Tag «Single Sundays»

Single Sundays: Juliet by Anne Fortier

Single Sundays: Juliet by Anne Fortier

Single Sundays: While this blog may be focused on reviewing book series as a whole, we can’t forget about the good ole’ standalone novel! On Sundays, I will review a novel that is considered to be a standalone novel. Here is this week’s offering:

Synopsis for Juliet (from Goodreads):
Twenty-five-year-old Julie Jacobs is heartbroken over the death of her beloved Aunt Rose. But the shock goes even deeper when she learns that the woman who has been like a mother to her has left her entire estate to Julie’s twin sister. The only thing Julie receives is a key—one carried by her mother on the day she herself died—to a safety-deposit box in Siena, Italy.

This key sends Julie on a journey that will change her life forever—a journey into the troubled past of her ancestor Giulietta Tolomei. In 1340, still reeling from the slaughter of her parents, Giulietta was smuggled into Siena, where she met a young man named Romeo. Their ill-fated love turned medieval Siena upside-down and went on to inspire generations of poets and artists, the story reaching its pinnacle in Shakespeare’s famous tragedy.

But six centuries have a way of catching up to the present, and Julie gradually begins to discover that here, in this ancient city, the past and present are hard to tell apart. The deeper she delves into the history of Romeo and Giulietta, and the closer she gets to the treasure they allegedly left behind, the greater the danger surrounding her—superstitions, ancient hostilities, and personal vendettas. As Julie crosses paths with the descendants of the families involved in the unforgettable blood feud, she begins to fear that the notorious curse—“A plague on both your houses!”—is still at work, and that she is destined to be its next target. Only someone like Romeo, it seems, could save her from this dreaded fate, but his story ended long ago. Or did it?

breakdown

Author: Anne Fortier
Genre: Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Historical, Mystery
Heat Rating: warm
Point of View: First Person, Single
Publication Date: August 24, 2010
Source & Format: Library–Hardcover

thoughts

Why I Picked it Up / My Expectations:

I read this book a long time ago after a co-worker recommended it to me. I got my hands on a local library copy and I ended up loving the book so much that I went out and bought it for my own personal collection.

As you may or may not know, I am a huge Shakespeare nut. Any fiction involving Shakespeare and I am there! I recently went to see Romeo and Juliet at the Stratford Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Ontario, Canada (if you ever get the chance to attend, do! They put on amazing productions ever year!). Amazing play and this production was awesome! So awesome it made me think about this book and I hope to reread it very soon!

But, back to the book 😉

The World:

This book is basically two stories in one. One follows the present day Juliet while the other follows the “original” Juliet. You can tell Ms. Fortier has done her research because the story that takes place in 1340 is rich in detail about the time and about the play Romeo and Juliet. My mom–who I made read this book–made the comment after the play about a gold statue saying she forgot it was in the play when she read about it in the book. Fortier does a fabulous job with tying the two worlds together and this makes the book super enjoyable to read.

The Plot:

Another bonus was the mystery and suspense. I find with some books that have regular “flashbacks” to the past, I tend to enjoy one story more than the other so I dread the respective POV. That was not the case here. I was equally addicted to both and that made this book super hard to put down. While I had suspicions about how the book was going to play–no pun intended–out (I mean, we all know how Romeo and Juliet ends, right?) I found it wasn’t predictable which always makes me happy. The plot was a little DaVinci Code-esque in its delivery but with Shakespeare which I thought was cool.

The Characters:

I really liked the characters and Juliet–either of them–didn’t annoy me (unlike the Juliet in Shakespeare’s play) so win!

My Rating: 5/5

overall

You don’t have to like Shakespeare to like this book. If you enjoy mysteries, books with suspense and a dash of romance, you will enjoy this one! I highly recommend it!

Read if You Like: single dad heroes, office romances
Avoid if You: want erotica, want a longer novel

similarreads

connect Twitter GoodReadsBloglovin' Amazon.ca Reviews RSS Email

catchphrase

Disclaimer | Request a Review | Contact

Single Sundays: Measuring Up by Nyrae Dawn

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Seventeen-year-old Annabel Conway is tired of the Hillcrest High School elite making her life miserable because she’s not a size two. This summer, she’s hiring a personal trainer to help her lose weight.

