Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Book Review: Dante's Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1) by Courtney Cole

Description (from Goodreads):

I have spent every summer since I was ten years old with my father in London. Every summer, since I was ten years old, has been uneventful and boring. 
Until this year. 

And this year, after a freak volcanic eruption strands me far from home, I have learned these things:

1. I can make do with one outfit for three days before I buy new clothes. 
2. If I hear the phrase, “You’re not in Kansas anymore, Toto,” even one more time, I might become a homicidal maniac.
3. I am horribly and embarrassingly allergic to jellyfish.
4. I am in love with Dante Giliberti, who just happens to be the beautiful, sophisticated son of the Prime Minister of a Mediterranean paradise. 
5. See number four above. Because it brings with it a whole slew of problems and I’ve learned something from every one of them.

Let’s start with the fact that Dante’s world is five light-years away from mine. He goes to black-tie functions and knows the Prime Minister of England on a first name basis. I was born and raised on a farm in Kansas and wear cut-off jeans paired with cowboy boots. See the difference? 

But hearts don’t care about differences. Hearts want what they want. And mine just wants to be Dante’s girl. 

My heart just might be crazy.

My Thoughts:

Since the moment I read the description of this novel, I knew that I MUST read it. When I finally got the e-copy of it from NetGalley, I felt like dancing and singing. So of course, I had to start reading it asap!

We are introduced to Reece, a Kansas girl who is used to spending her summers in London with her father (okay, the description says that London is uneventful and boring... EXCUSE ME?) When Reece is about to take her last connecting flight to London, a plane explodes on the landing strip and all the flights are cancelled... Good thing Dante Giliberti, a son of a super rich prime minister of a small Mediterranean country has his eyes on Reece - she is whisked away with Dante and his crew to this Mediterranean paradise where she is introduced to the life of Dante. 

Since Dante is rich and famous, Reece is whisked into an adventure she has never experienced before. The more she spends time with Dante, she realizes how much she likes him. But can a Kansas farm girl ever really be with a guy like Dante who's life is extremely public? It is clear also Dante has feelings for Reece, but is the need to please his father larger than the need to do what he wants?

'Dante's Girl' is the PERFECT summer read (I know it is kinda late for that kind of books now), but on the other hand I would love to read something like this when it starts to get darker and colder since it will totally bring a summer to your heart (how cheesy is that!?) Reece is likable as character, also at points a bit too paranoid and jealous for my taste (Dante talks to another girl and she goes nuts etc.). Dante of course is dreamy as ever. Since this is a 'Paradise Diaries book 1) I expect there to be some type of continuity for the novel. I really hope there is because I would love to read what happens next.

Monday, August 27, 2012

Book Review: Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Description (from Goodreads):

Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion . . . she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit—more sparkly, more fun, more wild—the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket—a gifted inventor—steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

My thoughts:

Once in a while you find a book that puts you in awe - the story works, the characters are interesting and likable and the story is well-written. That happened earlier this year with Stephanie Perkins's Anna and the French Kiss. I never expected that it would happen again so soon with a book by the same author. But yes, it happened, and I loved Lola and the Boy Next Door. Stephanie Perkins has made me fall in love with two awesome guys - first Etienne, now Cricket.

Lola seems like the coolest girl in the world and I would kill to have a friend like her - she wears wild outfits, she has two dads and she works in a cinema. She is not afraid to be herself- and it seems that she is addicted to pretty good TV shows as well. She is going out with Max, who is a musician and older than she is. Everything changes when Cricket, a neighbor she has a a crush on, moves back. Before Cricket left, there was something between them, but now that Lola is with Max she cannot believe that she still has some type of feelings for Cricket. 

Cricket seems like such an adorable guy! His great-great grandfather or something like that was the guy who invented the telephone... or at least that is something a lot of people believe in even though Cricket has a bit different kind of opinion about this. Cricket himself is also into inventions, but he has always lived in his twin sister's shadow so he does not really trust in his talents. But when he is with Lola he can be himself - Lola recognizes his talent and encourages him to bring it out. 

I was so happy when I noticed that Anna and Etienne also have a small role in this book - they are now in San Francisco and Anna (and eventually also Etienne) work in the same cinema with Lola. The book is not about them and their relationship, but it was nice to read a bit more about them since they became such dear characters to me while reading Anna and the French Kiss.

Stephanie Perkins truly is a talented young adult writer - she is able to engage her readers by creating likable characters you can identify with. Her characters are unique and special, but they have their flaws, which makes them more realistic. I have truly enjoyed these two novels I have read by Stephanie Perkins and I cannot wait to read more from her.

And btw, these books would make perfect films! Who would you cast as Cricket? Who as Etienne?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Book Review: Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma

Description (from Goodreads):

She is pretty and talented - sweet sixteen and never been kissed. He is seventeen; gorgeous and on the brink of a bright future. And now they have fallen in love. But... they are brother and sister.

