Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review of For the Record by Charlotte Huang

Title/Author: For the Record by Charlotte Huang
Publisher/Date published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, November 10th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like... until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level — not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band — and their fans — love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule... Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

So I am totally in love with shows and books about the music industry and the people in it. Music is such a part of my life and I wish I had the skills to actually make music myself, but the most I can do is sing along (WAY out of tune) while in the car/alone in my home/at clubs. So I was super excited to read For The Record, cause it sounded really cute and just my kind of thing.

The thing is, I did like For the Record, but from the summary I would have thought that there would be more swoons. And it was sadly lacking in swoony moments for me. I mean, I liked Chelsea, I did feel like she could have stood up for herself a bit more while the whole band was being a jerk to her. I mean, wow, I get that they don't like that she's been pushed on them by their label, but that's not really her fault and just GROW UP ok? So it sucks that your last lead singer didn't work out. I felt that they should really just have given Chelsea a fair chance from the start or that they should have told their manager they weren't ok with a label-picked new lead singer and that they wanted to pick one themselves. The problem with their attitude was that I wasn't really feeling any of the guys. I can get where they're coming from, but it's not endearing, and it's also what made me a bit iffy about the feelings Chelsea develops for Beckett (as alluded to in the summary), one of the guys from the band.

While Beckett may not have been the one who was nastiest to Chelsea, he's not really supportive either and so he seems like a nice guy underneath, but I was just over it and needed a whole lot of convincing to start rooting for them. Add in the REALLY bad choice Chelsea makes by hooking up with Lucas Rivers, who is just a little too smooth for my liking and also just an arrogant douche. This does not make for swoony reading for me.

Another problem I had with For the Record is that Chelsea's best friend joins them on tour as the merchandise girl and then breaks one of the rules and after that makes a huge NO-NO that made me question whether she was actually Chelsea's friend. I mean, WOW. I can't imagine doing that to my best friend. Or any of my friends. Or even one of my lesser known acquaintances. That was just crossing the line WAY OVER. The line is not even in sight anymore.

I did like reading about the band being on tour and all of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. I liked the backstory about Chelsea's hometown and what happened to her with her former boyfriend, though it did make me wonder if EVERY boy she meets has douchebag potential, I mean, there are some good ones out there. I liked the whole insight in to what it's like to live on a bus with the same people for months and getting cabin fever and all that, that was pretty fun. And I liked discovering that there's a whole lot more to the band drama than we get at first sight, I'd sorta guessed some of it, but OMG it was WAY worse!

I just wish that there had been more swoons, cause I was really counting on this to be a cute contemporary with a huge swoonfactor (I mean, how can making music with a guy you like be anything less than romantic??), but it never fully got there for me.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review of Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Title/Author: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Fire, November 3rd 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads summary: They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own — and that the year is 1925 — she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandra discovers a truth that puts their growing love — and Lawrence's life — into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history... or risk losing Lawrence forever.

I was SO hoping to love this book, and while I did enjoy it, it wasn't all that I'd wanted it to be.

I'm a sucker for time-travel romance, there's just something about the whole idea of going back in time, I'd LOVE to be able to do that. So I was a little disappointed by the fact that Cassandra and Lawrence really only meet on the beach. I mean, it owuld have been so much more interesting if they'd be able to visit each other's homes and the beach pretty much looks the same 90 years later, so... And somehow I would have thought that there'd be more to work out manner-wise between a girl from 2015 and a guy from 1925. I mean, lots of things about what is appropriate and what's not and manner of speech and everything, but I wasn't feeling that this was really an issue aside from a casual mention of it every now and then.

I liked Cassandra and how she's not immediately like OMG you're so hot, so it's totally cool that you're on this private beach that you should not be anywhere near when she meets Lawrence for the first time. She's suspicious and hesitant and I liked that. I kinda didn't like that she's also being pressured by her mother to date this other guy and she goes along with it. I felt that she was leading him on and it was just not very nice. I also really had a problem with her mother's behaviour, I mean come on, Cassandra does a stupid ass thing at the beginning of the novel, but she's not a bad kid in general and I felt her mother was being too hard on her and pushing her in directions that I didn't really get.

