After the loss of her mother, Chloe Kennedy starts seeing the ghosts that haunted her as a young girl again. Spending time at her grandmother’s country estate in the south of England is her chance to get away from her grief and the spirits that haunt her. Until she meets a mysterious stranger…
Alexander Reade is 157 years dead, with secrets darker than the lake surrounding Grange Hall and a lifelike presence that draws Chloe more strongly than any ghost before. But the bond between them awakens the vengeful spirit of Alexander’s past love, Isobel. And she will stop at nothing to destroy anyone who threatens to take him from her. (From Goodreads.com)
Bubby: Sissy read this book first and warned me to not read it at night, as I would have nightmares and not be able to sleep. I, of course, scoffed at her because I am a strong and powerful woman and nothing scares me! So I went ahead and read it one night while my husband was at work late. The kids were all asleep in their beds (none of which are on the same floor of our house as my bedroom, by the way) and I was all alone. And about 15 minutes in I was terrified out of my mind. It was all I could do to force myself to open up my bedroom closet the next morning for fear that a psychotic ghost would be waiting inside. I should have listened to Sissy!
Sissy: Let’s see–“I should have listened to Sissy”—Ding, ding, ding! That should be the mantra for your life (everyone’s life, really, except it would read “I WILL listen to Sissy.”). Also, the part where you said “nothing scares me” is, of course, a complete lie. Readers: Bubby is a first class scaredy cat. In the case of Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto, however, the fear is well justified. I also read this book alone at night (well, everyone was asleep but me). I went to bed (translation: ran terrified to my bedroom) only to find my dear hubby snoring loudly. Normally I would have gone down to the guest bedroom to escape the snores, but I was so petrified by the thought of Isobel the creepstash swamp-thing jumping out at me from anywhere en route or in the guest room closet that I simply attached myself to the ghost conquering snorer and lay awake but safe. Let me add, lest you get the wrong idea, that I really liked this book. It was full of drama, excitement, romance, and enough ghostly encounters to scare the holy pantalones off me. Just look at the cover–it’s like Heathcliff meets 21st century teenage medium.
Bubby: We should make it clear here that these are your standard “made bad decisions in life and can’t let go” ghosts, not “evil spawn of Satan” ghosts. We don’t do them Satanic sorts of things – I mean, there’s scary and there’s afraid for your immortal soul scary. We don’t go there. Anyway, my favorite part of Ghost House has to be the ending. Alexandra Adornetto wraps up the story so nicely – all the loose ends are tucked away neatly and everything’s back to normal. And then, in the very last two sentences of the book, BOOM! Massive cliffhanger. Yup. I literally dropped my Kindle on the floor and yelled “What the heck?!?”. I did. You can ask my kids. And the worst part? Ghost House was just barely published. So now I have to wait to find out what on earth is going to happen next. Well played, Alexandra Adornetto. Well played. 4 absolutely flesh-crawling bubbles of creepy from me.
Sissy: There are many characters in this story that we haven’t mentioned; Chloe’s dad who sends her and her brother Rory away because he can’t handle parenting after the death of his wife, the aforementioned Rory, who I wonder how he gets through all this without psychological problems of his own, Granny Fee, who owns “Ghost House”, and Joe, Chloe’s sympathetic English friend. All in all, a terribly enjoyable read. For daylight only! 3.75 ghostly orbs.
Click HERE to buy Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
The adventures begun in the Feyland trilogy continue, where a high-tech computer game becomes a gateway to the treacherous Realm of Faerie. Rich-boy gamer Royal Lassiter lives on easy mode—until everything falls apart. Dark faeries are plotting to invade the mortal world, his controlling mom has turned home into enemy territory, and he can’t deny his irresistible attraction to newcomer Brea, despite the danger lurking in her mysterious eyes. Forced to undertake a perilous mission for the Dark Queen of Faerie, Brea Cairgead finds living among humans and hiding her true nature as one of the fey folk a fearsome challenge—especially when her emotions prove all too vulnerable to a certain human boy. Torn between impossible loyalties, she must serve her queen… though it may cost her heart. Can love between mortal and fey ever have a happy ending? (From Goodreads.com)
Sissy: Anthea Sharp draws us back into the magical world of Feyland with another beautiful novel of romance and adventure. I dare you to look at the cover and not be drawn into the story.
