Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Coveresque feat. Requiem by Lauren Oliver (US vs. Czech vs. German)

                US                                     Czech                                  German                  

REQUIEM by Lauren Oliver has been released March 5th 2013 in the US. Two months later and we already have eight different covers to choose from.

The US cover continued the DELIRIUM cover redesign with its flowers and leaves in the background and a girl's face in its center. The cover looks nice on my shelf together with PANDEMONIUM in orange and DELIRIUM in blueish green, but is the least appealing out of the three featured covers above.

The Czech cover is modelled on the original DELIRIUM cover (not the first ARC cover) which I really liked (see it on the left side). It's just the grey color that looks a bit too drab and still.

„Freiheit“ which means freedom ist written all over the German cover. Original idea and definitely my favourite detail of the cover. I'm not sure about the girl's expression on the cover. Closed eyes could equal various states of emotion, to be withdraw, concentrated or resigned. The US cover model however with eyes wide open stands for an offensive character or a strong will to fight and appears way more active.

And here are some other covers. Left to right: UK, Swedish, Polish, French, Russian. The UK cover had been one of my favourites from the moment of its reveal, because I love the color sceme and it represents my feel about REQUIEM best. 

Tell me, which cover do you like best? 

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Cheer Me Up! My Top 10 Contemporary Comfort Reads

You know that feeling after the last book in a series or a beloved standalone has been read? And it left you...shattered. I recently suffered a post book series hangover of the worst kind - Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I was moody and melancholic, sometimes I admired the way things were made possible in the end, but mostly I was just plain sad and would break out into tears in the oddest situations. No kidding here, I couldn't help it. I was looking for a book to cheer me up and finally settled with reading another contemporary romance.
I  thought I could as well make a list with the books I find uplifting and funny to read after such a last in a series for other readers who are searching for the perfect read! Hope you find something for your end of series blues!
I've read them all and some might have a slightly sad aspect about them, but mostly they are happy and fun and sexy reads, all in their contemporary glory! What they have in common: a whole team of gorgeous love interests!

1) Sloppy Firsts series by Megan McCafferty

Sarcastic comfort read

5/5 ***** JESSICA DARLING series -  Clever, romantic, sarcastic & so much more. YA at its best! 
SLOPPY FIRSTS recently had its 12th anniversary. Unbelieveable, but true. This series is in no way inferior to contemporary YA relatives in its originialty or actuality. This is a series that needs to be handed down to your kids, they will surely love to read about that Jessica Darling when they are growing up. And for everyone who hasn't read this series, I suggest you catch up on it now. It doesn't matter if you are 13 or 30, you will get and love it!

2) Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally 

5/5 ***** CATCHING JORDAN- Touch down! Miranda Kenneally scores with a dynamic and super sweet story that's all about doing what you love and finding a way to be with the one you love in return. 
CATCHING JORDAN is the awesome debut by Miranda Kenneally that I counted to my favourite YA contemporaries after only a few pages into the story. I’m sure you will love it!
Sporty allrounder!

3) Adorkable by Sarra Manning

Cheeky alternative 

"The Adorkable Manifesto

1. We have nothing to declare but our dorkiness.
2. Jumble sales are our shopping malls.
3. Better to make cookies than be a cookie-cutter.
4. Suffering doesn’t necessarily improve you but it does give you something to blog about.
5. Experiment with Photoshop, hair dye, nail polish and cupcake flavours but never drugs.
6. Don’t follow leaders, be one.
7. Necessity is the mother of customisation.
8. Puppies make everything better.
9. Quiet girls rarely make history.
10. Never shield your oddness, but wear your oddness like a shield."

― Adorkable by Sarra Manning

4) How My Summer Went Up in Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski  Kick-ass roadtrip

5/5 ***** HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES - A debut charged with exquisite and summery road trip fun you don't want to miss out on! 

Jen's book came out only a few days ago and I've read it twice already. You know what makes me so giddy with excitement I could do a book dance all day? Jennifer is working on a sequel to HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES! There aren't many sequels or series in YA contemporary so it's no wonder I'm craving a continuation of a story I loved very much. I can't wait to possibly read more about Rosie and the boys' story!

5) This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith

"From: EONeill22@hotmail.com
Sent: Saturday, June 8, 2013 1:18 PM To: GDL824@yahoo.com
Subject: what happy looks like

Sunrises over the harbor. Ice cream on a hot day. The sound of the waves down the street. The way my dog curls up next to me on the couch. Evening strolls. Great movies. Thunderstorms. A good cheeseburger. Fridays. Saturdays. Wednesdays, even. Sticking your toes in the water. Pajama pants. Flip‑flops. Swimming. Poetry. The absence of smiley faces in an e‑mail.
What does it look like to you?"

Soothing romance

6) A Midsummer's Nightmare by Kody Keplinger 

Sexy temptation
Whitley Johnson's dream summer with her divorcé dad has turned into a nightmare. She's just met his new fiancée and her kids. The fiancée's son? Whitley's one-night stand from graduation night. Just freakin' great.

