Friday, February 27, 2015

Soulprint ~ Megan Miranda (earc) review [@MeganLMiranda @BloomsburyKids]

Soulprint
Bloomsbury USA Childrens
February 3, 2015
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon


A new literary, sci-fi thriller from acclaimed author Megan Miranda.

With the science of soul-fingerprinting a reality, Alina Chase has spent her entire life imprisoned for the crimes her past-self committed. In an attempt to clear her name, Alina unintentionally trades one prison for another when she escapes, aided by a group of teens whose intentions and motivations are a mystery to her. As she gets to know one of the boys, sparks fly, and Alina believes she may finally be able to trust someone. But when she uncovers clues left behind from her past life that only she can decipher, secrets begin to unravel. Alina must figure out whether she’s more than the soul she inherited, or if she’s fated to repeat the past.

This compelling story will leave readers wondering if this fictional world could become a reality.

I loved the way Megan Miranda uses science in her novels; first in 2012's Fracture and then in its sequel, Vengeance.  In Soulprint, soulprinting, like fingerprints but with souls, is a reality. The ramifications of what this means for society and the individual - that souls are born again and again and can be tracked - is still being discovered.

One person who knows just how much it can mean is Alina Chase. She was born with a soul that previously belonged to a now infamous young woman. She has spent her whole life isolated, in a de facto prison for her protection and the public's. It doesn't matter how much she hears of her past self's crimes, Alina knows that's not her. She's her own person.

If only she could prove it.

When the chance for escape comes, Alina gladly takes it. Only to find she may not have achieved the freedom she was imagining.

The twists and the understanding (and lack thereof) in Soulprint make for a very enjoyable, thrilling tale. We know from the beginning that Alina is infamous in her own right for things done by her soul in a past life. However, we don't know exactly what those things are.

There is, of course, curiosity about what was so terrible to necessitate the life Alina lives, but not knowing makes you more invested in Alina's desire to uncover the truth. We learn more and more about who she is even knowing that her 'soul' supposedly did something so horrible very recently. It's an interesting contrast and raises interesting questions.

The mystery and Alina's journey were so much better than I could have imagined. The other characters a great addition and seeing their attitude towards Alina, how it changes, gives a nice idea of how someone in that reality sees her.

I really like how the author handled the entire idea of souls. It is scientific (even if it's theoretically science) but doesn't ignore religion, either. It creates a very plausible, well balanced, idea.

The premise, characters, and story of Soulprint are very enjoyable and the development, the mystery make for a great read.





thank you to the publisher for my egalley through NetGalley


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Thursday Thirteen [2014 TBR]


thursday-13


Thirteen 2014 Books I Want to Read
Get the Thursday Thirteen code here!

The purpose of the meme is to get to know everyone who participates a little bit better every Thursday. Visiting fellow Thirteeners is encouraged! If you participate, leave the link to your Thirteen in others' comments. It’s easy, and fun!

Trackbacks, pings, comment links accepted!




Have you read any of these? Let me know which one I should bump to the top of the list!

Are there 2014 books that you haven't read yet, but still really want to? Tell me what they are.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Walking on Trampolines ~ Frances Whiting (earc) review [@franceswhiting @GalleryBooks]

Walking on Trampolines
Gallery Books
February 3, 2015
368 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

Praised as "a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love" (Liane Moriarty, New York Times bestselling author of The Husband's Secret), this coming-of-age novel from bestselling author Frances Whiting is equal parts heartwarming, accessible, and thought provoking.

"Tallulah de Longland," she said slowly, letting all the Ls in my name loll about lazily in her mouth before passing judgment. "That," she announced,"is a serious glamorgeous name."

From the day Annabelle Andrews sashays into her classroom, Tallulah 'Lulu' de Longland is bewitched: by Annabelle, by her family, and by their sprawling, crumbling house tumbling down to the river.

Their unlikely friendship intensifies through a secret language where they share confidences about their unusual mothers, first loves, and growing up in the small coastal town of Juniper Bay. But the euphoria of youth rarely lasts, and the implosion that destroys their friendship leaves lasting scars and a legacy of self-doubt that haunts Lulu into adulthood.

Years later, Lulu is presented with a choice: remain the perpetual good girl who misses out, or finally step out from the shadows and do something extraordinary. And possibly unforgivable . . .

