Review for Dante’s Girl (The Paradise Diaries #1) by Courtney Cole

Dante’s Girl by Courtney Cole

TITLE: Dante’s Girl
SERIES: Paradise Diaries #1
AUTHOR: Courtney Cole
PUBLISHER: Lakehouse Press
PAGES: 224 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

Reece isn’t entirely sure how she ended up spending several days in Caberra with the Prime Minister’s son, but that is where she is. She was just minding her own business waiting for a layover flight in Amsterdam when she accidentally bumped into this hot guy and then a plan exploded and she was whisked away quicker than she could think about it. The longer she stays in Caberra, the more she realizes two things. One, Dante (the Prime Minister’s son) is way out of her league and two, she is falling for him regardless.

I loved Reece. She’s down to earth and funny with that girl next door charm. This is told in first person from her perspective and her inner dialogue had me laugh and cringing and crying right along with her. Then there is Dante who redefines the term “swoon-worthy.” Tall and tan with blue eyes deep enough to get lost in, he’s hotter than the sun. But there’s more to him than just good looks. He’s also caring and sensitive and has the ability to say things that should come off as incredibly corny, but just feel sincere. How does Reece put it? Oh yeah, “He’s got old world charm and modern good looks.” That combination causes more than one set of knees to go weak.

My favorite character, though, was probably Mia. A childhood friend of Dante’s, her and Reece become fast friends. She’s bubbly and happy and a big ball of energy. I can’t wait to read her story in the next installment of this series. I also really loved was Dante’s other friend, Gavin. Handsome and cocky, with just enough charisma and charm to pull it off, he’s definitely a guy to keep an eye on.

This cute romance is just what I was looking for. Sweet and cute with just the right amount of well place angst, it is sure to win over everyone’s hearts.

Review for Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer

Between The Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer

TITLE: Between The Lines
AUTHOR: Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse, a division of Simon & Schuster
PAGES: 352
FORMAT: Ebook / Hardback
SOURCE: PulseIt / Won from Literary Exploration
RATING: 4 stars

I’ll be honest, when I first saw this book on the shelves of my local bookstore, it didn’t catch my attention at all. The cover was cute but I don’t much care for Jodi Picolt’s work. I’m not trashing her or anything, her novels just never interest me. But then I saw a few reviews praising it and I finally did read the summery and desperately wanted to get my hands on it. I ended up winning a copy and when it arrived, I became even more excited about it because this book as random illustrations throughout the entire story. Some of them are full page, colored pictures and some are just black and white drawings in the margins, but I loved them.

Anyway, enough gushing about how gorgeous the book is, let’s get to the story, shall we? This book follows Prince Oliver in his endeavor to remove himself from his story. Oliver is the main character in a childhood fairytale called Between The Lines. He is sick to death of playing his part over and over and over again, every time someone opens the book, he is dragged to his proper place and forced to recite his lines to the readers subconscious. He has been trying for years to get the reader’s attention to tell them that he needs help escaping this world. But no one ever hears him, until Delilah. Delilah is a fifteen year old girl who becomes obsessed with the story. She can’t seem to stop reading it over and over. So when a small change occurs in the illustration of the last scene, she notices instantly. Delilah initially thinks she’s lost her damn mind when a fictional character starts talking to her. She soon realizes that Oliver is in fact very real. Thus begins their journey to remove Oliver from his story.

I found this book highly amusing. Some of the characters where laugh out loud funny, like the overly self conscious pony and the pirate who was secretly an orthodontist. I was also very amused by all the drawings in the margins. I’ve read several reviews complaining that this novel was just too much fluff to take, but I happen to like good fluff every now and then so I thoroughly enjoyed it. I did get a little irritated at Delilah for getting so wrapped up in Oliver that she ignores her best friend, but then you really think about it. She’s fifteen and what is more exciting to a fifteen year old than first love? Add to that the complication of being in love with a fictional character who may or may not be talking to you making you quite probably insane and it is understandable why she has withdrawn herself from human activity.

