Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Riven by Jane Alvey Harris - Book Trailer and Q & A with the author!


Happy Tuesday!

Today we are featuring a book trailer of "Riven" by Jane Alvey Harris. We also had an opportunity to share Q and A with the author and I hope you enjoy that!

Which reality would you choose?

29856826  The multi-faceted YA fantasy genre has made a strong comeback this year as stories shifted from vampires and zombies to teenagers with mystical powers. This resurgence may be rooted in the genre's contemporary features or issues. Many authors decide to intertwine their fantastical tales with real-life issues—they're relatable. It's a modern ingredient for writing YA, and in Jane Alvey Harris' Riven, fantasy and contemporary collide.

Riven, book one in the My Myth Trilogy, delves into the world of the Fae and follows a seventeen-year-old Emily as she struggles between realms of reality.

Harris also touches on hard subjects like sexual abuse and mental illness. The story crosses over into this reverie-like world to, like Kirkus Reviews said, "offer salvation."

The gripping book trailer is sure to capture the minds of those who love the innovative genre twists of fantasy and thriller, and it stars the talented Chase Coleman from The CW's The Originals.





RIVEN BOOK TRAILER

RIVEN, Official Book Trailer from Film 14 on Vimeo.


Summary:

  Seventeen year-old Emily’s dad is in prison for securities fraud and her mom's strung-out on pain meds, leaving Emily to parent herself and her younger brothers and sister. She’s got things mostly under control until a couple weeks before Dad’s release, when voices start whispering in her head, and Gabe, the hot lifeguard at the pool, notices the strange brands engraved on her arm...the ones she's trying desperately to hide. Emily doesn't know how the symbols got there or what they mean. They appeared overnight and now they're infected and bleeding. She's pretty sure she's losing her mind. Stress, insomnia, and her wounded egos drive Emily to self-medicate, which has to be why the nightmares from her childhood have resurfaced, why they're commandeering her conscious even when she's awake. It has to be why the fairytale creatures she created as a little girl insist they need her help. Triggered by the return of her childhood abuser and unable to cope with reality, Emily slips completely inside her elaborate fantasy world. She's powerful in the First Realm, maybe even more powerful than her attacker. It would be so easy to stay there, to lose herself in enchantment...to lose herself in love. But something sinister lurks in the forest shadows. Emily soon discovers her demons have followed her inside her fairytale. They're hunting her. With the help of the Fae, she frantically searches for the weapons she needs to defeat her greatest fears and escape back to reality before the man who tortured her can prey on her younger brothers and sister, too. Time is running out...  



Q and A with Jane Alvey Harris

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Q: Why did you decide to write the My Myth trilogy?

To document the impact childhood sexual assault has on victims. Riven specifically focuses on the way children dissociate from trauma by taking their minds to a better place in order to endure what is happening to their physical body, and how that dissociation impacts them as survivors.

The first book deals with acknowledgment and self-acceptance, which are both essential on the initial road to healing. Emily's journey is based on real events, and just like life does, I've woven in romance, adventure, wit, and a touch of magic. My goal is to entertain while raising awareness and spreading hope about topics that are extremely important to me.

The trilogy explores the struggle to heal, to rise above guilt and shame, and ultimately promotes empowerment. The over-arching message is that victims can do more than survive...they can thrive.

Q: How do you handle criticism of your writing?

Gosh, that was really difficult at first, but it has given me a huge opportunity for growth. I had to develop a thicker skin and learn not to take things personally, which is a very good lesson to learn! I'm open to constructive criticism. I hired an editor and consultant to find problems, and you'd better believe I listened to them. I also engaged beta readers. If there's a problem with grammar, plot holes, continuity, etc., I want to know about them, and things that make sense in my head don't always translate onto paper. If it's opinion, you're welcome to share your opinion, but it likely won't affect my choices as a writer. The process of writing and publishing my first novel have taught me to be humble, strong, and that I can't please everyone, and that it's so important not to try.

Q: If you were an animated character, who would you be and why?

My kids say I'd be the Lumpy Space Princess from Adventure Time, which sounds about right. She's elegant and oh-so-charming...lololol.

Q: What would you say is your most interesting writing quirk?