Worse, she totally doesn't fit in with her dad's perfect new country-club family. So Whitley acts out. She parties. Hard. So hard she doesn't even notice the good things right under her nose: a sweet little future stepsister who is just about the only person she's ever liked, a best friend (even though Whitley swears she doesn't "do" friends), and a smoking-hot guy who isn't her stepbrother...at least, not yet. It will take all three of them to help Whitley get through her anger and begin to put the pieces of her family together.

Summary by Goodreads 

7) My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick 
Everyday life darling 

The Garretts are everything the Reeds are not. Loud, numerous, messy, affectionate. And every day from her balcony perch, seventeen-year-old Samantha Reed wishes she was one of them . . . until one summer evening, Jase Garrett climbs her terrace and changes everything. As the two fall fiercely in love, Jase's family makes Samantha one of their own. Then in an instant, the bottom drops out of her world and she is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

Summary by Goodreads

8) Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

"Wanderlove is about forgetting the bad things and focusing on the good. Out with the old and in with the new... The only way to escape the past is to keep moving forward."

 ― Wanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard

Beautiful journey

9) Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles Hot lover

"I want to try making things right because picking up the pieces is way better than leaving them the way they are."

― Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles

10) Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins 
 Dreamy adventure

5/5 ***** ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS - A Parisian delightfulness, just the right choice for book worms with a sweet tooth searching for a sugary and romantic read!  

ANNA AND THE FRENCH KISS is that chic and utterly romantic and cute and yet so real and casual love story that probably is one of my most favourite contemporary romance novels. This is a book that every fan of contemporary romances should get his hands on ASAP!


Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Book Review: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3) by Cassandra Clare

Title: Clockwork Princess (The Infernal Devices #3)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Publishing Date: March 19th 2013
Length: 568 pages
Keywords: YA, fiction, fantasy, romance, Shadowhunters, paranormalcy, 19th century London
Source: Bought 

Danger and betrayal, secrets and enchantment in the breathtaking conclusion to the Infernal Devices trilogy.

Tessa Gray should be happy - aren't all brides happy?
Yet as she prepares for her wedding, a net of shadows begins to tighten around the Shadowhunters of the London Institute.
A new demon appears, one linked by blood and secrecy to Mortmain, the man who plans to use his army of pitiless automatons, the Infernal Devices, to destroy the Shadowhunters. Mortmain needs only one last item to complete his plan. He needs Tessa. And Jem and Will, the boys who lay equal claim to Tessa's heart, will do anything to save her.

Summary by Goodreads  

March 19th was an epic date for every Shadowhunter fan. With the release of CLOCKWORK PRINCESS we got a first class ticket back to one of our most beloved set of 19th century Shadowhunter darlings. At the end of CLOCKWORK PRINCE many things were left unsolved. What is Tessa's heritage? What's it about her mysterious Clockwork Angel and who will get the girl in the end?

The main focus of THE INFERNAL DEVICES is on the clockwork creatures that have been invading the Shadowhunters' peace for quite some time now. A werewolf here, a faerie there, but their presence is not as remarkable as in Cassandra's THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series. A great part of the story is about the relationships of the Shadowhunters and their friends and the power struggles of the Clave. Its relationships are as nifty and delicate as in a Jane Austen novel, its battle scenes and imaginative storyline uniquely Cassandra Clare.

Will and Jem are truly a gift. This book is Cassandra Clare's best so far, also her hardest and most sincere. Big parts of it are about facing death and what it means to lose the people you truly love so much, you simple can not bear to be without them.
Jem and Will are friends and the best Team! In CLOCKWORK PRINCESS Cassandra Clare explores the possibilities of two great loves in one life and the endless boundaries of a true friendship. Friends, almost like brothers, don't necessarily need to become enemies because they are in love with the same girl. And said girl doesn't always have to be the pressured one. Tessa is very strong and headstrong and luckily has the capacities to decide on her own.

Unsurprisingly, CLOCKWORK PRINCESS continued the love triangle between Tessa, Jem and Will and acted on its threats to cause heartbreak for everyone involved, regardless of whether you are rooting for one or the other boy.
There's much time to untangle personal relationships and issues of all kinds. Each couple is different in its own wonderful way and it was a pleasure to get to know them better individually and as a pair.  Gabriel, Gideon, Cecily, Will, Jem, Tessa, Charlotte, Henry, Sophie, Magnus.
Cassandra Clare found fluent passages from one chapter, one story, to the next and everything's very consistent.
I was so thankful for the last hundred pages of this book. Cassandra Clare didn't end the fight and with it the story. She gave us and her characters time to say goodbye. Mellow and intimate. Words I needed to read, secrets I wanted to know. Overall a well-rounded trilogy. The ending had a very Downton Abbey Christmas special feel about it and it made me feel so increibly good about the characters and the story and everything at that moment.
Some things, I knew, were inevitable. Yet reading about them, broke my heart, every single word equaling a teary sob. I hadn't expected that to happen and it got even worse towards the epilogue. The epilogue. You might have heard about it by now. The epilogue is everything all at once. How can you have a happy ending and at the same time you are only partly happy about it? 

And I just couldn't resist to compose a little song for my favourite Shadowhunter:

Shadowhunters break my heart,
with their sweetness, kindred souls,
off to bake a duckling tarte,
for my sweet sweet Will. 

