Friday, May 31, 2013

Review: Ink by Amanda Sun

Hi all!

A review for a book that will be released next month!




Author: Amanda Sun
Title: Ink
Series: Paper Gods #1
Release date: 25th of June 2013
Published by: Harlequin Enterprises Ltd
Imprint: Harlequin Teen
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 321 in e-book format
Source: Netgalley

Summary:

INK IS IN THEIR BLOOD.
On the heels of a family tragedy, Katie Greene must move halfway across the world. Stuck with her aunt in Shizuoka, Japan, Katie feels lost. Alone. She doesn't know the language, she can barely hold a pair of chopsticks, and she can't seem to get the hang of taking her shoes off whenever she enters a building.

When Katie meets aloof but gorgeous Tomohiro, the star of the school's kendo team, she is intrigued by him...and a little scared. His tough attitude seems meant to keep her at a distance, and when they're near each other, strange things happen. Pens explode. Ink drips from nowhere. And unless Katie is seeing things, drawings come to life.

Somehow Tomo is connected to the Kami, powerful ancient beings who once ruled Japan-and as feelings develop between Katie and Tomo, things begin to spiral out of control. The wrong people are starting to ask questions, and if they discover the truth, no one will be safe.

Review:

Firstly - this is a gorgeous cover!

I’ve said it a million times: any Japanese themed or set YA book is an automatic win for me and, finally, I’ve noticed that several book answering to those conditions are about to pop up lately (ok, only a few). And, luckily, I had a chance to put my paws on this book a lot earlier than the actual release. I was ecstatic!

Pictures coming alive – evil ones with the intention to bite/cut/hurt with no control over them, Japanese gods walking amongst ordinary people, Yakuza causing trouble – it all sounds so eerily badass, BUT, it all seemed and looked so much better in my imagination than what I actually got. This is a good book, no doubt about that, but I hyped myself to extents that I guess no book can reach so I’m a little underwhelmed.

Japanese mythology has so much to offer and I’m glad it was successfully explored in this story. I would like to see it delved more deeply into in the next books, but overall, I’m quite satisfied how the topic of kami was handled and how the effect and mystery of the ink and Tomo’s ability was created and described. There was this constant element of something evil in the background without knowing from where or what the danger was or where it’s stemming from. I really liked how the atmosphere of the supernatural was created in this book.

I loved the authenticity of the setting, the characters, language used, mannerism, etc etc. I can imagine that for some the constant use of Japanese words and way of speaking and acting can get confusing to people who don’t really know much about those aspects, but for me it made the story realistic and exotic. The author took full opportunity of what this foreign setting had to offer.

What could have been better: I felt the climax slightly lacking even though everything was basically there. The motives of the latter “villains” weren’t convincing enough, maybe because they seemed too “sweeping” and general.

Characters:

My most painful let down was the main character Katie. She had so much potential and in the first chapters I was a big fan of her I-don’t-care-what-others-say-or-think attitude, but as soon as she received the Tomo obsession bug, that is where she lost a lot of her initial spark. She had nothing else on her mind anymore except getting to the bottom of what his secret was and then just swooning over him. She was great in every aspect that didn’t have to do with Tomo, because every time he stepped on the scene everything else faded to the background for her. With her friends, her aunt, Jun, etc, she was Katie, but with Tomo, she was his fangirl. I’m hoping she can be more HER in the upcoming books with letting her personally shine instead of Tomo’s.

Tomo was mysterious and detached, well at least he tried to be till Katie came info his life. Overall, I liked Tomo, he tried to fight a battle he couldn’t win with his powers and at the same time tried to keep everyone out of harms way, even tough, it pained him to keep dear people to him at a distance. He was charming, even tough, he tried to act the bad boy way. I’m hoping to see more if the kami side of him in upcoming books, I think that would be a scary, but fascinating experience to read about.

Overall:

I’ll try not to get too hyped about books I want to read in the future, but overall, this is a good story, there are many things I loved, but it wasn’t without issues. I’ll definitely read the rest of the series and I’m certain that it can only get better.



3 stars!

LIIS


Sunday, May 26, 2013

Cover Reveal - Falling for the Backup by Toni Aleo!

Happy Sunday!

I am glad to be part of the cover reveal of Falling for the Backup by Toni Aleo. Falling for Backup is published on June 24 by Loveswept, Random House.

Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the cover of Falling for the Backup!




Falling for the Backup: An Assassins Series Novella
Toni Aleo
Loveswept – Random House |  June 24, 2013  |  $0.99


Toni Aleo’s sexy new eBook original novella featuring the Nashville Assassins will have you believing in the power of love at first sight . . . and second sight . . . and third.
 
