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Posts Tagged: France

Monday, February 9, 2015

Audio Review: Going Rogue by Robin Benway

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, Audiobook, Review, Young Adult2 Comments

Audio Review: Going Rogue by Robin BenwayGoing Rogue by Robin Benway
Narrator: Robin Benway
Series: Also Known As, Book 2
Also in this series: Also Known As
Published by Brilliance Audio on 14 January 2014
Genres: Action & Adventure, Adolescence, Contemporary Romance, Espionage, Friendship, Love & Romance, Mystery & Detective, Social Issues, Young Adult
Length: 7 hours 22 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars
Also by this author: Also Known As, Emmy & Oliver

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Paris, France

First Line(s): In September 2004, French police discovered a hidden chamber in the catacombs under Paris.

Going Rogue is the follow-up to Robin Benway’s girl spy story Also Known As and it picks up not long after the first book ends.  Maggie is living the life that she thought she always wanted that of a normal high school teenager. Only being normal isn’t all that its cracked up to be and Maggie finds herself missing her days as a spy. Then something happens and soon her parents are accused of crimes they didn’t commit and the whole agency, known as the Collective, that they work for seems to be crumbling around them. Its then up to Maggie and her good friend Roux to try and clear her parents names and to save the day.

As with the first book I found myself engrossed in the story and couldn’t wait to see what happened next. There were times when things seemed a little over the top and unbelievable but Benway makes it all work. Going Rogue has such a great cast that you are willing to suspend a little bit of belief because they all seem so real. I loved getting to know the characters from the old book better and meeting new ones along the way. I also liked how this book took us from New York to Paris and was just such a fast paced, unputdownable read.

Going Rogue Quote

Like the first book, Going Rogue, was narrated by the author and overall I think that she did a good job. Although I did find that her Australian and Irish accents weren’t the best. In fact, they made me cringe a little but I have heard worse and you have to admire an author who is able to carry the narration so well as you don’t typically see authors as narrators.

Going Rogue was a fast-paced story that will have you on the edge of your seat. Its a fun book filled with lots of snark and laugh out loud moments. Its a book that I was sad to see end and its one of those books that I’d like to see more installments of. I think that there is still more story to tell plus I am just not ready to let go of these characters and this quirky, spy-filled world that they live in.

 

irishdarkblue

IR - Going Rogue

four-stars
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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Travel Log: AnnaARC in Paris

Posted by Irish in Contest, Travel Log16 Comments

AnnaARC Banner

 

 

Greetings and Salutations Internet!

As some of you know I recently went on a trip to Paris with a friend and with me I brought my advanced reading copy of Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins, aka AnnaARC. The reason why I brought the ARC as opposed to a finished copy is this, not long before I left on the trip I was talking with AndiABC’s and she mentioned that she’d really love to find an ARC of her favorite book, Anna and the French Kiss. I told her that I thought I still had mine and did a quick look and it practically lept into my hands off my shelf so eager it was to find a new home with Andi. We then made a deal that she’d read the first Harry Potter and I would give her my ARC and since I wasn’t going to meet up with Andi until after my trip to Paris I thought that I would bring the book with me so she’d have a book that had seen the sights that were mentioned in the book. And maybe a few that weren’t but were places that Anna and her friends would probably have seen at some point during her stay in the city. =)

Everything in bold italics is a direct quote from Anna and the French Kiss (my review).

AnnaARC visits Sacre Coure #gailandthefrenchtrip #annaandthefrenchtrip #paris #france #bookstagram

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

First up was Sacre Coure Cathedral which sits up high on a hill and overlooks the city. It was our first view of the Eiffel Tower and was right next to my stairs (Rue Foyatier) and there was a pretty carousel at the bottom. After visiting Sacre Coure we stopped for some crepes for lunch.

AnnaARC stops for some crepes #annaandthefrenchtrip #paris #france #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

“The sidewalks are crowded with students and tourists, and they’re lined with identical benches and ornate lampposts, busy trees ringed in metal grates, Gothic cathedrals and tiny creperies, postcard racks, and curlicue wrought iron balconies.”

This is such an apt description of Paris and the street where we found these crepes. Although unlike Anna I did not eat the nutella and banana crepe as I do not like nutella. Following lunch we took another queue from Anna and the gang and went to the Père Lachaise Cemetery

“The five of us – Mer, Rashmi, Josh, St. Clair, and I – are traipsing through the Cimetiere du Père Lachaise, located on a hillside overlooking Paris. Its like a miniature city itself. Wide pathways act as roads through neighborhoods of elaborate tombs.”

Le Père Lachaise Cemetery #gailandthefrenchtrip #paris #cemetery #lepèrelachaise #france #iseedeadpeople

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

We saw several famous graves including this famous(?) crypt.

 

“Victor Noir. He was a journalist shot by Pierre Bonaparte,” St. Clair says, as if that explains anything. He pulls The Hat up off his eyes. “The statue on his grave is supposed to help…fertility”
“His wang is rubbed shiny,” Josh elaborates. “For luck.”

 

We also stumbled on this crypt which made AnnaARC sad for obvious reasons.

 

And no trip to Paris would be complete without a stop for some macaroons!

