Thursday, October 31, 2013

Review of Notable by Marni Bates

Title/Author: Notable (Smith High #3) by Marni Bates
Publisher/Date published: K-Teen, October 29th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: I take no prisoners...

I'm Chelsea Halloway and I will happily destroy your social life if you mess with me. Just ask anyone. There is no situation I can't handle. Divorcing parents? No problem. An ex-boyfriend who wants to date Smith High School's biggest geek instead of me? Just a matter of time before I can make him see reason. At least, until my parents decide to ship me off on a study abroad trip to Cambodia...

Now instead of being admired as the queen of the Notables, I'm stuck with a bunch of college students who don't take me seriously, and a professor who accidentally landed himself on the wrong side of a drug lord. And it's up to me to get us all out of the country alive - even the annoying jerk with the green eyes who won't stop calling me "princess."

Oh yeah, what could possibly go wrong?

So I really liked Invisible, the second book in this series and was really excited to see what Chelsea's side of the story would be! And while I liked Notable, I wasn't as invested as I was with Invisible.

Chelsea is the Queen Bee of Smith High and now she's being shipped off to Cambodia of all places. I'm still not entirely sure how her parents figured this would be a good idea... I mean, it's not as if she ever expressed any interest in something like this. And Cambodia doesn't seem like the safest of places to ship your teen who easily gets into trouble to. There's a serious case of bad parenting going on here and I didn't like it.

I like Chelsea. She's no-nonsense, smart and doesn't take crap from anyone. And I hated that her parents made her feel unsure about herself and mostly that her mother made her believe that she wasn't intelligent. Because you know what, she may not be a rocket scientist, but Chelsea is smart. And nobody, especially not one of your parents, should ever make you feel otherwise. So boo Chelsea's mom!

I liked that Chelsea slowly learns to work with the group and realises not everything that annoyed her at first was so bad in the end. I like that she really grew throughout the novel and used her strengths to the advantage of the group.
That being said, I thought the events with the drugs and the dealings with the druglord were unlikely. I mean, seriously, I was kind of rolling my eyes at how they got into the whole mess. And I didn't really see why they wouldn't call for help instead of trying to make it all better themselves. So yeah, ridiculous events, but satisfying character growth for the main character.

I thought the love interest was such a pompous ass at first, but later he grew on me. And I was rooting for them to get together! It was nice to see Chelsea's relationship with Logan from Chelsea's POV and see what happened and not just what the rumor mill had been circulating about them. And I liked that we got to see a little of Jane again, cause I love Jane!

All in all, this was a cute, quick read, but with slightly ridiculous events. It made for light reading and I enjoyed it, but I liked Invisible a lot better!

My rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Blog Tour! Review of Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow

Title/Author: Sorrow's Knot by Erin Bow
Publisher/Date published: Arthur A. Levine Books, October 29th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: In the world of Sorrow’s Knot, the dead do not rest easy. Every patch of shadow might be home to something hungry and nearly invisible, something deadly. The dead can only be repelled or destroyed with magically knotted cords and yarns. The women who tie these knots are called binders.

Otter is the daughter of Willow, a binder of great power. She’s a proud and privileged girl who takes it for granted that she will be a binder some day herself. But when Willow’s power begins to turn inward and tear her apart, Otter finds herself trapped with a responsibility she’s not ready for, and a power she no longer wants.

This book took my breath away. Seriously. And I don't say this lightly, so pay close attention!

I've always, always loved fairytales. I used to make my mom read them to me as a kid and after I learned to read myself, I devoured the whole book. And I still love them. So when I tell you that Sorrow's Know reminded me of a fairytale, I'm giving it one of my highest forms of praise. It actually reminded me of The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab, and I LOVED that book! There's a similar quality to it that I can't quite put my finger on.

The ease with which the story flows was AMAZING! I just wanted to live in the moment and slow down and really appreciate the storytelling, but at the same time I wanted to find out WHAT HAPPENED NEXT! I loved that the power of stories is explored and appreciated!

And there are some amazing characters for me to love! Otter, our main character, is a girl that I just want to hug tight and make everything alright for. She has two amazing friends: Cricket, who is a storyteller and if he hadn't been amazing in other ways, I'd have loved him just for that; and Kestrel, who is strong and loyal and a true friend. I would have wanted these three to be my friends, as young as they are, they are good people.

But this isn't a Disney-like fairytale. It's dark and hard things happen and the White Hands are SO CREEPY! White Hands sort of reminded me of zombies, and I HATE zombies, but the White Hands didn't freak me out as much. Mostly because they don't eat brains, which is a bonus point for any creature. And because this is more like the original Grimm's fairytales, people do actually die. And I teared up! It was unexpected and I was so hoping everything would be alright and then it wasn't! And I'm still mourning...

There's a little bit of romance mixed into the story, towards the end. And while I'm a big fan of all the kissing usually, I didn't miss it here. The romance that was in it fit into the storyline and I was happy with it and with the love interest!
I could easily imagine myself going on more adventures with Otter, because there are exciting sounding places in her world that we haven't seen, but I saw that Erin Bow mentioned on Twitter that she thinks of Sorrow's Knot as a standalone. And that works too, the story is wrapped up. But I can't help wishing for more ;)

Stories like this are my kind of stories. Dark, fairytale-like and utterly entrancing! If you're looking for a perfect Halloween read, this is it! And even if you're not, just go and read it anyway!

