Thursday, January 31, 2013

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt

Princess for Hire on Amazon

The Blurb

When Desi Bascomb gets discovered by the elite Fa├žade Agency--royalty surrogates extraordinaire--her life goes from glamour-starved to spectacular in a blink. As her new agent Meredith explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient formula Royal Rouge, she can temporarily transform into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon learns that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a nasty crash diet? Or when a princess’s conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off—and you know she would want you to change his mind?

In this hilarious series debut, one girl’s dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

The Afterglow

The love I have for this book is UNDENIABLE. Lindsay Leavitt paints a perfect world that has you DYING to escape and become a princess. Of course, nothing would be a novel without a whole lot of drama, and Desi runs into her fair share of it.

This was a quirky, fun, read about a girl who struggles being a teenager. Every girl can relate to that feeling. She's unhappy about school, her job, and her friends. Falling across an add for a substitue princess sounds like a luxury almost every girl would be dying to take. She applies and lands the job... she learns several important lessons and realizes that even princesses have problems they'd like to escape.

After you read this you'll be googling for an application to be a substitue princess. The positive - You already know from Desi's experience that it won't be a walk in the park.

The GREAT news

Once reading this delicious tale you can purchase the second novel in the series, The Royal Treatment. This will set you up for the third in this trilogy, A Farewell to Charms.

Lindsey Leavitt has many more delicious tales that can be found on her website. You won't want to miss the magic.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013



On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother-to-be and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

I loved this book. I read it fully on the iPad I got for Christmas (not that anyone cares, but it’s the first book I’ve read on the iPad.).

I love Cat Crawford—even though she could easily be a spoiled brat because of her famous parents—she’s insecure, and sort of clueless. But in a really good way. I loved that we were in her head so fully—you really understand why she is the way she is, and why she doesn’t let anyone into her heart at the onset of the book.

Rachel Harris does a great job with the “Yankee in King Author’s Court” concept—Cat tries really hard to fit in, but sort of botches things up with every turn. I loved the way the sixteenth century family takes her in—and then immediately starts grooming her for her sixteenth century future. 

Awesome stuff.

And the boy? LOVED Lorenzo.

Without giving anything away, if you love YA contemporary romance, or YA historical romance, you will love MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY. It’s light in some ways, but it totally made me cry when Cat has her epiphany and it’s time for her to come home. Can’t wait for Rachel’s sequel!

Friday, January 11, 2013

STARDUST by Neil Gaiman

I received a review copy of this special edition published by HarperCollins' William Morrow which includes an early Wall story called Wall: A Prologue. The edition I received has a blue cover and gold-embossed art by Charles Vess.

I'm usually not the kind of person who can go to a bookstore and pick out a book I like.  Typically, I will see a movie I really like and will want to read the book, or I may buy a book at my wife's suggestion.

Stardust is one of the former.

Just like any young man in love, Tristran Thorn made a promise to a girl he loved (who didn't entirely love him back) that he would go so far to find a falling star for her, if it would mean her hand in marriage.  On his journey, he runs across many of the things you would find in fairy tales: unicorns, witches, human transformations, teleporting, etc.

From Goodreads:

In the sleepy English countryside of decades past, there is a town that has stood on a jut of granite for six hundred years. And immediately to the east stands a high stone wall, for which the village is named. Here in the town of Wall, Tristran Thorn has lost his heart to the hauntingly beautiful Victoria Forester. One crisp October night, as they watch, a star falls from the sky, and Victoria promises to marry Tristran if he'll retrieve that star and bring it back for her. It is this promise that sends Tristran through the only gap in the wall, across the meadow, and into the most unforgettable adventure of his life.

Stardust was made as a fairy tale for adults, so it ends up being very fun for any adult reading.  The movie left me with high hopes for the book, and I ended up loving the book even more.  There were scenes that were told so much better in the book than Hollywood could portray.  Also, the book never had many of the scenes that I didn't like in the movie.

The plot was very well done.  Any tension the author creates during the book is finally put at ease as you get near the end of the book.  The characters were also very unique, including Prince brothers that would literally kill one another, but have an unwritten obligation to seek revenge for another's death if done by someone other than family.

