Saturday, February 16, 2013

Review for Shades of Summer (The Haunting of Ruby Series, Book1) by Joy Elbel

Here is the official overview of the book from

Love…the only thing more powerful than death.
Seventeen year old Ruby Matthews spent the last year of her life crippled by guilt and grief over the death of longtime friend and boyfriend Seeley “Lee” Lucas. Feeling that a change of scenery might snap her back to reality, Ruby’s father moves the family out of their home in the Philadelphia suburb of Trinity and into small town life in Charlotte’s Grove, Pennsylvania. Life is better here for Ruby—she quickly makes friends with handsome Zach Mason and his twin sister Rachel. Every moment spent with Zach makes life and love seem possible again. But passion comes with a high price. Things are not what they seem at Rosewood, the Matthews’ historic plantation-style home. Paranormal activity at the mansion intensifies as she draws closer to Zach. Is it Lee—coming back to claim her heart and maybe even her soul? Or is something more sinister hiding in the shadows? Ruby must delve into her own past and the history of Rosewood before it is too late.

   I was so excited to read this book, the overview sounded amazing and I love a good paranormal romance book.  Often the overviews of books make it sound amazing and then you read the book and are disappointed.  This book definitely did not disappoint, in fact it was one of the best paranormal romance books that I have read.
   Ruby is the main character in this book and I immediately fell in love with her.  She is recovering from a life changing tragedy when she is forced to move to a new town and start over.  She is socially awkward and very shy.  She reminded me so much of me in high school.  Never sure what to say and always worried about not being accepted.  I think that many people can relate to her character.  Luckily she ends up meeting some amazing twins, Zach and Rachel, who immediately become her best friends and bring her out of her shell. 
   Ruby quickly falls for Zach.  Who wouldn't fall for someone so amazingly good looking and sweet.  Unfortunately she tries to keep her past a secret and as secrets do they cause problems in her relationship with Zach.  Ruby has no idea how dangerous her secrets will become.  Throw in a haunting that threatens her life and you have one amazing story. 
   The characters in this story are so genuine and sweet that you can't help but fall in love with them.  The author does a great job at introducing their stories and you feel like you really understand them and you get drawn in to their lives.  The love between Zach and Ruby is so amazing that you can't help but root for everything to work out so they can be together.  I love that the romance is portrayed in a way that is simple and clean, instead of the usual overtly sexual, teen soap opera way.  It was very refreshing and actually lent to the overall feeling that Zach and Ruby are truly meant to be together. 
   Anyone that is a fan of the Twilight series should take the time to read this book.  The haunting is intense and you get caught up in the mystery of it all.  Not to mention how amazing the relationship of Zach and Ruby is.  Love truly does conquer all in this book.  I can't wait for book two so I can find out what happens to Ruby and Zach!

Parent's Guide:  There is some minor swearing in the book.  Ruby and Zach do talk about having sex but their view is all about waiting, which I thought was great of the author.  Rachel and her boyfriend are having sex but no details are given.  Unfortunately there are two episodes of references to male anatomy when they are aroused.  This was disappointing since the author had been so good about the way she approached sex in the book and these references were totally unnecessary.  Some scenes of the haunting are kind of intense and does get violent and physical as the story progresses.  It may be a little intense for some people.

Review for Visions (The Secret Watchers, #1) by Lauren Klever

Here is the official overview of the book from

Welcome to the world of Owen Ryer and The Secret Watchers. What would you do if you suddenly discovered that you could not only sense dark energy but individuals with evil in their hearts? What if you were given hints about horrible things that had already happened and you had no choice but to fix them? What if these things you were driven to do were not only dangerous but had to be concealed? Who could you trust with this perilous secret? How would you handle homework and chores when you felt like the weight of the world rested on your shoulders? Owen feels he has no choice... What would you do? Would you have the courage to try?
In Visions (The Secret Watchers, Book One) fourteen-year-old Owen Ryer hates school and his life in general, but dreams that there must be something more... until he is irrevocably drawn to a watch in an old pawnshop that unlocks his amazing and unexpected gift. Now it’s a race to see if Owen can master his special ability before the dark watchers destroy or turn him to the side of evil and chaos.
You will experience Owen’s confusion, frustration and compassion as he discovers that it is demanding enough just to be a teenager, let alone have a secret as big as the one he is burdened with. Who should he trust? Who can help him? Typically watchers work alone but Owen is the next generation - should he be the one to challenge the rules?
Everyone needs a hero and sometimes the best ones are the unintentional ones. Owen is that kind of guy as he searches for purpose, acceptance and morality. He isn’t perfect, he doesn’t always do things right, but he has the greater good at heart – always.
You are invited to follow Owen as he journeys through the darkest walk he has ever taken; where he captures glimpses of the underbelly of society, a place he never knew existed and didn’t want to see. After you read Visions, will you be looking under your bed and double checking your closet? Please enter the Secret Watchers universe if you dare but beware – you may be sucked right into the good versus evil suspense of jaw-clenching action and never want to leave.

