work from nothing.

  • Have there been any books or authors that have influenced your own writing? Which ones?

Honestly, I’m not sure. I read a lot, and a lot of different stuff. I would expect everything I read will have an impact on what and how I write, but I can’t say there’s anything specifically that I can say changed or impacted the way I write. Actually I would say songs have a greater impact on what I write. I love how a good song can elicit a strong memory or emotion with just a line or two. There are times when I hear a song and wish I could recreate that emotion in a story.

  • What are you currently reading?

I’m supposed to be reading Persuasion by Jane Austen for my book club. It’s a challenge.

  • Are you working on anything now?

I’m prepping my second book for submission to publishers. It’s a story that I love, it’s very different from Game Plan. It talks about choosing identity, the power of words and the necessity of creativity.

  • Do you have anything specific you want to say to your readers?

THANK YOU!!! I’m so thrilled to have the little story I pecked away at on my computer turn into a real live book! I appreciate readers for taking the time to read it, and really really hope it’s enjoyed. I would love to hear back from any readers to know what worked for them and what wasn’t quite right.

Thanks Natalie for taking the time to answer my questions! I enjoyed reading Game Plan. I thought it captured a lot of the emotions and frustrations that both sides of an adoption face.

Thank you for reading and for including it on your blog!

I always think it’s fantastic when I have things in common with authors! I’m currently reading The Night Circus (and enjoying it) and Persuasion is one of my favourite book. I hope you finish reading it. I wish you the best with your second book and can’t wait to read it once it’s been published. 

Giveaway!

Fierce Ink Press is generously offering one ecopy of Game Plan for one of my readers. To be entered in the giveaway just leave a comment on this post and I’ll randomly select a winner one week from today.

Excerpt + Giveaway: If Only We by Jessica Sankiewicz

iowblogtourbannersml

I was delighted to be a part of the blog tour for Jessica Sankiewicz’s debut novel, If Only We. It’s a standalone contemporary book about love and regrets and the chance to do-over. It’s very sweet and I’m thrilled to have an excerpt on the blog today to share with you all! Don’t forget to check the rafflecopter link at the bottom of this post for your chance to win a copy of If Only We! 

 

Title: If Only WeIf-Only-We-Jessica-Sankiewicz-Medium
Author: Jessica Sankiewicz
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult, Coming of Age,
Publisher: Self-published
Publication Date: October 2013
Pages: 187

Synopsis (from goodreads):
They say all it takes is one wrong move and you lose the game. One false step and you’re trapped. One slip-up in your choice of words and you ruin a friendship forever. That is what they say. They say I lost.

I do not believe them.

At the end of the summer after graduation, Adrienne wonders what happened to cause her life to be in ruins. She isn’t getting along with her mom, her stepsister isn’t talking to her, and, to top it off, the boy she’s been in love with doesn’t want anything to do with her. She believes the turning point was a choice she made at graduation. When she wakes up the next day, she has been transported back three months to that moment, the one where everything started to fall apart.

Adrienne realizes she has been given a second chance—and this time she doesn’t want to mess anything up. Reliving the entire summer, though, turns out to be a lot harder than she thought. As the same days and weeks go by, she starts to see how simple decisions can make a huge impact on the world around her. Despite knowing some of what lies ahead, there are some things she didn’t anticipate. She thought she knew what mistake led her to where she ended up the first time. She was wrong.

And by the time summer is over, she discovers what was really at stake.

Excerpt:

I find myself staring into the space she occupied a second ago. Something’s not right. She isn’t angry with me for leaving anymore. It isn’t possible for her to have forgiven me overnight. Plus, Kaitlin’s room couldn’t have changed, or my mom’s hair. And since when did she become so sentimental? Big day? A stage? Little girl is not so little anymore? It almost sounds like I am getting married. My head is starting to hurt from all these things that are not right. It is kind of like when you were a kid and they said “one of these things is not like the other”except everything is not like the one thing.

I put the empty glass into the sink, “hop to it,” and get into the shower. My questions will be answered when I see what outfit she puts on my bed. When I get to my room, I don’t find a wedding dress. Thank goodness. I do find, however, a dressand a graduation cap and gown.

Graduation.

The day everything changed. The day I ran away to my dad. The day my heart broke.

A wave of nausea crashes into me, almost causing my legs to give out beneath me. I grab hold of my doorway with both hands to keep myself standing. A few deep breaths later and my stomach calms down enough for me to close the door. I lean against it and stare at my bed.

How can I be graduating…again?

I rub my eyes and open them again, hoping it was all in my imagination. No such luck. It is still there. This doesn’t make any sense. Where is my suitcase? It’s not on top of my dresser anymore. I left it there when I got back since I didn’t have enough time to unpack. Where did it go?

Opening my closet door, I spot it on the top shelf. Did my mom unpack it for me? Where are the clothes? There is nothing in the hamper and a quick rummage through my dresser finds some of those shirts clean and folded where they belong. How could…? Mom was at work all day yesterday. Not only that, but I saw the suitcase right before I turned the lights out last night.

