17 Mar 2014

Debut Delirium: Brandy Colbert, author of Pointe (& giveaway!)

14 comments:
I haven't been around much lately, but I'm back today and not with any ordinary post, but a Debut Delirium spotlight! Presenting one of my most anticipated debuts of the year (and hopefully yours!), Brandy Colbert, author of Pointe.
Theo is better now.

She's eating again, dating guys who are almost appropriate, and well on her way to becoming an elite ballet dancer. But when her oldest friend, Donovan, returns home after spending four long years with his kidnapper, Theo starts reliving memories about his abduction—and his abductor.

Donovan isn't talking about what happened, and even though Theo knows she didn't do anything wrong, telling the truth would put everything she's been living for at risk. But keeping quiet might be worse.

Facts about me and my debut novel, POINTE:

1. The book was originally titled A POINT SO DELICATE, which served as a placeholder until final edits were complete. I spent about a week brainstorming with my editor and agent for new titles (admittedly, not my strong suit), but my brilliant editor is the one who came up with POINTE. I love it, and can't imagine the book with any other title now.

2. The characters of Donovan and Sara-Kate had appeared in several versions of books I never completed, completely unrelated to POINTE. Surprisingly, they didn't change much at the core, but it was fun to watch them take shape and become complete characters during edits.

3. Tap dancing is my true love when it comes to dance. I took lessons for many years when I was growing up, and still try to go to classes when I can. I've taken plenty of ballet lessons, but mostly as an adult. And though ballet has never come as naturally to me as tap, I truly loved writing about it.

4. I wrote the first draft of POINTE while I was still living in Chicago, which is the version that got me an agent and sold to Penguin. I was in the process of moving back to L.A. as the deal was being finalized (I was driving cross-country and would stop for food or to fill up my gas tank and check my phone to see if there were new emails from my agent), but was surprised at how well the city stuck with me after I'd moved away. I wasn't very good at living in Chicago—which I realized only after I'd spent four years there—but I find it very much inspires me as a setting.

5. I use names of people I know in real life quite freely for minor supporting characters in my work, but I can't use them for anyone who's mentioned more than once or twice. It's too difficult for me to separate the real-life person from the fictional, in most cases! (Also: I spend a very, very long time deciding on character names in any project I'm working on. Like, an embarrassingly long time.)
Brandy Colbert was born and raised in the Missouri Ozarks, has a bachelor's degree in Journalism, and has worked as an editor for several national magazines. She lives and writes in Los Angeles. Her first novel, POINTE, will be published by Penguin on April 10, 2014.


I love the finished title and I love dance, dancing, dance shows, books, the works, but I've never taken ballet. As for naming characters, I feel Brandy's pain. It takes me forever to come up with names and even longer trying to decide on one. Do you ever experience this?

Also: You're going to want to click below. Trust me!

Now that your reading buds have been tantalized and because Brandy is that cool, a giveaway - and yes, you can start happy dancing because it's open internationally!

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10 Mar 2014

Review: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy

8 comments:
Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
March 18th, 2014 · Penguin
Source: Publisher
Format: ARC
Page Count: 366

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? 

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most? 

Julie Murphy’s SIDE EFFECTS MAY VARY is a fearless and moving tour de force about love, life, and facing your own mortality.

Side Effects May Vary was a book that sounded good, but what really made me want to read it were the early rave reviews I kept reading. I can’t say I ended up loving this, but I did like it.

You might have heard Alice is an unlikeable MC and its true - she has many flaws and was incredibly selfish at times. The thing is, not every character is meant to be liked; some are written to frustrate you and get under your skin - Alice falls under that category. It’s a balancing act with these types of characters; some work, others don’t but with Alice I think it did. As for Harvey, he is a much more likeable character and I liked that he brought some sweetness to the story, balancing out Alice's sourness, like a good lemonade. But in the end, he started to annoy me. He was so hung up on Alice and it was hard to see why, plus he made some poor choices that ended up hurting people's feelings. Having said that, this made them feel very realistic and human, which is a plus. I'd much rather the unlikeable character with faults, who feels real and true and frustrates, than the most candy sweet character, who's flat, boring and two dimensional. With four point of views on the go - Alice and Harvey both with Now and Then’s - it took me quite some time to get into but I did eventually warm up to it.

