On Saturday night, I finished reading a very intense book. So while checking out my to-review pile, I thought it would be nice to check out something...moreOn Saturday night, I finished reading a very intense book. So while checking out my to-review pile, I thought it would be nice to check out something a little lighter. So I picked this up with the intention of reading the first chapter. I just wanted a taste...
A few hours later, I'd read a lot more than that. And was totally engrossed in Pippa's summer holiday.
Pippa's parents have shipped her off to Italy for the summer. Not to enjoy the sights and spend time exploring what she wants to see and take photographs of, but to attend an art program in Florence. The problem is she's not interested in attending what her mother is practically forcing on her. But when she finds herself in Rome with a wad of cash and a few days to herself before the course is due to start, she decides to check into a hotel and see the sights.
What starts out as curiosity about gelato turns into a full-blown adventure that introduces her to a cute American boy--Darren--and leads her to an instant friendship with a local girl--Chiara.
Pippa decides to skip the art program and instead is determined to make this her summer. And with the help of her best friend's journal filled with ideas, she starts a list of goals. Starting with exploring Rome, before being invited to spend the summer at Cinque Terre with her new friend Chiara. In exchange for helping out in the family's trattoria, she gets free board and meals. Not to mention gets to spend time with Chiara's bad-boy cousin. A guy who might be easy on the eyes, but certainly comes with a lot of baggage.
As she enjoys her summer with her new friends, while trying to continue the huge lie she is telling her parents, Pippa can't seem to get the cute American boy out of her mind. Especially since Darren seems to be popping up all over the place, almost as if it was fate that they were supposed to meet. But the more time she spends with him, the more confused she becomes because of his mixed signals. Not to mention that he's not Italian, and one of her goals this summer was to fall for an Italian...
I was really surprised by how much I enjoyed this story. I thought it would be one of those young adult novels that are aimed at a much younger and more innocent audience. I mean, the whole scenario Pippa finds herself in is super dangerous: a 17-year-old girl alone in a foreign country where she doesn't speak the language, with a wad of cash and so many other valuables that would catch the eye of any thief. Not to mention what some might try to get away with when they spot a lonely girl... Yeah, I've seen Taken. :/
But in the end, this story isn't about all the bad things that can happen, it's about the good things.
It's a story of self-discovery. An adventure-filled summer for a girl who feels like an outcast in her own family and is trying to find her way, while her mother keeps pushing her in a direction she doesn't even want to take. And it's about spending a teenage summer in a beautiful location, and actually finding kind people who have no bad intentions. Well, except for the Italian hottie Bruno, who is obviously all wrong for her. ;)
Wish You Were Italian is a fun, and very captivating story that sweeps the reader away into a wonderful European summer. It's filled with interesting characters, gorgeous locales, history, and cute boys who do their best to confuse Pippa while she's trying to have a good time. I also enjoyed the strong friendship she has with her grandmother, best friend, and Chiara. This was a great book, one that will carry you away to Italy and make you forget all about the possible dangers lurking in a foreign land.
I'm seriously surprised about just how much I enjoyed Pippa's story.
I guess that no matter what age you are, sometimes you just need to let go of all doubts and suspicions, and just enjoy the innocence and kindness that still exists in our world. It might be hard to find, but it's there. (less)
I started hearing good things about this book about a month ago, but I had no idea what it was about and kept it that way by not reading any reviews....moreI started hearing good things about this book about a month ago, but I had no idea what it was about and kept it that way by not reading any reviews. The title didn't give anything away, and neither did the cover. Now that I've read the book, both of them are huge clues to the heart of this story.
Melanie is a very smart girl. She loves school, is comfortable with her routine and has a huge crush on one of her teachers. Miss Justineau enjoys teaching her class, but they're not normal kids and she certainly isn't part of an average school. Sometimes, she almost forgets just how dangerous these kids really are. Sergeant Parks performs his job every single day, and is in charge of getting the kids to and from the classroom. Dr. Caldwell is a scientist obsessed with finding a cure that will save the dead world they live in. And she's willing to sacrifice just about anything to complete her precious research.
