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.