Ghost House by Alexandra Adornetto

19486754Title: Ghost House

Author: Alexandra Adornetto

Publisher: Harlequin Teen

Publication Date: August 2014

Pages: 312

Genre: YA Horror

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

From the New York Times bestselling author of Halo comes the start of a beautiful and powerful new series.

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.

To stop Isobel, Chloe must push her developing abilities to their most dangerous limits, even if it means losing Alex forever… and giving the hungry dead a chance to claim her for their own


This was one of the books I’ve got on my list for my Halloween read. It is, after all, October and Fall and whenever the weather finally turns a bit cool and the leaves hint at a change, I feel the need to read more horror than normal. So when I saw this in Barnes & Noble the other day, it seemed like the perfect choice!

I enjoyed the main charater, Chloe, and the fact that while she does grow over the course of the book, she never solves all her problems or resolves everything. The changes that happen in the book, from her mother’s death to the ghosts and their drama, aren’t really things that you just bounce back quickly from. I also enjoyed the feeling of being a fish out of water that she has in the end.

The storyline with Chloe and the ghosts and her family problems are good. The backstory of Alex and Isabelle are also really well done and well thought out. The author does well at explaining why they are acting they way they are, for the most part. There are some discrepancies that I wondered at – Isabelle’s reasons for taking Benjamin, for instance, are a bit much for me. While they sort of fit in with her character, there’s something about it that also seems flimsy. I also think Chloe’s jump from liking Alex to being head over heels in love is a bit sudden. I loved Joe’s character, and wanted to see more about him and his connection to everything.

Overall, the ghost story is intriguing, and I love the tidbits you’re given – the author does a great job of feeding you just enough information to keep you guessing, but not enough to get the whole picture too early. The romance is good, but I must admit, I have no idea what will happen next. This book is the first in a series, and I’ll be keeping an eye out for the others.

If you enjoy ghost stories, this is a good one to pick!


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:,%201

Book was purchased by the reviewer.


The Social Media Experiment Cover Reveal!

Welcome! Today the Book Geeks will be participating in the cover reveal for The Social Media Experiment by Cole Gibson. Check it out!


Here’s the official blurb:

On the surface, seventeen-year-old Reagan Fray appears to have everything. She’s popular, Ivy League–bound, and her parents are rich enough to buy her whatever she wants. Behind the scenes, Reagan is a girl with an anxiety disorder struggling to hold the fraying threads of her life together. It takes work to stay on top, and when that fails, Reagan’s learned from her politician mother that a little social espionage never hurts. That is, until the day Reagan finds all of her texts and private messages printed out and taped to every locker in her high school.

Finding herself ostracized from her friends and on the receiving end of the bullying she used to dish out, Reagan won’t settle into her new role as social pariah without a fight. Determined to get back in with her friends and reclaim her social status before her mother finds out and sends her to boarding school, Reagan has no choice but to team up with outcast Nolan Letner.

But the closer Reagan gets to Nolan, the more she realizes all of her actions have consequences, and her future might be the biggest casualty of all.

And now, here’s the reveal!

The Social Media Experiment 500x750

The Social Media Experiment links:



Barnes & Noble:

Cole Gibsen author photoAt seventeen, Cole found herself homeless with only a beat-up Volkswagen Jetta and a bag of Goodwill clothing to her name. The only things that got her through the nights she spent parked in truck stops and cornfields were the stacks of books she checked out from the library along with her trusty flashlight. Because of the reprieve these books gave her from her troubles, Cole vowed to become a writer so she could provide the same escape to readers who needed a break the reality of their own lives.

Where to find Cole:






Brazen by Katherine Longshore

brazen by longshoreTitle: Brazen

Author: Katherine Longshore

Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Publication Date: June 12, 2014

Pages: 528

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. But when she’s married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s illegitimate son, she rockets into the Tudor court’s inner circle. Mary and “Fitz” join a tight clique of rebels who test the boundaries of court’s strict rules with their games, dares, and flirtations. The more Mary gets to know Fitz, the harder she falls for him, but is forbidden from seeing him alone. The rules of court were made to be pushed…but pushing them too far means certain death. Is true love worth dying for?


