Sonntag, 19. Juni 2016

The Sun In Her Eyes - Paige Toon

Title: The Sun In Her Eyes
Author: Paige Toon
Rating: 4/5
Blinding sunshine… A bend in the road… What became of the little girl with the sun in her eyes?

Amber was three when a car crash stole her mother's life. She doesn't remember the accident, but a stranger at the scene has been unable to forget. Now, almost thirty years later, she's trying to track Amber down.

Amber, meanwhile, is married to Ned and living on the other side of the world in London. When her father has a stroke, she flies straight home to Australia to be with him. Away from her husband, Amber finds comfort in her oldest friends, but her feelings for Ethan, the gorgeous, green-eyed man she once fell for, have never been platonic.

Again, I didn't receive this book in exchange for a review, but I wanted to share my love for it with anyone who is interested.

Actually, I am still a bit lost for words. I think this is the most emotional I have been after reading a novel written by Paige. It turned out so different than I originally thought. That's not a bad thing, but my emotions are still a mess. A real, fuzzy mess. Can't say I like that feeling too much. Yet, yes, of course I secretly aren't mad and admire Paige for having me feel this way.

There are so many small things that I loved about this book, starting with the fact that Paige takes us back on a journey through Australia. Alright, through Adelaide, to be exact, but I'm not picky, haha. My very, very favourite book will always be Pictures of Lily which is set down under as well, so at the mention of the country itself I became so excited. And then I read about Hahnsdorf, which almost had me in tears. Fans of Paige will understand me. I hope. I am not crazy, I swear. And then it's also the story idea that had me hooked. The way things were described with her father and the way she felt for Ethan when they were teenagers. Oh, my poor heart.

As Amber decides to go back to Australia to check up on her dad, she finds herself getting closer to Ethan, whom she always loved. He never loved her back, though and anyway, she has got a husband back in England. She shouldn't have feeling toward Ethan, right? She is happy, or so she tells herself. Truth is, I adored Ethan. And how much! It was only a bit closer to the end of the book that I felt confused about him. The way he spoke, the way he behaved. I never would have seen this coming.

You don't have to be Team Ethan in order to love this book or feel any emotion at all. You can become an emotional wreck being Team Ned (that's Amber's husband) too. It's nerve-racking, really. Paige is the best at that. So many feelings! I loved reading about how the two of them met, it was really important for the further actions. Everything about The Sun In Her Eyes was so well thought-through. I'm impressed. Starting with the sights we get into a person who just suffered from a stroke, to a woman who left behind her friends and now finds herself wanting to pick up where things ended, to a woman who is caught between two men she loves in a utterly different way that it makes your heart clench. It does! And every once in a while you'll find yourself asking: 'What would I do if I was Amber?' And though I hate to admit it, I think Paige Toon solved it out really brilliantly in the end.

I know I said I liked the country setting, but I also wanted to point out how I loved every single location. I loved reading about Ethan's family business, about the trip he and Amber went on (though that was one horrifying thing). The bars and clubs Amber and her friends went to. I found that amusing, because I usually dislike reading about party people, but it seemed fitting in here somehow. The characters had to connect to one another and that was obviously through meeting each other in bars. Is that what adult life is gonna be like?! haha.

A personal aspect I'd like to mention and let Paige know this - whenever I read lines written by her, I feel better. I feel a bit lighter. Like some burden has been lifted off my shoulders. And no one does that like Paige. I can be the worst mood possible, but when I get to start a new chapter in one of her books, I am connected to the characters and stop doubting things that I worried about before. And even if it's just for the shortest while, for the time amount I need to finish a book, I appreciate Paige's writing. Does this paragraph sound cheesy? I am sorry, but anyway. Thank you, Paige!