My head is starting to pound with all the conflicting information I’m taking in. Sitting down in my desk chair, I put my head in my hands and start to rub my temples. I need to find something that isn’t out of place. My desk appears to be the same as I left it. Pens and pencils neatly placed in holder, check. Pile of loose-leaf college-ruled paper on top of a pile of used notebooks, check. Word-of-the-Day calendar off to the side, check. Calendar set to the correct date…what…? I reach out and grab it. That can’t be right.

Saturday, June second.

It feels as though I can’t blink. I worry that if I do, the date on this page will disappear. I knowfor a factthat I peeled off every page I hadn’t removed all summer before I went to bed last night. Each one was crumpled into a small ball and thrown away. I set the calendar down and drop to the floor to look through my trash. However, I can’t look through it because it’s empty.

Nothing is making any sense.

I graduated already. This has already happened. Or did it? I dismiss that thought with a laugh. The most logical reason for what is happening is that I’m dreaming. I’m reliving this day in my mind because I spent the time while I was falling asleep thinking about it. Maybe my mind is playing a psychological trick on itself to right the wrongs and help me cope. Maybe this is all in my head. Maybe I’m just imagining all of this.

On the other hand, maybe I am just losing it.

But what if…what if this is really happening? What if I am reliving my whole summer? The prospect causes goose bumps to spread over my skin.

Have I been given a second chance?

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Smashwords

ifonlywesale

AUTHOR BIO

jesssankiewicz

Jessica is the 28-year-old author of IF ONLY WE, a YA contemporary. You can often find her either reading or marathon watching TV on DVD, her favorites being Castle and Veronica Mars. She frequently mismatches her clothes and giggles uncontrollably. She knows almost every Billy Joel song by heart. She collects books and toys, and she has an intense love of cats and lemurs. Currently in the midst of her quarter-life-crisis, she is still takin’ names and getting very close to reaching an epiphany.
Author Links:

 

Giveaway!

Jessica has put together a tour-wide giveaway to celebrate the release of If Only We. There’s a $30 Amazon gift card to be won as well as e-copies of her book and other great prizes. Click the link below for your chance to win!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

 

Book Review + Giveaway: The Rig by Joe Ducie

The Rig Blog Tour banner

Title: The RigThe Rig
Author: Joe Ducie
Genre: Thriller, Young Adult, Action, Mystery
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 368
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Fifteen-year-old Will Drake has made a career of breaking out from high-security prisons. His talents have landed him at the Rig, a specialist juvenile holding facility in the middle of the Arctic Ocean. No one can escape from the Rig. No one except for Drake…

After making some escape plans and meeting the first real friends of his life, Drake quickly realises that all is not as it seems on the Rig. The Warden is obsessed with the mysterious Crystal-X – a blue, glowing substance that appears to give superpowers to the teens exposed to it. Drake, Tristan and Irene are banking on a bid for freedom – but can they survive long enough to make it? Drake is an action hero to rival Jason Bourne and the CHERUB team in this debut author’s fantastically imagined sci-fi nightmare.

My Review:

Will Drake has already escaped from three maximum security juvenile detention facilities. But he’s seen nothing like the Rig. Located in the middle of the Arctic Ocean at a former oil rig, it’s not just the conditions that are brutal. With a tracker accounting for each inmates every move and guards who are crueller than the weather – it seems like there’s no escape for Will. But he’s determined. With a techno-genius for a cell mate and a girl who helps Will discover some of the secrets the Rig holds, there’s nothing going to stop Will escaping… not even the mysterious Crystal-X.

From the first page of The Rig I felt like I was watching a movie. There’s so much cinematic potential for this book. From the helicopters landing on one of the five old oil platforms now turned prison for criminal youth to the brilliant sport Ducie came up with “Rig Ball” – I felt like I could see all the action playing out like a film.

Will is a great character to let us into the secrets of the Rig. He’s street smart and practical but he’s nobodies fool. We get to find out as we read that whilst he may be an inmate of one of the world’s toughest juvenile facilities, he’s not a bad guy. That said – he can hold his own even against super enhanced bullies. There’s more than meets the eye to Will – and we get to see that as hardened as prison has made him he still cares for his family and friends. Tristan – Will’s cell mate – is an oddly likeable guy. He’s a quiet guy who just wants to do his time and get out – the opposite in many ways to Will – but he’s willing to stand up for his friends no matter the consequences to himself. I liked him. His interaction with Irene, a female detainee on the other side of the Rig, was somewhat adorable to read as it unfolded and added a little to the comic relief for what is a mostly serious novel.