After serving as a dutiful bridesmaid in the wedding from hell, Aynslee Shaw just wants to slink home to Nashville and forget the whole trip. That is until the hottest guy she’s ever seen is seated next to her on the flight and charms her with his easy laugh and killer smile. But just when she thinks things are getting good, he vanishes, leaving Aynslee wondering, was that guy the one? And did she just let him slip through her fingers?
 
Former superstar goalie Jordan Ryan is back on the ice—finally. After a crippling knee injury that had him wondering if he’d ever play pro hockey again, he’s got his full attention on rebuilding his career. So a pretty—okay, beautiful—girl on a plane shouldn’t be a distraction. But Jordan is very, very distracted. And when Aynslee crosses his path again, he’s not sure any job in the world is worth missing his second chance with a woman like her.


Pre-order Falling for the Backup

Connect with Toni
Website  |  Facebook  |  Twitter
 
 
 

Friday, May 24, 2013

Review: Sweet Peril by Wendy Higgins

Hi all!

The second part in The Sweet Trilogy.




Author: Wendy Higgins
Title: Sweet Peril
Series: The Sweet Trilogy #2
Release date: 30th of April 2013
Published by: HarperCollins Publishers
Imprint: HarperTeen
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Paranormal, Contemporary, YA
Pages: 389 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Anna Whitt, the daughter of a guardian angel and a demon, promised herself she’d never do the work of her father—polluting souls. She’d been naive to make such a vow. She’d been naive about a lot of things.

Haunted by demon whisperers, Anna does whatever she can to survive, even if it means embracing her dark side and earning an unwanted reputation as her school’s party girl. Her life has never looked more bleak. And all the while there’s Kaidan Rowe, son of the Duke of Lust, plaguing her heart and mind.

When an unexpected lost message from the angels surfaces, Anna finds herself traveling the globe with Kopano, son of Wrath, in an attempt to gain support of fellow Nephilim and give them hope for the first time. It soon becomes clear that whatever freedoms Anna and the rest of the Neph are hoping to win will not be gained without a fight. Until then, Anna and Kaidan must put aside the issues between them, overcome the steamiest of temptations yet, and face the ultimate question: is loving someone worth risking their life?

Review:

Roughly a month ago I read the first book and it still fresh in my memory, I took on the second part. In general, it turned out better than the first, BUT it also developed a couple of new issues. So, all in all, I still like the series, it’s original and gripping, but I can’t give it over 3 stars yet. YET! Hope that changes in the final book.

Even though the story continues to be unique, action packed and possessing a colorful cast of flawed characters to root for, I felt this book lacked a substantial culmination point to the plot or at least I didn’t feel any. There were mayor several events scattered all over the book, but I didn’t feel that there was a start, journey and high point. So, overall, I can say that the pace was something I needed to get accustomed to, which isn’t entirely a negative thing.

I’m still iffy regarding the behind the curtains of the “working” part and many aspects are unclear and vague, not to mention I can’t predict a possible clear direction to the plot, yes, the final goal is set, but everything else is a big question mark, but then again, I guess the that’s a good thing.

The fist part was kind of slow and generic: find one Nephilim, recruit, then another, etc. Luckily, there weren’t too many for it to become too troublesome and repetitive. From the other side, considering that they need an “army” of Nephilim on their side, then the amount they manage to recruit is too minimal. But who knows how that will work out. I did, however, miss Kaidan in the first half, since he wasn’t featured a lot (when he was, then he definitely made it memorable), but it turned out to be a welcome torture, because when he became a constant player again, it was just that much sweeter and exciting.

I wasn’t totally appalled by the love triangle, it served its purpose and the end result was clear from book one. I liked how the author made this clear and didn’t leave the other “loosing” guy hanging and come across as just inserted to fill the position of “the second love interest” so that there isn’t only one main guy for readers to swoon over.

I also have to mention that I loved loved loved the degree of intensity in some of the scenes with Anna and Kaidan, quite bold and explicit yet still tasteful and exciting. They had great chemistry and some sexy steamy scenes.

Characters:

Anna: I have mixed feelings for her. She is a bold heroine who does what is needed without whining, even if she’s totally against it, yet she comes across too goody goody even while being “bad”, if that makes sense. There is something I can’t fully understand about her, but if there would be anything that would make me like and respect her, it would be the fact that she isn’t defined by Kaidan. Yes, she loves and misses him, but she isn’t desperate or pathetic for him. She can function well without him being around.

Kaidan: What can I say, he made some stupid choices as to not hurt others and torture himself, but in the end he couldn’t fight a battle he was going to lose anyway, thus, he made the right choice to stop pretending and making a martyr of himself for the sake of others. I respect him for being bold. It’s no secret that I like him a lot, flaws included.

