Saturday, March 30, 2013

Teaser: This Is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott

This Is So Not Happening by Kieran Scott

"She had sex with my best friend!" he said, lifting his head. His skin was mottled as he pushed his hands into his blond hair, freshly shorn for the first day of school. " I mean... are you still in love with him?"
And that, right there, was the worst moment of my night. Even with the punching and the shoving and the horriying revelations. Because in that moment, I didn't have an answer."

- approx. p. 12 (Kindle edition)

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Book Review: Shade, Shift, Shine (Shade #1, #2, #3) by Jeri Smith-Ready

Title: Shade, Shift, Shine (Shade #1, #2, #3)
Author: Jeri Smith-Ready
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publishing Date: September 2010, June 2011, June 2012
Length: 320 pages, 384 pages, 416 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, fantasy, ghosts, paranormalcy, romance, Ireland, cult, music
Source: Bought, Publisher

Best. Birthday. Ever. At least, it was supposed to be. With Logan's band playing a critical gig and Aura's plans for an intimate after-party, Aura knows it will be the most memorable night of her boyfriend's life. She never thought it would be his last.

Logan's sudden death leaves Aura devastated. He's gone.

Well, sort of.

Like everyone born after the Shift, Aura can see and hear ghosts. This mysterious ability has always been annoying, and Aura had wanted nothing more than to figure out why the Shift happened so she can undo it. But not with Logan's violet-hued spirit still hanging around. Because dead Logan is almost as real as ever. Almost.

It doesn't help that Aura's new friend Zachary is so understanding--and so very alive. His support means more to Aura than she cares to admit.

As Aura's relationships with the dead and the living grow ever complicated, so do her feelings for Logan and Zachary. Each holds a piece of Aura's heart...and clues to the secret of the Shift.

 Summary by Goodreads

Note that this series review might contain slight spoilers for people who haven't read the first two books.

The Shift is an incomprehensible and strange phenomenon that appeared exactly sixteen years ago. Since then it's been controlling the lives of everyone born after it, giving them the ability to see ghosts. The SHADE series introduces ghosts as a matter of course. They are a part of modern-day life after the Shift instead of some paranormal happening to fear. No people are being haunted. Everyone knows about them and they aren’t the scary spirits we know from other books, which got me interested to read SHADE in the first place. This series presents us with a not at all ordinary ghost story paired with scientific and cultish elements involving a lot of  research about what's behind the Shift.

Aura has an exceptional job, as a kind of ghost whisperer. She's supposed to hear out ghosts and work together with her lawyer aunt. Which teen wouldn't want such a job? In the beginning of SHADE she's together with her boyfriend Logan, a hot musician. And everything seems to be just cut out of a contemporary romance novel. He's celebrating his birthday, they're having a good time and are about to take the next step in their relationship, when.. yeah, when he's being a jerk and dies. His death had been announced in the summary, but I was shocked at the stupidity behind it. Now thanks to the Shift it is possible that he's coming back, even so for a larger part of the story. And with Logan, comes the music. You'll get to be a groupie and just enjoy the show with all the musical aspects Jeri Smith-Ready put into her story!

In case you might be wondering - it is always one of the questions I am asking first - there is also a love triangle. Aura, Logan and Zachary. Those three have a lot of issues to sort out thoughout the entire series. As opponents, as lovers, friends and even variations in between.
I often feel the need to choose between the boys who are fighting for the girl. In the SHADE series I was drawn to both of them, could equally understand their motifs and feelings for Aura. Logan's been there from the beginning and I so badly wanted him to find a happy ending, even as a ghost. Then there's Zach, the super nice and supportive Scottish beau who stole my heart with no effort. He just walked into the story and became an inseparable part of it. It's as simple as that!
Aura & Logan as Aura & Zach have their sweet and sexy moments. Their relationships are steadily emerging, updating, changing. And I really liked the way their relationships and Aura's feelings took from the first to the last book. It always seemed like she was on a journey and in the end she's finally found her way home.
Aura and Zach's fate - for various reasons - being so closely intertwined, adds a pretty nice touch to the story. Zach is the sweetest and it can't be summarised all that he’s doing for Aura. Their research and connection to the Shift makes up a large part of the story. There is much to discover! But their interest also turns them into targets. And soon they find themselves hunted down by a bunch of bad guys, which adds a kind of really good spy-action-thrill to the books.  