Annabel doesn’t expect her trainer to be a gorgeous guy around her age. Boys like Tegan are jerks. They pretend to like girls like her so they can make an idiot out of them. Been there, done that. Totally not going there again. She kind of hates him on principal. Blond. Muscular. Funny. It doesn’t help that he knows her measurements!

Soon, Tegan’s so much more than that. He’s the boy who teaches her to box when she has a bad day. Who jogs with her and lets her set the pace. Who kisses her until she melts. He makes her feel beautiful regardless of what the scale says. Unlike her mom, he doesn’t expect perfection, and he doesn’t try to shield her from the world like her dad and best friend. Tegan likes her the way she is.

But what happens when he’s not there? He can’t always be there…

Will Annabel be able to stand on her own and learn that she already measures up? That her worth doesn’t lie in what the world thinks, the scale says, or even what Tegan tells her—but in herself?

Review:

I really liked loved this book! I’m not sure if it was because I was so busy in my real-life that I found an escape reading this (I think I enjoy books more when I know I should be doing other things, like studying for exams, etc.) but I think if I read this two weeks from now, I would still have enjoyed this book.

I think most girls can relate in some way to Annabel. Even though I have personally never struggled with my weight the same way she has, I still found her extremely relatable in how she thinks about herself. I often felt like we were personality twins as I was reading because I couldn’t help thinking, “I would have done/said the exact same thing!”. I find books today have the “rebellious” independent girls who are their own person, yet they all have perfect bodies/features and unbeknownst to them, every guy in the general vicinity is in love with them. With Annabel you don’t get that particular character but someone you have probably felt like at one point in your life.

Which is why I loved the relationship between Tegan and her. You could really see why they liked each other–it wasn’t just physical chemistry but what they talked about and believed that drew them together. They really supported each other–and not in some twisted, nearly obsessive way that some New Adult heroines and heroes “need” each other in order to live. Basically, they have a healthy, realistic relationship.

However, as much as I loved this book, I was a little disappointed. I would really like to see a sequel as I felt some issues, specifically with Tegan’s story, were not fully resolved. But overall, there is a solid ending that provides closer to the readers so you can cease your worrying over my wishful thoughts :P.

Conclusion:

This book was refreshing in a genre that is often just sex & tragedy focused. The characters a relatable and the plot is realistic. With this book, Nyrae Dawn has become a must-read author for me!

Rating: 5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: New/Young Adult, High school, Realistic
Recommended for: 16+
Similar Reads: Size 12 is not Fat by Meg Cabot (Heather Wells Mysteries, #1) and Take Me by Bella Andre (Take Me Series, #1)

Single Sundays: A Kiss in Time by Alex Flinn

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Talia fell under a spell…Jack broke the curse.

I was told to beware the accursed spindle, but it was so enchanting, so hypnotic…

I was looking for a little adventure the day I ditched my tour group. But finding a comatose town, with a hot-looking chick asleep in it, was so not what I had in mind.

I awakened in the same place but in another time—to a stranger’s soft kiss.

I couldn’t help kissing her. Sometimes you just have to kiss someone. I didn’t know this would happen.

Now I am in dire trouble because my father, the king, says I have brought ruin upon our country. I have no choice but to run away with this commoner!

Now I’m stuck with a bratty princess and a trunk full of her jewels…The good news: My parents will freak!

Think you have dating issues? Try locking lips with a snoozing stunner who turns out to be 316 years old. Can a kiss transcend all—even time?

Review:

If you were to ask me who my favourite Disney Princess would be, it would be a tie between Jasmine from Aladdin and Princess Aurora, aka, Sleeping Beauty. Sleeping Beauty isn’t as popular a princess as Cinderella or Snow White or Belle so when I read that this book was about Sleeping Beauty, I jumped at the chance to read it because in the past, the retelling of fairy tales that I have read have been about those princesses and it’s refreshing to read about something else.