Seventeen-year-old Lochan and sixteen-year-old Maya have always felt more like friends than siblings. Together they have stepped in for their alcoholic, wayward mother to take care of their three younger siblings. As defacto parents to the little ones, Lochan and Maya have had to grow up fast. And the stress of their lives—and the way they understand each other so completely—has also also brought them closer than two siblings would ordinarily be. So close, in fact, that they have fallen in love. Their clandestine romance quickly blooms into deep, desperate love. They know their relationship is wrong and cannot possibly continue. And yet, they cannot stop what feels so incredibly right. As the novel careens toward an explosive and shocking finale, only one thing is certain: a love this devastating has no happy ending.

My thoughts:

I really do not know how to start this. The description already kind of makes you flinch, question everything and at the same time hurt - the prospect of reading about a relationship between a brother and sister makes you think that they must be some way twisted, but at the same time I expect to find out why they are in love. 

Maya and Logan have grown up too early - when their father left and moved to Australia with his new family, their mother started to drink, date new guys and eventually Lochan and Maya became the parents for their three younger siblings - they go to school, cook, shop, make sure their siblings are safe - they are responsible for everything. They have to keep up the appearances in order to keep the social services away, but everything gets difficult when Lochan and Maya realize they are in love with each other. 

Maya is pretty and loving, Lochan handsome and wanted by many girls at the school. But they feel that they can be themselves only when they are together - they have experienced so much together, they have pretty much raised three children together. They have always been more than siblings, but when they both realize they have feelings for each other that are not proper, they of course are scared. They are so completely drawn to each other that eventually the feelings cannot be kept at bay - this is the beginning of a very dangerous, very serious relationship. 

Lochan and Maya know it is not normal to love your own sibling the way they love each other - they kiss, they hug, they touch each other. It feels good, but at the same time they know it is very wrong. As they spend more and more time together the situation gets more and more serious, eventually resulting in something they never expected. Was it all worth the risk? Is their love worth the hiding and sneaking?

I am still gobsmacked by 'Forbidden'. The issues it handles are so realistic and the way the things and feelings are described is so realistic and because of that you really start to feel for these characters - you understand their decisions, their need to spend time together. You even start to understand why they love each other and you keep hoping that they could be together.

I have never seen this type of story before - it probably has not been discussed much in YA literature. The subject matter - a sexual relationship- between siblings is not something you generally want to read about. As I said before, this novel is written so BEAUTIFULLY that even though you do not like the subject matter, you probably will not have bad things to say about this novel. Suzuma is really talented writer and I am really looking forward to reading something else by her.

As I was going through Goodreads, I noticed that this book is marked as a part of a series. Does anyone know more about this - is there a second book coming?

I recommend this novel to pretty much everyone - the story, the characters and the feelings are so realistic, so beautiful and at the same time so heart breaking you will end up in tears.

Monday, July 30, 2012

Book Review: Prom and Prejudice by Elizabeth Eulberg

Description (from Goodreads):

From the much-buzzed-about author of THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB (already blurbed by Stephenie Meyer, Lauren Myracle, and Jen Calonita), a prom-season delight of Jane Austen proportions.

It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single girl of high standing at Longbourn Academy must be in want of a prom date.
After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn't interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be - especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.
Lizzie is happy about her friend's burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles's friend, Will Darcy, who's snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn't seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it's because her family doesn't have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk - so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

My thoughts:

Prom and Prejudice was everything I expected, and much more. It was the perfect, fluffy summer read with a likable protagonist and a guy to swoon over. It managed to surprise me even though the story it is based on is SO familiar to me. And it managed to make me fall in love with Pride and Prejudice, once again, by showing that the story Austen's novel tells to us is so universal it fits this type of environment as well. 

Lizzie Bennet is a scholarship student at a prestigious Longbourn academy. She is intelligent, funny and talented pianist, but since she does not come from the money, she is not accepted among her peers. When the junior girls of the academy go prom-crazy, Lizzie just has to continue her life - reading, homework, piano practices and work at a local coffee place. Lizzie knows she won't be going to prom; who would ask a girl who gets a milkshake thrown to her face or a cup of coffee poured over her loaned design dress.

At the beginning of the new semester Charles Bingley is back to Pemberley Academy, the Longbourn Academy equivalent to boys. Charles and Jane, Lizzie's roommate, a girl from the money but actually Lizzie's friend, have had something between them before Charles' semester abroad, and it seems that the flame between them is still burning hot. Jane is kind and has taken Lizzie as one of them, so when Jane asks Lizzie to join her in different functions in order to meet Charles, Lizzie cannot say no. But soon enough, Lizzie realizes that with the company of Charles comes also the company of Will Darcy; Lizzie and Darcy start their relationship with the wrong foot and eventually Lizzie will do anything not to spend time with Darcy. But it seems that Darcy's thoughts are completely different. Of course, there are Lydia, Jane's sister who keeps causing problems to the family, Charlotte, also a scholarship student, Colin who is nice but sometimes too attentive... And Wick, a former Pemberley student who was thrown out of the school and who seems very attentive towards Lizzie. But for some reason, as she spends more time with Darcy, she actually starts to look for his company...