Overall:

All in all, I have a lot of conflicting feelings for this second book, which all aren’t only on the negative side. Nevertheless, I enjoyed every page of this installment and will anticipate the third and final book.



3 stars!

LIIS

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Movie Review - The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann!

Happy Tuesday!

I have seen so many good movies lately and I wish I had time to share all my good experiences from the big screen, but I need to make a choice. I saw The Great Gatsby last week and here is the review.



Title: The Great Gatsby
Director: Baz Luhrmann
Screenplay: Baz Luhrmann and Craig Pearce
Based on: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Genre: Adult: Drama, Romance
Production: Warner Bros. Pictures, Village Roadshow Pictures, A&E Television Networks
Length: 142 minutes
Starring: Leonardo DiCaprio, Joel Edgerton, Tobey Maguire, Carey Mulligan

Summary:


IMDB: An adaptation of F. Scott Fitzgerald's Long Island-set novel, where Midwesterner Nick Carraway is lured into the lavish world of his neighbor, Jay Gatsby. Soon enough, however, Carraway will see through the cracks of Gatsby's nouveau riche existence, where obsession, madness, and tragedy await.

Goodreads:

In 1922, F. Scott Fitzgerald announced his decision to write "something new--something extraordinary and beautiful and simple and intricately patterned." That extraordinary, beautiful, intricately patterned, and above all, simple novel became The Great Gatsby, arguably Fitzgerald's finest work and certainly the book for which he is best known. A portrait of the Jazz Age in all of its decadence and excess, Gatsby captured the spirit of the author's generation and earned itself a permanent place in American mythology. Self-made, self-invented millionaire Jay Gatsby embodies some of Fitzgerald's--and his country's--most abiding obsessions: money, ambition, greed, and the promise of new beginnings. "Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that's no matter--tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther.... And one fine morning--" Gatsby's rise to glory and eventual fall from grace becomes a kind of cautionary tale about the American Dream.

It's also a love story, of sorts, the narrative of Gatsby's quixotic passion for Daisy Buchanan. The pair meet five years before the novel begins, when Daisy is a legendary young Louisville beauty and Gatsby an impoverished officer. They fall in love, but while Gatsby serves overseas, Daisy marries the brutal, bullying, but extremely rich Tom Buchanan. After the war, Gatsby devotes himself blindly to the pursuit of wealth by whatever means--and to the pursuit of Daisy, which amounts to the same thing. "Her voice is full of money," Gatsby says admiringly, in one of the novel's more famous descriptions. His millions made, Gatsby buys a mansion across Long Island Sound from Daisy's patrician East Egg address, throws lavish parties, and waits for her to appear. When she does, events unfold with all the tragic inevitability of a Greek drama, with detached, cynical neighbor Nick Carraway acting as chorus throughout. Spare, elegantly plotted, and written in crystalline prose, The Great Gatsby is as perfectly satisfying as the best kind of poem.


My review:

Let me start with saying that The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald was a very first novel I read in English, and it was many years ago. Few years ago I re-read it again and it is my favorite novel written by F. Scott Fitzgerald. I have also seen different movie adaptions of the novel and when I heard, that Baz Luhrmann is making a new version, I knew, I had to see it. I loved his Moulin Rouge and hoped, that The Great Gatsby would be an amazing movie experience. In a way, it definitely was.

The Great Gatsby by Baz Luhrmann takes you to a very different New York City in 1920s, at least when you compare it to the novel and I think it is intentional from the director's side to attract the younger generations. I actually enjoyed, that the 1920s settings were combined with modern and current artists, music and soundtrack.

The story itself is fairly similar to the novel. It introduces you to a mysterious man called Jay Gatsby. Legends and stories about Gatsby are larger than life and Nick Carraway, our storyteller and a neighbor to Gatsby, is determined to investigate what is the truth about Gatsby and what is not. What Nick Carraway is not prepared to find out, is the truth -  the truth about Gatsby and the love story between Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan and the truth about the seamy side of the American Dream. It ain't all that pretty.

Directing and Visuals:

After watching the movie on the big screen, I have to admit, I do not understand why it was made in 3D. Of course, the big colorful party scenes at Gatsby's house gave great visual 3D experiences, but otherwise, I do not understand the necessity. It did not disturb me, but it did not give a lot added value in my opinion.

With that said, I did love the visuals in The Great Gatsby. The scenes were colorful, vivid, strong, rich - it gave a wholly perfect idea of the overwhelming wealth and lavish hedonism of the people from this era. You got a sneak peak inside of a lush world of a lonely and obsessive self-made gentleman.