My rating: 5 stars

Made me crave: chicken madras (my comfort food)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Review of Keeping Her by Cora Carmack

Title/Author: Keeping Her (Losing It 1.5#) by Cora Carmack
Publisher/Date published: William Morrow, August 13th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Garrick Taylor and Bliss Edwards managed to find their happily-ever-after despite a rather... ahem... complicated start. By comparison, meeting the parents should be an absolute breeze, right?

But from the moment the pair lands in London, new snags just keep cropping up: a disapproving mother-in-law-to-be, more than one (mostly) minor mishap, and the realization that perhaps they aren't quite as ready for their future as they thought.

As it turns out, the only thing harder than finding love is keeping it.

So I really liked Losing It, which started this whole series. I thought the romance between Bliss and Garrick was sweet and quirky and it was just a really fun read. Of course I was interested in seeing what happened for them after the events of Losing It!

In Keeping Her we meet both of them again, they've been together for a year now and got engaged and are now travelling to London to meet up with Garrick's parents. And Bliss is basically a basket case because of it. She's nervous and awkward and just generally not really presentable at the end. And really, I mean, how did either of them think it would be a good idea to arrive at Garrick's parents' after they'd had a drink? Or rather, LOTS of drinks? I mean, that drunk doesn't make for the best first impression.

But I really disliked Garrick's parents. I mean, his father is basically a pompous ass and his mother is trying to make Bliss feel inferior. And these are people who are supposed to love Garrick and want what's best for him and that usually means that they'd try and make a fiancée feel welcome. Yeah, not gonna happen here. His mother even invited ex-girlfriends. So. Not. Cool.

While I liked reconnecting with these two, I didn't really thought this novella added much to the general storyline. I mean, it's cute to see them be all lovey-dovey, but that spark that was there in Losing It was just a little lost here. I did like seeing Garrick's home turf so to speak and it was a really quick read, but I would have liked a little more. It ended rather abruptly after some big drama got resolved and I was just a bit like: that's it?

My rating: 2,5 stars

Made me crave: over too quickly to make me crave much of anything

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Mini-Review of Fire With Fire by Jenny Han and Siobhan Vivian

Title/Author: Fire With Fire (Burn For Burn #2) by Jenny Hand and Siobhan Vivian
Publisher/Date published: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, August 13th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Lillia, Kat, and Mary had the perfect plan. Work together in secret to take down the people who wronged them. But things didn’t exactly go the way they’d hoped at the Homecoming Dance.

Not even close.

For now, it looks like they got away with it. All they have to do is move on and pick up the pieces, forget there ever was a pact. But it’s not easy, not when Reeve is still a total jerk and Rennie’s meaner than she ever was before.

And then there’s sweet little Mary... she knows there’s something seriously wrong with her. If she can’t control her anger, she’s sure that someone will get hurt even worse than Reeve was. Mary understands now that it’s not just that Reeve bullied her — it’s that he made her love him.

Eye for an eye, tooth for a tooth, burn for a burn. A broken heart for a broken heart. The girls are up to the task. They’ll make Reeve fall in love with Lillia and then they will crush him. It’s the only way he’ll learn.

It seems once a fire is lit, the only thing you can do is let it burn...

Sorry about the mini-review eons later than it should have been up, but I read Fire With Fire while I was on vacation, then when I got back this happened and it left me unable to write anything, let alone form a coherent opinion.

Basically my reaction to Fire With Fire:

-I loved seeing more of all three of the girls and watch their friendship develop further.

-I was SO confused by all the Mary chapters! But don't worry, it'll make sense in the end.

-I wasn't a big fan of the romantic developments in Lillia's life.

-There was this dark, creepy feeling to the whole of the book and I'm STILL shocked by things that were revealed at the end and seriously, now I just want to go read it again WITH that knowledge because holy batman, that is CRAZY!

-Fire With Fire suffered a bit from second-book-syndrome, but the ending totally made up for it and I can't wait for the final book!!

My rating: 3,5 stars

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Review of When the Marquess Met His Match by Laura Lee Guhrke

Title/Author: When the Marquess Met His Match (An American Heiress In London #1) by Laura Lee Guhrke
Publisher/Date published: Avon, October 29th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: What happens when a carefree, disreputable, stone-broke bachelor is forced to find a wife in a hurry? He hires a matchmaker, of course. What happens when the matchmaker doesn’t want to help him? Well, that’s when the fun begins...

Nicholas Stirling, Marquess of Trubridge, loves his life just as it is: dissolute, scandalous, and deuced good fun. His father, the Duke of Landsdowne is not amused, and when he cuts off Nicholas’ trust fund, the fun-loving marquess is forced to find an alternate source of income — in other words, he has to marry an heiress.

Every new-money American heiress knows Lady Belinda Featherstone is the key to social acceptance. Once a new-money nobody herself, Belinda discovered first-hand how heartbreaking the game of love and matrimony could be after a reprobate British earl married her for her money. Now a respectable widow, Belinda has become England’s most successful matchmaker, guiding young American heiresses through the hazards of the London season and helping them to find husbands worthy of them. To her mind, the Marquess of Trubridge is nothing but a fortune-hunting scoundrel and she has no intention of allowing him to charm his way into any American girl’s heart, including her own.

Guys, I really enjoyed Laura Lee Guhrke's Trouble at the Wedding, so I was excited to start When the Marquess Met His Match! And I was right to be excited! I do so love me some good historical romance :)

I like that both of the characters here are more mature. There's not a doe-eyed 18 or 20 year old making the 30-something rake fall to his knees and reform his ways. While I do enjoy that sort of plot, I also sometimes roll my eyes at it and it's nice to have the two people in the relationship be more equal. They've both experienced love, or what they thought was love, before. Both have dealt with hard things and it has shaped them. And I like it!