Bubby: I am always so excited when a new Feyland book comes out! This one shows us a whole new side of Roy Lassiter, the boy we hate to like. He actually has some depth. Who knew?
Sissy: Anthea Sharp just keeps getting better and better! I do not hesitate to recommend that everyone read Royal: Feyguard Book 2.
Bubby: A great novel to help you pretend that it’s still summer. Just what I needed.
Click HERE to buy Royal by Anthea Sharp at Amazon.com
We received a copy of Royal from the author in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
In a society steeped in tradition, Princess Lia’s life follows a preordained course. As First Daughter, she is expected to have the revered gift of sight—but she doesn’t—and she knows her parents are perpetrating a sham when they arrange her marriage to secure an alliance with a neighboring kingdom—to a prince she has never met.
On the morning of her wedding, Lia flees to a distant village. She settles into a new life, hopeful when two mysterious and handsome strangers arrive—and unaware that one is the jilted prince and the other an assassin sent to kill her. In The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson, deception abounds, and Lia finds herself on the brink of unlocking perilous secrets—even as she finds herself falling in love.
Bubby: The plot was good, the characters were great but the best part of The Kiss of Deception was definitely the way Mary E. Pearson structured the novel. We’d have a segment from Lia’s point of view, a section from the prince’s side of things and then one from Mr. Assassin Boy. And the kicker was that for most of the book you have absolutely no idea which boy is which. We only know them as Kaden and Rafe. Is Kaden the prince? Or is it Rafe? Only one way to find out!
Sissy: I totally didn’t know who was the prince and who was the assassin until it was revealed when the assassin kidnaps Lia. I got it all wrong and was surprised but glad. This tale leads you on a merry chase, literally and figuratively. First of all, when Lia flees on her wedding day with her maid Pauline, she knows where she’s going but not how to get there or what she’s going to do when she arrives. She has to take on a whole new persona and hide from unknown villains. She doesn’t know who to trust, even though her heart is trying to give her clues.
Bubby: Her heart is doing her no favors. It tells her to trust BOTH of the boys – even the one who’s been sent to kill her.
Sissy: But her heart definitely makes her lean in a certain direction. Her new life as a hard-working bar maid prepares her for the rough road ahead when she gets kidnapped and her life takes on a decidedly un-princess-like turn.
Bubby: You’d think there would be a clear-cut bad guy in this story but there really isn’t, except for the shadowy leader of the barbarians who we really don’t get to know much about. And there is one other big nasty scumbucket but I can’t reveal who. You’ll know him when you see him. You’d think the assassin would be the bad guy, but even as you hate what the assassin is doing, you still feel for him and wonder what he could have been under different circumstances.
Sissy: There are lots of delightful side plots and characters that fill out the story and make it so delectable. When I got 95% into the book and realized that things weren’t going to resolve, I threw myself onto the floor, banged my fists and said “Fie!” And when is book 2 coming out? Quick, Bubby, google it and tell me!
Bubby: She’s working on it, but no publication date yet. Boo.
Sissy: The way Mary E Pearson did end this first book was so yummy. So poetic, so fateful. So clever. You must read it!
Bubby: I must admire Mary E Pearson for her versatility as an author. She has written several other YA books but they are all very modern or even futuristic. The Jenna Fox series is really well done and my teens just ate it up but I have to admit it wasn’t my favorite. Just not quite my thing. But this book. Is. Magic. Everything I am looking for in a YA Fantasy novel.
Sissy: The Kiss of Deception is a delicious romantic adventure saga with a touch of magic. All you have to do is look at the fantastic cover art and you will have a preview of the wondrous story ahead. 4.5 bubbles.