I don't know how interesting it is, but active day-dreaming is a huge part of my process. And because I was processing my own PTSD while writing Riven, some of the scenes are taken directly from therapy sessions, hypnosis, and EMDR. I think this is what makes my writing so visual: I create each scene as a movie in my head before writing it down.

Q: Besides the My Myth trilogy, do you have any other works planned?

I do! I get new ideas all the time and write them down. I have synopses for a modern retelling of the Rapunzel story told from the witch's point of view called Anatomy of a Curse, and an adult novel about a femme fatale who has to work off a lifetime of karmic debt called Obligate.   


Written/Interviewed by Nadege Richards.

Thanks for coming by! Happy reading!


Review: Royally Screwed by Emma Chase

Hi all!

Something fresh this time!




Author: Emma Chase
Title: Royally Screwed
Release date: 16th of October 2016
Series: Royally #1
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Contemporary
Published by: Emma Chase, LLC
Pages: 294 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Nicholas Arthur Frederick Edward Pembrook, Crowned Prince of Wessco, aka “His Royal Hotness,” is wickedly charming, devastatingly handsome, and unabashedly arrogant―hard not to be when people are constantly bowing down to you.

Then, one snowy night in Manhattan, the prince meets a dark haired beauty who doesn’t bow down. Instead, she throws a pie in his face.

Nicholas wants to find out if she tastes as good as her pie, and this heir apparent is used to getting what he wants.

Dating a prince isn’t what waitress Olivia Hammond ever imagined it would be. 

There’s a disapproving queen, a wildly inappropriate spare heir, relentless paparazzi, and brutal public scrutiny. While they’ve traded in horse drawn carriages for Rolls Royces and haven’t chopped anyone’s head off lately―the royals are far from accepting of this commoner.

But to Olivia―Nicholas is worth it.

Nicholas grew up with the whole world watching, and now Marriage Watch is in full force. In the end, Nicholas has to decide who he is and, more importantly, who he wants to be: a King... or the man who gets to love Olivia forever.

Review:

I should have liked the story more. I should have liked it a lot more than I did. I'm still baffled why I didn't love it to bits. Modern Cinderella type fairy tales are as great as it can get with appealing to my ultimate guilty pleasure romance trope. BUT, if the guy is an actual prince, as opposed to any other rich, handsome and sexy guy, then my excitement wavers, because I simply cannot imagine modern princes being hot -- I just can't. I never could and it's a serious turn-off. The more realistic the story, the less I believe in the swoon-level of the hero. Also, I don't find the relationship of Kate and William to be even remotely romantic, so this also helped dampen my mood for the book at hand, since they are the epitome of a commoner-royal romance in our times. BUT, these complaints are solely my personal quibbles and shouldn't really stop me from enjoying the story of Olivia and Nicholas.

I thought the first meeting between the two was highly entertaining, promising and sparks were flying all over the place. I wanted to high-five Olivia for how she put him in his place and brought his ego down a notch or two. She continued to be a heroine with a backbone and an admirable amount of sass for a bit more time. And then... she did a 180 and turned into a doormat for her family, Nicholas and even the plot. I admire characters who continue to be giving and forgiving, but come on, there is a line to everything, and if that line is crossed, I expect my heroines to kick ass and take names. Even if it's family needing the reality check. Olivia didn't and it got boring quite quickly. Then again, she was a generally likable heroine who deserved to get her prince and ride to the sunset. Still, she could have been great, but didn't quite reach as high.

I don't mind cliches and predictable plots and this story had it's fair share. There wasn't anything overly original in it, but there wasn't really supposed to be and it didn't bother me even a bit. There was the big misunderstanding, the grand gesture of love, sacrifice for love, out of nowhere out of place love hurdles, please let's stop with the annoying old flames already!, etc. Nothing new to see here folks! Instead, the heavy lifting was on the dialogue and chemistry between the main couple. Luckily, these aspects of the story were successful in carrying the book. The banter was witty and engaging, the text full of enough snark and spark. Olivia and Nicholas were a pretty electrifying couple together. What also surprised me was my lack of irritation towards the dual POV. I usually prefer having just one POV, because I rarely encounter male POVs who don't sound too try-hard or overly douchey. Nicholas was just the right amount of cocky without being too macho and sounding like what a woman thinks a hot man thinks like. 

