The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan Review + Interview

I am so excited to be reviewing The Royal We by Heather Cocks and Jessica Morgan. Not only am I reviewing the book but both Heather and Jessica were sweet enough to answer a few questions. Be sure to check out my interview with them at the end of my review. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

The Royal We by Heather Cocks & Jessica Morgan Review

Summery: Inspired by Kate Middleton and Prince William. American Rebecca Porter was never one for fairy tales. Her twin sister, Lacey, has always been the romantic who fantasized about glamour and royalty, fame and fortune. Yet it’s Bex who seeks adventure at Oxford and finds herself living down the hall from Prince Nicholas, Great Britain’s future king. And when Bex can’t resist falling for Nick, the person behind the prince, it propels her into a world she did not expect to inhabit, under a spotlight she is not prepared to face.

Dating Nick immerses Bex in ritzy society, dazzling ski trips, and dinners at Kensington Palace with him and his charming, troublesome brother, Freddie. But the relationship also comes with unimaginable baggage: hysterical tabloids, Nick’s sparkling and far more suitable ex-girlfriends, and a royal family whose private life is much thornier and more tragic than anyone on the outside knows. The pressures are almost too much to bear, as Bex struggles to reconcile the man she loves with the monarch he’s fated to become.

Review: Having watched William and Kate’s relationship from their St. Andrew days this story was very appealing to me. What was so fun was noting all the details and events that were taken from real life.
One of the best parts of this book was that, although it was inspired by William and Kate, the characters of Bex and Nick (as well as the other characters) where very much their own characters and not just caricatures of their real-live counterparts. Along with exploring how Bex’s relationship with Nick changes her the book also explores how her relationship with Nick effects her friends and family. While I didn’t particularly like Bex’s twin sister, Lacey, I like how Cocks and Morgan showed how their relationship changed and how Lacey was effected by Bex’s new relationship.
I loved how every chapter seemed to end in a little cliffhanger that just made me want to continue reading. At one point I had to put the book down because I was afraid I would finish it too soon and I didn’t want it to end.

Best Feature:
Freddie. Let’s be honest, who read The Royal We and didn’t love Prince Freddie? Since reading Outlander I have developed a love for good looking British red heads (Jamie Fraser) and Freddie is no exception. Freddie was charming and adorable and there was a big part of me that actually wanted Bex to end up with Freddie at the end.
 
Worst Feature: Lacey. As I said before I didn’t really like Lacey. While I think Cocks and Morgan tried to make her sympathetic I just found her to be obnoxious and selfish. While she somewhat redeems herself at the end it was a “too little, too late” type of situation for me to really like her.
 
Overview: I absolutely loved this book. While inspired by the real life story of Prince William and Kate Middleton the characters were well fleshed and drawn out and very much their own. Each chapter ended in a way that made you want to keep reading. Aside from Bex and Nick my favorite character had to be Nick’s brother Freddie. Now I am just crossing my fingers for a sequel.

Interview with Heather & Jessica

1. You guys started your website Go Fug Yourself back in 2004. How did the idea for that come about?
JESSICA: It was really all started as a joke, actually. Heather and I had gone to the mall one day, and we were highly over-caffeinated, and we just started riffing on how bad all the posters and ads happened to be — that maybe fugly was the hot new trend, the new pretty — and basically started the blog to amuse ourselves. We never thought it would ever be read by anyone other than our friends!
HEATHER: At the time, starting a whole blog based on one kernel of a joke wasn’t so far off the norm. You know how today, people start comedy Twitter accounts for, say, Angelina Jolie’s Leg, or whatever? Back in the olden days of 2004, people did stuff like that with websites.

2. How did you go from writing for GFY to writing books?
JESSICA: Well, we wrote a book that was based on GFY way back in 2008, and a lot of editors we worked with when we were selling that book mentioned to us that, while that project wasn’t for them, they’d be interested to see anything we did that was fiction.
HEATHER: We jumped at the chance. Writing books, to me, always sounded like this amazing thing that OTHER people did. It never occurred to me that I might have a book in me anywhere — it sounded so hard — so the faith in us from editors was just the shove I needed to stop and think, “Well, why can’t we do it? Maybe we can!” I’m not sure I’d ever have had the guts without Jessica as my writing partner, though. We were each other’s support system as we navigated everything new and scary about putting this kind of work out into the world.

