lundi 31 août 2015

The Boys Next Door - Jennifer Echols

Goodreads summary:

Lori lives for summertime on the lake. She spends all season wakeboarding, swimming, and hanging with her friends—including the two hotties in the house next door. With the Vader brothers, Lori's always been one of the guys. 

But while Lori and the "baby" brother, Adam, are inseparable friends, she can't deny a secret crush on Sean, the older Vader boy. This year Sean's been paying Lori a lot of attention, and not in a brotherly way.

But just as Lori decides to prove to Sean she's girlfriend material, she realizes that her role as girlfriend to Adam may be even more important. And by trying so hard for the perfect summer romance, she could be going way overboard....

My review:


Need an adorable book? Here you go!

This novel is sweet, funny and light-hearted, which we all know is something we crave for once in a while. It's predictable, but mostly because that's the way we want it to end, too. The only thing that really made me cringe was the ending, because it's too cheesy, even for me, which is something you won't here me say often. However, I still loved reading this novel and I'm convinced Jennifer Echols is one of the best cheesy writers out there - in a good way. 

I'm warning all of you about the cheesiness, but if that's what you need, pick this book up right now and you won't regret it.


Inherit the Stars - Tessa Elwood

Goodreads summary:

Three royal houses ruling three interplanetary systems are on the brink of collapse, and they must either ally together or tear each other apart in order for their people to survive.

Asa is the youngest daughter of the house of Fane, which has been fighting a devastating food and energy crisis for far too long. She thinks she can save her family’s livelihood by posing as her oldest sister in an arranged marriage with Eagle, the heir to the throne of the house of Westlet. The appearance of her mother, a traitor who defected to the house of Galton, adds fuel to the fire, while Asa also tries to save her sister Wren's life . . . possibly from the hands of their own father.

But as Asa and Eagle forge a genuine bond, will secrets from the past and the urgent needs of their people in the present keep them divided?

Author Tessa Elwood's debut series is an epic romance at heart, set against a mine field of political machinations, space adventure, and deep-seeded family loyalties.

My review:


Fast-paced, intriguing and romantic. The perfect kind of book!

I loved everything from this novel: the characters, the world, the plot, the romance, etc. While there is in fact a lack of description concerning the world where this story is set, it is undeniably very interesting. There are many different planets and they can fly from one to another pretty much whenever they can, which sounds awesome. The story is quite surprising and kept me anxious to know what would happen next, which is why this could perfectly be read in a single sitting. Then there's the romance. I have found another OTP, that's for sure. It is SO. DAMN. CUTE. I swear. The way Asa loves her sister and would do anything for her family is also very touching, especially since most of the book is based around it. I liked how important family is in this novel, because sometimes we don't even get to know the main character's family in other books, which is thankfully not the case here. Really, this book is a perfect mix of sci-fi, action and romance, all in one.

The only thing I would've changed would be the end, because it felt really rushed and abrupt to me. I was seriously expecting a sequel when there were about two pages left, because I thought it would be impossible to conclude everything in such a small number of pages. Unfortunately, I was wrong and I'm not even sure there's a sequel planned. Let's hope 11:11 helps me with this situation, or I might die waiting for the sequel I will never have gotten - very sad.

Overall, this is a great novel. I can't wait for it to come out so everyone can read it and hopefully love it as much as I did. Also, fingers crossed for the cover, because it better be a good one!

(Inherit the Stars is out on December 8th, 2015. Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

I did an interview with the author, Tessa Elwood. She's such a nice person! If you haven't read it yet, you can find it here.

dimanche 30 août 2015

The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) - James Dashner

Goodreads summary:

It’s the end of the line.

WICKED has taken everything from Thomas: his life, his memories, and now his only friends—the Gladers. But it’s finally over. The trials are complete, after one final test.

Will anyone survive?

What WICKED doesn’t know is that Thomas remembers far more than they think. And it’s enough to prove that he can’t believe a word of what they say.

The truth will be terrifying.

Thomas beat the Maze. He survived the Scorch. He’ll risk anything to save his friends. But the truth might be what ends it all. 

The time for lies is over.

My review:


I liked this, but for some reason, the second book in this series was my favorite one, which is why I didn't think this one was more extraordinary than the other books. 

Because this trilogy is set in different places in every book, it doesn't feel like a series to me, because every book is so different. I liked how many answers I got in The Scorch Trials and how fast-paced it was, but The Death Cure was incredibly different. For one, it seemed as though the rest of the world, which simply didn't seem to exist in the two first novels, finally showed itself and it felt way too modern and normal for me to actually believe it. I had this idea of the Earth being completely destroyed, except for the teenagers they put in the Mazes, but finding out that there were still healthy people was surprising. Also, I thought that not much really happens in this book, which disappointed me after loving the second book for its action-packed story. 

I really like how the characters interact in this book, though. They're all desperate to get out of this alive and they work so hard together to make it work, which was heartwarming. However, I don't think any relationship in this series ever sounded realistic to me, because I never rooted for one of the characters to end up with another one. I still don't understand Teresa's character and I don't think I ever will, but that might just be because of WICKED, since I thought she was alright after the first book. 

While I loved how complicated WICKED sounded it the second book, I was disappointed with what I learned in this one. The characters working for them don't seem to have any personality, or intelligence, for that matter, and it's really confusing to read about them. I was really skeptical about every character's motives because of how WICKED manipulates everyone, so the fact that everyone ended up being exactly what they said they were in this book was unsettling and unrealistic, because it's like everyone was lying in the first two books, but they all became nice and honest characters between the second and third book. 

Come to think of it, I didn't like this book as much as I thought I did. Thanks to this review, i realized this and I'm now lowering my review to three stars. I'n still excited for the movies (DYLAN O'BRIEN) though.


vendredi 28 août 2015

The Summer of Good Intentions - Wendy Francis

Goodreads summary:

Cape Cod summers are supposed to remain reassuringly the same, but everything falls apart when three sisters and their families come together for their annual summer vacation—and they are carrying more secrets than suitcases.

Maggie is the oldest. She feels responsible for managing the summer house and making sure everything is as it always has been. But she’s hurt that her parents’ recent divorce has destroyed the family’s comfortable summer routines, and her own kids seem to be growing up at high speed. Is it too late to have another baby?

Jess is the middle sister. She loves her job but isn’t as passionate about her marriage. She’s not sure she can find the courage to tell Maggie what she’s done—much less talk to her husband about it.

Virgie is the youngest, her dad’s favorite. She’s always been the career girl, but now there’s a man in her life. Her television job on the west coast is beyond stressful, and it’s taking its toll on her—emotionally and physically. She’s counting on this vacation to erase the symptoms she’s not talking about.

