Saturday, 15 June 2013

5 Topics That Make Me Pick Up A Book


I've always been a sucker for cowboys and since I read Texas Gothic my romance with Texas even strengthened. I can just imagine what it's like there - nice people, wonderful atmosphere, blazing sun and shirtless cowboys... I can just imagine myself fitting there real nice and it's an ideal book setting.

Jerk hero

What can I say - they're definitely not boring. We all love to hate them - and then in the end just love them...


This is Matilda's fault. And Potter's. And Prue and Phoebie and Piper's. I still sometimes cry myself to sleep at night because I can't do magic (yet I still try every day).

Boarding School

A closed-off setting is bursting with potential! No parents, no real supervision; crushes and romances; mass of teenagers - something interesting is always bound to happen. Just take a look at Hex Hall or Vampire Academy or Harry Potter! 

Pretend relationship

It's my guilty pleasure. I like the complexity of the situations, the character development, the tension between the hero and heroine and I'm always interested to see in what way are they going to get their happy ending (because, let's be frank - it always ends up with a HEA).

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Fallen Star (The Fallen Star #1) by Jessica Sorensen

Jenna is a normal teenager... Wait, let me start again. Jenna is not a normal teenager because until recently she was unable to feel. Anything. She also lives with her grandparents with whom she has an extremely strained (putting it mildly) relationship. Jenna has no clue why she is so different from everybody; why she has purple eyes or why she can't experience normal human emotions. But then one day the flood opens and she starts feeling these prickling sensations on the back of her head. She suddenly feels. Fear. Anger. Sadness. Jenna is not able to control her sudden outbursts and is absolutely baffled by her reactions. Then one day she bumps into a new guy at school and her life turns into a mess of epic porportions.

What attracted me to this book was that Jenna is 18 years old (not a child at 16, yay!) and that she can't (couldn't) experience emotions. And what turned me off were the similarities with a book we all are very familiar with. I jotted down a few:

- heroine and hero meet in school,
- hero seems to inexplicably intensely hate the heroine from the beginning,
- they are forced to work together in class,
- there are sparks although hero tries to hide his attraction,
- hero has an annoyingly nice sister (named Aisling, get it? Aisling, Alice?),
- hero takes the heroine to a "special" place,
- hero lifts a gigantic branch over his head like it weighs nothing (and the other dude saved the girl by stopping a car).

Have you figured out which book does it remind me of? Twilight, doh. However, things changed somewhere in the middle of the book and the Twilight references stopped there. Suddenly it turned into an action packed The Shadow Society with all sorts of creatures, hidden agendas, plans to save (and ruin) the world and mysteries. Because there is a reason Jenna is different and her 'grandparents' knew about it all along. Speak of the grandparents - I couldn't believe my eyes when I read about Jenna's relationship with her only family. What striked me as weird was that Jenna didn't really question why they're treating her so bad. That's not normal! But I guess since she was emotionless she didn't know how horrible they were to her and the explanation we get later makes everything fall into perspective. 

Jenna is an ok heroine, but that is all. She is average despite having purple eyes and a week after reading the book I am still not sure whether I like that she talks to the reader sometimes. "Well, you get the picture." No I don't! Stop doing that and start acting like a real book! (I guess I didn't like it, hee.) There were not enough descriptions of people, places and situations and I really need those in a book. I need it to create a mini film in my head through which I can experience what is going on in the book. And if there are not enough descriptions, how am I supposed to do that? 

There were many things left unsaid and for this reason I will read the second book in the instalment. It's not that The Fallen Star has disappointed me - it's just that I expected so much more since it had so much potential! A girl with no emotions, for Joaquin's sake! And the secondary characters are so bland I can't even think of one person from that book who is not the hero and heroine. Also, don't even get me started on Alex, the "hero"! He is one lying, manipulating son of a peacock (if I may borrow this expression from a friend) whose intentions toward Jenna are still a little shady. I really need to read the sequel so I can form a solid opinion on this series. I'm also getting tired of this genre, I think I'll switch to something else for a few months so I can recover and return to my sharp, opinionated self. 