3. What is the writing process like? Do you write different sections of the book separately or together?
JESSICA: Basically, we write a really, really detailed outline together — when you’re writing with another person, you have to make sure you’re on the same page, no pun intended — and then we trade off. One of us will write a chunk, then email it to the other person, who will edit that chunk before adding the next several pages to the story. And we trade the manuscript back and forth like that.
HEATHER: Particularly for The Royal We, both of us needed to be fluent in the voices of all the characters. We both needed to be able to write without constantly stopping and leaving blanks for the other person to fill in — it would have made for a much choppier draft, and we were on a tight deadline for a long book, so we didn’t need to put up any extra speed bumps. Besides, we never wanted to assign ownership of parts of the book to each other. Both our names are on it, and so we wanted it to be a totally melded product of the two of us. And it is. I am sure there are writing pairs who can split up characters or work out the whole process in a different way, and I’m not saying any of those other approaches are wrong, or detrimental, at ALL. It depends on who you are and what you’re writing, and given those factors, this was what made sense to us.
4. What is a typical working day like for you?
JESSICA: It really depends on what we’ve got on our plates — if we’re working on a book, or on a freelance article, often we try to set posts for Go Fug Yourself the night before so that we can work on whatever other writing projects we’ve got happening during the day. We also often have interviews or meetings or business calls during the day. So every day is different, but they always involve a lot of typing.
HEATHER: Taking a break from typing one thing basically just involves typing something else for a while. It’s extremely easy to forget to get up and move around. I bought a standing desk recently because we spent the year of The Royal We glued to our chairs.

5. Tell us a little bit about what the research process for The Royal Wewas like?
JESSICA: Sure! We did a lot of research, because we wanted the book to feel authentic. That’s not to say we didn’t make any errors — I’m sure we did, as the only people who really know what it’s like to be on the inside of the royal family aren’t writing books about it! But we wanted to make sure we got as many of the logistics correct as possible. To that end, we read a lot of books — biographies, both authorized and otherwise; history books; a LOT of books about etiquette and about the various palaces in which we’d set the book.
HEATHER: We also took a trip to England in January of 2014, right when we were writing the first section, so that the locations and the feeling of the place would invigorate us. We didn’t want to write scenes in Oxford without walking the streets ourselves. I wanted Jessica to see Windsor — and frankly, I needed to clap eyes on it again myself. I grew up in England so a lot of these are places I’ve been several times, but I needed to see them again with a writer’s eye. And the Buckingham Palace tour is offered only on a very limited basis, so we knew we had to take that. When writing a book like this, we felt the reader would want the experience of being inside Buckingham Palace, and to us that had to come from as authentic a place as possible. We felt strongly that we couldn’t entirely make that up. Also, the tour ended with Champagne, so obviously.
6. What was the most interesting/surprising thing you learned about William and Kate during your research?
JESSICA: I don’t know that I learned anything that surprising about William or Kate, because we weren’t really researching THEM. Although the book is obviously based on them, it’s only them in the loosest sense — we use a lot of the signposts of their relationship (meeting in college, the lengthy courtship, a break-up), but beyond that, almost everything that happens in the book is fictional. Most of our research was about logistics and location.
HEATHER: For me, the surprises were just in reading the biographies for inspiration, and realizing that I sympathize a lot more with Charles than most people do. Which isn’t to say I don’t think Diana was evil; just that I think she was deified and Charlies villified, when I think the truth is that both of them were equally accountable to the mistakes that were made, and that they were two people ill-suited to be wed and ill-equipped to handle each other. I found digging into a lot of that very illuminating.
7. There were some loose ends and uncertainties at the end of The Royal We. Could there be a sequel in the future? 
JESSICA: Maybe! We’d love to write more about these characters — the honest truth of the matter is that this particular book needs to do well enough that our publisher would ALSO love us to write more about them.
HEATHER: I’ve always said we’ll only do it if we have the right story — we’d never do it just for the sake of it..
8. Was there any point in writing the book that you doubted the ending you chose?
HEATHER: We took great pains to use the first part to sell people on Bex and Nick as a romance between two people who fell in love, circumstances be damned. And then with the rest of the book, we took pains to show that sometimes love might not be enough. Sometimes, life gets in the way; sometimes, there is too much collateral damage. We feel strongly that we landed in the right spot at the end, but we love hearing whether people agree with that! It’s certainly open for debate.
9. Would you rather be Kate or Pippa?
JESSICA: I think they both have a bit of a tough path, actually — and this is something we explore in the book, that in a way Lacey (who is our heroine Bex’s sister) is collateral damage of Bex’s highly publicized relationship with Nick. On one hand, Pippa isn’t scrutinized as closely as Kate is, but on the other, she IS scrutinized and with none of the benefits. I think I would rather be Kate, simply because it appears (and I hope it is true) that Kate has a happy marriage and two healthy children, and a job of sorts that seems fulfilling.
HEATHER: I would probably also choose to be Kate, because I think the spotlight that’s on Pippa is much harsher and less forgiving. As much as we all know Kate would be endlessly mocked for breaking a heel or limping from a blister or whatever during a public engagement, many people would sympathize with her struggling with something so human. But for whatever reason, I don’t think people consider how weird it must be to be Pippa, and what a toll it’s taken on her to be the moth flapping around next to the flame. The headlines about Kate, I feel like I could brush off if I were her, but the ones about Pippa often seem a bit meaner and in her shoes I think my skin would be thinner. Even if her shoes, on balance, are probably cuter.
10. If you has the choice between Prince William or Prince Harry who would you choose?
JESSICA: Well, if they both were single, I would choose William. As fun as Harry obviously is, William seems more likely to call you the next day.
HEATHER: William. The older you get, the more you realize that reliability is pretty freaking sexy.