This book reminded me quite a bit of the Theatre Illuminata series by Lisa Mantchev, except with novels instead of plays. So if you are looking for something similar to that (but maybe not quite as high on the reading level), then this is your book. All in all, it is funny and well written and has a great ending. Really, with a fairy tale book, what more can you ask for?

Review for Timepiece (Hourglass #2) by Myra McEntire

Timepiece by Myra McEntire

TITLE: Timepiece
SERIES: Hourglass #2
AUTHOR: Myra McEntire
PAGES: 336 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 4 stars

First off, I was super excited when I found out this book was written in Kaleb’s perspective. I adore him in the first novel and even though I knew there was no way for him to end up with Emerson, I was still pulling for him. This book picks up not far after Hourglass leaves off, with a very drunken Kaleb hitting on a random girl at a party who turns out to be Lily, Em’s bestie. At this party, they receive a threat that if they don’t find and stop Jack, time will be unwound. They have until Halloween to accomplish their mission. This sends them searching the world for Jack and the normal chaos ensues.

I loved Kaleb’s point of view. I was already head over heels for this character in Hourglass, so this made it so much worse. I gotta give the author props for being able to write in another perspective. Normally when I read a novel told entirely through character A’s viewpoint, then book 2 is written through character B (or maybe alternating between A & B), I either hate the new perspective (like in Dark Reunion by L.J. Smith) or feel like the two character’s voices are too similar (like in Crossed by Ally Condie), but This novel gets it right. Kaleb is clearly troubled, but cares deeply about those around him and is always putting them first.

I was a little on the fence about the romance between Kaleb and Lily. At the end of the last book, I knew that they would push him and Lily together and since I was Team Kaleb throughout Hourglass, I still held out hopes for Kaleb & Em to get together. While reading this, one minute I was so annoyed that Em was stupid enough to stay with secretive Michael and the next I was rooting for Lily to get over herself and just kiss Kaleb already. By the end, I was rooting for them, but it definitely took some time for me to come to that.

The story in this is just as intriguing as Hourglass was. Though we now know a bit more about the world, everything is still a bit of a mystery because Jack is tearing the space time continuum apart (paging Dr Who!).

It was well written and I like that everything wasn’t tied up into a neat little bow. There are some questions that they just don’t know the answers to.

It does have a cliffhanger, but I can’t find it in me to be angry about it. I saw it coming so I just feel more resigned than upset. It also obviously has a love triangle, but it was one of the rare few that I didn’t despise.

****Thank you to Egmont USA for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****

Review for Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1) by Anne Greenwood Brown

Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

TITLE: Lies Beneath
SERIES: Lies Beneath #1
AUTHOR: Anne Greenwood Brown
PUBLISHER: Delacorte Press, an imprint of Random House Children’s Books, a division of Random House, Inc
PAGES: 303 pages
SOURCE: NetGalley
RATING: 2 stars

I really wanted to like this novel….but I didn’t. It’s not bad. Nothing really jumped out and captured my attention. It’s well written and easy to understand. It gets bonus points for being written in a first person male perspective. This was one of those books where I was vaguely interested in seeing how the story turned out but I wasn’t very invested in it. I really enjoyed this take on merpeople and the author’s take on the lure behind them. It was an interest and unique spin on a fairly common storyline. I think my main issue was that it was pretty predictable. I knew after reading 30 pages exactly where the story was going. I knew that Calder was going to fall for the daughter and that would cause major issues. And even though I wanted Calder to end up with Lily, I found myself becoming more and more annoyed at the highly predictable way it unfolds. Apparently there is going to be a sequel and while I’ll probably read it, it’s not something that I am desperate to get my hands on. It’ll be more of I came across it cheap at a thrift store and wanna give it another shot.

Good points:
-I loved the hero’s name, Calder. It’s so different.
-No love triangle
-No cliffhanger
-Interesting take on the mermaid lure
-first person male perspective

Bad points:
-Very predictable
-A bit boring
-I didn’t like most of the characters
-It lacks humor. I don’t think it made me laugh once.

Sadly, this novel just isn’t for me.

****Thank you to Random House Children’s Books for providing me with an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review****