I love that Belinda is so protective of the girls she's trying to match up for marriage! One of them in particular, but she really does want what's best for them and I like a girl who cares about what she does! Her first husband was a douche and it's made her wary of fortune hunters and rakes and I totally get it. And I like that she doesn't fall for the first pretty face that comes along, but wants to really respect a man!

So Nicholas at first appears to be all that Belinda doesn't want. But he's a good guy at heart, he just has to find a way to prove it to her and to himself. I was so rooting for him! He definitely grows as a person throughout the book and I just have a soft spot for good guys! Especially if they're learning how to be their own person and just *SWOON*! I love that he has his nervous-quirks and isn't afraid to own up to them to Belinda!

And there are just sparks! And funny moments! And OMG NOOOOO! moments and there were tears! And then there was the happily ever after that brought a smile to my face and led the way to sweet dreams. So yes, good historical romance right here!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Monday, October 21, 2013

Review of Across a Star-Swept Sea by Diana Peterfreund

Title/Author: Across A Star-Swept Sea (For Darkness Shows the Stars #2) by Diana Peterfreund
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, October 15th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Centuries after wars nearly destroyed civilization, the two islands of New Pacifica stand alone, a terraformed paradise where even the Reduction — the devastating brain disorder that sparked the wars — is a distant memory. Yet on the isle of Galatea, an uprising against the ruling aristocrats has turned deadly. The revolutionaries’ weapon is a drug that damages their enemies’ brains, and the only hope is rescue by a mysterious spy known as the Wild Poppy.

On the neighboring island of Albion, no one suspects that the Wild Poppy is actually famously frivolous aristocrat Persis Blake. The teenager uses her shallow, socialite trappings to hide her true purpose: her gossipy flutternotes are encrypted plans, her pampered sea mink is genetically engineered for spying, and her well-publicized new romance with handsome Galatean medic Justen Helo... is her most dangerous mission ever.

Though Persis is falling for Justen, she can’t risk showing him her true self, especially once she learns he’s hiding far more than simply his disenchantment with his country’s revolution and his undeniable attraction to the silly socialite he’s pretending to love. His darkest secret could plunge both islands into a new dark age, and Persis realizes that when it comes to Justen Helo, she’s not only risking her heart, she’s risking the world she’s sworn to protect.

In this thrilling adventure inspired by The Scarlet Pimpernel, Diana Peterfreund creates an exquisitely rendered world where nothing is as it seems and two teens with very different pasts fight for a future only they dare to imagine.


Guys, I ADORED For Darkness Shows the Stars, I think it'll be one of my favourite reads of 2013. So of course I was excited to read this companion novel!! And seriously, I'm now convinced I'm going to need to read Diana Peterfreund's full backlist! Because her writing just makes my heart happy!

And you know what? It was SO interesting to learn more about the science part of the Reduction! The people on Albion and Galatea are eons ahead of the Luddites and Posts as far as technology and science goes and it made the geeky part of me do little happy dances! While I didn't get all the answers I wanted, I'm still pretty satisfied with the things Diana Peterfreund did tell us. One thing I'm really curious about is how exactly the society formed, because they branched off from the Luddites and Posts and that was never fully clarified.

I really liked Persis, she's willing to sacrifice her own reputation for what she believes in and I like that! She doesn't make things easy for herself and even when she knows she's in danger herself, she puts her friends' safety first. I've always been told that it takes a really intelligent person to believably act stupid (you know, like Rowan Atkinson is really smart, but he plays Mr. Bean, who is really not smart) and in this book it's definitely true! And really, being an infamous spy at 16 is just impressive.

I could relate to Justen. I mean, we share the medic-thing and I can remember times where I've forgotten to eat because I was just so busy at work! I get it. While I wanted to shout at him to @#$& OPEN HIS EYES and see Persis for who she really is, it wasn't really his fault. I mean, she had everyone fooled, how does a guy who knows her for only 2 weeks figure it out if other people can't? And I respect that he's devoted to his work and figuring out a cure for Darkening, which is seriously horrible and reminds me to pray that they'll find a cure for dementia in the real world.
I did at times think he was a bit of a snob for thinking Persis was beneath him because he thought she wasn't as smart as he was.

There was a lot going on and at times I could only stare in horror at the cruelty of the Revolution, it kinda reminded me of the French Revolution in a way. It made me wonder how people justify those acts and I was glad this was actually adressed in the novel, because the logic is just faulty! And really, to take someone's mind, I just, I can't even... There are no words to describe how wrong this feels for me.

And through everything, I was just rooting for Persis and Justen to get together. They had moments in which I was just swooning and waiting for Justen to see what was really going on so they could be happy together! And seriously, one of the only things I want to complain about is: at the end, not only Persis wanted a real kiss, I wanted it as well! And the book ended before I got it!
I did love the guest appearance of the crew from For Darkness Shows the Stars!

I can in all honesty say that Diana Peterfreund has made me fall in love with these characters and their world and her storytelling in general! This is me begging for a third book, PLEASE, PRETTY PLEASE, which will hopefully include a cure for Darkening! I have never read The Scarlet Pimpernel before, but I now feel like I should!

My rating: 5 stars

Made me crave: chicken tikka massala with mango

Friday, October 18, 2013

Review of For Darkness Shows The Stars by Diana Peterfreund

Title/Author: For Darkness Shows the Stars (For Darkness Shows the Stars #1) by Diana Peterfreund
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, June 12th 2012
How I got this book: bought a shiny copy :)
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: It's been several generations since a genetic experiment gone wrong caused the Reduction, decimating humanity and giving rise to a Luddite nobility who outlawed most technology.

