Thursday, July 24, 2014

Through To You by Lauren Barnholdt

Publisher: Simon Pulse
Release Date:July 8th 2014
Pages: 256
Source: Publisher
Age Range: Young Adult

It starts with a scribbled note in class: I like your sparkle. Harper had casually threaded a piece of blue and silver tinsel through her ponytail in honor of school spirit day. And that carefree, corny gesture is what grabs Penn Mattingly’s eye. Penn—resident heartbreaker of the senior class. Reliably unreliable. Trouble with a capital “T.” And okay, smolderingly sexy.

Harper’s surprised by Penn’s attention—and so is Penn. The last thing he needs is a girlfriend. Or even a friend-with-benefits. The note is not supposed to lead to anything.Oh, but it does. They hang out. They have fun. They talk. They make out. And after a while, it seems like they just click. But Penn and Harper have very different ideas about what relationships look like, in no small part because of their very different family backgrounds. Of course they could talk about these differences—if Penn knew how to talk about feelings.

Harper and Penn understand their attraction is illogical, yet something keeps pulling them together. It’s like a crazy roller coaster—exhilarating, terrifying, and amazing all at once. And neither knows how to stop the ride…

I am still not quite sure what to think of this book. Somehow the story and the characters where a little flat and one dimensional. It felt like just another girl -dates- bad boy story for me. It was a  simple plot that followed both Harper and Penn's relationship. They make mistakes, act dumb to each other and haven't ever really dated before so they're forced to learn the ropes of the dating world together. I would have loved to have seen some more character depth for both obut i guess for a fluffy summer read it fit the bill.

I was hoping to like this story which I was very drawn to by the cover when I requested it, but it left me with a feeling of ''that''s it?''

Friday, July 18, 2014

You're The One That I Want by Giovanna Fletcher

Publisher: Penguin UK
Release Date:May 22nd 2014
Pages: 372
Source: Publisher

Maddy, Ben and Robert are best friends since childhood. Their bond is unbreakable.
The story takes the reader to different periods in their lives, starting from the point that they are nine years old till they are twenty-six.
The three friends go on a high school trip to Paris together, and that's the point where love comes in and their unbreakable friendship start to loose up. Ben and Maddie have always had the most chance of falling in love, as they even had a sort of secret code language. But then Maddie and Robert start dating, and Ben has to watch from a distance that what he thought would be his future girlfriend, goes to someone else. He starts dating Alice, and they even make plans to marry. But then he realises that marrying Alice is not the best plan. But Maddy already made her choice, who is standing beside her at the wedding altar?

This book is so cute and romantic! Maddy, Ben and Robert are characters that feel like your own friends. They where very real and believable. The story jumps from Maddy, Ben and Robert's pov, so the reader get's a deeper look into their deep friendship and the love that blooms up between Maddy and Robert. Maddy maybe has the most difficult decision to make and I think she made the right one. Ben's love for Maddy is unconditional but he is broken when he finds out Maddy didn't chose him. A lot of emotion is going on in this story, but it never becomes too much or annoying. I thought it was one of the best contemporary books I have read in a while, and though the cover may look like it,  this is not a romantic comedy but a story with a lot of layers and depth. This is the book you might want!!

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Thirty Sunsets by Christine Hurley Deriso

Publisher: Flux
Release Date:July 8th 2014
Pages: 240
Source: Publisher
Age Range: Young Adult

To Forrest Shephard, getting away to the family's beach house with her parents and her brother, Brian, is the best part of every summer. Until this year, when her mother invites Brian's obnoxious girlfriend, Olivia, to join them. Suddenly, Forrest's relaxing vacation becomes a mission to verify the reality of Olivia's rumored eating disorder. But the truth behind Olivia's finicky eating isn't at all what Forrest expected. And over the next thirty days, Forrest's world is turned upside down as her family's darkest secrets begin to come to light.

I found Thirty Sunsets a very nice in-between read. The story was entertaining to read, altough it didn't move me very much. Forrest isn't on the good side with her brother's girlfriend Olivia, but then she finds out something about Olivia that changes her point of view. The other storyline with her and Scott was very grim. 
Secrets just filled this book. I felt that there where some secrets I understood why they kept them to themselves but there was a couple where I felt that they needed to know. Even though nothing should change, it is better for a person to find out from that person rather than hear it from someone else.

It's a fast summer read set against the background of summer. I recommend it to fans of contemporary YA authors like Sarah Dessen. 

