Monthly Wrap Up: November 2013

Monthly Wrap Up

 

Books I reviewed in November:
(Links take you to my reviews)

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

Favourite Book Read in November 2013: Crash Into You (Pushing the Limits #3) by Katie McGarry

Fall For You by Cecilia Grey (Rating: 3.5/5)
Unchosen by Michele Vail (Rating: 3/5)
Love and Relativity by Rachael Wade (Rating: 4/5)
The Isobel Journal by Isobel Harrop (Rating: 4/5)
So Into You by Cecilia Grey (Rating: 3.5/5)
Diamonds are a Teen’s Best Friend by Allison Rushby (Rating: 3.5/5)
The Disgrace of Kitty Grey by Mary Hooper (Rating: 2/5)
Game Plan by Natalie Corbett Sampson (Rating: 4/5)
Break It Up by EM Tippets (Rating: 4/5)
Crash Into You by Katie McGarry (Rating: 4.5/5)
Sia by Josh Grayson (Rating: 3/5)
Wild Awake by Hilary T. Smith (Rating: 4.5/5)

 

Also in November:

 

What’s Coming Up on the Blog in December?

I’m pretty excited about some of the books I’m reviewing in December. Pawn by Aimee Carter is the first in a new dystopian society. It’s got a different social class system, interesting technology and some great characters. On the 10th I’m taking part in the Amberlin Kwaymullina blog tour – The Tribe series looks interesting. I’ve been excited about Amberlin’s books since Mandee from VeganYANerds gave The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf five stars. I’m also taking part in the Captivate by Vanessa Garden blog tour (Friday the 13th is my stop) which is exciting. I love books about mermaids and the fact that Vanessa Garden is an Australian only makes me more excited! I’ll also be reviewing All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill which is an amazing thriller involving time travel.

That’s just the first two weeks and it’s looking like December is going to be a fantastic month blog wise! I’m going to Tasmania at the end of the month – which I am so excited for. I’ve never been before and can’t wait to see all the Apple Isle has to offer! I bought a copy of The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings and plan on taking them with me on my holiday – I’m finally going to read these classic books that I’ve heard so much about.

 

 

Book Review: Diamond’s are a Teen’s Best Friend by Allison Rushby

Title: Diamonds are a Teen’s Best Friend (Living Blond series #1)Diamonds are a Teen's Best Friend
Author: Allison Rushby
Genre: Contemporary Romance, Young Adult
Publisher: Allison Rushby
Publication Date: November 1st, 2013
Pages: 138
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Nessa Joanne Mulholland, aka Marilyn Monroe’s No. 1 teenage fan, is used to moving house. This time, however, she’s relocating in movie-star style—crossing the Atlantic on board the Majestic, headed for Paris from New York City. And it really would be in movie-star style if it wasn’t for the fact that she’s bringing her cringe-fest professor dad along for the ride (Dad’s specialization: human mating rituals—need Nessa say more?). Oh yeah, and sharing a cabin that’s five decks below sea level and next to the engine room. Still, at least Holly Isles is on board. Yes, really, that Holly Isles—star of stage and screen. Suddenly, things are looking up. Looking a little Marilyn, in fact, because events are strangely mirroring Nessa’s favorite movie of all time, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.

Watch!
As Holly Isles, world-famous actress, confides in Nessa over mocktails.
Listen!
As Nessa coaches Holly in the amazing “Nessa’s Lesson’s in Love”—the ultimate man-catching rules to finding true and lasting lurv.
See!
Nessa fall for Holly’s too-cute nephew, Marc. . . and
Cover your eyes!
As it all goes terribly, horribly, embarrassingly wrong.

There’s no doubting it. This is going to be one pitchy crossing.

My Review:

Nessa Joanne Mulholland is just a teeny bit obsessed with Marilyn Monroe. But when she finds Marilynisms all the time in her daily life can she really be blamed? On a cruise ship with her dad, Nessa meets thirty-something Holly Isles, a world-famous actress and someone Nessa feels like might be a kindred Marilyn fan. Holly has three broken engagements to her name and after bonding over mocktails and maraschino cherries, Nessa starts to believe that her real life is starting to feel a lot like her favourite movie, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. Nessa takes it upon herself to be the Lorelei to Holly’s Dorothy, the Marilyn to her Jane, and comes up with Nessa’s Lessons in Love. She’s going to find Holly’s Perfect Man before the cruise is over!