The Herington girls are together again, with their husbands and kids, for another summer in the family’s old Cape Cod house. When their mother, Gloria, announces she’s coming for an unscheduled visit—with her new boyfriend—no one is more surprised than their father, Arthur, who has not quite gotten over his divorce. Still, everyone manages to navigate the challenges of living grown-up lives in close quarters, until an accident reveals a new secret that brings everyone together in heartbreak… and then healing.

My review:


Awww, this book leaves me with such a contented feeling. I love it.

Although I'm convinced these types of books are written for people way older than me, I absolutely love reading them. When there's a nice ending, they give me hope for my future, concerning my career and love life when I'm older. This one, although it was quite depressing and sad at some point, really did the trick! 

I loved how each chapter focuses on alternated characters. It helped me vizualize them in a more complete way than I would've it the story had been focused on one of them, because I could see what image the characters have of themselves as well as how the others see them. It doesn't happen often, but I love it.

The family in this book is such a nice one. Everyone has their flaw, but in the end, they love each other and so did I. My favorite character was probably Maggie, because she's incredible. Basically, everyone worships her, which is why it's weird that she's my favorite character, but the fact is that they have a good reason to do so. She's so kind, organized and nice to everyone that she inspired me a lot. Sure, she goes through hell while doing so, which sucks for her, but in the end she's loved and appreciated by her friends and family. I loved her relationship with Mac. 

This book approaches many touchy subjects, which I'm not going to mention to keep this spoiler-free. However, I'm going to say how well described and explained they are, which I really liked. I cried more than once towards the end, because the family goes through hard times, but I loved the ending. There's no question left, there's no sadness, there's only happiness and contentment. 

I highlt recommend this book. It's amazing and definitely one of my favorite summery novels. 

(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)


mercredi 26 août 2015

Web Series Wednesday - The Lizzie Bennet Diaries

If you're new to this YouTube world, or simply to web series, you might not know about this amazing channel. However, it's definitely one of the best and most famous web series out there, and for many reasons.

I discovered this web series, The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, from Hank and John Green's YouTube channel, vlogbrothers. Hank posted a video back in 2012, when I wasn't subscribed to their channel ( or to anyone's, to be honest, because I didn't know YouTubers were a thing. Can't imagine living without YouTube now!). When I did subscribe to their channel, after having finished The Fault in Our Stars later in 2013 and discovering that John posted videos with his brother, I started watching all of their videos before I subscribed, because of how good they were. I wasn't that fast, so it took me a while to get there, but in late 2014, I watched this video and wondered: "does this really exist?" I was thrilled to find out that the series was entirely posted by then and I immediately started watching every single episode - which surprisingly didn't take that long, since I was so obsessed I preferred watching these to sleeping. I still do, to be honest.

The first reason why I like this series so much is that it's inspired by an amazing novel, Pride and Prejudice. It's the first Jane Austen novel I read and the first classic I actually chose to read, so this book has a special place in my heart. In Austen's book, there is an amazing romance, even though there's absolutely nothing explicit in it. It's just the fact that you know how the characters feel and you feel their love with them, which is just amazing. I watched as many adaptations of it as I could, so this series was no exception.

My second reason for loving LBD is the way it's adapted into a modern life story. I loved seeing all the little détails altered to make the story realistic and as dramatic in our society, because many things that were considered bad in the 19th century are simply normal today. The amount of work that must have been put in the creation of this web series is insane, which is why I admire it even more. If you've read the books and then you watch this web series, you'll realize how smart its writers are.

My final reason for watching this series instead of sleeping is how they represented each character. When you read a book, you create a precise idea of the characters and their surroundings that can be completely different from another reader's idea, which is why adaptations can be tricky sometimes. You could think a character's a real sweetheart, while someone could think he's actually calculating and evil. Sometimes, the author's writing or the main character's opinion influence our thoughts about a character, like it did for me in Pride and Prejudice. I thought Lydia was an annoying, irresponsible and self-centered girl because it's kind of how Elizabeth sees her little sister. However, in LBD, Lydia's character is taken very differently, which made me realize many things about her I had simply ignored. Her character in the web series quickly became one of my favorites, especially with the amazing actress who plays her, Mary Kate Wiles. I loved her videos, since she creates a channel of her own during the season, and I wish there had been even more of them. She's endearing and her way to talk and move cracked me up so many times that I wouldn't have believed you if you had told me I would react this way to her character before watching these videos.

I also loved the chemistry between the characters, the decoration, the music, the concept and the extras. I think this is a wonderfully well organized web series and I am glad I discovered such a universe. I read The Secret Diary of Lizzie, which is more personal than the videos, and I really liked it. I'm incredibly excited for the new novel that the writers are publishing, The Epic Adventures of Lydia Bennet, since it's about a character I grew to love. I can already recommend both novels!

I highly recommend this series!

lundi 24 août 2015

Shug - Jenny Han

Goodreads summary:

is clever and brave and true (on the inside, anyway). And she's about to become your new best friend.
Annemarie Wilcox, or Shug as her family calls her, is beginning to think there's nothing worse than being twelve. She's too tall, too freckled, and way too flat-chested. Shug is sure that there's not one good or amazing thing about her. And now she has to start junior high, where the friends she counts most dear aren't acting so dear anymore -- especially Mark, the boy she's known her whole life through. Life is growing up all around her, and all Shug wants is for things to be like they used to be. How is a person supposed to prepare for what happens tomorrow when there's just no figuring out today?

My review:


This book is adorable and I loved it.

It's a short, cute and lovely story that I wish I had read years ago, when I would've been able to relate even more to Shug. Even though she's years younger than me, I relate a lot to her and I loved reading about her.

Shug's personality is really interesting, because she's authentic and honest, but she has flaws, too. She cares about her friends and family, but not so much about popularity, even though she wishes she could be with her friends without being excluded all the time. Her family has issues, but she understands them very well and she still loves her sister and her parents, which I thought was adorable.

I disliked Mark. I understand that he's at that age when you want to look cool and be in the popular crowd, but I hated the fact that he couldn't stand up for his best friend. I thought he would change and realize that he can't act like that, but I was disappointed to find out that he didn't. It's what felt the most immature in this book, the fact that so many of Shug's friends want to look cool and act horribly to do so. I'm really happy to be older than that.

I loved Jack. I could see why he would act like that, being older than him, and I thought he was really cute and nice. I was happy to see him grow up, unlike Mark, and stand up for Shug. He doesn't care much about popularity, which made me like him even more.

I smiled throughout the whole story (except once, I teared up a little because I could understand the deeper meaning of a conversation between Shug and her mother and I thought it was really sad) and it's so short that I would reread it anytime. I highly recommend it, no matter what age you are, because you'll find something adorable and easy to read.


samedi 22 août 2015


I have an exciting announcement, everyone! Starting this moment, there will be a giveaway on my blog for all of you to enter. I highly recommend the novel I'm giving away, because I LOVED it. You can read my review here, if you haven't yet, on read the interview I did with the author here. Click on the cover image to get to the  novel's Goodreads page.