The story also employed several colorful supporting characters who caught my attention. The bad-boy prince of a brother, who was the right amount of tortured, naughty and endearing. The, too-similar-to-ignore to the actual Queen, scary grandma. Servant Fergus was a hoot with his deadpan teasing comments. I also thought Franny was brilliant with her advice to Olivia to ignore Nicholas for fun, because that would make him upset, since he wouldn't be able to fathom why the sudden attitude. She was a notable support for Olivia in general as well.

The sexy blue blooded hero Nicholas he did in some ways earn my fancy, but he also acted really chaotically at times too. For example, I thought it was skillfully delicate and hot how he handled the crazy deluded fan. On the other hand, his decision in the end, I can only call idiotic and highly irresponsible. He really sold me as being a potentially decent king, but what he did, wasn't romantic, it was a huge misstep. Okey, it might not be one in the long-run, but at that stage, I was really shocked. What was he thinking? I guess, he probably wasn't. Due to that, the ending, while sweet and satisfying to the romantic in me, the rationalist was left shrugging my shoulders and feeling annoyed. Everything was also wrapped up too conveniently, but then again, what else would I have accepted? A happy ending is a must. Maybe there should have been one or two not so sugary aspects as well in the finale, but all in all, I was content. 


3 stars!

LIIS

Monday, October 24, 2016

Review: Flirting With Danger by Suzanne Enoch

Hi all!

Something slightly older this time!





Author: Suzanne Enoch
Title: Flirting With Danger
Release date: 13th of October 2009
Series: Samantha Jellicoe #1
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Contemporary
Published by: HarperCollins e-books
Pages: in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:


In her dazzling romantic suspense debut, USA Today bestselling author Suzanne Enoch brings us a thrilling tale about a thief who needs to prove she's no murderer and the millionaire who loves her.

Samantha Jellicoe is a thief and proud of it. Raised to appreciate the finer things in life, Sam has no trouble divesting the wealthy of their treasures. This all changed, however, the night she attempts to steal a valuable item from a Palm Beach estate. Before she knew what hit her, a bomb goes off, a guard is killed, and Sam ends up saving millionaire Richard Addison. She's a good thief and will own up to her jobs, but if anyone thinks to tie her to murder, they better think again.

On any other night, having a one hundred plus pounds of female fling herself at you is a good thing. But on this particular night, Richard Addison is mad as hell. Not only did he just have his gallery blown up-with him about to enter it-but the woman who rescued him didn't stick around to offer any explanations. When the dust settles, Rick knows the only person with answers to his questions is the mystery woman. And if she thinks she can hide from him, she better think again.

Review:

Even though, there are heaps of noticeable differences, this book gave me strong InDeath series vibes, starting from the main couple and ending with the the whole crime drama. I'm being unfair to Samantha and Richard here, but they were like a slightly lesser or starting-point versions of Eve and Roarke and their legendary dynamic. But, I didn't mind a bit, because the story was quite enjoyably and it was interesting to view what Nora Roberts' famous couple would be like in a parallel universe. But enough about other authors and their stories.

There were several things that caught my attention in a positive way in this first book in a series. I liked that the main couple wasn't as tortured in their pasts and weren't each others salvation. Both of them had more than enough skeletons in their closets, but they didn't take over the story. Rick's ex-wife, and all the mess there, was a nice addition and I absolutely loved his best friends slash guard dog lawyer. His distrust and flat out hostility towards Sam made the situation more realistic. It, of course, also made for some hilarious situations and banter. I totally understand the guy, love and lust are blind, but anyone with a brain wouldn't automatically accept a skilled and shady thief to their inner circle with heaps of trust thrown at them. Okey, okey, she did prove herself, but still, this is exactly how nice millionaires get robbed butt-naked.

Rick and Sam as a couple were sexy and cute together. Their dialogue, chemistry and, reluctant affection from her side, and the quickly forming full devotion from his (which irritated me just a bit), were enjoyable to see develop further. Their connection felt natural and their compatibility was believable. I'm always partial to couples with wide gaps in their social positions and this is what Rick and Sam were. They were two people, who on the outside were as different as can be, but I never felt that they were unequal in their standings, because Sam not for a second let herself be pushed down, cast aside or showed to be weak and taken as a small pet project for Rick. She was too much of a sassy and independent boss to let herself be turned into a damsel in distress or Rick's mushy and adoring arm candy. If I had to choose, he was the one picked up as a charity project, not the other way around. She did, however, seem too much of an awesome super-woman at times and I'm never too fond of perfectness, but better that than a doormat. Also, I absolutely loved the final piece of dialogue between them. I always think a majority of romances end on a really cheesy note, like "I love you too" or "Let's be happy forever," etc. These two gave a hilarious and swoony full stop to the first book of the series. It certainly upped Rick's hotness level and made Sam seem adorably vulnerable with her shock. 