The day she decides it's time to experiment on the smartest kid in the class, the walls of their secure army base are compromised. Junkers invade with an army of hungries as their main weapons. Life behind the secure walls of their base is shattered. Now these handful of survivors are on the run: a hungry girl unlike the others, a teacher with her own past secrets, a Sergeant and a Private who commandeer a Humvee, and the crazy scientist. Dr. Caldwell might almost lose the use of her hands in the struggle, but she's still willing to survey what's left of the world as valuable additions to her research.
Together, these five very different individuals are forced to run from relative safety while trying to stay ahead of the violent junkers, and doing whatever they can to avoid being eaten by the hungries. But as they head back towards the one place they all initially came from but secretly despise for their own reasons--with limited supplies and a kid that could lose it at any moment--they instead find themselves in the middle of a new and very different threat.
Wow. This book was amazing! Really, it was. I was hooked as soon as I started reading, and couldn't wait to see what was going to happen next. Even though the story starts out in a seemingly familiar way--with a child who loves school and her teacher--it's soon obvious that there's a whole lot more going on in this very dark and dangerous world. After all, most kids aren't strapped to wheelchairs for their lessons, or will be overcome by the desperate need to eat their teachers if their human scent isn't chemically-covered.
The story is told in the POV of all five characters, so we get to find out how each of them feels and inwardly reacts to all the events that unfold. I especially enjoyed spending time with Melanie, because in spite of what she is, she's an amazing character with a very gifted mind and logic.
The world they inhabit might reflect a familiar apocalyptic wasteland, but there's so much more going on.
The Girl with All the Gifts is a thrilling, tense ride that keeps you guessing all the way through. It's a unique addition to a genre that I love. You keep wondering what's around the corner, and might even try to guess what's about to happen next, but you won't. I loved the unpredictability of this book, and how it surprised me all the way to the very fascinating end. Also, I got a kick out of the obvious parallels made to the myth of Pandora.
In this issue, the pace slows down a lot but we get to see just how well the survivor's new society is going. It's also time for Rick to accept that C...moreIn this issue, the pace slows down a lot but we get to see just how well the survivor's new society is going. It's also time for Rick to accept that Carl is growing up and needs to feel like a productive part of Alexandria.
I'm also suspicious of the new group. Not because I suspect they might have an agenda, but more because their suspicion is bound to lead to Negan. I wish that guy was dead. Ugh.
Stephen King is one of my favourite authors, so I was really looking forward to reading his latest book. And boy, this turned out to be an awesome thr...moreStephen King is one of my favourite authors, so I was really looking forward to reading his latest book. And boy, this turned out to be an awesome thriller that hooked me in right away!
Bill Hodges is a retired homicide detective. Nowadays, he spends most of his days lazing around on his La-Z-Boy with a gun nearby, too many snacks, and so much daytime TV it might end up being enough to push him over the edge. His life has become useless, and he's constantly haunted by the few cases he was never able to solve.
The day he receives a letter from someone claiming to be responsible for one of those unsolved cases--The Mercedes Killer--his life takes an unexpected turn. The letter sets him off on a personal investigation that gets him deeper into what really happened that foggy morning when a bunch of jobless people were run down by a psychotic killer, than he ever did during the initial investigation. It also lights a fire within him that he was sure would never be sparked again after retirement. He even finds a little romance along the way. But it's with the help of his intelligent, computer-savvy teenage neighbour and the oddball woman who turns out to be a lot more intuitive than even she imagined, that he manages to crack the case.
Brady Hartsfield is an unstable man who appears as average as can be on the outside, but is rotten to the core on the inside. He hates everyone. He also lives at home with his mother and has a very creepy relationship with her. He has two jobs, both of them give him the opportunity to peek into people's lives. As well as the opportunity to spy on his next victim--the Det.-Ret.
He has plans for the old, overweight has-been, and he's going to relish every moment of the detective's downfall by taunting him until he can't take it anymore. But when his conniving plan starts to crumble around him because he underestimated the retired cop, Brady is forced to hatch up a new hateful plan. One that will take a lot more victims than his last stint. It might also end up being the last thing he ever does.
OMG. This book was seriously tense. Starting from the very first page, where the awful scene is set and we meet some of the jobless people in line for the Job Fair at City Center. We know what's about to happen to them, but you keep reading... This story is a psychological, tense thriller that keeps you glued to every page because you can't stop until you find out just how this is all going to end.