Here's how this will go: two print copies of Stay the Distance, by Mara Dabrishus, are available for free giveaway. To enter the contest, all you have to do is subscribe to my blog in any way you want, which you can do on the sidebar, and comment on this post with a question for the author. Horsey questions, racing questions, writing questions—whatever you want to know! Two winning questions will be randomly selected by Mara Dabrishus and answered on Tudor Robins’s blog on October 5th during the Horse Lovers Blog Tour, as well as receive a print copy of Stay the Distance. Remaining questions will be answered on Mara’s blog. Don’t worry, your question will be answered!

The contest is open to all countries. Please make sure to include your e-mail address with your question so winners can be contacted. Deadline is September 20 and b
oth of the conditions to enter must be met for someone to be chosen as a winner. Only one entry per account.

Good luck to everyone!

vendredi 21 août 2015

The Lake Season - Hannah Roberts McKinnon

Goodreads summary:

Set in the weeks leading up to an idyllic New England wedding, this “enticing and refreshing” (Nancy Thayer, New York Times bestselling author) novel sparkles with wry wit, sweet romance, and long-kept family secrets.

Iris Standish has always been the responsible sister: the one who studied hard, settled down, and always made the right choices—even when they came at the expense of her passions. Meanwhile, her sister Leah dropped out of college to “find herself” by hiking through Yellowstone and switches jobs nearly as often as she switches lovers, leaving Iris to pick up the pieces in her wake.

But now Iris’s life is coming apart at the seams, and when Leah calls her back to their childhood home with a desperate cry for help, she is thrust headfirst into preparations for her sister’s wedding to a man their New Hampshire clan has never met…with her own marriage and family on the brink.

Still, despite the rush of dress fittings, floral arrangements, and rehearsal dinners, Iris is learning to put herself first. And amid a backdrop of late-night swims and a soul-restoring barn renovation comes Cooper Woods, a high school crush who beckons with the promise of a new start.

While Leah faces a past that has finally caught up to her, Iris prepares to say goodbye to a future that is suddenly far from certain. As Hampstead Lake shimmers in the background, Iris must decide when to wade in cautiously and when to dive—and, ultimately, how to ferry herself to safe harbors in this “glittering…memorable” novel of second chances and the ties that bind (Michelle Gable, nationally bestselling author of A Paris Apartment).

My review:


This is your perfect summer novel. If you're going anywhere near a lake or any kind of beach, this novel is what you need.

I liked how this novel made me feel. Going to her parents' house is a way to take a break from her life for Iris, and I felt like I was on a break, too. This novel made me escape from my life and if that doesn't mean it's a good novel, then I don't know what does.

I found it hard to like all of the characters in this novel, first because I didn't feel very invested in the story (but that might be because the main character is my mother's age, so it's not exactly a book for someone my age), but also because I found some characters pretty annoying. Sometimes, I wished I could shake some of the characters, because I hated what they were doing. Also, since the novel starts when Paul has just told Iris that he wants them to get a divorce, I didn't understand what she could see in him, because I felt like I didn't know a thing about their relationship, except from their fallout. It made it hard for me to understand her feelings. However, I really liked many other characters, like Trish, Iris's best friend, Bill, Iris's father, Cooper and Iris's children. I loved the relationships between all of those characters, because their love is clear and deep.

I really liked how selfless Iris is. It also bugged me a little, because I wished she would do something for herself, but mostly, I was impressed. I thought it was very brave of her and I wished I could be more like that. I was really happy to see her grow and to realize how much of a difference this summer has on her, because there is a lot of character development in this book, as well as relationship development.

I read this book outside, on my patio on sunbathing, and it was exactly what I needed. I recommend it.

(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)


Northanger Abbey - Jane Austen

Goodreads summary:

A wonderfully entertaining coming-of-age story, Northanger Abbey is often referred to as Jane Austen’s “Gothic parody.” Decrepit castles, locked rooms, mysterious chests, cryptic notes, and tyrannical fathers give the story an uncanny air, but one with a decidedly satirical twist.

The story’s unlikely heroine is Catherine Morland, a remarkably innocent seventeen-year-old woman from a country parsonage. While spending a few weeks in Bath with a family friend, Catherine meets and falls in love with Henry Tilney, who invites her to visit his family estate, Northanger Abbey. Once there, Catherine, a great reader of Gothic thrillers, lets the shadowy atmosphere of the old mansion fill her mind with terrible suspicions. What is the mystery surrounding the death of Henry’s mother? Is the family concealing a terrible secret within the elegant rooms of the Abbey? Can she trust Henry, or is he part of an evil conspiracy? Catherine finds dreadful portents in the most prosaic events, until Henry persuades her to see the peril in confusing life with art.

Executed with high-spirited gusto, Northanger Abbey is the most lighthearted of Jane Austen’s novels, yet at its core this delightful novel is a serious, unsentimental commentary on love and marriage.

My review:


As a Jane Austen fan, Northanger Abbey was a must read for me. Extraordinarily, I watched the movie before reading the novel, which had an impact on my reading experience. I found that the movie had several differences with the novel, good and bad ones. I was confused with the story when I was reading, because Catherine's departure from Northanger Abbey is much different in the movie than it actually is. I thought it was very dramatic in the movie, which wasn't a bad thing, but Catherine's sadness towards Henry felt a bit overboard in the book. I'm happy that there was a bit more romance in the movie, because the last chapters of the book left me wanting much more than I actually got. Having read many of Austen's novels, I knew I couldn't expect very explicit romance, but I hated the fact that the last chapters described what happened, instead of the characters talking for themselves. I thought it was very prude, even for Jane Austen, so I had to imagine what I saw in the movie instead.

I loved Catherine's character, because although she isn't the smartest one ever created, she's kind and really sweet. I liked how much importance she accordes to her friendships, especially with Eleanor, with whom she shared an amazing friendship, especially in such a period. I hadn't imagine it would be possible to have such a close friend with their cold politeness and good manners, but I was surprised to find Catherine and the Tilneys getting along so well. I wish I could've been in Catherine's place, in such beautiful houses with such amazing friends. However, her curiosity and immature ideas made me cringe a lot, especially when she imagines all this scheme with General Tilney. I was prepared for it, after having seen the movie, but I still hated how bold she acts and how she gets caught by Henry.

Since this is Jane Austen's first novel, I could see some faults in her writing and plot that I would've changed, but I still think this is a great first novel. I'm not a fan of Catherine's fears and love for mystery, but I guess it's part of the story. I really liked both the movie and the novel.


mercredi 19 août 2015

Beauty Queens - Libba Bray

Goodreads summary:

When a plane crash strands thirteen teen beauty contestants on a mysterious island, they struggle to survive, to get along with one another, to combat the island's other diabolical occupants, and to learn their dance numbers in case they are rescued in time for the competition.Written by Libba Bray, the hilarious, sensational, Printz Award-winning author of A Great and Terrible Beauty and Going Bovine. The result is a novel that will make you laugh, make you think, and make you never see beauty the same way again.