Elliot North has always known her place in this world. Four years ago Elliot refused to run away with her childhood sweetheart, the servant Kai, choosing duty to her family's estate over love. Since then the world has changed: a new class of Post-Reductionists is jumpstarting the wheel of progress, and Elliot's estate is foundering, forcing her to rent land to the mysterious Cloud Fleet, a group of shipbuilders that includes renowned explorer Captain Malakai Wentforth - an almost unrecognizable Kai. And while Elliot wonders if this could be their second chance, Kai seems determined to show Elliot exactly what she gave up when she let him go.

But Elliot soon discovers her old friend carries a secret - one that could change their society... or bring it to its knees. And again, she's faced with a choice: cling to what she's been raised to believe, or cast her lot with the only boy she's ever loved, even if she's lost him forever.

Guys, people kept telling me that I needed to read this because I would love it and guess what? THEY WERE SO RIGHT!!! I can't believe I waited this long to actually read it!

It is no secret that I'm a fan of Jane Austen and a retelling of Persuasion should have triggered the MUST. READ. NOW. respons, but somehow I skipped over it the first time around. I mean, I love Anne Elliot and Captain Wentworth's story and OMG, THE LETTER! SO much love! So to see this be based on that made my little heart happy even before starting it.

And guys, it was SO GOOD!

I feel like gushing all over the place and smacking myself for never before reading anything by Diana Peterfreund, because holy batman, I'm a fan now! Better late than never, right? I totally love the world she has created in For Darkness Shows the Stars and the amazing background that hosts this lovestory that is so dear to my heart! I mean, it's so intricate! And the only thing that I was kinda bothered by is that we don't really learn much about what exactly happened and HOW and WHY and all of those science-things I want to know about it, but in a letter at the end of the book, Diana Peterfreund explains why this is and I can accept that. As long as I get my answers in Across a Star-Swept Sea!

I loved Elliot! Life hasn't been easy for her, especially since her mother died and Kai left and she's had to do a lot of things alone and grow up and take care of other people. And I respect her for picking up the pieces and doing the best she could for the people on the estate. She didn't take the easy way out and it made me want to strangle Kai at first, because GAH! Why can't he see why she didn't go with him?? I mean, hello, responsibility and all that?

I really, really very strongly dislike Elliot's father! I mean, what a douche! That is one bad parent. It sounds like he's always been a failure and has been relying on first his wife and then his daughter to do his work for him and he's not grateful. At all. He's trying to hurt Elliot in every way he can and I still can't figure out why. I mean, WHY would you try to deliberately ruin everything for your daughter? I just don't understand this kind of behaviour.

Kai and I didn't get off to a good start. I mean, the whole wanting to strangle him thing and all. BUT he does redeem himself and OMG THE LETTER! TEARS! And Kai and Elliot definitely had sparks flying! And I totally loved that Diana Peterfreund put in the letters that went back and forth between Kai and Elliot when they were children growing up on the estate. It really shows how strong their base is. They've known each other for a LONG time and have been through so much together and though there have been misunderstanding and falling out and everything, I was so rooting for them to work it out, because they make sense together! I love when a couple makes sense!

I actually resented having to leave the house on Saturday night because I was so absorbed in this story and wanted to finish it, but *sigh* social obligations and all that. But seriously, I just want to hug this book and all the characters in it because they've totally stolen my heart and I will now put Diana Peterfreund on my auto-buy list because I am mesmerized by the beauty that is her storytelling!

My rating: 5+ stars

Made me crave: vanilla yoghurt

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Review of Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

Title/Author: Never Fade (The Darkest Minds #2) by Alexandra Bracken
Publisher/Date published: Disney-Hyperion, October 15th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Ruby never asked for the abilities that almost cost her her life. Now she must call upon them on a daily basis, leading dangerous missions to bring down a corrupt government and breaking into the minds of her enemies. Other kids in the Children’s League call Ruby “Leader”, but she knows what she really is: a monster.

When Ruby is entrusted with an explosive secret, she must embark on her most dangerous mission yet: leaving the Children’s League behind. Crucial information about the disease that killed most of America’s children — and turned Ruby and the others who lived into feared and hated outcasts — has survived every attempt to destroy it. But the truth is only saved in one place: a flashdrive in the hands of Liam Stewart, the boy Ruby once believed was her future—and who now wouldn’t recognize her.

As Ruby sets out across a desperate, lawless country to find Liam — and answers about the catastrophe that has ripped both her life and America apart — she is torn between old friends and the promise she made to serve the League. Ruby will do anything to protect the people she loves. But what if winning the war means losing herself?
Goodreads summary:


Guys, I freaking loved The Darkest Minds when I read it last year! And seriously, after that ending, the wait for Never Fade was EXCRUCIATING! Because holy crap! She just erased herself from Liam's memories and AAAAH!!! HOW! WHY! PLEASE JUST NO! (Basically my reaction at the time)

In Never Fade we meet Ruby again, she's been with the Children's League for a while and they've put her through training and are sending her out on ops. And making her 'question' prisoners. I could feel Ruby's struggle with her abilities! She's learned to accept them somewhat more, but she still doesn't like it. And while I sorta get it, at one point I just wanted to shake her and tell her to man up and just learn to live with it. She is definitely a lot more mature than she was at the start of the series and now has to guide some kids herself. I felt so sorry for her that she basically only had 2 persons in the League who would talk to her and not be deadly afraid or disgusted or feel any other ugly emotion for her! She was so isolated and it was partly her fault for not reaching out and being plenty antisocial, but still, that kind of censure is awful!