This book is very cute. Nessa is an engaging main character with a lot of passion for her beloved Marilyn. At thirteen (almost fourteen!) years old, I thought there were times when he behaviour was a little unbelievable but lets face it – becoming BFFs with a movie star is a bit of a fantasy too and this isn’t a book to take too seriously. I love the idea of this book – that even 60 years after Nessa’s favourite film being released, it’s still enjoyable and somewhat relevant to modern life. The parallels from the film to Nessa’s life are beautifully done – you don’t need to have seen the film to enjoy Nessa’s antics but if you have seen it I think you’ll like how Nessa relates them to her own situation.

I love a good love story but I didn’t really connect with Marc – Nessa’s sort of love interest. He felt old beyond his years organizing and looking out for his aunt – but this only made the gap between the almost fourteen year old Nessa and the seventeen year old going on forty Marc seem even larger. That said, as eye candy for the Marilyn obsessed, he was okay and did a good job at keeping Nessa a little off-balance. Holly is lovely if not a little odd. She’s fun but I couldn’t quite imagine the educated adult woman to be taking love and life advice from a teenager she just met. But like I said before – this isn’t supposed to be real life. This is a sweet story where you shouldn’t let realism (or lack there of) get in the way of a great novel.

Fun, cute, sweet and fairly short – I’d recommend this book for younger teens. It’s clean and amusing with a quirky and entertaining main character who lets her imagination get away from her – and gets her into trouble! Diamonds are a Teen’s Best Friend is the first book in a trilogy and this is a series I definitely want to read more of – can’t wait to see what Nessa gets up to next!

Note: I decided that I need to watch Gentlemen Prefer Blondes after reading this book and I had such a great time imagining Nessa as Lorelei Lee – this movie maybe from 1953 but it’s a lot of fun. Thanks Allison for inspiring me to watch a Marilyn film!

Thanks to NetGalley for the review copy.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon

To celebrate the release of her book, Allison is hosting a Rafflecopter giveaway. You can win one of twenty gorgeous “Marilynette” wristbands from the Etsy Marilynette Shoppe. This is open internationally and if you want to enter, please click on the Rafflecopter link below. This giveaway is open until the end of December.

Click here to enter: a Rafflecopter giveaway

Top Ten Tuesday: Character Names I Love

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Character Names I Love OR Unusual Character Names

When I was thinking about this topic and jotting down names  I realized it could also be called “Things I could call my cats if I was a crazy cat lady with 37 kittens“.

So I’m super cheating – there are more than ten names on this week’s list. Too many names and not enough space in a list of ten to list all of them. So here are my names 🙂 Enjoy!

Shakespearean

Character Name(s)

Play Title

Iago

Othello

Ophelia

Hamlet

Banquo

Macbeth

Benvolio

Romeo and Juliet

Lucentio

The Taming of the Shrew

Classic Hero

Character Name(s)

Book Title

Sherlock Homes, Mycroft, Moriarty

The Sherlock Homes books by Arthur Conan Doyle

Jean Valjean

Les Miserables by Victor Hugo

Fitzwilliam Darcy

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Captain Wentworth

Persuasion by Jane Austen

Mr Rochester

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte

Heathcliff

Wuthering Heights by Emily Bronte

Don Diego de la Vega

Zorro by Isabel Allende

Athos, Aramis, Porthos and d’Artagnan

The Three Musketeers by Alexandre Dumas

Fantasy

 

Character Name(s)

Book Title

Bellatrix Lestrange, Arabella Figg, Draco and Narcissa Malfoy, Voldemort

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling

Karou

Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor

Butterfly

The Elites by Natasha Ngan

Zaphod Beeblebrox (I think this is my all time favourite character name)

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams

Gandalf the Gray and Aragorn

Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

Four

Divergent by Veronica Roth

Adrian Ivashkov and Dimitri Bellikov

Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Finnick

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Chaol

Throne of Glass by Sarah J Maas

 

crazy

Character Name(s)

Book Title

Cricket Bell

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins

Westley (Dread Pirate Roberts)

The Princess Bride by William Goldman

Veruca Salt

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl

Hazel

Watership Down by Richard Adams

So those are my favourite names. I didn’t include Sancho Panza from Don Quixote which is another favourite of mine because that actually is what my cat is named 😛

I’d love to know what literary people or characters you’d name your imaginary (or real!) cats! So please feel free to leave me a comment 🙂

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Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Wish Had Sequels/Spinoffs

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created at The Broke and the Bookish.

