30 October 2010

In My Mailbox #61

Yay, I got some more amazing books, but that's hardly surprising since, y'know, I kinda bought them and I obviously wouldn't if I didn't think they are fantastic, LOL! So here's are some of the books I couldn't resist buying recently - those that have arrived in the past week:

HESTER'S STORY by Adele Geras - I came across this book quite randomly and I was immediately captivated by the cover and the premise - ballet and a mystery, totally my cup of tea! It's apparently mostly sold out so I was over the moon when it was still available at Book Depository, yay!
THE NAME OF THIS BOOK IS SECRET by Pseudonymous Bosch - This one is suspiciously similar to Lemony Snicket's ASOUE and the rumour has it this might be one of his alter egos! In case you didn't know, I thought ASOUE was positively brilliant and this book really does sound quite a bit like it so I just had to have it immediately! Knowing me, I'll probably order the rest of the series before I even read this book, lol.
THE SECRETS OF SOPHIA MUSGROVE: DANCING & DECEPTION by Janey Louise Jones - Look at this cover! Don't you just love it?! This sounds & looks like a totally cute historical YA read - another one that I just *had* to have as soon as I saw it, hehe.

Hope you're all having a wonderful weekend, darlings!
Me? Oh, you know, I'll just be reading THE DISTANT HOURS!!! I started it today and I'm loving it already and my plan is to dedicate the whole weekend to it! :)

27 October 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: The copycat edition!

Sadly, I haven't done this meme in a while due to all the crazyness that's been my life lately, but to get back on the scene I decided to do it a bit differently this time - I picked my favourite three WoW picks that were featured on the blogs I follow. This way I discovered three completely new books and I love the sound of each and every one of them, woohoo!

The Vespertine
by Saundra Mitchell
[March 7th, 2011]
>>> spotted @ ~*Loves to Read*~
The summer of 1889 is the one between childhood and womanhood for Amelia van den Broek—and thankfully, she’s not spending it at home in rural Maine. She’s been sent to Baltimore to stay with her stylish cousin, Zora, who will show her all the pleasures of city life and help her find a suitable man to marry.

With diversions ranging from archery in the park to dazzling balls and hints of forbidden romance, Victorian Baltimore is more exciting than Amelia imagined. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. Newly dubbed "Maine’s Own Mystic", Amelia is suddenly quite in demand.

However, her attraction to Nathaniel, an artist who is decidedly outside of Zora's circle, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him. And while she has no trouble seeing the futures of others, she cannot predict whether Nathaniel will remain in hers.

When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia's world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.
Yay, this one is set in my favourite period of time and it sounds so mysterious!

Falling in Love with English Boys
by Melissa Jensen
[23 December 2010]
Sixteen-year-old Catherine Vernon has been stranded in London for the summer, no friends, no ex-boyfriend Adam the Scum (good riddance!), and absolutely nothing to do but blog about her misery to her friends back home. Desperate for something, anything, to do in London while her (s)mother's off researching boring historical things, Cat starts reading the 1815 diary of Katherine Percival her mom gives her, and finds the similarities between their lives to be oddly close. But where Katherine has the whirls of the society, the parties and the gossip over who is engaged to who, Cat's only got some really excellent English chocolate. Then she meets William Percival, the uber-hot descendant of Katherine, and things start looking up ...
Ooh, yes, I love me some English boys always & forever! :D

Fractured: Happily Never After
by Joanna Karaplis
[1 November 2010]
>>> spotted @ Oh My Books!
Everyone knows a fairytale or two. They’re the kind of stories that seem to stick with you. Maybe it’s the magic. Maybe it’s the handsome prince. Or maybe they’re just the absolute perfect place to lose yourself for a little while.

But what would happen if Snow White were around today? Would Cinderella still need a fairy godmother? And would the Little Mermaid show up on YouTube?

Joanna Karaplis has put an unexpected spin on Snow White, Cinderella, and The Little Mermaid; she’s quietly fractured the stories and then reassembled them for the 21st Century. So, while there may not be a whole lot of horse-drawn carriages and magic potions, you can be sure that there will be at least one evil witch and maybe even a handsome prince (or two)…
How intriguing and I love the cover!