I LOVED LOVED LOVED Prom and Prejudice; the moment I got it to my ereader I had to read through it on one sitting (that is why I stayed up 'til 4.30 am and now I am dying). Lizzie is such a likable character, just like the original Elizabeth from Austen's novel. I loved how the passion Lizzie feels towards music was described - it was something that took her out of the misery of her high school life. Jane, Lydia and Charles are also close to the original ones; the characters are modernized to the setting, but they still possess the characteristics of Austen's original characters. Will Darcy, of course, is dreamy and handsome - I am still waiting for an ugly Darcy (THAT IS NOT EVEN POSSIBLE!) He is proud and cold at the beginning, but as we all know, deep down he is the man we all dream about - caring, rich but so humble, the perfect brother, a great boyfriend/husband candidate. 

As I said, this book surprised me at parts. I am so familiar with the plot of Pride and Prejudice that I kept waiting for different things to happen. I do not want to give too much away, but I must say at one point I was surprised about how the events turned out; that is a good thing, because the book keeps even those who know the plot of Pride and Prejudice like their own pockets surprised. 

I love the fact that Pride and Prejudice, and other Jane Austen novels are turned into the modern adaptations for young readers (check Rosie Rushton, she has a tons of different YA-Austen adaptations) because it might encourage the young readers to pick up the actual Austen novels after reading a contemporary piece based on the novels. Austen's novels are so beautiful and the stories so universal that no wonder people still are drawn towards them.

I recommend Prom and Prejudice to fans of Austen and the original P&P, but I also suggest it to everyone who loves a good romance, a likable protagonist and a swoon worthy guy. 

Monday, July 23, 2012

Book Review: Rape Girl by Alina Klein

Description (from Goodreads):

Valerie always wanted to be the smart girl. The pretty girl. The popular girl.

But not the rape girl.

That’s who she is now. Rape Girl. Because everyone seems to think they know the truth about what happened with Adam that day, and they don’t think Valerie’s telling it.

Before, she had a best friend, a crush, and a close-knit family. After, she has a court case, a support group, and a house full of strangers.

The real truth is, nothing will ever be the same.

Rape Girl is the compelling story of a survivor who does the right thing and suffers for it. It is also the story of a young woman’s struggle to find the strength to fight back.


Rape Girl is vivid, filled with emotion, entertaining and fast to read. It introduces us to Valerie, not particularly a popular girl, but one with friends and some type of social standing. When her mother is away from home, she and her best friend put together a party with very negative consequences. Valerie gets raped by a guy she actually was interested in which means that when Valerie accuses Adam of rape, no one believes her. 

When Valerie goes back to school, she has lost her social standing, her best friend and it feels like her family is falling apart as well as her mother does not know how to handle the situation. Valerie seems alright, but she is going through so much. When attending a support group for rape victims she feels like she should not be there - there was drugs, beating, violence etc involved in the other cases whereas she was at her own home, her own couch, with a guy she actually knew.

Rape Girl is very realistic and it feels like the author really knows what she is talking about when she explains the feelings and the consequences of the rape - at the end of the novel I read from the acknowledgement section that the author herself was raped when she was younger. So maybe in some level, this is also her story, not only Valerie's. 

As I said, this novel is a fast read, and I myself had to read the whole thing at once because I did not want to keep guessing what happened to Valerie. I wanted her to be happy again, to be able to trust guys and to find love and new friends she can actually count on. Even though the subject matter of the story is very harsh and something no one wants to experience, the story is told beautifully and as it moves forward, the language and the thoughts of Valerie change into more positive ones - there is light at the end of the tunnel. 

I want to thank NetGalley for the Review copy

Monday, July 16, 2012

Book Review: Pretty Little Liars (Pretty Little Liars #1) by Sara Shepard

Description (from Goodreads):

Three years ago, Alison disappeared after a slumber party, not to be seen since. Her friends at the elite Pennsylvania school mourned her, but they also breathed secret sighs of relief. Each of them guarded a secret that only Alison had known. Now they have other dirty little secrets, secrets that could sink them in their gossip-hungry world. When each of them begins receiving anonymous emails and text messages, panic sets in. Are they being betrayed by some one in their circle? Worse yet: Is Alison back? A strong launch for a suspenseful series

My thoughts:

Aria, Spencer, Emily, Hanna and Alison were an item- a group of friends who did everything together. Alison used to be the leader of the group - she was the one the other girls confined with, she was the one who knew secrets about all of them. When the amount of secrets started to get higher and higher, things got weird; it seemed that the girls were not able to talk freely, because all of them had something to hide. And then, one night, their sleepover ends suddenly when Alison disappears. 

Years later, Alison is still missing and the girls are no longer friends. 

Emily is part of the swimming team, a jock one could say. Everything seems great to the surface, but deep down she is very unsure about her feelings about herself; when Maya, a new girl, moves to the house Alison used to live in memories about what happened between herself and Alison rise to the surface. Is Alison the only one who knows about her true feelings?