   When I first signed up to read this book I didn't expect to really enjoy it.  I was mainly thinking that while I might not enjoy it the book my turn out to be something my teenage sons would enjoy.  I often have a hard time with books where the main character is a young teenage boy.  I know that sounds horrible but to me those books seem to lack any depth.  It is all about the boy trying to be a hero and save the world, no back story, no chance to really get to know the characters beyond their struggle to fulfill their calling.  As bad as this sounds I really think that it all comes down to the fact that boys and girls have very different  things that they like in books.  I like to read books where I feel like I really get to know the character and fall in love with them.  Boys don't care about that, they want all the action and facts.
   Turns out I was completely wrong about this book.  I loved it!  It did have the normal teenage boy/hero story line but the author also took the time to introduce the characters and I was able to feel like I really knew and understood them.  All of the characters were amazing and I ended up loving all of them.  The main character, Owen, is such a good kid and as a mother I thought he was a perfect hero for any boy to look up to.  His friends are also good kids.  It is so refreshing to have a book where the main characters are truly good people. 
   Don't start to worry that this book won't appeal to boys!  There is a lot of action in this book.  In fact one of the action parts is pretty intense.  When the boys aren't fighting bad guys they are training to fight them so there is always something happening to keep your attention.  There is even a little bit of love sprinkled in once the girls start to notice Owen and his friends.  There is even a damsel in distress part where Owen must fight to save the girl he cares about. 
   I would recommend this book to anyone looking for a great story, especially to moms looking for books for their pre-teen/teen boys.   In fact this book would be just as appealing to girls.  If you take the time to read this book you will not be disappointed and it will leave you anxiously waiting for book two, just like I am.

Parent's Guide:  There are a couple of minor swear words used in the book.  There is also one intense scene where a main character is almost killed.  This scene may be a bit much for young children or anyone that is sensitive.

Monday, February 11, 2013

Amazing Giveaway!

Who wouldn't love to win an iPad Mini?!  I definitely would and with money like it is in today's economy winning one is my only hope of ever owning one.  There is an amazing contest going on right now for the blog tour of a new book called Phoebe Pope and the Year of Four by Nya Jade.  Here is the official teaser for the book:

 The students of Green Lane Academy roam their halls unaware that below their manicured campus exists a prestigious school of an entirely different kind . . .

Sixteen-year-old Phoebe Pope has enrolled at the Campus Below: a spy academy for shape-shifters hidden deep beneath the grounds of a boarding school whose humans unknowingly protect it. There, thanks to a carefully planned schedule, she leads a double life: spy trainee Below and normal teenager Above.

As if two course loads, concealing a secret power she alone wields, and coping with her father’s recent death weren’t enough, Phoebe finds herself developing major feelings for actor and teen heartthrob Colten Chase, who attends the Campus Above and appears to be majoring in winning Phoebe’s heart. But when officials learn that Phoebe may be at the center of a startling prophecy, she becomes the target of shape-shifting assassins who will stop at nothing to suppress the truth.

Now Phoebe’s lessons about Shaper’s enemies and spycraft take on great importance as a menace stalks the campus, with Phoebe as its target. Meanwhile, what began as an unlikely relationship with Colten, quickly morphs into heartache when she suspects that something sinister lurks beneath this movie star’s glitter and fame. Suddenly, Phoebe’s caught in a mesh of lies, betrayals, and danger where she doesn’t know who to trust, and needs to rely on herself—and her secret power—to get to the truth and to stay alive.

Doesn't this book sound wonderful?!  I discovered the review for this book and the giveaway on one of my favorite book blogs, Chocolate Coated Reviews.  If you love books as much as I do it is a site that you really must check out.  She has great reviews and lots of great giveaways. Good luck everyone!