It's not how far you fall, but how high you bounce.

Whether it was because I didn't read the summary carefully enough or what, I'm not sure, but I was expecting something different from Walking on Trampolines. Something more solely focused on Lulu and Annabelle's teen and young adult years. Frances Whiting's novel is so much more, though. It's really an astounding read.

The quote, from Liane Moriarty, that's on the front of the book, "a tender exploration of friendship, families, and first love," could not be more true. A lot of ground, a lot of years are covered in the 368 pages: from Annabelle and Tallulah meeting in school, becoming best friends, their teen years together, their interactions with each other's families,  the end of that friendship, and what follows.

Whiting created a really interesting dynamic with Lulu and Annabelle's friendship. Both girls are from families that are, in their own way, not quite conventional; though it's more readily apparent with Annabelle's family. How the two of them fit together, how they fit with each other's families shows us a lot of who the girls are. Their friendship is undeniable.

Their differences (individually and of their families, parents) really show us who the characters are. The involvement of their whole families, of the drama and/or difficulties therein not only fills out the girls' characters, it makes the story that much more engrossing. I like the characters the author's created in their parents. They're different and I loved seeing the different impacts each had on Lulu and Annabelle.

Then when their friendship in ruins, the story continues being great. Whether Lulu and Annabelle want the other in their lives anymore doesn't quite matter. They may be out of sight, but they can never quite be out of mind. Their lives were so intertwined for so many years, there just can't be a clean break.

As enjoyable as it was to read about their friendship, this part was at least as good. We see Lulu on her own, what her life without Annabelle as a best friend looks like. Where things went from here, the new characters introduced, the older characters we really got to know, the growth of Lulu's character, were fantastic.

A lot - a lot - happens after Lulu and Annabelle's friendship implodes. To say much at all of what would be spoilery and no fun, but do know that it's great. I absolutely enjoyed France Whiting's novel and am looking forward to her next one, whatever it may be.




review copy received, via NetGalley, from publisher

Waiting On Wednesday [@megan_shepherd @BalzerandBray @harperteen]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine


My pick for this week:


THE CAGE by Megan Shepherd

The Maze Runner meets Scott Westerfeld in this gripping new series about teens held captive in a human zoo by an otherworldly race. From Megan Shepherd, the acclaimed author of The Madman's Daughter trilogy.

When Cora Mason wakes in a desert, she doesn't know where she is or who put her there. As she explores, she finds an impossible mix of environments—tundra next to desert, farm next to jungle, and a strangely empty town cobbled together from different cultures—all watched over by eerie black windows. And she isn't alone.

Four other teenagers have also been taken: a beautiful model, a tattooed smuggler, a secretive genius, and an army brat who seems to know too much about Cora's past. None of them have a clue as to what happened, and all of them have secrets. As the unlikely group struggles for leadership, they slowly start to trust each other. But when their mysterious jailer—a handsome young guard called Cassian—appears, they realize that their captivity is more terrifying than they could ever imagine: Their captors aren't from Earth. And they have taken the five teenagers for an otherworldly zoo—where the exhibits are humans.

As a forbidden attraction develops between Cora and Cassian, she realizes that her best chance of escape might be in the arms of her own jailer—though that would mean leaving the others behind. Can Cora manage to save herself and her companions? And if so . . . what world lies beyond the walls of their cage?

published May 26, 2015 by Balzer+Bray

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depository // or Amazon


Why?

There are so, so many reasons I want to read The Cage! There's the Maze Runner and Scott Westerfeld mentions - those two are great enough on their own, but the idea of a the two of them 'meeting'is that much more amazing.

Then there is how much I loved Shepherd's The Madman's Daughter. I loved the writing, the characters and the way the story developed.

I absolutely looking forward to The Cage, I cannot wait to read it!


That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Vendetta ~ Catherine Doyle (earc) review [@doyle_cat @chickenhsebooks @this_is_teen]

Vendetta (Blood for Blood #1)
Chicken House
February 24, 2015
352 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

US cover
Blood Will Spill, Hearts Will Break: With a fierce rivalry raging between two warring families, falling in love is the deadliest thing Sophie could do. An epic debut set outside modern-day Chicago.

