Wednesday, 27 November 2013

Trafficked by Sophie Hayes

by Sophie Hayes
Summary: When Sophie Hayes met Bledi she knew he'd change her life – but she had no idea how much. At first, it was a typical whirlwind romance. But one day Bledi told her that love always comes at a price ...

Bledi tricked Sophie into travelling to Italy, where he forced her to sell her body to help him pay off a debt. Terrified and ashamed, Sophie worked the dangerous Italian streets without rest, seeing as many as 30 clients in a night. She was completely at Bledi′s mercy for food, clothes and shelter. And without money, friends or family, she was trapped.

But Sophie found the strength to keep going, clinging to life by a single thread of hope: that somehow she′d find a way to escape.
Books like this are difficult to review for two reasons. The first is because of the subject matter--you can't really judge it the same way you would judge a fiction book (e.g. did you enjoy it, was it entertaining, etc.) and the second is that you can't judge the characters the way you normally would either, because they're not just characters and it's not just a story. This is someone's life, someone's suffering so it can't be judged as if it were fiction.'s hard to judge it as a book while being respectful of the fact it's a true story. But, as a book, I didn't like it much, but it was more the execution of it. I just think it was poorly written.

I sympathise with what Sophie went through, and I can't even begin to imagine how awful it would be to live through something like that and I think she's incredibly strong for getting through it and brave for putting her story out there. But while I sympathised with her as a real life person, it was hard to empathise with her as a character in the book because of the way the story was written. I never got caught up in the things she was feeling or going through, and as awful as the things she experienced were, the book never made me cry.

I've read books that have shocked me or torn me to shreds and had me in tears, but this one fell really short of getting under my skin. I found myself reading, thinking how awful it is she went through this and that other people go through this, without really feeling the story. It was purely the knowledge that it's a true story that got to me, not the book itself.

The way it was dragged a lot, and it was really repetitive, and it was frustrating because half of the dialogue seemed to be prefaced/followed by "I wanted to say..." but she never actually said any of it out loud (which is understandable, but it was just a very annoying writing style--having to read all of the things she should've said but didn't).

Also, there were little moments where it felt like...well, it felt like in hindsight while writing this she tried to make a distinction between herself and other girls who go through that sort of thing (like, by pointing out that other characters in the story said she wasn't like the other girls, that she was different--smarter, more elegant, that sort of thing).

I don't know why that bugged me, but it did. Maybe it's because no matter what someone looks like or talks like or their nationality or IQ, no one deserves to go through what she went through.

And she never said that they did, or really implied that, but making a point to say how she is different from the other just didn't sit well with me (maybe it's because it felt irrelevant--like if a woman is raped and someone asks, "What was she wearing at the time?" as if that matters). Maybe she was just trying to get the point across that this doesn't just happen to a certain type of girl, it can happen to anyone.

But the book was just frustrating to read in general really. 

I understand that she was brainwashed and afraid, I really get that and I get that she wasn't thinking rationally, but I spent the majority of the book feeling like one of those people that scream at the TV during horror movies when the characters do something blatantly stupid. I don't expect to enjoy reading a book like this, or to find it entertaining, but I expect to be angry or upset by what I'm reading and instead I was mostly  just annoyed at the way the book was written--any anger or upset wasn't caused by the book itself, just the reality behind it.

I'm not going to rate the book, because it feels too much like rating someone's life. I do think Sophie's story deserves to be told, I just wasn't fond of the way it was written and I don't feel it really educated me on anything about the subject I don't already know and I think there are other memoirs out there that have more of an impact.


Tuesday, 26 November 2013

Book and Movie Review: Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier

Ruby Red
by Kerstin Gier
Summary: Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.
Book: So I kept seeing people mention this (and it had such a pretty cover! But the UK covers suck, they're just generic girl-in-a-dress) and I kept putting off reading it, but then I saw the movie trailer and it looked pretty good. And, now that I've read it, I can confirm that it was actually pretty good.

The thing is, if you asked me what was good about it, pretty much all I can think to say is that it was fast-paced and entertaining and it didn't bore me at all?