Spencer is trying her best to beat her older sister Melissa at something. Melissa has been the star of the family, and despite the fact Spencer works hard, it seems she will never be good enough. When Melissa introduces Wren, her gorgeous British med-student boyfriend for her family, Spencer get interested. And it seems Wren might also be interested about the wrong sister. The situation brings up memories and secrets - things she only shared with Alison.

Everything about Hanna has changed since the disappearance of Alison. She used to be the chubby, badly dressed girl. Now she is popular, beautiful and wanted; she really wishes Alison could see her now. But she also has problems - she gets involved with the police and it seems that her boyfriend is not as interested about her as she is about him. And there is also something she has to hide about her sudden slimming down. And once again, Alison is the only one who knows her secret.

After Alison disappeared, Aria and her family moved to Iceland (in the novel, people keep calling her 'Finland' when she comes back... :D). Now she is back in Rosewood; she has a new style and new way to live - she is more confident and knows what she wants. And after she meets Ezra Fitz in a bar, she knows he is what she wants - the little bump in the relationship is the fact that Ezra is her new English teacher. And Ezra is not the only thing she has to worry about; there is a secret that could break up her family. And of course Alison knows what it is.

When the girls start to get messages from unknown number and email address, addressed by '-A', all the memories and fears come back to the surface - is Alison back? Are their secrets safe anymore? And then, something happens which changes everything. The girls have to make decisions and hope that their secrets are safe. Hanna could lose her reputation, Emily her boyfriend and the respect of her family, Spencer her new freedom and her sister and Aria her family and Ezra. And then there is the Jenna Thing that could destroy them all.

I am a huge fan of the TV show; I have been one since I saw the first episode when the show premiered. I think it has gotten better and better as the story has developed. Now that I read the first novel of the series, I was familiar with the main events, but there were also new things in it. As I was reading, I was happy about the fact that the wealth and exclusivity of the girls and the town is not highlighted so much in the show; of course they all seem pretty wealthy, but it is not brought out so much as in the novel.

I also liked the fact that the characters are not quite the same as in the novel. At parts I got frustrated with the superficial comments the girls had about themselves- especially Hanna. Of course, they all are pretty girls, but they should not be so sure about themselves all the time. From the show, I like Aria and Spencer the most, and I must say I had the same favorite characters while reading the novel. 

One thing I was quite surprised about was the fact that in the novel Wren seems a lot more dreamy than Ezra. I think that the fact that the relationship between Ezra and Aria is more emphasized in the show is because of the fact that at least, at the beginning, it felt like Aria is the main character of the show, the one the story builds around. And maybe the student-teacher relationship is more interesting to follow. 

One thing I liked about reading the novel after seeing the show was the fact that I was able to imagine the actors while reading - this was especially pleasant in the parts where Wren or Ezra was present. 

All in all, I really enjoyed the first installment in the Pretty Little Liars series and I am looking forward to reading the next one. If you are a fan of the show, give this a try if you have not already done so. 

And I just have to add these to the end (finding these pics brought be pleasure, I hope looking at them does the same to you)

Oh baby, why didn't you teach some English for me?
Hello Doctor! Wanna make me feel a bit better?

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Book Review: Easy by Tammara Webber

Description (from Goodreads):

When Jacqueline follows her longtime boyfriend to the college of his choice, the last thing she expects is a breakup. After two weeks in shock, she wakes up to her new reality: she’s single, attending a state university instead of a music conservatory, ignored by her former circle of friends, stalked by her ex’s frat brother, and failing a class for the first time in her life.

Her econ professor gives her an email address for Landon, the class tutor, who shows her that she’s still the same intelligent girl she’s always been. As Jacqueline becomes interested in more from her tutor than a better grade, his teasing responses make the feeling seem mutual. There’s just one problem—their only interactions are through email.

Meanwhile, a guy in her econ class proves his worth the first night she meets him. Nothing like her popular ex or her brainy tutor, Lucas sits on the back row, sketching in a notebook and staring at her. At a downtown club, he disappears after several dances that leave her on fire. When he asks if he can sketch her, alone in her room, she agrees—hoping for more.

Then Jacqueline discovers a withheld connection between her supportive tutor and her seductive classmate, her ex comes back into the picture, and her stalker escalates his attention by spreading rumors that they’ve hooked up. Suddenly appearances are everything, and knowing who to trust is anything but easy.

My thoughts:

I have recently been looking for novels set in college/university, and this one truly hit the spot! Jacqueline is talented bass player, but when she has applied to college, she has forgotten her own dreams about music conservatory and decided to follow her high school sweetheart Kennedy. She expected them to be together forever, but when Kennedy suddenly breaks up with her, everything changes. She is not part of the Greek system, so all of Kennedy's Greek friends suddenly ignore her. There is only her friend Erin, and two new acquaintances Lucas (a guy from her econ class who helped her out from a big problem) and Landon (her econ tutor she feels weirdly attracted to even though they have only sent emails to each other). 