As for the director work, I did love how Baz Luhrmann balanced the vivid world of Gatsby with the modest surroundings of the place where Nick Carraway lived, even though they were just neighbours. It gave sharp contrasts which I liked. When you add the grey colored world of the tank station and the house of the Buchanans - all these different settings created a perfect visual ensemble which supported the different worlds the characters were living in: the rich, the middle-class, the poor, the old money. It added to the story itself.

Soundtrack:

The music and the soundtrack were definitely supporting the cinematography. Original songs from 1920s like "Let's Misbehave", "St. Louis Blues", "Ain't Misbehavin'" were very professionally combined with "No Church In the Wild" (performed by Kayne West), "A Little Party Never Killed Nobody (All We Got)" (performed by Fergie) to name a few and honestly, I LOVED the mixture! I think the music empowered the visuals and I have a feeling that Baz Luhrmann had its role in it because the same methods are used in his other movies.

Cast:

I'll be honest with you. If Leonardo DiCaprio wouldn't have been Jay Gatsby, this movie would have received a very different rating from me. DiCaprio was a fabulous choice as Gatsby! He proved once again, that he is an excellent talented actor and a male lead, capable of playing and filling in for ANY role. His Gatsby was passionate, obsessive, sad, desperate, willing to use any means necessary to get his Daisy, and yet so hopeful - all the characteristics which Gatsby needed to possess. DiCaprio captured the viewer from the first scene he entered the movie and he did not let you go - he was able to impress you even in the coffin at the end of the movie. DiCaprio's performance as Gatsby was not only professional, it was beautiful, captivating and he made this movie alive!

The biggest surprise was Joel Edgerton as Tom Buchanan. I haven't seen many movies starring him, but his Buchanan was impressive. He made Buchanan robust, powerful and impelling - just like I imagined Buchanan should be. Well done, Mr. Edgerton!

I wish, I could say the same for other actors. I can't.

Tobey Maguire has never been my favorite. It has nothing to do with his skills, but his looks; he just was not Nick Carraway to me. I would have wanted to see much more cynical and bitter part of Carraway, which I truly missed, because Tobey Maguire just was not able to show that. He seemed more like a confused happy camper. Of course, I have to give it to Maguire, that towards the end of the movie he made himself more believable.

I was disappointed at Carey Mulligan. I think she played well as a young Daisy, but she was flat and incoherent as a married and wealthy woman. I wanted to see more emotions and feelings and braveness. It seemed like she was forced into the box where she could not get out from. Like a bird without the wings who never really got a chance to fly.

Generally:

So why do I give this movie that high rating? Because of the directing, visuals, music and DiCaprio. Even though I expected more from the actors, I think the wholeness and the consistency were still there - very visibly.



5 stars
IMDB rating - 10 stars.

Happy movie experiences!

 

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Review of The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa - 5 stars!

Happy Monday!

The Eternity Cure by Julie Kagawa was released couple of weeks ago. Since I loved the first book in the Blood of Eden series - The Immortal Rules, I was very excited to read the sequel - Eternity Cure. Here is the review!



Title: The Eternity Cure
Author: Julie Kagawa
Series: Blood of Eden
Imprint: MIRA Ink
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Publishing date: 1st of May 2013
Pages: 448 pages
Genre: YA: Fantasy, Paranormal, Science Fiction, Romance
Source: Purchased from amazon Kindle

Summary:

In Allison Sekemoto's world, there is one rule left: Blood calls to blood.

She has done the unthinkable: died so that might continue to live. Cast out of Eden and separated from the boy she dared to love, Allie will follow the call of blood to save her creator, Kanin, from the psychotic vampire Sarren. But when the trail leads to Allie's birthplace in New Covington, what Allie finds there will change the world forever—and possibly end human and vampire existence.

There's a new plague on the rise, a strain of the Red Lung virus that wiped out most of humanity generations ago—and this strain is deadly to humans and vampires alike. The only hope for a cure lies in the secrets Kanin carries, if Allie can get to him in time.

Allison thought that immortality was forever. But now, with eternity itself hanging in the balance, the lines between human and monster will blur even further, and Allie must face another choice she could never have imagined having to make.

My review:

There are many things I enjoyed in The Eternity Cure. The writing style and the world, which Julie Kagawa created, continues to be interesting, dark and lethal. It's awesome! I would also like to mention the significantly entertaining dialogue in the novel, especially between Allie and Jackal - I loved it! It was funny and witty and made me laugh. The dialogue and the dynamics between the characters also balance the dark surroundings the author has created.