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Demon Lover and The Water Witch (Fairwick Chronicles #1 and #2) by Juliet Dark

Since accepting a teaching position at remote Fairwick College in upstate New York, Callie McFay has experienced the same disturbingly erotic dream every night: A mist enters her bedroom, then takes the shape of a virile, seductive stranger who proceeds to ravish her in the most toe-curling, wholly satisfying ways possible. Perhaps these dreams are the result of her having written the bestselling book The Sex Lives of Demon Lovers. Callie’s lifelong passion is the intersection of lurid fairy tales and Gothic literature—which is why she’s found herself at Fairwick’s renowned folklore department, living in a once-stately Victorian house that, at first sight, seemed to call her name.
But Callie soon realizes that her dreams are alarmingly real. She has a demon lover—an incubus—and he will seduce her, pleasure her, and eventually suck the very life from her. Then Callie makes another startling discovery: Her incubus is not the only mythical creature in Fairwick. As the tenured witches of the college and the resident fairies in the surrounding woods prepare to cast out the demon, Callie must accomplish something infinitely more difficult—banishing this supernatural lover from her heart (Goodreads).

I've tried, many times, to write a review that would do these two books justice, but I didn't succeed. It just can't be put to words, that is why I'll have to make an exception and show you with pictures, not words.

Things that are great:
> the heroine
> the covers
> the plot
> the narrative
> the secondary characters !!
> the twists
> the mythology
> the supernatural creatures
> Fairwick
> the demon lover
> the writing style
>... I'll stop here, because it'd take all day to finish the list. 

I was fascinated and mesmerised by the world Juliet Dark created - I couldn't get enough! The vivid and colourful descriptions of Fairwick and its inhabitants had me glued to my chair without even needing food or water... or even air. I was enthralled by the mythical creatures that roam around Fairwick and their adventures; the way Dark transformed them into words was just magnificent. 
The most interesting thing? I racked my brain for days trying to come up with one bad thing to say about this series. I failed. Well, if I think about it, there is one serious flaw with both of the books - they're too freakin' short! And the third one, The Angel Stone, is not coming out until September!! What if I die before September!?

Friday, 31 May 2013

Contingency (Sage Hannigan Time Warper #1) by Peggy Martinez

I really wanted to like this book - the blurb was engaging, the cover is beautiful, the heroine is older than 16, it was the first book I won in a giveaway, and the reviewers are all in love with it... But it disappointed me so much I can't even explain it!

Sage is a normal person who leads a normal life, but then one day she finds a necklace and is sucked into the past (1904 to be precise). She is instantly attacked by a vampire, but is rescued and taken into a house which turns out to be inhabited by members of the Cerebrus Society. They are the people who are trying to protect the world from bad creatures, even though some of them are "creatures" as well. Sage is told she was sent back for a reason - and that reason is to save the president from an assassin. 

As much as I tried, there was just nothing that I liked, because unbelievable things just kept coming at me. I disliked the heroine, she just got on my nerves; there was a love triangle, WHICH I HATE, and it wasn't even written well - she lusts after both of them and she has difficulties choosing which one she likes better; the twist in the plot was yawn, and the bad guys were far from mind blowing and throw-you-on-your-ass-y. I instantly figured out what was going on. I won't even mention all the other bad things because I am afraid I would get attacked by the book's fans, and I don't want to bad-mouth. I don't even have the will to write a proper review I'm so disappointed. I really wanted to like this book.

1.5 quills


Wednesday, 15 May 2013

Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Since I've always been intrigued by the 20th century (I've always wanted to experience Woodstock, the Beatles, the 80s, the destruction of the Berlin Wall, and all the other awesome things that (sadly) occurred way before I was born), I liked that the book was set into the 1950s and I could just smell that there were fascinating things waiting for me among the pages of Out Of The Easy! So I was more than eager to devour it. 