My review:


It's so much better than it looks! I had been looking at it ever since my library got it, but it didn't seem like something I would read at all, so I only picked it up because I heard good things about it. I'm glad I did, because it was really funny!

The writing style itself is pretty funny. I loved the "A Word From Your Sponsor" chapters, although I was confused by them at first, and the footnotes had so many interesting details that I couldn't stop myself from reading them. I really like the fact that the author created movies, TV shows, celebrities, products and events simply to include them in this book. Some were so incongruous that they made me laugh out loud, especially since I could picture them on some channels. I think this novel really made me realize how stupid our society can be to enjoy watching such things, because even though the movies and TV shows are fictional and improbable, they reflect some that actually exist.

I really enjoyed discovering the girls' personalities. There are a couple of them, but I feel like I got to know most of them pretty well and they're all interesting and different from the others. They all have different reasons to participate in the competition, as well as different pasts and passions, and I liked understanding them better and knowing why they all act like they do. The friendships they created while being on the island are fantastic and their character development made me really happy.

The thing I enjoyed the most about this book is probably how it changes the notion of "damsel in distress". The girls wish for princes to sweep them off their feet at first, but they quickly realize how amazing they can be on their own. They discover talents about themselves and stop depending on men so much. I really liked that aspect, since it's different from most YA novels.

The only reasons why I'm giving this four stars instead of five are that, while I enjoyed reading this book, it's not really my type and that a lot of the footnotes were boring instead of funny like the other ones. I wish they had all been hilarious and crazy, but I guess you can't always get what you want!

I recommend this book, even though it might not look like everyone's type.


Web Series Wednesday - Green Gables Fables

Hi everyone! I just thought of a new series of blog posts I could do once in a while called, as you probably saw in the title, Web Series Wednesday. As an avid fan of YouTube videos, I was delighted when I discovered, less than a year ago, that web series inspired of popular books actually exist. Since my blog is all about books, I thought some of you might be interested in web series, just like I am, so I wanted to share them with you through this series of blog posts. The first show is still updating at the moment and I absolutely love it, so here it is!

My initial reaction was complete shock when I found out that there is a YouTube adaptation of my favorite book ever, Anne of Green Gables. On the first video of Season 1 of Green Gables Fables, you can probably see my comment, describing my schock at discovering that there is something about Lucy Maud Montgomery's works that I didn't know of, especially a web series. I flew through the first season, crying and giggling at times, and I must admit there are many videos I watched twice, three times or even four times. I absolutely love Anne's actress, Mandy Harmon, and her chemistry (or lack of, for a big part of it) with Gilbert in the show is incredibly good and accurate. The cast is great and I follow most of them everywhere now, because I'm really glad I discovered such talented people through a web series. I would recommend having read the books before watching the web series (or even if you don't plan on watching the web series - the book series is plenty enough, it's awesome), but I think it would still be a good web series to watch without knowing what it's about.

The show portrays the first book of the popular Anne of Green Gables series, by Lucy Maud Montgomery, in the 21st century. If you're a fan of the series, you'll see all the little details the production worked on to make the story work in our era instead of one that was over a year ago. Anne (with an E!) is an orphan going from one foster family to another until she meets Matthew and Marilla, two siblings who welcome her in their family. Going to Avonlea, she meets new people, makes friends and enemies, starts a video blog and experiences many beautiful and not-so-beautiful things. With her imaginative mind and love for beauty and poetry, she makes her way in the world, never ceasing to make herself remembered to everyone soul she touches, including the viewer's.

I love how it's filmed, how it's cut, how it's created and how it's divided. Every episode has its load of content and drama, since Anne can be very dramatic, but it's only making you want to watch more and more of it. There are also other videos than the ones from Anne, such as videos from Gilbert, Ruby, Jane, etc. I loved this part, because it made me see the characters in a different way than I do when they are with Anne or simply in the novel. Anne's energy is contagious and the biggest fans and most attentive viewers will quickly realize things about herself and the people around her that she could never imagine, creating the perfect amount of anticipation for the future.

Right now, the first season is completely finished, but the second one is planned to begin on September 2nd. There are already videos about it, such as trailers, Q&As and videos from Anne, all very exciting. It's supposed to be about the third book, I believe, which is Anne of the Island. In this season, Anne is starting her first year of university, which means she'll meet plenty of new kindred spirits while staying in touch with her oldest ones.

You can also donate money to the production on Kickstarter to help them with the web series, which I encourage you to do, since they all work so hard to come to this result. You can click on this link to get to their Kickstarter page for Season 2.

mardi 18 août 2015

Interview: Linda Ballou

Nothing pleases adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, more than seeing gorgeous country from the back of a good horse.  Her articles have appeared in Equus, Horse Illustrated and numerous travel magazines. Being a stowaway on a cross-country course in Ireland is detailed in her story Irish Mist which was included in the anthology Why We Ride with a forward by Jane Smiley.  She is also the author of Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, and Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i an historical novel that transport the reader to the Islands as they existed prior to missionary contact.  The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon which takes you from the show jumping arena to the high Sierra and back is her first “new adult” novel. I recently interviewed her and became very interested in her personal story, so keep on reading to discover what an amazing person she is! If you haven't yet, you can read my review here.


What inspired you to write The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon?

LB: I was crawling from my bed to the refrigerator on my knees for about six weeks due to extreme nerve pain when it occurred to me that I had to do something, or I was going to go crazy. I was told that I had to give up riding, give up my mare and that if I was lucky I wouldn’t have to have surgery on my back. Crying didn’t help much. Writing this story took my mind off my predicament and the tremendous sense of loss I was feeling. John Muir’s book My First Summer in the Sierra prompted me to take a couple of horse pack trips into the Eastern Sierra’s that imbued me a deep love and respect for nature. Many of the details in this story were collected on those journeys. I always wanted to return and trail solo in the high country, but had to let Gemcie do it for me. Writing Cowgirl was a big part of a healing process for me. I gave my mare to Hearts and Horses where she helped with handicapped children. When I was able to walk again, I went on to become a travel writer with a penchant for guest ranches and International riding treks. .

What were the challenges (research, literary, psychological, and logistical) in bringing it to life?

LB: While I was writing Cowgirl I was reading On Writing by Steven King, considered by many to be the best book written on the subject. I didn’t realize until I reached the last chapters that he too was writing to distract himself from the tremendous pain he had to endure while his body healed from an accident. I didn’t know that he had been run over by a van and that he had extensive injuries that made my garden variety herniated disc seem like a cakewalk. Feeling connected to this great writer and his suffering helped me through this very difficult time. As for research, I was immersed in the riding world and had read just about every book written on riding technique, horse psychology. My first published article “The Art of Falling” appeared in Horse Illustrated. After that my byline turned up in Equus, and Western Horseman to name a few. I was doing three-day events at the time of my injury and my whole life revolved around the horse world.