For Sophie, it feels like another slow, hot summer in Cedar Hill, waitressing at her family’s diner and hanging out with her best friend Millie. But then someone moves into the long-abandoned mansion up the block--a family of five Italian brothers, each one hotter than the last. Unable to resist caramel-eyed Nicoli, Sophie finds herself falling for him -- and willfully ignoring the warning signs. Why are Nic's knuckles cut and bruised? Why does he carry an engraved switchblade? And why does his arrogant and infuriating older brother, Luca, refuse to let her see him? As the boys' dark secrets begin to come to light, Sophie is confronted with stinging truths about her own family, too. Suddenly, she's torn between two warring dynasties: the one she’s related to and the one she's now in love with. She'll have to choose between loyalty and passione. When she does, blood will spill, hearts will break. Because in this twisted underworld, dishonor can be the difference between life and death.
UK cover

I liked Sophie from nearly the very beginning of Catherine Doyle's Vendetta. I enjoyed her interactions with her best friend Millie and with her mother and found her background to be interesting.

We know something happened with her father that landed him in prison, but not what exactly it was. His prison sentence led to the ostracization of Sophie and her mother as well as their move to a smaller home.

I liked the questions we had about who Sophie had been, what kind of life they'd had - and just what brought it all down.

When we meet the male characters, the brothers who move into the nearly infamous, long vacant house down the block, I wan't sure about them. I did really like their introduction to the story and to Sophie but felt almost as if they were mysterious and appealing because they were supposed to be, not because they really were.

Though I wasn't sold on them - or any proposed romance - I enjoyed their role in the story.

Vendetta had more mysteries than I expected and even more twists. There were definite surprises with some things that seemed obvious coming to a different outcome.

While some of the characters and their relationships didn't quite click for me, where everyone ended up, what we knew about the characters, their pasts, the roles everyone played in both others' lives and different events all have me eager to read Book 2. Now that more is out in the open and we know more of the characters, I'm looking forward to the next book and seeing where the story - and the characters' lives - go.










digital copy received for review from publisher, via Edelweiss

Top Ten Tuesday [Fave Heroines]


This week's Ten: Top Ten Favorite Heroines From Books

  1. Detective D.D. Warren ~ from Lisa Gardner's D.D. Warren series My review of the latest book in the series, Crash & Burn.
  2. Taylor Jackson ~ from J.T. Ellison's series. My reviews of Books 1-4, 5 and 6 and 7.
  3. Kathryn Dance ~ from Jeffery Deaver's seriesThe Sleeping Doll review and Roadside Crosses review. I didn't review XO but I absolutely enjoyed and recommend it.
  4. Lucy and Solange ~ from Alyxandra Harvey's Drake Chronicles series. My reviews of Book 1, 2, 3, 3.54, 5, 6
  5. Gretchen, Emma and Penelope ~  from Alyxandra Harvey's Lovegrove Legacy series. Review of A Breath of Frost and Whisper the Dead
  6. Sophronia, Dimity and company ~ from Gail Carriger's Finishing School series. Reviews of Books 12, and 3
  7. Bryn ~ from Jennifer Lynn Barnes's Raised by Wolves series. Trial by Fire (#2) review and Taken by Storm (#3) review
  8. June ~ from Marie Lu's Legend series. My reviews of Legend and Champion
  9. Cora ~ from Frankie Brown's Until We End. My review
  10. Lola ~ from Stephanie Perkins' Lola and the Boy Next Door. My review


This post would turn into something epically long (and take me forever) if I tried to say what it is I love about each of these characters, so I've linked to my reviews of the book(s) they're in.

I did kind of cheat on 4, 5, and 6 as I didn't pick just one character but I don't think I could single out just one of heroine from those series! It's also their relationships/friendships and their interactions with each other that are a large part of why I adore those series and the characters so much. (So singling out just one of the girls would seem unfair.)


So, those are my Top Ten(ish) Favorite Heroines - what are yours?  Let me know in the comments and/or link me to your own Top Ten Tuesday post!

Monday, February 23, 2015

No Parking at the End Times ~ Bryan Bliss review [@brainbliss @GreenwillowBooks @epicreads

No Parking at the End Times
Greenwillow Books
February 24, 2015
272 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon

Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they've lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail doesn't know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn't have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the "end of the world." Because of course the end didn't come. And now they're living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.

