Friday, November 1, 2013

REVIEW & GIVEAWAY - Phantom Summer Blog Tour

Phantom Summer
Amy Sparling

Seventeen-year-old Taylor Gray moves to Sterling Island to get over her dead boyfriend. Mom’s cool with letting her crash on the couch, but Taylor needs to get a job before the lights are cut off again.

When the tall, dark and crazy Raine Tsunami offers her a position at his thriving ghost tour business, she figures it’s an easy way to make some cash. Taylor isn’t afraid of ghosts--that crap is as fake as her mom’s boob job. She loves their adventures on the historic island, especially the secret places he shows her when the crowds go home. So what if all the ghost stories are just legends?

When Taylor comes face to face with a ghost and Raine crosses the line between friend and boyfriend--Taylor’s new life collides with her haunted past. If murdered people end up as ghosts, then that someone she was trying to forget is probably watching her.
Keep Reading for REVIEW & GIVEAWAY!
First off I want to say that this book is one of the best I have read in a little while.
This story is so gritty and so raw in most spots. Taylor Gray is a girl dealing with a load of guilt. She has a severe case of unresolved issues. She lived with her dad by choice for the most part of her seventeen years. 
After the tragic loss of her best friend whom she happened to be in love with she moves with her mom who is a tragically flawed lush who lives a meager life objectified by men and getting too old for the gig.
Taylor gets a job at the old train station museum and she takes on a night gig as the local celeb, Raine Tsunami the Ghost Guy's assistant. She's fearless and a non believer in the ghost department. She quickly gains a trio of friends and is living fairly well haunted every time she drives the truck, no, his truck. Things go good with the night job as well as the day job and she's raking in pretty good cash.
She hopes to be able to leave her mom and get her own place where mystery men and cigarette butts aren't a normal sighting.
When her aging mom gets the boot from her scantily uniformed job, it's the end of the money saving Taylor had been doing. She is making enough to support them for now but it is definitely not what she wanted for her life.
She is so super stuck in the past and she has every right to be it was only six months ago after all!
Things begin to happen that make her a believer not that she is in any hurry to tell Raine. Her boss with possibilities.
Her and Anna are really good friends and Margret is quickly becoming a grandmotherly figure for Taylor.
During all of this she battles her inner demons and guilt. She starts to fall for Raine but freaks when he tells her he feels the same. She feels unworthy somehow, she was always the dirt poor girl without a cell phone who was looked down on and treated like crap on a regular basis. Her best friend was her neighbor and he was THE best thing in her life. When he met his fate she crumbled. She moved to get away and be a NEW Taylor but this new Taylor couldn't get away from her crushing feelings for long. She is making an attempt to be happy and have a future she isn't sure she deserves.
She crashes and burns snapping and turning on the sweetest thing that has ever been in her life. She regrets it but feels like it wouldn't be right.
She has a lot to go through to figure it all out and I am glad I got to see her do it in my mind at least.
This is one of those reads where the emotional rollercoaster was worth every second.

(My Thoughts May Contain Spoilers)

 I am completely encompassed in Taylor's world as much as I am lost in her head. The weight of the guilt that plagues her is staggering. She feels so responsible for things she had no control over. Things like her best friend Brendan's sudden death and her parents non existent, like ever, relationship. I think she is a victim of circumstance.
She absolutely loved Brendan even though he realized a bit too late he may feel the same. Even though she will never know for sure.  
She regrets not telling him how she felt sooner, maybe it all would be different. But she can only live in the present, the past is too painful.
She moves to Sterling Island, one of the most haunted spots around to live with her mom who she barely recognizes.
She adjusts fairly well and gets a decent job with two shifts, day and night.  She is approached by a couple of kids her age and they make quick friends. Anna is hippie chic and Pax is British. She also runs into Raine a few times before actually meeting him officially. He is the island celebrity ghost tour guide, he also happens to be beautiful and sweet.
Their friendship progresses then after he finds out her mom is pushing her to get a waitress job in a seedy club he intervenes and insists she become his assistant instead. She initially rejects the crazy idea seeing as she doesn't even believe in ghosts but he insists further. She didn't want to take the other job and her mom would be mad but she didn't care at all. She had promised Brendan long ago she would never follow in her moms footsteps.
I like all of the interaction between all of the main characters.
Raine is awesome and so is his family. Anna, Pax and Margaret are great too and all well written.
I love the storyline. I love the plot and the fact that there are loads of hair raising moments!
There are so many times that Taylor is happy in the moment and then her pain crashes down on her letting the realization that loss and grief can ruin a lot of things in your life and moving on is so much harder than she could imagine.
Taylor's journey to find herself and the closure she desperately needs is an epic journey.
I read this book in ten hours, that's right T-E-N!
That is how hooked I was!
I recommend this book highly and would read it again and again.
And I would not be mad if the author brought us back to Sterling Island and Taylor and Raine!!