So Lawrence is basically a good guy, but I never really got a very good feel for his character beside that. He says all the right things, but at the beginning of the book he's a bit of a pushover and that's not very attractive. I did like that he writes poetry and that's secretly a career that he wants to be pursuing instead of being a lawyer.

I did like Cassandra and Lawrence together, but I was never really shipping it. And I was having a WTF moment towards the end when Lawrence says that Cassandra is 'the love of his life', I mean, SERIOUSLY??? You're what, 17? And you've known each other for a month? REALLY??? That is just. Wow. I mean, NO. Just NO. I cannot deal with this and it's probably what soured my opinion about the rest of the book because it left a really bad taste in my mouth.

I feel like I'm sounding really negative about Until We Meet Again and it definitely had it's flaws for me, but I did like seeing how Cassandra and Lawrence were trying to figure everything out, though I felt that Cassandra was fighting harder for Lawrence's life than he was himself. There's a whole lot of shenanigans going on and I did not see coming how it would all play out in the end.
So Until We Meet Again was an ok read for me, but I feel that it could have been so much more and the 'love of my life' bit was just not working for me.

My rating: 2 stars

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review of Falling Into Bed With a Duke by Lorraine Heath

Title/Author: Falling Into Bed With a Duke (The Hellions of Havisham) by Lorraine Heath
Publisher/Date published: Avon, October 27th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady's desires — and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.

A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime's pleasure?

So yes, I am very much actually writing a review again, nobody panic!


So as a rule I tend to enjoy Lorraine Heath's books, they're full of romance-y goodness and basically just make me one happy girl. And the premise of this one sounded SO good, so I was definitely ready to settle down and just fully immerse myself in Falling Into Bed With a Duke.

And that is what happened. I mean, I pretty much just read most of this in one blissful afternoon in which I just had a really strong motivation to keep sitting on the couch and see if everything would work out for Minerva and Ashe in the end. I totally loved that Falling Into Bed With a Duke has a very bold, very strong heroine and she's not taking risks just for the sake of it, but because she's weighed the pros and cons and decides to go through with it. She believes that she's firmly on the shelf and will therefore never know what it's like to be with a man in the biblical sense, so she decides to try this outside of wedlock, obviously a very big no-no in that time. And I thought she actually was pretty smart about this, hiding her face behind a mask. The only thing that sort of puzzled me was how she could possibly Ashe wouldn't recognize her outside of the club, when she kept putting herself in his way. But yeah, in light of the plot moving forward and such, it was kinda necessary.

I was slightly jolted every time Ashe's sort of reliving his parents' deaths came up, because I can get having a vivid imagination and these images popping up the first while after their accident. But after so many years, if he hasn't been there, it felt a bit weird. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I'm just slightly skeptical about this. I did really like that he's got dyscalculie, which is quite possibly not recognized enough these days, and it surely wouldn't have been back then. It added another layer to his character and made me want to shake him for not telling anyone about his troubles.

The chemistry between Minerva and Ashe was amazing! And I loved that Lorraine Heath didn't go for the insta-love, even if they did have insta-lust. The love part really came after they started getting to know each other outside of the Nightingale Club and it was so incredibly sweet to watch! And also, the sexytimes were very sexy indeed. And I totally loved how they worked out their differences and how Ashe grovels because he has wronged Minerva. I'm a sucker for a guy doing the groveling. Also, I SO much love both the appearance of Minerva's brother and her father, they have the alpha male protectiveness thing going on and it's awesome. But mostly I loved how her parents both just want her to be happy and don't really care if she marries a duke or a baker, as long as it's who she wants to be with.

But most of all, I just loved the hero and heroine and was in full support of their romance developing and for them to start their happily ever after!

My rating: 5 stars

Saturday, October 17, 2015


It's that time again, the time when I try to clear my whole weekend in honor of Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon! It's one of my favourite events ever and it's double fun now because I have the awesomest book club in book club history and we're doing this together! YAY! Last time we were at my house, a week after the official event, but today we're joining in with all of the other amazing people who will be reading up a storm today.
Because I'll be at Debby's, I probably won't be blogging much during the event, so I'm posting the start of the event questionaire thingy early :)

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'll be reading from Debby's home in Rotterdam, which I'll be leaving for in less than an hour and OMG STILL NEED TO PACK THINGS. *panicks*

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
This is the stack of books I'll be bringing:

As usual, I'm mostly just looking forward to getting to read some of my physical books, though my pretty new ereader is tempting me with all these books too...