Josie, the main character, is a daughter of a whore, and everyone knows that. What they don't know, is that Jo wants to climb out of the gutter her mother dragged her in, and she is doing quite well for herself - she is an intelligent young woman who loves to read and who wants nothing else than to leave her old miserable life behind her and go to college. In the first quarter of the book we get to know Josie, her background, the people in her life and their life in New Orleans. Then, suddenly, the plot thickens as Josie finds something under her mom's bed that wasn't supposed to be there. 

As I dived into the book, I was impressed by the vivid descriptions and colourful characters, and the heroine was just what I liked. Josie was strong and intelligent, witty and sharp-tongued. But there were times when all of that didn't come through - at crucial times - when it was more "tell" rather than "show". "Josie is smart. Josie is cunning. Josie is this and also that." Yes, Josie was intelligent, yet at the same time she was so darn clueless I wanted to shake some sense into her! It was as if she was standing still in the street and the world was rushing past her, eventually running her over. Some of her actions were so unbelievably stupid! Josie made silly choices she clearly didn't think about properly beforehand. For example, she knew Mr. L obviously liked the girls young (looking), yet she still complied with his "wishes" when he suggested she visit him wearing high freakin' heels. What did she think he meant by that? Well, he certainly didn't want to play golf with her. Doh! She was too naive and I expected her to be more tough because of what she experienced living with her mother (who was a total b*tch, by the way. I wanted to drag her by her hair all the way to Hollywood - or better yet, have horses drag her there. They say it's a painful way to travel. She would more than deserve it.) 

Her mother really was the worst kind of a mother. There were times she got me so furious I swear the steam was coming out of my ears! The author did a great job of writing a character I loved to hate. And I adored all of the characters, I loved how the plot was build around them, thus emphasising their colourfulness and their interesting features.

The one thing that did bother me and (for all I'm concerned) could've been left out - is the romance element. There was a love triangle that wasn't really a love triangle, and Josie was so dispassionate she almost didn't seem capable of love (at least to me - and it would come as no surprise; she had a terrible relationship with her only parent who couldn't care less about her. Literally couldn't.) Josie was friends with both of the boys and once again, she appeared totally clueless about them liking her. Even I didn't get the impression that there could be something cooking between Josie and what's-his-name, the guy she worked with/for (I'm awfully terrible with names). And poor Jessie - we got to know so little about him! I just wish there was more told about both of the boys. Although, funnily enough - I liked them both and if I had to choose between them, I'd save myself the trouble and keep them both. 

To sum it up, Out Of The Easy was almost what I hoped it would be. It had that flair I was looking for, but there were still some things I would change, and people whom I would like to know more about. I liked what I read, but I wanted more. Just a little bit more. I'm curious about her other books, I hear Between Shades Of Gray is quite good.

3.5 quills

Saturday, 27 April 2013

Books To Read In May

May is just around the corner and after a long and harsh winter I'm very much looking forward to finally reading out in the sun, enveloped by the lushness of spring, sitting on a bench somewhere in the middle of a meadow bursting with wild flowers, a heavy book in my lap, and occasionally listening in to the chirping of the birds and buzzing of the bumble bees. Smiling, because I've found my little piece of heaven.

That is why I composed a list of 5 books I'm planning to read in the beautiful month of May.

What books are you planning to read in May? Or do you choose books randomly?

A warm spring hug,

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

The Sweetest Dark (The Sweetest Dark #1) by Shana Abe

“With every fiber of my being, I yearned to be normal. To glide through my days at Iverson without incident. But I’d have to face the fact that my life was about to unfold in a very, very different way than I’d ever envisioned. Normal would become forever out of reach.”  Lora Jones has always known that she’s different. On the outside, she appears to be an ordinary sixteen-year-old girl. Yet Lora’s been keeping a heartful of secrets: She hears songs that no one else can hear, dreams vividly of smoke and flight, and lives with a mysterious voice inside her that insists she’s far more than what she seems.