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Written In The Stars by Ali Harris

Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Release Date: June 5th 2014
Pages: 450
Source: sent by publisher for review

The wedding day of Bea Bishop is finally there; but when she stands at the altar to marry Adam, she is accidentally knocked down twice. When she wakes up and the wedding continues she sees her old flame Kieran standing there on the side, she starts thinking. Here is where the story takes two different turns. In one world she is marrying Adam, in the other one she runs away, leaving Adam at the altar and meeting up with Kieran again.

The reader get's to learn more about the history of Bea and Kieran, which involved a tragic accident at the beach, and where Kieran's brother sadly died. Bea still feels quilty about this as she is confirmed his accident was her fault. In the other world she is married to Adam and they are settling their live together around their demanding jobs.Back in the other world, she get's a lot of help from her best friend Milly, who moves to New York temporarily and she get's to be the house-sitter. She also get's a new job at a flower shop. Bea is also on a search for her father who left when she was little, and together with  Loni, her mom, she goes on a search for hem as they found out he lives in India now.
But who will she choose in the real world in the end Adam of Kieran?

 I had second thoughts about the two stories overlapping each other in this book. I found it hugely confusing to find out what was the real world for Bea and what was not and to keep the two worlds where the stories are set in, apart. The author did not make very clear in which world the chapter took place and if it was in the past or present. In the end everything comes together but you wonder why the author didn't choose for just one world for Bea, that would make the story a lot more clearer. The story of Bea is of someone who finds out where she stands and what she wants in life. Is it her old boyfriend or marrying the succesful Adam? She came over to me as a bit of a cliche character in chick-lit, as most of the main characters in chick-lit are wrestling with this topic. I therefore didn't find it a very original story, I had the feeling I have read similar stories earlier again and could see what was coming next. Also I found the story too long, especially when there wheren't that much plot twist to keep you interested as a reader Somehow it didn't have the sharp plot of Ali Harris previous book The First Last Kiss, but I hope the next book by Ali Harris will again.

Friday, July 4, 2014

The Traveling Tea Shop by Belinda Jones

Publisher: Hodder
Release Date: May 22nd 2014
Pages: 316
Source: Publisher

Laurie loves a challenge. Especially if it involves anything beautiful, baked and frosted. The brief is simple: With three other women, Laurie will board a London bus - kitted out as an English tea shop - on a deliciously different road trip of the USA.  Traveling with Laurie are Pamela's mum Gracie and her stubborn teen daughter Ravenna.
Their mission: To bring home-grown classics like Battenberg, Victoria sponge and scones to the land of cupcakes, whoopie pies and gold-leafed chocolate sundaes. 
And to show them how a real cup of tea is made. All of the women have their own secrets and heartaches to heal. As well as a grand appreciation of cupcakes, there's also the chance for romance...

The Traveling Tea Shop is a delicious read that takes you all over the United States, introducing the reader to some lovely local pastries and cakes. The character of Laurie was adorable, she had some troubles with her sister that are also focused on in the book. She is very organised and a professional in baking. There is a tiny romantic side story in the story, but I was not very impressed by it. The story just flows along during their tri through the US and doesn't have any major plot twists or progression in the characters. This book provided a lot of fun local facts and inspiration for places to visit on the East Coast of the States (mostly cake places.) and it helped me discover loads of new cakes that I didn't even know existed! I enjoyed all the real-life recommendations and facts provided including the movie, book and Broadway recommendations, and the interesting facts about how certain dishes are made. Make sure you got a sweet pastry and a cup of tea when you start reading this book, it will definately give you cravings for that!

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Books To Pine For

Books To Pine For is a frequent blog post on Marjolein Reads about new book and books that are coming out later this year. Yesterday my eye fell on some very interesting new YA and middle grade titles:

Can't Look Away by Donna Cooner
Point, Scholastic, pub date Aug 26 2014
Donna Cooner establishes herself as our own Jodi Picoult in this timely tale of sisters, loss, and redemption.

Torrey Grey is famous. At least, on the internet. Thousands of people watch her popular videos on fashion and beauty. But when Torrey's sister is killed in an accident -- maybe because of Torrey and her videos -- Torrey's perfect world implodes.
Now, strangers online are bashing Torrey. And at her new school, she doesn't know who to trust. Is queen bee Blair only being sweet because of Torrey's internet infamy? What about Raylene, who is decidedly unpopular, but seems accepts Torrey for who she is? And then there's Luis, with his brooding dark eyes, whose family runs the local funeral home. Torrey finds herself drawn to Luis, and his fascinating stories about El dio de los Muertos, the Day of the Dead.

