Friday, 29 June 2012

Review: Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

  Title: Flirting in Italian
  Author: Lauren Henderson
  Publisher: Random House Children's Books
  Publication Date: June 12th 2012
  Source: NetGalley
  My rating: 2 stars


When I first heard about Flirting in Italian I thought it sounded like a fun, easy going read that I would be able to kick back and relax with over the summer.

Flirting in Italian kicks off with an awesome opening; Violet out one day in an art gallery, for her art history A-level course comes across a painting with striking familiarity to her. However the most surprising aspect is the fact that the portrait is from the 17th century! Violet always had her suspicions that she was adopted as she never thought she resembled her Scandinavian mother or Scottish father. Now seeing this portrait deepens her doubts about belonging to her family at all. She realises that the only way that she can get to the bottom of it all is by travelling to Italy and digging out the information herself. A course run by an Italian family over the summer actually gives access to the castle belonging to the family the portrait belongs to. Violet thinks this is the perfect chance, not only can she find out the truth about who she finally is, but going to Italy and learning the language and about the art history there will count as an amazing experience for when she applies to university.

I couldn’t wait for Violet to get to the bottom of everything, was she really adopted? Or was the similar portrait just a big coincidence? However as soon as Violet got to Italy, the whole point of going there kinds of goes flying out of the window. She doesn’t really investigate anything, but is too caught up with the gorgeous guys instead! She falls head over heels for Leonardo; her hostesses’ son but then as soon as she sees the mysterious Luca she’s pinning for him all of a sudden. After spending a few hours with him, she can’t get him out of her head.

With Luca constantly on the brain the underlying reason for her being in Italy is quickly forgotten, and it’s all about having fun with the girls, having dizzying make out sessions with Luca which leaves her conflicted and trying to have one over the hostesses’ daughter, the scheming Eliza. Some aspects of the story were fun, it made me want to go to Italy, take in the gorgeous surroundings and go from place to place on a vespa with a gorgeous Italian. But I also found parts hugely grating, the girls who stayed with Violet came across a bit as obnoxious and shallow, mostly concerned with their looks and getting as many guys as possible to pay attention to them. The story also made all Italian guys come across as all they wanted to do is to get into a girls pants, which I’m sure that all of them are not like that. All I wanted the most was to get down to the truth, not faff around with gorgeous Italian lads! The main character Violet also began to get on my nerves after a while, she was a little too proud and always quick to make assumptions. Also the constant talking to herself became infuriating (on a side note no one disses Coldplay and gets away with it).  What had started off as a journey of self-discovery quickly went off course into nothingness.

Hopefully others may find Flirting in Italian a great summer read, with the adventurous trip to Italy and gorgeous Italian lads, but the swift change of events kind of left me disappointed. However despite having so many issues with this book, it kind of leaves you hanging with several unanswered questions that you’re sort of tempted in picking up the companion Following in Love in Italian just for the sake of finding out what happens.

Thank you NetGalley and Random House Children’s Books for the opportunity to read this book.

Thursday, 28 June 2012

Cover reveals

In the last week there have been some amazing cover reveals. Gorgeous covers are always my biggest downfall, but when pretty covers are followed up with awesome plot summaries, I tend to get giddy with excitement. I have to admit that I hadn't even heard of these books until yesterday, but already they've made it to my wishlist for 2013.

  17 & Gone
  Nova Ren Suma

Expected publication:  March 2013  

Seventeen-year-old Lauren is having visions of girls who have gone missing. And all these girls have just one thing in common—they are 17 and gone without a trace. As Lauren struggles to shake these waking nightmares, impossible questions demand urgent answers: Why are the girls speaking to Lauren? How can she help them? And . . . is she next? As Lauren searches for clues, everything begins to unravel, and when a brush with death lands her in the hospital, a shocking truth emerges, changing everything.