25 October 2010


Heartbreak, headlines and Hermes – welcome to Brooke's new world…
Brooke and Julian live a happy life in New York – she's the breadwinner working two jobs and he's the struggling musician husband. Then Julian is discovered by a Sony exec and becomes an overnight success – and their life changes for ever.
Soon they are moving in exclusive circles, dining at the glitziest restaurants, attending the most outrageous parties in town and jetting off to the trendiest hotspots in LA.
But Julian's new-found fame means that Brooke must face the savage attentions of the ruthless paparazzi. And when a scandalous picture hits the front pages, Brooke's world is turned upside down. Can her marriage survive the events of that fateful night at Chateau Marmont? It's time for Brooke to decide if she's going to sink or swim …

I'm such a sucker for 'rags to riches' stories so I was really looking forward to reading this one! To tell you the truth, I've never read anything by Ms Weisberger before - I've only *seen* The Devil Wears Prada (loved it!), which I own a copy of along with Everyone Worth Knowing, and I'm definitely planning to read both eventually, they really do sound like my type of reads ... Well, so did this one, but I was left unimpressed ... Don't get me wrong, this is certainly not a bad book by any means, I actually quite enjoyed it, but I just thought it lacked that X factor, something special ... But I'll get back to that later.

The story revolves around Brooke and Julian's relationship and their world, which turns upside down when Julian, previously a struggling musician, becomes a massive star overnight. The lives change almost immediately and it's no surprise that they're struggling to adjust to all the changes, however fabulous they may be. Sure, they're partying with all the biggest stars and the money's not a problem anymore, but while Julian is playing the biggest shows and touring the country, Brooke's job is suffering and she's often lonely. On top of it all, the paparazzi are following them 24/7 and printing lies and speculations and trying to break them apart ... Brooke is not sure she can cope with all the madness - how much is enough to ruin her marriage? Will Julian even try to prevent it?

As I said, this is certainly an enjoyable read and I can't really fault it, but for me it was just missing that spark ... I often have this problem with American chick lit where I feel like I'm just watching the story through the window and I don't really connect with the characters all that much. On the other hand, I often find British and Irish chick lit so much more fun to read - it's often not just about following the story, but also about having a blast while reading it!
So while this book didn't make me fall asleep or roll my eyes, it also didn't make me laugh or engage me, I was more like, "Oh, I see, okay ..." On the plus side, I did enjoy reading about the lifestyles of the rich and the famous (beware, there is a lot of name dropping and celebrity cameos in the book, which I thought was rather fun).

Obviously recommended to chick lit fans, but not quite the best the genre has to offer, in my humble opinion.

overall rating:
plot: 4/5 | writing: 3/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 3/5

24 October 2010

In My Mailbox #60

Wowzers, two IMMs back to back?! Jeez, I don't think I've ever stooped this low before, yikes! :( How exactly did this happen? Oh yeah, that's right, I was still busy out of my mind, but but but the awesome news is that I've actually (FINALLY) finished translating that book today so now I might actually have some free time after work, woooohooooo! Yes, that means I can actually read now and post reviews and comment and stuff! I've been neglecting all this for the past months, but now I'm back, yay!

More good news: I got some awesomesauce books this week! LOOK!

HAZEL by Julie Hearn - I saw this one over at The Story Siren and ordered it as soon as I read that it's about the suffragettes! Couldn't resist and I'm really excited about this one!

BRIGHT YOUNG THINGS by Anna Godbersen - OMG!!!!! SQUEEEE!!!!! This is one of those Books of the Years that I've been really excited about (along with Mini Shopaholic & The Distant Hours) and I was over the goddamn moon when it arrived! It's the UK paperback so it will match my the Luxe series, which I loved! I've been waiting for this book forever and now I finally have it, YAAAAAAAAAY! Excuse the hyperventilation, but this makes me really happy! :D

RAE by Chelsea Rae Swiggett (aka The Page Flipper) - I finally got myself a copy of this! I've been looking forward to reading this book ever since I first heard about it and I have a feeling it might hit quite close to home ...