I liked the story, I liked the characters, and the writing was just...there, it wasn't bad but it wasn't memorable either (in the beginning, some of the dialogue seemed a little clumsy but I think this was originally published in German and then translated so I put anything that sounded a bit off down to the translation). So... I liked it, but there wasn't really anything I loved about it. And yet I was dying to read the sequels once I finished the first one (already started).

I'd rate it 3.5 stars out of 5, it's just a really fun book to read and it's addictive.

Movie: Now...the movie. I actually really liked the movie and I think as far as adaptations go, it's one of the better ones. The cast did a really good job and I think most of them looked pretty spot on as far as their descriptions go (Gwen isn't quite how I imagined her, but the actress did really well).

The only things a little off were some of the dubbed voices (the movie is filmed in German) were a bit OTT and nearer the end, there's some things that happen that make less sense in the movie because the movie doesn't really explain the motives of some of the characters clearly so something that made sense in the book becomes something kind of, "Dude, aren't you overreacting just a bit? And why aren't you stopping him, Gwen?"

Also, in the movie they change the main characters name to Gwendolyn and I actually really like that change (I love the name Gwendolyn, kind of hate the name Gwyneth). They didn't change much of the plot, but I think they may have included things that don't happen until later books (or maybe they just wrote some new stuff into the story, I don't know yet).

I think they're filming the sequel right now, but non-German speaking people will probably have to wait quite a while for the DVD to come out so they can get a dubbed/subtitled version.

Here's the movie trailer (dubbed version):


Sunday, 24 November 2013

Book Haul (163)

So, I've kind of been MIA for most of November (partly because of NaNoWriMo, partly because of procrastination, but mostly because I've not been reading that much), but I should have some reviews and stuff up next week and until then, here's a book haul...

Poughkeepsie by Debra Anastasia and Wallbanger by Alice Clayton - Now, I'm kind of against pulled-to-publish fanfiction, but I finally caved and bought these. I read both as fanfics and they were two of the ones I remember actually been good enough to be published (but then, I was judging them by fanfic standards then, perhaps that opinion will change once I read these versions).

Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce - I'm not a huge fan of Jacksons books, but I've been dying to read this one because I adore The Snow Queen (I really wish there were more retellings of it).

Dreaming of Amelia by Jaclyn Moriarty - Fourth in an awesome series (more companions than direct sequels). I think this one is also known as The Ghosts of Ashbury High?

The Back Door of Midnight by Elizabeth Chandler - I think this is the 5th and final book in the Dark Secrets series (companion novels, all set in the same town but can be read in any order).

Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee by Dee Brown - I can't remember why I got this one, I think maybe I just saw some good reviews of it or something.

And Then She Fell and Viscount Breckenridge to the Rescue by Stephanie Laurens - These are part of her Cynster series, but it's a really long series so I just picked these two to start with (I think And Then She Fell is the first in a duology while the other is the first in a trilogy about sisters related to the characters in the rest of the series? Something along those lines).

Nine Rules to Break When Romancing a Rake by Sarah MacLean - Julie recommended this series ages ago, and seeing as I seem to have a new found love for regency romance I thought I'd check it out.

I also got the e-book of Burial Rites by Hannah Kent, which I saw in a youtube book haul, I wasn't sure if I'd like it or not so thought I'd get the e-book first.

And I think that's all I got, have you read any of them? What've you been reading?



Look at me, posting another book haul in a respectable amount of time!

How to Lose a Bride in One Night by Sophie Jordan (purchased for Kindle) [This was in sale and then I needed a romance read already devoured this one. It's, obviously, fantastic.]
Defy by Sara B. Larson (egalley from Netgalley)
Beautiful Beginning by Christina Lauren (purchased for Kindle) [Read as soon as midnight arrived and guys, really, GET ON THIS SERIES.]
A Creature of Moonlight by Rebecca Hahn (egalley from Edelweiss)

Physical Books:
The Last Days of the Romanovs by Helen Rappaport
The Vow by Jessica Martinez
Real by Katy Evans
Imperfect Bliss by Susan Fales-Hill
Cold Spell by Jackson Pearce

The first four I bought for myself at Strand on Friday because it was my birthday and I'd gotten some money from family and...I could. I've been trying to restrain book buying lately (the two ebooks I bought? Either all or partially covered by a gift card), so it was kind of a treat to myself in general. Cold Spell I got from the publisher's HipScout program, but because of a shipping mix up, I got this a month later and a hardcover instead of an ARC.