5 of 5! 


I drive through the remnants of what used to be a gated entrance. Now the metal gate lies on the ground, weeds having grown over it. Mom's place is number 336-A. I park in the visitor section closest to Mom's address and step out of the Ford.
As I slam the truck door behind me, the smell of salt in the air fills my lungs. Waves crash on the shore, and seagulls…well I'm not sure what kind of sound they make overhead. A quack-ish type of caw. It's unlike any other bird's song I've ever heard.
The shabby buildings are long overdue for a new paint job and many of them have blue tarps nailed over sections of the roof. People usually do that when a hurricane comes through and blows off shingles, but it's a temporary solution. We haven't had a hurricane in over four years. Please, please let the inside look better than the outside.
I grab my backpack and suitcase and drag it up to Mom's door, tapping on it with my keys. The door swings open and a thin woman with white-blond hair stares back at me. She's wearing a purple bathrobe and has a cigar in her hand. Shit, I'm at the wrong address.
"Hey babe, I didn't expect you so soon." She puffs from her cigar and swings open the door.
"Mom?" I say, as she grabs me in a one armed hug. My mom has dark brown hair like me and a beer gut. At least, that's what she used to look like. She pulls my suitcase inside for me and closes the door behind us.
"Let me get a look at you." She grabs my shoulders with her bony fingers. "You're so different. All grown up."
"Yeah, you too," I say, studying this woman who does look a little like my mom. She has the same butterfly tattoo on her chest. Even still, I can't shake the feeling that I walked into the wrong apartment, that I'm standing here being embraced by a woman who isn't my mom.
Two seconds later the loving moment is gone. I watch Mom’s lipstick smudge onto her cigar as she takes one last puff and snuffs it in an ashtray on an end table. "I go to work at four, so you'll have the place to yourself all night,” she says, winking at me.
Mom shows me the kitchen, complete with microwave, and the bathroom and the living room with a two-seater couch which will now be my bed. "Maybe we can get you an air mattress or something," Mom says, kicking at the springy cushions with her slipper.
The old me would have freaked out if I had to spend a weekend here in Mom's living room. The old me liked having her own room, with her own bed and all of her stuff. And her best friend and lover living next door. But that's the old me. The new me doesn't mind all of these new changes.
I sit on the couch and place a smile on my face. Okay, well maybe now that I've pointed them out they kind of bother me. Sleeping on a couch? Oh well. Brendan doesn't get to sleep in his bed either. He gets to be dead in his coffin. And that thing didn't even have padding like this couch. I know because I left a copy of the Denali user's manual in his coffin when no one was looking. He wanted a Denali so bad, but as an eighteen year old he didn't have the money to spend on luxury motorcycles. I figured in the afterlife he could at least read about one.
But that was Old Taylor. And Old Taylor doesn't exist anymore. She has left the building and wants me to get acquainted with New Taylor. New Taylor lives in Sterling with her mom, and she's not afraid of anything and she has no regrets in life. New Taylor won't remember Brendan.
I hope.
ADD Phantom Summer on Goodreads 
"He brings his lips down to mine, and they squish together perfectly in
what is sure to be the world's most epic kiss. It will go down in history as
the greatest kiss known to man. We'll be famous"

I cried I admit it! I cried in so many spots! The tangible pain that Taylor was going through made for some emotional moments for me. There were tears of pain and joy shed throughout this read.

Amy Sparling is a native Texan with a fear of cold weather and a coffee addiction that probably needs an intervention. She loves books, sarcasm, nail polish and paid holidays. She lives near the beach with her daughter, one spoiled rotten puppy and a cat who is most likely plotting to take over the world. Amy Sparling is a pen name for YA author Cheyanne Young.


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  1. I am so psyched to read this book.

    1. It really is a great read. Good luck in the giveaway!