Whereas SHIFT didn't convince me at all, SHADE poses as a great start into this series. The second book was the most unappealing out of the three books, because the story and Aura don't seem to pick up speed, but take three steps backward, meaning her getting involved with even more boys. Please no! But I was relieved to find SHINE a worthy conclusion and the best book of the entire series.

The Irish influences were pure joy to my heart. I've never even been there, but this country sure has something mysterious and compelling about it. Every time I see pictures or read about it, it feels like it's calling to me with its ancient history and culture.
Aura and Zach travel the Irish landscape, explore the myths behind Newgrange and hopefully return with what they've come to find. Jeri Smith-Ready fitted their journey with a massive original and authentic atmosphere.

1) of its new turn on ghosts
2) of a more than perfect birthday present
3) of Ireland's secrets and mystery potential
4) of a beloved Scotsman
5) of its heart for music

4/5 **** SHADE series - Purple ghosts, seeking love and mysteries in the heart of Ireland. This trilogy is very rock star! 

This is an entirely different kind of ghost story. It's funky, offers cultish references and a huge amount of musical support. There are governmental conspiracies and a bunch of really bad guys that are after Aura and Zach. Romance and action both guaranteed! Especially the last book in this series left me hoping to see a new book by Jeri Smith-Ready on my shelf very soon!

* Want to read more about the SHADE series? Jeri has written a few short stories and extra scenes. Find a list of them here.

* Click here to read an excerpt of SHADE.

* Book trailer

*For further information about Jeri and her books, visit

* Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for sending me a copy of SHINE for review!

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Giveaway: Three Oxford University Press Proof Copies

This is your chance to win three of the Oxford University Press MG/YA spring titles! Just enter the rafflecopter widget till April 15th. This giveaway is open internationally!

After Tomorrow by Gillian Cross

What if you woke up tomorrow and everything had changed? Money is worthless. Your friends are gone. Armed robbers roam the streets. No one is safe. For Matt and his little brother, Taco, that nightmare is a reality. Their only hope of survival is to escape through the Channel Tunnel. But danger waits on the other side...Stay or go. What would you do?

Smuggler's Kiss by Marie-Louise Jensen

It's not a crime to steal a heart

Smugglers are cut-throat rascals. At least that's what Isabelle's always been told. But when she's rescued from drowning at sea by the crew of a notorious smuggling ship, her principles are thrown into confusion. Outwitting the king's men fills her with excitement, especially when she's with one mysterious smuggler in particular . . .

Waiting for Gonzo by Dave Cousins

Meet Oz . . . he's got a talent for trouble but his heart's always in the right place (well, nearly always).
Uprooted from his friends and former life, Oz finds himself stranded in the sleepy village of Slowleigh. When a joke backfires on the first day at his new school, Oz attracts the attention of Isobel Skinner, the school psycho - but that's just the beginning.
After causing an accident that puts his mum in hospital, Oz isn't exactly popular at home either. His older sister's no help, but then she's got a problem of her own . . . one that's growing bigger by the day.
Oz knows he's got to put things right, but life isn't that simple, especially when the only people still talking to you are a hobbit-obsessed kid and a voice in your own head!
Packed with action, heart and humour, Waiting for Gonzo takes you for a white-knuckle ride on the Wheel of Destiny as it careers out of control down the Hillside of Inevitability. The question is, do you go down laughing? Or grit your teeth and jump off?

a Rafflecopter giveaway

* You enter for a chance to win three proof copies of Smuggler's Kiss, After Tomorrow and Waiting for Gonzo
* The giveaway starts on March 12th and will end on April 15th. 
* Enter the rafflecopter widget!
* Good luck :) 