I also got a kick out of reading the many references to some of his other novels. :)
Mr. MERCEDES is an amazing, nail-biting suspense thriller that kept me on the edge of my seat the whole time. As usual, Stephen King has created an amazing ensemble of characters that you get to know so intimately you're either rooting for them, or hoping they will die a slow and very painful death. This story's a hell of a ride. It's got heart, scares, and a good dose of sadness too.
I absolutely LOVED every single minute of this brilliant book!(less)
Last week, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Hachette, and couldn't wait to get stuck into it. I was intrigued from the moment I...moreLast week, I was lucky enough to receive an ARC of this book from Hachette, and couldn't wait to get stuck into it. I was intrigued from the moment I read the blurb. I also really liked the cover.
Deanna Madden--or Jessica Reilly as everyone knows her--is a recluse. She hasn't left her apartment in three years. She has everything she needs delivered to her by a hot UPS guy, conducts all of her business online, and even maintains several professional friendships that way. She's also very successful at what she does and makes a lot of money by performing sexual acts via webcams.
Oh, and there's another reason why she doesn't leave her apartment--she doesn't want to kill again.
She meets all sorts of people in this business, and is actually rated as the third most popular model on Cams.com. Her apartment is a living space, a hoarding place, and a film studio with high-tech equipment to provide the best camera angles and audio to all of her paying customers. The sexual acts she performs and is forced to watch are just part of the job. She's hardly surprised by the large number of fetishes or requests made on a daily basis. But sometimes, someone comes along with fantasies sick enough that she needs to scrub it all away afterwards.
That's what happens the day a man asks her to dress like a young girl and starts calling her Annie. This guy's fantasies are horrible, depraved and Deanna keeps talking to him only because she hopes that by sharing these thoughts, he won't actually hurt any children.
However, the day Deanna finds out a little girl called Annie Thompson has disappeared in Georgia, she knows that she can't ignore the similarities. She has to do something more than place an anonymous call to the helpline. She has to actually leave the apartment. She has to face the world she's been hiding from and hope that she can stay in control long enough to save the girl's life.
While she's at it, she might be able to satisfy the never-ending itch that refuses to go away...
Wow. I was blown away by this story. Deanna is an amazing character. On the surface it's easy to assume that you'll dislike her because of her profession and the violent thoughts that keep her awake at night. But once you get to find out more about her and who she really is, you slowly realise that she's not a bad person. There were some pretty severe consequences in her past that shaped the way she is and what she craves. That she's managed to keep it together for years and locks herself up for the safety of others, also shows that she's not a bad person at heart. Sure, she's got some dark desires and psychotic problems, but at the end of the day she's willing to risk everything to save an innocent life.
I also really liked the touch of romance. Jeremy is such an interesting character. A man whose interest in the mysterious girl he delivers packages to gets him into some pretty dicey situations. It was sweet too, because in spite of everything, he takes Deanna for what she is and tries to reason it out, rather than trying to change her.
This book hooked me in right away. Though I have to be honest, if you're squeamish about sex, profanity or violence, this is probably not the story for you. But if you enjoy a twisted thriller that pushes the boundaries and then topples you over the precipice of sanity, then this is a book you have to read.
The Girl in 6E is many things: dark, intriguing, shocking, tragic, visceral, cheeky, sexual, and sad. But at the core it's a well-written thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat. The suspense gets so thick that I couldn't stop turning the pages to find out what was going to happen next. This is an excellent book that I would recommend to anyone who isn't afraid to read something different. A story so unique and honest that you'll soon realise that the eroticism isn't an issue at all.
Let me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE this series. It's one of my favourites, and I always look forward to the next hilarious book. So, as soo...moreLet me start by saying that I absolutely LOVE this series. It's one of my favourites, and I always look forward to the next hilarious book. So, as soon as I received this from Hachette last week--thanks so much, btw--I got stuck into it.
It all starts when Stephanie helps Ranger nab a guy called Gardi, so he can be sent back to Miami. His capture goes well and Ranger's men take him back to Rangeman HQ so he can be put on a plane the next day. However, everything goes to hell when Gardi contaminates the Rangeman building with radiation and it's shut down indefinitely.
