Format: eBook

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (Book Review)

Posted June 9, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Book Review / 12 Comments

I’ve Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella (Book Review)I've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
Published by The Dial Press on February 14, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 433
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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4 Stars

I’ve lost it. :( The only thing in the world I wasn’t supposed to lose. My engagement ring. It’s been in Magnus’s family for three generations. And now the very same day his parents are coming, I’ve lost it. The very same day! Do not hyperventilate, Poppy. Stay positive :) !!

Poppy Wyatt has never felt luckier. She is about to marry her ideal man, Magnus Tavish, but in one afternoon her “happily ever after” begins to fall apart. Not only has she lost her engagement ring in a hotel fire drill but in the panic that follows, her phone is stolen. As she paces shakily around the lobby, she spots an abandoned phone in a trash can. Finders keepers! Now she can leave a number for the hotel to contact her when they find her ring. Perfect!

Well, perfect except that the phone’s owner, businessman Sam Roxton, doesn’t agree. He wants his phone back and doesn’t appreciate Poppy reading his messages and wading into his personal life.

What ensues is a hilarious and unpredictable turn of events as Poppy and Sam increasingly upend each other’s lives through emails and text messages. As Poppy juggles wedding preparations, mysterious phone calls, and hiding her left hand from Magnus and his parents . . . she soon realizes that she is in for the biggest surprise of her life.

Guys, this is my very first Sophie Kinsella book, and I officially love her to pieces! I really, really debated buying this book. Even on Kindle it’s over $13, and I had not read a book by her before… and I already owned Can You Keep a Secret? and the Shopaholic series, so I should probably read one of those first, right?… but I wanted this because it sounded adorable. Seriously. This inner debate went on for months. Finally, I bit the bullet and bought it before my big Europe trip, and I LOVED IT. I am SO glad I trusted my inner shopaholic and bought this book anyway. It was a great Sophie book to start out with! As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The humor is, hands down, my favorite part of this book. Poppy (love that name!) thinks some of the funniest things! Her ring is gone, so doomsday is here. She panics like I panic. Worst case scenario? Yes. No matter what, she worries about the worst possible thing that could happen. And the string of events that occur are priceless. She is so unlucky that it’s almost hard to believe! I laughed a lot.

2. The story is super unique, in my eyes. And the romance is too! What a way to fall in love! Find someone’s fun in a garbage can, and spend days commiserating about the woes of life, not to mention arguing over who deserves the phone. It’s a completely modern love story that totally worked for me. I really want this to be my love story!

3. Poppy is so likeable, and so much fun to read about. Magnus is a stick in the mud you love to hate. Oh, and his parents are stuck up in a hilarious kind of way. And Sam is a snarky and dreamy and incredibly sweet business man, who kind of reminds me of Mr. Darcy. The characters are amazing and dynamic. None of them are perfect (even though some of them think they are!), and their flaws made them real, believable, and memorable.

4. I didn’t like the footnotes. Yeah… there’s about 10 footnotes a chapter. Problem is, I read the Kindle version and the footnotes for each page were not on that page, but compiled in a list on the last page of the chapter. Nobody likes flipping and flipping through the “pages” on Kindle. It’s annoying, and you forget where you are and where you were. I ended up having to ignore them, or trying to remember where the footnotes happened so I could understand the footnote once I got to the end of the chapter. For this reason, most of them made no sense to me, and made me rather frustrated.

I didn’t have a ton to say about this one, did I? Haha. It’s just a wonderful book. Rather than looking for my likes and dislikes, I just read and experienced the story. I didn’t take notes, and I didn’t read critically. I just read it, and I loved it! I don’t know about all her other books, so I’m basing my love of Sophie Kinsella off of this one alone. I’m pretty convinced, though, that I will automatically buy anything she writes from now on! Read this if you love silly, inspiring, makes-you-giddy kind of sweet contemporary romances!

4 Stars

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Book Review)

Posted June 1, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 5 Comments

Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson (Book Review)Girl at Sea by Maureen Johnson
Published by HarperTEEN on May 17, 2007
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 323
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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5 Stars

Sometimes you have to get lost . . .

The Girl: Clio Ford, seventeen, wants to spend the summer smooching her art-store crush, not stuck on a boat in the Mediterranean. At least she'll get a killer tan.

The Mission: Survive her father's crazy antics. Oh, and also find some missing underwater treasure that could unlock the secrets of civilization.