Brazen, by Katherine LOngshore, is a novel set in Tudor England, in one of the most written about time periods around. That being said, I’m a sucker for a novel about Tudor England. But while I love them, they have the potential to be tired before you even begin. Mainly because people choose to write about the same people over and over. Longshore manages to choose a character here that few people ever even remember existed. That’s really what made me want to pick up the book in the first place.

Few books ever get around to writing about Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII’s bastard son. No one that I know of has ever bothered to remember that he had a wife. This novel is told from Mary Fitzroy’s point of view, and I enjoyed it. Mary is an oddity in court. Her parents are at odds, physically at times, and she is uncertain and easily led at the beginning, even when she doesn’t want to be. She’s honest, sometimes when she shouldn’t be, but learns how to cover that as well in a way that doesn’t deviate from herself, but isn’t going to get her into trouble either.

The author also includes a peculiar character trait that I loved. LOVED. Mary is a synesthete – to her, words (or at least some words) have a taste. Her descriptions of them are lovely, and often hold their own meaning in regards to what Mary is thinking or what is going on around her. Her character growth from beginning to end is really well done. It isn’t unbelievable and is actually pretty subtle. Only when you really think about the beginning do you realize that she did make some serious personal growth and choices.

Her relationship with Henry Fitzroy is a major running thread, and it is an important one, but it isn’t the whole story. To me, her relationship with him is a secondary plot line to her finding her own way in the world. That being said, I loved their relationship. The beginning was rocky and exactly like you think it might have been. Henry is a likeable character, though I must admit that I was having some issues with becoming too involved, because I knew what was going to happen to him. (I won’t say, just in case someone doesn’t know)

The book and its twisting relationships and its weaving of history and fiction are really well done. The author’s notes in the back explain how the author has modified and filled in history for the story, and I really think she did a great job. I especially enjoyed the note about Mary’s book and how it was based on a real manuscript. I found that really surprising and interesting and will be looking into more information about it.

My only complaint, and the reason this book received three stars instead of four, was because there were times when I had to force myself to continue reading. It wasn’t boring – it just couldn’t quite keep my attention until well into the second half. Part of that is the nature of the beast. Tudor historical fiction set in the court has a large cast of characters and all have a part to play. You have to know some of what’s going on, and the secondary characters of Hal, Madge, Margaret, and even Anne Boleyn and King Henry have parts that weave in and out of Mary’s own history. Some of this may also be due to the timing of my reading the book – as I have some big events going on in my life at the moment and it’s hard to concentrate, so take that for what it’s worth.

The last scene between Henry and Mary made me cry, which is rare, and I really think the author did a fabulous job of conveying emotion in this book – not just here but throughout. I really got to know Mary and I really wanted her to win. I wanted to see her happy and to succeed.

So – If you’re a fan of Tudor historicals, this is a good book to try. You may get a little bogged down in the middle, but the book is a good one overall.


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:,%201

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii by Vicky Alvear Shecter

18692432Title: Curses and Smoke: A Novel of Pompeii

AuthorVicky Alvear Shecter

Publisher: Arthur A. Levine Books

Publication Date: May 27, 2014

Pages: 336

Genre: Young Adult Historical

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

When your world blows apart, what will you hold onto?

Tag is a medical slave, doomed to spend his life healing his master’s injured gladiators. But his warrior’s heart yearns to fight in the gladiator ring himself and earn enough money to win his freedom.

Lucia is the daughter of Tag’s owner, doomed by her father’s greed to marry a much older Roman man. But she loves studying the natural world around her home in Pompeii, and lately she’s been noticing some odd occurrences in the landscape: small lakes disappearing; a sulfurous smell in the air. . . .

