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.