Each week they will post a new Top Ten list that one of their bloggers over at The Broke and the Bookish will answer. Everyone is welcome to join.

The topic for this week is: Top Ten Books I Wish Had Sequels 

After thinking about this for a while, I realized that for most standalone books – I love how they finished. Adding another book would just dilute whatever I thought was so great to begin with. There were a few that I’d love to have a sequel (and I’ll list them here) but for the most part – how awesome would spin offs be? There are so many fantastic secondary characters that I’d love to get to know more about.

Sequels:

The Host by Stephenie Meyer – Ever since this book was first released there was talk about two more books – the Seeker and the Soul. Whilst I think that The Host was a perfect stand alone book… I sort of want to see what happens next. Does true love prevail? (my thoughts… probably). Will Ian get confused considering the body switching (Probably not. But I would like to see him and Jared get into a fight again). Will Wanda find some sort of non-violent passive way to save the world? (probably. And there will be some kind of non-aggressive stand off where everyone wins…). Yay!

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen – I know there have been many books about Elizabeth and Darcy written by other people putting their own slant on what happens next. And I’ve read a few and even liked many of them. But how fantastic would it be to read it from Ms. Austen’s own hand. I want to know what she thought married life between these two rather headstrong people would have been like.

Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman – I just finished reading this book and… I don’t ant to leave this world just yet! I’ll wait patiently for a sequel… ok. Maybe not so patiently…

The Princess Bride by William Goldman – Bring on Buttercup’s Baby!

Looking for Alibrandi by Melina Marchetta – I’d love a chance to see what Josie’s life was like now.

The Host (The Host, #1) Pride and Prejudice Neverwhere The Princess Bride Looking for Alibrandi

Spin Offs:

Sarah Dessen – I love her books and for the most part I like how everything ends at the conclusion of one of her novels. But HOW AWESOME! would a compilation of novellas be. With just a tiny snapshot of what’s happening to my favourite characters.

Harry Potter – Who would I want to see a spin off in this series? It’s so hard to pick. Dumbledore as a youngster, the Marauders, The Next Generation? So many untold stories that I would love to get to witness as a reader

The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger – I enjoyed this book. It was slightly bizarre and oh-so heartbreaking. And I wanted to know more. I want to know if Alba (is it just me or does her name remind everyone of Jessica Alba?) manages to have a happy life.

Georgina Kincaid series by Richelle Mead – I love this adult paranormal romance series. I think it’d be fantastic to get to read more about this world of demons and angels. Maybe a story featuring Hugh as a main character, or what Roman’s life is now. Or go back and experience life though Jerome’s eyes. So many choices…

The Heiresses by Allison Rushby – My favourite character in this novel was Aunt Hestia. How fantastic would a story about her and how she became the woman she turned out to be.

The Moon and More Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone (Harry Potter, #1) The Time Traveler's Wife Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, #1) The Heiresses

That’s my top ten. Now – I know that a lot of them probably wouldn’t be as good with extra instalments. But a girl can live in hope 😀 Hope you’ve all had a great week and I can’t wait to see what sequels you wish had been written!

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Book Review: The Heiresses by Allison Rushby

Title: The Heiresses 
Author: Allison Rushby
Genre: Historical, New Adult
Publisher: Pan Macmillan 
Publication Date: May 2013
Pages: 352
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
In Allison Rushby’s Heiresses, three triplets–estranged since birth–are thrust together in glittering 1926 London to fight for their inheritance, only to learn they can’t trust anyone–least of all each other.

When three teenage girls, Thalia, Erato and Clio, are summoned to the excitement of fast-paced London–a frivolous, heady city full of bright young things–by Hestia, an aunt they never knew they had, they are shocked to learn they are triplets and the rightful heiresses to their deceased mother’s fortune. All they need to do is find a way to claim the fortune from their greedy half-brother, Charles. But with the odds stacked against them, coming together as sisters may be harder than they think.

My Review:

Thalia, Erato (also known as Ro) and Clio are triplets separated at birth who could not have lived more different lives. Thalia , a lively girl with a party spirit, lived with a busy family but isolated from loved ones. Ro is as scholarly as her adopted uncle and spent her days at boarding school broadening her mind. And then there’s Clio – the youngest – who grew up in meagre surroundings but never lacking for love.

These three girls are strangers in every way but blood and brought together by their Aunt Hestia upon their birth father’s death. A fortune being held from them, family secrets and the complicated business of growing up brings drama to them. Will they stand together or fall divided?