1) of parabatais that throw you off your feet with their sweetness
2) of 19th century bookworm references
3) of all its adorable couples
4) of the funniest songs
5) of its tearful epilogue

5/5 ***** CLOCKWORK PRINCESS - YA dreams come to fulfilment. Brilliant and all-consuming!

I can wholeheartedly say, this is one of my favourite series, even among the favourites! Reading CLOCKWORK PRINCESS was just marvelous! Cassandra Clare has found a writing voice that draws you into her stories like no other. CLOCKWORK PRINESS is her best book so far, making the THE INFERNAL DEVICES series so incredibly hard not to adore.

* Have you read Cassandra Clare's THE MORTAL INSTRUMENTS series yet?

* Click here for an excerpt of CLOCKWORK PRINCESS!

* Watch the book trailer.

* Find the CLOCKWORK PRINCESS family tree here

* For further information about Cassie and her books visit www.cassandraclare.com

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Mini Reviews # 8

Christian or Tucker. Adam or Warner. Alex or Julian. You see the pattern? The three books I'm reviewing today have been released in January (BOUNDLESS) , February (UNRAVEL ME) and March 2013 (REQUIEM) and are all about the widely discussed and often unwelcome love triangle!

Boundless (Unearthly #3) by Cynthia Hand

BOUNDLESS, the last book in the UNEARTHLY trilogy, takes us to California. To protect the boy she loves, Clara has to leave her old life behind and leave town to attend a college thousands of miles away from Tucker. The best about going away is that Clara's friends Christian and Angela will be joining her as Stanford students. Most of the story is set on campus, which was a really welcome change of scene. Our favourite angel-bloods start thinking about their future, even though it seems heaven has already made that decision for them.
Christian or Tucker? In BOUNDLESS the question, that has been dragged through UNEARTHLY and HALLOWED, will be finally answered. And Cynthia Hand surely takes her time to let Clara and the reader know who's best for Clara in the end. Whereas Christian is a very prominent part of Clara's life, a small complaint has to be uttered concerning the frequency of Tucker's appearances. We don't see Tucker as often as I would have liked to and some of their original bickering felt just missing from the story. So romantically this book wasn't a highlight.
Angela's and Jeffrey's fates are of high interest, too since Clara is constantly concerned about their wellbeing as Angela is distancing herself from her former life and Jeffrey is living his own life out of Clara's reach. 
In BOUNDLESS the story didn't flow as easily as in the previous two books. And the ending battle against the evil souls that threaten to enslave all angel-bloods, could have been a lot more like a final battle between the forces of heaven and hell in their true forms. It wasn't as pugnacious as I'd imagined it to be. However the ending of the story itself was very surprising and made me hold my breath for a few pages.

4/5 **** BOUNDLESS – The conclusion to a noteworthy and angelic trilogy!

The last book in the UNEARTHLY series might not have been as explosive and eventful as I would have liked to see it. Nevertheless this angel series is one I would always recommend to any reader meaning to explore the angelic side of YA books.

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: January 22nd 2013
Length: 438 pages
Keywords: YA, fantasy, romance, friendship, family, angels, hell, love triangle
Source: Bought for Kindle

After being blown away by SHATTER ME, UNRAVEL ME had to live up to the very unique and excellent reading experience Tahereh's debut offered. I'm afraid this sequel didn't overwhelm me quite like the first book. For instance UNRAVEL ME didn't hold the original appeal Tahereh Mafi conjured by making Juliette untouchable in the first place. She isn't entirely inapproachable anymore, so some of this forbidden allure relationships between Juliette and Adam as Juliette and Warner held simply evaporated in the second book. Where things felt almost one hundred percent unpredictable in the first book, they appeared more pre-determined now, Juliette has an idea of what's happening around her and knows what's ahead of her, at least for a few days. In SHATTER ME Juliette was captured, in a prison cell, not knowing what her near feature would hold. Now she's living with a group of specially gifted people who are like her. Much of UNRAVEL ME is about explaining who they and what their talents are, what they are doing as an organization of resistance and exploring their group dynamics. 
New as old characters were all really great in their own ways and their capacity to infuriate or fascinate you.
Adam and Warner continue to compete for Juliette's heart and all Warner fans will get their money's worth, because we learn a lot more about his past and what's on his mind. I admit, he grew a lot on me and I felt acutal sympathy for him - quite a sensation remembering what a monster he acted like in SHATTER ME.
What really bothered me were Adam and Juliette distancing themselves from each other, because it could be too dangerous for them to be together.Yawn! I thought we'd already overcome that hurdle. No more of this old game in book three, please! 

4,5/5 ****/* UNRAVEL ME - A satisfactory second book in a series with minor romantic deficiencies!

Tahereh's language is as beautiful and poetical as always,  still Juliette lost a little bit of her sometimes strange and always unique voice that was only hers. Yet there's sure enough action and love to make every reader happy. And the evolvement of Warner's character is a definite and strong plus!