The crime side of the story was fast-paced, there was always something going on and new developments in the case were popping up constantly. From another side, this part of the book got tiring and confusing too fast. I wasn't as engaged in those shenanigans as opposed to Rick and Sam's budding relationship. The case was on some instances messy and difficult to follow as well, or maybe I just didn't bother to pay attention. With such books, it also bothers me that stealing from millionaires and going against their high tech security obstacles is incredibly easy and thieves are much more savvy than security personnel. Sam was simply too talented and it annoyed me. She made stealing priceless art or breaking in Rick's office (which she did) a piece of cake and that, I don't find entirely realistic. 



3 stars!

LIIS

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Review: Wrinkles: A True Love Story by Mian Moshin Zia

Hello dear readers!

It's been awhile since I have written a review, but this book simply demands one. I received the book from the author already in July, and I promised to read through the book and post the review already in August. Today, it's October.

There are reasons why this review wasn't published in August and it's definitely not the fact that I didn't have time. It's because of I had to put it aside, let it settle, read it again and let it settle. This book is different.


Author: Mian Moshin Zia
Title: Wrinkles: A True Love Story
Release date: 22nd of April 2016
Reading level: Adult
Genre: Literary Fiction, Romance, Religious, Inspirational
Publisher: CreateSpace, Self-Published
Homepage: HERE
Pages: 217 in PDF
Source: Received from author in exchange of an honest review



Summary:

Xavier Frances has it all: Faith Frances; the most loving mother in the world whom he calls his Lifeline, Faisal; a brother-like friend, a dream job and a prospering career. The only thing he doesn’t have is true love and that’s what his Lifeline questions him about.

But when he finally meets Anna Collins; his true love, his life changes forever teaching him a lesson of a lifetime.

We’ve all heard the biblical quote, ‘ask and ye shall receive.’ The key is to ask. That’s what Lifeline tells Xavier and he’ll have to ask for friendship, ask for love, and ask for everything. As he asks, it will unveil the wrinkles of this true love story.

Wrinkles; a slice of life true love story has everything: a heartfelt mother-son relationship, a one-of-a-kind friendship and a tried-and-true love which will make you believe that a true love story never ends.



My review:


Love comes in different forms. It's not necessarily between a man and a woman. It can be love for life, love for family, love for beliefs, love for children. And this is what "Wrinkles" is about. Love. In all its forms.

First, after I finished this book the first time, I wasn't entirely sure if I liked it. It disturbed me. It made me think about topics, which are often avoided in everyday life's conversations. You know how people say, that there are two things in life what always create way too emotional discussions: one is religion and the other is politics. Even though this book doesn't deal with politics, it touches religion and beliefs on a level that it hits you in your gut first and then hits your brain. It does it through love. And then the book leaves you wondering - what is unconditional love?

So, disturbed, I decided that this is one of those books that needs to settle a bit. Maybe the time and the mood for reading it wasn't right. Maybe I had to go through my internal thoughts and arguments first and finalize why did I react to this book the way I did. Why was I disturbed? Why did it annoy me? Why do I not believe in unconditional love? Because I used to.

The answer or I should probably say the answers came to me after I the book aside for a period and read it second time. Then it hit me. It was brilliant! "Wrinkles" is a journey. Even though it's easy to read and it is well written, it takes you to a journey of a lifetime and forces you to reflect on things what matter in life. That's also the reason why I was resilient to it - I simply did not want to go there,into my own thoughts and doubts. Until I did.

"Wrinkles" is a story about a man called Xavier. Xavier lives with his mother whom he calls sweetly a Lifeline. Lifeline encourages Xavier to look for love and that is exactly what Xavier does. He meets with Anna who is not easy to understand in the beginning of their relationship and who is right out obnoxious towards Xavier. Luckily Xavier is persistent and with little help from his family and friends he wins Anna's heart. The reader also finds out Anna's story and secrets from past which I am not going to spoil for you,you simply need to read this book!