At the same time, Stephanie takes on the case of looking for Jimmy Poletti--the used car salesman who's been doing some pretty serious illegal stuff on the side. However, finding him is turning out to be a challenge...because his buddies are all turning up dead. Then Randy Briggs enters the scene. Briggs is annoying and rude, but he was Poletti's bookkeeper so he knows all about Poletti's dirty secrets, which now makes him a target. As much as Steph dislikes the guy, she agrees to help keep him alive after his apartment is blown up.
Of course, Briggs staying with her also makes her a target because wherever he goes, a rocket eventually finds him. Before long, one is shot through her living room and Stephanie has to move in with Morelli. While staying with her sort-of boyfriend isn't a problem, dragging Briggs with her is. Yet, as dangerous as this bounty is turning out to be, it doesn't compare to getting the attention of a Russian assassin who's got his 'eye' on Ranger.
As if this isn't enough, she's also got to deal with several other cases that refuse to co-operate, a grandmother with a bucket list that includes getting revenge on Morelli's scary granny, and the feral Chihuahua minions allegedly terrorising Stark Street. Oh, and then there's that pizza with a very peculiar secret ingredient.
If Stephanie can stay alive long enough to find out if Poletti is in fact responsible for killing all the dead bodies, and can avoid being killed by an assassin, she might just get the chance to find out about Morelli's bucket list. ;)
Top Secret Twenty-One is another awesomely hilarious instalment in this super fun series, but like usual, it puts Stephanie in some pretty scary situations. But she always keeps a level head, and somehow ends up coming out even. I've said this before, and I'll say it again: I love how Janet Evanovich throws Stephanie into some pretty horrific situations, but somehow still manages to inject the story with enough light-hearted situations that I always end up cracking up.
I seriously loved this book and was laughing out loud constantly. I can't wait for the next one.
I don't think I'll ever get sick of Steph & Co. This series just keeps getting better and better. (less)
I grabbed this short story for free at the Kindle store and decided to give it a go.
Candy is a stripper in a seedy strip club. She's struggling financ...moreI grabbed this short story for free at the Kindle store and decided to give it a go.
Candy is a stripper in a seedy strip club. She's struggling financially and has to resort to some unsavory things in order to supplement her income. Then a tall, blue-eyed man she's seen in the VIP room before makes her an offer that's really hard to refuse...
This story is super hot! The sex scenes are full on, and leave nothing to the imagination. LOL. I actually liked Candy. She was straightforward and brutally honest about the bad choices in her life and how she lives it. She's actually quite likeable. Didn't like Blue Eyes much, though.(less)
On Wednesday, I received this awesome package from Bloomsbury Australia. Inside was the ARC for an upcoming YA book that sounded intriguing.
So, yeste...moreOn Wednesday, I received this awesome package from Bloomsbury Australia. Inside was the ARC for an upcoming YA book that sounded intriguing.
So, yesterday morning, I grabbed it with the intention of reading the first chapter to see what it was like... I ended up reading the whole thing before bedtime. Yep. It totally hooked me as soon as I started.
Apollinia Apostolopoulou, or Apple as everyone calls her, doesn't like Christmas. It always reminds her of the Christmas Eve when her mother left and never came back. Although she hates the season, she foolishly hopes that her mother will one day return during Christmastime. Of course, it never happens so she goes through the motions with her Nana and father every year. Even if she hates her stepmother.
Apple leads a sheltered life. Her grandmother doesn't let her go anywhere on her own, and even picks her up from school even though she's in Year 8. So when her mother actually appears out of nowhere one day, telling Apple that she's come back to England for good, she can't believe it. She wants to spend as much time as she can with Mum, even if Nana is sceptical about her daughter's return.
When things start falling apart--Nana doesn't approve of Mum trying to take Apple away, and her best friend leaves her behind for someone else--Apple decides she wants to live with her Mum.
However, as soon as she moves in she discovers a house almost devoid of furniture and a room with bunk beds. One of those beds happens to be for a 10-year-old girl. Rain is Apple's half-sister and she's a little weird. For starters, she still carries around a doll she's convinced is a real baby. This habit means she gets into fights at school. What's worse is that Mum actually encourages Rain's fiction, hoping the phase will pass by keeping her at home from school.