The story picks up pretty much where The Immortal Rules ended. Allie has left Eden and the young man she has let herself to love to search for Kanin. Allie can through the blood tie feel and dream about what's going on with Kanin and the picture is not pretty - Kanin is been tortured and the time is running out. During her search for Kanin, she is mislead and she meets again with Jackal, her enemy. Jackal makes her an offer she cannot refuse and then the story gets really interesting!

I think the ending of the book was awesome! I can't wait to see and read what will happen in the next Blood of Eden book because Julie Kagawa presented "the cliffhanger of the year"! Great!


Characters:

Allie is fierce in The Eternity Cure! She has grown into a real kick-butt heroine who can stand her ground in any fight and I loved that!  I adored her willingness to stand up for Kanin. Her loyalty towards Kanin is admirable and makes this story to what it is. What made Allie so lovable is her internal monologue about her identity, about being a monster or not and I liked how she reminded herself what Kanin said about the choice - choosing of WHAT kind of monster you are.

I was very positively surprised, that the author brought Jackal back and boy, did I love that character! Jackal is the epitome of everything bad, until you realize, that even in his ego centered world there is a space of goodness. He is cocky, colorful, deceitful and yet, he keeps his promises given to Allie. He is definitely my favorite character in The Eternity Cure. I liked, that the bad boy of the book had so many facets! Well done, Julie!

I was happy, that the author gave lot more page space to Kanin. I have to admit, that I was little disappointed, that he was so subdued compared to the first book, but considering the circumstances I understood why he had to be. Going through the torture and sickness couldn't possibly make him as strong and powerful as in the first book. But I did enjoy the fact, that he was back and that we got to know more of his background story.

Zeke was a mystery for me in this book. It seemed, like the author did that on purpose. The love between Allie and Zeke grew, but the main focus was on Allie and Kanin and the disease. Zeke was little too soft - until the end of the book. What an ending!

Generally:

The Eternity Cure gives you everything a book should - something to think about, lots of entertainment, a dialogue you will love, awesome characters and an ending which gives you a stunned wow-effect. Loved it!


5 Flowers!

5 stars.


Happy reading!


 

Monday, May 20, 2013

Review: The Lost Heir by E.G. Foley

Hi all!

Something for children :)





Author: E.G. Foley
Title: The Lost Heir
Series: The Gryphon Chronicles #1
Release date: 22nd of July 2012
Published by: Foley Publications
Reading level: FICTION – CHILDRENS: Adventure, Fantasy
Pages: 312 in in e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Strange new talents...

Jake is a scrappy orphaned pickpocket living by his wits on the streets of Victorian London. Weird things have been happening to him lately. He's Started seeing ghosts, and can move solid objects with his mind! He has no idea why. Next thing he knows, a Sinister Gentleman and his minions come hunting him, and Jake is plunged headlong into a mysterious world of magic and deadly peril. A world that holds the secret of who he really is: the long lost heir of an aristocratic family with magical powers.

But with treacherous enemies closing in, it will take all of his wily street instincts and the help of his friends -both human and magical- to solve the mystery of what happened to his parents and defeat the foes who never wanted the Lost Heir of Griffon to be found...

Review:

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. This was a satisfying fantasy adventure for children, which I can imagine the latter would enjoy to bits. A poor underdog hero, with secrets in his past, joined by a cute sidekick, discovering a mysterious fantasy world coexisting with the ordinary, where they must escape, dodge and defeat a great evil while taking back everything that was cruelly taken from him – sounds good, doesn’t it?

The story had many aspects working in its favor:
The Victorian setting with the poor orphan boy protagonist gave this a slightly dickens-ish feel, which I thought provided a colorful and appropriate background. The villain was eerily creepy and sinister, I really liked how the “bad guys” were created and presented in this book. The characters were distinct and sympathetic for the most part. The fantasy world the story was situated in had its appeal and unique aspects so that I was left wanting more information about the book’s mystical universe. There was constant action and new challenges to overcome, the pace was fast and I wasn’t left bored.

BUT, there is always something that spoils the fun:
I had this constant nagging feeling that I’ve already read this book. It was quite original, smart and had potential in some parts, but I was hoping it would bring on something more new and unexplored. In regards to different aspects, story lines, characters, Harry Potter, Percy Jackson, etc books constantly came to mind. Not that there were that many parallels to draw, but most had been done already and that is why I couldn’t really appreciate this story to the extent that I probably should have. The story does no mayor wrong, it’s just that I felt that maybe I’ve read too much from this genre and they all blend together already whenever I pick up something similar.

Characters:

Jake was a capable hero: headstrong, brave and a smart mouth, but on the other side, he was reckless, arrogant and too confident in himself at times. He made some choices I wasn’t proud of and acted immature on very wrong occasions, but that’s what made him realistic and relatable. In the end, however, he always came through. He wasn’t your overly likable generic children’s adventure hero and exactly THAT was what made him likable in the first place.

