Saturday, 20 June 2015

Book Review: 'Hung Up', Kristen Tracy

Book summary: Can you fall in love with a voice? This witty romance, told entirely through phone calls, chronicles the tale of a wrong number gone right.

It all started with a wrong number. The voicemails Lucy left on James’s phone were meant for someone else—someone who used to have James’s digits. But then when James finally answers and the two start to talk, a unique bond forms between the two teens.

Gradually Lucy and James begin to understand each other on a deeper level than anyone else in their lives. But when James wants to meet in person, Lucy is strangely resistant. And when her secret is revealed, he’ll understand why…

Okay. So the concept of the book was interesting enough for me to pick it up. Also, I can relate. I've met my boyfriend online and we've had a lot of conversations over skype, so the idea of a couple meeting over the phone because of dialing the wrong number was appealing to me. So the whole thing is written in a  form of chronological transcript of phone talks or voice messages.

I don't remember disliking both main characters in the book. Now it happened. Bear in mind, these are the only characters in the whole story. Ok, maybe I liked them sometimes. But mostly their mood swings were very annoying. Also, their talks were a bit flat and nothing gripping had happened... until I've reached 80% of the book. There, we're finally talking a twist! But to be honest, I've expected much more after it occured.

The read itself is very relaxing and fast but a bit boring at times. For many readers the ending may be disappointing. And if you're counting on a sparkly romance I have to burst your bubble - the whole book is more about a process of getting to know each other and building a trust. And concealments. And lies. And being honest.

I'm not overly sure how to rate this book. I've had a few nice moments with it and overall it made a good nightly read when I couldn't sleep. I've also, having in mind my own experience, recognized a few patterns of a "phone call romance". Pick it up if you're looking for a very very very light read and if you have a spare time for a book which may not enchant you. But still it can be a pleasant read.

Friday, 22 May 2015

'We were Liars', E. Lockhart

Goodreads * Amazon UK Amazon
Book summary: A beautiful and distinguished family.

A private island.
A brilliant, damaged girl; a passionate, political boy.
A group of four friends—the Liars—whose friendship turns destructive.
A revolution. An accident. A secret.
Lies upon lies.
True love.
The truth.
We Were Liars is a modern, sophisticated suspense novel from National Book Award finalist and Printz Award honoree E. Lockhart. 

Read it.
And if anyone asks you how it ends, just LIE.

Disclaimer: I've read the book in Polish translation. Translation can always affect my overall opinion of the book.

After closing this book I was like... did I really just read what I think I did? I have very mixed feelings about it. At first I was a bit sceptical after reading some unflattering reviews so I was surprised to discover I kind of like the author's writing style. It was my first Lockhart's book and I'm willing to give her another shot. It was a fast and pleasant read. What I didn't like were the attempts of making the text more dynamic and expressive by dividing it into short lines. The other thing that didn't really hit the mark for me was rough language used to describe Cadence's headaches.

If you don't have any idea what this book is about then... well. It's about a very rich family with a private Island and numerous of houses. Cadence, Johnny and Mirren are cousins who spend every summer there. The money and prestige talks don't really appeal to them. In the year fifteen Cadence had an accident - and she doesn't remember what had happened. After a short break she returns to an island to discover some things have changed and she promises herself she will discover what happened to her and why her cousins and boyfriend Gat haven't uttered a word to her since the tragedy.

Maybe I was clueless enough not to see little tips throughout the book but I was completely startled by the ending of this book. If you'll guess what's going on there then you probably won't like this book as much as people as baffled as I was. Although the idea itself wasn't necessarily original (I've seen an American movie with similar ending long time ago - won't reveal the titlte to not spoil you the fun) it was definitely a strong point of We were Liars.

I would totally recommend this book for those who like a twisted mystery, astonishing endings and are willing to cope with rich and wealthy environment. If you let this seemingly plain story talk to your sensitivity you may also find some universal truths lying beneath. 