There were parts that I liked and then were some parts I really loved, that completely drew me in (looking back, these tended to be mostly set ‘then’). I really wish they had been more of the latter moments for me because the parts I loved, I loved. A lot.

I must commend Julie on doing her research about cancer and all the things that follow – for me, this was my favourite aspect. It wasn't just facts and bits of information thrown together in a messy attempt to show you she’d done her bit. You could really, truly see how much work and effort had gone into making sure the information was accurate as can be. I don't know the extent she went to – from the acknowledgments, a lot - but you could tell she’d done her homework and I really appreciated that. I think this made Alice come off the page even more because what she was going through - past and present - was not only tangibly real but written well.

With a rich and creative style of writing, Julie Murphy is definitely a new voice to watch out for. I enjoyed this debut and I’ll be keeping my eye out for more by this author.

3/5

4 Mar 2014

Top Ten Tuesday: Popular Authors I've Never Read

5 comments:
I'm in a reading rut so I've been a bit quiet the last week (I only popped up on Twitter because of The Oscars), currently having a break from reading and blogging, but when I realised what the TTT topic was for today, I had to join in! Hopefully I'll be back into the swing of it soon :)

Hosted by The Broke and the Bookish, Top Ten Tuesday involves two of my favorites - list making and talking books - with a new topic featured each week. (I haven't done one of these in AGES. I don't plan to take part all the time but I will be joining in from time to time when a subject tickles my fancy.)
9 Popular Authors I've Never Read

I finally picked up a book by Markus Zusak and Courtney Summers, two authors that before this year I had never read. Progress! But the list is long and always growing and there are still plenty of authors who receive lots of praise, that I’ve yet to read. Here are 9 (I’m a bit of a rebel like that;) who I've yet to pick up:

Laurie Halse Anderson
Such a beloved author in YA and I’ve never read any of her books. How?

Laini Taylor
Daughter of Smoke & Bone currently resides on my shelf. Hopefully soon?

Rainbow Rowell
I call myself a contemporary fan and yet I haven’t read, nor own, any of her books.

Neil Gaiman
I loved his speech ‘Make Good Art’ (Haven't watched it? Get onto it! It's inspiring and it will brighten your day), my friend adores him and I’ve only ever heard the best things about his books. What’s stopping me?

Sara Zarr
I once borrowed How to Save a Life from the library…and I never got round to it. Oops.

A.S. King

John Marsden
A very popular author, especially in Australia, I’ve heard great things about his books yet I’ve yet to read one. And I have the whole Tomorrow series on my shelf.

Maggie Stiefvater

Andrew Smith
Ever since Winger released, I’ve been intrigued. 

Which authors do we have in common and who do I need to bump up on my TBR?

26 Feb 2014

Review: The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer

4 comments:
The Intern by Gabrielle Tozer
February 1st, 2014 · Harper Collins
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 366

Josie Browning dreams of having it all. 

A stellar academic record, an amazing career in journalism - and for her current crush to realise she actually exists. The only problem? Josie can’t get through twenty-four hours without embarrassing her sister Kat or her best friend Angel, let alone herself.

Josie’s luck changes though when she lands an internship at the glossy fashion magazine Sash. A coveted columnist job is up for grabs, but Josie’s got some tough competition in the form of two other interns. Battle lines are drawn and Josie quickly learns that the magazine industry is far from easy, especially under the reign of powerful editor, Rae Swanson. 

From the lows of coffee-fetching and working 10-hour days, to the highs of mingling with celebrities, scoring endless free beauty products (plus falling for her cousin’s seriously gorgeous flatmate James) this is one year Josie will never forget.

Totally fresh and funny, this debut novel from industry insider Gabrielle Tozer reveals just what is behind the seeming glamour and sparkle of the magazine industry.

The Intern reads like it sounds – cute, fun and entertaining. One thing is for sure, I can’t remember the last book that made me smile so much.