Despite the break up and the fact that she feels like she does not fit in, there is one more problem Jacqueline has to think about - Buck, Kennedy's frat-brother has started to harass her and it seems that she cannot get away from his prying eyes. The situation gets worse and worse and eventually Jacqueline needs to take action. 

Lucas, the guy from the econ class, is something totally different Kennedy is. Jacqueline feels a pull towards him, and he becomes much more than such a potential post-breakup hook-up. When the surprisingly close connection between Lucas and Landon is discovered by Jacqueline, she needs to think everything again. Is she ready to trust someone new? And is he ready to trust her?

I LOVED Easy. It was exciting, romantic, heartbreaking and full of hope. Jacqueline is a realistic character you can identify with; you understand why she followed Kennedy to college, you understand her interest in Lucas and Landon. I think it is amazing when you can feel with the character you are reading about. Lucas is a total hunk, and you start to wish you would receive emails from a guy like Landon. I almost started to think about flunking a class just to get a tutor - but with my luck the tutor would be nothing like Landon.

I loved the fact that this novel keeps you guessing 'til the last page - something new is added to the stories of the characters all the time and you figure out new things as you go on. The story flows smoothly and there are no unnecessary additions to it - it stays on the point. I also liked how all the characters, in the end, are intertwined together with some type of connection; the connection stays natural and believable which makes it realistic.

I suggest Easy to EVERYONE! It might not be for the youngest readers, but I would stay that if you are the age of 16 or over, you will be good to go; it has sexual content, but don't you get that from everywhere these days?! 

Do you know any other novels with a college/university setting? 

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday (2)

More information about Top Ten Tuesday here!

Top Ten Books For People Who Liked Jane Austen (PERFECT SUMMER READS LIST!)
(I chose to this list sequels, modern adaptations etc).

A definite read for an Austen fan! Funny, romantic and easy to identify with if you are an Austen fan. My review can be found from here

So ready to see this GORGEOUS man in the film version of the novel.

These both are hilarious as well! Time travel/body swap aspect is so funny to read about; a modern woman needs to get used to Regency lifestyle and a Regency woman needs to get used to modern lifestyle. Laughter and hot men; the perfect summer reads!

My reviews can be found from here and here

One of my favorites in the series of Jane Austen in 21st Century books. This is a modern, YA take on Austen's 'Persuasion'- Anna is a daughter of a famous TV show host and Felix is a soldier - they fall in love, the relationship is not accepted, Felix goes to Afghanistan and comes back fostering the same feelings. SO ROMANTIC!

My review can be found from here.
My favorite from the Austen hero diaries by Amanda Grange. I LOVE LOVE LOVE Edmund Bertram, so it was a delight to read more about him. 

My review can be found from here.

The reader is introduced to Jane Austen's cousin Jenny Cooper. They go to same boarding school, but because the school is horrible, Jenny goes to live in Steventon, Jane Austen's home, with Jane and her family. The book is written in a diary form and has beautiful illustrations by Susan Hellard. There is a second novel by Cora Harrison called 'Jane Austen Stole by Boyfriend', which I think is a sequel to this one.

My review can be found from here

Modern re-telling of Jane Austen's Emma. Emma is 23 years old, successful young woman who starts to work in her father's company after uni. When Emma agrees to work for her father, she does not know that Emma's father has asked her teenage crush Mark Knightley to mentor her. 
This one is so FUNNY, ROMANTIC and totally makes butterflies fly in your stomach.

My review can be found from here

Jane Fairfax lives in upstate New York. To everyone else she is just a normal bookstore owner, but really she is Jane Austen who has been vampire for quite a while now. Appearances by different 1800 authors. 
Austen related read for the lovers of paranormal novels!

My review can be found from here.

This is a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I have never liked Lydia, but after reading this book I started to see her in a better light. The novel is divided into two parts: part 1 is about the happenings in Meryton and Brighton (these happen during the time span of Pride and Prejudice, but are told through Lydia) and part 2 about the time after the end of Austen's novel. 

My review can be found from here.

YA version of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey set in 21st century England. SO FUNNY!

My review can be found from here

Do not let the cover (at least I had this very harlequin-type cover in my copy) to fool you! This one is actually pretty good. Eliza, an artist from New York, buys this antique dressing table and finds a letter tucked behind the mirror dated in 1810 by F.Darcy dated to "my dearest Jane". Of course Eliza wants to figure out the situation and travels to Virginia to meet a man called Fitzwilliam Darcy, who by closer look, seems a lot like Austen's novel's Darcy. 

My review can be found from here

Monday, July 2, 2012

Book Review: Finn Family Moomintroll (The Moomins #3) by Tove Jansson

Description (from Goodreads):

It is spring in the valley and the Moomins are ready for adventure! Moomintroll and his friends Snufkin and Sniff find the Hobgoblin's top hat, all shiny and new and just waiting to be taken home. They soon realize that his is no ordinary hat; it can turn anything—or anyone—into something else!