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: February 5th 2013
Length: 461 pages
Keywords: YA, dystopia, fantasy, love, resistance, special talent, love triangle
Source: Bought

Requiem (Delirium #3) by Lauren Oliver

I went into reading REQUIEM with the apprehension that it would be really really difficult to bring the DELIRIUM series to an ending that contented every reader (I know no book can't achieve that). There are Team Alex and Team Julian readers who want to see Lena with their favourite DELIRIUM boy.
REQUIEM gives us the chance to follow Lena, Alex, Julian and the resistance on their way to gaining more power. The resistance is growing, but so is the tension leading to a major confrontation between the leaders and revolutionists. Sadly you have to be prepared to say Goodbye to a few characters before the book's ended.  It's obvious we can't witness every single move of the resistance all across the country, so we have to be content with an excerpt of the resistance's life by following Lena and her group. I would have loved to learn more about Lena, Alex and Julian's feelings in certain situations and throughout the whole time they have to stick together during their journey. The idea of the introduced love triangle is ever-present, sadly further explorations and discussions of the three's perspective feelings had to take a back seat to the greater good of solving the politicial conflict.
Surprisingly, REQUIEM is told from Lena's and Hannah's perspective and where the two girls had been best friends in DELIRIUM, they couldn't be more different in REQUIEM with no apparant common thread to be found in their ways of thinking about present events. In the start it looked like Hannah's chapters would slow down the action too much. I preferred to read about Lena and her much more eventful days as well as her interactions with Julian and Alex. But Hannah's scenes grew to become just as interesting and crucial to the story as Lena's.
Lauren Oliver created a world so instable and shaken - politically, culturally and socially - that I didn't think it possible to rebuild it in 'only' three books. Speaking technically, Lauren didn't reinvent or renew the government or structures of thinking as a whole, but she found a way to let Lena's story end in a way that fit the overall story, Lauren's style and would be the best way to leave this world to itself and in the readers' imagination to go on and thrive on its own.

4,5/5 ****/* REQUIEM - Revolutionary and too good not to be loved!

When I turned the last page, I wasn't sure how I felt about the story's ending. I had to think a lot about this series and the ending and it took some time to let it be and be content with the way things ended. In some way Lauren Oliver left the story to itself, not determining what happened after the final scene. And that's Lauren's strongest skill. Leaving a story to itself and giving it the strength to develop its own dynamics and future. There might be a few minor flaws to the story, but I can honestly say that the DELIRIUM series is one of my favourites, DELIRIUM being the best part.

Publisher: Harper Teen
Publishing Date: March 5th 2013
Length: 391 pages
Keywords: YA,dystopia, love, cure, resistance, love triangle
Source: Bought

Sunday, May 19, 2013

New Books On My Shelf #64

Here are the books I've got in the past four weeks. I finished Slide yesterday and am currently reading Famous Last Words. Hope to get some more reading done on this long holiday weekend. Feel free to link to your IMM/STS posts in the comments!

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell (Netgalley)

Slide by Jill Hathaway (Read)
Impostor by Jill Hathaway (Thanks to Harper Collins UK for these three beautiful books!)
The Elite by Kiera Cass (Read)

If I Should Die by Amy Plum (Bought)
The Longest Holiday by Paige Toon (Thank you Simon & Schuster UK!)

Famous Last Words by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski (Currently reading - A big thank you to Jen and Christy at Christy Ottaviano Books! x)

Monday, May 13, 2013

Book Review: How My Summer Went Up In Flames by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Title: How My Summer Went Up In Flames
Author: Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publishing Date: May 7th 2013
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, road trip, friendship
Source: Edelweiss

First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

Summary by Goodreads

Last year I read the summary of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES and immediately knew that I had to read Jennifer Salvato Doktorski's 2013 debut as soon as possible. I was lucky to get approved for an Edelweiss copy in November and what can I say... I loved it. What drew me to HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES in the first place was the well-done combination of an adorable YA contemp cover, edgy title and the impulsivity of our main character Rosie, plus prescribed road trip cure.

Upon first hearing about what brought Rosie in the situation of having to leave her city and go on a road trip with three boys, my first thought was: 'That girl is nuts (lucky)'. She burnt her ex boyfriend's car and can't stop stalking him. But be assured that crazy is only meant by the best possible definition. Rosie is crazy fun and a super lovely girl and friend.  Rosie Catalano is a YA contemp main character you don't see every day. With her mother being from Ecuador and her father Italian, it's no wonder she's very headstrong and temperamental. She is one of the characters whose emotions are very strong, but has a very gentle heart at the same time and is willing to learn from past mistakes.

HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES was such an unusual road trip book -one of my favourites nonetheless- because in other YA contemps characters actually want to go on road trips and are eager to leave their hometown, see many different places, not Rosie.  I wish someone would force me to go on her road trip!
A girl, three boys. Two brothers, and two constellations of best friends. I very much adored our road trip crew and their group dynamics. Going on a road trip with three boys is an adventure of itself. 
Matty is such a great guy and I loved that he and Rosie have been best friends for ages. They know each other well and can always rely on the other. 
Logan is this very laid-back, confident guy with various layers of hidden depth. And his brother Spencer is the cute nerd of the group. I'm totally like Spencer myself, because I am a manic planner and always need to work things out to the smallest detail. 
All three boys have other great things to offer and quirks you just have to want to hug them for. And I tell you Rosie will fall for one of those three boys, but you have to read Jen's debut to find out who it will be. Don't be scared if you want her to end up with all three of them, it's only natural these boys will steal your heart!  
But they are not the only characters that grow on you, Rosie has a best girl friend back home, an adorable dog, and her exceptionally likeable parents and brother. And of course the four meet many new people on their trip, too - numerous curiosities among them. 