 

 

 

“The art museum is called the Louvre and it’s shaped like a pyramid and the Mona Lisa lives there along with that statue of the woman missing her arms.”

 

 

Venus de Milo #gailandthefrenchtrip #paris #louvre #france #venusdemilo

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

We turn a corner and – there it is – the River Seine. The lights of the city bob in the ripples of the water. I suck in my breath. It’s gorgeous. Couples stroll along the riverbank, and booksellers have lined up dirty cardboard boxes of paperback books and old magazines for browsing. 

And then, as we’re turning our attention back toward the river, I see it.

Notre-Dame.

AnnaARC at #notredamn #annaandthefrenchtrip #paris #france #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

The building is like a great ship steaming downriver. Massive. Monstrous. Majestic. It’s lit in a way that absurdly reminds me of Disney World, but its so much more magical than anything Walt could have dreamed up.

 

La Seine #gailandthefrenchtrip #paris #france #seine

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

We have to cross a bridge to get to it. I hadn’t realized it was built on an island. St. Clair tells me we’re walking to the Ile de la Cite, the Island of the City, and its the oldest district in all of Paris. The Seine twinkles below us, deep and green and a long boat strung with lights glides under the bridge. I peer over the edge. 

I glance back and find St. Clair toddling on the road, several feet away from the edge of the bridge. For a moment, I’m confused. Then it hits me. “What? You aren’t afraid of heights?”

St. Clair keeps his eyes forward, on the illuminated figure of Notre Dame. “I just can’t fathom why anyone would stand on a ledge when there’s a respectable amount of walking space right next to it.”

 

Notre Damn at night #nofilter #gailandthefrenchtrip #notredamn

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

We have a perfect view of the entrance – hundreds and hundreds of tiny figures carved into three colossal archways. The statues look like stone dolls, each one separate and individualized. “They’re incredible,” I whisper.

“No there. Here.” He points to my feet.

 

 

I look down, and I’m surprised to find myself standing in the middle of a small stone circle. In the center, directly between my feet, its a coppery-bronze octagon with a star. Words are engraved around it: POINT ZERO DES ROUTES DE FRANCE.

“Mademoiselle Oliphant. It translates to ‘Point zero of the roads of France.’ In other words, it’s the point from which all other distances in France are measured.” St. Clair clears his throat. “It’s the beginning of everything.”

I look back up. He’s smiling. 

“Welcome to Paris, Anna. I’m glad you’ve come.”

After my friend and I visited Notre-Damn we took the reverse route of Anna and Etienne and walked by the Sorbonne:

The Sorbonne #gailandthefrenchtrip #paris #france

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

And the Middle Ages Museum as seen below:

 

Middle Ages Museum courtyard #paris #france #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

We pass another enormous structure, this one like the ruins of a medieval castle. “God, there’s history everywhere,” I say. “What is this place? Can we go in?”

 

We also went to the Pantheon – the dome was hidden by construction stuffs so cut most of that out of my photos. =)

AnnaARC visits the Pantheon #annaandthefrenchtrip #paris #france #gailandthefrenchtrip #pantheon

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

…but ahead of me the Pantheon shimmers. Its massive dome and impressive columns rise up to crown the top of the neighborhood. 

St Clair glances at me from the corner of his eyes and smiles. “A pantheon means its a place for tombs – of famous people, people important to the nation.”

“Is that all?” I’m sort of disappointed. It looks like it should’ve at least crowned a few kings or something.

He raises an eyebrow.

“I mean, there are tombs and monuments everywhere here. What’s different about this one?” We climb the steps, and the full height of the approaching columns is overwhelming. I’ve never been this close. 

“Who’s buried here?” 

“Er. Rousseau, Marie Curie, Louis Braille, Victor Hugo -“

“The Hunchback of Notre-Dame guy?”

“The very one. Voltaire. Dumas. Zola.”

AnnaARC visits Voltaire #annaandthefrenchtrip #pantheon #france #voltaire #pantheon #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

To get to the crypts you have to walk through the large upper level filled with columns and the dome but alas Foucault’s pendulum was down for some sort of repair.

 

In the Pantheon #gailandthefrenchtrip #paris #france

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

Then you get to the stairs….which are described as such [St. Clair’s] mood changes the moment the stairs come into view. The spiral staircase down to the crypt is steep and narrow. My irritation is replaced by worry when I see terror in his eyes. I’d forgotten about his fear of heights.

Stairs! (Really you can't be surprised by this) #gailandthefrenchtrip #paris #france #pantheon #stairs

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

When my friend Michelle saw the stairs to the crypt she laughed and said St Claire was afraid of these? They aren’t that steep? Michelle had just read Anna and the French Kiss (AnnaARC to be exact) and so it was all fresh in her mind. Later on I looked up the passage and laughed as well because there weren’t very many stairs and they really weren’t steep at all. The stairs in the Arch de Triumph were far steeper. It should also be noted that the stone wall was very smooth and not rough as described.

Behind the Pantheon is this building…

AnnaARC at Saint Etienne du Mont #annaandthefrenchtrip #paris #france #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

We’re standing in front of an absolute beast of a cathedral. Four thick columns hold up a Gothic facade of imposing statues and rose windows and intricate carvings. A skinny bell tower stretches all the way into the inky blackness of the night sky. “What is it?” I whisper. “Is it famous? Should I know it?”