I liked Abigail and hearing things form her perspective. She, her twin brother Aaron and their parents left their home in North Carolina behind to travel to San Francisco. They sold all of their worldly possessions and have been living the past weeks in their van, as followers of Brother John.

They came because Brother John promised the end of the world was nigh - and he could help them be saved. Only, the time the world was supposed to end has come and gone. Everyone's still here.

Abigail's brother grows more and more disillusioned (and really, fed up) with their parents, Brother John and their current situation. While, at the same time, their parents - their father, especially - continue to have faith and to defer to Father John. With Abigail feeling torn between them.

Between keeping her faith in God - and in her father and Father John  - and agreeing with her brother that their life, living in their van, having no money is a ridiculous choice.

What I did like about No Parking at the End Times was that Abigail and her family were religious prior to everything with Father John and their cross-country pilgrimage. It not only made her family's decision and their beliefs more believable, it led to Abigail's questions, her indecisions.

They were a family - and individuals - that went to church a lot, that went on youth trips and that all worked. It was once things were taken several steps further that it needed to be questioned, that it wasn't okay.

Being religious not only fit the character and the story, it added depth to Abigail's questions and there was more at stake for her than either agreeing with her father or brother.

I wish there had been just a tiny bit more about Father John and his style of worship, all of his promotions and what it accomplished. I can understand that the focus was on Abigail's family and what happened after the world didn't end, but Father John stayed too much of this almost mythical thing their father seemed to have absolute faith in. Seeing more of that side of things, of that character would have been nice.






thank you to the publisher for my copy of the book to review



Cover Characteristic: Science/Sciency

This is a new meme hosted by Sugar & Snark. It came about when Sugar was wondering which cover to use for her #70 Cover of the Week post. Sugar kept on thinking of more than one, and they all seemed to have a theme/characteristic. So she decided to switch things up a bit!

Each week we will post a characteristic and choose 5 of our favorite covers with that characteristic. If you want to join in and share your 5 favorite covers with the weeks particular characteristic, then just make a post, grab the meme picture (or make your own) and leave your URL in Linky (so we can visit).

You don’t even need to participate, just stopping by and saying hi would be great! Don’t forget to stop by the other participants!

This Week's Characteristic: Science/Sciency






Control by Lydia Kang
Afterparty by Daryl Gregory
Symbiont by Mira Grant
Double Helix by Nancy Werlin


and my favorite of them:

Vitro by Jessica Khoury

Saturday, February 21, 2015

The Best of Me ~ Blu-ray Review [@BestOfMeMovie]

The Best of Me
20th Century Fox
February 3, 2015
PG-13; 118 minutes
with James Marsen, Michelle Monaghan, Liana Liberato, Luke Bracey
get info on IMDb/buy Blu-ray/or Amazon Instant Video

Based on the #1 New York Times Best Seller from celebrated author Nicholas Sparks comes this tender, romantic drama about the timeless power of love. When former high school sweethearts Dawson and Amanda (James Marsden and Michelle Monaghan) meet at a loved one's funeral 20 years after tragedy separated them, their love is reignited. As they recall and relive the past, they come to a deeper understanding about the choices they've made. Also starring Luke Bracey and Liana Liberato, and featuring beautiful scenery along with music by Lady Antebellum, The Best of Me is a powerfully romantic story of love, hope and second chances.

The Best of Me is based based on the Nicolas Sparks novel of the same name. Though it's true that Nicholas Sparks stories to seem to follow some of the same general themes (two [white] teenagers fall in love in the South, one's the 'good' girl or guy, the other's 'trouble' in some way, they fall in love, something threatens to break them apart, and someone in the story usually has cancer) it works well in here.

The Best of Me tells the story of Dawson and Amanda are two Louisiana teens who fall in love, a tragedy tears them apart and then twenty years later they're reunited.
Amanda, The Best of Me

The story with the younger Dawson and Amanda was the stronger, better story and I would easily have loved a full movie of their story. Liana Liberato (who played Kim in If I Stay, something I don't know I would have realized without seeing her name) does a great job as the younger Amanda. She and Luke Bracey, as Dawson, are a really cute couple.