When the two childhood friends reconnect, each with their own longings, they fall passionately in love. But as they plot their escape from the city, a patrician fighter reveals his own plans for them — to Lucia’s father, who imprisons Tag as punishment. Then an earthquake shakes Pompeii, in the first sign of the chaos to come. Will they be able to find each other again before the volcano destroys their whole world?


There’s something really intriguing about Pompeii. Maybe its the tragedy that draws us in, or the way that an instant of time was captured in such an eerie way under all that ash. Either way, when I saw this book on Netgalley, I was intrigued. I enjoy reading historical fiction set in unusual places, and the hint of romance didn’t hurt either.

At first, I was unsure about the book. I like the heroine, Lucia, and you can sympathize with her distaste for her arranged marriage. While it may have been common, I would think that many young girls reacted in the same way. In that time, they didn’t have to like it, but they didn’t have much choice either. I will admit that at times, Lucia’s “education” and reading habits are a bit reminiscent of the “bluestocking” that seems to pop up all over regency romances. That being said, it wasn’t overdone. I liked the hints that she throws out about what is going to happen. She doesn’t understand it, but she is noticing things that others are not. She doesn’t place huge importance on it all the time, but in a place that frequently has earthquakes (something mentioned often in the story – almost too much) I would imagine she wouldn’t be as panicked as we would. The only thing I disliked about it is that she talks about it a lot in the beginning, but then her concern with the science becomes an afterthought and is mostly forgotten. The actual eruption lacks some of the excitement and fear I had been expecting. It just sort of…happens. Which, maybe, is what the author was going for. After all, thats kind of how it would have been for Pompeii. One day it was a mountain, the next it was spouting fire.

Her relationship with Tag is not quite insta-love, and I enjoyed it. At first I wasn’t sure that I would be invested in their love story, but I found myself caring more as the story moved along. It was hard to see Tag as a slave in places. Until he brings it up, you forget that. Maybe it lacked the desperation I would have (in my mind) associated with forbidden love between a slave and his master’s daughter. There are several twists in the story that I also enjoyed. The love “triangle” you can see coming a mile away, (I’m pretty sure Tag and Lucia are the only ones who didn’t see it) but the twist with Lucia’s mother is one I hadn’t seen coming at all, and which I enjoyed. It added tension, and helped to add back story to the father’s character, who remains rather one dimensional for a large portion of the book, in comparison to the other characters.

The story was a great foray into historical fiction, and I really enjoyed that the author didn’t use the explosion of Pompeii as her only conflict. There was a lot of tension from a lot of areas, making the story all the more real. Just as in real life, the volcano causes chaos in the middle of lives already in chaos. The ending of the book is surprising. Like the kind that you flip back and have to reread because you’re thinking, “no, that didn’t just happen…” I don’t want to give the ending away, but I didn’t expect it. It was tragedy and hope rolled into one.

If you enjoy historical fiction and history involving ancient Rome and Pompeii, this is definitely one to check out. 


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:,%201

Book was provided by publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Til Death by Kate Evangelista

9781622662333Title: Til Death

Author: Kate Evangelista

Publisher: Entangled Teen

Publication Date: March 2014

Pages: 358

Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

Sixteen-year old Selena Fallon is a dreamer. Not a day-dreamer, but an I-see-the-future kind of dreamer. Normally this is not a problem as she has gotten pretty good at keeping her weird card hidden from everyone in her small town. Except from her best friend Kyle and her grandparents, of course. But when Selena dreams of her own rather bloody death, things get a little too freaky even for her.

Enter Dillan Sloan. Selena has seen the new guy in a different dream, and he is even more droolworthy in person. Beyond the piercing blue eyes and tousled dark hair, there is something else that draws her to him. Something…electric. Unfortunately, Dillan makes it more than clear that he does not feel the same. They just met, so why would he act like he hates her?

