Finding It is the third book in Cora Carmack’s Losing It series. It’s a departure for the series as it’s not about Bliss, or Bliss’s unrequited love,...more Finding It is the third book in Cora Carmack’s Losing It series. It’s a departure for the series as it’s not about Bliss, or Bliss’s unrequited love, Cade, but instead about her best friend, Kelsey. For me this is my favourite book in the series, so far.
Kelsey is trying to figure out what to do post-graduation. She is in a personal slump and needs some excitement before resigning herself to the future her family has in store for her. To that end she has decided that drinking her way across Europe on her Father’s dime might be just what she needs. Somewhere in Budapest during an ordinary night out she meets Jackson Hunt, a former military now gentleman-at-leisure. There’s a spark between them but Jackson is hesitant to pursue Kelsey. Kelsey, always game for the next adventure, travels to Prague where she encounters Jackson again. Now the real adventure truly begins as the two learn to discover who they really are, and where home really is.
There’s an undertone to this book that I really identified with, a melancholic tone to Kelsey’s core. She’s far more than just the average rich party girl. There’s a troubled past festering beneath her fragile surface. The same goes for Jackson, tormented and haunted, he hides his demons under a smooth veneer of order. But each offers the other a challenge; the great unknown.
Carmack’s writing has finessed itself since the first book. I was relieved that this was not another girl-drinking-her-way-into-awkward-love books like Losing It. I loved that book but I was afraid upon initial impression that this book would be a rehash. Not so, and a pleasant surprise. Instead we get to jaunt around Europe with this couple while they slowly become one another’s heart and home, and it’s a beautiful journey. Both are deeply wounded individuals and both learn that with one another they might begin to heal, but only by bringing themselves to the edge of their limits.
Tremendous. Easily one of the best New Adult series out there.
...soooooo... clearly I needed a palette cleanser, because sometimes you just gotta do it... so I cleansed with YA contemporary, because I have to do...more ...soooooo... clearly I needed a palette cleanser, because sometimes you just gotta do it... so I cleansed with YA contemporary, because I have to do that sometime. That it's chick lit, and romance, is a surprise, I know. What can I say? I needed something so completely different to what I would normally read that it would completely wipe the slate clean.
Flirting in Italian is exactly what it sounds like, a girly novel set in Italy. We follow young Violet from London to Tuscany as she pursues a self-motivated quest to resolve a mystery. One day in an art museum she comes across a painting that resembles her identically. Because of a niggling doubt that Violet was not, in fact, related to her parents she decides to investigate, convincing her mother to let her go to Italy for the summer. Her thinking is that she can find the family who the subject belongs to and, perhaps, discover who she might be in the process. Enrolling in a modern finishing school with three other girls she lives in a Villa for two months, all in the shadow of the Castello di Vesperi. Very quickly she meets Luca, the brooding and handsome son from the very castle that Violet is longing to visit. The two strike up a on/off romance that leaves Violet constantly in question of her feelings.
Like I said, it's a palette cleanser. There's nothing that bad or that great about it. I liked Luca more than anything in this book, though Violet had her moments. Being British Lauren Henderson has nailed her snark on the head. I loved her language and her slang, I fell in love with her wit. Many of the other side characters are interesting, but minimal in appeal. I really wanted to know about the painting and Violet's romance more than anything... however, and this annoyed me on some level... the ending left me cold. Nothing is resolved and nothing gained. I was wondering right up until the last few pages why the author was not tying up anything when the cruel reality smacked me in the face at the conclusion - there's to be a companion novel out at a later date called Following in Love in Italian... which doesn't even make sense, but that's what the ARC says. I'm pretty sure it's meant to be Falling, and not Following... there were many typos in the book, so I wouldn't be surprised if this was one as well. Most unfortunate.
The novel is cute, but I'm annoyed about the second book. Frankly, it's not as if the author had a whole lot of anything to fill this book up with, much less two books. I can't imagine what she's going to do with a second book... since this one felt stretched as is... and then I felt robbed of my ending, which never helps. Without the cliffhanger I'm sure I would have been happier. I'm not sure if I'll bother reading the next one, although there was nothing really wrong with this one... other than the ending... and that it's fluff, and I didn't get my closure. OR any more making out scenes. Boo.
I have been excited to read this book for some time. I adore Rachel Caine. I have long been curious to see what she would do with a historic fiction....more I have been excited to read this book for some time. I adore Rachel Caine. I have long been curious to see what she would do with a historic fiction. Prince of Shadows is Rachel Caine’s take on Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet told from the point-of-view of Benvolio Montaque, Romeo’s cousin. It is a standalone novel newly released in the young adult market. And it’s also a fabulous book.
Benvolio knows that he is not the favourite son of the house of Montaque. That honour belongs to Romeo, the heir apparent of his generation. But Romeo is a dreamer and a romantic at heart and Benvolio always fears for his well-being. Benvolio is the level-headed and soft-spoken man in the family. Benvolio is also a thief.
Guised in darkness, Benvolio sneaks into the upper echelon of Veronese society, lifting items from those who have wronged him or his house’s name. It is during one of these escapades that he meets Rosaline Capulet, the current object of desire of young Romeo. Rosaline is bound for the convent and Benvolio knows that she and all of her kin are anathema to his own. But he cannot stop thinking of the quiet, serious girl reading a book by the fire anymore than Romeo can, and he knows that this path can only lead to their mutual doom.