My thoughts:

Moomins must be one of the greatest fictional creations EVER. They were a HUGE part of my childhood and I am happy to see, that they are still part of the life of little children. But also adults are obsessed about them, collecting everything from Moomin mugs to curtains and duvet covers. We even have Moomin soda and Moomin candy in pretty much every single grocery store here in Finland.

For many (at least foreigners) The Moomins are the most familiar from the the Japanese animation series - it is this series the children usually see when they are small and get familiar with the Moomins. The series is based on these gorgeous, imaginative novels by Tove Jansson, one of my favorite writers of all time. With Moomins she has created a fictional world I will never forget.

The Moomins are there curious, lovable creatures who live in the Moomin valley. Moominpappa and mamma, their song Moomintroll and his friends are always up for adventure. They do not have to lock their doors for the night and visitors are always welcome to their house - they just make a new bed to one of the room of their house and welcome everyone with open arms. They see good even in the ones others despise. 

In this particular novel by Jansson, Moomintroll and his friend Snufkin find a black top hat and take it home - this is the beginning of a series of unusual events in the life of the Moomin family; they fly on clouds that come out of the hat, they turn the river water into raspberry juice, they play in a jungle and do so much more. But it is not all fun and games - Moomintroll transforms into someone no one recognizes and sudden visitors bring new event so the Moominland. But of course, everything is solved and everyone is happy (well, not maybe the Muskrat, but on the other hand, he is so pessimistic he does not feel happiness). 

What I love most about the Moomins is the blurred line between the so-called children and adults. For example Hemulen seems to be an adult, but the is always playing with the "children". The same is with Snork and Snufkin (Snufkin for example travels alone every winter, but every summer he spends with his best friend, Moomintroll). In the Moomins children can act like adults when needed and the adults can act like children. They spend their days on little adventures, writing their memoirs, playing and helping others. It feels like they have found the perfect balance. If only we all could live like that.

Are you familiar with the Moomins? I would love to know if readers from different countries are familiar with these beautiful stories I grew up with. 

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Book Review: Forget You by Jennifer Echols

synopsis (from goodreads):

There’s a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four- year old girlfriend. Like Zoey’s fear that the whole town will find out about her mom’s nervous breakdown. Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she’s the perfect daughter, the perfect student, and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there’s one thing she can’t remember at all—the entire night before. Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug—of all people— suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them?

Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her.

Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life—a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

My thoughts:

To outside, Zoey's life seems pretty good; she is the captain of the swim team, she is a high school senior, she is going out with Brandon - a totally hot football player. She has friends, she is popular. But deep down things are stirring. Her parents have divorced because her father got his 24 year old employee pregnant. Since the divorce her mother has been a wreck and finally attempts suicide. In order to keep her mother's mental health a secret, she makes sure she keeps up the appearances. But there is someone who knows about what happened to her mom- Doug, hot but mysterious guy from the swimming team who has been on Zoey's back for a while.

On a normal Friday night, after the swimming team has crashed a football team's party, Zoey crashes her car. The morning she wakes up she remembers nothing from the time between the football game and the crash. She only remembers that Doug was there, pulling her away from the crash. She has no idea what has happened, but when Doug starts to act very attentively and when Brandon is no where around, Zoey understands she has to start to investigate what really happened. 

The week after the crash is full of surprises as Zoey starts to hear what really happened. Does she want her life to go back to the moment before the crash, to the moment she does not remember, or does she want to keep up the appearances and pretend that nothing happened. 

I really enjoyed 'Forget You', even though there were some things that bothered me. To begin with, Zoey seems like a bitch, especially at the beginning of the novel. When you get to know more about her, you realize it is just an act in order to keep up the appearances. Doug, of course is perfect, but I wish there would have been a bit more about this life (the issues with his father etc). But since the story is mainly about Zoey, I completely understood Echols's decision not to include Doug's background to a larger extent. Zoey's friends also seem like airheads, but I liked the fact that this was acknowledged in the novel. 

The way the relationship between Doug and Zoey is built is done very well. Zoey expects herself to be over the moon with Brandon, but as he is never present and Doug is there all the time, she starts to realize that maybe she is with the wrong guy. But since she does not want to cheat on Brandon, she has some figuring out to do. I liked Zoey's honesty- even though she wants to keep up the appearances, she does not want to be a liar. I think this is something we all should think about.

All and all, 'Forget You' was an entertaining, fast read and really made me interested to read other novels by the author. I recommend this novel to everyone who loves YA romance!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Book Review: Fifty Shades of Grey (Fifty Shades #1) by E.L. James

The main reason for me picking up this novel was my curiosity. I am a avid Pinterest user, and during several occasions, while I was browsing the dashboard, I got face to face with references to Christian Grey and Fifty Shades of Grey. I did not have any idea to which these where related. Of course I googled it and noticed that the novel is a New York Times Best seller and opted for a film. I think this was the point in which I decided I need to get this novel into my hands asap.