Bubby: Practically perfect in every way. 4.75 bubbles.
When Cora’s mother whisks the family away for the summer, Cora must decide between forging her future in the glimmering world of second homes where her parents belong, or getting lost in the bewitching world of the locals and the mystery surrounding a lonely old woman who claims to be a selkie creature—and who probably needs Cora more than anyone else.
Through the fantastical tales and anguished stories of the batty Mrs. O’Leary, as well as the company of a particularly gorgeous local boy called Ronan, Cora finds an escape from the reality of planning her life after high school. But will it come at the cost of alienating Cora’s mother, who struggles with her own tragic memories?
As the summer wanes, it becomes apparent that Ronan just may hold the answer to Mrs. O’Leary’s tragic past—and Cora’s future.
Sissy: Learning to Swim has layers of backstory, memories, and tragedies, and it was quite engaging–I read it in a couple of days and was kept up at night trying to make sure I had everything straight in my head (that is a slow pitch to you, Bubby).
Bubby: Oh, the possibilities! Should I make a snarky comment on your age and the affect thereupon your brain? Or say something about my infintiely greater mental capacities? I can’t decide! I’ll just let this one go – call it an early birthday present. I had a hard time getting into the story of Learning to Swim. It came off as the typical YA summer romance novel. There was some teenage drinking among the rich and fabulous set, some Romeo and Juliet-type issues with the rich girl and the “townie” boy and all the accompanying angst that one would expect. However. The story started dragging me in. Before I knew it, I actually cared about these people and their lives. The thing that pulled me in most was Mrs. O’Leary and her stories. I figured out who (or should I say what) she was pretty early on and it just got better from there.
Sissy: I truly felt bad for Cora. Her parents are garishly noveau rich and want her to have the right friends and the right college and they are willing to pull whatever strings they can to get her those things. Cora hates the shallow set of rich teens and has no clue what she wants to do with her life other than backpacking through Europe. There is such a lack of communication between her and her parents. I just don’t get it. Would parents really choose an arrogant, lazy party boy for their daughter just because he is rich?
Bubby: Our dad would have! Remember John M.? I think we’ve mentioned him before… I too was amazed by this. Even after Cora reveals that all Mr. Richie Rich wanted from her was to “get in her pants”, her parents still favored him. Stupid, stupid. I love how Cora has so little interest in the rich teenagers that she can’t even be bothered to remember most of their names – two of the girls are simply Blondie and the bimbo. She ends up regretting her reverse prejudice later on, though. But you’ll have to read the book to find out why and with whom!
Sissy: My favorite character was Mrs. O’Leary. She is a complex individual who cannot be labeled as good or bad. The Irish folklore she introduces is fascinating, but full of riddles and hidden meanings. Mrs. O’Leary, known as Lia (short for Cordelia) by the townfolk, has episodes of warmth and lucidity mixed with outright lunacy.
Bubby: Sounds like you!
Sissy: I knew you were going to say that, but I was also going to say that it reminds me of myself. So there. Just because you’re in control of the keyboard you think you can steal my mad thoughts and write them as your own!
Bubby: I try, but then you smack me. I have the bruises to prove it! Just kidding. Once you know more about Lia’s history, everything she says makes perfect sense. Don’t you think?
Sissy: Yes, that was what I was going to say before you hijacked the blog.
Sissy: Poor baby. Maybe you’ll behave better next time. So Learning To Swim left me with all kinds of questions. We don’t know exactly who is who and what belongs to whom and we don’t even know when book two is coming out. We are hoping Annie Cosby will shed some light on that soon.
Bubby: Way to be cryptic, Sissy. But it’s true. I read the last page and kept looking for another page, one that would keep the story going. But it’s just a classic cliffhanger. I, for one, want more! 3.75 bubbles from me.
Sissy: I give it 4 bubbles.