And when it comes to her books, I always find myself thinking of songs that remind me of the story, so here comes another playlist.
Darleen's playlist for The Sun In Her Eyes: (more titles might be added)
Hilary Duff - Tattoo (feat. Ed Sheeran)
Walking On Cars - Speeding Cars
Gwen Stefani - The Real Thing
The Summer Set - Where Are You Now (feat. Dia Frampton)
Meg Frampton - Say I Said Yes
Charlie Simpson - If I Lose It

Hooker - J.L. Perry

Title: Hooker
Author: J.L. Perry
Rating: 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Hachette Australia for letting me receive a digital copy of this book before its official release.
Jade's young life was tough. After her mother died during childbirth and her father could no longer look after her, she was placed in foster care where she stayed for the next ten years. She grew up feeling unloved and unwanted as she was passed around from one screwed up home to the next.

Things began to look up for her when she was adopted by a wealthy socialite at the age of eleven. Sometimes, though, things aren't always what they seem. Jade didn't know it at the time, but her new adoptive mother had big plans for her . . .

Brock grew up privileged. He had everything going for him. Money, looks, charm, success and an endless array of beautiful women. He wasn't interested in commitment. To him women were easy. They practically threw themselves at his feet. All they wanted was to do something nobody had ever managed before. Snare the hot, rich bachelor.

Then he met Jade. She was like a breath of fresh air. A challenge. Nothing like the women he was used to. Their one night together ignited something within him. A burning desire to own her, possess her, but Jade had other plans. Nobody says no to Brock Weston, nobody.

But, when fate brings them together again, will he get what he wants? Or will Jade's secrets crush him, and destroy any chance they have of being together?

I decided to leave this review a bit shorter than the rest, simply because there isn't much for me to tell. I prefered J.L. Perry's former book, called Bastard. Both books are pretty long, so if you are looking for a quick read, her books aren't for you. Her writing is really good though, no matter if you like the plot or not, it will have you continue reading.

Jade meets Brock at the airport - I liked that setting. They are both on their way to New York and seem pretty attracted to one another right from the start. Though they know nothing about each other, they're happy when they run into each other again and share a night of wild passion. Alright, so you don't have to read 50% of the book to get to that part when they meet. I liked that. I hate when the meetings are dragged into infinity. I want the story to be focused on the love birds.

However, though their love story was enjoyable, I disliked the main history of Jade. It was too adult-ish for me. I mean, it's thrilling and really unique - she is a hooker. Name one other book in which the character is a hooker. A stripper, yes, maybe, but a hooker? And the way she turned into one? That one is heavy! I so didn't like reading about that, but then again J.L. Perry is good for these heavy histories of her characters. It was the same with Bastard. People screaming, calling others bad names or worse... You name it. That's her thing. I think, secretly, she is a thriller writer, haha.

Up until like the middle of the book, I would only read a chapter or two and then put it aside again. Yeah, I wasn't really into it. Sadly. But then finally, when Jade was in danger, I continued and continued and was finished with the book a day later. As mentioned before, it is NOT because of the writing. I think J.L. Perry is a real talent at what she does, it was just the story itself, the life of Jade, that I didn't find appealing. That's my NA heart - struggling to accept any other genre. Sorry!

So, don't mind my rating or my thoughts. That's all me. If you like to read about love and fear and characters with a troubled past, who overcome their issues finding one another - I suggest you read Hooker because it's keeping all these promises. And I actually did like the other characters in this book, such as Joshua, Brock's brother, or Theo, one of Jade's clients who is the nicest of them all. And of course Brock is swoon-worthy. No doubt about that.

Montag, 13. Juni 2016

Skyscrapers & Camelot (Renovate #01) - Mindy A. Carter

Title: Skyscrapers & Camelot (Renovate #01)
Author: Mindy A. Carter
Rating: 2.5 - 3 / 5

Thanks to NetGalley and Book Enthusiast Promotions for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
Keegan was my world since I was six years old. When he walked out of my life, I was certain I would never see him again. He broke my heart, but truthfully I only have myself to blame. Now I'm looking into his incredibly beautiful blue eyes. He came back into my life as quickly as he left. Both of us have changed over the years, but I can't imagine living another day without him.

My name is Aimee, and this is the story of how I lost and found my best friend and love of my life. The journey may be tough but there is no denying that Keegan, and I were destined to be together. He rescued me the day we met and had always been my prince charming. One thing I'm sure of, I'm not letting my happily ever after get away this time.