And guys, do you know how much I loved Jude? Jude is Ruby's one-man-welcoming-comittee and he is just awesome! I loved how open and accepting he was and I just wanted to hug him so many times! I also liked Vida, she's badass and while at first I didn't really know what to make of her, by the end she turned out to be a solid character and I like her!
But they can't compete with the special place both Chubs and Liam have in my heart. I love those two boys SO MUCH! The only complaint I have here is: not enough Liam!

I do have to admit that I'd forgotten some things from The Darkest Minds and a teensy tiny recap would have been helpful, some hints about what happened before here and there. But that's really my problem and not a comment on the writing itself. But I do like it when the author adds something like this because it's easier to fall back into the story without having to deep dig into my memory for what exactly happened last time.

So Never Fade is a pretty dark read. These are dark times and there are still awful things happening! It's not easy and it's not all flowers and sunshine and there are some impossible decisions to be made and powers that are explored and Ruby is getting more control and high stakes and just EPICNESS!! I had a crazy busy week, otherwise I would have finished this a lot sooner, because I really didn't want to put it down and just raced through the last chapters and THEN IT ENDED!! And what will I do now until the next book comes out?? The last chapter gave me so many feelings and questions for the future and just GAH GET HERE SOON SEQUEL! I need to know how it all ends!!

My rating: 5 stars

Made me crave: risotto

Monday, October 14, 2013

Review of A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris

Title/Author: A Tale of Two Centuries (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #2) by Rachel Harris
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Teen, August 6th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley and bought a shiny finished copy
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Alessandra D’Angeli is in need of an adventure. Tired of her sixteenth-century life in Italy and homesick for her time-traveling cousin, Cat, who visited her for a magical week and dazzled her with tales of the future, Alessandra is lost. Until the stars hear her plea.

One mystical spell later, Alessandra appears on Cat’s Beverly Hills doorstep five hundred years in the future. Surrounded by confusing gadgets, scary transportation, and scandalous clothing, Less is hesitant to live the life of a twenty-first century teen…until she meets the infuriating — and infuriatingly handsome — surfer Austin Michaels. Austin challenges everything she believes in... and introduces her to a world filled with possibility.

With the clock ticking, Less knows she must live every moment of her modern life while she still can. But how will she return to the drab life of her past when the future is what holds everything she’s come to love?


Awww, you guys, I just feel like awww-ing at this book, because it was adorable! I really enjoyed My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century and was so excited to learn it was going to be having a sequel! Because EEE! I love Cat and Allesandra!

So it's been two years since Cat left Alessandra, at least, in Alessandra's time. She's been trying to be a good daughter and it basically gets her nowhere but betrayed by the man she thought would be her future husband. So of course I was rooting for my girl to get her own adventure! Our lovely gipsy-friend intervenes again and sends her off to Cat's Beverly Hills, which is the beginning of a wonderful time!

I loved seeing Less transform from the prim and proper sixteenth century girl into a modern, confident young woman! She definitely grows as a person and learns to go after what she wants for herself and not just abide by other people's wishes! Also, I loved the relationship between Less and Cat! They're more equal now that Less is also 16, even though Cat obviously has the upper hand in know-how about the 21st century. These two are genuine friends and I miss that in YA sometimes, real female friendships are hard to find.

It was funny to see Less navigate everything that comes with being a 21st century teenage girl and finding a way to deal with BOYS. Because well, courtship in the sixteenth century is nothing like it is these days! And while the romance wasn't as swoony for me as it was in My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century, I really liked it! Austin is a bit of a broken boy and Less is good for him. And he brings out the more confident and daring side of her. They both can learn things from the other and while there were some moments in which I went: WHAT ARE YOU DOING??? Mostly, I was just smiling and enjoying the flow of their relationship as it progresses from antagonistic to something more. It was just so cute!

If you're looking for an adorable, quick read, go grab this book! I totally loved curling up on the couch with it and am very much looking forward to reading the next book! I mean, I'd love to have more adventures with both Cat and Less!!

My rating: 4 stars

Made me crave: chocolate pepernoten (it's a Dutch thing, and YUM!)

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Dewey's 24 Hour Read-A-Thon is here!! And I'm participating only a little...

It's that time of the season again: time for Dewey's 24-Hour Read-a-Thon!! I LOVE this event and I'm so sad that I will only get to participate for a couple of hours as I'm being social tonight and have to be at work at 8AM tomorrow morning, so I can't read through the night... *has lots of sads over this*

BUT! I hope you're all having fun and getting your read on, cause that's what it's all about :)

Happy read-a-thon-ing!

Friday, October 11, 2013

Blog Tour! Interview with Juliet Grey, Author of Confessions of Marie Antoinette

Today I have the honor of hosting Juliet Grey, the author of Confessions of Marie Antoinette!

1. Tell us 5 (random) things about yourself that many people might not know about you:

(1) Juliet Grey is not my real name; (2) I feel more at home in older, more picturesque, cities and buildings; (3) that said, I am a native of NYC and it’s my favorite place in the world. (4) I love to sing Broadway show tunes; (5) I also write nonfiction books about the loves and lives of European royalty under the name Leslie Carroll.

2. Have you always wanted to be a writer? Did you ever dream of doing something else?

I enjoyed writing when I was a girl and my maternal grandfather and my father’s sister were writers, so the gene is on both sides of my family,. But I hadn’t considered it as a profession when I was young. I always wanted to be an actress, so that’s what I became; and I am still a professional actress, trained in the classics. One of my favorite jobs is to marry my two professions by narrating audio books.