Their route suggested a ton of fun. Culture, sightseeing, food, music, a fun park. This road trip is so enjoyable, because they are doing many different things, and no over the top activities or only because others would consider them cool. Rosie, Logan, Matty and Spencer are visiting places they feel like seeing and mean something to each of them. For example the Luray Caverns, Dollywood and the Grand Canyon are stops of their trip. They take with them a collection of unforgettable memories, stories of friendship and romantic feelings that will last for a lifetime. I wish I could have joined the four on their road trip for real!

1) every girl deserves to live her cowboy fantasies
2) of its unforgettable moments
3) of newfound friendships
4) of a life-changing road trip
5) of charitable propositions

5/5 ***** HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES - A debut charged with exquisite and summery road trip fun you don't want to miss out on!

Jen's book came out only a few days ago and I've read it twice already. You know what makes me so giddy with excitement I could do a book dance all day? Jennifer is working on a sequel to HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES! There aren't many sequels or series in YA contemporary so it's no wonder I'm craving a continuation of a story I loved very much. I can't wait to possibly read more about Rosie and the boys' story!

* Jennifer's second book, FAMOUS LAST WORDS, will be published by Henry Holt and Co. July 2nd!

* For an excerpt of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES click here.

* Click here for my Q & A with Jennifer Salvato Doktorski.

* Jen did also write a guest post about road trips. Find it here.

* For further information about Jen and her books visit www.jendoktorski.com

* Thanks to Jen, Simon & Schuster and Edelweiss for providing me with a  review copy of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES!

Sunday, May 12, 2013

Guest Post by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski + Giveaway

Look who's on the blog again today. It's Jennifer Salvato Doktorski and she wrote a guest post about the meaning of road trips for Miss Page-Turner's City of Books. She was also kind enough to offer a copy of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES and three signed bookmarks to give away. Thank you very much Jen!

Standing in a Cow Pasture in Amarillo, Texas

Cadillac Ranch, photo by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

Ever since she was three, we’ve been charting my daughter’s growth on the doorframe of her bedroom closet. Tiny marks etched into the wood; a date beside each. The big jumps from one pencil mark to the next always surprise us both. We don’t see physical growth while it’s happening, but at least it’s easy to quantify.

As we get older, intellectual, spiritual, or emotional growth can’t really be measured precisely. We can’t stand straight with a book or ruler on our heads while someone draws a line on the wall behind us. Often, we don’t even think about whether or not we’ve made some tiny step or big leap forward in any of those areas unless something prompts us to do so.

I think that’s why I’ve always loved road trips so much. Whether it’s a four-hour car ride home from college or a trek across Canada, there’s something about being on the road, away from regular life, that makes you stop and think about where you are.

When I was in my twenties, I took a cross-country road trip with a guy named Kenny. He was a friend of a friend and I didn’t know his last name until a few days before our trip, but he was willing to travel west with me and fly home. I was going stay on near Phoenix for a few months and live with my college friend. I was at the proverbial crossroads, contemplating my next life move and thinking about making Arizona part of the plan. The route we took from New Jersey to the west coast was similar to the one traveled by the characters in my debut novel HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES. Unlike my characters, I did not have a very detailed itinerary. Aside from visiting friends in Pennsylvania, Texas, and California, the only other stop I wanted to make was at Cadillac Ranch in Amarillo, Texas. I saw it in a travel book and thought it looked like a road-trippy kind of place stop.

Located in a cow pasture off Interstate 40, Cadillac Ranch is a public art installation consisting of ten Cadillacs buried nose-first in the ground. Visitors are allowed to spray-paint or write graffiti on the half-buried cars. I didn’t, but Rosie, the main character in my novel did. She wrote “Why?” Maybe because that’s what I had been thinking years ago when I stopped there on that cold January day. At that point in the trip, Rosie and I were both trying to figure out where we were going next. And just like Rosie, I couldn’t see at the time all the ways that road trip had already transformed me.

Sometimes we need distance to recognize our moments of growth, and sometimes it is the very thing that sparks them.


First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

Summary by Goodreads

* You enter for a chance to win 1 copy of How My Summer Went Up In Flames. 3 people will win a signed bookmark.
* The giveaway starts on May 12th and will end on May 31st
* Enter the rafflecopter form!
* Good luck :)

Saturday, May 11, 2013

Q&A with Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

This weekend on the blog is all about a YA contemporary debut of 2013 you just have to fall in love with: HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES. Today I have a Q&A with Jennifer Salvato Doktorski for you. Then a guest post about road trips also written by Jen, plus giveaway tomorrow. And on Monday I'm going to post my review of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES.


First she lost her heart. Then she lost her mind. And now she’s on a road trip to win back her ex. This debut novel’s packed with drama and romance!

Rosie’s always been impulsive. She didn’t intend to set her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire. And she never thought her attempts to make amends could be considered stalking. So when she’s served with a temporary restraining order on the first day of summer vacation, she’s heartbroken—and furious.

