Thursday, 30 October 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Panic (2014) (Hodder)
Lauren Oliver
Grade: A-
Genre: young adult
Source: bookbridgr
Fiction RBC 2014: A book with a mystery

Panic started in the town of Carp, population 12,000, for two reasons: because it was summer, and because there was nothing else to do. Now, Panic has become an institution. Played by recent high school graduates, participants sign up to compete in literal life-or-death challenges for the chance to win $67,000. People have died and two years ago, a girl was left paralysed from the waist down after her car was tampered with so that she would lose at the last hurdle. Still, Panic goes on.

Heather Nill never planned on entering Panic, but once she took part in the first challenge, The Jump, there was no turning back. Her best friend Nat is furious at first, but the two put their heads together and help each other as much as they can in order to get to Joust, the final and deadliest challenge. With the help of their third Musketeer, Bishop, and Dodge Mason, a loner in their class who has a crush on Nat and ulterior motives for playing, the four can only stand by and play in what is the most dangerous game of Panic in its history. They have all to play for … and everything to lose …

Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Looking for Alaska by John Green

Looking for Alaska (2005) (HarperCollins Children's Books)
John Green
Grade: B
Genre: young adult
Source: own
Young adult RBC 2014: A book set in high school 

When Miles Halter decides to leave his family and public school in Florida and set off for boarding school, he’s not leaving anything terrible important behind. His parents might miss their only child, but he’s got no friends and being a compulsive auto-/biography reader, Miles is compelled to seek out his ‘Great Perhaps’ in the words of François Rabelais. At Culver Creek, Miles find a loyal friend in his roommate Chip, otherwise known as ‘the Colonel’, who insists on giving Miles his own nickname of ‘Pudge.’ Miles is blown away by the sexy, vivacious, funny and self-destructive Alaska Young, who, like the Colonel, adopts Miles and puts him under her wing. Amid school pranks, failing pre-calc and his search for his ‘Great Perhaps, Alaska draws Pudge into her quest to find a way out of her labyrinth of suffering, introducing him to her unique perspectives on life in the process.

Sunday, 26 October 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

The Geography of You and Me (2014) (Headline)
Jennifer E. Smith
Grade: B
Genre: young adult
Source: bookbridgr
Young adult RBC 2014: Free square 

When Lucy and Owen meet, they’re stuck in the lift of their apartment building during a blackout that shuts down the whole of New York during high summer. Lucy has lived in New York her whole life, but this is the first time she’s been alone in the city while her twin brothers are at college and her parents have jetted off to Europe on holiday. Owen has just moved in with his father, the building’s new super. They left their house in Pennsylvania to start afresh after Owen’s mum died and he’s fiercely opposed to New York.

Though their time together is brief, they’ve made a fierce connection that transcends cities, countries and even continents and the course of events takes Lucy and Owen out of the city and apartment building that brought them together. From Scotland to San Francisco, Paris to Lake Tahoe, via postcards and the occasional email, Lucy and Owen learn the tough way about first love and that home might not be where they think it is …

Friday, 24 October 2014

True Betrayals by Nora Roberts

True Betrayals (1995) (Jove Books)
Nora Roberts
Grade: A-
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own 
Romance RBC 2014: A book by Nora Roberts

Newly divorced Kelsey Byden has lived a spoiled, pampered life, allowed to indulge her passion for learning and never having to settle with one job for long. All her life, she’s been told that her mother died when she was a baby, and she’s had the loving care of her father, an English Professor at Georgetown University and her stepmother, Candace. Then, Kelsey gets the shock of her life: her mother is alive and well, the owner of Three Willows, a thoroughbred farm in Virginia. The reason for the deception? Naomi was sentenced to prison for murdering her alleged lover.

Naomi might have served her sentence and re-built her reputation on the racing circuit for a long time, but this is the first time she’s made contact with Kelsey since she was a baby. Kelsey is both parts furious at the lie yet insanely curious about this woman who killed in a crime of passion. Wanting to get to know her mother, Kelsey moves to Three Willows against the wishes of her family. It is here that she meets Gabe Slater, owner of the neighbouring farm and the first man she’s desired since her separation from her husband two years ago.