Again, unfortunately this was a book that I expected a bit more of. I am not a huge fan of second chance romances, however I decided to give it a try. The thing is, that this book wasn't utterly bad, I would never say that, but things went on quite fast and I found the female main character - Aimee - really annoying. In the beginning, I was surprised this book happened to be about adult people, heading to their thirties, but then again Aimee's voice was so childish sometimes, I felt like I was stuck in a YA book. And not a good one.

I really hate to say this and I hope I am not hurting anybody's feelings. Considering the storyline, the author had a really good idea in mind and it's probably just my dislike for second chance romances that doesn't leave me impressed by Skyscrapers & Camelot. Actually, I didn't even understand why there is a Camelot in the title. Did Aimee consider Keegan as her very own Camelot? That would make sense.

So, I guess my complaining about the speed of the actions is pointless to whoever loved the book. Of course, the characters already know each other, have been through highs and lows, the story is allowed to take on speed, but it's just my taste. I don't like that very much.

Keegan was a really sweet guy, I happen to always come up with excuses on why I love the male characters in books, haha. As every reader who get the chance to read this book, I hated Gretchen right from the start. She's his "assistant" and the typical arrogant one that hates on the boss' girlfriend, yes. And then there is Kaleb, Keegan's brother, who gets his own side story in the book, along with Aimee's female best friend. I kind of hoped Kaleb would be the one for Aimee or that they had some romance going on in the past. I was totally susprised when Aimee's best friend's brother appeared and suddenly we came to find out she and Liam - that's the brother's name - had a relationship in college. Did I skip a part or was that sudden? And what's up with his attitude? Didn't understand that either.

I guess that's it. Not all positive words, I am sorry, but I am not trying to hate on this book either. Anyhow, I am glad it wasn't that long and I didn't need days in order to finish it. It was sweet and cute, but it didn't make me feel any heartbreak or other necessary emotions that I like while reading a story.

Mittwoch, 8. Juni 2016

Lessons of the Heart - Jodie Larson

Title: Lessons of the Heart
Author: Jodie Larson
Rating: 2.5 - 3/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Patchwork Press - Cooperative for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
The first time we met, James Dumont knocked me off my feet.

He's sexy and smart, the classic good guy... Exactly what I want, and everything I've ever dreamed of. The most perfect guy at Somerset High School.

He even makes sixth-period Geography interesting.

Everyone says high school is tough. Fighting my attraction to James? That's the hardest part, because this guy, my perfect match, the one who makes my heart overrule my head...

He's my teacher.

What if the greatest lesson you could learn in school couldn't be found in a book?

Usually, teacher/student romance novels are one of my favourite kind. However, this book disappointed me. And I hate to say that. It wasn't about the writing, that part was good, but the storyline happened too fast - the emotions didn't appear real to me. Too many things, too many love declarations were said too soon. And so, romantic is important and it felt a bit forced to me. I didn't see real sparks, real chemistry between the two main characters.

I understand that sometimes, real life is like that too. You meet someone and connect with them. That's perfectly fine, but I would have liked to read more about that. Because I missed that part. Suddenly, they knew everything about each other and no one understood how that happened, when exactly they told each other their secrets, dreams and wishes. Also, there were quite a few phrases that were used a lot. Like, when Britta sees James, she never says so. She always implies on his green eyes. And whenever there is something wrong, James will request: "Look at me, Britta", a hundred times.

So, the idea of a teacher/student romance is always nice, and the given scenes were worked out very well too, but Lessons of the Heart just didn't knock me off my feet. I'm very sorry to say that, but things happen... I also didn't understand why everyone was so supportive of their relationship, from the very beginning. I would have thought it might take Britta and James some convincing on Britta's friends, especially when you read the first few chapters and there is a familiar situation, which everybody is really gossiping about. Didn't make any sense to me.