How did you come up with the title?

LB: That’s funny you should ask. A girlfriend gave me a t-shirt with that tag over the picture of a cowgirl jumping over the moon on a starry night. It just stuck with me. I always loved the image and cut it out when it was time to toss the well-worn gift away. I wrote the first draft of this story many years ago and that little reminder was pressed inside the journal that contained the notes for the story that has it found its way to fruition.

Are experiences based on someone you know, or events in your own life?

LB: The Mariposa equestrian facility in the story is modeled after what I observed in the celebrity-owned ranches nestled in Hidden Valley in Southern California. I was a groupie at horse shows trying to absorb the courage of the riders like Susan Hutchison, recently inducted into the 2015 National Show Hunter Hall of Fame. I so admired Susan’s riding skill and bravery that I kept her foremost in my mind while writing the riding scenes in the book. She is the protégé of the legendary trainer Jimmy Williams, who I was privileged to interview in 1993, not long before his passing. The character Billy is modeled after this authentic “horse whisperer,” who was a giant in the riding world.

If you had to choose, which writer would you consider a mentor?

LB: I actually have two authors that I admire. Tim Cahill, author of nine adventure travel collections, is my travel-writing hero. I went to his home in Livingston, Montana to interview him. The outcome of that conversation is in my book Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales. Jack London, the master of adventure writing, said that desire incited struggle followed by action creates character arc. He wrote in a crisp, succinct manner that I love. In my piece Jack London and Me I talk about how my personal path and that of one of America’s finest writers have crossed. 

What book are you reading now?

LB: Mustang-The Saga of the Wild Horse in the American West by Deane Stillman. This book provides a comprehensive history of the horse from the beginning of time to the present with focus on the wild herds of mustangs that still roam 10 western states in the U.S. I became interested in the plight of the herds that are being rounded up by the Bureau of Land Management in response to ranchers whose cattle are competing with them for natural feed resources. It seems the answer is to exercise birth control in the herds. This is more humane than the slaughter house, but will eventually cause the wild horse to go extinct if it is effective.

What are your current projects?

LB: I am an adventure-travel writer with a host of articles on my site. I am anxious to get back to taking great trips and writing about them. In September I am spending time in St. Croix in the American Virgin Islands with Sharon Pohl who has invited me to test drive the Wellness Week for Equestrians she plans to offer. Sharon’s site (in the pre-launch stage) will provide many exciting tips for horse lovers including a couple of my articles on horse treks I’ve taken.

What was the hardest part of writing your book?

LB: It was physically difficult because I had to write it standing up at my breakfast bar. Sciatic pain in my right leg would not allow me to sit for any length of time. Like a shark I couldn’t rest and had to keep moving. Deep emotions over the loss of what I cherished washed over me during the first raw draft. I needed to put the story away for many years. Still, I loved the characters and the environmental message delivered through Brady’s actions became more important to me over time. It took huge self-discipline for me to steal a nine-month chunk out of my life to focus on getting the story right, but I needed to finish what I had started. Reader response is making me feel that it was worth the effort. 

Have you ever hated something you wrote?

LB: No, but I wrote a story that everyone who read it hated. It was a short story about the controversial use of an anti-rape device. I thought my story leveled the playing field, but apparently it flattened it and offended readers male and female alike. I finally put it back in my drawer and will never share it again. However, in my mind it remains one of my best efforts.

Do you have any advice for other writers?

LB: Writers write. Builders build. Surgeons cut. If you say you are a writer then write. Keep notes of your stay on the planet. Journal about your experiences. Reflect upon what you see and try to capture the essence of it in words as a painter tries to capture it in colors and images. You will not remember the details that make a story vibrant. You have to write your impressions and feelings down as you go along. Then when you have time to organize your thoughts and know what it is you are trying to say you can go back to your notes and extract details that will enliven your work. Don’t wait to be a writer. Life go goes by too fast. Simply be a writer and see what happens.

Thank you for answering!

Adventure-travel writer, Linda Ballou, calls Topanga, California home. She shares Great Outdoor days in L.A, as well as a host of travel articles on her site, along with reviews of her books travel memoir, Lost Angel Walkabout-One Traveler’s Tales, her historical novel Wai-nani, A Voice from Old Hawai’i and her latest action-adventure novel The Cowgirl Jumped over the Moon Her quest today is to get to as many beautiful places as she can before they are gone. Subscribe to her blog and receive updates on her books, and travel destinations.

Here's the book trailer for The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon:

The Cowgirl Jumped Over the Moon - Linda Ballou

Goodreads summary:

Gemcie and her Irish Hunter, Marshal, are about to capture the World Cup when a nasty fall dashes their chances. While she is mending, her arch rival seizes this opportunity to catch a ride on Marshal, and to seduce her young husband. Confused and dazed by her new circumstances, Gemcie heads for the high Sierras hoping the majestic spires that captured the heart of the father she never met will provide the answers she seeks. She finds strength and solace riding solo on the John Muir Trail, but a bear attack ends her time of introspection and places her in the care of a solitary cowboy manning a fire lookout. Brady, who seems to love animals more than people, shows her love and gives her the courage to get back in the saddle. Haunted by images of Marshal being abused by his owners, Gemcie returns to rescue him and fly high with him once more. Ballou’s prose gallops ahead at breakneck speed as she takes you along on this wild ride.

My review:


Horse-related books make me feel so alive... Especially when I'm away from my horses and I desperately want to ride them. This one was no exception and I truly enjoyed my time reading.

I found the beginning of the book rushed and hard to keep up with, which is why I feared it wouldn't be as good as I expected it to be. However, as soon as I started reading it again, the story hooked me and I couldn't stop reading. The landscape descriptions, the feelings of freedom, the calmness of the mountains... Everything made me relax and want to know what would happen next. I didn't expect the story to develop this way, but I'm glad it did, because I didn't experience once more the lack of interest I had at the beginning.

I loved how passionate Gemcie is. All she has ever known is a world of horses and her only hopes are to get to the World's Cup. I admired her for her courage and her determination and her love for Marshal reminded me of my own for my horse, making me wish I could've raised her, too. I wish Gemcie had realized how lucky she was to be supported that much by her mother, because it took her a lot of money and hard work to allow her daughter to pursue her dreams.

Part of the reason why I wasn't interested in the story at the beginning was the fact that I couldn't care less about Jorge, Gemcie's husband. Since the story begins when they're already married, I didn't get much details about their love, the only ones not really helping me believe they were right to marry so young. I was surprised to learn that Gemcie was already someone's wife, especially since I didn't think it was wise of her with all her dreams, so not believing in their love made it hard for me to be interested in the story.