“Its my church.”

“No.” He nods to a stone placard, indicating I read it. 

“Saint Etienne du Mont. Hey! Saint Etienne.”

And no trip to the Latin Quarter with AnnaARC…where the Middle Ages Museum, the Pantheon and Saint Etienne du Mont is…is complete without a stop by this place:

 

 

And then the darkness gives way to white neon. An Art Deco font, burning into the night, announces arrival at the CINEMA LE CHAMPO. The letters dwarf me. Cinema. Has there ever been a more beautiful word? 

 

AnnaARC at Shakespeare & Co #annaandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

It starts drizzling, so we pop into a bookshop across from Notre-Dame. The yellow-and-green sign reads SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY.

While there AnnaARC did something scandalous and shocking and her mother may not approve but I believe that Andi didn’t mind one bit when she saw.

Here are some other things that AnnaARC and I did while in Paris. We visited the Eiffel Tower

AnnaARC at the Eiffel Tower #annaandthefrenchtrip #eiffeltower #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

Went to see the Arch de Triumph

AnnaARC at the Arc de Triomphe #annaandthefrenchtrip #arcdetriomphe #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

AnnaARC under the Arc de Triomphe #annaandthefrenchtrip #arcdetriomphe #fire #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

Where we climbed the almost 300 stairs to the top to check out the views

 

 

We went to Versailles and wandered the gardens and saw the hall of mirrors

 

AnnaARC tours the #versailles gardens #annaandthefrenchtrip #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

Walked bridges over the Seine and saw lots and lots of locks

 

Finally paused with all the walking to take a picture of the cool metro station signs

 

AnnaARC heads down the Metro #annaandthefrenchtrip #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

 

Went to the Chateau de Vincennes which is your typical medieval castle and was just an amazing find that Michelle stumbled upon in the guidebook.

AnnaARC visits a castle! #annaandthefrenchtrip #vincennes #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

We also took the train to just outside the city and visited Disney Paris

 

AnnaARC goes to Disneyland Paris #annaandthefrenchtrip #DisneyParis #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

Which was all decorated for Halloween

 

Happy Halloween @andiabcs from AnnaARC #annaandthefrenchtrip #DisneyParis #gailandthefrenchtrip

A photo posted by Irish (@irisheyz77) on

 

And no AnnaARC tour of Paris would be complete without a stop here, to this fountain:

 

First Kiss

 

“What are we doing?” His voice strained.

He’s so beautiful, so perfect. I’m dizzy. My heart pounds, my pulse races. I tilt my face toward his, and he answers with an identical slow tilt toward mine. He closes his eyes. Our lips brush lightly. 

“If you ask me to kiss you, I will,” he says. 

His fingers stroke the inside of my wrists, and I burst into flames.

“Kiss me,” I say. 

He does. 

 

So there is it…AnnaARC’s tour of Paris, if you want to see more of my Paris photos just head over to Instagram and search the hashtag #gailandthefrenchtrip. Now that you’ve made it to the bottom of this post you deserve a reward! Which brings us to the contest portion of the hour.

IMG_4337

In the above photo you will see all that you can win…there are two tote bags, one from Shakespeare and Company in Paris and the other is the Anna, Lola, and Isla tote that you may have seen given out as promo for the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After (my review). Along with the totes are buttons from the series (see photo below), a bookmark from Paris – this is from the Middle Ages Museum and features a unicorn from one of their unicorn tapestries, and finally there is a book of love poems by Pablo Neruda which I bought in Shakespeare and Company.

Buttons

Neruda Love Poems

He holds up a collection of poetry. Pablo Neruda. “Have you read this?”

I shake my head.

“Good. Because I bought it for you.”

“What?”

“It’s on our syllabus for next semester in English. You’d need to buy it anyway. Open it up,” he says. 

Confused, I do. There’s a stamp on the front page. SHAKESPEARE AND COMPANY, Kilometer Zero Paris. 

 

To enter you must be in the US (so international folks, its just too expensive to ship overseas) and use the rafflecopter below!

 

a Rafflecopter giveaway
 

 

irishdarkblue

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Thursday, August 14, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

Posted by Irish in 5 Stars, Review, Young Adult3 Comments

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie PerkinsIsla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins
Series: Anna and the French Kiss,
Also in this series: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door
Published by Dutton on 14 August 2014
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Emotions & Feelings, Family, Friendship, Love & Romance, Parents, People & Places, Road Trip, Self-Esteem & Self-Reliance, Social Issues, Young Adult
Pages: 352
Format: ARC
Source: Publisher
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Audible|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
five-stars
Also by this author: Anna and the French Kiss, Lola and the Boy Next Door, Summer Days and Summer Nights

Place(s) Traveled To: New York City, New York // Paris, France // Barcelona, Spain // Angouleme, France

First Line(s): It’s midnight, it’s sweltering, and I might be high on Vicodun, but that guy – that guy right over there – that’s him.