The Crew: Dad's wacky best friend Martin, his bizarre research partner Julia, her voluptuous daughter Elsa . . . and then there's Aidan, Julia's incredibly attractive, incredibly arrogant assistant.

What's going on behind Aidan's intellectual, intensely green eyes, anyway?

As Clio sails into uncharted territory she unveils secrets that have the power to change history. But her most surprising discovery is that there's something deeper and more cryptic than the sea-her own heart.

. . . to find what you're looking for

Like I mentioned a few days ago in my review of The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight, I adore themed reads. So… naturally, I read this on a transatlantic cruise that spent half its time in the Mediterranean Sea, which is where this book takes place. I mean, seriously. The reading conditions could not have been more perfect. As Clio lounged around her dad’s luxury yacht, I was sitting on my balcony overlooking the Med, picturing everything and totally knowing what she was seeing as I read. Needless to say, I loved this book. But I just loved it because. You know what I mean? There’s not a lot for me to say specifically. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Maureen Johnson is made of win. She threw in history, mystery, adventure, suspense, romance, and humor. I love all those things!! Honestly, I was not suspecting the adventurous and suspenseful elements in the story. I was pleasantly surprised, and could not tear through the pages fast enough. Oh, and the chapter titles in this book are funny too!

2. I liked Clio a lot, but it took me a while to decide. She spent way too much time complaining about the terrible summer aboard a luxury yacht, with side trips to amazing Italian towns. I mean, come on. Who would NOT want that? She whined too much. But once she decided maybe things weren’t so bad, I got to see more of her. She’s completely relatable on so many levels. She’s an artsy (like me!!) teenager with real concerns about her life, real dreams, and real frustrations. Her parents are divorced, and she hardly sees her dad. So now he’s called her up and taken over her summer. She has to leave her job, her crush, her friends, her life, and go float around with a boat full of strangers and her eccentric dad. Of course she’s annoyed, and that’s part of the fun. Her inner thoughts are so funny, yet so real. I know I’d feel the same way.

3. I also really liked the supporting characters. Clio’s dad is so eccentric, it’s almost unbelievable. I laughed a lot. I liked Elsa more than I expected. She’s this gorgeous, perfect person… haha. I usually dislike characters like that because the focus is on how wonderful they are instead of important things. She was real, and did not act like she knew how pretty she was. Aidan is wonderful. He’s a nerd with a mysterious, attractive side as well. His bickering with Clio was too funny.

4. Yes, this is a cute beach read, but it’s not all fluff. There’s deep issues here, like dealing with a barely-there relationship between a daughter and estranged father and discovering what kind of person you want to be. Clio goes through a lot of self discovery. She has time to think and work things through. I really liked seeing her progress.

5. The book is a little slow in the beginning, but boy does it pick up! Like I said, I was completely thrown off guard with the direction this book went. I loved it, though, and really enjoyed the twists and turns.

6. I found so many quotes I loved! I’m not usually one to write down book quotes, but Maureen’s writing just forced a pen into my hand. I had to leave my quote book inside my cabin, since I was worried it would blow off my balcony. I was having to get up and down so many times to go in and write something in it, that I finally just sat on it. Here are some of my favorites:

  • “You know things are pretty bad when your mind is having crisis talks with your suitcase.”
  • “Clio had the strange flash that this was what the person who invented cheese must have been like–a blond goddess.”
  • “Something about this boat screamed, ‘I am a very popular model in the world’s oil-bearing regions. I cost more than your soul!'”
  • “I’ve always wanted to be in a relationship based on local sandwiches.”

Bottom line, this book made me a Maureen Johnson fan for life. I’ll admit, it’s the only one of hers I’ve read… oops! I discovered her on Twitter, and think she’s hilarious. And now I love her books too! I’d recommend this to lovers of YA contemporary romances, beach reads,  adventurous travels, and treasure hunts.

5 Stars

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Book Review)

Posted May 28, 2012 by Jana in Book Review, Young Adult Fiction / 9 Comments

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith (Book Review)The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith
Published by Poppy on January 2, 2012
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance
Pages: 236
Format: eBook
Source: Purchased
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4 Stars

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Today should be one of the worst days of seventeen-year-old Hadley Sullivan's life. Having missed her flight, she's stuck at JFK airport and late to her father's second wedding, which is taking place in London and involves a soon-to-be stepmother Hadley's never even met. Then she meets the perfect boy in the airport's cramped waiting area. His name is Oliver, he's British, and he's sitting in her row.

A long night on the plane passes in the blink of an eye, and Hadley and Oliver lose track of each other in the airport chaos upon arrival. Can fate intervene to bring them together once more?