Mian does a wonderful job with his book. The characters are well-developed and multi-layered, the dialogues are believable and engaging and the descriptions are vivid and colorful. "Wrinkles" might seem slow in pace in the beginning, but it keeps you captivated, because it is heartwarming and because you come to care for the characters and you wish that the book would have a happy ending.

I loved that it wasn't a typical love story, I thoroughly enjoyed that it was entertaining, yet also gave a tons of food for thought which makes the book brilliant. It engages you and raises questions.

I would also like to say,that the title of the book is extremely suitable for the story. Love, like life itself is filled with wrinkles, but the good thing about wrinkles is, that you can smooth them. Besides that, since the book deals with different types of love, it really is A True Love Story.

To wrap it up, I'd use a quote in Latin. Dum spiro spero. Dum spero amo. Dum amo vivo. And this is what the book is about.

Read it!

5 stars.





Purchase links:



About the author:

Mian Mohsin Zia, aka "M I A N-----No Time for Love", was born October 22nd in Lahore, Pakistan. He matriculated in 2001 from Beacon House School, completed his intermediate schooling in 2003 from FC College (Forman Christian College) and graduated in 2005, from the same institute under the Punjab University.

After that he moved on to Punjab University, the most prestigious educational institute in Pakistan, for his post graduation. He was admitted to the Institute of Administrative Sciences, Punjab University, for his master’s in marketing. He was the Scholarship holder of Punjab University.

After successfully completing his master’s, he trained and worked as an Online English Language Teacher. He trained many students from different parts of the world; Russia, Germany, South America, Ukraine and Japan etc, to speak English fluently. Meanwhile, he worked on writing his first novel: "The Strange Loyalist-----Inspired by True Events."

He was determined to get his first novel, "The Strange Loyalist-----Inspired by True Events", published. It has been read by people from different parts of the world, such as Germany, South Africa, Oman, Russia and Ukraine. He received a monumental response internationally for his novel. He loves writing and that is his passion.

He is also a heavy weight trainer and has mentored many people. Exercising at the gym is one of his favorite hobbies.

He believes in peace, love, humanity, and humbleness. He has many Christian students and friends from all over the world for which he has lot of regard and love.

He pursues a career as an English Author and continues to write more books. “Wrinkles: A True Love Story" is his fourth book.

Adding to his list of achievements he has been published worldwide in two languages. His book "ONCE: Ask Me Anything, Not Love" has also been published in Russian. Its Russian title is: "Однажды".

His books have been read and reviewed by Hollywood actors and actors from British film industry. Moreover, his books have been read and reviewed by Edgar Award winner, and New York Times best-selling author; Burl Barer, as well as many other US authors, professional book-reviewers, and professionals from other fields of life from the USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand.

His book “ONCE: Ask Me Anything, Not Love”, already recommended to be a movie, is the finalist in the “Readers’ Favorite International Book Award Contest 2013” held in the USA. According to Readers Favorite; MIAN is one of the first Pakistani authors to be recognized in the contest. Most categories in the contest received over 100 entrants and the contest featured thousands of authors from nearly a dozen countries.

His third book, “Victim of Shame: Why me, God?”, also received a positive response from authors, professional reviewers, and readers world-wide.

His fourth book "Wrinkles: A True Love Story" won bronze medal in the "Readers' Favorite International Book Award Contest 2016" held in the USA. This is the same award contest that Hollywood actor, Jim Carey won for his book in 2014. This makes MIAN an international award winning author.

His books have been rated 4 and 5 stars on Amazon and other sales channels. He has set new trends worldwide in novel writing with his books.

One of the trademarks of his books is that he always tries to illustrate the protagonist on the cover page instead of just coming up with a random picture. His books always focus on entertainment, but, at the same time, they have a deep lesson to teach the readers. He writes meaningful fiction, books that enlighten. He always tries to unmask and unveil the frailties hidden in society, and in a very gentle way, he conveys a very deep message to the readers. 

Farah Hussain, leading television anchor, interviewed him live on her morning show: "A Morning with Farah - ATV". 

Being an international award winning author, Mian is also a marketing and self-publishing specialist. Therefore, he looks forward to helping other writers and encouraging them in their self-publication efforts.

He also represented Pakistan Online in a "German University".