Click HERE to buy Learning To Swim at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
Cooper Reynolds’s life is going to the dogs… literally. As if being a high school senior in a small Texas town wasn’t hard enough, Cooper has bigger things to worry about than who he’ll take to prom and whether or not the Poisonfoot Padres will win homecoming. He has less than a year before his eighteenth birthday, when a curse placed on his family will doom him to live in coyote form forever. The last thing he needs to complicate his already messed-up life is a girl, but fate has other plans in mind for him when it brings Eloise “Lou” Whittaker to Poisonfoot. She’s grouchy, sarcastic and has no love for her new Texas home, but she might be exactly the right person to help Cooper break the curse. The clock is ticking, and Cooper will have to decide if he’s willing to let Lou in on his dirty little secret before it’s too late. (From Netgalley.com)
Sissy: Holy cliffhanger, batwoman! I hate cliffhangers, but I gotta say, I enjoyed getting to it. I didn’t like Lou’s attitude at first (trying to hearken back to my teenage years to see if I was such a selfish stink-butt to my mom, and the answer is “probably”). I really didn’t like that her father dying was not her number one pick for the worst things ever in her life but rather number two after moving because her dad died. But, she does redeem herself in many ways. The best way is that she ignores everyone who tells her to stay away from Cooper and instead befriends the poor, friendless guy.
Bubby: You were absolutely a selfish stink-butt. I was there. I remember everything! Besides, aren’t most teenagers selfish stink-butts for at least some of the time? My biggest problem with Autumn is that there is so much more to the story and I have to wait to get it. I am not good with waiting. I much prefer instant gratification – why do you think I buy most of my books on Kindle? There is a sense of tension throughout this whole story, even from the very beginning. You know that something is going to happen to Lou in this new town she’s going to. You know that something is hinky with Cooper and his mysteriously missing brother. And you know that there is something else going on but you just can’t put your finger on it. Until the end. The quite literally explosive end. Oh my.
Sissy: And let’s just get it out there that you were a bratty poop-head. But I’m over it. I’m not over Autumn by Sierra Dean, however. This book is essentially a teaser, a trap to get you hooked into reading the whole series. You are introduced to the mystery, the curse, the watchers (we don’t really know much about them), the ghosts (yes! Creepy stuff that I hope becomes less creepy!), and the coyote. It is no spoiler so I’ll just say it–Cooper is doomed to turn into a coyote on his 18th birthday because of a long-lived curse. Very original, Ms Dean. No turning back and forth from human to animal like some werewolf or shapeshifter, but just a one way trip to coyote-hood. The end. Everyone in the book except Lou knows more than they’re letting on, and we have to wait. for. it.
Bubby: Can you imagine dealing with the reality that you ARE going to be a coyote? At least with werewolves there is a chance to live something like a normal human existence. But not here. We’re not even sure how much, if any, human remains in the coyote. It seems to be a clear-cut case that once you’re turned, it’s all over. But nothing is really clear-cut in Autumn. There are layers and twists aplenty and I am sure there is much more to come. Perhaps there is a redemption in store in the future? And we haven’t mentioned anything about Wyatt and his family yet. Not that I can say much without giving away spoilers, but Wyatt is a super popular kid who also seems to be genuinely nice. But Wyatt has a few surprises of his own up his sleeve. Aaargghh! I want to say more but Sissy would smack me for giving things away, so I will stay silent.
Sissy: Just so you know, readers, even though Bubby says she is often threatened with smackage by me, the only smack she has ever received from me is the clever verbal type– even if she was ever annoying enough to receive the physical kind. That said, I don’t have much more to say about Autumn and since Winter isn’t expected to be released until November-ish I am going to pout for a minute. Okay, I’m done. Sierra Dean is quick-witted with her dialogue and metaphors, and her characters are well-rounded. I especially liked Granny Elle, except for when she was being a stink-butt about Cooper, and who wouldn’t want to live in a town called Poisonfoot?