Monday, March 11, 2013

Book Review: Jessica Darling series by Megan McCafferty

Title: The Complete Jessica Darling series (Sloppy Firsts, Second Helpings, Charmed Thirds, Fourth Comings, Perfect Fifths)
Author: Megan McCafferty
Publisher: Crown
Publishing Date: December 21st 2010 
Length: ebook, 1664 pages* 
Keywords: YA, contemporary romance, growing up, love, friendship
Source: Bought  

* I read the individual paperback editions published by Broadway, starting with Sloppy Firsts in August 2001

Growing Up Can Be Perfect in Its Imperfection 
The Jessica Darling series chronicles one young woman’s coming-of-age in the first decade of the 21st century. Over five books and ten years, Jessica Darling fumbles her way into adulthood. She evolves from a sixteen-year-old cynic, snarking in her diary about catty cliques, unrequited crushes, and other high school indignities, into a jet-setting twenty-six-year-old urbanite searching for more meaning in her life. Through all her misadventures in high school, college, and beyond, Jessica gets long-distance support from her best friend, Hope. But it's her on-again/off-again love of her life, Marcus Flutie, who can always be counted on to complicate her life in ways that are infuriating, intoxicating, and ultimately irresistible.

SLOPPY FIRSTS: Meet Jessica Darling—and fall for Marcus Flutie—in this high school comedy of many, many errors. 
A fresh, funny, utterly compelling fiction debut, Sloppy Firsts is an insightful true-to-life look at sixteen-year-old Jessica's predicament as she embarks on another year of teenage torment—from the dark days after her best friend, Hope, moves away through her months as a type-A personality turned insomniac to her completely mixed up feelings about Marcus Flutie, the intelligent and mysterious "Dreg" who works his way into her heart.

SECOND HELPINGS: Can Jessica survive senior year without losing her mind . . . or her heart?
This time, Jess is going through the social and emotional ordeal of her last year at Pineville High.  Not only does the mysterious Marcus Flutie continue to distract her, but Hope still lives in another state, and she can't seem to escape the clutches of the Clueless Crew, her annoying so-called friends.  To top it off, Jessica's parents won't get off her butt about choosing a college. Will Jess crack under the pressure of senioritis?

CHARMED THIRDS: Jessica is in college . . . and smart girls have more fun!
Jessica has finally left her hometown/hellhole for Columbia University; she's into Marcus more than ever (so what if he's at a Buddhist college in California), and she's making new friends. But Jess soon realizes that her bliss might not last. As she and Marcus hit the rocks, will she fall for her GOPunk, neoconservative RA . . . or for the hot grad student she's assisting on a summer project . . . or for the oh-so-sensitive emo boy down the hall? Will she even make it now that her parents have cut her off financially? And what do the cryptic one-word postcards from Marcus really mean?

FOURTH COMINGS:  Is the real world ready for Jessica Darling?
At first it seems like she's living the New York City dream. She's subletting an apartment with her best friend, working for a magazine that actually cares about her psychology degree, and is still deeply in love with Marcus. But when Marcus proposes—giving her only one week to answer—Jessica must decide if she's ready to give up a world of late-night literary soirees, art openings, and downtown drunken karaoke to move back to New Jersey and be with the one man who's gripped her heart for years.

PERFECT FIFTHS: Does Jessica and Marcus's journey end here? Or is it just the beginning? . . .
Now a young professional in her mid-twenties, Jess is off to a Caribbean wedding.  As she rushes to her gate at the airport, she literally runs into her former boyfriend, Marcus Flutie. It's the first time she's seen him since she reluctantly turned down his marriage proposal three years earlier—and emotions run high. They have both changed dramatically, yet their connection feels as familiar as ever. Is their reunion just a fluke, or has fate orchestrated this collision of their lives once again?