And I am very sad that we never got to see James family. At all. Maybe that's what made their relationship seem hallow to me. They said these super cute things to each other, after knowing each other for about a week and I felt zero chemistry (though those cute and sweet words still kind of melted my heart anyway), but nothing major happens. No family issues, no big secret. Everything's a bit too bright for my taste. And yes, I know I would be complaining if something major had happened as well. I can never be pleased, haha.

Montag, 23. Mai 2016

The Other Side of Gravity (Oxygen #01) - Shelly Crane

Title: The Other Side of Gravity (Oxygen #01)
Author: Shelly Crane
Rating: 3.5 - 4/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Red Coat PR for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
My name is Maxton and I’m a trader.
I live on a soulless planet where gravity, oxygen, and everything else are sold to the highest bidder on the black market. People are sold on the black market, too. You have to work really hard not to become one of those people. Pay your taxes, keep your friends and family close, and more than anything else—don’t get caught by the Militia. But all the rules changed for me the day I found her.

My name is Sophelia and I’m a stowaway.
I’ve been a slave for almost as long as I can remember. Waiting for the one day, one second, for my proprietor to turn his head so I could run and never look back. Now I'm on the run. And on a planet where no one is on your side and people would turn you in for a good meal or a piece of a silver, being on the run on Landu is the last place you want to be. Until he found me.

I won't survive without him.

I can't breathe without her.

On Goodreads, I came across a lot of negative reviews or bad rating, at least. I don't understand why. I know - different tastes and all that, but The Other Side of Gravity wasn't 'stupid' or 'boring' or whatever other word people wrote about it. Of course, it's not all smiling unicorns, either. There were things I didn't like as well, yes, but I'd never think of rating it with one or two stars only. When I first found out about Shelly writing this one, I was sure it'd become a huge hit, because everyone seemed so in love with her Significance books. Guess some just liked those better.

I never really thought I'd enjoy reading about future settings so much. But lately, I read a lot of these stories and I happen to like them a lot. Especially if the world within is so well figured out as Shelly did it. Honestly, I'd like to write such a book myself, but I think I'd go mad, never able to keep up with who is who or how that certain world works and such things. It's crazy. And I am really impressed by any author who manages to create another universe. You know, it's not all fantasy in this book. About the story, I mean. Because the people choose to move to another planet after the earth became a bad place. And to me, that's an important topic, up-to-date.

So, the story is told from two point of views - Maxton's and Sophelia's. To be honest, I liked reading Maxton's point of view a little more, but that's because I am a fan of getting into the boy's head in a book. At times, I was really angry at Sophelia, because she misunderstood so many things and acted all shy and then all feisty in the next scene. But coming to think of it, I think that's a needed aspect for her character. I mean, she was a slave for so long, she doesn't really know how to interact with other people, who to trust, what certain feelings mean. She's like a lost puppy. And then of course Maxton is the saviour. I adored him! Though he seemed kind of arrogant and mean in the beginning (I also didn't like that hipster language he used to with co-workers on the ship), you'll grow to love him really quickly. He's awesome!

When you start reading the book, the first few pages will kill you - emotionally. That's what they did to me. I sobbed so hard and wanted to hug my own mom so bad. I felt so sorry for Soph, aww. I feel like crying all over again. But things get better... You gotta have faith in that. It doesn't seem that way in the next chapter, but Soph never gives up hope either, so you shouldn't do it. Give this book a chance, it's not all every-human-hates-Soph-like. She had a hard time, that much is true, but please don't be annoyed by finding out about it. It's what makes the further line in the story so much more thrilling. I loved reading about Soph's and Maxton's journey, especially when they got to Maxton's family. I hope we'll get to find out more about them.

Towards the end, when the two met two guys, described as Dee and Dum (Hello, Alice in Wonderland), I got annoyed. Not annoyed, exactly, but I lost interest. Things seemed to take on speed, far too much speed. Don't get me wrong, the book is pretty big, at least that's what it felt to me, reading it on my cell. I'm not complaining about its length at all, but due to how many pages the book had, I felt like a few more couldn't hurt, just to keep the pace right. Also, when they got to the beach, that's when everything got out of control for me. It seemed too predictable. Those who read the book yet might know what I am talking about.