When Dillan and Selena are forced together one weekend to work on a school project, Selena prepares to be ignored as usual. But when she stumbles across a few undead in the backyard, Dillan comes to her rescue and reveals a whole lot more. Not only is he part of a society that hunts otherworldly creatures…she is too. And she is being targeted by a force bigger and darker than anything she ever imagined. Despite her death dream, Selena is not going to give up easy, especially when she discovers that Dillan might not actually hate her after all.


I was really excited when I received this book in my email *cough* last night. I hadn’t intended to stay up late to read it. Nope. I had many other things to do. Instead, I had to find out what happened. So I was up a bit late. That should tell you right there that I enjoyed the book.

Selena and Dillan are interesting characters and I enjoyed reading about them. The world that Evangelista has created is smooth and believable, and you can tell she has her details worked out. The relationship between characters is good, and as someone who has lived in a small town for awhile, it was pretty accurate in its portrayal. Selena is a great character, and Penny and Kyle are great supporting acts. They’re likeable and they have their own personalities. I wish Selena’s abilities were a little more defined and “played up,” just because it sometimes seemed like it got lost. Then again, I wonder if that was done on purpose. I get the impression her abilities are something that will grow with her character in future books, and I’m interested to see where that leads.

Dillan’s character, by the end, was one I liked. But I must admit that the cocky, abrasive personality has me struggling to like him in the beginning. When you finally figure out why he’s been sent to Wyoming, it makes a little more sense. I like that Dillan has an inner struggle going on and how that affects him and the way he deals with things. I just wish he’d stop being so prickly a little faster. I like that the characters have separate “issues” going on, outside of what is happening at the moment. The author has given all her characters a story, and it shows. Most of them have hints that they might intertwine and be important later, but it isn’t distracting or frustrating. 

The relationship between Selena and Dillan I enjoyed at the end, but it was another case where the characters are at each other’s throats, insulting each other and getting angry, and then they finally realize its because they like each other. It’s a personal preference, but I don’t enjoy that – if I get that angry at someone, the last thing I’m thinking about is dating them! In this case, they do eventually tone it down, and the relationship takes a more even and enjoyable tone. (again, this is a personal preference. I’m sure some people will love the interaction!) I also like that Selena doesn’t allow Dillan (or anyone else around her) to walk all over her. She might not fully understand what’s going on, but she’s not going to let them fight her battles for her.

The ending is great, and while the villain is predicable and easily identified in both cases, I wasn’t bothered by it. I’m very interested to see where this goes, especially with Dillan’s… past issues coming back to haunt him there at the end.

If you enjoy urban fantasy and paranormal, then you’ll enjoy this. Definitely pick it up and take a read!


Where to Find the Book



Book was provided by publisher in exchange for an honest review.

The Pledge by Kimberly Derting

10637748Title: The Pledge

Author: Kimberly Derting

Publisher: McElderry Books

Publication Date: November 2011

Pages: 323

Genre: Young Adult Dystopian

Book Summary (from Goodreads)

In the violent country of Ludania, the classes are strictly divided by the language they speak. The smallest transgression, like looking a member of a higher class in the eye while they are speaking their native tongue, results in immediate execution. Seventeen-year-old Charlaina has always been able to understand the languages of all classes, and she’s spent her life trying to hide her secret. The only place she can really be free is the drug-fueled underground clubs where people go to shake off the oppressive rules of the world they live in. It’s there that she meets a beautiful and mysterious boy named Max who speaks a language she’s never heard before . . . and her secret is almost exposed.

Charlie is intensely attracted to Max, even though she can’t be sure where his real loyalties lie. As the emergency drills give way to real crisis and the violence escalates, it becomes clear that Charlie is the key to something much bigger: her country’s only chance for freedom from the terrible power of a deadly regime.


I had a hard time rating this book. Not because its bad. No, its a good read. My problem is that I wanted it to be something more than it was. I loved the fact that Derting has taken the ideas of a fantasy world and a dystopian world and melded them together into something really unique. I loved that. I also loved the idea of Sabara’s succession and how that works. The possibilities for that to be complicated and really dramatic are fantastic. I even loved Charlie and Brook and Angelina. My problem was that when I got to the end, something was missing.