I loved how realistic the story is and how much Gemcie grows from the beginning to the end, because everything that she went through changed her forever, and for the better. All of her friendships and relationships created during her hard times made me smile and happy for her. The story shows how hard it actually is to ride, which I know very well, and how much support from the people around you you need to get to such a high level of competition. I think even readers who don't ride would enjoy getting to know more about this sport, although it might be hard for them to understand all of the terms.

I would recommend this novel, especially to my horse lover friends here.

(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)

I also did an interview with the author, which you can read here.

lundi 17 août 2015

A Game of Thrones - George R. R. Martin

Goodreads summary:

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.

My review:


This book is huge, but I absolutely loved it. It's totally worth the hours I spent reading it.

From the beginning, I fell in love with the world of this series. It's so complicated, with different houses and particular weather for all parts of the country. I was intrigued by the customs, the religions and the way they rule the country, even though it took me a while to understand everything. Some things about this world made me really want to live in it, while others made me happy I wasn't actually living in it. The author is crazy to have thought of all about this world, and I'm so glad he did.

I really liked the different chapters about someone in particular. The complexity of each family made me want to know more about them, even when it's not positive. I found it hard to believe that Daenerys lived in the same world as the other characters, since her part of the world is so incredibly different from the others, but I really liked seeing other people's opinion of her, no matter how bad it is. It made everything more natural and realistic, which I really liked.

I have to admit it, there are characters I don't remember the names of. Most of them aren't important characters, so it didn't make my reading experience too hard, but you need an impressive memory to remember all the characters in this book, because there are a lot of them. However, I loved the main characters (except for the horrible ones). The Stark are amazing, especially Arya and Jon (yes, I consider him a Stark), some of my favorite characters. I loved their wildness, which was refreshing compared to everyone else's politeness. I might be a nerd, but I also loved seeing how everything was ruled, mostly by the Starks, because I feel like they're the ones who we get to see rule the most. I found the discussions really interesting and the battles stressful, which made me want to read even more of this book. Weird enough, the character I identify to the most is Daenerys, because there are many things in this book that I would've done exactly like her. I do wish I could be Stark, though. I love them (although Sansa was annoying for the biggest part of this book). Tyrion cracked me up many times, which I loved when I was stressed about the events.

I really liked seeing a different kind of drama, because I really a lot of YA books where drama is all about boys and bad friendships. The drama in this book is about war, murder and bastards (the latter isn't much different to YA though, but I liked it much better), which is refreshing and very complicated, too. I found myself dreading some events, but impatient for others to come, which made me keep on reading for as long as I could whenever I picked this book up.

Seriously, I loved everything about this book, except maybe how long it took me to finish it. I'm incredibly excited to watch the TV show now, which I'll start as soon as possible. I really recommend this book!


Confessions of a Virgin Sex Columnist - Kay Marie

Goodreads summary:

From bestselling author Kaitlyn Davis, writing as Kay Marie, comes a new adult romantic comedy about a girl who'll soon discover that some secrets can't be kept forever, especially those of the heart.

My name is Skylar Quinn. I just moved to New York with my best friend Bridget, and I have a confession. Well, more than one. Okay, quite a few really. Fine, here goes!

Confession #1: I'm a sex columnist. Hold on, that's not really the confession. You see, I'm sort of a columnist.

Confession #2: I'm kind of in love with Bridget's older brother, Oliver. No, I was. No, I am. Wait, was? Am? Crap.

Confession #3: I've been avoiding Oliver for four years. Or I was until today, because he just moved in. Yes, you read that correctly. He's my new roommate. So that night we've both been pretending never happened, well, we might not be able to keep it a secret any longer.

And trust me, this is only the beginning.

My review:


IT WAS SO GOOD!!!! I felt like I could explode with all the feels. Ahhhhhhhhh. Seriously, this book made me feel in love.

I knew it would be a funny book, simply because of the title. I almost didn't even read the description, because I knew I wanted to read a book with such a catchy title, no matter what else it's about. I was right, because this is a funny story. I mean, being a twenty-two year-old virgin and having to write about your sex life is problematic, but overall, I think Skye didn't handle it too badly. I don't think the story is that much about her being a journalist though, but it's what provoked everything else in the story.

I really liked the chemistry between Skye, Bridget and Ollie. It's obvious that they grew up together and the fact that they know everything about each other makes it really easy for them to understand each other. Their friendship is important to Skye and I have to admit I wished I could have such friends (or more than friends...).

The story is very swoon-worthy (believe me, I had to stop reading sometimes because of how deeply I felt the romance). There are two good looking guys who do romantic things for Skye and who basically mess with her head and I think they'll mess with yours, too. It isn't really a love triangle, at least in my opinion, because both guys don't represent the same thing for Skye at all.

The only thing I didn't like so much was the ending. I had absolutely no idea this would be a series until it was announced and I don't really think it was necessary. Sure, I will read the next book, but I wish it had ended nicely, just like I thought it would.

I highly recommend this novel, since it's short and sweet, light and funny. I would've read it in one sitting if I could've.

(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)


samedi 15 août 2015

Twenty Boy Summer - Sarah Ockler

Goodreads summary:

"Don’t worry, Anna. I’ll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Promise me? Promise you won’t say anything?"
"Don’t worry.” I laughed. “It’s our secret, right?"

According to Anna’s best friend, Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there’s a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there’s something she hasn’t told Frankie–she’s already had her romance, and it was with Frankie’s older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

TWENTY BOY SUMMER explores what it truly means to love someone, what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every beautiful moment life has to offer.

My review:


I really really really liked it! It's a really nice summer book, although you should know it's probably going to make you cry.

From the title, description and cover, I expected a love story. I thought this book would be about Anna learning to love again, and though part of it was about that, it's mostly about Anna starting to get over Matt. I was surprised, but in a good way, because it's all really sad yet sweet. It made me cry more than once and I felt really sad for Frankie, Matt's sister, too, but overall I'll remember this book as a very good one.

Friendship is a big part of this novel, too, and I really liked Anna and Frankie's. I did hate Anna a bit for hiding her relationship with Matt to her best friend, especially since it makes it even harder for her to get over her boyfriend's death, but part of me understood it. I liked how both girls supported each other when they were grieving and how close their families are, because it's not common for people to be so close and supportive all the time. The only thing I disliked about that is the fact that no one ever asks Anna how she feels, not even after they know that Matt and her were more than friends. She realizes it, too, but she never mentions it and I wish she had.

I liked how Anna's relationship with Sam was almost platonic. It's obvious that once their vacation is over, their relationship is, too, but they know it and they act in consequence of it. It's not often that I see something like that in YA novels, but I was happy about it, especially since the last thing Anna needs is someone holding her back now. I think it's realistic and well done.