Anastasia, the "heroine", is shy, unexperienced and a bit clumsy when it comes to relationships. She is highly intelligent but at the same time very innocent. When she meets super rich and handsome Christian Grey, she starts to experience feelings she has never felt before; graving and lust towards someone else. She is still a virgin and she has thought that she will remain as one until she meets someone special. The moment she meets Christian, she starts to think that maybe Christian is the one she has been saving herself for.

With Christian, Anastasia is open for new experiences... but is she ready for what Christian wants? Soon enough Anastasia notices that Christian's sexual needs are very specific and "out of ordinary". Christian has a past he does not want to talk about, and he has a very specific, contract bound activities in mind. Anastasia's conscience tells her to stay away from Christian, but on the other hand she keeps hoping that he will change and open up for her. From the moment they first time engage sexually, this whole whirlwind of emotions begins to form and grow bigger and bigger as their relationship develops.

Fifty Shades of Grey was first "erotic" novel I ever read. At points, it is plain porn and at parts it made me question Anastasia's sanity. I get that Christian is totally hot and charismatic, but I don't think I would anyone persuade me like that. There is nothing wrong with sexual fantasies, but I feel like they are bit over the top in this novel. I got annoyed about the repetition of several things: Christian's need to spank Anastasia every time she rolls her eyes, the constant emphasizing of the size of Christian's penis, the whole situation with Christian not wanting to be touched. I feel like the writer clings too much to these issues without explaining them properly (well, the penis size does not need explanation, I guess it is just mentioned several times to make Christian seem even more glamorous).

I must say my curiosity was filled and I now get what all the fuss is about. I feel like this novel has made "erotic" literature familiar with a wider readership and it has also showed that reading something like this does not have to be "embarrassing", even though I probably would not tell my mom what type of novel this is.

I won't even get to the writing. All I will say that it is not the best. But the point gets through and the novel in itself is very character driven; places are described to the reader, but the main emphasis and attention is one the characters and their actions.

What I am curious about is how this will be turned into a film in a way that the essence of the story, the kinky, a bit sick sex is included. What do you think? Who do you think should play Christian Grey?  I know Ian Somerhalder is interested about the part; I would not mind seeing him as Christian, but I feel like his Christian would be a lot same than his Damon Salvatore from the Vampire Diaries. I think my pick would be Matt Bomer, he is tall, dark and can be both serious and funny. And he is HOTHOTHOT!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Book Review: Summer and the City by Candace Bushnell

This review is straight from my other blog, which you can find from here!

I really enjoyed the first Carrie diaries novel. So you cannot imagine what a disappointment this one was. I don't even know from where to begin. 

First of all, why is Carrie so fucking annoying? In Carrie Diaries, she is funny and the type of person I would love to have as a friend. The moment she gets to New York City and some writer shows some interest in her, she turns into a complete asshole. She is so annoying throughout the whole novel that at parts I just felt like throwing my book to the wall. She is inexperienced, young and in a new place, but still it seems that she thinks that she knows everything. She is also clingy, pathetic and full of shit. I was so disappointed with the portrayal of Carrie; I don't think she is anything like that actual Carrie we know from the show.

Even though the characterization of Carrie was the most annoying thing in this novel, there was also something about the way Miranda and Samantha were portrayed which made me clinch. Miranda is this feminist, standing in front of the Saks trying to get signatures in order to stop pornography, or something like that. Samantha already works in advertising and she is about to get married. Miranda first preaches how she hates sex and men, and then she becomes this pathetic mess when it does not work with someone. Samantha is planning a wedding, which of course, is so not something you would expect Samantha to do. Still, despite everything, Samantha is the most likable character out of the three "main" characters; at least she reminds herself a bit.

I know I am getting way too into this character thing, but since I love the show so much and I love all the characters of their different sides, I hated reading this type of shit about them. I know the novel is by the same author as the actual Sex and the City novel, but still.... the actual Sex and the City novel, in my opinion, is crap as well. The show is what is amazing!

I seriously advice everyone who LOVES the show not to read this novel. The first Carrie diaries installment was funny and witty, this one was just torture. I think the fact I had to read this in Finnish also added my pain.

Does anyone share my thoughts about this novel, or am I alone with these negative thoughts? 

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Book Review: Delirium (Delirium #1) by Lauren Oliver

Description (from Goodreads):

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the government demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

I loved 'Before I Fall' by Lauren Oliver, like so many other readers, so I had high expectations towards Delirium. The description sounded interesting, but something totally different that Before I Fall. The whole "society in the future" idea sounded interesting, but not something that I was EXTREMELY curious about. So it took quite a while for me to actually pick up this book for reading. 

Delirium is set in a society in which people do not feel like. To feel love is seen as weakness. The government of this new society demands that every single citizen when turning 18 gets the cure for deliria, the love that could bloom inside a person. Lena Halloway has been waiting for the day of her cure. She has been waiting for the moment she is fully an adult in the books of the society, the moment she can start living with the companion assigned to her by the government. She has been counting days towards the change. Suddenly everything changes and she starts to tread the day of the procedure. She meets Alex. She falls in love.