Like so many others I’ve been counting down the days until the release of Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. We first met Isla back in 2010 in Perkins’s book, Anna and the French Kiss, and my heart went out to her character in that story. Long before we knew that the final book would be her book I was hoping that it would be as there was just something about this shy, awkward girl that resonated with me. It has been a long wait since Isla was first announced and while I was sad at the times when it was delayed I do think that she was worth the wait. There is just something so special about Isla’s story that is hard to put into words. Its just so poignoit and beautiful and I just want to live within its pages. I devoured this book the day it landed on my doorstep as I couldn’t wait to experience this world or Perkins’s writing again for the first time. But one reading wasn’t enough and before I leant it to a friend I did another slow read savoring the words and then a snapshot read reliving small moments as I recorded some of my favorite quotes.

Isla is a character that I think many can relate to. She’s smart and funny and yet also shy and insecure. She doesn’t have many friends and her relationship with her younger sister is awkward at the best of times. Isla is flawed and makes assumptions about others based on how she would approach things and so tends to judge a little too harshly at times when the people she knows aren’t as black and white as she wants them to be. And then there is Josh, this boy who seems more alone than any character I’ve met previously. All of his friends have graduated and as he built his entire SOAP experience around them the void they leave make being a thousand miles away from home all the more difficult. Like Isla he’s a shy person but he has hidden this aspect of himself as this loud, boistrous, adventourus persona that those around him forget the real person that he was back in Freshman year.

The story of Isla and Josh is heartbreaking and perfect and so very real. There are misunderstands and heartbreak but throughout their whole story is this real, genuine and lasting love story. These are characters that I think will stand the tests of time and be those high school sweethearts that are together forever. I loved the journey of Isla and Josh and my heart did that heart-achey thing that I just makes me feel all the feels. This book made me laugh and cry and when I turned then final page I just sat there and patted the back cover giving a little sigh of happiness at a well told story. One that I think fans of Stephanie Perkins will be happy with.

The thing I like best about Isla and the Happily Ever After is Isla’s growth as a character throughout the entire book. You see one version of her in Anna and the French Kiss and then over the course of the book she goes through new and different versions of herself. Who she is at the end of the story is different from who she is at the begining and yet she is still Isla through and through. Josh too goes through some great charater growth and I love him all the more for it. I also really liked how neither Isla and Josh were dating other people during the course of the book. Those were aspects of Anna and Lola and the Boy Next Door that I wasn’t thrilled with. And most of all I enjoyed the small cameos of the characters from Perkins’s other books in this one. I liked how they were true cameos and how none of them took over Isla and Josh’s story as Etienne sometimes did in Lola. I did think there was one moment that was a little corny and unneccessary but I think that it will bring joy into the hearts of fans of that story.

Isla and the Happily Ever After is a story that can be read on its own or you can read it as a companion to the other Anna and the French Kiss books. I like how singular it is and even if you don’t know who Anna, Etienne, Lola and Cricket are in their cameo scene you do get a sense of their personailties but you don’t feel as those you are missing something in that moment. Of the three books, Isla is my favorite as it just had the most depth and feeling for me and I am so happy that its out in the world but also sad because the story is over. Perkins is such a gifted story teller and you can be sure that I am eagerly awaiting her next book and will be buying it the moment that its available.

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irishdarkblue

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Isla Quote

five-stars
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Friday, April 4, 2014

Review: Running Back by Allison Parr

Posted by Irish in 3.5 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Running Back by Allison ParrRunning Back by Allison Parr
Series: New York Leopards, Book 2
Also in this series: Rush Me, Imaginary Lines
Published by Carina Press on 21 October 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Dating & Sex, Love & Romance, New Adult, Sports & Athletics
Pages: 229
Format: eARC
Buy on Amazon|Buy on Barnes & Noble|Buy on Book Depository
Goodreads
three-half-stars
Also by this author: Rush Me, Imaginary Lines

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Dundoran, Ireland // Paris, France

First Line(s): Three archaeology professors sat before me, frowns on their faces as they decided whether or not to give me the most important grant of my life.

I was excited when I first heard about Running Back by Allison Parr as I enjoyed her debut new adult romance, Rush MeRunning Back featured Mike O’Conner who we first met in the Rush Me and I was interested in reading his story as he seemed like a fun guy. Running Back was also partially set in Ireland and so I thought that this one would be a total win. Only I found that I had a hard time getting into it. I just didn’t connect with Natalie’s voice right away and it took several attempts before I made it past the first chapter. Then when I did it didn’t seem like Mike was as pleasant as in the first book and it made me a little sad.

While I liked that there were more layers to Mike they just didn’t always ring true and his reasons for not letting Natalie dig on his land seemed a bit over the top. Though once he stopped being a jerk to her he was actually pretty nice and I enjoyed their story. However, it was the side characters that held most of my focus in this story. I was glad to see cameos of Rachel and the team but I loved the scenes with Mike’s sisters and his mother. His aunt’s nephew also added some entertainment into the mix as well. These scenes made me wish that this was a dual POV story so that 1) we’d learn what Mike was thinking and 2) we’d get more time with his sisters and other family.