Mian bags another milestone under his belt. He was invited by the University of Central Punjab (UCP) to be the "Guest of Honour" and "Jury Member" and lecture the university students on marketing, as well as judging their business models. Mian delivered a successful and inspirational lecture and graced the occasion with his charismatic personality. At such a young age, when people are studying at University, Mian achieved another milestone as he lectured students of his age group and shared his wisdom with them.

He believes in one thing: "I am nothing. All praises go to Almighty Allah, along with my eternal inspiration the Prophet Mohammad (Peace be Upon Him) as always."





Thursday, October 13, 2016

SEP Review: Heaven, Texas by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Hi all!

And here's another review!




Title: Heaven, Texas
Release date: 13th of October 2009
Series: Chicago Stars #2
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Romance, Contemporary
Published by: William Morrow
Pages: 384 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Come heck or high water, Gracie Snow is determined to drag the legendary ex-jock Bobby Tom Denton back home to Heaven, Texas, to begin shooting his first motion picture. Despite his dazzling good looks and killer charm, Bobby Tom has reservations about being a movie star -- and no plans to cooperate with a prim and bossy Ohio wallflower whom he can't get off his mind or out of his life. Instead, the hell-raising playboy decides to make her over from plain Jane to Texas wildcat.

But nothing's more dangerous than a wildcat with an angel's heart in a town too small for a bad boy to hide. And all hell breaks loose when two unforgettable people discover love, laughter, passion -- and a match that can only be made in Heaven.

Review:

Susan Elizabeth Phillips is my IT girl author, who just writes romances almost exactly to my taste. The key words are humor, banter and lovable heroines. Generally, this story was classic SEP with all the good stuff and even a lot more, if only I didn't find the hero, Bobby Tom, incredibly frustrating. He seriously pushed my buttons and his charm didn't manage to cover the me-and-the-world attitude. What really made me see red, was the fact that despite the clear difference in value between Bobby Tom and Gracie, the latter being miles ahead of him, she was the one who was viewed as inferior and had to earn her place beside him.

Anyway, Gracie was awesome. She was an all in one expert, including nanny, car mechanic and saint. She was your typical SEP underdog heroine with endless potential. I really admired her, starting from her determination, finishing with her tolerance in keeping up with Bobby Tom. You have to be a real iron lady to not tell him where to shove it and just leave. Or maybe she was a masochist. The main thing is that SEP perfectly knows how to create sympathetic, distinct and sassy heroines. Gracie didn't take anything lying down, she was just as cunning as Bobby Tom, it just wasn't visible from the outside and right from the start. For example, I loved it when she played tough and disabled his car, it was an hilariously genius moment. The better we got to know her, and the more Bobby Tom annoyed her, the more snarky and sneaky she got, for example, having his admirer bring him ice cream and the whole ordeal after that. 

I adored Gracie and wanted to smack Bobby Tom on the head more times than once, but as a couple, they fell on the "like" side. They had their really horrendous moments, like him freaking out about her leaving, handling it really awfully and acting appallingly. But there were heaps of entertainingly noteworthy or plain sexy times as well. I apprechiate that they became friends first, then moved on to friends with benefits, then had a lot of angst and then finally admitted their feelings. Their dialogue was on fire, the conversations they had, kept me on my toes with humor and swoon and, overall, there was no lack of chemistry between this unlikely couple. 

The final grand gesture of love, a must in every SEP story, which I generally admit to being one of my guilty pleasures, was in theory thrilling, over the top and should make it clear to the reader how Bobby Tom felt about Gracie and what he is willing to sacrifice. To me, taking into consideration the context and the general belief with the other characters, that she was not worthy of him (luckily, not all were blind as bats regarding this), the huge demonstration on love just enforced this idea further. From the beginning, there was a football test Bobby Tom gave to all girls who wanted to marry him, and the one to answer all questions correctly, would receive the ultimate price: him. Alone this idea made me irritated, but how it was used to push Gracie onto "his level" and make her acceptable, set my teeth on edge. He was the one who should beg, crawl and consider himself blessed to have her, not her in landing him! But, oh well, booo hooo, poor little rich hunky guy whom everyone wants a piece of. Okey, he had his great moments as well, but oh, did I want to scream at him to deflate that ego just a bit!