- with a minus

Thursday, 2 April 2015

'Girl Online', Zoe Sugg

Goodreads * Amazon UK * Amazon
Book summary: I had no idea GirlOnline would take off the way it has - I can't believe I now have 5432 followers, thanks so much! - and the thought of opening up to you all about this is terrifying, but here goes...

Penny has a secret.

Under the alias GirlOnline, she blogs about school dramas, boys, her mad, whirlwind family - and the panic attacks she's suffered from lately. When things go from bad to worse, her family whisks her away to New York, where she meets the gorgeous, guitar-strumming Noah. Suddenly Penny is falling in love - and capturing every moment of it on her blog.

But Noah has a secret too. One that threatens to ruin Penny's cover - and her closest friendship - forever.

Disclaimer: I've read the book in Polish translation as an Advanced Readers Copy. Translation can always affect my overall opinion of the book.

I was very curious about Zoella's book. Everyone was talking about it everywhere: goodreads, blogs, youtube... I don't like to read popular books when everyone else does but I've decided to pick it up and check what the fuss is all about.

The story itself is really sweet but a bit typical. Shy and lacking confidence teenager from Europe has a chance to live an adventure of her life going to New York and meets a handsome musician. She experiences the taste of first love, gain self-confidence, finds the strength to stand up to her frenemies. All that with a leitmotiv of writing a blog.

The book was advertised as written by a blogger about a blogger. If I'm honest - personally I think there was too little about the whole blogging thing. I was expecting more chapters in style of blog posts, more descriptions of the whole online life... To get only that what is in Girl Online was a bit disappointing.

I can say that I liked Penny and her best friend Elliot, but other characters seemed a bit like a background to me (even Noah was a bit flat). 

The thing that didn't quite please me was the typical storyline. Other than that the book was nicely written and sweet. It was a relaxing and fast read. I wouldn't recommend it to anyone not interested in YouTube life or not being a teenage girl though. It's a bit too naive for older readers - but you should totally pick it up when you're tired of reading more demanding books.


Saturday, 28 February 2015

'Dunaway's Crossing', Nancy Brandon

Dunaway's Crossing
Goodreads * Amazon UK * Amazon
Book summary: Bea Dot Ferguson has a life many in Savannah envy: a wealthy husband, a luxurious house, a baby on the way. But appearances are deceiving. To hide a terrible secret, Bea Dot married a man she didn’t love—only to suffer his brutality later on. When her cousin Netta invites her for a visit in rural Pineview, Georgia, Bea Dot jumps at the chance to escape. But she soon learns she’s traded one perilous situation for another—Pineview has been infected with deadly Spanish influenza. As the epidemic escalates, Bea Dot and Netta must fight for survival. With the help of Will Dunaway, a recently returned Great War veteran, Bea Dot draws upon strength she never knew she had. As she and Will desperately try to avoid contagion, their mutual attraction grows, making them both the target of her husband’s wrath.

A sweeping Southern tale of hope and betrayal, love and loss, Dunaway’s Crossing is a moving testament to the strength of the human spirit.
I couldn't put this book down, seriously! It's anything I expected it to be. It's much deeper and darker but still beautiful and full of hope. Bea Dot bears a dark secret of her past and has to deal with the only man that knows it - her abusive and violent husband Ben. She has a strong spirit that her spouse didn't break yet. Her character got a chance to develop while staying in Pineview.
Nancy Brandon has a natural gift of writing about feelings and relationships between people - I totally adored the short moments when Ralph and Netta were sharing their joy of having their baby on the way after so many failed attempts. She perfectly portrayed the quarrels between Netta and Bea Dot and their touching reunion. All good characters in the book were beautifully built and saying goodbye to them was very hard.
Apart from engaging story and unexpected plot twists the strong point of this book is it's historical background and the way it had been illustrated: the tough time of spanish flu pandemic, fear and pain of loss. Also the time when women had no rights and were supposed to be obedient wives and mothers, when divorce was considered a huge scandal.
I love historical fiction and romance plots that are not too invasive. The Dunaway's Crossing hads everything that a good historical novel should have: well written story, solid background, realistic and lovable characters and a deeper message.