JESSICA: Aha! That IS a spoiler.

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RELEASE BLITZ: Resisting Roots by Audrey Carlan

Today I am so excited to be participating in the Release Blitz for Audrey Carlan’s Resisting Roots, the first book in her new Lotus House Series.

available-now-bannerGenre: Contemporary Romance

Series: Lotus House, #1

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*Synopsis*

Yoga instructor Genevieve Harper is a blond bombshell loaded down with responsibility and sacrifice. She makes the most out of raising her two siblings in the wake of their parents’ tragic accident. At twenty-four, she doesn’t have time to devote to a man…especially not the devastatingly handsome Trent Fox, who’s known for being a “player” on and off the baseball field.

Trent has the best hitting average in the league. Recently, he suffered a torn hamstring that takes him to the Lotus House Yoga Center for recuperation. There he meets the curvy, petite blonde with soulful black eyes and candy-coated glossy lips he’d like to do more to than kiss. He secures the flexible hottie for daily private lessons that ultimately show him how sensual the art of yoga can be.

Can love grow between a woman who’s rooted in her life and a man who resists any notion of staying in one place?

If you’re intrigued by the practice of yoga and desire a sensual, intensely erotic, and uniquely spiritual read with characters capable of performing pretzel-like sexual acts, the Lotus House series is for you. Each of the seven books can be read as a standalone but are better read in order. No cliffhangers. Books are erotic romances written for mature audiences 18+.

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*About the Author*

Audrey Carlan is a #1 New York Times, USA Today, and Wall Street Journal bestselling author. She writes wicked hot love stories that are designed to give the reader a romantic experience that’s sexy, sweet, and so hot your e-reader might melt. Some of her works include the wildly successful Calendar Girl Serial, Falling Series, and the Trinity Trilogy.

She lives in the California Valley where she enjoys her two children and the love of her life. When she’s not writing, you can find her teaching yoga, sipping wine with her “soul sisters” or with her nose stuck in a wicked hot romance novel.

Be sure to follow Audrey:

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/AudreyCarlan/?fref=ts

Website: http://www.audreycarlan.com/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/audreycarlan

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/audreycarlan/

Buy Links:

Kindle: http://amzn.to/23oW0JZ

Amazon Paperback: http://amzn.to/1R8m6uW

Kindle UK: http://amzn.to/1KAxHNH

Amazon UK Paperback: http://amzn.to/1nuGcFj

iBooks: http://apple.co/20ppcOz

Google Play Books: http://bit.ly/20C13V3

Kobo: http://bit.ly/1OTtNkP

Nook: http://bit.ly/1UL6HAJ

B&N Paperback: http://bit.ly/1ktwfFT

Books-A-Million: http://bit.ly/1RTmfnB

Barnes & Noble: http://bit.ly/1TEbrtN

PlayBooks: http://bit.ly/20C13V3

*Review*

BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

I really enjoyed Resisting Roots. It was a fun, exciting read that I got through in a couple of days. Carlan has written a great contemporary romance that is perfect for a relaxing day spent at the beach or poolside. It’s the perfect summer beach read. As someone who has taken yoga on and off for years the fact that the series revolves around a yoga studio appealed to me. I like that each chapter started with a different yoga pose. Carlan did a good job of introducing poses and terms to people who haven’t taken yoga classes before.

I enjoyed the relationship between the two main characters Trent and Genevieve. There was a particularly steamy scene in the yoga studio that I sincerely enjoyed. Not only was Trent and Genevieve’s relationship fun to read about I also loved the relationships between Genevieve and her siblings as well as Trent’s budding relationship with them as well.