I also have to mention the humor again and a small peek into making movies with Bobby Tom. The dialogue the script had, him practicing it with Gracie and anything to do with filming was comedy gold. I laughed out loud several times. As is custom with SEP books, the current story also had a secondary romance. These additional love stories are usually a hit or miss with me, and this was more on the miss side. It was intriguing, but felt quite a bit forced. All in all, it wasn't my favorite SEP story, but it was an entertaining book nonetheless.



3 stars!

LIIS

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Review: P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

Hi all!

I'm trying to get back on track with writing! :)




Author: Kasie West
Title: P.S. I Like You
Release date: 26th of July 2016
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Romance, Contemporary, YA
Published by: Point
Pages: 336 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Signed, sealed, delivered... 

While spacing out in Chemistry class, Lily scribbles some of her favorite song lyrics onto her desk. The next day, she finds that someone has continued the lyrics on the desk, and added a message to her. Intrigue! 

Soon, Lily and her anonymous pen pal are exchanging full-on letters -- sharing secrets, recommending bands, and opening up to each other. Lily realizes she's kind of falling for this letter writer. Only who is he? As Lily attempts to unravel the mystery, and juggle school, friends, crushes, and her crazy family, she discovers that matters of the heart can't always be spelled out... 

Kasie West brings irresistible wit, warmth, and sparkle to this swoon-worthy story of love showing up when you least expect it.

Review:

I like Kasie West's books! I'm not even going to deny it. They're perfect for a light, cute and fluffy read with likable and distinct characters, some decent humor and a specific type of charm. Yes, of course, they possess their fair share of cliches and annoying factors, but I don't mind as much, because the stories don't pretend to be über smart, innovative, brilliantly crafted or anything but an easily digestible high school romance. The tropes, most times, are things you have already read about a million times somewhere else or altogether just sound like your typical fanfiction. As is the case with the current story, where two people fall in love via notes shared in class. The couple, at first, seeming very unlikely as well. Still, the whole combination works, and works really nicely, because it doesn't try to be something it's not.

There is something nostalgically romantic about exchanging notes or writing to someone instead of texting, e-mail sending, tweeting or all the other last decade (or two) pop-ups. My generation used to do it manually all the time. We shared written messages in class and didn't use our technical devices (I was the first to have a mobile phone in my class in middle school!). So, as dated as it seems, I really appreciated how two people "met" and shared thoughts via paper and pen. It kind of gave depth to the romance. Regarding who the mystery partner was, well, there is actually no surprise there and if you hadn't figured it out right from the start, then I'd say you were accidentally reading another book entirely, with the same title. It's not exciting, but was it supposed to be? I don't think so. A secret to the main character isn't always meant to be one for the reader. Instead, I enjoyed following Lily with her figuring out who the elusive pen-pal was. It was just as satisfying, if somewhat predictable, as trying to find it out myself. I was annoyed, however, by the other distracting guys, who were in my eyes more nuisances than characters to make the waters murky.

I also liked the main couple and, even before they figured it out, they had some great scenes together. There was definitely a spark there with quite a bit of chemistry. I also adore love-hate relationships in romance, because they actually enable development and exclude the, oh so typical, you're-hot-I-want-you cliche! The two also reminded me of Elizabeth and Darcy with the slight parallels to them being victims of pride and prejudice (or don't judge a book by it's cover). I, however, wasn't really a fan of them connecting via their music taste or music in general. The lyric stuff left me completely cold, maybe because I'm more about the melody in songs than the words. I wasn't wild about the letters focusing heavily on lyrics, but, hey, it's something that gets them on the same wavelength, so why not. 

The heroine, Lily had a very odd-ball, loud and overcrowded family life. I'm usually slightly irritated by annoying siblings and wacky parents in too big portions in my YA romance, but for some reason, the whole band of quirky characters was quite endearing and added color to the story and Lily's life and personality. Though, them being convenient in some aspects in her getting together with her pen-pal, were hard to miss, I really didn't mind. I also always find it odd when main characters in YA only have one friend, as is with the case with Lily, but I guess it's just another trope and stops the plot from getting too packed with people. All in all, I really liked the characters Lily was being surrounded by and the guy she ended up smooching so swoonily in a dark classroom (so hot!). Also, even though at times she was too forcibly artistic, it was extremely effortless to cheer for Lily.


4 stars!