3. What drew you to Marie Antoinette? What made you decide to tell her story?

In the course of researching the royal marriage of Marie Antoinette and Louis XVI for a chapter in my nonfiction book Notorious Royal Marriages, written under my real name, Leslie Carroll, I discovered how maligned the pair of them have been and that a lot of what I had originally thought about them was wrong, or skewed by the propaganda that found its way into the history books, repeated over the past two centuries as fact. Marie Antoinette in particular remains condemned as one of history’s most frivolous villainesses, tone-deaf to the plight of her subjects; and for the most part that wasn’t true at all. I felt that her story had to be told; and the best way to do it was in the form of a novel (or three—because the events of her life are too complex to shoehorn into just one novel: one book would barely skim them, covering only “the greatest hits.” So much would have had to be omitted and there would have been scant page time for character development, which was imperative, because Marie Antoinette’s journey was so spectacular. Many of the events of her life were so colorful and incredible that they seem invented by a novelist, which is one reason her story makes such an interesting novel. I have written scenes that sound incredible—but they are totally grounded in fact and based entirely on the historical record! Fiction also gave me the freedom to use my imagination to fill in the gaps where the historical record closes the door, and to bring emotion to the story, allowing readers to connect to it in a more meaningful way.

4. I'm fascinated by the things Marie Antoinette created for her hair with whole forest scenes and such! If you'd been a courtier at the time, what kind of elaborate hairdress would you have picked?

It would depend on my mood. Many of the “poufs” were political statements, and I can be very outspoken in that respect. I might have done something clever pertaining to women’s rights or healthcare! Or else I might celebrate a changing season; with autumn upon us, I could see a whole creation with a riot of color in changing leaves, and some of them might be hammered bronze and gold, which would complement my red hair. However, I would probably want to change the style every week. I would see another woman’s hairstyle and it would spark an idea I’d want to emulate.

5. If someone gave you control of a time-travelling machine and you could go back to any period in time, which one would you choose and why?

I would choose an era in which women’s wit was prized and their independence was not looked upon askance: the English estoration, or the Enlightenment, or pre-Revolutionary France in the mid-18th. century. I would have to live in an era when education and the free expression of ideas was encouraged, rather than an age of repression and religious intolerance. I am also drawn to the fashions of the 1660s and 1750s-1770s.

6. Which of the three books in this trilogy was the hardest for you to write?

The final one. I had spent years learning everything I could about these historical figures and their life and times. I came to love and understand Marie Antoinette and Louis and care about them deeply. It was very hard to let go, especially as things of course ended so tragically and violently. And the brutality of the Revolution was so undeserved. But I had to tell the story the way things really happened because I’m not sure readers realize how bad things were for the royal family and how much Marie Antoinette was a victim of propaganda (for example, those who still credit her with the tone-deaf remark “Let them eat cake,”—and that includes professional journalists and political pundits!—is horrifying bordering on embarrassing in this day and age when a little fact-checking goes a long way). People tend to romanticize the French Revolution.

7. What do you do for fun when you're not writing?

Fun? Not writing? I’m almost always writing because I write in more than one genre and always have a project going on. And I find writing tremendously fun. I love what I do. And I love the research it entails as well. But since I don’t think that’s what you’re angling to know, I’m also an actress and I love the theatre, whether it’s performing or attending theatre, ballet, museums. I am inspired by art, by looking at the water, by traveling. And I cherish every moment I get to spend with my husband.

8. Tell us about the last book you loved:

I’m actually still in the middle of reading it, but I keep having to put it down as work-related projects with tight deadlines keep coming up: I rarely have time for pleasure reads. But I am drawn to novels with a strong author’s voice (like those of Hilary Mantel and Sarah Dunant) and recently discovered those of David Blixt. I am reading Her Majesty’s Will, a wonderful Elizabethan romp full of espionage, swordplay, and wit, starring William Shakespeare and Christopher Marlowe. Because I am also a trained Shakespearean actress I get all of Blixt’s inside jokes (it’s just an added bonus in the novel if you know your Shakespeare) and find myself laughing out loud.

9. What/who is your all-time favourite book/author?

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen is the perfect novel

10. Tell us in one sentence why people should read Confessions of Marie Antoinette:

Because you’ll be surprised at the empathy you’ll feel for one of history’s most maligned women; and even though you already know the ending, you won’t be able to put it down.

Thanks so much for answering all my questions and we share a love for Pride and Prejudice! :)

Thursday, October 10, 2013

Blog Tour! Review of Confessions of Marie Antoinette by Juliet Grey

Title/Author: Confessions of Marie Antoinette (Marie Antoinette #3) by Juliet Grey
Publisher/Date published: Random House Publishing Group - Ballantine, September 24th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Confessions of Marie Antoinette, the riveting and sweeping final novel in Juliet Grey’s trilogy on the life of the legendary French queen, blends rich historical detail with searing drama, bringing to life the early years of the French Revolution and the doomed royal family’s final days.

Versailles, 1789. As the burgeoning rebellion reaches the palace gates, Marie Antoinette finds her privileged and peaceful life swiftly upended by violence. Once her loyal subjects, the people of France now seek to overthrow the crown, placing the heirs of the Bourbon dynasty in mortal peril.

Displaced to the Tuileries Palace in Paris, the royal family is propelled into the heart of the Revolution. There, despite a few staunch allies, they are surrounded by cunning spies and vicious enemies. Yet despite the political and personal threats against her, Marie Antoinette remains above all a devoted wife and mother, standing steadfastly by her husband, Louis XVI, and protecting their young son and daughter. And though the queen and her family try to flee, and she secretly attempts to arrange their rescue from the clutches of the Revolution, they cannot outrun the dangers encircling them, or escape their shocking fate.