At first, Apple doesn't mind the imperfect conditions of living with her mother and sister, because all she cares about is her biggest wish coming true. She's always longed to have her mother back and now that she is, nothing is going to spoil her return. Even though Mum keeps having parties, and then starts taking off for auditions and meetings, leaving Apple to look after Rain. But she doesn't mind, and looks after her sister. Even when it means she too starts skipping school.
But when disaster strikes, Apple realises she's just a glorified babysitter/cook/cleaner for a woman who clearly has no real sense of responsibility.
I loved this sad, yet hopeful story about a young girl who is so excited to have her estranged mother back that she's willing to do whatever it takes to keep her happy. Even turning her back on the loving grandmother who raised her. It's heartbreaking to watch Apple's unconditional love towards the woman who abandoned her, and even now has come back because she has ulterior motives. It's not that her mother is evil, just that her priorities are askew and her whole life driven by her desire to be an actress.
Apple goes from a life of being constantly monitored by her grandmother, to becoming the adult of the house and all the responsibilities that entails. While she loses an important friendship, she gains two much more important ones: Rain and Del. Her younger sister has issues and is in desperate need of proper care and attention, and they soon become close while finding comfort in poetry. And the quirky new boy in school turns out to be a lot more than just comic relief.
Apple and Rain is a wonderful, heartbreaking coming-of-age story about unconditional love and the strength of a young girl willing to do whatever it takes to keep her family together. But it's not all sadness and heart-wrenching pain, there are also moments of pure delight and happiness.
The story starts with a new group, before some familiar faces appear and take this new group to Alexandria...moreOMG. This was an awesome issue! I loved it.
The story starts with a new group, before some familiar faces appear and take this new group to Alexandria so they can meet their leader--Rick. Some time has gone by and everyone looks older, not to mention that Alexandria looks great! Everyone's got a job, there are gardens, they now have a way of controlling the herds, and the survivors are actually living their lives. For the first time in AGES, it actually feels like there might be some sort of hopeful future for everyone.
It's a happy continuation to the horrible war they faced the last few issues. Only problem is, I'm scared that it's all going to fall apart. Not too soon, I hope. These people deserve a little happiness. :)
Can't wait to see what happened with Michonne and Maggie...(less)
I absolutely loved AFTER EDEN, so I was curious about this book.
Eden and Ryan met while he was trying to stop a friend of hers from discovering a plan...moreI absolutely loved AFTER EDEN, so I was curious about this book.
Eden and Ryan met while he was trying to stop a friend of hers from discovering a planet, and fell for each other. But when Ryan returned to the future, Eden was killed by a cleaner as a consequence of his failed mission into the past. So he spent months trying to get back in time to stop her death by breaking time travel rules. And he does, but another cleaner follows him back to 2012 to capture him.
All they want is to be together, but the cleaner is willing to do whatever it takes to return Ryan to the future so he can pay for breaking the rules. However, Eden gets taken into the future too.
As soon as they arrive, Ryan is arrested and Eden is sent on her way. But she doesn't know anyone in the future and soon becomes the latest news trend, as well as a pawn in a power struggle that has nothing to do with them. With the help of Ryan's friends, Eden tries to get used to this foreign time...while hoping that justice is served and she can get the boy she loves back.
But things never turn out as planned...
You know, I was really looking forward to this and I actually enjoyed the beginning. I got caught up in Ryan and Eden's story, as they become fugitives. But as soon as they get caught and arrive in the future, something shifted for me. At first, it was only a few things, but before long I started to lose interest in the story and didn't understand a lot of the time Eden spent in the future. Actually, the only reason I kept reading to the end was because I wanted to know how the story was going to end.
Unfortunately, everything that made AFTER EDEN such a compulsive and wonderful book wasn't captured in this one. I didn't care as much about the characters, the world, or the unfolding events. There was something missing. I just wasn't hooked this time around, which is a real shame. :(
Chasing Stars turned out to be a well-written book that didn't capture the awesomeness of the first instalment. I really wanted to love it, but I just couldn't.(less)