At Three Willows, Kelsey finally finds her calling. The horses are just as much a valued part of her life as the people around her, and nothing gives her more joy or satisfaction as helping in the preparations for Three Willows to win the Crown Jewel in the racing world: the Derby. But there are people who are unhappy about this reunion between mother and daughter, the budding relationship between Kelsey and Gabe, as well as the prospect of Three Willows winning the Derby. As history begins to repeat itself in more ways than one, not even the horses can escape the danger that is looming …

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson

I'm stepping up my game in order to try and complete my three RBC 2014 challenges before the end of the year, as well as review as many as I can, too. I still won't be able to finish it in time, but I'm going to be posting reviews every other day and try.

The Moment Collector (2014) (Hachette Children's Books)
Jodi Lynn Anderson
Grade: C+
Genre: young adult
Source: NetGalley
Young adult RBC 2014: A book you heard about online 

Maggie is the new girl in the tiny town of Gill Creek. Her mother has had to accept a job in town after losing her job in Chicago, and her father gave up his several years ago when he took the decision to home-school her. Now, Maggie is struggling to adapt to life at 208 Water Street, their old, supposedly haunted house. Luckily, she has an instant friend in her closest neighbour Pauline and Liam, the boy who loves her.

Someone is killing teenage girls across the county, making their deaths look like drownings. At the same time, a ghost is haunting Maggie’s new house and for some inexplicable reason, she’s drawn to watch over the three teenagers. As she watches over the lives and loves of Maggie, Pauline and Liam, she desperately knows she needs to protect them all from the impending tragedy that’s about to hit. But there’s one memory lurking, evading her grasp that is preventing her from seeing clearly what will happen and how to stop it …

Monday, 20 October 2014

Every Day by David Levithan

Every Day (2014) (Egmont)
David Levithan
Grade: A-
Genre: young adult
Source: own
Young adult RBC 2014: A book with an epic love story 

A wakes up in a different body every day – A doesn’t identify with any gender and has become used to his abnormal life. Boy or girl, fat or thin, homosexual or straight, athletic or academic, nasty or nice, A has experienced it all. For the purposes of this review, we’ll refer to A as a male. A closes his eyes at night and know that when morning comes, he will be in another body, ready for another day of pretending to be another stranger.

There’s never been a strong sense of attachment to a particular body – until Justin. Or rather, not Justin, but his girlfriend Rhiannon. In Justin’s body, A experiences a perfect day, all the time knowing that Justin won’t remember a thing and that Rhiannon will be crushed when her unsuspecting and normally reticent boyfriend won’t have any recollection of their day. Then A breaks all his rules and contacts Rhiannon again, from another body, explaining his story and continuing to meet her when he can in a new body until she understands. For A, this is what love feels like: finding someone with whom he’s willing to risk everything to tell his life story.

When A doesn’t manage to get one of the bodies he’s occupied back home in time for the stroke of midnight, he doesn’t realise how serious the repercussions will be. The surrogate body was from a deeply religious family, and they’re convinced that their son was possessed by the devil. Suddenly, the story that Satan is possessing teenagers around the country is making its way around the news circuits and A is receiving messages that he can’t ignore …

Thursday, 16 October 2014

The King by Tiffany Reisz

The King (2014) (published 25/11/2014 / 5/12/2014) (Harlequin MIRA)
Tiffany Reisz
Grade: A
Genre: erotica
Sex scenes: HOT
Source: NetGalley
The Original Sinners: (prequel) Seven Day Loan, (The Red Years): (1) The Siren, (2) The Angel, (3) The Prince, (4) The Mistress, (The White Years): (5) The Saint, (6) The King 
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a title referencing the peerage 

The year is 1993 and Kingsley Edge is ready to drink himself to death while sleeping with half of Manhattan in the process. The year before, he was shot while working as a spy for the French Foreign Legion and dying from an infection in a hospital in France. He remembers little of his time there, except Søren appearing out of the blue one day after ten years, demanding that the doctors treat and heal Kingsley. Once discharged, Søren is gone but Kingsley has the best part of $30 million dollars in his bank account – blood money from Søren. Now, he lives in a palace in the city that never sleeps and owns a strip club where, behind closed doors, the rich and sexually deviant can give in to their erotic desires.

Reunited after 11 years, things aren’t quite the same anymore. Søren has been ordained as a Jesuit priest and Kingsley has embraced life as a Switch, comfortable as both a Dominant and Submissive – though of course he doesn’t want anyone knowing about the latter. Still, Søren is still used to things done his way and orders Kingsley to stop his self-destructive behaviour (if not the debauchery) and make good on his promise when they were teenagers to build a place for people like them – where they can safely and freely engage in their sexual proclivities without fear or censure from society around them. The next thing he knows, Kingsley is up against the all-powerful Reverend Fuller for possession of a Church-owned building that King knows is the perfect home for his BDSM club. With his new lesbian assistant Sam as his right-hand woman, King takes on what will be the most important task of his life: building an institution that will cement his role as the King of New York’s Underground.