Quirks of timing play out in this romantic and cinematic novel about family connections, second chances, and first loves. Set over a twenty-four-hour-period, Hadley and Oliver's story will make you believe that true love finds you when you're least expecting it.

I’m kind of crazy about themed reads, so I read this on a 5-hour flight to Ft. Lauderdale, Florida. I figured I’d try and bring to my flight the kind of magic I’d heard that this book contained! Sadly, I did not meet a sexy English boy who stole my heart at 32,000 feet, but my flight time flew much faster than usual! The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight is a cute, simple story about two people in the right place at the right time. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. Jennifer totally captures the annoyance of and hectic happenings at an airport. I just kept nodding and nodding as I read about people rushing from one metal tube to the other, hoping to catch it in time to be successfully flung across the ocean/country to their final destinations. The “fasten seat belt” light illuminated in the book at the same time it did on my plane. It was highly amusing, and I know that reading the book under the same conditions the characters were under really enriched my experience with it!

2. The 24-hour love story totally worked for me. Hadley and Oliver are two very real people that the whole “love at first sight” thing actually worked for. And it was convincing! They had a lot of time to kill in the airport and on the long flight, and they talked about deep things, not just their favorite colors or hobbies. Even though it took place in such a short amount of time, I did not see it as insta-love. The progression was slow and believable, as they fell into “like” instead of “love” first. A lot of books skip the “like” phase, which is actually my favorite. I love the tension and vulnerability that comes with “like”.

3. Hadley and Oliver are easy to relate to. They each had family issues that built the framework of their characters. As the story progresses, we learn more about these issues, and how they help one another cope because they both understand. They were able to connect on a deep level rather quickly, which added to the believability of their relationship. Oh, and Oliver is pretty swoon-worthy. I kinda have a crush on him.

4. The story was a little slow, but sometimes that’s just what you need! It was a breath of fresh aira snapshot of a simple, run-of-the-mill, everyday event that should have been boring and annoying, but turned out to be something amazing. Who on earth likes flying? Please tell me, and then tell me what medicine you’re on to make you feel that way. This book gave me hope that maybe flying is a worthwhile thing to do! :P

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight made me smile. Was there a lot of depth? No, not really. But that’s kind of exactly what I needed. It was a quick, sweet book that made me think about the small things in life. I would recommend this to lovers of contemporary romances, flawed characters, and people who, like me, need a reason to go on ahead and board that flying metal tube.

4 Stars

A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter (Book Review)

Posted March 8, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review / 3 Comments

A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter (Book Review)A Hidden Fire by Elizabeth Hunter
Series: Elemental Mysteries #1
Published by Self on October 18, 2011
Genres: Fantasy, Mystery, Paranormal, Urban Fantasy
Format: eBook
Source: Publisher (Mail)
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3 Stars

"No secret stays hidden forever."

A phone call from an old friend sets Dr. Giovanni Vecchio back on the path of a mystery he'd abandoned years before. He never expected a young librarian could hold the key to the search, nor could he have expected the danger she would attract. Now he and Beatrice De Novo will follow a twisted maze that leads from the archives of a university library, through the fires of Renaissance Florence, and toward a confrontation they never could have predicted.

I was really excited to sign up for this book as part of the Elemental Mysteries Blog Tour, celebrating the third book’s release. The premise sounded pretty awesome. I loved the idea of the main character being a librarian, and there being such a focus on extremely old literature. And Giovanni is totally an Italian name, and combining that with the mention of Renaissance Florence, I was sold! Books and Italy. What more could I ask for? A Hidden Fire had its moments, but overall I was a little disappointed. It fell short of its potential, and I feel like it could have been so much better than it was.

1. The whole beginning is pretty mysterious. Beatrice is a librarian at the Houston University in the Special Collections reading room, picking up a new shift where she ends up spending time with Dr. Giovanni Vecchio, who is translating a very old document. He’s a unique person with a hidden past, and we go a while in the book before we find out who he is and why he’s connected to bunch of old literature. Beatrice is more to him than a librarian. Danger surrounds her, plus he’s developing feelings for her.

2. I liked the main characters. Beatrice is smart, shy, and bookish.She’s extremely level-headed, all things considered. I love her sarcasm and quick wit. I think we’d be friends. Giovanni is a sexy bad boy. He’s also very scholarly and is always reading or researching something. He’s also reclusive, with a very rich past that is coming back to haunt him. I loved the banter between the two of them. The sexual tension was definitely there. I just with they had done more with it.