Kim, If I Stay
From the very beginning of their romance, through its growth and all of the trouble they face, they are a great couple. Everything working against them makes sense, but so does their love. They're pretty adorable and sweet.

The dual stories fit together well - and as we get closer to the end the necessity of both the past and the present to tell the whole story becomes clear. The 'now' part of the story, with Monaghan and Mardsen, updates the characters well, and is realistic without being too storybook.

The 'Tears of Joy Edition' of The Best of Me features an alternate ending that is, well, quite different. Both endings seem to fit in with the rest of the story but have much different outcomes.

The Best of Me is a sweet romance of two characters, from their young romance to their reunion as two adults who have been through a lot - together and separately.


 The Best of Me Special Features:

• “Tears of Joy” Edition with Alternate Ending
• Deleted Scenes (Blu-ray Only)
• Along for the Ride
• Nicholas Sparks Interviews: Michelle and James (Blu-ray Only)
• Nicholas Sparks Interviews: Liana and Luke (Blu-ray Only)
• Director’s Commentary by Michael Hoffman
• Music Video: I Did – Lady Antebellum
• Digital HD (Blu-ray Only)



about the book by Nicholas Sparks:

The Best of Me
Grand Central Publishing
October 11, 2011
292 pages
add to Goodreads

Friday, February 20, 2015

Cover Reveal ~ Nancy Ohlin's Consent {@simonteen @NancyOhlin @xpressoreads]

about Consent:

Consent
Simon Pulse
November 10, 2015
Contemporary YA
add to Goodreads/pre-order from Amazon
Bea has a secret.

Actually, she has more than one. There’s her dreams for the future that she can’t tell anyone—not her father and not even her best friend, Plum.

And now there’s Dane Rossi. Dane is hot, he shares Bea’s love of piano, and he believes in her.

He’s also Bea’s teacher.

When their passion for music crosses into passion for each other, Bea finds herself falling completely for Dane. She’s never felt so wanted, so understood, so known to her core. But the risk of discovery carries unexpected surprises that could shake Bea entirely. Bea must piece together what is and isn’t true about Dane, herself, and the most intense relationship she’s ever experienced, in this absorbing novel from Nancy Ohlin.

about the author:

I am the author of BEAUTY, a YA retelling of the Snow White tale, and ALWAYS, FOREVER, a YA retelling of Daphne du Maurier's REBECCA. ALWAYS, FOREVER was originally published in hardcover as THORN ABBEY.

I've also contributed to several celebrity novels, including a New York Times-bestselling YA trilogy.

I'm currently hard at work on my next YA novel, which will be as mind-bending as ALWAYS, FOREVER (I hope!).

My favorite cures for writers' block are long walks, long showers, popcorn, chocolate, and really expensive coffee. I talk to myself a lot while I write (you know, to make sure the dialogue zings).
website

 the cover: 




What do you think of the cover? I love it.

I wanted to read Consent prior to knowing what the cover looked like and now I want to read i that little bit more!
(It's even better after you read what the words around the top actually are.)






Video Veneris: Book Trailer


It feels like it's been about forever since I posted a book (or movie) trailer on Friday . . .

Well, I have one for today:



add Michael Buckley's Undertow to your Goodreads

Thursday, February 19, 2015

Thursday Thirteen [It's Cold Edition]


thursday-13


Thirteen Books Where One or More of the Characters Have Most Likely Been Colder than Most of Us Are Right Now (holy long title, Batman!)

Since most of us might feel a bit like this, this morning it seemed an appropriate theme:



(Why can't I find any gifs from this scene?)





The Books
covers link to Goodreads



Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Waiting On Wednesday [@MinotaurBooks @PL_Fiction]

Waiting On Wednesday is hosted by Breaking the Spine


My pick for this week:


SIGNAL (SAM DRYDEN #2) by Patrick Lee

With RUNNER, "Patrick Lee entered the ranks of the best action-thriller writers" (Kirkus Reviews)—now with SIGNAL, Patrick Lee and Sam Dryden are back and at the very top of their game.

From the bestselling author of RUNNER comes the next thriller featuring Sam Dryden, in the series that has captured the imagination of readers worldwide.