There were times when the relationship between Trent and Genevieve felt a little rushed. Their initial meeting and the buildup to the consummation of their relationship was very well paced. However, afterwards it seemed to jump ahead. There were certain things that I felt could Carlan could have had spill out into the second book instead of cramming it all into a single book. It seems as if she felt she had to cram Trent and Genevieve’s entire story into one book instead of spreading it out.

Overall I genuinely enjoyed Resisting Roots and am looking forward to the next book in the series, Sacred Serenity.

Release Blitz Organized By Bare Naked Words

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From Page to Screen: If I Stay by Gayle Forman

I am excited to share my latest From Page to Screen post on If I Stay by Gayle Forman. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.
Summery: Mia Hall is faced with some tough choices: Stay true to her first love – music – even if it means losing her boyfriend and leaving her family and friends behind?
Then one February morning Mia goes for a drive with her family, and in an instant, everything changes. Suddenly, all the choices are gone, except one. And it’s the only one that matters.
Book Review: This was a quick and easy read for me. I got through it (and it’s sequel Where She Went) in a couple of days. I definitely enjoyed the book. Despite the fact that the book starts of with a car accident that kills Mia’s family the book isn’t as heavy as I expected. I think one of the reasons for this was because the focus was more on Mia reflecting on her relationships rather then the aftermath of the accident. One line that I think really summed up the book was “Sometimes you make choices in life and sometimes choices make you”. The story was less about the accident and more about the choice that Mia has to make and wether or not she can live with the consequences of that choice. So in the end it is more about life then it is about death.
Most YA books are more about romance so I really appreciated that Mia’s relationship with her family and friends was just as prevalent and important as the romance between Mia and Adam was.
Movie Review: My feeling towards the movie are similar to my feeling towards the book. I thought the movie was really good. They did a great job portraying Mia and her relationships with her family, Kim and Adam. I absolutely loved the scenes between Adam (Jamie Blackley) and Mia (Chloe Grace Moretz). The one thing I wish was that there would have been more of Kim (Liana Liberato). I adore Liana and just wish she could have gotten more screen time.
While the movie didn’t make me cry I definitely got teary eyed at some parts. Particularly the scenes between Mia and her grandfather.
 
Compare and Contrast: One thing I have to say about the movie is they did a great job sticking to the book. While of course things changed they really did a good job of staying true to Forman’s novel. The biggest differences between the film and the book was the role Adam played. In the movie they expanded Adam’s role to the point were they decreased the role of Mia’s family and Kim. While I did enjoy the scenes between Adam and Mia I definitely wish we saw more of her relationship with her parents and Teddy.
One thing that really separated the movie from the book was the music. I absolutely loved the If I Stay soundtrack, especially the Willamette Stone songs, and have listened to it over and over again.
 
Overview: Overall I thought the movie did a great job of translating the book into a movie. While changes were made they stuck to the core of the story and kept all of the emotions that were in the book.

From Page To Screen: The Duff by Kody Keplinger

In early January I got to see a screening of CBS’ new film The Duff, based on the book by Kody Keplinger, so I thought it would be fun to do a Page to Screen Review of the book and movie. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS.
Summery: Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush, who calls Bianca the Duff–the designated ugly fat friend–of her crew.  
Book Review: I really enjoyed this book. When I started reading the book I was very surprised by some of the more mature content but I guess you can get away more in a book then in a movie. However while there was sex in the book it was not graphic at all so I can see how Keplinger was able to get away with it.
One of the things that I liked most about the book was Bianca. She is cynical and sarcastic but that is what endeared her to me. Wesley also was a great character. I liked that even though he turned out to be a pretty good guy he didn’t go through a 180 degree change. I thought that definitely lent an air of realism to the whole book.
The pacing of the book was good. The story definitely kept me hooked. I finished it in a couple of days because I couldn’t put it down and just wanted to know what happened next.
Movie Review: The movie was so great. But then again any movie that starts off with a Breakfast Club reference is my kind of movie. It was charming, fun, entertaining, and had me laughing throughout the entire thing. I especially loved the addition of Allison Janney and Ken Jeong who were absolutely hysterical.
But by far my favorite part of the movie was the relationship between Bianca (Mae Whitman) and Wesley (Robbie Amell). Every scene that involved the two of them was amazing. The chemistry between them was obvious and just made their scenes together that much fun to watch.
What most surprised me (but in a totally good way) was how raunchy it was. When I first saw the trailer (and some of the changes) I assumed the mature content of the book was taken out to ensure a PG-13 rating. So I was surprised by a lot of the sexual innuendo and raunch jokes throughout the film. But again, surprised in a good way (I do tent to have a very raunchy sense of humor so I really enjoyed it).
Robbie Amell (Wesley) and Mae Whitman (Bianca)
Compare and Contrast: When I first saw the trailer I was a little worried because it was totally different from the book. Usually I am a purist when it come to book adaptations but I in this case I was totally fine with the changes made because in the end the essence of the book remained: it doesn’t matter how others see you it’s about how you see yourself.
As an adaptation the movie left a lot to be desired but as a movie, on its own, it was great. It was cute and funny without being too fluffy. One change that I wasn’t crazy about, however, was Bianca’s relationship with her friends Casey (Bianca A Santos) and Jess (Skyler Samuels). In the book Casey and Jess play a big part but their characters were cut down in the film and most of the film revolves around Bianca and Wesley.
 