So...yeah. What books have you guys gotten recently?


Thursday, 21 November 2013

A Little Too Hot by Lisa Desrochers Cover Reveal

I know, I usually at least try to space out cover reveals, but...Lisa and Cora are two of my favorites. *shrug*



From USA Today bestselling author Lisa Desrochers, comes the third book in her sizzling New Adult series.

If you play with fire…

Tossed out of college and cut off by her parents, Samantha West is in pretty dire straits. So when her rocker best friend hooks her up with a job dancing at a gentlemen’s club, who is she to turn it down? Plus, there are rules to dancing at Benny’s: No touching, keep your clothes on at all times, and never get closer than three feet. Unfortunately for Sam, her first private client makes her want to break every single one of them.

Harrison Yates is scorching hot, but he’s got a past that involves being left at the altar not too long ago. Sam is determined to make him forget about his ex, but when she makes her move, it flings her life into a spiral of chaos she never saw coming.
Because Harrison Yates isn’t who he seems to be. And his secret will probably get her killed.
God I love these covers. And these books. SO FREAKING MUCH. And to celebrate the final cover release of the series, Lisa is hosting a giveaway!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

How crazy is that prize pack? What are you waiting for? GO ENTER!


Monday, 18 November 2013

Seeking Her by Cora Carmack Cover Reveal!

So, I'm a really big fan of Cora Carmack's. As in, read all her full length books at break neck speed type of levels. When I was asked to reveal the cover of her new novella? I was all over it, especially since it goes hand in hand with my favorite of her three books, Finding It.

A few months after being honorably discharged from the military, Jackson Hunt is still struggling to adjust back to the real world. He needs to get a job and find a sense of normalcy if he’s going to keep his own demons at bay. The job that falls into his lap, though, is anything but normal. 

Bodyguard (and baby-sitter) to spoiled-rich-girl Kelsey Summers isn’t exactly what he’d been looking for, but it’s a chance to travel, to get away from the home that has felt stifling ever since his return. It would be a pretty sweet gig if it weren’t for the fact that Kelsey’s father doesn’t want Kelsey to know she’s being followed. Hunt feels guilty (and a little bit creepy) as he watches her from afar. She’s vibrant and infuriating, exciting and reckless, mysterious and familiar. When he sees her falling into the same patterns that he suffered years ago, he decides it’s time to stop watching and help her instead. But getting to know her is more difficult than he thought, especially because the more he knows her,the more he wants her. 

 I'm excited. Are you excited? Because you should be excited!


Saturday, 16 November 2013

Wentworth Hall by Abby Grahame

Wentworth Hall
Abby Grahame
[May 1, 2012]
Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers

The prettiest people often have the ugliest secrets…

Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. A change Lord and Lady Darlington can’t help but be grateful for.

It’s 1912, and the Darlingtons of Wentworth Hall have more than just the extensive grounds to maintain. As one of Britain’s most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been… even as their carefully constructed fa├žade rapidly comes undone.

Maggie has a secret. And she’s not the only one… the handsome groom Michael, the beautiful new French nanny Therese, the Darlingtons’ teenage houseguests Teddy and Jessica, and even Maggie’s younger sister Lila are all hiding something. Passion, betrayal, heartache, and whispered declarations of love take place under the Darlingtons’ massive roof. And one of these secrets has the power to ruin the Darlingtons forever.

When scandalous satires start appearing in the newspaper with details that closely mirror the lives of the Darlingtons, everyone is looking over their shoulder, worrying their scandal will be next. Because at Wentworth Hall, nothing stays secret for long.

Let's talk about books that disappoint you.