  Erin Bowman

  Expected publication: April 2013

There are no men in Claysoot. There are boys—but every one of them vanishes at midnight on his eighteenth birthday. The ground shakes, the wind howls, a blinding light descends...and he’s gone.
They call it the Heist.
Gray Weathersby’s eighteenth birthday is mere months away, and he’s prepared to meet his fate–until he finds a strange note from his mother and starts to question everything he’s been raised to accept: the Council leaders and their obvious secrets. The Heist itself. And what lies beyond the Wall that surrounds Claysoot–a structure that no one can cross and survive. 
Climbing the Wall is suicide, but what comes after the Heist could be worse. Should he sit back and wait to be taken–or risk everything on the hope of the other side?
Aren't the covers to die for? I have no idea how I'm going to wait until 2013 for these awesome reads! What are your thoughts on these amazing covers?

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

Waiting on Wednesday #7


Is a meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases were eagerly anticipating.

The book I'm most excited about this week is...

Stealing Parker 

Stealing Parker by Miranda Kenneally
Publication Date: October 1st 2012 

Blurb from Goodreads:

Red-hot author Miranda Kenneally hits one out of the park in this return to Catching Jordan's Hundred Oaks High.

After a scandal rocks their conservative small town, 17-year-old Parker Shelton goes overboard trying to prove that she won't turn out like her mother: a lesbian. The all-star third-baseman quits the softball team, drops 20 pounds and starts making out with guys--a lot. But hitting on the hot new assistant baseball coach might be taking it a step too far...especially when he starts flirting back.

My Thoughts:

Both Jasprit and I have been looking forward to Stealing Parker since pretty much after we finished Catching Jordan.  You can read our reviews here and here.  We both fell in love with the characters and story that Miranda so cleverly crafted.  (Oh, Sam Henry!! *swoon*)

Stealing Parker sounds like it has all the ingredients for and amazing read: A  forbidden type-romance, a girl going through drama at home and at school.  This story is the companion novel to Catching Jordan, and I hear that Jordan does make an appearance, so I can't wait!!

So what are you waiting on?  We'd love to know! 

Monday, 25 June 2012

Review: Saving June by Hannah Harrington

  Title: Saving June
  Author: Hannah Harrington
  Publisher: Harlequin UK
  Publishing date: June 1st 2012
  Source: NetGalley
  My rating: 4 stars


Saving Jane had been a book on my wish list ever since it hit the shelves in Australia, and the Aussie bloggers just couldn’t get enough. So I was excited to finally get my hands on a copy a year after first hearing about it.

Harper is struggling, her sister June has just passed away, she took her own life leaving no letter or explanation why. On the surface everything seemed fine with June, she’d found her boyfriend and cheated on her, but other than that everything seemed to be going okay. So finding June’s body in the back of her car was a massive shock. And now everything seems to be falling apart around Harper, after their parents separation, Harper’s mum was just coping, but now with June’s death she’s hit even harder, she seems to be walking around in a daze, and so Aunt Helen decides to take charge. Harper doesn’t mind Aunt Helen, but she thinks she knows best and Harper doesn’t really take to be told what to do. And to top it off, Harper’s parents want to split June’s ashes! Who in their right mind would want to do that? One night when rummaging around June’s things with her best friend Laney, Harper discovers a postcard from California and comes to a monumental decision, she will scatter June’s ashes in California; it was June’s dream place and so exactly what she would have wanted. However they have no way of getting to California and how are they going to leave without their parents discovering June’s ashes are missing? That’s where the mysterious Jake Tolan comes in, he turned up unexpectedly at June’s wake; June used to tutor him and so he offers his services to the girls; he will take them to California. This is the perfect opportunity for Harper, but why does she have a niggling feeling about Jake, has he got some hidden agenda, as to why he wants to help them out?

Harper; I so felt sorry for her, she was all alone without June and had a tough time with everyone always making comparisons between her and her dead sister. I understand that the only way she could move forward in her life was doing something for June, it wouldn’t bring complete closure, but it made her feel as if she had a purpose in her life.

Laney, I adored her, I’ve come across some awesome best friends in YA books lately and Laney has easily made it to the top of my list. She was constantly there for Harper, even though she was adamant that she was fine. I loved how she was such a spontaneous character, that you didn’t really know what to expect from her, also how she jumped freely into things without over-thinking them. She definitely livened things up a bit whenever Harper’s mood was low.