Bubby: Autumn is a really enjoyable page turner of a read. Oh, and it’s on sale at Amazon.com for only 99 cents right now. What a steal! I can’t wait until Winter comes out. I guess I will have to wait until then to find out what’s really going on in Poisonfoot, Texas. 4 bubbles.
Sissy: I’m not going to read the next one until all the books are out. That may be in 2016. But I’ll give Autumn 4 impatient bubbles.
Click HERE to buy Autumn at Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
We received a copy of Autumn by Sierra Dean from Netgalley in return for a fair and honest review.
Meghan Elam has been strange her entire life: her eyes have this odd habit of changing color and she sees and hears things no one else does. When the visions and voices in her head start to get worse, she is convinced that her parents will want to drag her off to another psychiatrist. That is, until the mysterious Cade MacRoich shows up out of nowhere with an explanation of his own.
Cade brings her news of another realm where goblins and gnomes are the norm, a place where whispering spirits exist in the very earth, and a world where Meghan just might find the answers she has always sought.
Bubby: At first I didn’t see anything strange about our girl Meghan. Funny eyes that change color? Mine do that. Voices in ones’ head? Isn’t that normal? Doesn’t everyone have voices in their head telling them to do things? My psychiatrist says it’s perfectly fine. I just shouldn’t do what they say! But seriously. I was intrigued with Meghan from the beginning. She was abandoned at the age of 2 on Halloween and has been dealing with all sorts of what she thinks are psychological issues ever since. She has a loving family and good friends but there has always been these issues she has to deal with. And as a teenager, the worst possible thing you can be is different.
Sissy: Well, Bubby, you’ve outed yourself. People didn’t realize that I came and blogged with you in your padded cell, and that I have to wear body armor, just in case. The author describes Meghan as “strange-looking” and obviously the kids at school agree with this description but I couldn’t get a picture in my mind of what it was that was strange. Was it simply the changing eyes? Was it being tall and gangly? Were her eyes too big for her head, like a Roswell alien? What? And then Cade is described as having similarities to Meghan but he is called handsome. Maybe it’s all in how Meghan sees herself. What I do like is that once Meghan finds out who she really is and what she can do, she isn’t suddenly then transformed into a beauty or described as such.
Bubby: On the surface, this seems like the same formulaic plot we’ve seen a bazillion times: girl is weird and is drawn to otherworldly handsome boy who is dangerous to her for some reason, but the attraction is too great and they must be together no matter what. But this is not the case. Meghan is not at all what she thinks she is. She is actually more dangerous than Cade, even though he has a very interesting quality that I cannot reveal at this time. Meghan is not that kind of girl who is willing to throw away her life and safety for the unsuitable boy. If anything, the roles are reversed here.
Sissy: After 17 years of psychological trauma (even though her adopted parents are great), it is understandable that Meghan is a bit of a ninny and has a hard time seeing herself as anything wonderful or more than the freaky awkward person she’s always felt herself to be. But the author does a fantastic job of showcasing Meghan’s potential, promising that in books to come, Meghan will be able to come into her own and recognize how special she truly is. Also, the plethora of otherworldly characters and the whole emotional complexity of the Fae world is very well presented.
Bubby: Yes, Jenna Elizabeth Johnson does a great job of foreshadowing. All the way through you can see hints of what’s to come – just enough to tantalize you into reading the next books ( Dolmarehn and Luathara, both available now). I was totally sucked into the story by how quickly I felt invested in the characters. It’s a quick paced read that moves from conflict to conflict peppered with bits of humor and romance.
Sissy: Meghan also has the requisite geeky friends, but one in particular turns out to be a great ally. I immediately read book two, Dolmarehn and I had pangs of longing when I had to put aside Luathara until I had finished the stack of books I was required to read first. Faelorehn is a wonderfully intriguing first book in a very well written trilogy. 4 bubbles.
Bubby: I haven’t gotten to read either book two or three yet, but they are definitely on my list. 3.5 bubbles from me.
Click HERE to buy Faelorehn at Amazon.com
We were given a copy of Faelorehn by the publisher in return for a fair and honest review.