The action is this novel is brilliant. There’s a lot going on and Ducie has come up with some great concepts. The idea for his magnetized lacrosse game – known as Rig Ball – is as fun as it is absolutely brutal. The trackers which not only detect location but also keep track of how much the inmates owe the establishment for their stay is an interesting design that I thought was pretty cool. The plot around Crystal-X is something that I wish was developed a little further. There’s a lot about the blue crystal that I thought had a lot of potential however it felt a little out of place. This book is suspenseful and a great contemporary thriller up until about half way though when the Crystal-X is introduced and it brought me out of the story a little. The alien mineral gave the novel a paranormal element which just felt a little odd considering the rest of what was going on.

I enjoyed reading this book. Great characters with a setting so vivid I felt like I could be there on the Rig with Will and the others – this book was a brilliant read.

Thanks to Five Mile Press for the review copy

Purchase the Novel From: 
Amazon| Booktopia | Book Depository

GIVEAWAY!

Thanks to Five Mile Press, as a part of this blog tour I have 1 paperback copy of The Rig to giveaway. Open to Australian residents only.

To Enter:

Leave a comment at the bottom of this post and then click on the link below and fill in the form.

CLICK HERE TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY

Entries close 14th October, 2013.

Winner will be drawn via random.org and will have 48 hours to reply or another winner will be chosen.

 

Book Review + Giveaway: The Night Has Claws by Kat Kruger

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I’m delighted today to be a part of The Night Has Claws blog tour hosted by Fierce Ink Press. I also have an ecopy of the book to give away so please make sure you keep reading right to the end of this post for details of how to enter!

Title: The Night Has Claws (The Magdeburg Trilogy #2)
Author: Kat Kruger
Genre: Paranormal, Young Adult
Publisher: Fierce Ink Press
Publication Date: September 2013
Pages: 199
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
What happens when you’re the thing that goes bump in the night?

Connor Lewis and Arden LaTène are experiencing a reversal of fortunes. Arden, once a prominent werewolf, has been cured against his will. As a result, he’s now considered dead by his former pack and has lost his longtime girlfriend in the mix. Connor, a newly created werewolf whose DNA has inadvertently led to the creation of the cure, now has to make some important decisions about his future and is not sure who to trust. Should he join a pack or try to go it alone?

When Connor is summoned by the Hounds of God to testify against the human scientist who developed the cure, he’s forced to choose sides. Comprised of humans bitten by werewolves, the Hounds have been the lawmakers and enforcers for hundreds of years, ensuring werewolves don’t endanger the lives of humans and exacting justice upon those who do. On the other hand, the pack werewolves have been persecuted for centuries and are seeking to tip the balance of power. Adding to his confusion is Madison Dallaire, the girl Connor has complicated feelings for, who has embarked on a path of corporate espionage.

In the second book of The Magdeburg Trilogy, Connor’s loyalties are pushed to the limits as he faces the challenges of being a modern werewolf caught in the grip of an ancient feud.

My Review:

After loving the first book in the Magdeburg Trilogy, The Night has Teeth,  I had high hopes for the second book. I’m delighted to tell you that The Night has Claws did not disappoint. Incorporating the characters I had adored with more of Kruger’s delightful writing and incredible take on werewolves, this book is even better than I was hoping.

Conner and Arden have both been bitten recently – only with entirely different outcomes. Conner is still trying to navigate his new life as one of the fanged and furry whereas Arden has been left for dead by his pack. Kruger has a great way with words. There are moments when I was reading this book when I was just struck with how much I enjoyed how she would phrase things. And how she would describe the world that Conner has found himself in the middle of. The way he discovers the way of the wolves and we the readers get to see things as he does is brilliant. These wolves do things are just as crazy to him as they are to me and there’s something about that I find comforting and somewhat disturbing. This is also one of those series where the setting adds to the ambiance. This is not a book which could be set just anywhere but rather the European influence becomes a part of the book – and that’s something I truly enjoyed about this book.

There’s a lot of young adult books around dealing with werewolves but Kruger’s treatment of the supernatural hounds sets this book apart. Whilst Conner may think that werewolf society is a little messed up, I found that these wolves are interesting and have a great history surrounding their condition. I like the born vs. bitten differences and the strange customs which the wolves maintain. These are not sweet and romantic dog but rather a little more gothic and bloodthirsty. They reminded me a little of Kelley Armstrong’s wolves in her Women of the Otherworld series in a good way.

If I was to describe this book using one word, that word would be “more”. More excitement, more of the characters I love to read about, more back story and – I just want more! The Night Has Claws is a brilliant follow-up to the first book in the series and has me eagerly anticipating the third and final book in this horrifyingly good trilogy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Fierce Ink Press

About the Author

Kat Kruger is a freelance writer and social media consultant with a degree in public relations from Mount Saint Vincent University. The Night Has Teeth is her first novel and won the 34th Atlantic Writing Competition. She splits her time between Toronto and Halifax with her husband.

Website | Twitter  | Goodreads

GIVEAWAY!

Fierce Ink Press is generously offering one ebook copy of the The Night Has Claws for me to give away. Open internationally and ending one week from today (on the 2nd of October 2013) to enter all you need to do is comment on this post and I’ll randomly select one commenter to win the ebook copy of this spectacular book!