As the Day of the Dead draws near, Torrey will have to really look at her own feelings about death, and life, and everything in between. Can she learn to mourn her sister out of the public eye?

Finding Ruby Starling by Karen Rivers
Arthur A. Levine Books, Scholastic, Pub date Aug 26

THE PARENT TRAP comes to the digital age!
When Ruth Quayle used a special app to search for pictures of herself online, she found dozens of images of "Ruth Quayle" -- and one of "Ruby Starling."

When Ruby Starling gets a message from a Ruth Quayle proclaiming them to be long-lost twin sisters, she doesn't know what to do with it -- until another message arrives the day after, and another one. It could be a crazy stalker ... but she and this Ruth do share a birthday, and a very distinctive ear....

Ruth is an extroverted American girl. Ruby is a shy English one. As they investigate the truth of their birth and the circumstances of their separation, they also share lives full of friends, family, and possible romances -- and they realize they each may be the sister the other never knew she needed.

Written entirely in e-mails, letters, Tumblr entries, and movie scripts, FINDING RUBY STARLING is the funny and poignant companion to Karen Rivers's THE ENCYCLOPEDIA OF ME.

Promposal   by Rhonda Helms
Simon Pulse, February 10, 2015
Prom should be one of the most memorable nights of your life. But for Camilla and Joshua, some elaborate promposals are getting in the way. Will they be able to land their dream dates in time for the dance?
Promposal (n.)—an often very public proposal, in which one person asks another person to the prom, eliciting joy or mortification.

Camilla can’t help hoping her secret crush, Benjamin, might randomly surprise her out of the blue with a promposal. But when she’s asked to prom by an irritating casual acquaintance—who’s wearing a fancy tux and standing in front of a news crew—she’s forced to say yes. However, all hope is not lost, as a timely school project gives Camilla a chance to get closer to Benjamin...and it seems like the chemistry between them is crackling. Is she reading into something that isn’t there, or will she get her dream guy just in time for prom?

Joshua has been secretly in love with his best friend Ethan since middle school. Just as he decides to bite the bullet and ask Ethan if he’d go to prom with him, even if just as friends, he gets a shocking surprise: Ethan asks Joshua for help crafting the perfect promposal—for another guy. Now Joshua has to suppress his love and try to fake enthusiasm as he watches his dreams fall apart...unless he can make Ethan see that love has been right in front of his eyes the whole time.The road to the perfect promposal isn’t easy to navigate. But one thing’s certain—prom season is going to be memorable.

Lost in Paris by Cindy Callaghan. Aladdin, Simon & Schuster. March 17, 2015

Ooh la la! Gwen ends up on a Parisian scavenger hunt—with a cute French ami—in this M!X novel from the author of Lost in London.
Gwen Russell is thrilled to hear she will be heading to Paris with her family. Even though the main reason for the trip is to see her three older brothers play lacrosse, Gwen and her Mom have plans to tour the city when they can.
As soon as they land, Gwen is swept up in the city she has always wanted to see, and even meets a très cute boy named Henri. If that wasn't enough excitement, Gwen finds out that her all-time favorite band is playing a one-night only concert in Paris—and there are tickets available to the sold-old show for three lucky people. The catch? Fans who want a golden ticket have to work for it via a scavenger hunt around the City of Light.

Through cryptic clues blasted out every day through a special website, Gwen and her new friends find themselves in a race against time—and against other die-hard fans—as they scramble to landmarks throughout Paris. And it turns out the concert tickets might not even be the biggest prize...

Kitchen Chaos   by Deborah A. Levine, JillEllyn Riley .February 3, 2015, Aladdin.
Can their friendships take the heat? A trio of mothers and daughters will find out when they sign up for a cooking class from a famous chef in the first book of the Saturday Cooking Club series—it’s mother-daughter bonding and so much more! 
Liza and Frankie have always been best friends. But when new girl Lillian arrives from San Francisco, suddenly three’s a crowd. Especially after the trio is grouped together for a big sixth-grade social studies project—can they put aside their animosity long enough to succeed? When Liza suggests they all take a cooking class with the chef from her favorite cooking show for the project, the girls are on board, but they need an adult to take the class with them. It seems like the perfect opportunity to snag some quality time with their overscheduled, overstressed mothers…if they can convince them to sign up!

Several headaches and close calls later, the girls at last find themselves in Chef Antonio’s kitchen with their mothers in tow—but the drama is only just beginning!