I mean, this sounds a lot like a YA Downton Abbey should! It's super promising in its description!  But no. There's a reason Downton Abbey has already been renewed for season five. Besides just being good, that dedicated time is necessary to really help connect viewers with characters. In a book as short as this with as many plot lines as it has? That connection can't happen.

That was the big disappointment that has stuck with me, a year and a half after reading. There was nothing stand out about the writing or the characters, but I can still remember so vividly how disappointing it was to be ready to get invested in these characters' lives and struggles and to support them in trying to be happy, but I couldn't. I need a few hundred more pages or more books in a series. Maybe if the writing had been a knockout or some of the characters had really come away with me, it's something I could have been invested in. But...nope.

The plot lines were rather stereotypical and expected. There's only so much you can do to create major scandals and I get that but...when there's not much else going, I need a plot that really grabs me. And these kinds of stereotypical plot lines also tend to pigeon hole the characters into certain types, which is what I'm guessing happened here since I remember nothing about the characters.

So, basically, this book was a massive let down for me. I had such high hopes when I read it, but now, even with all of this time, I'm still kind of bitter. If you're looking for something Downton Abbey related, this should not be where you turn, but if you're into Gossip Girl and history? Then it might be worth trying. Or if you just need an easy read to fly through. This can also serve that purpose.


Sunday, 10 November 2013

Book Haul (162)

So, it's been a LONG time since I've done a book haul, so just...stick with me, okay? I know it's a lot, but this is about 6 weeks worth of books and I went to a convention, two exclusive publisher events, and a book festival in that time, so a lot of bookish things happened.

A Little Too Much by Lisa Desrochers (review copy from author)
Solving for Ex by LeighAnn Kopans (review copy from author; already read and LOVED)
In a Glass Grimmly by Adam Gidwitz (review copy from Edelweiss)
Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankamn (review copy from Edelweiss)
Life by Committee by Corey Ann Haydu (review copy from Edelweiss)
Drop Everything Now by Alessandra Thomas (purchased from Amazon; also read and LOVED SO HARD)
Beautiful Broken by Nazarea Andrews (purchased from Amazon)
Two Roads by L.M. Augustine (gifted by author)
Lengths by Steph Campbell and Liz Reinhardt (purchased from Amazon)
Finding Cinderella by Colleen Hoover (purchased from Amazon)
Lady Thief by A.C. Gaughen (review copy from Netgalley)
Allegiant by Veronica Roth (purchased from Amazon)
The Seduction of Lady Phoebe (purchased from Amazon)
Being Sloane Jacobs (review copy from Netgalley)
Dangerous by Shannon Hale (review copy from Netgalley)
Racing Savannah by Miranda Kenneally (review copy from Netgalley)

ComicCon Books:
Acid by Emma Pass 
The Night Circus by Erin Morgernstern (signed)
Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake (signed)
The Nightmare Affair by Mindee Arnett (signed)
Time Between Us by Tamara Ireland Stone (signed)
Time After Time by Tamara Ireland Stone (signed)
Enders by Lissa Price 
Rebel Belle by Rachel Hawkins (ugh, my God, you guys. SO GOOD)
Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes
Into the Still Blue by Veronica Rossi (signed)
Fates by Lanie Bross
Beautiful Player by Christina Lauren
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
The Inventor's Secret by Andrea Cremer (signed)
Timebound by Rysa Walker (signed)
Wild About You by Kerrelyn Sparks
Vicious by V.E. Schwab (signed)
God Save the Queen by Kate Locke (signed)
Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (updated paperback cover)
Landry Park by Bethany Hagen
The Here and Now by Ann Brashares
The Nethergrim by Matthew Jobin