Tuesday, 24 February 2015

'Bad Romeo'', Leisa Rayven

Goodreads * Amazon UK * Amazon

Book Summary: When Cassie Taylor met Ethan Holt at acting school, sparks flew. She was the good girl actress. He was the bad boy about campus. But one fated casting choice for Romeo and Juliet changed it all. Like the characters they were playing, Cassie and Ethan's romance seemed destined. Until he broke her heart and betrayed her trust. Now the A-list heartthrob is back in her life and turning her world around. One touch at a time. 

Cast as romantic leads once again, they're forced to confront raw memories of the heartbreaking lows and pulse-pounding highs of their secret college affair. But they'll also discover that people who rub each other the wrong way often make the best sparks
This book just doesn't sit right with me. Just... doesn't. I was hoping for something really good looking at how people were excited about it. At least for something bearable... And first pages of the book got me hooked but then... like a huge SLAM of the door on my face... what's going on here?
I disliked both main characters. They were irritating, self and sex obsessed. Ethan had hurt Cassie in the past (erm... will I ever know what happened, in details, please?) and she still chases after him... because her body wants him. But he treats her horribly all the time... and she still chases him.
Also, I've found the way of narration a bit confusing when we were jumping from past to present tense... and from present to past again... 
This book was so frustrating I had to put it down. Twice. I had to force myself to finish it.
To be honest, I think that Leisa Rayven missed her chance to write a very good and beautiful book. Her writing style is nice and I hope one day I'll read her again, but not in this series.
The story around this toxic relationship filled with poor sexual "tension" just made me angry, sad and a bit disgusted.
and a *half*

received via NetGalley for an honest review

Monday, 23 February 2015

Versatile Blogger Award :)

Recently I've been nominated to a lot of Blogger Awards and Tags, so I want to thank all of you for it! I've  had a lot of concerns how my blog will go on with my not perfect English skills, but here am I know, with almost 50 subscribers on GFC and bloglovin' and support of other bloggers from all around the world. Without you I wouldn't make it that far (it's just a few months since I've launched this blog but for me it's already some kind of an achievement!).

To Versatile Blogger Award I was nominated by:

Thank you so much <3

1. Nominate 15 other bloggers relatively new to blogging.
2. Let the bloggers know that you've nominated them.
3. Share 10 random facts about yourself.
4. Thank the blogger who nominated you and link back to their blog.
5. Add the Versatile Blogger Award picture to your post and/or sidebar.

I'd like to nominate:

(nominating only 5 bloggers to this Award, because other kind-of-new-to-blogging bloggers I wanted to nominate were already nominated by someone else :))


1) I'm scared of taking my Kindle Paperwhite 2 with me to classes when the temperature is below 0 Celsius...
2) I suffer from melissophobia (fear of bees) and spheksophobia (fear of wasps)... severely!
3) I'm Polish but my boyfriend is Scottish - long distance is not ideal but what can you do when love is in the air ;)
4) I love learning new languages and English is my favourite so far :) I've been learning Latin, French, German and a bit of Finnish as well.
5) I am addicted to lipsticks and lipglosses - light colours, no reds! ;)
6) I don't watch movies or tv series with any form of violence (only occasionaly - if it's a historic movie). This seems weird considering the next fact...
7) I love watching documentaries about serial killers or programs like 20/20 or 48 hours mystery ...
8) I've seen Braveheart when I was 12 and I couldn't stop crying for 2 hours...
9) I travelled a lot with my parents when I was younger - I've been to a lot of countries in Europe, but never outside of it.
10) I have a fear of falling out of balcony or a bridge ... is that a phobia? :O

Sunday, 22 February 2015

'Love Hurts' Malorie Blackman and others, collection of short stories

Goodreads * Amazon UK
Random House Corgi Childrens

Book Summary: Malorie Blackman brings together the best teen writers of today in a stunningly romantic collection about love against the odds. Featuring short stories and extracts about modern star-crossed lovers from stars such as Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak and Patrick Ness, and with a brand-new story from Malorie Blackman herself, Love Hurts looks at every kind of relationship, from first kiss to final heartbreak.