So, having everything said that I can think of right now, I still think The Other Side of Gravity is one of my favourite reads when it comes to other planets, sci-fi stuff. And let's face it - the cover is one of the most beautiful I have ever seen. I could stare at it for days. And for me, it captures the emotion Soph feels when she is with Maxton. I love it.

Sonntag, 22. Mai 2016

The One We Fell In Love With - Paige Toon

Title: The One We Fell In Love With
Author: Paige Toon
Rating: 4.5/5
Phoebe is caught between a rock and a hard place. Settle down and get married, or return to the French Alps to pursue her passion?

Eliza is in love with someone who is no longer hers. In fact, he probably never was… And her dream of becoming a musician seems to be spiralling down the drain.

Rose is out of a job and out of a boyfriend. To make matters worse, she’s been forced to move back in with her mother…

But these very different girls have one thing in common. Angus. The one they fell in love with...
Paige knows how much I love her books (and I hope she isn't annoyed by me yet). I shouldn't have to point it out anymore, should I? Well, I don't really care. Here you go: I absolutely love Paige's books. She's one of my very favourite authors (she's probably even my very, very, very fave!). One of her previous books called Pictures of Lily is my ultimate favourite book ever. And ever since I randomly picked up Johnny Be Good in 2012, I call myself a huge fan of Paige. She's awesome. And super kind. I'm so glad to have met her twice now. She's a sweetheart. Thanks again for taking time to talk to me, Paige!

Alright, so that's the reason I decided to write a review for The One We Fell In Love With. I usually only review books I receive on NetGalley lately, simply because I need too much time to read and review these days, so I can't do it with all the books, though I'd like to very much.

So, I'm scared some people won't give this book a chance because they think it's some kind of love triangle and yeah, we all know that gets old (not for me, but oh well...). Believe me when I say the story will hold a lot of surprises you won't expect. Pleasant surprises and one of them is called Toby and he is the sweetest male character I have ever come across with. Though Pictures of Lily will always be my favourite book, I think Toby is my favourite character now, which makes The One We Fell In Love With be my second favourite book by Paige.

I'm so afraid to give away any kind of spoilers by telling anything about the story. Which is why I won't. And I'll probably won't be taken seriously as a blogger now, but I can't risk saying too much. You'll have to read the book by yourself. I'll tell you one thing, once I got to #ThatPart I was shocked to see how many more pages the book had. For a second, I thought like: "Wait, what else can possibly happen now?" I almost feared '#AnotherPart' - haha - but luckily, your heart will only be damaged once. Or maybe twice. Tops.

Paige Toon warned us to read this slowly, not too fast. But how is that possible? Paige, you shouldn't write amazing books if you want us readers to not finish your books within a few hours or a few days. No offense! haha. So, at first I tried to read only three chapters and put it aside then, but on Thursday I couldn't take it anymore and read 3/4 of the book, which was the rest. And I cried. And I laughed. And I fell in love (with Toby, of course). All these reviews promise pretty things, and I didn't get disappointed.

Oh, and please excuse me for cheering for Toby only. Angus is the one person everyone focuses on, I guess that's what made me fall for Toby so hard. There wasn't much of a competition, haha. Anyway, Angus is one fine gentleman too. He has his weird moments, but those were mainly when he was a teenager. You'll know what I mean when you read the prologue. That short chapter makes you understand what I mean. By the way, did you know that you can read the first three chapters on iBooks? If you haven't decided whether to buy the book yet, feel free to check if those chapters are still available.

I'm having second thoughts about my review. Is it helpful? Am I being too much of a fangirl? Did I write it too quick and got my English all messed up? Yeah, the latter's most likely right. However, one last thing before I let you go and finally buy The One We Fell In Love With. After I finished the book, I listened to some music on my iPod and found four songs that fitted the story just right. At least that's the way I saw it. So, the song in the video is called Seperate by Meg & Dia. Funny how many Meg & Dia songs apply here.