To put distance between Rosie and her ex, Rosie’s parents send her on a cross-country road trip with responsible, reliable neighbor Matty and his two friends. Forget freedom of the road, Rosie wants to hitchhike home and win back her ex. But her determination starts to dwindle with each passing mile. Because Rosie’s spark of anger? It may have just ignited a romance with someone new…

Summary by Goodreads

Q & A with Jennifer Salvato Doktorski

How would you describe HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES in five words?

Rosie’s getaway to find herself.

Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
In the beginning of HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES Rosie finds herself in a pretty unfortunate situation, with a restraining order for setting her cheating ex-boyfriend’s car on fire and being accused of stalking him. How did it feel to be in Rosie’s head at that point in her life? And in how far did the road trip with her best friend Matty and his friends Spencer and Logan change her?

Anyone who has experienced that crushing heartbreak after losing a first love—or any love--knows those feelings can be pretty overwhelming and consuming. Though I’ve never been in a situation as drastic as Rosie’s, I could relate to how it feels to perhaps use bad judgment, and maybe even lose my head because of a boy. I sympathized with her even though I shook my head at some of her choices. At the start of the story, Rosie is somewhat selfish and self-absorbed. By stepping out of her life, and going on a road trip with Matty, Spencer, and Logan, she grows as a person and learns to see the world and herself differently.

Did you develop Rosie’s story as you were writing it or did you have a full outline for HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES from the start? Was there some major aspect about the story that was changed in the editing process?

I used a road map to write this story, literally! I knew the places I wanted these characters to travel and I knew the time frame, so that’s what ultimately guided the story. It was fun to see how Rosie and the guys evolved with every stop along the way. With this novel, I have to say, no major aspects of the story were changed during editing. The framework remained the same, but my amazing editor, Annette Pollert, pushed me to make every sentence, on every page, better. 

What would an individual date with each of the boys look like? And how would Rosie like them?

Good question! Well, Matty would definitely take Rosie to the beach or an amusement park. He knows how much they both love the ocean and roller coasters. Spencer would take Rosie to either the planetarium or to see his favorite band. And a date with Logan would probably be the most traditional. Dinner and a movie. Rosie would totally love any of these dates. During their trip, I think she learned to love and appreciate how different and special each guy was in his own way.

How did you research for this book? Have you been to all the places that Rosie and the boys visit?

I’ve been to nearly all the places that Rosie and the boys visit. I researched the few locations I hadn’t been to by asking people who live or lived there if I got the details correct. Plus I discovered there’s almost nothing you can’t find on YouTube. Those visual images helped me fill in the gaps. 

What are some of your favourite YA titles? Do you also have a favourite road trip story?

I have so many favorite YA titles! Here are just a few: The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson; How to Save Life by Sara Zarr; the Shade series by Jeri Smith-Ready; Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins; Code Name Verity by Elizabeth E. Wein. Is this too many? 
I do have a fav road trip story, but it’s not YA nor does it involve a car. Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. Epic cowboy road trip! My recent fav is Jessi Kirby’s In Honor.

You have another contemporary coming out July 2nd 2013 by Henry Holt and Co, FAMOUS LAST WORDS. What can we expect from Samantha’s story?

Samantha is completely different from Rosie, although the two would probably benefit from being friends. They’d balance each other out. Sam’s an introvert, a girl who feels like there’s nothing much special about her. She’s trying to find her place in the world and her thing. When she lands a summer job writing obituaries for a local newspaper, it turns out that she learns a lot about life writing about death. I love the reading my publisher came up with for the cover: Her job is all about endings, but her own story is just beginning.  
I read your post on Mac Teen Books in which you talk about your road to publication and the difficult task to start feeling like an actual published (and as I might add awesome) author. How did the publication of your debut novel change your life?

Well, first, thank you very much for that compliment! And at the risk of sounding cheesy, publishing my first novel is the realization of a lifelong dream. It’s like being admitted to a club or sorority that you’ve always wanted to belong to. I still cannot believe I’m going to walk into my local library or bookstore and see one of my books!! One of the best parts has been all the wonderful and supportive people who helped make it happen, and those I met as a result of my books being published. I’ve had the opportunity to “meet” through social media, so many terrific YA bloggers, readers, librarians, and authors. I’m SO grateful for that. 

How does one of your typical writing days look like? Is there anything you cannot write without? (e.g. coffee, music)

Coffee, running, and music are my three essentials for a day of writing. Music is the one constant there. (I haven’t figured out how to run and drink coffee yet, but I would if I could.) I make playlists of songs that remind me of my characters and listen to the tunes while I run or write. It helps me to work out scenes and dialogue. I write at home. I’ve tried to take my laptop to the library of a coffee shop, but I get too distracted. I find I write best in the morning and early afternoon and usually do some of my best work when I’ve got a deadline.  

What other projects are you currently working on?