As a character, Natalie annoyed me at times. I liked that she was smart and she fought for what she believed in but she seemed to let others in her field walk all over her. She did so much just to get the project up and running but others often took the credit. That is until things didn’t go as expected and then they were quick to pass the blame. So I was glad that Mike saw her worth and told her the things that he saw in her that made her great. I liked how this book was more about Natalie and her job than it was about Mike being a football star. It was refreshing change just as it was nice when Mike was a nice guy for most of the book. Its easy to forget that there are nice guys out there when the ones you read about all tend to be a-holes or fit into the bad boy mold.

Once, I really focused on Running Back I found that I enjoyed the story. Natalie and Mike fit well together and I liked how they balanced each other out. I liked the change of pace in a sports story to focus on something other than the career of the male lead and yet it still kept it relevant to his story. This was a fun read and it can be read independently of Rush Me since the bulk of it takes place outside of New York and that world. Running Back is also currently free to download from Amazon and BN (and maybe at other ebook retailers as well) so you should go DL it if you are looking for a few New Adult sports themed romance.

irishdarkblue

three-half-stars
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Monday, December 2, 2013

Review: Only For You by Beverly Kendall

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review1 Comment

Review: Only For You by Beverly KendallOnly For You by Beverly Kendall
Series: ,
Published by Self-Published on 30 December 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 340
Source: Netgalley
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: All Over You

Place(s) Traveled To: Warwick, New York // Paris, France

First Line(s): Did you know in your mind a lie can morph into the truth if you tell it to yourself long enough?

Only for You by Beverly Kendall was originally published under the title When in Paris and is a new adult contemporary romance. Only for You is a dual POV story and alternates between the two title characters Olivia and Zach. This is normally a plot device that I enjoy as you get a better understanding of what each character is thinking. Its also an easy way to tell a story as you can tell more than show.

Olivia and Zach have known each other for years as they went to the same high school although Zack always seemed to go out of his way to ignore and be mean to Olivia and she had no idea why. When he transfers to her college and seems to want to be friends, she is unsure what to think. There’s a lot of back and forth between the two and you learn why Zach was so stand-offish in high school and its not something so terrible that they can’t move past it. They just have to do that thing that is so hard to do in books. Communicate. I swear half the books published in the world wouldn’t exist is the characters actually talked about the issues that were bothering them.

Anywho, Zach and Olivia have obvious chemistry and sparks and they become an item while on a school trip to Paris. There things get all muddy and murky again because of the previously mentioned lack of communication. You see, Zach doesn’t want to be in a relationship and Olivia is a virgin looking for love. Neither of which mentions these two very important details until they are ready to head back stateside after romping around the city of love for a week. I think at this point my head hit my desk for a few beats because it was just all so cliche.

*heaves heavy sigh*

There is then some more back and forth between the two where Olivia continually acts all high and mighty and tosses back at Zach how horrible he treated her when she gave him her v-card. A thing he didn’t know until a week later when he dropped bomb of not wanting to be in a relationship and she was all tears and but I gave you my viriginity and he was all….como say what now? It just kept going around and around and I really wasn’t sure if I wanted these two to end up together because they were acting like bratty children.

Eventually all the things get revealed, including the deep dark secret that Zach has been holding on to and they get their happily ever after. However, I was a bit disappointed that the declarations of love didn’t happen until AFTER the epilogue. To me, a romance is all about getting to the point where the characters finally get over themselves and their hangups and be all open and honest and declare themselves to the other. It was disappointing when this was just sort of tossed in randomly at the end. As if it was an afterthought.

Only For You is a quick read and I managed to read it in just a few hours. Its not the best example of new adult out there is there is a lot of telling and not showing. But if you are looking for a quick read when sick or after a heavy duty story then you might find yourself enjoying this one.

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Review: Caught Up in Us by Lauren Blakely

Posted by Irish in 3 Stars, New Adult, Review0 Comments

Review: Caught Up in Us by Lauren BlakelyCaught Up in Us by Lauren Blakely
Series: Caught Up in Us,
Also in this series: Pretending He's Mine
Published by Self-Published on 20 January 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 240
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
Goodreads
three-stars
Also by this author: Pretending He's Mine, The Thrill of It

Place(s) Traveled To: New York, New York // Paris, France // Mystic, Connecticut

First Line(s): He was my first mistake.

Caught Up in Us by Lauren Blakely is a new adult title told from Kat Harper’s POV and is a all about lost loves reconnecting. Bryan Leighton was Kat’s older brothers best friend in college and first met Kat when she was 17 and he spent the summer with her family. Bryan is several years older than Kat and they quickly fell for each other until quit suddenly Bryan broke it off and disappeared from her life. Years later, Kat is a successful jewelry designer finishing up her business degree and looking to expand her line. Her path reconnects with Bryan’s when he’s assigned as her mentor.

As a reader, you’d expect sparks to fly instantly when these two reconnect or even for Kat to be more upset about having to work with Bryan than she was. Ok, maybe upset to too strong a feeling as one would expect her to move on from her 17 year old self but she just seemed a bit passive about it all. The emotions Kat felt just never seemed to delve too far beneath the surface and she’d run cold and hot and never seemed to stick with her decisions. Though I did like her scenes with Bryan. I liked their story and I thought that it was fairly realistic.