I thought Dani with her little dog was super adorable! I could just squeeze her. She was brave and sweet, but most of all I loved that she didn’t let Jake boss her around, on the contrary.

Derek was my biggest disappointment from the characters, the idea was there, but it never fully realized and I still have no idea who he really is or what he’s like. He came across quite vague and forgettable. I hope there is more insight into his character in the upcoming books to give him some color and personality.

Overall:

The rating is actually more towards 3.5 than 4, but it possessed enough positive traits to round the number to 4. As mentioned, this would be perfect for children and even I as an adult enjoyed it to a high degree. If you like Harry Potter, etc, then this book is definitely for you!



4 stars!

LIIS




Friday, May 17, 2013

2 Presents Reviews: Dealing Her Final Card by Jennie Lucas & Captive in the Spotlight by Annie West

Hi all!

A double review for two Harlequin Presents titles!




Author: Jennie Lucas
Release date: 22nd of January 2013
Published by: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin Presents
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 192 in e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

If my card is higher, you’ll belong to me, obeying my every whim, for as long as I desire.”

As Bree Dalton hears the icy words of Russian Prince Vladimir Xendzov, the man whose ring she once wore and life she once ruined, she nervously accepts the biggest wager of her life. Her body for a million dollars.

Bree knows better than to doubt the steely ruthlessness of this man. With everything to lose and the weight of Vladimir’s gaze upon her, she will have to play the best she’s ever played—or run the risk of losing herself completely….

Only the most innocent touch can melt their ice-cold hearts.

Review:

I knew I’d like this book if not for anything else then for the fact that the heroine wasn’t so straight laced and had led a life or “crime” by being a con artist, a successful one at that. This part of her past is also what comes to bite her at the butt when faced with her former lover, but it’s also the saving grace that helps her to sort out the mess her sister created. Well, in the end, her efforts go to waste because she falls into the clutches of someone she wants (read: doesn’t want) to get a million miles away from.

The big misunderstanding and subsequent denial and blaming didn’t fully work for me here in this book, but I can’t completely explain why. I would have also loved to get more glimpses of the first time Vladimir and Bree met and what made them fall in love with each other. Nevertheless, the chemistry between the main couple was quite sizzling and there was a lot of steamy x-rated moments, one was especially fun because of the location and reaction.

The story was quite slow in the middle and I felt as there is nowhere substantial for it to lead to (except lots of action underneath the sheets – not that I would complain), but it picked up a lot during the last phase and there were some surprising plot twists that I somewhat saw coming but then again didn’t. The end was really promising and intense next to it basically being like a prologue to a new story.

Characters:

I really admired Bree in the first half of the book: she walks in, oozes with confidence, leaves everyone’s mouths hanging and their pockets empty, and walks out with a hunk (that she doesn’t want or does she?). She was like a duck in water behind the poker table and I thought that was badass. She lost some of her spark when Vladmir whisks her away to his palace but she still manages not to lose herself against this alpha guy.

While Vladimir was everything and more you would expect from a Harlequin billionaire alpha hottie hero, he didn’t come across too all-powerful, which makes it slightly more realistic (ok, not really, but it helps) and likable. He had issues he needed to work out with his work, health, family and the girl he use to love, that suddenly appeared back in his life, so he had a lot on his mind. I was really impressed by his sacrifice that he was willing to make, not all Harlequin heroes could go through with it.

I just have to get it out: Bree’s sister was so naive and oblivious that I just wanted to slap her. Bad.

Overall:

This was a typical yet not a typical Harlequin Presents story. There were many aspects I liked and some that required something extra, but I still liked and enjoyed this story quite a bit.



3 stars!







Author: Annie West
Release date: 1st of March 2013
Published by: Harlequin
Imprint: Harlequin Presents
Reading level: FICTION – ADULT: Contemporary, Romance
Pages: 192 in e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

Out of the limelight... Domenico Volpe has been a paparazzi target for years with his rugged Roman looks, glamorous lifestyle and, most recently, a family tragedy. Now that the woman at the center of it all is released from prison, he'll do whatever it takes to keep her quiet.

And into the fire!

Domenico ensures that Lucy Knight "accepts" his offer of refuge on his well-guarded offshore estate. While the media furor abates on the mainland, things are heating up on the island! Domenico is beginning to doubt Lucy's guilt as he uncovers the innocent, sensual woman behind the tough facade....

Review:

Life for Lucy hasn’t been anything near fair, especially for the last 5 years in which she served time in jail for something she claims she wasn’t responsible for. After being released she doesn’t have a choice but to turn to her accuser for help, which the latter offers even without a request. But what are the true motives of the unexpected assistance? Or what could grow out of it?