Josie’s authentic, teenage voice rings true. She’s awkward, clumsy and still navigating the walls outside of high school – all in all, I found her to be a likeable main character. I thought Josie and James were perfectly suited and though it was all a bit predictable, it was still lovely and sweet to watch unfold.

The publishing industry (magazines more so then; books now) has always interested me. Years ago, I sometimes had the occasional daydream about working at a magazine and while that isn’t my focus these days, I still really enjoyed reading about the workings that go on behind the scenes and getting an inside look into the industry.

I loved the body image aspect that was slightly touched on (always an age old and ongoing issue) and the quieter family moments. I thought these two parts shined and I would have liked more, especially of the latter which I think the author really nailed.

If the magazine industry has ever interested you or if you’re after a light, quick read, this might be right up your alley. Oh, and good luck choosing between the two covers! I’m still deciding whether the idea is clever or just plain cruel…

3.5/5

Want to learn about The Intern? Find out more about the debut and its author, HERE.

18 Feb 2014

{Blog Tour} Review: Solving for Ex by Leigh Ann Kopans

2 comments:
Solving for Ex by Leigh Ann Kopans
February 11th, 2014 · Self-published 
Source: Author
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 300
1 crush on your best friend +
1 gorgeous, scheming new girl +
1 Mathletics competition =
1 big mess

SIMPLIFY.


Ashley Price doesn’t have much in life after being bullied so hard she had to leave her old school to live with her aunt and uncle in Pittsburgh. But the camera she borrowed from her best friend and secret crush Brendan, and her off the charts math abilities, make things a lot more bearable. Plus, since Brendan is the captain, making the school Mathletes team should be easy.


But when gorgeous new girl Sofia rolls in and steals Brendan, Ashley's place on the team, and her fragile foothold on the Mansfield Park Prep social totem pole, it’s on. Sofia is everything Ashley left her old school to escape. The only thing Ashley didn’t count on is Sofia’s sexy twin brother Vincent.

Vincent is not only the hottest boy in school, he’s charming, sweet, and he’s got his eye on Ashley. He’s also not taking no for an answer. There's no real reason Ashley shouldn't like Vincent, but with the
battle lines being drawn between her and Sofia, Ashley’s not sure which side he’s on. Or which side she wants him to be on.

She does know Sofia is trouble with a capital T, and she’s determined to make Brendan see it.

SOLVING FOR EX is a YA contemporary romance that remixes Mansfield Park as Clueless meets Mean Girls in a crazy mix of high school society, mathletic competition, and teenage romance.

After reading One, I was looking forward to Solving for Ex, especially since contemporary is my favourite. I’m glad to say I liked this one even more.

First, let’s chat characters: I quite liked Ashely, the MC of the story. I wasn't that big a fan of the cast of One so I was glad that I had a better experience with this new set of characters. To me, they felt a little more fleshed out. Minor or main, good or bad, each character added something to the story; I enjoyed getting to watch it all play out and see whether certain predictions of mine regarding characters came true.

Solving for Ex is light and a lot of fun yet lightly touches on the aspect of bullying, without weighing the book down or turning it into an “issue” book. Not that there’s anything wrong with issue books, just that this isn't one of them.

The cute math illustrations at the end of each chapter was a cute addition to the story and I enjoyed (trying to read) them. I must say though, most of them went right over my head... You see, maths is not my subject. I’m more of an English/words/literary type girl, hence my love for books. Despite Mathletes playing such a big role, you don’t have to be a whiz with numbers to enjoy Kopans' latest. Sometimes predicable but always entertaining, Solving for Ex was a cute, light and quick read.

3/5


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17 Feb 2014

Love-A-Thon Awards

5 comments:
As part of Love-A-Thon and for mini-challenge #6, I present the Love-A-Thon awards! "Think of this as the Grammy's, Oscars, and your high school yearbook's senior best, all mixed together and dipped in book-nerdishness." With so many blogs out there, it's hard to keep up with them all and take the time to appreciate them - so here are my winners and why I think their worthy!
Best Blog Design
The Midnight Garden is gorgeous. They have the best header (I could stare at it all day) and such a lovely, sweet, simplistic look.