Overview: I loved the movie and will definitely be seeing it again when it comes out in theaters. I really hope the movie does well because I feel like it has the potential to be a classic teen movie like Mean Girls, Easy A or Sixteen Candles.
 
Extra: I attended an early screening of the film at The Grove here in LA with my friend Sara (you can check out her blog here). While we were waiting in line before the screening they brought over a cardboard cutout of Robbie Amell for people to take pictures with.
After about a two hour wait we were finally let into the theater and found our seats.
Before the movie started it was introduced by Robbie Amell (Wesley), Bella Thorne (Madison), Nick Eversman (Toby), and Bianca Santos (Casey).
The cast stayed until after the film (except Bella who had a family emergency) to meet everyone and take photos.
Because Robbie had tweeted that he might be at the screening I brought my copy of The Duff for him to sign. I ended up having Bianca and Nick sign it as well.
The Duff comes out in theaters February 20th and is Rated PG-13

Book Review: The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes

It’s been a while since I have done my last review so I am excited to share my review of The Girl You Left Behind by Jojo Moyes. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

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Summery: In 1916 French artist Edouard Lefevre leaves his wife Sophie to fight at the Front. When her town falls into German hands, his portrait of Sophie stirs the heart of the local Kommandant and causes her to risk everything-her family, reputation and life-in the hope of seeing her true love one last time.
Nearly a century later and Sophie’s portrait is given to Liv by her young husband shortly before his sudden death. Its beauty speaks of their short life together, but when the painting’s dark and passion-torn history is revealed, Liv discovers that the first spark of love she has felt since she lost him threatened…

 

Review: I really enjoyed this book. The story was really interesting and I liked how the two story lines connected through the portrait of Sophie.
Of the two story lines I have to say that I preferred Sophie/World War One storyline over Liv’s storyline. That is probably because I liked Sophie more and thought she was a more interesting character then Liv. She carries on with her life even through the hardships of the German occupation of her town and she is willing to do anything to protect her family. On the other hand Liv has seemed to shut down completely after the death of her husband. While Sophie is willing to give up the portrait in order to save her husband Liv, selfishly, refuses to give it up.
The one thing that I like the most was Sophie’s portrait, The Girl You Left Behind, that was painted by her husband, Edouard, before their marriage. I really wish that someone from the art department had painted it and used it as the cover for the book. I liked how for Sophie it represented the girl she was before the war and for Liv it represented her marriage to David.
One thing that bugged me was the ending to Liv’s story seemed very contrived and I really wish it had had a more realistic ending. The notion that Paul only discovered Edith at the very end of the trial seemed too convenient and just plain unrealistic.
 
Best Feature: Sophie. Of the two main characters I have to say Sophie was my favorite. Out of the two female characters Sophie was the strongest. She carried on with her life despite the German occupation and was willing to give up the portrait to save Edouard.
 
Worst Feature: Modern storyline. The only thing I liked about the modern story line was that it brought up the question of ownership of items stolen during wartime. I didn’t like the character of Liv and felt that the World War One storyline held it’s own without having a second story running parallel. Plus the ending of this storyline was too contrived for me.
 
Overview: Overall I thought this was a great book. While I didn’t particularly like the modern storyline or Liv I think that Sophie’s storyline definitely made up for it.

Book Review: The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty

It’s been a while since my last book review so I am happy to be back with my review of The Husband’s Secret by Liane Moriarty. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW MAY CONTAINS SPOILERS.