In the middle of the night, ex-Special Forces operative Sam Dryden gets a urgent call from an old colleague, desperate for his help in a last-minute secret mission. Without a moment's hesitation, Dryden agrees. The two race to a remote shack in the foothills of the Sierra Nevadas, where they break in, rescue four girls before the kidnapper can harm them, then flee into the hills just seconds ahead of the arriving police and FBI team.

It's then that Sam Dryden learns the real secret behind this mission. His former teammate has been working security of a very special, very secret government project. A project that led to the development of a device which revealed what would have happened to the kidnapped girls if they hadn't intervened as they did. But as Newton's laws predict, for every action, there's an equal and opposite reaction. There are some very bad people determined to get their hands on this device, and every time Sam uses it, now matter how well intentioned, there are hidden and unintended consequences. Consequences that threaten to rip apart his very world and everything that he holds dear.




published July 7, 2015 by Minotaur Books

add to your Goodreads shelf // pre-order from Book Depo // or Amazon



Why?

Runner the first Sam Dryden novel was a fun read - my review - and I've been looking forward to seeing where the author took the character and all that was created and started in that first book.



That's my pick for this week, what's yours? Tell me in the comments and/or link me to your own post!

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

A Touch of Stardust ~ Kate Alcott (arc) review [@doubledaypub]

A Touch of Stardust
Doubleday
February 17, 2015
304 pages
add to Goodreads/buy from TBD/or Amazon


From The New York Times bestselling author of The Dressmaker, comes a blockbuster novel that takes you behind-the-scenes of the filming of Gone with the Wind, while turning the spotlight on the passionate romance between its dashing leading man, Clark Gable, and the blithe, free-spirited actress, Carole Lombard.

When Julie Crawford leaves Fort Wayne, Indiana for Hollywood, she never imagines she'll cross paths with Carole Lombard, the dazzling actress from Julie's provincial Midwestern hometown. Although the young woman has dreams of becoming a screenwriter, the only job Julie's able to find is one in the studio publicity office of the notoriously demanding producer David O. Selznick —who is busy burning through directors, writers and money as he begins filming Gone with the Wind.

Although tensions run high on the set, Julie finds she can step onto the back lot, take in the smell of smoky gunpowder and the soft rustle of hoop skirts, and feel the magical world ofGone with the Wind come to life. Julie's access to real-life magic comes when Carole Lombard hires her as an assistant and invites her into the glamorous world Carole shares with Clark Gable—who is about to move into movie history as the dashing Rhett Butler.

Carole Lombard, happily profane and uninhibited, makes no secret of her relationship with Gable, which poses something of a problem for the studio as Gable is technically still married—and the last thing the film needs is more negative publicity. Julie is there to fend off the overly curious reporters, hoping to prevent details about the affair from slipping out. But she can barely keep up with her blonde employer, let alone control what comes out of Carole's mouth, and--as their friendship grows - soon finds she doesn't want to. Carole, both wise and funny, becomes Julie's model for breaking free of the past.

In the ever-widening scope of this story, Julie is given a front-row seat to not one but two of the greatest love affairs of all time: the undeniable on-screen chemistry between Scarlett and Rhett, and off screen, the deepening love between Carole and Clark. Yet beneath the shiny fa├žade, things in Hollywood are never quite what they seem, and Julie must learn to balance career aspirations and her own budding romance with outsized personalities and the overheated drama on set. Vivid, romantic, and filled with Old Hollywood details, A Touch of Stardust will entrance, surprise, and delight.

A Touch of Stardust is a novel I was really looking forward to. Kate Alcott's The Dressmaker (my review) was a great read and I loved the mix of a historic setting (The Titanic), real people, and fictional characters. I was excited to see how she used those same elements in a new story, this time revolving around the making of Gone with the Wind.

While I haven't actually ever read Margaret Mitchell's novel and have sen the movie but never loved it, I enjoy the time period and some Old Hollywood tales. In A Touch of Stardust Alcott takes things that can be interesting enough on their own: the Gone with the Wind movie, Hollywood just before World War II, a young woman trying to make a life for herself - quite different from the one her parents expected and brings them together for a tale that's pretty magical.

Aspiring screenwriter Julie Crawford has left Fort Wayne, Indiana and her expected marriage behind and is now in Hollywood. A chance encounter on the set of the new film Gone with the Wind alters the course of her life.