England, 1915. Raised in an orphanage in a rough corner of London, Lora quickly learns to hide her unique abilities and avoid attention. Then, much to her surprise, she is selected as the new charity student at Iverson, an elite boarding school on England’s southern coast. Iverson’s eerie, gothic castle is like nothing Lora has ever seen. And the two boys she meets there will open her eyes and forever change her destiny.

Jesse is the school’s groundskeeper—a beautiful boy who recognizes Lora for who and what she truly is. Armand is a darkly handsome and arrogant aristocrat who harbors a few closely guarded secrets of his own. Both hold the answers to her past. One is the key to her future. And both will aim to win her heart. As danger descends upon Iverson, Lora must harness the powers she’s only just begun to understand, or else lose everything she dearly loves.

Filled with lush atmosphere, thrilling romance, and ancient magic, The Sweetest Dark brilliantly captures a rich historical era while unfolding an enchanting love story that defies time. (Goodreads)


"Like all the orphans crowding the Home, I felt certain that I did not belong where I was. That someone, somewhere, was surely searching for me, because I was special. Unline all the rest of the orphans, I was right."

We all want to be special, or to have something that sets us apart from the crowd, isn't that true? Ever since I read Harry Potter novels and Matilda I was constantly waving a twig in my hand at random objects, secretly wishing that they would move, or explode, or disappear. Unfortunately they never did anything other than remain right where they were and mock me. Lora, the main character, is "luckier" than I was, because she is indeed special. At first glance she is a tough cookie with a rough childhod, who knows how to defend herself and stand up to others who try to make her life miserable because she's an orphan and not some snotty little rich pampered girl like the girls at this school. I liked reading about her - she had so many layers and hid so many wonderful things beneath the surface. 

The writing style was beautiful, dark and intriguing, mysterious and rich with descriptions. I was transfixed by the world the author took me in, desperately wanting to figure out what was happening to Lora and trying to guess what kind of a creature she was. When I finally found out I was blown away. I'll not spoil anything because I think it is great that I learned that from the book and not from someone else - the effect is so much more powerful.

We don't really connect with the characters, we are merely the audience - the fortunate ones who get an insight into a world of wonder. It felt like I was outside, looking through a window of a house in awe, fully knowing I will never be invited in, that I would only be allowed to peek in from the shadows. And I actually didn't mind that. It was also that kind of a book where there wasn't much of a plot but more of a heroine's internal thoughts, struggles, the Becoming and coming to terms with what she is. 

The love triangle wasn't really a love triangle since Lora was instantly drawn to beautiful Jesse who has a few secrets up his sleeves, too. Armand, the aristocrat, on the other hand is inexplicably drawn to Lora, and later on we find out why - partly because he is what she is. But even though he was obnoxious at times I liked him better than Jesse, despite introducing himself to Lora: "Call me Mandy", after being described as rich, handsome and alpha male. And there the author goes and ruins my fantasy by nicknaming him "Mandy". Sheesh. But why I didn't like Jesse? I don't know how to explain it, he just wasn't interesting. He sounded old and boring. And I'm not a big fan of "star-crossed lovers". Too ... romanticky for me.

The ending was surprising, although a bit forced for me. No action for three quarters of the book and then "BAM"! World war 1 in the school's backyard. Literally! And I've said it before and I'll say it again: I can always appreciate a good death and although unexpected, it was a great twist to the story. However, I have a strange feeling that this person will be returning. It's all written in the stars, I guess...

All in all, a very unique story with many interesting elements, if a bit slow-paced in some parts. I expected more pulse-quickening scenes and a better Jesse. But overall it was a pleasant read and I'm looking forward to the next instalment.

An e-copy of this book was kindly provided to me by NetGalley and Random House Publishing Group. All opinions in this review are my own.

3.5 quills