© Bubble Bath Books 2014
At 16, Madison has accepted herself for who she is: smart and witty, but overweight with thick glasses and the social life of a Tibetan monk. Everything changes the summer before her junior year of high school when her eyesight inexplicably corrects itself, and she begins to rapidly lose weight. However, her new look comes with an unexpectedly expensive price. Madison’s first kiss with the boy she has had a crush on for years triggers powers she can’t control, almost killing him. She discovers she is a Berserker, a powerful being chosen to guard the world from the Havocs, ancient creatures brought into our world by magic thousands of years ago. They cause destruction and death, but cannot be killed. Instead of enjoying her new look and popularity at school, Madison must now work with the Berserkers to master her powers and bind the Havoc before it kills her. (From Goodreads.com)
Bubby: Yes, I know. We said we were sick of Young Adult Paranormal and didn’t want to read or review or even look at it anymore for a while. And we meant it! Except for this book. Because this one is different. No elves. No fairies (or faeries or fae or whatevers). Only a smidgen of magic. No whiny girls who can’t control their feelings for highly inappropriate vampires and/or werewolves. Nope. This is something new and different. Hurrah! I mean, really. Have you ever heard of a Berserker before? (Not the hairy mad Viking warrior type). Me either! As it turns out, Berserkers are always male. Always have been, always will be. There is some sense to this, I think. Men are much more likely to go crazy and start smashing things than your average woman. But Madison is, in fact, a Berserker. How? Why? Read the book. It all makes beautiful sense.
Sissy: We don’t actually know why she’s a Berserker –
Bubby: I do. I know why. And how. Because I read book 2 – Unbound. Ha!
Sissy: Well aren’t you the Duchess of Discovery! One day I shall be like you, able to speed-read all the books in the universe.
Bubby: I gave it to you. Not my fault you didn’t get around to reading it yet.
Sissy: You are rude and insensitive to my geriatric state. I am going to turn into a Berserker one day and have superhuman powers and then you’ll be jealous. I also am glad we made this exception to our “no nauseating paranormal YA (for a while)” rule. It was so engaging. I zipped through it and can’t wait to read book two, Unbound.
Bubby: You’ll like it. It was even better than the first book. I know this because I already read it.
Sissy: Your insecurity is becoming unbearable!
Bubby: You’ll get over it, I promise. Now talk about the book, will you?
Sissy: In the back of my mind I was somewhat bugged by the fact that Madison, in coming into her powers, also gets skinny and loses the Coke-bottle eyeglasses. Because in my enlightened state, I want everyone to be loved and appreciated as they are. But on the other hand, isn’t it everybody’s secret dream to wake up rid of whatever it is about ourselves we dislike most? So it’s a wash.
Bubby: To be fair to the author, it would be rather hard to be a monster-killing machine if one was plump and near-sighted.
Sissy: This is true, so we shall move on. I also felt guilty about the bit of revenge Madison gets for her bad treatment at the hands of one of the highschool mean girls. I felt guilty because I enjoyed it. And there is no syrupy, grotesque romance in this first book, although the promise is there. I’ll have to wait for Unbound to see how it goes.
Bubby: Let’s just say that a delicious little love triangle develops – and drama ensues. And it’s all completely unpredictable. I never saw it coming. You’ll be shocked. There are twists and turns aplenty in both books. Family secrets are revealed, dark histories are unraveled, and so much more. This is really one of the best YA debuts I have ever read.
Sissy: This is also written by a male author. We don’t usually review male authors, but Brant Williams did exceptionally well writing a teenage girl character. I almost couldn’t believe it. I agree with Bubby. Threads That Bind is really good. 4.25 bubbles.
Bubby: Wow, we have been agreeing rather often on ratings lately, Sissy. The moons of Saturn must be aligned or something! I give Threads That Bind 4.25 bubbles also.
Click HERE to buy Threads That Bind from Amazon.com
© Bubble Bath Books 2014