Love Hurts is an anthology of short stories written by well known authors (like Gayle Forman, Markus Zusak or Jenny Downham). Most of these stories are simply extracts from already written books. We can read a bit of If I Stay, We Were Liars or The Infinite Moment of Us - most of chapters are parts of different titles, but there are some separate stories as well.

If you didn't read original books it's easy to get confused while reading extracts, because they're simply out of context and we don't know the background of characters or events. On the other hand you can get to know different writing styles, read pieces of bestselling books and decide if you'd like to pick them up or not.

I'm not sure if making a book out of parts of other books is a good idea. I think readers would enjoy it more if these were separate short stories. I have to say that my favourite story was Malorie Blackman's standalone Humming Through My Fingers. It was a solid and touching read. 

I wouldn't call this book a waste of time but it certainly wasn't what I expected it to be. I would recommend it only to those who want to get to know writing style of different authors and decide whether they would like to read their works. If you expect an unique read like My True Love Gave To Me you will be disappointed.

Wednesday, 18 February 2015

'The Summer I Turned Pretty' trilogy by Jenny Han

Book Summary: Belly has always lived for the summertime because it means all her favorite things: swimming, the beach and the Fisher boys, Conrad and Jeremiah. She has spent every summer with them at Cousins Beach for as long as she can remember. She has always been in love with Conrad and finally, one summer, it seems like he might have feelings for her too. But it turns out, so does Jeremiah.

As the summers go on, Belly has to choose between two brothers who love her as she comes to the realization that she will have to break one of their hearts.

First of all, I've read all three books in Polish translation so I didn't have an opportunity to get to know raw writing style of Jenny Han. I use English on daily basis so I was able to find a few little mistranslations especially of typical sayings or idioms, but overall it was a solid and fair rewording.
I don't want to make 3 separate reviews for all parts of trilogy, so I'll try to shorten and summarize my thoughts and impressions in one blog post.

The story
I liked the idea of adolescent girl developing her feelings to two of her best friends throughout summers she has spent with them. She was always closer to older of brothers - Conrad, mysterious and serious, but Jeremy who was funny and easygoing, had also a very special place in her heart. Throughout the books we follow Belly's on and off feelings to two brothers but also her memories of summers she spent in Cousins beach house with them, their mother Susannah (who was very dear to her) and her own brother and mom. To be fair, these retrospections are the warmest and the most adorable part of the whole series.
We're not only the witnesses of characters' growing up and redefining their feelings and priorities but also of them dealing with loss, pain and life turning points.
In the first book only Belly is the teller of the events, in It's not summer without you we can get to know Jeremi's point of view and in the last book we can finally read the thoughts of mysterious Conrad.
While reading the trilogy we will wonder who will win Belly's heart in the end. Which brother will she pick to be with, which brother she loves more and how it will affect the relationship between Jeremi and Conrad.

They are likeable but not always mature. They are still teens though so this is their right. Sometimes Belly's choices and decisions were annoying me, because she should have known better, even at the age of 15. Jeremi is a bit reckless, Conrad mysterious till the end and Belly? Belly is just growing up - and we all know what does it mean to be a growing up girl. Throughout the series characters are developing and changing but they're still very young, discovering the world and themselves.

#1 The Summer I Turned Pretty
The first book in the series is a kind of indtroduction to the whole story. We're getting to know all characters, their past and events that led them to this very point in time. It was a very light and even paced read, although personally I think it's the worst of all three. I'd give it 3,5 *stars*

#2 It's Not Summer Without You
It's more emotional than the other previous one. Characters are growing up, stuggling with loss and making hard decisions. Better and more solid than the first book. 4 *stars*

#3 We'll Always Have Summer
While we think everything is said and done and Belly has finally made up her mind... The storm is coming up. The most confusing of all three, having the reader wondering all the time, till the very end. The ending was not a real surprise for me, but how it all happened - was a surprise indeed. 4 *stars*

Overall the Summer I Turned Pretty series is a fun and light read, great for teenagers and great for summertime. It's adorable and easy to get along with. Plus the new covers are incredibly cute!