Before I read this, I read Beastly by Alex Flinn which is a modern retelling of Beauty and the Beast so I was familiar with her writing style. Her books are definitely geared towards a younger teen crowd (14+) but I did read this when I was a little younger so I enjoyed it. Now, I don’t think I would so much just because I am slightly outside that target audience.

Jack and Talia (aka Sleeping Beauty–Sleeping Beauty’s first name changes depending on which version you read) are both self-centered in their own ways. But they aren’t annoying like “I have to put this book down I can’t stand them”–more like you know that they are going to learn a valuable lesson by whatever transpires in this novel. It’s nice to see them grow through their relationship and the events that happen together.

I loved the interaction between these two, more so than in Beastly. I think it is mostly because Talia doesn’t know everything about the modern world (like phones, etc.), so I find the comments she says are pretty funny and Jack has some great responses.

Conclusion:

It’s been a long time since I read it, but I really enjoyed this book. Probably my favourite of the books I have read by Alex Flinn. I recommend this more for younger teens but I think older audiences might enjoy it as well.

Rating: 4/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Middle School, Romance, Fairy Tales, Time Travel, Magic
Recommended for: 13+
Similar Books: Beastly by Alex Flinn and Devoured by Amanda Marrone

Single Sundays: Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Single Sundays: On Sundays, I review a stand-alone book that is not a part of a series. Here is this week’s offering:

Kissing Shakespeare by Pamela Mingle

Synopsis (from Goodreads.com):
Miranda has Shakespeare in her blood: she hopes one day to become a Shakespearean actor like her famous parents. At least, she does until her disastrous performance in her school’s staging of The Taming of the Shrew. Humiliated, Miranda skips the opening-night party. All she wants to do is hide.

Fellow cast member, Stephen Langford, has other plans for Miranda. When he steps out of the backstage shadows and asks if she’d like to meet Shakespeare, Miranda thinks he’s a total nutcase. But before she can object, Stephen whisks her back to 16th century England—the world Stephen’s really from. He wants Miranda to use her acting talents and modern-day charms on the young Will Shakespeare. Without her help, Stephen claims, the world will lost its greatest playwright.

Miranda isn’t convinced she’s the girl for the job. Why would Shakespeare care about her? And just who is this infuriating time traveler, Stephen Langford? Reluctantly, she agrees to help, knowing that it’s her only chance of getting back to the present and her “real” life. What Miranda doesn’t bargain for is finding true love . . . with no acting required.

Review:

I am a huge Shakespeare nut. In university, I took an introduction to Shakespeare course as my elective and every year I see at least 2 of his plays. So needless to say, if I see a book that is based on a Shakespeare story or has Shakespeare in the title/plot summary–I am there.  So I am happy to say that I very much enjoyed this book!

One thing I really enjoyed about this was the history within it. Mingle’s writing makes me feel like I am living in that exact moment of history. Especially with respect to the history of Catholic and Protestant religions in Britain. I had studied that in school and I felt that she captured that history incredibly well. She is descriptive enough to allow you to create the world in your head but not so descriptive that you are skimming the paragraph to get on with the story. It is the perfect balance which makes this book so enjoyable to read.

You don’t have to be a Shakespeare nut to like this book. It has very little to do with his plays and focuses more on what his life was like back in his time. There is a bit of mystery and suspense, and of course, romance but it mostly focuses on the history.

That might be why people don’t like this book. If you don’t enjoy history focused novels, you might want to avoid this one. You might not like the heroine either. I didn’t particularly love Miranda–she wasn’t as annoying to me as some other heroines but I didn’t find anything that I particularly liked about her.

The book ended pretty suddenly in my opinion (it might have been because I was tired when I finished it though :P). I also like a little bit more closure in my books so I wouldn’t hate the idea of a sequel but it really isn’t necessary.

Conclusion:

I really enjoyed this book. I liked the history of it all but that history might not appeal to everyone so be warned!

Rating: 3.5/5

Shorthand Stats:
Genre: Young Adult, Time Travel, Shakespeare
Recommended for: 16+
Similar Books: Revolution by Jennifer Donnelly; Ruby Red by Kerstin Gier (Ruby Red Trilogy) and Juliet by Anne Fortier