I’m currently working on a third novel that’s completely unrelated to the first two. I’m also working through my ideas for sequels to both HOW MY SUMMER WENT UP IN FLAMES and FAMOUS LAST WORDS.
I hope you enjoyed the Q&A, watch out for a guest post and giveaway tomorow. Thank you Jen for answering all my questions! 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Mini Reviews # 7

The books of my seventh mini review edition have one thing in common, they are Netgalley or Galley Grab titles from 2011 (yes, I am feeling very guilty about it) that I didn't get to on time and kept pushing further down my review list until this day. So here they are, my reviews for IMAGINARY GIRLS by Nova Ren Suma, WHEREVER YOU GO by Heather Davis and ORDINARY BEAUTY by Laura Wiess. 

Imaginary Girls by Nova Ren Suma

Ruby and Chloe are sisters and so close nobody could ever separate them. They are family and best friends, until one unfortunate night in which one of Chloe's classmates is found dead in the city reservoir and Chloe leaves town and Ruby for two years. When she returns things have changed and she's beginning to see Ruby with different eyes, too.
The reservoir, presented as a dark and mysterious power, held no fascination for me and the story around the flooded town of Olive didn’t creep me out like it creeped out other readers. 
Ruby is so bossy and too self-absorbed to be good for anyone. Chloe would be much better off without her and could have been an amiable character without her constantly admiring her sister and protecting her impossible behavior. A possible romance for Chloe was hinted at, pretty frustrating was that it was never fully carried out till the end. The story in its entirety was all kinds of hazy and the sisters' bond never felt real to me. IMGINARY GIRLS has some of the most unsympathetic characters I have ever encountered and I just didn't get it. The whole point, the story, the sisters' relationship, Ruby. I better leave it at that.

2/5 ** IMAGINARY GIRLS –  Unreal and indefinable in many ways!

Only a few pages into IMAGINARY GIRLS and I knew this wasn’t my kind of story. I stumbled from scene to scene and sadly never felt at ease with Chloe, Ruby or the story in general. Somehow I missed the essential meaning of this story and everything felt kind of pointless and like the glue between scenes was missing.

Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Publishing Date: June 14th 2011
Length: 348 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, mystery, sisterly love
Source: Netgalley

WhereverYou Go by Heather Davis

Holly's boyfriend Rob died in a car accident, but he never truly left. As a ghost Rob has to watch life going on without him, how Holly is sad and lonely and how Holly and his best friend Jason become friends and perhaps even more over their mutual loss.
WHEREVER YOU GO is told from three different perspectives. Holly tells the story from a 1st person point of view. Then Jason’s scenes are written from a 3rdperson pov and Rob is using a more descriptive, dialogue-like narrative style by directly addressing the reader. 
With Jason wandering the scenes in ghost form, this book wasn’t an entirely ordinary YA contemporary read. It has a great romance nevertheless. Jason is much like Holly and I was surprised to see him so supportive of her situation, helping out wherever he can and taking Holly, her sister and their grandfather on delightful excursions. He’s the definition of a real good guy. So it only feels natural for them to fall for each other.
In WHEREVER YOU GO Heather Davis takes up a few serious issues. One of them you should find out about on your own, because I wouldn't want to spoil anything. Otherwise a major spotlight is thrown on Holly's grandpa Aldo and his illness. He has Alzheimer's and can't live on his own anymore. Aldo is loosing a bit more of his power over his memories every day and needs support mastering this difficult part of growing old. He is very lucky to have Holly, who is the only one left to care for him, with Holly's sister too young and their mother working all the time. You can’t but feel for Holly, who is very motherly and a teenager that has to manage an entire household on her own. She cares for her sister, her grandpa, the flat and goes to school and therefore she, as people like her in real life, deserves the admiration from all of us. 

4/5 **** WHEREVER YOU GO – A gentle read about the transiency of life!

This book might not have major drama, but it's strength definitely lies in its quiet and tender moments. Great parts of WHEREVER YOU ARE are about familiar issues of various origins and forms. Stories like WHEREVER YOU GO are a relevant means to highten awareness and help affected people to be more open about the issues worrying or burdening them. As a person who considers family as the number one priority in life, I could very much relate to this story!

Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Publishing Date: November 14th 2011
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, loss, ghost, familiar issues, Alzheimer's
Source: Netgalley

Ordinary Beauty by Laura Wiess

ORDINARY BEAUTY is the story of Sayre Bellavia - this is a very beautiful name, don't you think? Her life has never been like any other teen's life. It wasn't easy with a mother who was on drugs or alcohol and Sayre wasn't even given the chance at normalcy or a careless childhood. Her mother has never wanted Sayre in her life, and she's experienced so many violent scenes in her young life it's deeply saddening.
When I started this book, I was expecting to get more of a contemporary love story and less a portrait of a troubled family. It was both, though the romance is more subtle. At some point Sayre's past and the mystery around what had to happen to turn every good thing into something full of hatred and disappointment, simply draws you into the story. 
I was shocked at how her mother treated Sayre - it is really bad and would surely make every loving mother furious - and the strong person she became nontheless. She never gave up and despite her past she's still become an intelligent and warmhearted young adult. She must have had something in her that resisted all the darkness and filth around her. 
Note that ORDINARY BEAUTY contains explicit content and various scenes with sexual or abusive - emotional and physical - relationships and usage of drugs.

4,5/5 ***** ORDINARY BEAUTY -A story about the terrible and tragic tests of faith and life and a girl one cannot but love!