The beginning of the novel starts well enough. When the languages change, it takes some getting used to to understand that they’re speaking the Vendor language when its italics, and Englaise when it wasn’t. But you get used to it and move on. There were a few times when I had to remind myself that it was part fantasy world and part dystopian, which I really enjoyed. The interaction between characters was good, and I liked the relationship that Charlie, Brook, and Aron all had. I just wished there had been more. Charlie’s relationship with Aron wasn’t well defined enough for me. He’s important, and yet there’s nothing that happens between them to make you really believe that. With Brook its more concrete and defined, though she accepts the revelations about Brook at the end a little too smoothly for my taste.

What really troubled me was Max. Her romance with Max is swift, complete, and sort of out of left field. She has feelings, she flirts a little, but spends most of her time running and being afraid of his motives, then suddenly they are deeply in love. I wish there had been more to it than that.

Also, while I realize this is part of a series, I found myself when I neared the end, wondering how they would resolve the conflict with the queen in such a short span. And the whole scene was rather anticlimactic. They make a huge fuss over everything and how strong the Queen is and her will, but it doesn’t seem to take more than three pages to defeat her. Maybe in subsequent books (and its hinted at in the epilogue) this will be explained. I hope so, because it was a little too easy for me.

I’m interested to see where this goes, but I’m not sure I’m interested enough to run out and get the next books right away.

All the same, it was a good read, and fans of fantasy and dystopian fiction will enjoy it. Try it out!


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:,%201

Book was purchased by reviewer.

Significance by Shelly Crane

16282066Title: Significance

Author: Shelly Crane

Publisher: Self-Published

Publication Date: June 2011

Pages: 387

Genre: Young Adult Fantasy

Book Summary (from

Maggie is a seventeen year old girl who’s had a bad year. She was smart and on track, but then her mom left, her dad is depressed, she’s graduating – barely – and her boyfriend of almost three years dumped her for a college football scholarship. Lately she thinks life is all about hanging on by a thread and is gripping tight with everything she has.

Then she saves the life of Caleb and instantly knows there’s something about him that’s intriguing. But things change when they touch, sparks ignite. Literally.

They imprint with each other and she sees their future life together flash before her eyes. She learns that not only is she his soul mate, and can feel his heartbeat in her chest, but there is a whole other world of people with gifts and abilities that she never knew existed. She herself is experiencing supernatural changes unlike anything she’s ever felt before and she needs the touch of his skin to survive.

Now, not only has her dad come out of his depression to be a father again, and a pain as well, but Caleb’s enemies know he’s imprinted and are after Maggie to stop them both from gaining their abilities and take her from him.

Can Caleb save her or will they be forced to live without each other after just finding one another?


Significance was a book I found while browsing the available options for my Kindle app. When I saw it was free with my prime membership, I figured that it had a decent cover and blurb, so I’d try it out. And it wasn’t bad!

If you are looking for the next classic, this is not it. But, if you enjoy quick, fun YA paranormal romance, it fits the bill. The characters, Caleb and Maggie, are likeable, and the supporting staff isn’t bad. I will admit everyone seems overly nice at times, and there are some places where there could have been a lot more tension and drama and it sort of fizzled out before it had a chance to start. The “insta-love” here is sort of expected, and while I wish they’d had a little more time to get to know each other, the author does touch on it a bit and have the characters try to get to know each other better before they get too intense.

The story with Dad is a little less feasible for me, but that’s a personal preference. He went a little too much in both extremes for me. I also wish the bad guys had been a little worse from the beginning so that the ending made a little more sense and maybe would have been a little more dark and dangerous to me. In the end, I enjoyed the read, and again, if you like the paranormal YA romance genre, it is a fun “beach read.” A word of caution – this is a first book in a series. While I enjoyed it, I don’t know that I’ll read the rest. So if you don’t like series books, this might not be the one for you.


Where to Find the Book



Barnes and Noble:

Book was purchased by reviewer.