Jake; I remember nearly everyone who read this book fell in love with Jake, what’s not to love? He knows his music, he plays guitar, he can sing and has a gorgeous body. But I didn’t understand his flippant mood changes, he could be sweet and understanding one minute then arsey the next. Yeah it must have been difficult driving for hours with two girls with totally different moods. However since we first met him at June’s wake, I thought there was something shifty about him, I thought he held a torch for June, but his real intentions for driving to California did come as a quite surprise.

There’s nothing more I love than reading a road trip book, and this one was a great one, reading about their adventures from Michigan to California and the comical characters they meet on the way was great fun. Plus also we had the perfect weather over here for once, so I got to sit outside with my laptop devouring this lovely book. One of my favourite aspects of this book was the playlist, I love it when authors make up playlists for books especially ones which exactly match the feel and tone of the book and this one does exactly that!

I did enjoy Saving June, but not as much as I had originally hoped, maybe because my expectations were set too high in the first place. Instead of being a quick read as I thought it would be, it took me over a week to read it, I had numerous distractions that kept me from reading it, but when I also had the time to read, at times I didn’t feel like picking it up.

Overall Saving June was a beautiful read; it was full with vivid settings and beautiful writing and has left me with a yearning to road trip across America one day. I just wish I could have loved it that little bit more.

Thank you to NetGalley and Harlequin UK for the opportunity to read this book.

Sunday, 24 June 2012

Showcase Sunday #4

Showcase Sunday is a weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits and Tea. The aim is to showcase our newest books or book related swag and to see what everyone else received for review, borrowed from libraries, bought in bookshops and downloaded onto eReaders this week.

It feels like I haven’t posted a Showcase Sunday post in a while, with hardly any books trickling in, I decided to hold off for a while and I’m glad I did as this last week was one of the best! Also this is my first Showcase Sunday post with my co-blogger Rachel! 

For Review

Dark Kiss by Michelle Rowen
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer
What's Up with Jody Barton by Hayley Long
Rape Girl by Alina Klein
Size 12 and Ready to Rock by Meg Cabot
On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Why We Broke Up by Daniel Handler 

Thank you NetGalley, Harlequin, Brigid Kemmerer, Kensington, Edelweiss, William Morrow Paperbacks, Macmillan, Penguin, Random House UK and Electric Monkey.

The Elementals series is one of my highly anticipated series of the year and so when I saw Spark on NetGalley I just knew I had to grab a copy. When I wasn’t approved and everyone else around me started getting their copies I began to panic, but then the lovely Brigid posted that bloggers who hadn’t been approved she would forward their details onto the publishers for approval. So now I have a lovely copy on my kindle thanks to Brigid. I have a readathon coming up in July, so I think I will devour all three books then.

Meg Cabot is one of my all time favourite authors, and Size 12 and Ready to Rock is a book I’ve been longing to get my hands on ever since Meg announced that there would be two more books in the Heather Wells series. (Can you believe I had to wait patiently for two years for this next instalment?). I can’t wait to get stuck in with this book, to be a part of the mystery again and re-connect with the awesome characters.

My week ended fantastically as I received copies of Seraphina and Why We Broke Up, the cover of Seraphina doesn't do it any justice, as it's even prettier in real life. Why We Broke Up is also full with beautiful illustrations. I'm so excited about starting them both.


Miss World by Randi Black
Among the Nameless Stars by Diana Peterfreund
So Totally by Gwen Hayes
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
Adorkable by Sarra Manning
Easy by Tammara Webber
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
From What I Remember by Stacy Kramer and Valerie Thomas

Amazon has been so good to me recently with some awesome freebies, Gwen Hayes and Randi Black have been authors whose books I’ve been wanting to read for a while, so when I saw them up free I was quick to grab copies.

Adorkable and Easy have been receiving some awesome reviews lately, so I knew that these were books I definitely had to buy.

Lastly a massive thank to Sam at Realm of Fiction for lending me her copy of Throne of Glass. After reading several pages I’d fallen in love and had a feeling it would be a 5 star book. I’ve been trying to read small chunks of this epic book every day, so far I’ve been struggling as I just want to devour it all.