Alex has not been cured. He lives outside the gates of the society. He introduces Lena to a world she never thought she would face. I really like Lena as a character. She is careful and lives by the rules. She is the complete opposite of her rebellious friend Hana. But when Lena meets Alex, she lets the feelings guide her and does things she never expected she would do. I was able to identify with Lena in the sense that I am very careful and follow the rules to a high extend. I think I am still waiting for my own Alex to get a bit crazy with. 

I had read from many reviews that even though this novel is great, the beginning of the novel is very slow. I quite liked this fact; Oliver takes time to set the society and its rules to the reader. She has used little additions from different rule books of the society to the beginning of the chapters in order to make the reader familiar with the society and the people that live there. I really liked this, and it shows the huge amount of dedication Oliver has put into this piece of literature; she has taken the responsibility of creating a whole new world for the readers to enter. 

It is very hard for me to say which I liked better: Before I Fall or Delirium. They are both great books, books that you will want to read. They are in a way so different that it is hard to put them next to each other for comparison. All I can say is that both are must YA reads. I am excited to read Pandemonium, the sequel to Delirium. I will need to look for it when I visit the bookstore next time. 

Delirium is been made into a movie, Lauren Oliver herself had a post about it on her Goodreads page. I am very curious about this because I see the new Twilight/Hunger Games in the horizon. With the right actors and actresses this thing could be pick.

Who in your opinion would be the perfect Lena? What about Alex?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Book Review: The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

Description (from Goodreads):

The mysterious Jay Gatsby embodies the American notion that it is possible to redefine oneself and persuade the world to accept that definition. Gatsby's youthful neighbor, Nick Carraway, fascinated with the display of enormous wealth in which Gatsby revels, finds himself swept up in the lavish lifestyle of Long Island society during the Jazz Age. Considered Fitzgerald's best work, The Great Gatsby is a mystical, timeless story of integrity and cruelty, vision and despair

This novel has been on my reading list since FOREVER. I've been holding it in my hands in several bookstores in 3 different countries, but I have never ended up buying it. Until a while ago. WORKS at Princess St. here at Edinburgh has this sale in which you get 3 novels for £5 and when I only found 2 that I really wanted, I thought that I can might as well buy this one now just to read it at some point. And I finally did, and I am happy about it, because I really understand now why is has such a status as a classic.

I must say at first that it was not really what I expected. I expected it to be a lot more harder to read, maybe just because of the "classic" status, but it was actually really easy, simple read. The novel is narrated by Nick Carraway, a man who becomes the middle-hand between Jay Gatsby, a rich man living in a mansion next to his humble living and Daisy Buchanan, a woman from Gatsby's past. When Gatsby and Daisy met for the first time, Gatsby was an officer without money whereas Daisy was a known beauty. When Gatsby is sent to serve overseas, Daisy marries another man, Tom Buchanan. Tom is rich, but he does not manage to make Daisy happy; they seem like a perfect couple, but in the end, it is Gatsby Daisy loves. When Gatsby comes back from war, his greed increases and he starts to pursue money in any ways possible; he thinks that with money he can get Daisy. He buys a house across from Daisy's house and throws big parties, waiting for Daisy to appear. When Gatsby hears Nick is in connection with Daisy, he realizes his changes; through Nick he can get contact to Daisy. But when Gatsby and Daisy finally get back together, things do not go as planned.

What I found really interesting about this novel was the narrator of the whole story, Nick. He does not really fit into the society of characters like Gatsby and thus he provides a commentary of an "outsider" to the whole situation. The way the novel is written is simple, but yet so beautiful. I feel like this would be the perfect novel to "read" as an audio book (I keep fantasizing about Tom Hiddleston reading this novel as an audio book; he played Fitzgerald in Woody Allen's Midnight in Paris); the language is so beautiful and at parts really sounds like a beautiful poem about unhappy people. Everything seems perfect on the surface, but below the surface everything boils and the reader really gets to crack the surface of the perfection; the lives of these rich socialites are empty and nothing as they planned. Their selfishness has driven them to the "bottom".

Fitzgerald's 'The Great Gatsby' isn't a happy read. It is a story about unhappy people and tragic circumstances. It is also a story about how our dreams sometimes do not come true, whether we work on them or not. But now that I have read it, I can say that it truly is a classic and should be read by everyone at some point of their lives; if not for the story, then for the language. 

There is a new film version coming out of this novel later this year by director Baz Luhrmann. I must say I am pretty curious about the whole thing now that I have read the novel. And this film is going to be in 3D!! The budget at least is huge (127,000,000 dollars estimated) and Leonardo DiCaprio will be playing Gatsby and Tobey McGuire Nick. Really looking forwards the 26th of December and the premiere of this film. This could very well be a Oscar nominee for 2013.