Friday, 6 February 2015

Swoonuary! A Valentine's Day Special with the Bookish Groupies - means February is about LOVE

Hello beautiful ladies, and welcome to the Bookish Groupies first annual event, Swoonuary! 

Are you in the mood for a sugary sweet romance? What about a contemporary so cute, you're left squealing like a school girl? If you are, then perfect, because that is what Swoonuary is all about! After reading quite a bit of fantasy and science fiction lately, the girls and I are ready to dive back into the land of hook ups & heartbreaks, happily ever afters, and happily never fucking again . . . well the last part might be something I'm looking for, but you get the idea. All month long, we've decided to read both romance & contemporary novels in Lieu of Valentines day, the day for all things cheesy. But what fun what it be if we didn't have other bloggers join us? That's where you all come in . . . 

To read more CLICK HERE :)

I was invited to this event by Tika and I'm very happy to take part in it :) You can do that too! February is this one month a year when everyone is talking about love... so why not read about love? I'm very excited to finally cross some cute'n'sweet (or sometimes sweet'n'sour) romance books out from my to-read lists :)

What I'm planning to read:

Summer series by Jenny Han

I own the complete trilogy in Polish so I've decided to give it a go in February. I think it will be a light and relaxing read after all my exams and perfect for the season (although it's still winter :))

Bad Romeo by Leisa Rayven

It's unfortunately on my DNF list so I've decided to pick it up again this month. Hopefully I'll finish this time.

The Right Side of Mr Wrong

The Right Side of Mr. Wrong by Jane Linfoot
which I've received from Isabell for a guest review. I've been slacking on reading it because of my exams so I think now it's the right time to speed up my reading :)

And hopefully I'll read even more than that :)

Thursday, 29 January 2015

'You Think You Know Me' by Clare Chase

Book summary: Sometimes, it’s not easy to tell the good guys from the bad …

Freelance journalist, Anna Morris, is struggling to make a name for herself, so she’s delighted to attend a launch event for a hip, young artist at her friend Seb’s gallery.

But an exclusive interview isn’t all Anna comes away with. After an encounter with the enigmatic Darrick Farron, she is flung into the shady underground of the art scene – a world of underhand dealings, missing paintings and mysterious deaths …

Seb is intent on convincing Anna that Darrick is up to no good but, try as she might, she can’t seem to keep away from him. And as she becomes further embroiled, Anna begins to wonder – is Seb’s behaviour the well-intentioned concern of an old friend, or does he have something to hide?

Finally I've found a book that combines mystery, dark secrets and a light read. I was glued to it from the first chapter and had a lot of questions in my mind. Anna meets a stranger who gives her a false identity. Despite being warned by people that something's not right, she stays in touch with him and tries to unravel secrets that turn up all along the way.

I had my suspicions about who the bad guy is and what happened after reading about 50% of the book. In the end it turned out I was right, but the last few chapters were very dramatic and dynamic - I didn't expect that and was pleasantly surprised. On the other hand this dynamics wasn't really balanced with few parts of the book which were slow-paced and detailed.

The story line is good and solid and characters are diverse and well built. I enjoyed how author was giving out pieces of information about Sebastian's life and drama he went through when he lost his girlfriend Julia. I also grew fond of Anna's housemates - scenes with them were bringing some refreshment and fun. 

This was my first book written by Clare Chase but I very like her style of writing - it's solid and neat. I would happily give this author another go! And on a side note, as an UK-Lover I was happy that the book was set in London.

I'd recommend this book to everyone that seeks a good, solid but light read with a lot of mystery and questions to answer.

Wednesday, 7 January 2015

'501 time-saving tips every woman should know' by Georgia Varozza

501 Time-Saving Tips Every Woman Should Know
to be published: 1/2/2015
Harvest House
Book summary: Well-known cookbook author and avid blogger Georgia Varozza has collected tidbits of wisdom and hundreds of how-to skills during her life. She's a master food preserver with a passion for all things natural, time-saving, and simple. Reading this book is like having her as a personal coach to teach you how to be a savvy keeper of your home. After years of use, the baking sheets have built up brown grease deposits. What's the simpler solution to removing those troublesome spots? Want to grow vegetables from seeds? Make an easy, inexpensive cold frame using hay bales to get them started. Plan that road trip with confidence by taking along this list of car games the kids will love.