That’s all the wonderful books I got, now over to Rachel, to see which awesome books she received.  

For Review

Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Something Strange and Deadly by Susan Dennard
Undead by Kirsty McKay
Meant to Be by Lauren Morrill
Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan
The Blood Keeper by Tessa Gratton
Spark by Brigid Kemmerer

Thank you to NetGalley, Edelweiss, Balzer & Bray, Harper Teen, Scholastic, Delacorte, Random House and Kensignton.

Undead sounds like all kinds of zombie fun! It's a school-trip where all but two classmates turn into zombies and it's being compared to Shaun of the Dead, Speed, and The Breakfast Club all rolled into one. How could I resist?

I've lusted after Meant to Be ever since Jasprit's WoW. Julia being thrown together for a class project with Jason, her personal nemesis sounds like great potential for sparks!  

I'm really interested in The Blood Keeper as I enjoyed the first in the series, Blood Magic. It doesn't seem to involve the characters from the first story, so I think its set in the same world but focusing on different characters.  


My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Storm by Brigid Kemmerer
Elemental by Brigid Kemmerer
What a Boy Wants by Nyrae Dawn

I was planning on reading the Elemental series before, so when I was approved for Spark I bought Storm and the prequel Elemental (only .99 cents on Amazon). I loved Becca and Chris's story in Storm, so I can't wait to get to Spark. There were a lot of unanswered questions. Plus, it's Gabriel's story *drool*! Need I say more?

I've heard great things about My Life Next Door, and let's face it, it sounds like a vanilla-queen's dream!

I'm excited to read What a Boy Wants, I've heard great things about it. It's another self-published author and I've been having great success with them lately.

We received some amazing books that will definitely keep us busy over the next few weeks, let us know what goodies you received this week.

Friday, 22 June 2012

Review: Storm by Brigid Kemmerer

Storm (Elemental, #1)

  Title: Storm 
  Author: Brigid Kemmerer
  Publisher: Kensington
  Publication date: April 24th 2012
  My rating: 4 stars

 After all the glowing reviews for Storm, I was a little afraid that it may not live up to my expectations.  Looks like I didn't need to worry!

Let's just get this confession out of the way: I heard "four hot boys" and I just knew I had to read this.  The four we're talking about are the Merrick brothers, born with special elemental abilities, able to draw up power and control the forces of nature.  Each brother has a specialization: air, fire, water, earth (and yes, they are all HOT!).  Because of their exceptionally strong powers, the Merrick's are viewed as a potential threat.  Technically, they should be reported and killed, but the Merrick's parents made a deal long ago to keep them safe, as long as they don't use their powers.  This has made them the subject of constant bullying because the neighbors in the community who know of their abilities are fearful and envious.  Also, they know they can do whatever they want without the brothers fighting back.  But this is about to change.

This installment focuses on Chris Merrick, the youngest of the brothers, and Becca, a girl in his school.  These two are thrust together after Becca comes to the aid of Chris, who was being attacked by these cruel bullies.  She scares them off, and in the process, becomes a target as well.  Becca has had her own problems with these bullies after her ex-boyfriend spread some nasty rumors to the whole school about her.  She just wants the situation to go away, but her intentions of lying low are ruined after helping Chris.  The enemies of the Merrick's feel she must either be an elemental also, or she's on their side.  Either way, she's in the middle.  At first, Becca is far from being on their side.  When she takes the battered Chris home, she gets nothing but flack from Michael, the oldest brother and guardian of the brothers.  She plans on washing her hands of all those surly and ungrateful men!  Unfortunately, circumstances continually throw them together.  Added to the mix is the mysterious new guy, Hunter (yes, he's hot too!), who shows up at school, intent on getting close to Becca.  Hmm….