The plot was decent though it did seem to drag for the first half of the story. This lead to the ending feeling a bit more rushed than I would have liked. It also left less time for Kat to have many reactions to learning about why Bryan broke up with her when she was 17. Though when you learn why Bryan broke things off it makes sense and your heart breaks a little as a result. If I was Kat I would have been more demanding in wanting to know why.

Overall, Caught Up in Us, was a quick read and I pretty much read it in a single sitting. Its not super deep or groundbreaking but it was a fun new adult read. I enjoyed the characters and while I do think that they all could have had a bit more depth to them I do plan on reading the other books in this series.

Caught Up in Us Series Order
Book 0.5: Caught Up in Him (This is was available as a free DL on BN but its really not worth the time it takes to read it, yes it is the start of Kat and Bryan’s romance when she was 17 but everything in this novella is covered – almost word for word – in the main story. Nothing is added to the story by reading this one. Though could serve as a good example if you are on the fence on reading Caught Up in Us)
Book 1: Caught Up in Us
Book 2: Pretending He’s Mine
Book 3: Playing with Her Heart

irishdarkblue

three-stars
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Friday, August 30, 2013

Review: Anywhere by J. Meyers

Posted by Irish in 4 Stars, New Adult, Review, Young Adult6 Comments

Review: Anywhere by J. MeyersAnywhere by J. Meyers
Published by Self-Published on 25 August 2013
Genres: Contemporary Romance, New Adult
Pages: 256
Format: eARC
Source: Author
Goodreads
four-stars

Place(s) Traveled to: Paris, France // Rome, Italy // Venice, Italy // Baratolo, Italy // Bern, Switzerland // Barau, Switzerland // Munich, Germany // Rothenburg, Germany // Arcachon, France // New York, New York

First Line: “Do you think there’s a phrase for this in French?” Paige called out from the tiny yellow bathroom, her voice wobbling.

When I first heard about Anywhere by J. Meyers I was immediately attracted to it as not only is it a road trip book, but its a road trip book set in EUROPE. I adore Europe and get there every chance I get and so I just loved the idea of backpacking through several countries…even if it was just in the pages of a book. Anywhere is told entirely from Skye’s POV and while sometimes this was annoying it was also right for the story. I say annoying because Skye could sometimes be annoying. She’s 22 and never really been off on her own doing her own thing so she’s really just coming into her own. When her Plan A fizzles she is off to Plan B and that leads her to Asher.

If ever there was a swoon worthy guy its Asher. He’s just so sweet and fun and the perfect person for Skye in that moment. He helps her to find her courage and be brave enough to go on the adventure that she’s always dreamed of. Their romance is quick but it never feels rushed. There is no insta-love but there is a fast friendship which deepens into something more. It feels real and wonderful and I loved reading about their journey together. The fact that they were in Europe just seemed to make it all the more magical. I also loved the relationship that Skye had with her brother. Their exchanges were so cute and fun, that as a reader, you get a real sense of their bond for each other.

Skye’s mother on the other hand….well, she is your typical horrible mother in a YA/NA novel. She doesn’t listen and tries to guilt and berate to get what she wants. And for most of Skye’s life she’s given in think that maybe if she did she’d get approval. But when it comes to the reason why Skye left I think she made the right decision and she made the right decision to finally start standing on her own two feet and listening to what she wants. Not what other people want for her. If there was a character that I would like to punch in this book it would have been her. I cringed each and every time that Skye had to talk to her and I applauded when Skye found her courage and stood up to her. I am sure that the ocean between them helped and I hope that Skye continues to live for herself and not her mother when her adventuring is done.

I also liked Paige and wish that we’d seen more of her. Though if Paige was there then there may have been no Asher so I am glad that things ended up how they did. Because, hello Asher. lol That thing at the end that he did….if you’ve ever read Persuasion and liked that letter well then you know the sort of heart achy feels that happens in this part of the book. Like I said. Total swoon worthy character and he totally makes up for any imperfections of this book.

Because there are some imperfections like Meyer’s overuse of parenthesis  I think by the end my eye was getting a little twitchy (really it was) (I mean it). What almost made me lose it was parenthesis used when a video was supposed to be playing. Because people don’t speak in parenthesis…at least not in my brain…and so there should have been none. *deep breath* Ok my rant is done…its a minor quibble but for me they began to take me out of the story. Especially when a phrase in parenthesis was followed by another set of them. *eye twitch*

The other minor quibble I had was a phrase that Skye loved to say. She’d ask a question and then quickly say “no wait don’t answer unless the answer is x.” and it was cute at first but by the end of the book I was ready to never see those words again. Though at the same point the phrase was so perfectly Skye. So while it annoyed me by the end it didn’t make my eye twitch like the minor issue I had above.

Other than that I really enjoyed this story. It was a quick read and it was fun to get lost in its pages. I hated to have it end and really wish that it had gone on more to see where Skye ended up and what happened at that thing she had to get back for. There could have been some deliciously awkward scenes but I guess I’ll just have to imagine what would happen in my head. And when I still think about a book after its final page then you know that its worth taking the time to read. So go forth and pick this one up. If you like fun contemporaries then you will like this one. It reminds me a little of Anna and the French Kiss mixed with some of my other favorite reads.