Much of the book serves as a prequel to Romeo and Juliet. In fact, it takes almost half of the book before the infamous star-crossed lovers actually meet. When they do the tale is told by Benvolio in snatches of glimpses and overheard conversations. He is only directly involved with part of their story. What Caine does to fill the void is invent a new path for Benvolio to carve out amidst the established story; a tale of familial inferiority, a scheming sister, an overbearing grandmother, and a well-placed curse. These additions give enough interest to lead the reader through this delicately plotted novel.
Caine also expands Mercutio’s character. In the play Mercutio is a kin to the Prince of Verona as well as a friend of the house of Montaque. In Caine’s novel he is a man in love with a young monastery student, Tomasso. This being the 16th century we can only imagine how a homosexual relationship is viewed. Mercutio and Tomasso must meet in secret and their clandestine relationship could destroy both of them. Benvolio and Romeo are both aware of their friend’s affairs and they turn a blind eye to his romance, knowing in their hearts that he is tempting fate in the worse ways. Since this has been a long-established theory about Mercutio’s character from academic scholars the application of his sexuality makes sense. It is also one of the more poignant parts of the novel, quite frankly overshadowing the infamous lovers own story. This romance is the heart and soul of Caine’s retelling, as it is this coupling that has the most impact upon all of the players within. This is the story that we end up sighing over, not Romeo’s and not Juliet’s.
Benvolio is also a shining star in this retelling. Caine has gone above and beyond at fleshing out the quiet stealthy Prince of Shadows. Benvolio is, at turns, fire and ice. He is a seething bundle of risk and adventure wrapped up under a mask. His conflicted feelings for Rosaline underscore the origin of the story perfectly. Where Romeo and Juliet’s relationship feels overdone and juvenile Benvolio’s is more realistic and subtle. His love for a Capulet torments him, but he cannot give into desires that he would abhor in Romeo so he (…almost…) never does. He manfully puts duty and blood above his own desires… and he is the only one of the novel who is capable of this.
I enjoyed this book immensely. It’s character driven, beautifully handled and brilliantly executed. I enjoyed every bit of it. It makes me wish that Caine would turn her hand over to retelling other prominent stories, or at the very least write more historic novels. I really loved seeing her style extended by time and tradition.
Sister of Glass is an upcoming March release from Random House. This book follows a period in the life of Maria Barovier, a daughter of a Murano glass...more
Sister of Glass is an upcoming March release from Random House. This book follows a period in the life of Maria Barovier, a daughter of a Murano glassblower. When she was a child her father died, leaving a contract within the family that declares Maria must marry a senator to appease his last wishes.
The plans for Maria's engagement progresses as planned. Her household is a flurry with suitors and new gowns. This provokes the ire of her sister, Giovanna, who has resigned herself to take the vows of a nun. During this time the family business suffers as the profits are filtered into Maria's dowry. The family is down a blower, so they hire the talented Luca to fulfill orders. Maria finds herself drawn to him but love is not about what she wants. Marriage, in this period, is only about what is in the best interest for the family... and an orphaned glassblower is, most definitely, not part of the plan.
Stephanie Hemphill has written a very neat, little book. You could read this book in the course of a stint at the coffee shop, or on a drive home for the holidays (as I did). For all it's brevity though this book packs a good punch. It's an engaging narrative told in short verse and the story is sweet. Readers will identify with Maria's struggles and desires - and her place in Renaissance Italian society makes for a great story.
I only made it 50 pages into Kai Meyer's Arcadia Awakens. There is something off about the translation to me. Many of the phrases seem stilted and blu...more I only made it 50 pages into Kai Meyer's Arcadia Awakens. There is something off about the translation to me. Many of the phrases seem stilted and blunt. I have not read Meyer before; perhaps this is owing to style more than translation.
Still, I never got into the story or wrapped my head around the characters and, at this point, I don't need to. I have too much to read without devoting time to books that do nothing for me.
I've had I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino sitting on my shelf at work for years. I decided this year I was going to read a Newbery a m...more I've had I, Juan de Pareja by Elizabeth Borton de Trevino sitting on my shelf at work for years. I decided this year I was going to read a Newbery a month. Finally, I have an excuse for this one beyond "Oh, it's in my section. I should read that." de Trevino won the 1966 Newbery Medal for this, and it's quite good. Not perfect, but a pretty good book.
For the record this is a very quiet book. It builds up slowly though it's under two hundred pages long. It details the life of a slave, Juan de Pareja, as he is given from person to person as property. He eventually comes to the hands of Velazquez, the known painter of the Spanish Court. Velazquez is a very good master, kind-hearted and tender, and Juan enjoys being in his service. Juan comes to desire something he never thought he would - his freedom, so he can paint like his master. To this end he begins working in the night and his spare moments, toiling away with canvas and charcoal. He doesn't ever dream that he will ever be able to show anyone his secret.
I enjoyed this book. It brought back something close to my heart - painting. In my non-book life I am actually an artist. I studied watercolours and printmaking for years, so the time spent in the studio was very natural to me. This book sort of reminds me of Girl with the Pearl Earring without the sexual tension and with a young man. It's a great book for the social theme of racial tensions as well.
Overall, 4 out of 5 from me. Great book for kids to learn about painting and art.