Liked: The heroine was awesome, no wet blanket here, even though she was delicate and vulnerable. The hero was the right amount of conflicted. The setting was not entirely probable, but unique enough to set it apart from other common Harlequin presents plots. There was definitely chemistry between the couple and the romance was a slow burn.

Did not like: Everything was wrapped up too nicely and I couldn’t help but think that if the original trial would have been more carefulness, detailed and objective all this would not have happened. The whole court ordeal was lazy, incompetent and unprofessional and (while I don’t doubt that these things happen) thus felt quite unrealistic. The idea that there is no doubt that the pretty and young girl would only be after one thing and she no doubt is despicable enough to commit such a crime? – these notions were too self explanatory to me.

Characters:

Lucy was such a role model with her strong and dignified character. Whatever is said, done, accused, she holds her ground and doesn’t flinch at anything. She was capable of being true to herself no matter the situation. She came across extremely sympathetic with her head held high, but quite vulnerable and in need of someone to believe her and heal her pain and atone the injustice. I was glad to read that she wasn’t broken by the whole ordeal and she could forgive and move on.

Domenico was a good hero, he wasn’t all macho, suffocating or set out for cruel revenge. He was confused and that state of mind deepened constantly. He took his mistakes seriously and tried to atone as best as he could.

Overall:

An above average Harlequin Presents read that I recommend to all who want a slightly different plot with an extremely likable main couple.



4 stars!

LIIS

Cover Reveal - After the Kiss by Lauren Layne!

Happy Friday!

Excellent news from Loveswept, Random House!!!

Today, I will be revealing the cover of After the Kiss by Lauren Layne. Ladies and gentlemen, please give a warm welcome to the After the Kiss!




Beautiful cover! Love the color of the dress. :)

After the Kiss: The Stiletto Series
Lauren Layne
Loveswept | August 26, 2013

In the first book of a delightful new series from Lauren Layne, the star columnist of Stiletto magazine will do anything for a story. Anything . . . except fall in love.

Julie Greene loves flings. Loves steamy first dates, sizzling first kisses, and every now and then, that first sexy romp between the sheets. Comfy pants, sleepy Sundays, movie nights on the couch? Shudder. But when Julie gets assigned the hardest story of her career—a first-person account of that magical shift between dating and “I do”—she’ll need a man brave enough to give a total commitment-phobe a chance at more.

Normally, Mitchell Forbes would be exactly that man. A devastatingly hot workaholic who tends to stay in relationships for far too long, he should be the perfect subject for Julie’s “research.” But what Julie doesn’t know is that Mitchell is looking to cut loose for once in his life. And the leggy journalist notorious for avoiding love is exactly the type of no-strings fling he’s looking for. In other words, Mitchell is the polar opposite of what Julie needs right now. And, at the same time, he’s exactly what she wants.

Connect with Loveswept and Lauren:
ReadLoveswept.com | Lauren's Website | Lauren on Twitter

 

Pre-order After the Kiss:
Amazon | B&N | iBookstore | Random House and other retailers

I personally can't wait to read this book!
Happy reading!


 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Review: Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Hi all!

Again a long pause since I last posted any review :(





Title: Infinity
Series: Chronicles of Nick #1
Release date: 25th of May 2010
Published by: Mcmillan
Imprint: St. Martin’s Griffin
Reading level: FICTION – JUVENILE: Contemporary, Paranormal
Pages: 321 in Kindle e-book format
Source: Bought from Amazon.com for Kindle

Summary:

At fourteen, Nick Gautier thinks he knows everything about the world around him. Streetwise, tough and savvy, his quick sarcasm is the stuff of legends. . .until the night when his best friends try to kill him. Saved by a mysterious warrior who has more fighting skills than Chuck Norris, Nick is sucked into the realm of the Dark-Hunters: immortal vampire slayers who risk everything to save humanity.

Nick quickly learns that the human world is only a veil for a much larger and more dangerous one: a world where the captain of the football team is a werewolf and the girl he has a crush on goes out at night to stake the undead.

But before he can even learn the rules of this new world, his fellow students are turning into flesh eating zombies. And he’s next on the menu.

As if starting high school isn't hard enough. . .now Nick has to hide his new friends from his mom, his chainsaw from the principal, and keep the zombies and the demon Simi from eating his brains, all without getting grounded or suspended. How in the world is he supposed to do that?

Review:

With the Dark-Hunter series losing its spark for me recently I didn’t except to enjoy the first book in the Chronicles of Nick series half as much as I ended up having fun with it, finding it action packed and incredibly gripping. That is also why I put off reading it for so long because I was afraid to be disappointed, which I wasn’t in the least.