3. The romance is kind of silly and unbelievable. You can tell Gio and Beatrice care about each other, but it’s weird. He treats her like a child he needs to protect, and she treats him like a knight in shining armor. They never really hash out their feelings or intentions. Sometimes they have to put on a steamy act in front of spectators, but then they avoid one another for quite a while after. They are always holding back, but never indicate to each other why. So they always appear to mad at the other, when in reality they are lusting after one another. It wasn’t really romantic to me. It was just frustrating and never really got resolved. I guess that’s book 2’s job.

4. The supporting characters were great. Gio’s butler, Caspar, is so sweet and grandfatherly, especially with Beatrice. He’s also very protective and caring towards Gio. He’s clearly part of the family. I love his cat, Doyle, as well. Caspar starts a cute little something up with B’s grandma, who is also a strong character with a lot of spunk. Gio has a friend named Carwyn, who is definitely my favorite character in this book. He’s a Welsh priest who has been around for quite a while, and has a lot of life experience. He’s funny, flirtatious, and becomes a great friend to Beatrice. He always seems to know how she’s thinking and feeling, and knows just what to say to put her mind at ease. I’m kind of envious of Beatrice. She has so many sweet men keeping an eye on her!

5. The settings were unique, and I liked them. I enjoyed all the library time, and it was fun to picture what everything looked like and smelled like. I love libraries! Gio’s house sounds pretty cool. We also get to explore Greece and Chile in this book, which was cool.

6. I laughed a lot. There was a lot of joking around, sarcastic remarks, flirtatious moments, and interesting tastes in clothing. The characters lovingly made fun of each other. It was refreshing, since the underlying story is a bit dark and dangerous.

7. I liked the incorporation of the elements (fire, earth, wind, and water). Each book in the series focuses on one, and this one obviously focused on fire. And I liked the paranormal elements. I’m not going to say what those are, for fear of spoiling things for you, but it’s an interesting twist.

8. Really, my only complaint is that some of the plot dragged on and on, and was rather repetitive. There was a lot of sitting around and talking, with not a lot of action until the last part of the book. This is a long book, yet the bulk of the story felt rushed at the end. Nothing was tied up for us.

I would recommend this to people who enjoy paranormal urban fantasies with a tiny bit of romance. I’m thinking book 2 will open things up a lot more, and I’m curious to see what happens next! Book 2 (This Same Earth) is already out, book 3 (The Force of the Wind) is out this month, and the concluding book (A Fall of Water) has a tentative release date in June of this year.

To visit more stops with reviews of books 2 and 3, interviews with the author and characters, book excerpts, and chances to win all three books, click here

3 Stars

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Review & Intl Giveaway)

Posted March 5, 2012 by Jana in Adult Fiction, Blog Tour, Book Review, Giveaway / 16 Comments

On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves (Review & Intl Giveaway)On the Island by Tracey Garvis Graves
Series: On the Island #1
Published by CreateSpace on October 11, 2010
Genres: Contemporary Romance, Romance, Survival
Pages: 329
Format: eBook
Source: Author
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5 Stars

When thirty-year-old English teacher Anna Emerson is offered a job tutoring T.J. Callahan at his family's summer rental in the Maldives, she accepts without hesitation; a working vacation on a tropical island trumps the library any day. T.J. Callahan has no desire to leave town, not that anyone asked him. He's almost seventeen and if having cancer wasn't bad enough, now he has to spend his first summer in remission with his family - and a stack of overdue assignments - instead of his friends.

Anna and T.J. are en route to join T.J.'s family in the Maldives when the pilot of their seaplane suffers a fatal heart attack and crash-lands in the Indian Ocean. Adrift in shark-infested waters, their life jackets keep them afloat until they make it to the shore of an uninhabited island.

Now Anna and T.J. just want to survive and they must work together to obtain water, food, fire, and shelter. Their basic needs might be met but as the days turn to weeks, and then months, the castaways encounter plenty of other obstacles, including violent tropical storms, the many dangers lurking in the sea, and the possibility that T.J.'s cancer could return. As T.J. celebrates yet another birthday on the island, Anna begins to wonder if the biggest challenge of all might be living with a boy who is gradually becoming a man.