Best Weekly Feature
Cover Snark wins this award! I started following this feature at the end of last year thanks to Dahlia. If you love snark and keeping up to date with new covers, GO NOW, thank later.

Best Discussion Posts
The Perpetual Page-Turner is always having great and interesting discussions on her blog. One of the many reasons she’s a favourite of mine.

Friendliest Blogger
Jamie, Estelle and Magan - these girls are so lovely and when I've connected with them, so friendly and welcoming! Also, the creators of #LoveAThon totally deserve a mention as well - Alexa's a blogger who I feel always chats and includes everyone, which is an awesome quality to have! As for Katelyn, while I have followed her blog some, I don't usually chat with her but after this event and tweeting her the past few days, I definitely want to fix that! She's so nice!

Most Helpful Reviews
For me, the most helpful reviews come from bloggers whose taste I trust and have a similar taste in reading with. Reviews that help me when deciding/considering a book, therefore the most helpful, include:

Rather Be Reading: I love this blogging team! Estelle and Magan have amazing reviews!

The Tales Compendium: Jess is an IRL friend and I always enjoy reading her lovely reviews in between meet-ups.

wordchasing: Insightful, thoughtful and articulate , I’ve read and brought books (Jasper Jones, The Spectacular Now and This is Not a Test come to mind) after reading Reynje’s reviews they are THAT GOOD. She has a way with words (and don’t let anyone tell you otherwise!).

Trin in the Wind: Another reviewer who I consider dangerous to my to-read list, Trinity! I just added a book thanks to her and it wasn’t even a review but three sentences. See, helpful!

The Perpetual Page-Turner: I always love hearing what Jamie has to say when it comes to books!

Favorite Author Blog
My favourite author blog is an upcoming debut author, Dahlia Adler. I started following her sometime last year and I just LOVE her blog. She’s always blogging about books, writing, publishing and such. Always very interesting, comment worthy posts!

Favorite Author Twitter
Four of the best authors on Twitter IMO happen to be authors I’ve yet to read. Rainbow Rowell, Lauren DeStefano, Courtney Summers and Dahlia Adler always entertain and amuse me. If their tweets are anything to go by…

Favorite Bloggers To Fangirl With
Anyone who’s willing? ;)

Stop by the award winners and make sure you follow them if you aren't already! Share your favourites or link me to your post!

16 Feb 2014

Love-A-Thon Mini-Challenges

10 comments:
My first mini-challenge I'm joining in is Mad Lib's. Alexa and Katelyn wrote the story and left blanks for us to fill in - the underlined words are mine. Enjoy my silly story!
MAD LIB: Mini-Challenge #3

One day, I was disco-dancing with Etienne St. Clair. Out of the blue, a lion came out of nowhere! It was so ferocious, large and intimidating. At first, we were afraid, we were petrified, but we soldiered on. We hopped on a magic carpet ride to make our getaway.

As we escaped, we turned up the radio because Ice Ice Baby came on and made me dance. Everything was extremely smooth sailing until a panther appeared in the middle of the road. We swerved to avoid it, but while St. Clair stayed on the carpet, I got thrown onto my side in the woods.

I couldn't get up, and felt dazed as I lay there staring up at the trees. What was I going to do? I heard a rustling among the leaves, and felt overwhelmed. Surely, this was going to be my end. As my eyes fluttered shut, the last thing I saw was a head of brown hair and kind, brown eyes.

When I woke up again, I was on a pool table. My body hurt a whole lot less, and I could sit up. There was a bodyguard and familiar looking, blue genie in the room, along with cupcakes and freshly brewed coffee. The door suddenly opened to reveal Dimitri Belikov, a concerned look on his face. I blushed and averted my gaze, but he smiled and said, "Don't be shy. It's okay."

He came over to sit by me, and we started talking after I told him my name. We chatted about reading, music and fighting techniques and realized we had a ton in common! I thought he was amazing and couldn't help feeling a little swoony.