Hope you've all had great book weeks too! :)

17 October 2010

In My Mailbox #59

Yes, yes, I knoooow, I've been a horrible blogger for far too long and those of you who still bother to visit this little site are probably sick and tired of my excuses, but honestly - I'm just putting the finishing touches on the book I've been translating in the past weeks and on top of my day job, it's pretty much all my life is about right now. It's not terribly fun and exciting, it's just craaaaaazy busy and thus I've no time left for blogging or reading. This saddens me, but on the other hand I love translating, it's what I've always wanted to do so I can't complain really. But I'm so ready to finish this book! My deadline was errrr yesterday (*blush*), but that was impossible what with everything that's been going on so I managed to get it extended by a few more days, phew.

My life is now completely pre-occupied with that right now, but I've had SUCH an EPIC book week that I just couldn't resist doing an IMM this week (kindly hosted by The Story Siren, as always). OMG, just look at all the AMAZING books I got!!!!!

BOUGHT: historical & chick lit

THE DISTANT HOURS by Kate Morton - WOOHOOOO!!!!!!!! You have NO idea how happy I was when this book arrived! Having loved Morton's previous books (The House at Riverton & The Forgotten Garden), this is one of the books I've been looking forward to the most this year and I cannot wait to read it - I just know it's going to be amazing! It's massive, well over 600 pages, so I'll probably take like one whole weekend off from real life and just focus on the book. It'll be magic and I can't wait! YAY!
A WEEKEND WITH MR DARCY by Victoria Connelly - I honestly bought this book mostly because of the cover. I'm not a massive Austen fan and I don't have a thing for Mr Darcy (I'll take LUKE BRANDON over him anytime!) so this book is not very high on my TBR pile, but I bought it because I appreciate the cover art. Yes, I'm indeed that shallow, but I'm sure the publishers don't have a problem with that. :p But seriously, how BEAUTIFUL is this cover?! I know, right? :)
DOWN TO EARTH by Melanie Rose - Another book I was attracted to by the cover, but but but here the story actually sounds amazing and really intriguing! I own Ms Rose's previous two books as well, but sadly I haven't read them yet. I've heard great things about them so I expect them to be fantastic!

BOUGHT: young adult

REVOLUTION by Jennifer Donnelly - Another book I've been waiting for for too long! I haven't read anything by Ms Donnelly yet (although I own all her books), but this one sounds really good!
THE EXILE OF GIGI LANE by Adrienne Maria Vrettos - I've been wanting to buy this book for months and then I just couldn't resist it anymore so I bought it. It's supposed to be good - can't wait to find out!
STARS OF ICE by Kay Woodward - The third installment in the Skate School series. I haven't read the previous two, but I'm just buying the series because I'm planning to read it eventually. A skating boarding school - who could resist?!
SUGAR AND SPICE by Lauren Conrad - Another series that I own but haven't read (jeeez, I own far too many unread books!). This is the last book in the LA Candy series, which I bought because of all the hype. Yes, not only am I shallow, but also weak. :( In my defence, it's meant to be good stuff though!


THE BIRTHDAY PARTY by Veronica Henry - I've posted about this book before, saying how much I adored the cover, and then this book kindly arrived in my mailbox, courtesy of Orion. What a wonderful surprise! The cover is even more STUNNING in person, it's even sparkly and all! Gorgeous, absolutely gorgeous!
DEADLY by Julie Chibbaro - Ooh, this one sounds promising! I was kindly sent an ARC by the author and I really like the sound of this book so you can expect my review around the pub date, which is February 2011!

Phew, so that's it in terms of news from my mailbox! What did you get? :)

9 October 2010

Review: MOCKINGJAY by Suzanne Collins ***

Hi there! As you can see, there will be no IMM as I only got one book this week and it seems a bit silly to feature just that (although I've done it before). So I've decided to save that for next week and post a review instead!
Things are still pretty boring around here, but that's because I'm just finishing up the book I'm translating. It's due in a week (massive eeeeeeeek, still so much to do) so I have to focus on that to make it happen, which means I have to neglect blogging and reading for the time being, sorry. But I promise to be back very soon! :)

Anyway, moving on to the review ...
Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she's made it out of the bloody arena alive, she's still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge... The thrilling final instalment of this ground-breaking trilogy promises to be one of the most talked-about books of the year.
As you may remember, I absolutely LOVED the first two installments in The Hunger Games trilogy (my reviews here and here). The Catching Fire ending was spectacular and I couldn't wait to read Mockingjay – there was just so much potential, but I'm afraid that Mockingjay left me a tad disappointed and I made me go ''HMMMMM …'' instead of the usual ''WHOOOA''.