This book started its life as an e-serial – a five-part digital series of novellas. I think that’s such a cool concept. And I don’t think I’ve ever seen any other historical fiction aimed at the New Adult market. Because of its form there are mini cliff-hangers at the end of each novella which I liked – there is always something happening to keep my attention.

The girls themselves are so much fun to read for different reasons. Thalia is the belle of the upper society social set – giving the party girls of the day a run for their money. Clio is trying to find her feet in a world that is more dream (or nightmare) from her every day reality. And then there’s Ro – my personal favourite – who is so logical and measured but when faced with love, her common sense gets in the way. They are each charming in their own way and the best part of the novel for me as a reader was seeing how they each faced the same situations with such varied backgrounds.

The supporting characters and villains are fantastic at propping up the three sisters in their search for truth and family. Aunt Hestia is very interesting and I’d love to be able to read her back story (Allison – if you ever wrote a novella regarding Hestia I’d devour it in an instant!).

I recommend this book for fans of historical dramas like Downton Abbey. There’s scandal in a way that only books set in a past era can deliver as well as quirky yet charming characters and sinister villains.

.

Thanks to Allison Rushby and Pan Macmillan for the review copy

 

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon | Barnes & Noble| Book Depository| Pan Macmillan


Book Review: Shooting Stars by Allison Rushby

Title: Shooting Stars 
Author: Allison Rushby
Genre: Contemporary, Chick Lit
Publisher: Walker Children’s
Publication Date: February 2012
Pages: 272
Rating: 3.5 stars

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Meet Josephine Foster, or Zo Jo as she’s called in the biz. The best pint-sized photographer of them all, Jo doesn’t mind doing what it takes to get that perfect shot, until she’s sent on an undercover assignment to shoot Ned Hartnett—teen superstar and the only celebrity who’s ever been kind to her—at an exclusive rehabilitation retreat in Boston. The money will be enough to pay for Jo’s dream: real photography classes, and maybe even quitting her paparazzi gig for good. Everyone wants to know what Ned’s in for. But Jo certainly doesn’t know what she’s in for: falling in love with Ned was never supposed to be part of her assignment.

My Review:

Josephine Foster, daughter of paparazzi royalty, can pap with the best of them. In fact, armed with her handy faux-iPod camera and sneaky sunglasses cam, little Zo-Jo is the best stealth celebrity stalker (I mean paparazzo) in the business. But she’s not happy with the dirty world of underhanded tactics. All she really wants is to get enough money to do the portrait photography course she’s got her heart set on and leave the business of snapping celebrities to someone else.

When Jo is offered the opportunity to get all the remaining money she needs in one  job, she’s not as eager to accept as one might expect. That’s because her client wants her to spy and take photos of singer-songwriter Ned Hartnett – the celebrity who showed her kindness a few years ago and has held a special place in Jo’s heart ever since.

After reluctantly taking the job of going undercover in the rehab facility in Boston for teens with non-substance abuse kind of issues, Jo is having a moral dilemma. Ned doesn’t recognize her but Jo is falling even further for the star with every passing day. Doe she betray the boy she is starting to really care about or does she take the chance to finally get out of the game for good and take the money and the photos?

I enjoyed reading this book. Last night I couldn’t sleep so I picked up my copy and started reading. Before I knew it, I was over three-quarters of the way in and by that stage I couldn’t stop before the end. It is a fun read. From the start I enjoyed being privy to Jo’s life as a paparazzo and just what it entailed for her.

It’s a little cheesy in places and there were some parts that I sort of found a little unbelievable but this is not real life – it is a novel – and I found it very entertaining. I did feel a little cheated by the ending. This whole novel revolves around Jo and how she’s not quite all she seems. She goes to the retreat as a way to get close to Ned but whilst she’s there we see that she has some real issues of her own that she needs to deal with. I felt like that part of the story was glossed over a little. I know it’s not a deep and meaningful book but it seemed like we had the big reveal and then it wasn’t really addressed in a way I was satisfied with.

There is a lot to like about this story: the characters are entertaining and there were a few complete surprises in terms of the plot. I enjoyed the journey the author took me on.

In many ways this reminded me of a Meg Cabot novel (Teen Idol in particular) and I recommend it for anyone who appreciates teen stories where the hero is a bit of a heart-throb celebrity.

Purchase the novel from:

Amazon