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Summery: The lives of Cecilia, Rachel and Tessa are interwoven in this thought-provoking novel about how well we really know our spouses-and, ultimately, ourselves.
Review: I picked up The Husband’s Secret after reading Moriarty’s other book What Alice Forgot. At first I was surprised at how different the ending were: What Alice Forgot has a more upbeat/optimistic ending while at the end of The Husband’s Secret there seemed to be a lot of unresolved issues. But all in all I think that the ending was fitting for the story.
Out of all three women I found myself really liking Cecilia the most. I liked how she balanced being a mother, a businesswomen and a wife. I liked how when Cecilia finally finds out the secret her husband has been keeping from her it’s not the secret you would think (i.e. infidelity).
 
Best Feature: Secrets. As you can tell from the title the characters in the book (especially the husbands) have secrets. I liked how the book explored wether or not it was better to keep a secret and how the keeping/or sharing of those secrets changes a person’s life. I particularly enjoyed how at the end Moriarty also shows how it’s sometimes the things we don’t know that change our lives as well.
 
Worst Feature: Rachel. While I can’t image what it would be like to loose a child I found it very hard to feel sympathetic towards Rachel. Instead of trying to move forward with her live she seems content to wallow in her grief and to continually remind everyone that her daughter was murdered. She’s so caught up in the child that she has lost that she ignores her other child that is still alive.
 
Overview: I really enjoyed this book a lot. I thought Moriarty did a good job exploring the whole idea of how the sharing and keeping of secrets can affect someone’s life as well as how well does one know one own’s spouse.

Book Review: The Fault In Our Stars by John Green

This is probably way overdue but I have finally written my review on The Fault In Our Stars by John Green. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

Summery: Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel’s story is about to be completely rewritten.

Review: There is really nothing more I can say about this book except, “I FREAKING LOVED THIS BOOK”. What really makes this story was Hazel and Gus. This is probably my favorite relationship in YA and Gus definitely makes it into my Top Ten Fictional Boyfriends list. My favorite part has to be the witty banter between Gus and Hazel. For me there where so many great moments between Gus and Hazel that I really have a hard time choosing just one but I think, for me, Gus’ pre-funeral has to be in my top five.
One of the things I really liked about the book was how Green was able to write about a serious issue, such as cancer, yet still add humor into the story. I really appreciated how Green doesn’t sugar coat how sick Gus gets towards the end.
Was it just me or did the ending seem familiar to anyone else:
Best Feature: Hazel-Grace. I loved Hazel-Grace as the narrator of the book. She brought a lot of humor to the story. The banter between not only her and Gus but her and her parents was great and had me laughing.
 
Worst Feature: Nothing. Like I said before I freaking loved this book and there was nothing I didn’t like about it. If there was one issue I had about the book is that sometimes the banter between Gus and Hazel
 
Overview: I repeat “I LOVED THIS BOOK”.

*The Fault in Our Stars movie comes out in theatres on June 6th. Be sure to check back after for my Page to Screen review. Two things I know for sure about the TFIOS movie is 1. Shailene + Ansel= adorable and 2. I will most likely be sobbing like a baby throughout the entire film. Until then…*

Book Review: The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith

This is my review for the detective novel The Cuckoo’s Calling by Robert Galbraith (aka J.K. Rowling). Although Rowling wrote The Cuckoo’s Calling under the pseudonym of Robert Galbraith I will be referring to the author as J.K. Rowling. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
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Summery: Down on his luck private investigator Cormoran Strike is living out of his office and down to one client when he is hired by a man named John Bristow to investigate the apparent suicide of his adopted sister, supermodel Lula Landry.
 
Review: When I first heard that J.K. Rowling had written a detective novel under a pseudonym I wasn’t exactly rushing out to buy it. But when it was chosen as my book club book last month I was actually excited to have an excuse to read it.
While I was reading I got so caught up in trying to figure out who the murderer was that it wasn’t until I finished reading the book that I realized there wasn’t a lot going on plot-wise in the book: it was mostly just Strike interviewing Lula’s friends and family. I loved the descriptions of not only the different characters but of London itself. Rowling does a great job of describing the different people Strike meets during the course of the book. Many of them (especially Evan Dunfield) seem as if they could be based on modern day celebrities. However, despite the whole investigation being about Lula I felt like at the end we didn’t really know her so it was really hard to really care about her. I wish Rowling would have explored her a little more especially the whole mental illness aspect of her character.
I don’t know if Rowling did it intentionally, so that she would have more to draw on in the next book, but there were a lot of loose ends that hadn’t been tied. They never really explained why John had hired Strike in the first place. I mean if you had gotten away with murder why hire a P.I. to investigate. Also I felt that there was some unresolved tension between Strike and Robin that I really hope is explored more in the next book.
 