Monday, 13 October 2014

Are we there yet? by David Levithan

Are we there yet? (2005) (HarperCollins)
David Levithan
Grade: B--
Genre: young adult
Source: own
Young adult RBC 2014: A book set in the summer 

Danny Silver isn’t used to sharing anything with his younger brother Elijah. Seven years older, there was a time when they were inseparable with their role-playing games and brotherly camaraderie, but on embarking into full teenager-hood, Danny grew too old for the games they used to play and the brothers have drifted apart ever since.

Elijah is now 17 and it’s time to start thinking about college applications. Danny is 24 and in advertising at Gladner, Gladner, Smith & Jones. Danny thinks that Elijah is too nice, while Elijah knows that Danny can’t stand his laidback nature. When the pair are tricked into going to Italy together by their parents, Danny and Elijah are forced to re-evaluate their relationship as they know it in the breathtaking surrounds of Venice, Florence and Rome. When a girl is added to the equation, love teaches both Danny and Elijah all they need to know about each other, and themselves.

Thursday, 9 October 2014

Captivated by Megan Hart & Tiffany Reisz

Captivated (2014) (short story collection) (Harlequin)
Featuring 'Letting Go' and 'Seize the Night'
Megan Hart & Tiffany Reisz
Grade: B- (average)
Genre: erotica / contemporary romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: NetGalley
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a 'marriage of convenience'

In Letting Go, Colleen visits The Fallen Angel bar every Thursday night, ordering a whiskey but leaving it untouched. Bartender Jesse is enchanted with the beautiful but troubled Colleen and determined to make something of their connection. Colleen is wary: her ex-husband always accused her of being frigid and cold and she hasn’t yet got over their divorce. It isn’t until a snow storm forces them to spend time in each other’s company that Colleen rethinks her perspective on a new relationship and is confronted with her newfound desire for kinkiness in the bedroom …

In Seize the Night, Remi Montgomery knows that something is shifty is up with two of the biggest Thoroughbred racing farms in Kentucky, Arden farms and Capital Hills. She would do something to confront the problem, but Arden farm belongs to her parents, and Capital Hills, belonging to the Brites family, is their greatest enemy. To top it off, she and Julien, the Brites’ only son were the source of the original rivalry. Five years ago, a night of unbridled passion turned the two families against each other and it’s now up to Remi and Julien to get to the bottom of it …

Monday, 6 October 2014

War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

War Horse (1982) (Egmont)
Michael Morpurgo
Grade: A-
Genre: children's
Source: own
Fiction RBC 2014: A best-selling book 

When a young colt is sold at an auction, he doesn’t expect to find a friend and loyal master in Albert, a boy at a Devonshire farm who names his new love, Joey. A beautiful red-bay foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, Joey is forced to become a farm horse by Albert’s father in order to ‘earn his keep.’ When the war breaks out, Joey is sold again to a Captain Nicholls to be used as a war horse, travelling over to France and facing the horrors of the First World War. Finding a friend in another thoroughbred horse, Topthorn, he and Joey lead a cavalry charge towards enemy lines, being captured by the Germans in the process. War Horse tells the story of Joey’s journey across Europe and Albert’s mission to be reunited with the horse he loves.

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Fast Track by Julie Garwood

Fast Track (2014) (Penguin Group Dutton)
Julie Garwood
Grade: B-
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: NetGalley
Buchanan/FBI: ... (12) Fast Track
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a 'best friend-little sister' relationship 

Raised solely by her father after her mother died in a car crash, Cordelia Kane isn’t ashamed to call herself a daddy’s girl. When he dies of a sudden heart attack, Cordelia is crushed – even more so when she discovers that her mother is still alive and well, having wanted nothing to do with her daughter’s life. Insanely curious about this woman that rejected her, Cordelia tracks her down to Sydney in order to find out more.

Hotelier Aiden Madison is Cordelia’s best friend’s older brother and the object of her crush since she was five years old. He offers Cordie use of the company jet to Australia, deciding to accompany her because he knows she’s still highly vulnerable following her father’s death. What he doesn’t expect is to find himself seeing Cordie in a completely different light, suddenly attracted to the girl he’s known his entire life.