If I think about it logically, this book isn’t really anything overly amazing or super original, but there is just so much going on that you are not given the opportunity to doubt the sheer entertainment value of the plot, the heaps of characters thrown at you and the über crazy situations. But at the same time I wasn’t overwhelmed – on the contrary. I guess this is due to having read the Dark-Hunter series and knowing most of the characters and what they are capable of so I didn’t feel lost or freaked out.

I was great to reconnect with old characters in their original element as we first met them in New Orleans, it felt like the first books of the Dark-Hunter series. The new additions for the most part were quite colorful and interesting too. Nekoda, however, I felt was quite out of place and too cliché-ly bland next to the wackiness of Bubba, nerdiness of Madaug, sweetness of Brynna, dorkiness of Mark, sueveness of Virgil, etc.

I really liked the humor in this book. Usually I get slightly annoyed when everyone’s a smart mouth, sarcastic and throwing out one-liners, as mostly is the case in this story, but it works this time and it works quite well. There were some great lines and jokes that didn’t seem forced or like every character had the same patterns and habits of speech (usually, lots and lots of snarky sarcasm).

It also has its issues: I know that Nick’s mom wanted only the best for her son, but she came across to harsh, oblivious, unjust and preachy to me. I guess she gets better – she has to! There was a lot going on and I didn’t actually mind that, but the fact that most of the reasons/explanations/tying all the loose ends together were vague and I couldn’t really believe or even understand them was slightly bothering me. In addition, some solutions and reasons were out of the blue, too simple or not convincing enough. But, oh well, I’m used to this with other books of the author so I’m accustomed to not pay attention to those aspects and just go along with it. The plot also seemed to be all over the place and I missed some kind of structure.

Characters:

I was never a fan of Nick, he was a smart mouth, annoying (in a positive light) and fun, but I didn’t find him extra special. He was, however, very sympathetic and someone to root for in this book. I also have to admit that I didn’t think he could carry a book by himself, but he was a wonderful protagonist. It was interesting to experience how his friendship with Ash started, how he met Kyrian and was introduced to the Dark-Hunter worlds, etc. All the different relationships he had with others were distinct and fun to observe, I expect good times ahead.

Overall:

It’s kind of daunting to know that there would be 14 books in this series, but I’m more than willing to give it a chance and see where things end up. I really liked the first book, it was a lot of mindless/simple fun and I’ve heard the following books only get better, so bring it on!



4 stars!

LIIS


Release Day - One Tiny Secret by Adam Kunz!

Happy Thursday!

Today is the release day for One tiny Secret by Adam Kunz. I have read the books Adam has written together with his mother as C.A. Kunz and have loved them all. Therefore I am happy to share good news with you about Adam's new book.

Congratulations on a release day and please give a warm welcome to One Tiny Secret!!! I am reading it already and love it!


One Tiny Secret:

**Mature Content Warning** Recommended for 17+ due to language, violence, and sexual content.

Just one tiny secret has the potential to ruin everything.

Being the daughter of the sheriff in a small town like Holden Ridge means that eighteen-year-old Danielle “Dani” Marks’ life is under constant surveillance. She’s made a habit of staying under the radar by being a floater among social circles at school, which has kept her out of trouble—until now.

After a missing persons case stirs up the entire town, Dani finds herself caught right in the middle of the scandal. When she’s labeled a possible suspect, things quickly go from bad to worse. The sudden return of her old flame, Parker Reed, manages to make her whole situation even more complicated.

When an elusive unknown person begins to blackmail Dani by threatening to reveal her deepest secrets, Dani refuses to play along. That is, until the person’s actions take a violent turn. Holden Ridge loses its sense of quaint town security, and Dani is caught in a deadly game of cat and mouse.

Who can she trust when anyone around her could be a suspect?

One thing’s for certain though: Never underestimate the power of one tiny secret.



About the Author
Adam Kunz is the A part of the mother and son author duo C.A. Kunz. Growing up, he always had a fondness for R.L. Stine’s Fear Street series. So, it was a no brainer when he decided to write his own novel that it’d be a thrilling mystery with a dash of horror. When he’s not busy writing, Adam enjoys his job at a theme park in Orlando, Florida as a décor consultant. This job brings him face to face with all sorts of nightmarish creatures, especially when he decorates the haunted houses for the park's annual Halloween event. It’s been said by many that his addiction to Starbucks coffee will most likely be his downfall later in life. If you would like to find out more about this author, C.A. Kunz, or  One Tiny Secret,  please visit the links below:

 
 
Once again, congratulations to Adam!
Happy reading!
 
 
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