Best Feature: Cormoran Strike. Out of all the characters Strike was my favorite (that’s not surprising since he’s the main character) mostly because he was the most drawn out (again not that surprising). I thought his whole backstory is very interesting, his whole relationship with his parents and his sister, and his time in the army.
 
Worst Feature: The reveal. While I was surprised by who the killer turned out to be I felt as thought the big reveal at the end was a little bit anti-climatic. Although to it’s credit it very much reminded me of one of those old film noir detective movies when the detective (or P.I.) would confront the killer then proceed to tell the killer (and the audience) how he did the murder.
 
Overview: After reading this book I can understand why Rowling wrote this book under a pseudonym because coming into this book know it was written by her I had very high expectations. Overall I enjoyed the book. I don’t usually read detective novels but I am glad I picked this one up. I will definitely be picking up the next book in the series because I feel very invested in the character of Strike and want to see what happens next with him (and Robin).

From Page to Screen: Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

Today I am excited to announce the launch of a new series of post I am calling From Page to Screen. In this series I will be reviewing/comparing and contrasting books that have been turned into movies or televisions shows. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.
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Summery: Rose Hathaway is a Dhampir guardian, half-human, half-vampire, who has dedicated her life to protecting her best friend Lissa Dragomir, a Miroi (a mortal vampire) princess, from the Strigoi, immortal vampires. Two years after escaping from St. Vladimir’s Academy, a school for Miroi and Dhampirs, Rose and Lissa are dragged back. They soon learn that the Strigoi are not the only threat and that something within the Academy is after them.
 
Book Review: Before I continue with my review I have to confess that I actually saw the movie before reading the book. I would always see the books on the shelf at my local bookstore but never picked them up because, quite frankly, I found the covers to be embarrassingly cheesy (see below). So it wasn’t until after seeing the movie that I decided to begin reading the series. My logic being that if I liked the movie so much and the book is usually better then the movie I would really like the books (which I did).
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Let’s being with the main character of Rose. I absolutely love Rose. She is probably one of the funniest characters in YA. She’s sarcastic and has a lot of witty one liners. Usually in YA the female characters are typically either a tomboy or a girly girl so I liked how Rose is not just a kickass guardian but also girly at the same time.
While I liked the romance between Rose and Dimitri and Lissa and Christian I appreciated that they were not the main relationships in the story. Too many YA books focus solely on the romantic relationship whereas in VA the main relationship was the friendship between Rose and Lissa. The bond between Rose and Lissa was so interesting and really adds another layer to their friendship.
Movie Review: Even before seeing the movie (or reading the book) I had pretty high expectations. As you may know VA was directed by Marc Waters (Mean Girls) while the screenplay was written by his brother Dan Waters (Heathers). Mean Girlsand Heathers are two of my favorite teen comedies so I was really expecting a lot from Vampire Academy.
That being said, while it didn’t reach my high expectations, I really did enjoy watching the movie. It was a fun and entertaining while still maintaining the deep emotional content that was in the book. The one thing I do have to say about the comedic elements were that a lot of the jokes that seemed funny in the trailer ended up falling flat in the movie. I’m guessing that was probably due to the fact that they had to edit it down more for the trailer.
I appreciated that they kept the focus of the movie on the friendship between Rose (Zoey Deutch) and Lissa (Lucy Fry) instead of making it all about the romance. The way that they handled the bond in the movie was very well done. I enjoyed seeing the scene from Lissa perspective while still having Rose’s commentary.
I think some of my favorite scenes were the one’s between Rose and Dimitri (Danila Kozlovsky). One of the reasons for this was the fact Zoey and Danila had great onscreen chemistry. The scene when she tries a surprise attack on him and he has her pinned down almost had me melting. (Best Line: “So, have any other moves you wanna show me?”).
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I enjoyed watching all the fighting/training scene in the movie and I appreciated the fact that they added a lot more actions sequences then were in the book. (While I am a total sucker for girly movies there will always be a place in my heart for action flicks). My favorite fight scene was the very first one when Rose and Lissa are trying to get away from the guardians and Rose ends up blowing up a motorcycle before kicking some serious ass. I thought this was a great way to introduce Rose as a badass while in the next fight sequence (with the Strigoi) you see that although she is a kickass guardian she is totally unprepared to face Strigoi.
Compare and Contrast: All in all I feel that the movie was a very faithful adaptation of the book. Obviously there were changes made (as is expected in any book to film adaptation) but all in all I thought the changes were good and didn’t take away from the story. The one change that I didn’t like was Lissa. In the books Lissa wasn’t as catty as she is in the movie. The scene at the end when Lissa goes out in front of the whole school and gives her “blood speech” had me cringing. I hate it in films when characters get up (usually in front of a huge crowd) and give a big motivational speech (seriously, can screenwriters stop writing those speeches). I think that they wanted to show how Lissa was coming into her own and was standing up to Queen Tatiana but I really felt that that whole scene was unnecessary.
The other chance that had me shaking my head was the very last scene when they do a pan out of the school and we see a cave full of Strigoi being led by Ms. Karp. I was very confused by this whole thing. I feel like they were trying to end with a cliffhanger to make people want to see the next film but A: the Strigoi (or at least not this particular group of Strigoi) don’t appear in Frostbite and B: when they do appear in the third book, Shadow Kiss, they are not being let by Ms. Karp so that scene was very perplexing.
 