I really liked this book and although it's missing something in my opinion, I would absolutely recommend it.


Courtship Book Tag

The Courtship Book Tag is a tag comparing books to dating steps, which I find really funny and interesting. I've seen many videos of it on BookTube, so I'm glad to see that bloggers do it, too! The Glitter Aficionado recently did it and tagged everyone who felt like doing it, so thank you! It's really nice, so keep on reading!

You can click on the book covers to go to their Goodreads page.

Initial Attraction: A book you bought because of the cover.

You have to admit it: this book is gorgeous. I couldn't resist it, especially since I thought it sounded awesome. Sadly, I didn't enjoy it as much as I thought I would. Don't judge a book by its cover!
First Impressions: A book you bought because of the summary.

If you haven't read this novel's summary, here it is: "Lucy is in love with Shadow, a mysterious graffiti artist. Ed thought he was in love with Lucy, until she broke his nose. Dylan loves Daisy, but throwing eggs at her probably wasn't the best way to show it. Jazz and Leo are slowly encircling each other. An intense and exhilarating 24 hours in the lives of four teenagers on the verge: of adulthood, of HSC, of finding out just who they are, and who they want to be. A lyrical new YA novel from the award-winning author of Chasing Charlie Duskin and the Gracie Faltrain series." When I read this summary, my only thought was: "what?" I couldn't help needing to know what would happen, so I read it as soon as I got it. It was a good decision, because I ended up really liking it!
Sweet Talk: A book with great writing.

If, for some reason, you haven't heard me rave about Lucy Maud Montgomery, you might not know that she has been my favorite author since I was eight and that this novel is my all-time favorite. Although it's supposed to be a children's book, I consider this as a novel for everyone, because its writing style is gorgeous and captivating. You'll want nothing more than to walk Prince Edward Island's red roads and see every single flower and tree described in this novel. You'll fall in love with Anne, Gilbert and Matthew and you'll dream of experiencing such a love story as there is later in this series. Please, read it, if only for its poetic writing.
First Date: A first book in the series that made you want to read the rest.

I highly recommend this series. I read it when I was about thirteen and I can't even count how many times I re-read it. It has great romance, time traveling and awesome characters and I swear it'll suck you in from the very first page.
Late Night Phone Calls: A book that kept you up all night.

This book kept me up very late for two reasons: 1) It was making me very paranoid about every noise in my house, and 2) I was incredibly intrigued and I couldn't stop reading. I know many people love the TV show Pretty Little Liars but dislike the books that inspired them, but I think that this series is so much better than the one Sara Shepard is known for. I read it incredibly fast and I loved every single page of it.
Always on my Mind: A book you cannot stop thinking about.

If you're an animal lover like me, you'll adore this book. It made me cry a lot, but it also made me think about what dogs really think and feel. It's really sweet and adorable, so you better pick it up as soon as possible if you haven't yet!
Getting Physical: A book which you love the way it feels.
I don't know about everyone else's editions of this book, but mine is paperback and has a matte cover with shiny textured writing, so I love to touch it. I loved reading it, too! I highly recommend it, even if most of you have probably already read it.
Meeting the Parents: A book that you would recommend to your friends and family.
THIS BOOK. It's amazing. It's really interesting, what with its scientifical détails and the fact that it's, after all, set on Mars, and it's so. incredibly. funny. It kept cracking me up, even when I would've been crying (or simply dead) if I were in Mark's place. I think it's a book everyone would love and I'm really happy they're making a movie of it, because even my friends who don't read will be able to know how incredible it is!
Thinking About the Future: A book or series that you know you'll re-read in the future.
Just yesterday, I had to force myself not to re-read this book, which was the first one I read in 2015. This book, as well as the other ones by Morgan Matson, are books that I will need to re-read someday, because I loved them to death. I you haven't read anything by her yet, stop everything and start any of her books, because I don't know a single person who regretted it.
Spread the Love: Who would you like to tag?
Simply anyone who wants to! It's a really fun tag and I want everyone to do it if they haven't yet. Let me know if you do!

vendredi 14 août 2015

Books, Blogs, & Reality - Ryan Ringbloom

Goodreads summary:

Life can suck…

When reality becomes overwhelming, seeking comfort in fictional fantasies keeps hope alive. And while this escape may be a little delusional, it’s also therapeutic.

Sharing secrets is daunting, but virtual friends don’t often judge and they are always ready to share a glass of wine…or three…while typing out life’s latest endeavors.

Brooke believes obstacles only add to romance, not detract. Rachael longs for a more intense relationship, or so she thinks. Lizzie misses the excitement in her life, but sometimes new situations find you when you’re not even looking. And Jess believes a tiger can change his stripes. It can’t.

Bound by a shared passion for blogging about happily ever afters, these four young women use keyboard therapy to work through their expectations, anxieties, and inadequacies, all with the hopes of achieving the perfection found in romance novels.

Completely blinded by what they think life should be, they navigate their unique paths in search of what they envision is right. But when reality taunts them with persistent curve balls, will they be strong enough to choose wisely? Or will their happy endings escape them?

My review:


Short and sweet, this story truly made me smile. I do wish it had been longer, especially since it's about more than one life, but I think it ended nicely.

I really liked the girls' friendship and how they tell each other everything. I completely understand how easy it can be to confide to someone when you're typing, instead of when you're face to face. Their love for romance made me smile, especially when they get into explicit conversations about fictional characters (and sometime not so fictional). I liked how different they are, because they live for away from each other and they live completely different lives.

Lizzie's story is the one that made me want to finish the book as soon as possible, because her life is more serious than the others' and her story is more complicated, too. I liked what she got out of everything, just like the other girls did, because they're still young and they have a lot to learn, even though it was hard to believe it with Lizzie, who has experienced much more things.

I liked this story and I think people who love making friends on the internet and romance novels would enjoy reading this book.

(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)


A History of Glitter and Blood - Hannah Moskowitz

Goodreads summary

Sixteen-year-old Beckan and her friends are the only fairies brave enough to stay in Ferrum when war breaks out. Now there is tension between the immortal fairies, the subterranean gnomes, and the mysterious tightropers who arrived to liberate the fairies.

But when Beckan's clan is forced to venture into the gnome underworld to survive, they find themselves tentatively forming unlikely friendships and making sacrifices they couldn't have imagined. As danger mounts, Beckan finds herself caught between her loyalty to her friends, her desire for peace, and a love she never expected.

This stunning, lyrical fantasy is a powerful exploration of what makes a family, what justifies a war, and what it means to truly love.

My review:


It's definitely a weird book, but I still liked it! It wasn't what I was expecting, but that isn't always bad.