Just as he reached out for my hand, the door crashed open and in came Alex Fuentes. "Don't let him charm you away, my love!" He yelled, running at Dimitri. They each had sporks in their hands and began to fight. "Stop!", I yelled, feeling so frightened. They didn't listen to me. Before I could intervene, Dimitri fell to the floor and disappeared in a cloud of smoke.

"What was that?" I asked, staring at the empty space. Alex dropped his weapon, and came over to me. "Magic, but you are safe now, Mamacita." He hugged me close, and I suddenly knew that this was the real deal and not just a dream.

Just as Bleeding Love started playing in my head, I woke up. I cursed my damn luck. Why had it only been just a dream?

15 Feb 2014

Love-A-Thon Kickoff: Where I Interview Myself

24 comments:
The Love-A-Thon has arrived! Hosted by Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books and Katelyn @ Kate's Tales of Books and Bands, the event is basically two days of sharing and spreading the blogger love. If you're participating, hi!, and if you're not, still stick around because it's going to be fun!
What is the Book Blogger Love-a-Thon? It's an event dedicated to spreading the love for blogs and the bloggers behind them! It's a time dedicated to commenting on blogs, following new blogs, tweeting about blogs, thanking blogging inspirations, sharing the word about blogs you follow, telling bloggers how awesome and inspiring they are, and so on and so forth! (taken from Alexa's site)
To kick it off, an interview to get to know me better!

1. How did you come up with your blog name?
I came across a blog with 'wishes' in their title and liked the idea of that playing a part in my name because on a cheesy (but true) note, reading is magical, but I also wanted to indicate it was a book blog. Reading Wishes was born. To this day I still love the name.

2. What genre/subject matter do you read and review most on your blog?
Contemporary is my favourite; always has been, always will be, so that's the genre I like to showcase the most. If you look around however, you'll see that I enjoy and review a bit of everything.

3. Name the 3 books you're excited for in 2014!
I thought I could do this until I realized the question wasn't broken up into debuts and non-debuts. The horror! To spread the book love around, I chose three books I've yet to mention that I'm looking forward to:
- No Place To Fall by Jaye Robin Brown - Sounds lovely and music plays a big part!
- Kiss Kill Vanish by Jessica Martinez - Sounds amazing + cover is GORGEOUS.
- Damsel Distressed by Kelsey Macke - I love the sound of this one, plus how cool is it that it's getting an album?! SO COOL. Plus, I kind of have an author crush on Kelsey so I really hope I love the book.

You can check out my most excited lists for debuts here and other 2014 releases here.

4. Where in the world are you blogging from?
Perth, Australia.

5. Tell us -- how did you get into blogging in the first place?
I discovered Goodreads, which led me to follow my first blog, inkcrush. After following for a little while, I knew I wanted in and with some help from two very lovely bloggers (Nic and Nomes), I started blogging.

6. Apart from reading, what other hobbies/interests do you have?
Talking about the books I read and chatting about them? Does that count? Apart from being a reader, I love relaxing with movies, TV shows and music. I also happen to bit of a Lush fanatic.

7. If you were stuck on a deserted island, which books would you bring with you?
You really should have given me a limit...I'll pick 5. P.S - Does Book Depository deliver?
- Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta - I could read this book again and again.
- Anna and the French Kiss - I'd need something cute and fun to keep me from going sane. (edit: I meant insane but I kept it as it was because FUNNY.)
- A John Green book I've yet to read. (I've read TFIOS and Looking for Alaska. What would you rec' next?)
- Saving Francesca by Melina Marchetta - it's a favourite and consists of the perfect amounts of light and dark; fun and meaningful.
- A classic. (I haven't read too many of these. Suggestions?)

8. If you were stuck in some dangerous situation (like a fire, a sinking ship, a warzone), which book boy or girl would you want to come and save you?
Not to be a damsel in distress but can Rose Hathaway (Vampire Acadmemy series) come rescue me? The girl is a BADASS. Also, if Dimitri decided to tag along as well, you would not hear me complaining... *swoons*

9. You’re attending a party with your friends. Suddenly, the DJ changes the song and it’s YOUR song – what song would that be?
Lonely Boys by The Black Keys or Single Ladies (Put a Ring On It) by Beyonce.