Steel by Carrie Vaughn
Champion by Marie Lu
Sex with the Queen by Eleanor Herman
A Treasury of Royal Scandals by Michael Farquhar
Etiquette and Espionage by Gail Garriger
The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani
Sometimes a Rogue by Mary Jo Putney
Trouble at the Wedding by Laura Lee Guhrke
In the Garden of Beasts by Erik Larson
Liberty by Lucy Moore
The Youthful Queen Victoria by Dormer Gretson
Paris in the Terror by Stanley Loomis
The Rise and Fall of the Third Reich by William Shirer
The Espressologistby Kristina Springer (Brooklyn Book Festival)
Mr. Darcy Forever by Victoria Connelly (Brooklyn Book Festival)
Spies and Prejudice by Talia Vance (signed) (Brooklyn Book Festival)
Royal Romances by Leslie Carroll
Marie Antoinette: The Last Queen of France by Evelyne Lever
The Art of Wishing by Lindsay Ribar
All Our Yesterdays by Cristin Terrill

Being Sloane Jacobs by Lauren Morrill (borrowed ARC)
The Winner's Curse by Maria Rutoski (gifted ARC)
The Sound of Letting Go by Stasia Ward Kehoe (ARC from publisher for blog tour)
Rules of Civility by Amor Towles (given during lunch at Penguin)
White Hot Kiss by Jennifer L. Armentrout (from HarlequinTeen Event) (signed)
The Iron Traitor by Julie Kagawa (from HarlequinTeen Event) (signed)
Pawn by Aimee Carter (from HarlequinTeen Event)

Then there's whatever books are at my parents. Also books that are no longer in my possession because I loaned them out/brought them to new homes. All of the purchased books were from Strand (unless otherwise noted) and of the NYCC books, the only one I paid for was Beautiful Player, the rest were free from the publisher.

So. Yes. That's. That's a lot. I'm trying to remind myself that even though I don't get much reading done in the semester, I'm going to have a lot of reading time in January and I'll be staying at my parents' for most of it, which means I'll be stuck indoors most of the time. Lots of reading can happen! I'm also going to try to read a book per weekend for the rest of the semester so...we'll see how that goes.

Anything I need to read ASAP? Or anything you're excited for? I'm between physical books at the moment, so your suggestions would be totally welcomed!


Saturday, 9 November 2013

Let's Talk About The Book Thief

A couple of weeks ago I got an email asking if I wanted to be part of a press junket for The Book Thief. It meant going to see a screening of the movie the next day and then talking with the actors and the director/producer the following Monday. And, because I'm not brain dead, I said yes.

I'm still trying to get over the fact that it happened. It's not going well.

So, that night, I stayed up until 6 am to finish reading The Book Thief (someday I can maybe talk about my feels for this book in a coherent review. But let's not hold our breath), so I could get up at 9 am for the movie (which I probably won't talk about much because this is a book blog, but it's so freaking amazing, guys, you should see it this weekend if you can!). Then got up early (for me) on Monday for the interview.

Everyone in the room I was in was a blogger, mostly book bloggers, but a few general/parenthood bloggers as well. So talk about the book definitely came up.

Sophie Nelisse, who plays Liesl in The Book Thief, told us "I started to read the first 20 pages of the book.  I was about there in French, and I stopped because I got the part.  And then, about a month ago, I started to read it again, but in English.  I loved it, but it's hard to say because I've already watched the movie, so when I was reading the book, it's like if I was reading the movie, more like a documentary of the whole shooting." 

Sophie's only 13 and doesn't have much acting experience - she's only been in two French Canadian movies - but you would never guess it from seeing her play Liesl. She considered herself to be mainly a gymnast, and even intended to try for the Olympics, before being cast as Liesl. "When I auditioned, I just really auditioned for fun and really tried just to know what it'd be like to audition for an American movie. When I got the part, I was just so happy, but at the same time, I was stressed, because if my performance is not good, then maybe the movie is not going to be as good." (Nobody stress. It's all totally good. And she's phenomenal.)

At this point in her education, Sophie hasn't gotten the chance to study the Holocaust, so the movie also created a learning experience for her. "To know what happened in that period, I had to watch a lot of movies like Schindler’s List, The Reader, The Boy in the Striped Pajamas and also The Pianist.  When I was in Berlin, I went to see some bomb shelters or some historical things like the Berlin Wall."

Geoffrey Rush, an incredibly gifted and versatile actor, plays Hans Hubermann. He's been in the Pirates of the Caribbean series, been in The King's Speech, and does theater often. The draw for him to play Hans was chiefly Hans himself. 