Whether you're young or mature, married or single, a novice or veteran do-it-yourselfer, you'll find valuable new skills to take from this book and put to good use. With cheery snippets of inspiration and a Scripture verse tucked here and there, all these tips, tricks, and treasures will cultivate a definite "can do" attitude.

Sometimes I like to read self-help books, especially when authors promise that after reading them I'll be more organized. This book sounded like a perfect way to start a new year. Unfortunately I didn't really get what I expected... If you read women's magazines you'll know almost all of these "tips", lots of them are rules that we learn from our mothers or just are obvious . The whole book basically feels like a mash-up of advice found in different sections of periodicals. Tips are organized in chapters: kitchen, house, garden, family life etc. Book is filled with inspirational quotes, some strongly linked to Christianity (the author herself is Christian).

Overall - it can be a good book for a really young girl who just starts to run her own household and doesn't have a clue how to do it. It can also be a good read for those who like to read life advice, but I'm not sure if anyone can find here anything life changing...

*Provided to me by Harvest House via NetGalley in exchange for honest opinion*

Friday, 2 January 2015

'Skating at Somerset House' by Nikki Moore

Skating at Somerset House
Book #1 in #LoveLondon Series
Goodreads * Amazon * Amazon UK
Harper Impulse
Book Summary: The first short story in the fun & flirty #LoveLondon series from exciting new chick lit author Nikki Moore!

There’s nothing Holly Winterlake loves more than Christmas and skating, so working as an Ice Marshall at London's Somerset House is a dream come true.

Noel Summerford hates the festive season and is a disaster on the ice, so taking his godson to Somerset House is his idea of the nightmare before Christmas!

Things are bound to get interesting when these two collide…

With a forty foot Christmas tree, an assortment of well meaning friends and relatives, and a mad chocolate Labrador, will this festive season be one to remember … or forget?

I'm still in the festive mood so wintery-Christmassy reads are still on my to-read list. This is the first book in #LoveLondon series by Nikki Moore - second 'New Year at the Ritz' is already released, and the third 'Valentine's at Primrose Hill' will be out at my birthday (15/01/2015). 

'Skating at Somerset House' is a short story, easy to read at one go. Characters are nicely built and even that we know that Christmas-lover Holly will get together with Christmas-hater Noel at the end, it's an enjoyable and heart-warming book. The story is too short to dig deep into both Noel's and Holly's past but I feel like what we've learnt about them is sufficient. In short writings like this fast pace is a good thing - I really liked that there were no unnecessary descriptions slowing down the events.

I love that the whole series has a theme which is London. It will be a nice experience to get to know some significant places in this city by reading Nikki Moore's books. I liked her writing style and I definitely will continue reading #LoveLondon as those light, short, delightful reads will for sure give me some refreshment between heavier books.

*Provided to me by Harper Impulse via NetGalley*

What 2014 gave to me? Few reflections!

Past year had changed my life. I've gained self confidence and faith I can achieve more in life. I've read tons of amazing books in my native language (Polish) and started my adventure with books written in English (with a little help of my best friend - Kindle Paperwhite 2). I was thinking a lot about starting a new blog fully in English and decided to go for it in November. One of my most important New Year Resolutions is to keep it updated, develop it and maybe even begin booktubing (I'm doing it in Polish already). 

Being a book blogger writing in English while it's not even my second language is hard sometimes but I have a lot of faith and support from my other half who is Scottish. Without him I wouldn't even be here so here's a shoutout and thank you to him <3. I take this blog as a challenge and opportunity to develop my language skills and to meet new friends who share the same love for books as I do. 

I hope 2015 will bring me new followers who'll like to come back here, read what I have to say about books, leave their comments and discuss their thoughts with me! I hope among them I will find new friends and I won't ever regret the decision I've made about launching this blog.