 I wanted to see how the book compared to the movie and in this case, the book was much better than the movie. I recommend it.

Wednesday, January 9, 2013

The Gathering Storm by Robert Jordan and Brandon Sanderson

The 12th book in the Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan. A "friend" turned me on to this series of 14, yes 14 books and I'm still friends with him.

On goodreads

This is the first one written by Brandon Sanderson due to Jordan's death in 2007. (How can he die before he's done?) I can't say that the books would stand alone well, but the character development is amazing. This one left me happy for the growth of the main characters and hopeful for their future. I can't wait to start the next one. Sanderson has to get us to the last battle  in these final two books and I'm wondering if such a build up of storyline will live up to its promises. I'll let you know.

MEMENTO NORA by Angie Smibert

Add it on goodreads

The Blurb:
On an otherwise glossy day, a blast goes off and a body thuds to the ground at Nora's feet. There are terrorist attacks in the city all the time, but Nora can't forget.

In Nora's world you don't have to put up with nightmares. Nora goes with her mother to TFC--a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic. There, she can describe her horrible memory and take a pill to erase it so she can go onlike nothing ever happened. But at TFC a chance encounter with a mysterious guy changes Nora's life. She doesn't take the pill. And when Nora learns the memory her mother has chosen to forget, she realizes that someone needs to remember.

With newfound friends Micah and Winter, Nora makes a comic book of their memories called Memento. Memento is an instant hit, but it sets off a dangerous chain of events. Will Nora, Micah, and Winter be forced to take the Big Pill that will erase their memories forever?

Angie Smibert's remarkable debut novel takes readers on a thrilling ride through a shadowy world where corporations secretly rule and consumerism is praised above all.

The Afterglow:

Memento Nora had me from hello. The title caught my interest because it was so different. Then the blurb held my interest. I immediately put it on my to-read list on goodreads, hoping to spend money on it another day since I was already maxed out that month (a common problem for me). It was just before Christmas that I remembered it. Maybe you can figure out why from the timing. I thought about all the things people wish they could forget, things they can't explain, traumatic things. And I wondered how it would be handled in a book where a pill can help you forget a trauma. 

It was handled well.

From three different points of view, Angie Smibert leads you into this world where consumerism is more than a fashion thing, it's a way of life. And if you stop consuming/buying things long enough to notice what's wrong in society, you might just disappear. 

Things I loved:
  • a friendship where half the dialogue takes place through thoughts and facial expressions because they're just that tight. And it actually works. 
  • a romance that didn't hit me over the head, was subtle and realistic in a surreal world. 
  • a character with an artistic temperament (read: crazy) who builds kinetic sculptures!
  • accidental revolutionaries
  • unique characters with solid back stories
  • the ending. Here's where I always have to be careful because I don't want to give any spoilers. I'll just say that the ending is both inevitable and surprising, troubling and satisfying. Can't figure out what that means? Me neither. Just read the book!
Also, the voice is fantastic! There's art in much of the prose, but it doesn't detract from the story at all. In fact, Winter's POV wouldn't be Winter without it.
As with many excellent books these days, this is the first in a series. I'll be hopping into the next one here soon:

add it on goodreads

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

This book was worth the time I stayed awake to read it. After all, we've all taken a day or two of being sleep deprived to finish a delectable tale. Beautiful Creatures was my latest 'eye opener'.

The Blurb:

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power, and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

The Afterglow:

I'll be honest, with Beautiful Creatures being made into a movie this February I was enticed. Just seeing a two minute preview had me wanting to dive into Beautiful Creatures just so I could know how it ended.

How did I feel?

Book One knocked me off my feet. The words read like a sweet melody. Lena and Ethan's relationship is so unique and unforgettable you'll be glad you're picking up the novel now when the other part of the series have previously been released as well.

I love that the authors chose to shy away from the term witch and create Castors, a term that allows them to truly branch out and add unique flavor to each individual who possess a power. So whether you want Lena to turn to the light or to the dark this is a tale you'll want to jump on the moment you have avaiable free time!!

Next on my agenda: Beautiful Darkness