 Summary by Goodreads

This review cannot even express the sensation of perfect contentment I felt while being invited to stay in the wondrous world of Jessica Darling, queen of sarcasm and protagonist extraordinaire.
In her five-book series Megan McCafferty allows us to follow Jessica on her way from being a teenager to a young woman, with all the responsibilities and decisions awaiting her in future. It was great to witness everything going on in her life over such a long span of time. I didn't want to miss one single of her thoughts. Because even though I am not a teenager anymore, it felt so good to read on page what makes these years so angstful and exciting at the same time.

Every character contributes to the masterpiece of fun and hilarity -without ever forgetting that there's also the serious side of life- the Jessica Darling series stands for. I loved them all! Marcus Flutie, Jessica of course, her best friend Hope, the parents, her sister and her niece, to name only a few.
Marcus Flutie is the main love interest and an extreme case of changeability. It's obvious that he hasn't found his place in life yet, always restless, always changing his mind and his heart about his future, his goals and even Jessica. I'd subtitle this series 'The metamorphosis of Marcus Flutie'. Alternative and surely not mainstream, he always seems to be on an experimental trip. We don't get him more often than we do, but when we connect, it's in all the right ways.
Jessica is witty and her humour is the best. I laughed, I cried. I can’t believe how she always said and thought exactly what I was thinking. I wish I read this series much sooner. A revelation to every young adult reader!

Jessica and Marcus make mistakes, get together, seperate again. Life comes in the way, wrong decisions play a part. It's just too much to point out every turn their relationship or lives make. There are so many scenes that need to be all time favourites! You. Yes. You. Marcus Flutie you stole my heart. 
The first two books SLOPPY FIRSTS and SECOND HELPINGS are about Jessica's time in high school. CHARMED THIRDS covers her years in college, from 2003 to 2005. FOURTH COMINGS is about time after graduation and what she wants to do for a living. And PERFECT FITHS is an exception, starting a few years after her college years. It's not often that we get a glimpse of the characters out of their original highschool habitat, having started into their futures. This fifth book is also the final test, the last proof showing if Jessica and Marcus are meant to be together. And so that we can reconstruct all of their feelings, and memories of the past, Megan McCafferty served us two perspectives in this last book in the series. This time, we don't read the story from a 1st person point of view from Jessica as in the previous four books, but from a third person point of view of Jessica and Marcus. 

We are very lucky, because Jessica is keeping a diary. And the writing is as appealing as it is, because the story is written in the style of numerous diary entries. It has a very personal character and feels like we are just inside her head, going through everything she experiences and feeling as much love for Marcus Flutie as she does. Her writing is changing over the course of the series, especially in the fourth book, which is great, because it's a fab way to express change in her person or her ways of thinking.

This series is a guide for all young, sarcastic, lovable and insecure girls out there! Megan McCafferty, I thank you for all the hours of laughter and tears your novels brought into my house. You are a marvelous writer and I'm expecting to see many more books of you on my favourite shelves in the near future. I hope that we can find a version of that incredibly admirable and lovely Jessica Darling in all of us.

1) of being comfortable with each other in every state of nudity, physically and emotionally
2) of pop culture references, that might not be up to date, but just as much fun
3) Jessica's diary entries are the best
4) of a very hilarious work shop experience
5) of its feel-good guarantee

5/5 ***** JESSICA DARLING series -  Clever, romantic, sarcastic & so much more. YA at its best! 

SLOPPY FIRSTS recently had its 12th anniversary. Unbelieveable, but true. This series is in no way inferior to contemporary YA relatives in its originialty or actuality. This is a series that needs to be handed down to your kids, they will surely love to read about that Jessica Darling when they are growing up. And for everyone who hasn't read this series, I suggest you catch up on it now. It doesn't matter if you are 13 or 30, you will get and love it!


* Read an excerpt of SLOPPY FIRSTS!

* Watch the SLOPPY FIRSTS 10th anniversary tribute here.

* For further information about Megan McCafferty and her books, visit