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
From the look of things, we'll be having ALL the snacks, I'm really looking forward to trying Debby's guacamole and I made Oreo cheesecake cupcakes, which are yummy :) I think I won't really have to eat for a week after this.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Hello everyone! :) I'm Daisy, 28 years old, resident of Holland, proud kitty momma and during the day I'm a GP in training, currently doing my psychiatry rotation. I've been blogging for about 6 years I think and try to always make time for the readathon, cause it's awesome. Other things I love include the boyfriend, cooking/baking, READING obviously, pirates and lots of TV shows (including but not limited to ANTM, Nashville, Awkward, Downton Abbey, Suits).

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I'll be going over to Debby's, which is a change cause I've only ever read at my house or my parents'. Aside from that, I'm just gonna chill, read books, enjoy my awesome bookclub's company and wear a bunny onesie, which is also new.

Happy read-a-thon-ing everyone!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Review of Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Title/Author: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, September 15th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked... until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant — along with several other unlikely candidates — to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

So there's been a lot of buzz about this book and most of it is well-deserved. I was interested from the moment I saw the part in the summary that says 'Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body.'. I really wish everyone, including myself, would always feel this way.

Like Side Effects May Vary, Julie Murphy doesn't sugarcoat things in Dumplin', there's a lot of ugliness going on when it comes down to high school and people who are different from the norm in how they look. And you know what, it's not ok that some people are made fun of for how they look. It's not ok that people get oinked at if they're overweight or if a guy thinks it's funny to neigh like a horse because you have buckteeth. It's not. But it is reality and a whole lot of people are not going to change anytime soon.

I loved how Willowdean was this confident person, who knows who she is and doesn't take crap from people. And then she goes and shrinks in on herself because of a guy. And I SO got that, but it still made me cringe to see it. And I really hated how she let what other people would think ruin her happiness. I could fully understand how things happened, but holy wow, was she making a big mess of things for herself!

I sorta have mixed feelings about Dumplin', cause on one hand I LOVE how it made me think about everything about body image and how there's this pressure to look good and be thin and while as a doctor I also tell people to lose weight, that is not the most important thing in being healthy. It's also a healthy mind. And your BMI can be too high, but you can still be healthier than someone who wears a size 2. And I can especially relate to the part where Julie Murphy through Willowdean talks about how everyone has their moments in which they don't feel beautiful or inferior to someone else, because we've probably all been that person at one point in life or maybe a little more often.

But there are a couple of things that I didn't like so much, and some of it's due to me not really connecting with Willowdean as a character. The way she treated this one guy made me cringe every time, because to me if felt like she was just using him and while he may not be her crush, he was a sweet, decent guy who didn't deserve this. And I also felt like she was basically using the other unlikely candidates at first, in the end I believe that she's truly their friend, but I didn't feel like this started with the purest of intentions.
And I really had a problem with her relationship with her mom, they're both not giving an inch and it was painful and harsh and nothing really gets resolved in my opinion.

I guess that part of what disappointed me is that it sends a body positive image like The DUFF did, but The DUFF is just so much more amazing in every way and I can't help comparing the two books. I just felt that this could have been something more.
BUT this is not me saying that I didn't enjoy reading Dumplin', because I did like it and it was a quick read for me (though I had zero time to read the last couple of days). I appreciate that it's harsh at times, and that Willowdean does grow as a person over the course of Dumplin', but the spark that would have made me love this book just wasn't there for me.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review of The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees

Title/Author: The Sleeping King (untitled series #1) by Cindy Dees
Publisher/Date published: Macmillan-Tor/Forge, September 8th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: The Sleeping King is the start of a new fantasy series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Cindy Dees.

Dees has won a Golden Heart Award, two RITAs for Category Suspense and Adventure and has also twice snared RT's Series Romantic Suspense of the Year. She is a great storyteller, and the adventures in her more than fifty novels are often inspired by her own life. Dees is an Air Force vet-the youngest female pilot in Air Force history-and fought in the first Gulf War. She's had amazing adventures, and she's used her experiences to tell some kickass stories.