I was pretty leery of this book. A 33-year-old woman and a 17-year-old boy? I was worried it would be written in a tasteless way, or that it would seem creepy. I was also worried that this book would be as boring as the movie Castaway. Nothing against the movie, but only so much can happen on an island. Gilligan’s Island was entertaining, but it was because of all the shenanigans. I was worried this would be either boring or cheesy. It definitely was not either of those things. As always, my main points are bolded. :)

1. The age difference is not weird, nor is it a big deal. Nothing happens until TJ is almost 19, so don’t worry. He has been through and conquered cancer, and he’s surviving on an island. He is very mature and has a lot of life experience. You will not be weirded out by this concept. I’m mentioning this first because it was the first thing that scared me about this book. Haha.

2. I was hooked from the first page and read over half of the book in one sitting. The beginning is particularly intense, as the plane crash and the process of making it to shore is pretty crazy. The whole book is intense, to be honest. I mean, these two went through everything! Health issues, vicious wildlife, constant worry, depression, etc. I seriously was hooked. I kept saying to myself, “Just one more chapter. Then I’ll go to sleep.”

3. I really liked the two main characters. They strengthened each other and became very close. Anna is smart and caring. She was a mother figure to TJ until he grew up. TJ is strong and incredibly mature. He really takes care of Anna. Their relationship was really very sweet, as it formed from a bond that most people will never understand. I appreciated that they waited on being intimate until TJ was the proper age. If it had happened when they first crashed and he was 16, I would have probably quit reading. I’m not going to spoil anything for you, but let me just say that some of the biggest obstacles they dealt with were not on the island. But they stuck together and pulled through. I love a strong set of characters, and these are probably some of the strongest I’ve ever read about.

4. The narration alternates back and forth between the two characters, allowing us to read what’s going on through both their minds. I loved that.

5. The descriptions of the island and the weather were very detailed and well done. I felt like I was there. Also, the intense moments (like animal attacks) were so intense that I almost quit blinking. I loved how the author took me to the exact moment and dropped me in the middle of it.

6. Remember how I said, “Only so much can happen on an island?” I was wrong! I read through years of these two and their island happenings, and I didn’t get bored once. That takes extreme talent on the author’s part. When over half the book consists of two people, an island, and nature, you would think there’s not much to work with. Things could get boring and repetitive really fast. The conversations and critical events kept me wondering what was going to happen next, and I actually wished that more of the book took place on the island.

7. The writing is flawless. I can’t believe it’s Tracey’s first book! Really, it was beautiful.

8. This book pulled intense emotions out of me. I was scared for these two, and I felt the love they had for each other. Their story is very moving–how they relied so heavily on each other, how they could not think of losing one another, how as long as they were together they would be ok. I mean, they were each others’ reasons for surviving. Talk about intense emotion. If someone got sick or hurt, the other one immediately dreaded life. And I was there for the whole thing. I felt all of it, and it was powerful.

9. There were funny moments too, don’t get me wrong. I laughed at some of the things they said to each other. I laughed at the chicken named “Chicken” who they adopted as a pet. I mean, the little guy curled up in Anna’s lap! How whimsical! They played with dolphins in the lagoon almost every day. And before they acted upon it, the sexual tension and the things they said to each other were hilarious.

10. I appreciated the authenticity of the story. Tracey did not sugarcoat anything. She made things seem believable. I mean, if you’re stranded on an island for a few years, you’re going to deal with gross hygiene, bad diet, crummy weather, sickness, and other dangers. This could really happen, and I think that’s part of why I loved it so much.

11. Everything was resolved. Have you ever read a book and flipped out because the ending just sucked? This ending did not suck at all. I loved it. You will too.

Overall, I am so glad I took a leap of faith with this book. I loved it. The writing was amazing, the story inspiring, and the characters well-rounded and loveable. It’s during instances like this one when I realize how truly grateful I am to be a book blogger. I’m exposed to lesser-known novels all the time, and most of them (like this one) deserve much more recognition. It’s an honor to be able to help spread the word when a book is this good. I’d recommend this to anyone who enjoys a good romance mixed with a ton of action, excitement, intrigue, and exotic places.

EDIT: I just noticed how many times I said “intense”. Oh. My. Gosh. 


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This tour runs through March 9th. To follow the other tour stops, which include author interviews, book excerpts, giveaways, and more reviews, click here.

Edit (June 13, 2012) – Tracey has announced on her blog, that Plume (an imprint of Penguin) bought On the Island, designed a new cover, and are publishing it! Her next novel was also bought up. She’s no longer a self-published author! I am SO excited for her, and so happy I was able to help get the word out about this book so many months ago. I love, LOVE this story and am SO excited about what’s in store for Tracey as a result!

5 Stars