This is the portrait of a family who experienced many hardships in life and Sayre, the girl who could be the family's only hope at something better, something strong and pure. In the beginning I didn't think I'd love ORDINARY BEAUTY as much as I did in the end, which was all thanks to Sayre and her impressive volition.

Publisher: MTV Books  
Publishing Date: June 14th 2011 
Length: 290 pages 
Keywords: YA, contemporary, romance, drugs, abuse, friendship, family, familiar issues 
Source: Simon & Schuster Galley Grab

Saturday, May 4, 2013

Book Review: One Perfect Summer by Paige Toon

Title: One Perfect Summer
Author: Paige Toon
Publisher: Simon & Schuster UK
Publishing Date: May 10th 2012
Length: 464 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, chick lit, college, England, vacation, romance, first love
Source: Publisher

'And you still love him?'
'Every second of every minute of every hour of every day…'

While on holiday in Dorset one summer, Alice meets Joe, a guy working at the local pub. She's eighteen and on the brink of starting university, while Joe's life is seemingly going nowhere. But despite their differences, the pair fall hopelessly and desperately in love. And then summer comes to an end and they are dramatically torn apart.

Alice heads off to university in Cambridge where she gets a part-time job punting on the River Cam and slowly picks up the pieces of her broken heart. One day Lukas - a gorgeous golden boy from Cambridge University - spies her and it's not long before Alice falls for his charms.

Months turns into years, but then Joe comes back into Alice's life again in a way that she could never have imagined. While Alice lives her ordinary life with Lukas, she has to watch from the sidelines as Joe's life becomes evermore extraordinary. She never stopped loving him, but he's out of her reach now, surely? And what about Lukas?

Summary by Goodreads

Before I started book blogging I had mostly been into chick lit. It always had to be something with a great romance and a ton of emotions. ONE PERFECT SUMMER reminded me of how much I had loved these books when I was younger. Reading ONE PERFECT SUMMER felt so gratifying that I didn't want it to end too soon. This book was a chick lit love revival on 464 pages! 

Eighteen-year-old Alice is set to spend her summer in Dorset with her parents, a vacation in a small and cosy cottage near the beach. From the beginning on the story conveyed a very idyllic, casual and summery feel. With the stunning Dorset background, the cliffs and wide plains, it wasn't difficult at all to dream myself into Alice's story of first love and become a part of it. She's still a teenager and the following weeks are some of the most important of her life. Alice meets Joe and they fall for each other...fast and hard. 

Alice's and Joe's first love is glowing and full of cheerful and guiltless feelings for each other. The first few chapters are pure feel-good material and one could live in this dream world forever, but at some point Alice needs to wake up and see that life is not easy, it is anything but. Life and people can be brutal and some scenes felt crushing in comparison to their innocent young love. Paige Toon made the story feel like a story cut out of a real person's life. Tragic and real. I enjoyed ONE PERFECT SUMMER especially because it was mostly about the simple and daily things in life. 

ONE PERFECT SUMMER is set over the course of several years and is focusing on Alice's pretty awesome college years. We see her make new friends and find another love in Lukas. While Joe isn't a physically present constant in her life anymore, Alice can't seem to get him out of her head. The boys her heart belongs to are very different. Lucas is from a rich family with high standards and he always feels the need to steer Alice's life in the right direction. Joe is a free spirit, brought up under diffcult family circumstances and just wanting to escape this world of hurt and neglect to find his own way. And I just have to admit that I wanted for Joe and Alice to find happiness again in the end.
I really liked the life Alice built for herself, living in a house with her best friends and always having a good time without overdoing it. 
Her new friends, Jessie and Emily, and her best friend Lizzy from before college are a homogenous part of the story and not just a means to prolong the storyline, to add characters because you have to fill pages. I always wanted to know what happened in their lives, too and if they'd find happiness in the end.

My only concern was the Hollywood factor entering the story at some point. One of our characters becomes famous and the story didn't feel so everyday anymore. It blew up the story to something bigger than it should have been, but it only slightly lost some of its original allurement. 
The ending was a tad fast and I would have wished for a longer epilogue and for that I wouldn't mind a sequel. But I already saw there is a short story following ONE PERFECT SUMMER named ONE PERFECT CHRISTMAS. 


1) of a fun college experience
2) of two equally loving and caring boys
3) of a perfect vacation
4) it promises heart-break but also to chance to mend the brokes pieces back together in an even stronger and more beautiful constellation
5) of an adventurous punting job

4,5/5 ****/* ONE PERFECT SUMMER - A splendid summer read and not just a fling! 

ONE PERFECT SUMMER was indeed one nerarly perfect read. This was the first book by Paige Toon that I read and I can't wait to read all her other books in my next vacation. Set in London, Cambridge and Dorset the story fits exactly into that light summer read category, that uplifts your reading spirits and takes you to far away newfound places.

* Paige Toon's next book, THE LONGEST HOLIDAY, was released April 25th 2013.

* For an excerpt of ONE PERFECT SUMMER, click here

* ONE PERFECT SUMMER research photos.

* For further information about the author visit www.paigetoon.com

* Thanks to Simon & Schuster UK for sending me a copy for review!