I was confused when I started reading because of the narrator. There are parts like "this sucks, to change in the final draft" that took my interest off, because it was out of place and confusing. I realized later that this book is actually an attempt at a novel from a fictional character - I know, confusing - and that those are the fictional narrator's words. While I didn't get it at first, I came to love this part of the novel, because it makes the narrator unreliable and it had me questionning everything that happened when he wasn't there, since it could be complete bullsh*t.

I had trouble understanding the characters, because there is a lack of background for some of them. Also, since they're young, there's a lot of swearing, which I found weird sometimes. It felt out of place, especially when they were out of Beckan's mouth. I think the characters I liked the most were Rig and Tier, because of their relationship issues and how realistic they are, but, for them as well as for the other characters, I hated the fact that the narrator is unreliable, since it made me wonder which part of what's written is true and which one isn't. It was fun to wonder, but when you're trying to get to know characters and everything you read about them might be completely false, it's confusing and irritating.

One part of this book that I liked was understanding the relationships between fairies, tightropers and gnomes. I liked how interesting fairies are and how rare it is for them to be whole, as weird as it sounds, because I found that to be very peculiar. The way they start to accept each other in Ferrum is amazing and I liked how they used each other's abilities. I wish the ending was better for the population in general though, but I gess you can't always get what you want.

I found it really weird how everyone seems obsessed with the idea of love in this book. I know part of it is because of the unreliable narrator, but I felt like the l-word is pronounced a billion times in this book, in platonic or non-platonic ways, although it's almost never clear. I was always confused by who is in love with who because of that. Also, sex is a big part of this book, since Cricket, Beckan and Scrap are prostitutes, which is something I was really not expecting when I picked this book up. There's a lot of mentions about sex, although they're not really explicit.

The story itself is good, but it's a bit slow. I liked how the war changed aspects of their lives and how the main characters reacted to them, but sometimes Josha and Scrap seemed to react too much.
Beckan is strong and she leads her pack very well, which I liked to see. I was suprised by plot twists towards the end of the book, because I was absolutely not expecting them. The story's interesting and it kept me wanting to know what would happen, but I feel like a big part of it is about the past and not much actually happens. I liked the pictures and excerpts included in the pages, but some of them were unnecessary, in my opinion.

I enjoyed reading this book, my only problem with it is that I have a long list of "but" sentences to add to this.

(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)


jeudi 13 août 2015

Extraordinary Means - Robyn Schneider (Trailer)

Extraordinary Means by Robyn Schneider : Trailer

Recently, I watched this trailer and I was amazed. As far as I know, book trailers are fairly new, so I'm always happy to Watch some, whether I've read the book or not. Most of them are fan made or of bad quality, but this one definitely impressed me. I had already heard about this novel, because some people on BookTube or Goodreads had mentionned it and I knew the author, but I had no idea what the book was about. Well, let me tell you this : I wasn't expecting a story like that, but the trailer looks amazing and covers the general idea of the story, at least for someone who hasn't read the book yet. I read The Beginning of Everything a few years ago, under the title was still Severed Heads, Broken Hearts. I really liked it, so I'm more than ready to read anything else by this author. I was already planning on reading this book when I first watched the trailer, but it's so intriguing that I want to read it as soon as possible now.

From what I've seen, it looks a whole different genre than The Beginning of Everything, but I'm not complaining, because the concept sounds really interesting and special. I'm not sure if the trailer represents the story well, but if it does, I think I'd love this book! I like how professional the trailer looks and how it could be a movie trailer, from the actors to the way it's filmed with the voice-overs. Well done!

I'm hoping to see more professional-looking book trailers in the future, because I think it's a great way to promote a novel and it helps the readers visualize the story. If you know some good book trailers, leave them below so I can check them out!

Also, if you read this novel, I want to hear your thoughts! I can't wait to read it now. Also, its cover is gorgeous. Everything about this book looks awesome!


mercredi 12 août 2015

Sugar - Deirdre Riordan Hall

Goodreads summary:

I’m the fat Puerto Rican–Polish girl who doesn’t feel like she belongs in her skin, or anywhere else for that matter. I’ve always been too much and yet not enough.

Sugar Legowski-Gracia wasn’t always fat, but fat is what she is now at age seventeen. Not as fat as her mama, who is so big she hasn’t gotten out of bed in months. Not as heavy as her brother, Skunk, who has more meanness in him than fat, which is saying something. But she’s large enough to be the object of ridicule wherever she is: at the grocery store, walking down the street, at school. Sugar’s life is dictated by taking care of Mama in their run-down home—cooking, shopping, and, well, eating. A lot of eating, which Sugar hates as much as she loves.

When Sugar meets Even (not Evan—his nearly illiterate father misspelled his name on the birth certificate), she has the new experience of someone seeing her and not her body. As their unlikely friendship builds, Sugar allows herself to think about the future for the first time, a future not weighed down by her body or her mother.

Soon Sugar will have to decide whether to become the girl that Even helps her see within herself or to sink into the darkness of the skin-deep role her family and her life have created for her.

My review:


I LOVED this book. I expected to read this in a couple of days, but once I started, I simply couldn't stop myself.

This book made me so, so , so sad. I hated how Sugar's family treats her, except for Fat Henry. They don't even give her time to breathe, they just shoot her without interruption. I was so angry that I wanted to cry and I had to stop reading for a couple of seconds once in a while to digest all of this. The worst part is probably the fact that Skunk and Sugar's mother don't even seem to realize how badly they treat a family member and they're completely guiltless. I would've punched them repeatedly. Also, the way Sugar sees herself made me really sad. I'm no stranger to confidence issues, even though I might not be fat, but her thoughts made me ache for her. The way her family members treat her doesn't help, which is another reason why I was so angry while reading this book.

All the anger and sadness I experienced made Even perfect to me when he arrived. I loved how he treated and how much better he made her feel. I was really happy when he realized how bad Sugar's life was and tried to make her realize it, too. He made a great difference in her life and I'm really thankful for him. He acted so sweet towards her that he made my heart melt and I would've cried at things he said or did sometimes. He's a great character and I loved how he and Sugar bonded.

I think this book is good at dealing with eating disorders because Sugar tried to change the way she eats, looks and lives for herself. She realized that always being breathless wasn't good for her and that there are other ways for her to feel better than to eat. I'm glad she didn't do it to please someone, because it would've been such a fragile change in her life.

I wish Sugar had realized that she isn't the only one with confidence issues. She always talks about people who aren't fat as confident and fat people as insecure, but weight isn't the only problem. It bugged me a little, because it's as if she's judging, too. I understood her point of view, though, I just wish she had realized people around her have insecurities, no matter how beautiful or confident they can seem.

There's an event that surprised me and that I wish didn't happen, especially since it seemed an odd moment for it to happen. However, things got better after and I liked how the story ended, so it wasn't too bad.

I highly recommend this book. It made me feel so much more emotions than any other book I read recently and I'm convinced I'm not the only one who experienced that.

(Thank you NetGalley for providing me with a digital copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.)