This story read like an action/adventure movie, a non-stop thrill ride.  If I had more time, I could've easily sat down and read this in one sitting.  It's one of those stories where you want to keep turning the page to find out what happens next.  I loved all these brothers, and it was fun to see Becca deal with them and stand up to their teasing and snarky remarks.  She definitely wasn't a pushover.  Here's a fun quote:

Gabriel: "Finding a girl in the kitchen isn't exactly and oddity around here." Becca: "Charming." He glanced up at that, a glint of wicked humor in his eye. "I'm sure you're special, though."  It should have pissed her off, after Michael's brusque attitude and Nick's hey-baby-why-don't-you-come-inside.  But Gabriel's teasing was straightforward, challenging, in a way.  He expected her to girl it up, to huff and fold her arms.  She could tell.  "Not special at all.----I just heard my number called and thought I better show up."

I loved the gradual build between Chris and Becca.   I wasn't really thrilled with her getting close to Hunter because I'm not a fan of love-triangles but this one wasn't too frustrating.   

This story was a little on the predictable side, but even so, it was very entertaining.  I guess we get a short story with Hunter in Fearless, and then Gabriel's story in Spark.  Can’t wait!  

Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Author Event Recap and Giveaway: Richelle Mead

Hi everyone!  Last night I had the great privilege of meeting Richelle Mead at an author event and signing at the Barnes and Noble in Santa Monica, California.  Richelle is one of my all-time favorite authors, so I was beyond excited!  I guess a lot of other people were too, because it was packed!

Richelle Mead
Richelle did a reading from The Golden Lily to begin with. To my surprise, instead of picking a swoon-worthy moment, she picked a funny scene.   A scene involving:  a defense-class, Sydney, Adrian, and someone nicknamed Captain McTropical Shorts.  Everyone was laughing!  This reminded me of the great amount of snarky humor she includes in all her stories that make them so much fun to read.  

Here are some interesting tidbits she shared:

On writing Rose: Richelle just thinks:  "What would I not do?"   Richelle said that Rose is the polar opposite of her but really fun to write.  Rose is always the kind of person to punch first and ask questions later.  Sydney is very different.  She's so smart and oblivious.  Of the two, Richelle is more like Sydney personally. Also, Richelle knew she would write the Bloodlines spinoff series about half-way through the Vampire Academy series. When she begins a series, she always knows how they will end.  Wow!

The Indigo Spell, the third book in the Bloodlines series, comes out February 14, 2013.  Yay!! We don't have to wait a full year for the next one.  If you've read The Golden Lily, the title should mean a little something to you……

Foretold, which releases August 28, 2012, will have a Rose and Dimitri short story where they visit Russia together!  Sounds romantic.   I've been excited for Foretold since I saw Maja's Wow on it a few weeks back.

Movie of VA? There is a production company that has the film rights and they are trying to pitch it to studios.  So far no one has taken a bite.  She thinks we may be in vampire burnout, and it may not be until all the Twilight films have run their course that a studio would be interested.  She doesn't have any dream cast in mind because the characters have always looked a certain way in her head, and no actors currently fit the image.

Did she have to do more research for VA or Bloodlines?  Answer: Bloodlines.   The most research being the insane random trivia that Sydney dolls out (She's supposed to be a genius).   Richelle had to learn all about Ford Mustangs for The Golden Lily, because Sydney is a car buff.There was more Alchemist research, and research into tourist attractions in Palm Springs.  The windmill farm in there is real, by the way.   

Input on the covers?  She did have some, like picking the models.  She thought that was cool because not a lot of authors have any say on the book cover.  This is something I've heard from a lot of authors at book signings.

Her new adult series: Age of X is set to come out late 2013.  It's a futuristic sci-fi with paranormal elements to it.  It's set one-hundred years into the future, in a world where the US and Canada have merged into one country.  This world is very anti-magic, anti-supernatural.   It's about a guy and a girl who travel, find reports of magic, then go and try to debunk it.  She wants to keep the paranormal force in that series under wraps, a surprise.


The Golden Lily (Bloodlines, #2)

I loved The Golden Lily.  You can read my review for it here.  So I wanted to share my fun with all you awesome people by giving away a signed copy of The Golden Lily, along with the signed VA poster shown.  The giveaway is international and runs for a week.  The only requirement to enter is that you follow the blog via GFC. Just fill out the rafflecopter below.  Thanks for visiting and good luck!

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