"On my CV, there's a fair list of eccentric flamboyant idiots, really.  And Hans was seemingly at the beginning so simple, so ordinary, for me, anyway.  On my kind of barometer, Hans is almost like neutral. I thought this would be a real challenge for me.  And in and around that, I just adored the story and the perspective of looking at that horror scenario in Germany during the Second World War through the eyes of a very small country town, the community of a country town and a young girl."

Geoffrey also felt a strong connection with the story of The Book Thief. "My starting point was that this is a film about a community on a street.  When I read the book and read the screenplay, it was so intrinsically the culture of Southern Germany.  But it could also be an Outback town in Queensland.  It could be a small town in the Midwest."

Emily Watson, from War Horse, Corpse Bride, Gosford Park, and dozens of other movies, plays Rosa Hubermann, which also presented an interesting challenge for her. "Kind of the opposite of Geoffrey, really. It was a chance for me to do something really extreme and out there and a sort of transformation kind of job.  I really, really enjoyed that.  I enjoyed being mean and spitting at everybody every day, and it was very liberating. And I could, you know, eat and not worry. "

As for how she built Rosa's character? "The book was really the resource for us. For me, anyway.  That was where all the detail was."

Geoffrey agreed, explaining, "The screenplay was the Bible, and the book was the great companion piece."

Both Geoffrey and Emily drew from their former educations on the Holocaust, as well as movies and books they'd taken in over the years. All three of the actors were sure to use the best resources - their location. The set had a lot of German workers and German actors who could give them little details and provide them with life years ago. It also enabled them to better visualize what happened and the still-present effects. They also had a dialect coach on hand before shooting to make sure they spoke properly.

As someone who had just fallen in love with the book and the movie and the story as a whole a few days before, and as someone who studies history, hearing how the book and the history affected how they played their roles was really interesting to me. I also think it was amazing that these roles were all a big challenge for the actors, yet they pulled off the roles so incredibly well. 

I'll talk about the chat we had with the director and the producer in another post, but basically, if The Book Thief is releasing near you this weekend, you need to go see it. If it's not, you need to buy tickets to see it next weekend. Like...need to. Here's the trailer if you don't believe me:

Sunday, 3 November 2013

Book Haul (161)

It feels like I haven't posted on here for ages, but it's not actually been that long (and I think I did post like 11 reviews last month, so that's not too bad but it feels like less and it's bugging me). I was going to do a review of Beautiful Bastard (which I read after reading Julie's post on the series) but I don't have much to say about it really, so...yeah...have a book haul instead, until I can stop procrastinating enough to actually finish a book.

Oh, before I get to the book haul, are any of you guys doing NaNoWriMo this year? :)

Anyway, here are my new books since...whenever it was I last did a book haul:

For review:

Allegiant by Veronica Roth - I actually tried to find this when I was shopping, but couldn't and then this was actually waiting for me when I got home the very same day. I've started it, but can't seem to bring myself to pick it up again, I'm just not that into it. I'm going to try and force myself to finish it tomorrow though, just to get it over with.


Briar Rose by Jana Oliver - I actually bought this because I tried and failed to find Allegiant. I love Jana's Demon Trappers series, so hopefully this is just as good.

Carter Reed by Tijan - I loved this book. I was sent the e-book for review but when I saw it was released as a paperback too, I had to get it.

This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

The Murder of Bindy Mackenzie by Jaclyn Moriarty - This is the 3rd in a series (an awesome series, I think the first book was Feeling Sorry for Celia...although it has a few different titles).

And bought, but not pictured because they're not here yet:

Hyperbole and a Half by Allie Brosh - Her blog is hilarious and awesome and I'm so glad she released a book.

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman - Love the movie, wanted to read the book. I blame Halloween.

And, this was a gift and it's not really a book...but it sort of counts, and it's so pretty I wanna show you. My best friend got this for my birthday when she was at Camden market and I love it:

And I think that's all I got (excluding e-books). Read any of them? What've you guys been reading?



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