LIIS

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Review: Doon by Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon

Hi all!

It's been quite a while!





Author: Carey Corp and Lorie Langdon
Title: Doon
Release date: 20th of August 2013
Series: Doon #1
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Romance, Fantasy, YA
Published by: HarperCollins Publishing
Pages: 416 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Veronica doesn't think she's going crazy. But why can't anyone else see the mysterious blond boy who keeps popping up wherever she goes? When her best friend, Mackenna, invites her to spend the summer in Scotland, Veronica jumps at the opportunity to leave her complicated life behind for a few months. 

But the Scottish countryside holds other plans. 

Not only has the imaginary kilted boy followed her to Alloway, she and Mackenna uncover a strange set of rings and a very unnerving letter from Mackenna's great aunt—and when the girls test the instructions Aunt Gracie left behind, they find themselves transported to a land that defies explanation. Doon seems like a real-life fairy tale, complete with one prince who has eyes for Mackenna and another who looks suspiciously like the boy from Veronica's daydreams. But Doon has a dark underbelly as well. The two girls could have everything they've longed for...or they could end up breaking an enchantment and find themselves trapped in a world that has become a nightmare.

Review:

So, I was flying to Scotland, my first time there, and thought a nice Scottish setting for a quick flight read would be a perfect idea and get me on the wavelength of my destination. Well, "Doon" did just that and, unfortunately, sort of didn't. The story line with a magical kingdom, princes in kilts, soulmates and magic are definitely wonderful mood setters for the land of Jamie Frasers, but the story itself was disappointingly weak and juvenile.

Basically, the story didn't surprise me in any way, neither did it distract me enough with positive aspects for me to close one eye for the glaring cliches and seen-a-million-times-already tropes. The latter mostly followed their typical mold and didn't upgrade or offer any new perspectives. As I said, the book had potential and it seems almost impossible to go wrong with sexy Scottish guys and wonderful highland castles, but setting alone doesn't make a story, characters, their relationships, dialogue and the basic outline of the plot also have input. I'm genuinely sad, because all the latter aspects were lacking a bit or quite a lot.

Surprisingly enough, I quite liked Veronica and Mackenna, even though they kind of blended into one a lot and I got confused on who was currently narrating. There just wasn't satisfactory differences between them that I could constantly feel and that would help me to tell them apart. Yes, one liked theater and the other dancing, but that was basically where the major pinpoint-able differences ended. Also, Veronica was a bit too troubled, with her alcoholic mother, sleazebag future step-dad, cheating boyfriend, druggie father, etc. Dual narrating by the two main female characters was a fresh idea, though. Also, having two romances in one story is always a bonus in my eyes. 

Now to the guys. Duncan was lovable and cheerfuly charming, so I liked him. Jamie was a little difficult to warm up to, mostly due to his hostile treatment of supposed soulmate Veronica. He treats her bad, for all the noble reasons of course, and she takes it like a champ or, in common language, doormat. I didn't in any shape or form get the impression that they were destined to be together. I didn't buy it. Their ending was kind of sweet and Cinderella-ish, though, so there's that. Needless to say, I preferred Duncan and Mackenna's love-dance. Firstly, it was cute, teasing, less angsty and believable. Secondly, their story wasn't finished, so there's time to develop their relationship and not solely rely on the word "soulmates" to explain their romance.

The setting as well had it's issues. It simply didn't feel real, which, of course, it isn't supposed to, being a magical parallel world and all, but it came across superficial and fake. They had sushi, their own local pizzeria, modern toilets, etc. Good plumbing is always a win for the characters, but not for me as a reader, because adding these details made it difficult to take the setting seriously. It helped loose the mysterious cursed magical kingdom charm. It also made a lot of things too convenient. Adding here the rings, the journal and other factors, convenience was at times a real issue, even tough, some of the artifacts were quite intriguing (eg. the rings). Also, I would have preferred less time spent of having the girls be tourists, because a lot of time was spent on so called excursions.

Now, for some good parts, which contrary to my previous tone, weren't completely lacking. I really liked the twist in the end and the choice the girls had to make. One of their decisions I was very satisfied with, because it was realistic and didn't make things too easy. The final act was also pretty intense. Finally, I genuinely liked the premise, which could have been executed considerably better, but it was a promising idea.




2 stars!

LIIS
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