Guys, I am so stoked to be part of this blogtour!! I don't nearly read enough historical fiction, though I pretty much always love it when I do and this series is one of the reasons why I'm a fan of the genre! We've all heard about Marie Antoinette, this historical figure who had a tragic ending and I love seeing the person behind such a historical character!

Juliet Grey has made her a lovable woman, a person I could truly care about and I love it when that happens! I mean, she's really gone from person of the past to flesh and blood and emotions and everything! Aside from her fashion choices, there's more to Marie Antoinette, she's a loving mother, lonely woman isolated from her homeland and dutiful wife. She's a woman who lost two of her children and grieves for them. She looks for love and comfort. And I found myself rooting for her, and this made it all the more heartbreaking to know how her story ends.

Confessions of Marie Antoinette is definitely a darker book than the first two in the series. The Revolution has started and things are looking more and more dire for Marie Antoinette and her family. The riots are starting and the people cry out for Marie Antoinette's head. There's slander going about and it's crazy what people will believe of a public figure! I mean, I get that people had no idea who their king and queen really were, but the lies told about Marie Antoinette are outrageous!

The sheer darkness of the atmosphere in this book made me struggle a bit to get into it, but once I devoted some time to really immerse myself in the story, it all went smoothly. Seeing the brutal scenes of the Revolution through both Marie Antoinette and a sculptress' eyes was a bit depressing. But mostly because I knew there wasn't any hope for the queen. She wouldn't see brighter days again and I so wanted that for her! But even in the middle of all this heartache, there are some beautiful moments that maybe even broke my heart a little more! There's the kindness of the queen's jailers and the child who blows a kiss to Marie Antoinette as she's being led to the guillotine (which I was delighted to discover actually happened!).

And while I did tear up at the ending, it was perfect and I love how it featured all the important people in Marie Antoinette's life. And I really liked that Juliet Grey put an addendum at the end where she tells us what happens to some of the figures in the novel who are still alive at its conclusion. I had been planning on googling some of them and this saved me the trouble! It's horrifying to be reminded of exactly how many people died during the Revolution and with what ease they were convicted and executed.

I have loved getting to know more about Marie Antoinette through this series and I will never forget the woman Juliet Grey made her be!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Made me crave: cappucino, with a brownie

Saturday, October 5, 2013

Review of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century by Rachel Harris

Title/Author: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century (My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1) by Rachel Harris
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing, September 11th 2012
How I got this book: bought it :)
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

Guys, I LOVED THIS BOOK!! It was so cute and YAYYY!!! :D I read it on a very sunny afternoon spend at the lake near my house and it was just perfect!

So Cat has parental issues. Her parents have split up and now her father is engaged to another woman, who Cat liked at first, but now she's really getting on her nerves. I thought Rachel Harris handled this situation really well, I mean, I could feel Cat being unsure because of all of the drama going on there and you know, this does have an impact on someone and I like that it's not something that just functioned as background noise. It's a true part of the story and I like that.

So Cat goes exploring and ends up at a gypsy tent after which she's POOF transported to the sixteenth century. Yeah, I would have been a bit surprised at that as well if I'd been in her position. Cat actually deals with it pretty well, she someone figures out that she's probably supposed to learn something and after that she'll be sent back. So she goes with the flow and tries to figure out what it is she needs to learn. And while this is going on, she gets to stay with an amazing loving family and meet a sixteenth century hottie! I'd say that's a pretty good deal :)

I really liked Cat, she's trying so hard to hide her insecurities behind this game face she puts on and it was really good to see her opening up when she's in the sixteenth century! I mean, she doesn't really have any friends because she doesn't trust anyone and isn't willing to put herself out there and that's really sad. I loved that she had such a passion for art and wouldn't it be awesome to travel back to the Renaissance and actually see these people in action? I mean GAH!

And guys, I REALLY loved the family Cat meets in the sixteenth century! They are warm and loving and welcoming and just good people. I love that Cipriano is instantly a protective older brother to Cat as well as his sister Alessandra. And Alessandra is AWESOME! Seriously, that girl is so sweet! I just wanted to hug her! So their parents definitely have different views on marrying and how much a girl has to say in the choosing of the groom than people nowadays, but this added some brilliant conflict and I can imagine things going down that way in the actual time period.

And then it's time to talk about the boy: LORENZO. Say it with me: LORENZO. Doesn't just saying his name make you think of warm summer sunshine and a beautiful Italian boy? Oh, and really good icecream. But that could just be me. Lorenzo is insanely swoonworthy with this artistic soul and beautiful personality beneath that pretty-boy-veneer. He's passionate and gorgeous and romantic and just *SWOON* I can totally get Cat falling for him.

So there's a lot going on and it was just wonderful to see Cat actually learning the lesson she was sent to the past to learn. She really does grow as a person and I love that she really does something with what she's been taught. And seriously, THE ENDING! It made me SO EXCITED for the next book, A Tale of Two Centuries!! I cannot wait!

My rating: 5 stars

Made me crave: cookie dough icecream

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Review of The Trouble With Being A Duke by Sophie Barnes

Title/Author: The Trouble With Being A Duke (At The Kingsborough Ball #1) by Sophie Barnes
Publisher/Date published: Avon, August 27th 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Sometimes happily ever after...

Anthony Hurst, Duke of Kingsborough knows the time has come for him to produce an heir. But first he must find a bride. When he meets the most exquisite woman at his masquerade ball, he thinks his search is over... until the breathtaking beauty runs off. With few clues other than her figure, her scent, and the memory of her kiss, Anthony must find his mystery lady.