10. What 3 movies would you love to have your favorite author write into books, or vice versa?
Movie-to-book:
The Breakfast Club (such a great movie! I think this would make an awesome YA.)

Book-to-movie
Born Wicked by Jessica Spotswood
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

SO FUN. If you've stopped by from visiting other Love-A-Thon participants, nice to see/meet you! Leave comments, suggestions and recommendations if you have any!

10 Feb 2014

Debut Delirium: Lynne Matson, author of NIL (& Giveaway)

22 comments:

Today's Debut Delirium post features an upcoming book I'm really looking forward to reading and hopefully you are too! It recently received a whole new look (I like it even more than the first. Look at those shades of blue!) and releases shortly next month. Until then, Lynne has stopped by to share fun facts about Nil, picspiration taken on the trip that started it all and a giveaway - enjoy!

On the mysterious island of Nil, the rules are set. You have one year. Exactly 365 days--to escape, or you die.

Seventeen-year-old Charley doesn’t know the rules. She doesn’t even know where she is. The last thing she remembers is blacking out, and when she wakes up, she’s lying naked in an empty rock field.

Lost and alone, Charley finds no sign of other people until she meets Thad, the gorgeous leader of a clan of teenage refugees. Soon Charley learns that leaving the island is harder than she thought . . . and so is falling in love. With Thad’s time running out, Charley realizes that to save their future, Charley must first save him. And on an island rife with dangers, their greatest threat is time.

TEN BEHIND-THE-BOOK FACTS ABOUT NIL

10. The original title of NIL was DAYWATCH, because the kids are watching the days, but the more I wrote, the less that title fit. Plus, DAYWATCH sounds a lot like BAYWATCH, which is SO not what I was going for.;) lol

9.  When I started writing, I knew the fate of both main characters from word one.:) The ending (and beginning!) never changed.

8. NIL was born in Hawaii, on the big island. It was our first real getaway from our four boys, EVER. As we left the airport after landing, we drove through miles of ancient lava fields. Broken red rock stretched endlessly on each side, gorgeous and desolate. No roads, no buildings, no people–just the eerie sound of wind blowing over the barren rocks. I remember thinking how much it all looked like an alien planet, and thinking how creepy it would be to wake up there, alone. And I remember thinking how scary it would be as a teenager, to wake up by yourself, not having a clue where you were or how you how got there, and what if–because isn’t this every person’s worst nightmare?!–you woke up naked? NIL was born in that moment. That barren-red-rock visual locked in my head, and that's what Charley sees when she first wakes up in Nil.

7. The red lava was chunky and brittle, making the black lava fields smooth by comparison. But walking on the black rock was tricky, especially in flip-flops. (Um, yeah. Flip-flops. Ridiculous, I know. It was a bit of an unplanned hike but so worth it). As we hiked, the black rock reminded me of either (1) giant piles of baked elephant poop (not that I've actually seen baked elephant poop but it's what I imagine piles of it would look like) or (2) asphalt that had been poured, over and over, but never smoothed. Or both.:) Here, you decide what you think it looks like:


6. I love the idea of a deadly paradise, where beneath the beauty lies danger. It's a cool contrast to play with, because for those characters, they can never relax, not completely, even though their surroundings may look like the perfect island retreat. On Nil, the characters' clocks are always ticking, making each day a race against death . . . even when the characters are running on a gorgeous white sand beach.

5. Black sand beaches epitomize deadly beauty for me. :) Sand as black as coal, touching water the color of pale aquamarine and as clear as glass. Because after all, the black sand comes from old lava flows…and volcanoes are the ultimate in deadly beauty, right?:) Here's a glimpse of the black sand beach that inspired Black Bay in NIL, where Charley's spends her opening days:

*Picture taken at twilight. One of my faves of the trip.:)

4. NIL is told from a dual POV, and the timeline is continuous with one exception: the scene where Charley and Thad first see each other. That one moment is seen through both character's eyes.