A good quote that describes Skye and Asher

four-stars
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Thursday, April 19, 2012

Review: Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized4 Comments

Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Source: Publisher/Purchased
Publication Date: 01 April 2012
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 054762834X
Format: Paperback (ARC)
Pages: 549
The Author on the Web:
Place(s) Traveled to: St Lyphard // Ile de Seine // Vannes // Guerande // Nantes – all in Brittany (1485)
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
First Line: I bear a deep red stain that runs from my left shoulder down to my right hip, a trail left by the herbwitch’s poison that my mother used to try to expel me from her womb.
Related Posts: Teaser Tuesday // Read the first chapter here (Redirects to Robin LaFever’s website)
His Fair Assassin  Series Order
Book 1 – Grave Mercy
Book 2 – Dark Triumph (~Spring 2013)
Book 3 – Dark Hope (~Spring 2014)
I have to admit when I first saw Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers on Netgalley I was skeptical. There was nothing about it that called out to me that I must read it and so I never put in a request. Then it seemed like all these bloggers, whose opinions I really trust, were reading it and raving about it and I was bummed that I didn’t get my hands on a copy when I had a chance. The raving comments from my blogger friends just had me salivating for this one. So I was super when the opportunity for a review copy came up. 

I was drawn into Ismae’s world faster than I thought possible. Often with a historical novel the setting up of the history and the world can get in the way of the story with a dry regurgitation of facts. But LaFevers weaves in all that we need to know about the real history and what she invented in a seamless way that it never once gets in the way of the story. And Oh what a story this was!! I am very mad at myself that I ever doubted that this would be a good book because in the end it turned out to be one of the best books I’ve read all year. Seriously.


The whole idea of nun assassins is just genius and I love how blood thirsty that Ismae was…it made me giggle a bit when she’d ask Gavriel after every person they met if she could kill them. But I also loved how honorable she was – she wouldn’t kill if they didn’t have the mark and I loved how her character changed and grew over the novel. She starts off barely tolerating other people, with the exception of her sisters, but she learned to put her trust not only in others but also in herself. She learned how to think and rationalize and that the world is not always black and white but there are multiple shades of grey. 


I also loved the support cast – Gravriel, de Lorache, the Beast, Anne and even the more diabolical ones that so threatened Anne of Brittany’s reign. And oh how I loved that little tidbit of history! Anne, a 12 year old duchess ruling a nation at a time when women had so little rights….wonderful! But don’t let her young age fool you, the average life span in the middle ages was around 30-40 so a 12 year old then was far older/wiser than a 12 year old of today. I loved the setting as well, I’ve always had such a fondness for the Middle Ages and that alone should have sold me on the book when I first heard of it. I can only claim temporary insanity that I once tried to dismiss this book. I am deeply shamed at myself because it was just so utterly fantastic that I would have greatly missed out if I didn’t listen to the hype. 


That’s right…not only is there a lot of hype around this book but its also not misleading. Any regular reader of my blog knows that I tend to be severely disappointed in over-hyped books. But that was not the case with Grave Mercy. This is a book that I was bullying people in bookstores to read before I was even 1/2 way done. I even forced one of my co-workers, who is a reader but not a huge one, to pick it up. Everything about this book was solid. The plotting, the characters and the setting. There is humor, intrigue, romance, mystery, kick ass characters (of both genders) and murder. So essentially, there is something for everyone in this book. 


There is so much to love in this book that its impossible to capture it all in a review. So I highly recommend that you dash out to your nearest bookstore and grab a copy so that you can experience this one for yourself. Then you can join me in the long wait for Book 2, Dark Triumph, which just sounds fantastic! And before you start to fear cliff-hanger endings know that this is not the case with Grave Mercy. The story ARC is closed up in a very satisfactory way but you can see the seeds that are sown for the second book. I can’t say it enough, Grave Mercy is a fabulous read and I can’t recommend it highly enough!

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Friday, October 7, 2011

Kiss of Night by Debbie Viguie (Blog Tour)

Posted by Irish in Blog Tour1 Comment

Publisher: FaithWords

Source: netgalley
Publication Date: 07 Oct 2011
Series or Standalone: Series
ISBN: 0446570869
Format: ebook
Pages:304
Websites:
Rating: 2 out of 5 stars
First Line: The young mother had been by her child’s bed throughout the night. (Prologue)
Kiss of Night Series Order
Book 1: Kiss of Night
Book 2: Untitled (assumption its a series based on ending of KoN)

When I was approached a few weeks ago to be on the blog tour for Kiss of Night I jumped at the chance as the premise sounded so intriguing….and have you seen that cover?!? These two things gave me high hopes for this book. Though sadly, I almost put it down after the prologue and the first chapter didn’t help much to change those feelings. The prologue was just so out there and even now after finishing the book I still don’t get where it fits into the book as a whole.
The story focuses around three different points of view: Susan, David and Raphael. Raphael is a centuries old vampire who was cursed for the sins he committed in his life. He is on a quest to get something back (the something is never really disclosed) and stop a war among vampires from happening. To help him, there is Susan and David and a vampire monk named Paul. Susan and Paul have clearly defined roles in the story but David’s was always a mystery. And I found myself bored with his narratives. They seemed more like filler and never really did much to advance the plot. I thought at one point that he might be a potential love interest for Susan but it was quickly made clear that wasn’t the case.