Overview: Overall I enjoyed the movie. I thought it was entertaining and fun (which is, after all, the point of a movie). Not only was it entertaining but it was a faithful to the original material as well. There were changes made (some good some bad) but overall I thought it was a good movie. Now all I can hope for is that they are able to make Frostbite (and possibly the rest of the series) into a movie (Hello Adrian!).

Book Review: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

It’s been a long time since my last book review so I’m glad I finally got around to actually writing a new book review for the blog. For my second book review I decided to do The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern. Since I liked the format for my review of Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin I decided to stick with that for this and my other upcoming reviews. BE AWARE: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS.

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Summery: The Night Circus is the story of two young magicians, Celia and Marco. From childhood they have trained by their two mentors to compete in a magical competition.. The setting for this competition is a traveling circus. As the circus travels around the world Celia and Marco begin to fall in love, unaware that the competition can only be won by the last person standing.
 
Review: I absolutely loved this book. The opening line was probably my favorite opening line from any book I have read: The circus arrives without warning.” Automatically my minds starts firing off questions: where did the circus come from?, why did it come without warning?. It is definitely the type of opening sentence that grabs an audience. Even the name of the circus is enticing: Le Cirque des Reves,“The Circus of Dreams”. What I loved the most was how descriptive Erin was when describing the circus and it’s various tents. It just made me wish the circus was real so I could explore all the different tents.
The book was told from three different points of view: Celia and Marco’s, Bailey’s, and a third point of view. (The third POV seems to be the reader itself and is written as if the reader is entering the circus as an observer) Because Bailey’s timeline was out of order with Celia and Marco’s it was often confusing when you would jump from one POV to the other. For example you would have a Celia/Marco chapter taking place in 1884 then the next chapter would be Bailey in 1897 then back to Celia/Marco in 1885. I would often have to skim back to the previous chapter just to remember where I was in the book.
I liked that the romance between Celia and Marco was very gradual. Throughout most of the book Celia and Marco had very little face to face interaction with each other. Their romance really occurred through the circus. Each new tent they created and added on to was a love letter to other.
I happened to really enjoy the ending of the book. I liked how when Alexander asks Widget to tell him a story Widget begins his story with the very first line of the book: “The circus arrives without warning.” It almost made me wonder if it was Widget who was telling the story the entire time since he is able to see the past and was always making up stories for Poppet. It was great how in the last chapter (told from the reader’s point of view) ended with the realization that the circus is still continuing to this day when the reader picks up a business card that says “Mr Bailey Alden Clarke, Proprietor bailey@nightcircus.com“. The addition of the email address makes it clear that the reader is in a modern time unlike the rest of the book that took place in the late nineteenth/early twentieth century. It became obvious that Poppet was the new fortune teller (since she was able to see the future) and that Bailey took over as the manager of the circus.
 
Best Feature: The Circus. Erin did such a great job describing the circus and it’s different tents that it almost felt real. I really couldn’t decide which tent was my favorite: the ice garden, the wishing tree, or Widget’s tent.
 
Worst Feature: Pacing. There were times when the pacing was a little slow and I really had to push through. It was also a little confusing when the chapters would skip from one point of view from another because I would have to go back to the last chapter just to reorient myself.
 
Overview: I really enjoyed this book. I absolutely loved Erin’s description of the circus. While I like the Celia and Marco story line I loved reading Bailey and the reader’s parts because you really got to discover more of the circus during those parts. While the pacing was a little slow at times it was such an engaging story that you had to find out what was going to happen next.