3. As I kid, I watched a LOT of Gilligan's Island, where a three-hour-tour went oh-so-wrong. I was obsessed with all their island craftiness (not to mention Ginger's perfect hair!). Who knew there were so many uses for coconuts?! And of course Survivor, LOST, and the Twilight Zone were all big influences too. I love stories that ask "what if" and have a touch of the supernatural. Oh--and anything involving an island.:)

2. Characters in NIL come from all over the globe, which I felt was important to the core of the story.

(RW: and if you weren't already intrigued...)

1. Not every character escapes… *runs away before I spill ALL THE SEKRITS* :)
Lynne is a former attorney who thinks writing books for teens is much more fun. :) Her debut novel, NIL, a YA thriller with a SF twist, will be published by Macmillan/Henry Holt on March 4, 2014.

When she's not writing or reading, you'll find her hanging out with her husband and their 4 boys, usually at the beach. Cookies are her kryptonite, especially thin mints.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

*the 'Tweet about the Giveaway' entry is acting up so for the time being I've removed it but feel free to spread the word! Just include @readingwishes when Tweeting and I'll manually add entries!*

6 Feb 2014

Blog Tour: Secret by Brigid Kemmerer (& Giveaway!)

4 comments:
Secret (Elemental #4) by Brigid Kemmerer
January 28th, 2014 · Allen & Unwin
Source: Publisher
Format: Paperback
Page Count: 375
EARTH. FIRE. AIR. WATER.

Nick Merrick is stretched to breaking point. He's trying to keep his grades sky-high or he won't get in to college. He's trying to keep his brother's business afloat or the Merricks will be out on the street. He's trying to keep the secret of where he's going in the evenings from his twin brother Gabriel - or he fears he'll lose his family. And he's trying to keep his mind off the hot, self-assured dancer who is his 'girlfriend's' partner.

And then Quinn takes to hanging around his sworn enemy, and an Elemental Guide is counting the hours until he can try again to kill the Merrick brothers. Storms are brewing. On all sides.

SECRETS IN THE WIND. DANGER IN THE AIR.
Our awesome Aussie edition included the Breathless novella in the front of the book and what a smart idea that was. I hadn't yet read the novella so it was the perfect way to get ready for Secret and gave me the chance to meet Adam. It isn’t necessary but if you plan on reading this instalment, I highly recommend you read the novella first because it really sets the story and puts everything in motion.

I know there's been some backlash when it came out that Nick was gay but when I heard my reaction was a positive one. 1) It was a complete surprise and something I hadn’t seen coming and 2) I was looking forward to seeing how Brigid would handle the LGBT aspect when it came to writing Nick’s novel. As the latter (and as expected), she wrote it with grace, authenticity and I think any fan of LGBT lit (or the Elemental series, for that matter) will be pleased with the honest portrayal.

As for the Elemental storyline, I feel it wasn't as present, like I found Spark to be, but this time I had no complaints. (Maybe because Nick's my favourite of the twins, not to mention him and Michael are currently battling it out for 'the favourite brother' title. Sorry, Chris, you were just a fling.) I'm actually glad Nick's story and the LGBT aspect took precedence because it was the driving point of the story - but that doesn't mean it was any less explosive.

Having only just met Adam when I read Breathless, I am happy to report back that I really liked him as a character. I ship him and Nick so much, I’ll even go as far to say that they are my favourite couple from the whole series. Quinn also played a significant role in the book, with her and Nick’s POV switching between chapters. She’s never been my favourite character and while I probably would have preferred a whole book just on Nick, I feel like I understand her a lot better now after getting to know her, her background and just who Quinn really is.

As for the ending, Kemmerer is the master for tying up loose ends, but leaving the reader wanting more, without making it a big, dreaded 'don't-leave-me-hanging' cliff-hanger. Sacrifice, I'm ready for you. *ponders title* I think?

4/5

Thanks to the wonderful team at Allen & Unwin, you have the chance to win a copy of Secret! This specific giveaway is open to Australian residents only but if you're from the US, you can enter the current Debut Delirium giveaway. Good luck and as always, happy reading!