Why, you might ask? Well, I'm afraid I can't answer that without SPOILERS so please don't read any further if you don't want to know what happens in the book. Consider yourself warned!

So you're OK with spoilers? Right, well, the main reason why I didn't enjoy the book as much as I expected to is that it just felt too … different. Nothing like the other two books, which had a strong psychological element to them, but this one was far too military to my liking. It reminded me of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows – another book where everything changes and it's all about war. Mockingjay certainly portrays the physical and emotional effects of war very convincingly and realistically, but somehow the book just felt too different from what I was used to.

Another thing this book has in common with HP7 is that everyone dies. That's not a massive surprise when there's war going on, but I felt that these deaths were brushed off too quickly … For example, Cinna was one of my favourite characters and I was convinced he was still alive and I kept waiting for him to show up – but he never did. I really disliked how death was never properly explained and it really touched me the most. Overall, there were too many important deaths too quickly and the author just made them feel unimportant when I was like, HELLO, something major happened here, why aren't we paying it more attention?! I honestly didn't like that at all and I would've prefered more respect to be paid to the deceased characters that I grew so fond off (Finnick & Prim among others). I know this is nothing new for Collins since the deaths before (e.g. of the tributes) were always quickly brushed off, but those were some random people and this were actually important characters ... But I guess that's my problem since I'm too sentimental whereas Collins handled this the proper way without dwelling on what you can't change.

Not only did the story feel different, but the characters were changed too, which was to be expected based on what they've all been through and I suppose that made them even more real. But somehow I couldn't warm up to them and I just felt like I was following the whole thing from a distance rather than being engrossed in the action like in the previous two books, which was a shame. I honestly can't explain it, all I can say is that it was all too different. It was a logical shift from the previous books, but I struggled a bit to adapt to it.

As for the ending … I've always liked both Peeta and Gale so I didn't really care who she ended up with, they were both nice guys (well, for the most part). I was surprised by Gale's move and sorry that their story ended so abruptly – this was again another thing I wanted more closure and explanation on. I suppose the ending was nice and bittersweet (I'm talking about the epilogue here, the scenes before that were quite horrendous, yes), but not quite as mindblowing as I expected.

On the plus side, the novel was typically realistic - perhaps even too much so if you're squeamish like me. It's brutal and not a single gory detail is spared and there's no place for sentimentalism. As I said before, these books are definitely not my typical reads, but they're just so well written that they just suck you in, take you on one hellouva ride and then don't let you go easily once you're done with them - oh no, these are the kind of books that stay on your while for a loooong time ...

All in all, this was an OUTSTANDING series, it's just the final installment that didn't really live up to my very, very high expectations, but I still think it was a spectacular and a very powerful read, just different to what I expected. You'll find a lot of people who were completely blown away by the conclusion and thus I urge you to give this series a go if you haven't already as it's most definitely worth reading!

overall rating:
plot: 3/5 | writing: 4/5 | characters: 4/5 | cover: 3/5

6 October 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: VIXEN by Jillian Larkin/Lila Fine

Jazz . . . Booze . . . Boys . . . It's a dangerous combination.

Every girl wants what she can't have. Seventeen-year-old Gloria Carmody wants the flapper lifestyle - and the bobbed hair, cigarettes, and music-filled nights that go with it. Now that she's engaged to Sebastian Grey, scion of one of Chicago's most powerful families, Gloria's party days are over before they've even begun . . . or are they?

Clara Knowles, Gloria's goody-two-shoes cousin, has arrived to make sure the high-society wedding comes off without a hitch - but Clara isn't as lily-white as she appears. Seems she has some dirty little secrets of her own that she'll do anything to keep hidden. . . .

Lorraine Dyer, Gloria's social-climbing best friend, is tired of living in Gloria's shadow. When Lorraine's envy spills over into desperate spite, no one is safe. And someone's going to be very sorry. . . .

From debut author Jillian Larkin, VIXEN is the first novel in the sexy, dangerous, and ridiculously romantic new series set in the Roaring Twenties . . . when anything goes.
Ooh, I am SO excited about this book! Being a fan of the 1920s, I can't wait to get a copy as I just love the cover and the description! It comes out on 14th December 2010 and I just know this will be the beginning of another fab series!