But as much as she loves romances, Cindy's other passion has been fantasy gaming. For almost twenty years she's been involved with Dragon Crest, one of the original live action role-playing games. She's the story content creator on the game, and wanted to do an epic fantasy based on it, with the blessing and input of Dragon Crest founder Bill Flippin.

The Sleeping King is the first in an epic fantasy series, featuring the best of the genre: near immortal imperial overlords, a prophecy of a sleeping elven king who's said to be the savior of the races... and two young people who are set on a path to save the day

So live action role-playing games have fascinated me for a time now, mainly because I've never actually participated in one and it sounds like a whole lot of fun, but also like a huge investment of both time and also costumes and such (some of my friends LARP and they have the most amazing props). Which is why the mention of this being the base for this epic fantasy immediately drew my attention!

I have to be honest, I was a bit daunted by the size of The Sleeping King (it's a whole whopping 496 pages), but the writing drew me in from the start, so my worries were soon non-existant. And I really loved the voices of both Will and Raina, who are our two main heroes. Obviously, there's a whole band of characters to get to know and I really liked that there's a quest. I mean, they actually really have a purpose in setting everything in motion, and while to sorta fall into it in the beginning, they definitely man up to the challenge so to speak.

There's a whole lot of worldbuilding going on and I was immediately intrigued, so the amount of information that is given didn't bother me in the slightest, cause I'd love to know even more of this world. I will however say that the story was a bit slow to really take off in the beginning and I'm still kinda wondering where all the different players tie in and how their storylines will come together, but I'm sure that will be further explained in the next book. And I do get that our two heroes need a backstory, but I very much liked it when they fell in with the same band and the story could take off.

The Sleeping King is my kind of epic fantasy, there's a quest and lots of travelling and there's so much scheming going on and just characters for me to love and root for! The romance that plays a minor part was a little too sweet for my liking, but it did develop sorta naturally, so I can get behind it, but it's not my favourite ever. I am however REALLY curious to find out what happens next for Will and Raina and everyone! I'm definitely hooked on this world and the people in it.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review of A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

Title/Author: A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell
Publisher/Date published: Disney Press, September 1st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

I'm BACK! I know it's been almost two months and I'm very much embarassed by that, but after reading A Whole New World, I found that I had something to say again and I decided to just go for it :)

A Whole New World immediately caught my attention, because I LOVE Aladdin! It's one of my favourite Disney movies and I've watched it so many times, I can literally just mute it and still get all the words right, especially for the first part. Which is also why I noticed that the first 20% of this book is basically the same as the movie. Which was not very much appreciated by me. And that's because I was looking for a fresh take on this beloved tale of mine and not have the first 76 pages be something I know by heart, but in book-form. But then the twist comes when Jafar takes the lamp instead of Aladdin and I was like, ok, let's give this another chance. But in the end I didn't really warm up to this twisted tale.

I mean, in the original tale, I love Aladdin's heart and his bravery and resourcefulness and the romance with Yasmine is believable and sweet, but in A Whole New World I was very much not feeling it. While the instant infatuation works in the Disney movie, here it fell flat and Yasmine definitely shows a side of herself that I didn't find pretty at all in A Whole New World and I really couldn't find myself cheering for their lovestory. I mean, even Jafar, who I love to hate in the original tale was not his best villainy self. I mean, he's this big bad sorcerer now, how does he not just kill Aladdin, capture Yasmine and be done with it? Also, I HATED that he destroyed the magic carpet, who is still one of my favourite characters.

But most of all, I'm disappointed by the lack of shininess that was the genie. I mean, you get this sort of charm coming off him, but it's muted and I get that he has less chance to show his magic and humour and all when he's tied to Jafar, but this spark that he has was just missing and I'm kinda disappointed by how things ended for him.

But aside from this, I was just basically a bit bored by the whole story. It never really got exciting for me and the charm and sizzle that I remember from this story was just missing. I felt that the things that were added to make it into this twisted tale were not really interesting or needed to be there. What I'm looking for with all these retelling and twists on classic stories are things that make me go ooh, that's clever and capture the magic of the original thing, but also make it a little something more. And I never got that from A Whole New World, which is a disappointment as I'd really been looking forward to reading it.
I might just go and watch the movie and laugh over the genie's antics now.

My rating: 1,5 stars