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince by Serena Valentino. Disney, July 22 2014.
"A cursed prince sits alone in a secluded castle. Few have seen him, but those who claim they have say his hair is wild and nails are sharp--like a beast's! But how did this prince, once jovial and beloved by the people, come to be a reclusive and bitter monster? And is it possible that he can ever find true love and break the curse that has been placed upon him?

The Beast Within: A Tale of Beauty's Prince is an upcoming novel written by Serena Valentino, the writer of Fairest of All. Based on Beauty and the Beast, it serves as a prequel to the film, telling of the story of the Beast and how he became a monster, as well as the events that led up to the curse broken. 

These are the books I am very excited for to read, which books catches your eye the most?

Monday, June 30, 2014

Blog Tour: Love Like The Movies by Victoria Van Tiem

Publisher: Macmillan
Release Date: February 24th 2014
Pages: 288
Source: Publisher

Thirty year old Kensington Shaw is just a short time away from marrying her boyfriend Bradley. Bradley is the perfect guy. Smart, succesful, popular, her family adores him: even her mother, and that says a lot. So maybe after their marriage it is time to start that little family she always dreamed of..!

But..that week at the office, her ex boyfriend Shane walks in and throws all her plans upside down. He was away for seven years, he broke Kensington's heart back then and moved to the UK. Now he is i her office as an important client for the ad agency Kensington works for . Shane still can do something that Bradley somehow never didn't with her: Passing the tummy-flip test, big time. Shane never has forgotten Kensington, and uh oh, he tells her that he still loves her and declares even that he is the perfect man for her as they have one very important and special thing in common: their love for romantic movies. The ad agency truly needs his account, as it has big financial problems, but Shane has one thing he wants: living out ten famous romantic comedy movie moments with Kensington, then he will sign the important contract. But what about her soon to come marriage to Bradley?

Love Like The Movies is a very funny and entertaining read. It is a fun mix of romantic comedy and chicklit.  It was so much fun to read and to imagine Kensington and Shane re-enacting the scenes from the most famous romantic movies. Kensington is caught in the middle of which guy to choose, but during the story she finds out the true one. (and I will not tell who it is here..!) Kensington was a fun bubbly main character, dreaming of her future whit Bradley till Shane walks in the story. He is a very cute guy, which guy comes up with a plan to re-enact romantic movies in real life? I think he is a winner because of that! There was also a fun cast of side characters; Kensington's controlling mom and sister Ren, who just announced that she is pregnant, and Kensie's friends, who where just as bubbly as her. At some points the plot was at a point that I thought it was a bit over the top and beyond believable, and at a few points I got a little lost of the story. But beside that, it was a very cute, light and entertaining read.

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Say What You Will by Cammie McGovern

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date:June 3th 2014
Pages: 343
Source: Publisher
Age Range: Young Adult

Born with cerebral palsy, Amy can't walk without a walker, talk without a voice box, or even fully control her facial expressions. Plagued by obsessive-compulsive disorder, Matthew is consumed with repeated thoughts, neurotic rituals, and crippling fear. Both in desperate need of someone to help them reach out to the world, Amy and Matthew are more alike than either ever realized.

When Amy decides to hire student aides to help her in her senior year at Coral Hills High School, these two teens are thrust into each other's lives. As they begin to spend time with each other, what started as a blossoming friendship eventually grows into something neither expected.

Before I started reading I had no idea what to expect of Say What You Will. Well, the book didn't dissapoint me, but it didn't blow me away either.

The character set up was good. It was very refreshing to read about a main character who is different. From personal experience I know how hard and  difficult it can be if you have a handicap. The author did a great job in portraying this, Amy was alone at some points before she met her new peer Matthew. They have something in common, and it makes them stronger when they become friends. That was great to read and how they just very a huge support to each other.

The plot itself was okay, it had it's weak spots, and I found it hard to stay interested untill the end. Mostly the plot was how Amy and Matthew get through their last high school period, and their choices for what comes next, which college to choose and if they will stay together when that happens. It didn't have any specific plot twist and just flowed along, that bored me at some points. But overall, the friendship and special bond of the two main characters made up for that.

If something in Say What You Will had gripped me a little sooner, it may have turned into a four-star read. But because it took so long for me to have any feelings one way or another, it falls somewhere to the middle of the scale.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

My favorite American Food

Sometimes I just like to blog about something not book related. There is just another thing I like just as much as books: delicious American food items (who are unfortunately not always available in my country, and when they are it is just a very small range of products) Recently my eye fell on A real shop ánd an amazing webshop that offers a wide line of American products. Sweets, candy, crisps/snacks drinks and other American items, you name it, they've got it!
But what to choose ? Below I show you my favorites who I highly recommend trying, or roducts I haven't tried before but just sparked my curiosity for trying!