...needs a little bit of help.

Isabella Chilcott can scarcely believe it: she is finally at the Kingsborough Ball. As a child, she dreamed of dancing a waltz here and now, thanks to a gorgeous gown she’s found in the attic, Isabella is living her fairytale fantasy. And she’s waltzing with the Duke of Kingsborough himself! But she must escape before he discovers her secrets…for she is not who she pretends to be, and falling in love with Prince Charming is the last thing she can allow herself to do...

Guys, I am a sucker for masquerade balls. I mean, I would LOVE if we actually had those around here! There's just such a mysterious air about them and it definitely makes for some wonderful encounters and some searching for the person you met that night. And I just love it when it's in a novel and I will ALWAYS pick it a book up when it says it has a masquerade ball.
SO, The Trouble With Being A Duke had A LOT to live up to before I even started it ;) And while it's not my favourite historical romance, it was definitely a lovely read!

I really liked Isabella, she's determined to have her fairytale night and sneaks out of the house in a dress she found in the attic to experience said night. I love that she reasons that with a mask they won't ever know who she is, it's both logical and naive at the same time. It's definitely a lot smarter than just going to a ball WITHOUT a mask and hoping for the same thing. While she's not even remotely attracted to the man her parents intend her to marry, she's set her mind to doing the right thing by them and honoring their wishes.

Anthony is full on male and entitled Duke and just such a MAN. He's told himself that he should marry and has set his sights on Isabella, no matter if she doesn't seem to be cooperating. I really liked that he realised he's being an ass at one point trying to get his way and is determined to sway them by charm and real consideration instead of just pushing to get his way. I felt that he was a bit overcome by his attraction to Isabella and he didn't always go about convincing her to marry him instead the best way, but he was charming even while blundering and I like that.

They definitely had some real chemistry and even with Anthony being a duke, there were things that stood in their way. I'm glad they worked it out in the end. I would have liked for Isabella to be a little more swept off her feet by Anthony, she was so levelheaded the whole time and so holding onto her almost-engagement to another man that I was questioning whether she really loved Anthony. I thought that the mean girl in this story was a bit over the top, but it did add extra conflict. And I love conflict before the happy ending!

I really enjoyed reading The Trouble With Being A Duke and sincerely hope that the next book in the series will be about Casper, Anthony's friend, because I totally loved him in this novel even if he did have a minor role and needed some perspective on love!

My rating: 4 stars

Made me crave: garlicy pasta with mushrooms and salami

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Review of Model Misfit by Holly Smale

Title/Author: Model Misfit (Geek Girl #2) by Holly Smale
Publisher/Date published: HarperCollins UK, Children's, September 26 2013
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: “My name is Harriet Manners, and I am still a geek.”

Harriet knows that modelling won’t transform you. She knows that being as uniquely odd as a polar bear isn’t necessarily a bad thing (even in a rainforest). And that the average person eats a ton of food a year, though her pregnant stepmother is doing her best to beat this.

What Harriet doesn’t know is where she’s going to fit in once the new baby arrives.

With summer plans ruined, modelling in Japan seems the perfect chance to get as far away from home as possible. But nothing can prepare Harriet for the craziness of Tokyo, her competitive model flatmates and her errant grandmother’s ‘chaperoning’. Or seeing gorgeous Nick everywhere she goes.

Because, this time, Harriet knows what a broken heart feels like.

Can geek girl find her place on the other side of the world or is Harriet lost for good?


Guys, I really enjoyed Geek Girl, the first book in this series, with its quirky characters and America's Next Top Model feel to it, so of course I was excited to pick up the sequel!

And guys, I loved reconnecting with all these characters! They are exactly as I remembered: the adorable, naive and somewhat clueless Harriet with all her amazing facts; her dad who can't calm down and be a true adult; her stepmother Annabel who is the voice of reason in their family; Nat, who is a true friend even from halfway across the world; Wilbur, who keeps making me laugh with all his crazy petnames and antics and of course Nick, who is just such a teenage guy!
Holly Smale also introduces us to a new set of character, one of which I totally adored: Rin, a Japanese model who not-so-secretly wishes to be Australian instead. That girl was amazing!

So Harriet goes to Japan. If you've read Geek Girl, you can imagine exactly how much havoc Harriet can reap there. I mean, the possibilities are infinite. And she does and it was hilarious! I was feeling kinda bad for her for some of them, but still, it was funny!

Harriet is brokenhearted because Nick dumped her and I really felt for her because she was trying to cope with this, but really had no idea how to handle it. And I liked that, because really, how unlikely is it for a 15-year-old girl to know how to handle facing their ex-boyfriend after breaking up? I mean, I didn't. None of my friends did. Obviously we all pretended we did, but nobody had a clue.
I think that in the romantic side of the book lies the only thing that I didn't really like:
**SPOILER, LIGHT UP TO READ**I was like SERIOUSLY? All of this drama because she had misheard him and he for some reason never bothered to explain again? I mean, SERIOUSLY? ARE YOU KIDDING ME? So much of the conflict in this book comes from their break-up and then it's just swept away like POOF? SERIOUSLY??**END OF SPOILER/RANT**

If even 10% of what happens in this novel, happens in the modelling world (and it probably does if you can believe ANTM), then it's truly crazy and I love it. Or rather, I love reading about it and seeing it! Wilbur has a special place in my heart, as do Harriet and Rin!

My rating: 4 stars

Made me crave: potato croquettes (this sounds wrong, but Google translate tells me this is the right word...)