Darleen's playlist for The One We Fell In Love With: (more titles might be added)
Meg & Dia - Seperate
Meg & Dia - Going Away
Tyler Hilton - I Believe In You
Meg & Dia - The One

Freitag, 20. Mai 2016

Princess of Tyrone (The Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #1) - Katie Hamstead

Title: Princess of Tyrone (The Fairytale Galaxy Chronicles #1)
Author: Katie Hamstead
Rating: 3.5/5

Thanks to NetGalley and Curiosity Quills Press for letting me receive a digital copy of this book.
Apolline is happy hunting magical creatures on her pirate infested outer-perimeter planet. She is a fantastic shot, and doesn’t flinch at the blood and guts of her kills. Never once did she consider she could be the missing Princess of Tyrone.

All her life, she has heard the story of the Princess, cursed to sleep for eternity, unless her betrothed, the Prince of Oran, gave her true love’s kiss. Although Apolline knows she is betrothed, she thinks her fairy guardians arranged it out of ignorance of human ways. The thought she could be a princess is inconceivable.

Then Allard appears. Handsome, charming—but he’s not hers to have. He’s betrothed, too. Her guardians warn her against her new found friendship, but she and Allard meet in secret anyway. Despite her rough exterior, he sees beyond her gun-slinging bravado, and their love blossoms.

But the deadline for the sleeping curse is approaching. If Apolline falls in love with the wrong person, she could end up sleeping forever.

Again, I am sorry for taking my time reading the book and writing the review. My allergies are pretty bad since April and so I don't really find enough time to read in between sneezing attacks.

Anyway, I don't say this a lot, but I can imagine this book being absolutely amazing as a TV show. Usually, producers mess a lot with books and in the end, the movie or the show is completely different than the book. Alright, I guess that could happen with Princess of Tyrone too, but the story, the characters, in my head it was a TV show already. So, please, dear producers or co-workers in the film industry, tell your people about this book, read it yourself and find some actors! This book needs to be heard and if that means airing it on TV, well then there's that.

Being in my twenties now, I find myself less thrilled about fantasy or paranormal books. Somehow, I am not a fan of those anymore. The story has to hook me right from the start in order for me to read it until the end. Luckily, that was the case with Princess of Tyrone. When I was little I knew fairytales, of course, but I wasn't really interested in them. That hasn't changed, but something about the way Katie Hamstead mixed a fairytale story and a galaxy, a future-like story, made me go on and on reading this. I enjoyed that very much.

The time of the story is an interesting thing actually. Because it has a lot of aspects from former centuries, but mainly, I pictured this story happening in the future, considering the planets, the galaxy and the way the people travel. I absolutely loved that. Kinda felt like a YA alien book to me, awesome!

Even if you don't like fairytales that much, you will most likely find aspects that you like about this book. Truth be told, magic is involved in this, yes, but what's exciting is Apolline's journey, finding out the truth about her family, about herself. And that name, come on. All the names in this book are brilliant. I like refreshing names, so well done Katie Hamstead! They didn't seem too extraordinary, but they were just perfect for the characters.

Then there is Allard, whom you will fall in love with, depending on whether you have a weakness for boys in books. I loved getting a sight inside his head, reading about his thoughts. Also, I think his and Beau's friendship fitted the story just right. Considering how Apolline only had her "aunts" to talk to, it seemed fair Allard had a best friend. And what a best friend! At some point of the story I feared he might die. You know how sometimes a background character whom you grew to love dies?! I absolutely hate when that happens. Katie didn't put me through that heartache, phew! *wipes sweat away*

If you wondered about the point of views, there aren't just Apolline's and Allard's as it usually is in other books - two point of views. The evil character in Princess of Tyrone gets her own point of view too. Which was amazing, to be honest. I didn't think I could enjoy it that much, but it fitted the story so well and added a lot of important things: Anger, pity, hate. The plot becomes more thrilling with this.

So, based on how untypical it is for me to like fairytales and everything along with that, I honestly enjoyed this book a lot. Much more than I originally thought. I'm glad to see this is only the first book in the series, because I'd like to know more about Allard's friends. Any chance on reading their story?!