While Julie finds a romance she never expected, she also finds working for Carole Lombard and more a part of the filming of the epic movie and interacting more with its cast and crew than she expected.

Julie is a fun character to experience the story with. She doesn't quite fit the mold, she's left her parents and the security of her hometown and boyfriend behind for the unexpected of Los Angeles. She's going to be a screenwriter - or so she hopes. I like that we're given her character to identify with as all of the craziness, the excess, even the cynicism surrounding the other characters and the filming transpires.

Even though Julie is the more relateable character, Carole Lombard is definitely my favorite of the novel. Before A Touch of Stardust I would have recognized her name, but not known anything about her. Now, I love her. She's a great balance to Julie's character (or, I suppose, Julie's a great balance to her as one's real and the other created). Everything from her language, to her strength and refusal to conform to her love for Gable make her a fantastic character (and most of that seems to be true to who she was). She has an unforgettable personality.

Those who like Gone with the Wind, the novel or the film, will likely love the little bits about the the script issues, the struggle to translate book to screen; the problems that cast had and the bits about different, specific scenes.

The characters all come across as so alive and so real, though, that you don't need to be a fan of Gone with the Wind to be a fan of them and of A Touch of Stardust. Clark Gable and Carole Lombard's romance, Julie's transition to life in Hollywood, her relationship, the friendship between Carole and Julie, the demands of producer Selznick, and even the racial issues surrounding the movie -from filming through release - all combine for a fantastic story.

There were a lot of things I hadn't realized about filming movies, in general, at that time and countless things I didn't know about the making of Gone with the Wind or about its cast. Even as we love the characters and it feels about them, the author does a superb job also including the racial tensions and issues that were present, what was happening with Nazi Germany and around Europe and the trouble women faced doing something other than getting married and having children.

You needn't already be a fan of Gone with the Wind, Old Hollywood, or Carole Lombard to read A Touch of Stardust, but it's likely you will be after.










thank you to the publisher for my advance copy to review

Top Ten Tuesday


This week's Ten: Ten Book Related Problems I Have (could be serious or fun!)
  1. Unclear Series Order - I hate, hate, hate when I buy and/or read about a book, only to find out that it's Book X in a series (X being not 1). It usually involves spoilers for that first book which I don't like. I also hate when book order either isn't listed in a book or it's unclear.

    (The cover for Alex London's Guardian is one of my favorites for letting you know it's a sequel [to Proxy].)
  2. Forgetting What Happened in the Previous Book - A lot of times I read a book, love it, get super excited when the sequel comes out, start reading it . . . Only to discover I don't remember that earlier book as much as I thought I did. Usually it works out because the author does a great job, but it's a problem I have (with me).
  3. Judging Books by their Covers - No, it's not fair. Yes, I know I shouldn't do it, but I still do. I pick up books I likely never would have if I love the cover and probably don't give enough attention to books with less than stellar covers.
  4. Owning Too Many Books - So, I don't really think it's too many but space-wise, it probably is. -
  5. My TBR Shelf Size - The amount of books I add to it in any given week/month/year far exceeds the number I am able to read in that same period.
  6. Characters Are Fictional - No duh, right? But sometimes I really, really, really want to magic them into being. Really.
  7. Being Overprotective of My Books - I'm horrible about this if it's one I haven't read yet (I recognize it, but it'snot going to change) and am only a little better if it's one I've read. Bent/otherwise damaged covers, paperbacks that stay open, bent pages, etc.
  8. Really, Really Wanting - Maybe Even Needing - You to Read Book X - If I truly love a book, think it has something to say, want to talk about it with someone, or some combination of the three, I can be really persistent (maybe even annoying/obnoxious) about pushing people to read that book.
  9. Trouble Reading Similar Books at the Same Time/In a Row - I can get the characters traits, history, relationship and/or events in books confused if I read books with similar characters at the same time or one after the other.
  10. Narrator Issues - This one is, obviously, only in regards to audio books. There are some books that I haven't yet read - though I wanted to - because something about the narrator just did. not. work. for me. For whatever reason, I seem less likely to read these as print/ebooks than I am other titles.

Did you make your own Top Ten Tuesday post? Link me to it! If you didn't but you have Book Related Problems, let me know in the comments.
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...