Cordie’s mum is less-than-thrilled to discover that her daughter has come knocking, and even more so that the mechanic-husband she deserted went on to build a country-wide franchise, leaving Cordie quite the heiress. Her visit has started an explosive family drama and Cordie is now the subject of a silencing campaign by her newfound family who she’s more than willing to forget …

Monday, 29 September 2014

Heartbreaker by Linda Howard

Heartbreaker (1987) (Harlequin)
Linda Howard
Grade: A
Genre: contemporary romance
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a one-word title

Michelle Cabot has returned to take over her father’s ranch after his death and is faced with the biggest challenge of her life. She’s determined to manage the cattle ranch on her own, however physically challenging, until she realises that her father was heavily in debt to their neighbour, John Rafferty. When Michelle first met John at eighteen years old, she was both intimidated and attracted, but knew that she couldn’t allow either emotion to show, else he lump her in the same category as all the other women who fell at his feet in lust. As a result, Michelle made it her mission to be the iciest bitch in her power and the two have been at odds ever since.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne by Jayne Fresina

The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne (2013) (Sourcebooks Casablanca)
Jayne Fresina
Grade: C
Genre: historical romance
Sex scenes: hot
Source: NetGalley/own
Sydney Dovedale: (1) The Most Improper Miss Sophie Valentine, (2) The Wicked Wedding of Miss Ellie Vyne
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a heroine in disguise 

In order to finance her step-father’s expensive tastes and keep the creditors at bay, Miss Ellie Vyne is prone to dressing up as the Count de Bonneville and conning London’s Ton of their money and most precious jewels. When she lifts a diamond necklace off the deplorable Miss Ophelia Southwold, what Ellie doesn’t realise is that what she has in her possession is the Hartley Diamonds, belonging to her childhood nemesis, James Hartley. James tracks down the ‘Count’ to a rowdy inn, only to walk in on a nearly naked Ellie with the diamonds and the count nowhere to be found …

Monday, 22 September 2014

Concealed in Death by J.D. Robb

Concealed in Death (2014) (Piatkus)
J.D. Robb a.k.a. Nora Roberts
Grade: B
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: library
In Death: (1) Naked in Death ... (34) Celebrity in Death, (35) Delusion in Death, (38) Concealed in Death
Romance RBC 2014: A book with a cop/PI heroine 

When Roarke ceremoniously takes the first swing in demolishing a run-down building he’s got plans for, he’s hoping it will be the start of a successful venture. What he doesn’t expect to find is two carefully wrapped bundles of plastic, containing the bodies of two teenage girls who have been buried behind a false wall for fifteen years. A more thorough inspection of the building is thus only natural, eventually bringing to light an even dozen bodies.

This case hits hard to home for Lieutenant Eve Dallas. The building used to be a sanctuary for delinquents and teenagers who had nowhere else to go. This stark reminder of her own time in-and-out of foster homes only pushes her harder to find the killer, revealing an elaborate cover-up that has left far too many families wondering whether their daughters are still alive, for too long.

Friday, 19 September 2014

Roman Holiday: The Complete Adventure by Ruthie Knox

Roman Holiday: The Complete Adventure (2014) (Loveswept) (serial)
Ruthie Knox
Grade: A-
Genre: contemporary romance/funny
Sex scenes: hot
Source: NetGalley
RBC 2014: A funny book 

Ashley Bowman will do anything and everything she can to stop her late grandmother’s Florida Keys holiday resort being knocked down by a developer – even chain herself to a tree on the grounds just as a hurricane is about to hit. Once she meets Roman Diaz, she’s determined to prove to him exactly how his plans are going to affect the elderly community who have been visiting the resort for years – even if it means she has to drag him across the country to do it.

Monday, 15 September 2014

Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Black Hills (2009) (Piatkus)
Nora Roberts
Grade: B+
Genre: romantic suspense
Sex scenes: mild
Source: own
Romance RBC 2014: A book with more than 500 pages 

When Cooper is packed off to his grandparents’ farm in South Dakota for the summer, aged 11, while his parents ‘work’ on their marriage, he’s convinced that this will be the worst summer of his life. No baseball camp, no live games at Yankee Stadium and no friends to help alleviate his boredom. Instead, he’s got weeks of collecting eggs, mucking out stalls and chores to look forward to. Similarly, he’s resigned to dislike neighbour Lil Chance on sight simply for the reason that she’s a girl, but what he doesn’t expect is for this unlikely friendship to be the most important and meaningful of his entire life.