It sounds a quite a bit like Bright Young Things, the new series by Anna Godbersen, which I am also ridiculously excited about! The first reviews are surfacing and people are saying it's even better than the Luxe series - how's that possible?! I can't wait to find out!

Looks like winter 2010 is all about the flappers, woohoo! :)

4 October 2010


The fairytale ending was just the beginning…
Jessie Woods absolutely believes in fairytale endings. So would you if you had a recession-proof career as a daredevil TV host, a palatial pink mansion, and the dream boyfriend.
But, quicker than you can say Cinderella, her life falls to pieces and suddenly her prince isn't quite so charming, her party-loving friends disappear and even her faithful friend Visa no longer loves her… Utterly heartbroken and jobless, Jessie is forced back home, to live with her stepmum and two evil stepsisters.
Is it time for her to give up on the dream - or will Jessie learn that happy endings can come in the strangest of places?
I've never read anything by Ms Carroll before, but I fell head over heels in love with this book just based on the gorgeous cover and I knew I had to have it! This was the first book I read on the plane to my holiday and it was a fantastic read, even better than I expected!

I've seen it described as 'fairytale gone backwards' or something like that and I think it's quite a fitting description, although Jessie's life only appears perfect, when in fact it's anything but - all her friendships are terribly superficial and she can't even afford the luxurious lifestyle she's been sucked into. When she's thinking things might be improving, her life suddenly comes crashing down. She makes a huge mistake, loses her job, her Prince Charming is gone and she's forced to move out of her pink house now that she's drowning in debt ... Plus the paparazzi are watching her every move! Worst of all, she's forced to move in with her step mother Joan and her step sisters Maggie and Sharon, who spend their days stuffing their faces in front of the TV. And this is when the fun really begins, ha!

This isn't quite the happiest story out there, but despite some more serious issues, the novel is chock full of HUMOUR. The book had me in stitches in places and I wished I wasn't reading it on the plane where I had to contain my giggles, hehehe!

I loved loved loved the characters! Jessie was a bit of a ditz occassionally, yes, but she was just so loveable! I expected some sort of a diva, but she was anything but. She was really down to earth, not high & mighty at all, which was clearly displayed in how she handled her fall from grace - she was determined to do anything to make ends meet and no job was below her, despite her previous fame. I loved her step family too, especially Sharon and Maggie - they were also both endearing characters that only added to the hilarity of the whole shebang!

I enjoyed the story too and I liked the twist, although there were some other bits that were a bit predictable (it was too obvious who she was going to end up with) ... Nonetheless, I have no complaints whatsoever - the story was great to read and with the help of brilliant characters (who transformed quite a bit as the story progressed) and amazing writing it really jumped off the page!

Also, reading this, I've come to the conclusion that nothing beats Irish chick lit - it just has this special charm to it and its trademark humour that I adore and awesome words like 'eejit' and 'minging', hahaha. I also liked how the title and the cover seemed a bit random - until the very end when they both made perfect sense!

All in all, this is an absolutely FANTASTIC read and I cannot recommend it enough, especially if you're a fan of Sophie Kinsella, Marian Keyes, Jenny Colgan and other brilliant wit lit authors! And HELLO, how could you possibly resist a cover like this?! It's one of my all-time favourites and the book is worth buying just because it's sooo gorgeous, I couldn't stop staring at it when I wasn't engrossed into it!

In short: this is a cupcake of a book - too pretty and oh so delicious! I want more, please! :)

overall rating: +
plot: 5/5 | writing: 5/5 | characters: 5/5 | cover: 5/5

3 October 2010

In My Mailbox #58

Heeellooooo, darlings! :)
It's been a while, eh? As you may remember, I've been on holiday for a week, which was FANTASTIC, got home last Monday but then I've had the mother of all craaaazy weeks and honestly didn't have a minute or an ounce of energy for blogging. :( So this hiatus was completely unplanned, but I'll hopefully start posting normally now - I have quite a few reviews to write of the books I read on holiday!

Anyway, the past weeks have been rather uneventful in terms on new books - I only got these three books, which were all purchased by me!

Just two more weeks and then I'll have much more spare time, yay! :) Excuse the inactivity here, but I'll be back soon, I promise! Toodles for now! :D