I think that I would have liked this book better if it wasn’t so opened ended. The plot set up took so long that by the time you find out about the big bad that Rafael needs help with the book is pretty much over. And there were some plot points (like that whole epilogue scene) that was just too predictable that I found myself rolling my eyes. I really wish that there were more plot points that were closed by the end of this novel. I am in such a series fatigue that it takes a lot for me to really want another book and I hate feeling like I’m forced into it. But the only way to know what happens is to read the next book. If there is a next book. I haven’t looked super hard but a quick search didn’t really reveal much on the issue.
In the end, this was a book that seduced me with a pretty cover and a charismatic synopsis but the first date was a bit of dud. It was hard to retain interest and the dialogue was choppy at best. I gave the book a big chance and read it cover to cover – normally when a date doesn’t go well. I make an excuse and leave in the middle but I stuck this one out. So that is something. Though what exactly I couldn’t tell you. Kiss of Night wasn’t a bad book. It just wasn’t for me.

Kiss of Night Blog Tour Schedule
October 3

http://www.renees-reads.blogspot.com/
http://torilounge.blogspot.com/
http://www.bittenbybooks.com/
http://steelergirl83.blogspot.com/
http://mybookaddictionandmore.wordpress.com/
http://www.moonlightbookreviews.com/
http://www.edgyinspirationalromance.com/

October 4

http://www.a-fair-substitute-for-heaven.blogspot.com/
http://fredasvoice.blogspot.com/
http://www.kittycrochettwo.blogspot.com/
http://www.heartofabookworm.blogspot.com/
http://practicalfrugality.blogspot.com/
http://www.electrifyingreviews.com/
http://myonlyvice.blogspot.com/

October 5

http://www.myfriendamysblog.com/
http://ashleysbookshelf.blogspot.com/
http://inthehammockblog.blogspot.com/
http://overweight-bookshelf.blogspot.com/
http://www.seasonsofhumility.blogspot.com/
http://www.mikeduran.com/
http://www.tickettoanywhere.net/

October 6

http://rbclibrary.wordpress.com/
http://www.reviewsbymolly.com/
http://www.bibliophilesretreat.com/
http://www.bookswithbite.net/
http://reviewsfromtheheart.blogspot.com/
http://www.tinasbookreviews.com/
http://itstimetoreadmamaw.blogspot.com/

October 7

http://books-movies-chinesefood.blogspot.com/
http://afewofmyfavoritethings-michelle.blogspot.com/
http://bookzone.atwc1.com/
http://proudbooknerd.com/
http://www.amusingreviews.blogspot.com/
http://www.talesofwhimsy.com/
http://www.libslibrary.blogspot.com/

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Monday, September 5, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Posted by Irish in Uncategorized12 Comments

Publisher: Doubleday

Source: Amazon Vine
Publication Date: 13 September 2011
Series or Standalone: Standalone
ISBN: 0385534639
Format: Paperback(ARC)
Pages: 400
Websites:
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Related Posts: Friday Fragment

First Line: The circus arrives without warning.

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is one of those rare books that is almost impossible to describe. Because in the describing you just give away the plot and when that is brought down to mere inadequate words the magic seeps out of it.  This is a book about a circus. Its a book about people and magic and mystery. Its a romance and its intrigue. Its all of those things and yet none of them at the same time. Its a book that more than anything I just want to crawl inside and spend the rest of my days living in its world.

While I may not be able to clearly define what The Night Circus  is I can tell you what its not. Its not a series, what you find in these pages is all that you will get. This was a hard one for me to deal with in this day where almost every book that comes out seems to be a series. Which is funny as I am suffering from series fatigue but I did not want this story to end. Although I loved how the story played out. All the threads that it contained were woven so intricately and subtlety that when you hit the end and you sit back you discover this amazing tapestry of a tale has been created. 

This isn’t a book with a lot of bells and whistles. There are no bangs or thumps in the night. There is no villain or orphaned hero who must rise up and save the day. There is just Celia and Marco. Widget and Poppet. Isobel, the twins, Bailey, Chandresh, Frederick and Prospero the Great. There are just ordinary people living extraordinary lives. Caught in this web of magic an mystery that is The Night Circus. Its a simple story with a slow burn and yet at the same time its not.

The Night Circus isn’t YA. Its not Harry Potter or Twilight or whatever the next great series or widely talked about book will be. This is a book written for adults. But the themes and the story can have loads of cross over appeal. This is a book that can span generations and a 90 year old grandmother can enjoy reading and discussing it with her 17 year grandchild. Its a book that I think can appeal to both men and woman. To me, The Night Circus defies classification or labels and that I think that is giving main stream media a run for its money. People like to label things. If you like x then you’re sure to like z or book a is the next c. These aren’t the sort of tags that you can place on a book like The Night Circus.

The Night Circus is a book that stands all on its own. Its unique and wonderful and its a story that I’ve never seen before nor do I expect to see it again. Its a bit like the circus that is described in the book, one day it appears where before it was not and it will linger on in your memory long after it is gone.

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