1. Combos Pepperoni Pizza crackers; My absolute absolute, with star on one favorite (now where can I get a huuuge box filled with them?? And why are they so hard to get in The Netherlands) Last year I found them on sale on a shop on the airport, and I took one bag home to try. I love all things with a tomato-y taste (as I have low potassium levels as a result of a kidney disease, tomatoes contain potassium so that's why I like the taste) this was just a big winner. Crunchy on the outside with a deli-cous tomato-y filling on the inside and a hint of cheese flavour. Just tastes like a yummy pepperoni pizza like it should be!

2. Frito-Lay Stax All-American Cheeseburger:

Imagine the flavour of juicy beef, creamy cheese, burger relish and sweet gherkin stuffed into a potato chip. Wow, crisps that taste like a cheeseburger. This is one I haven't tried yet, but it has sparked my interest already. I hope this is the same as with Combo's and copies the taste of a burger.

3: Betty Crocker Rich & Creamy Lemon Frosting.

My favorite frosting of all time. Suer delicious on a cupcake or other piece of cake and perfect to decorate with!

4: Taco Bell Thick, & Chunky Salsa

Another one I haven't tried yet. I love salsa so I am very curious to try the Taco Bell one!

5. Flipz Milk Chocolate Pretzels

I have tried these and they are very crunchy pretzels with a nice layer of milk chocolate that melts on your tongue. Highly recommend it! (but beware, the bag will be empty soon!)

6. Nestle Butterfinger

One of my favorite chocolate bars with a nice filling of butterscotch on the inside.

7.Heinz Coctail Sauce

I have a weak spot for red sauces, and this one tastes good with almost anything, especially shrim!

8: Hershey's Chocolate Syrup

Mmm. just seeing this bottle makes me crave a vanilla ice cream with this sauce on top!

9. Bartons New Yorker Chocolate Tin

This beautiful New York themed Chocolate tin makes me very curious for the nice chocolate assortment inside! I think this makes a nice gift for that special person who love chocolate also.

9. Betty Crocker Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix

I have made this cake once and it reminds me just of the cake with a chocolate frosting my grandmother used to have. Just seeing the box and I taste it again in my mind!

You can order from everywhere in Europe on and if you live in the UK, they have a real store in Ashton-under-Lyne. You can find all about this amazing store on their site!

Saturday, June 21, 2014

ARC review: The Things You Kiss Goodbye by Leslie Connor

Publisher: HarperTeen
Release Date:June 24th 2014
Pages: 368
Source: Publisher
Age Range: Young Adult

Bettina Vasilis is a teen girl living with her very strict Greek parents. She has a boyfriend who goes to the same high school. Brady Cullen. At firsthand, things go quite well. Brady asks her out and wondrously her father approves of him, as Brady is the popular star player of the school basketball team. But slowly during their starting relationship, Brady starts to change. He pulls on her braids a few times too much, and too hard. He beats and pushes her sometimes, and he clearly think its funny, but for Bettina, alarm bells are starting to go off. Especially when she get's more and more scratches and bruises from Brady's funny jokes, like slamming her against her locker when Bettina doesn't do what Brady wants.

But then she meets Cowboy in garage near school, when she runs away from Brady's mean jokes. Cowboy is nice to her, listens to her and just accept her the way she is. The only problem holding her back is that she is sixteen, he in his twenties. But what is Bettina to do now with Brady? Breaking up with him would mean she would lose her freedom, as he was a good excuse to get out of the house. But when a very sad event makes an end to the meet ups with Cowboy, and word get's out she was dating him, she get'in a very bad situation again, but maybe it will also be the beginning of something good starting between her and her father.

I had high expectations of this book and it certainly didn't dissapoint me. The story started very romantic, and I honestly thought that was going to be the tone for the rest of the book. But I was wrong: the story got very dark, and I just loathed Brady for how he treated Bettina. His behavior was low, very low. How Bettina's father treated her was also just wrong, but I could understand him more why he acted that way, because he was very protective of her. The starting friendship and later on romance between her and Cowboy was very cute, but it was sad how it ended so abrubtly. During the story I hoped though that Bettina's way of acting would progress a bit more, but mostly she was kind of a victim- like character and she didn't progressed very much of stood up for her self more.
But that doesn't made me like this book less, therefore this story was just too good and gripping.


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