Thursday, May 30, 2013 books

The Little Village School
by Gervase Phinn

The Little Village School 
First sentence:
She was wearing red shoes!” gasped the caretaker, incomprehension creeping across his face.

Elisabeth Devine is something of a mystery. Why should a highly successful head teacher of an inner-city primary school move to a small rural school in the Yorkshire Dales to face so many challenges? There are the declining number of pupils and the poor state of the building for a start and then there are the disparaging former head teacher, the gloomy caretaker and the amorous chair of governors to contend with. Those in the village are intrigued by the appearance of the new young and attractive head teacher and gossip is rife.
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
As I mentioned in this Top Ten Tuesday post, books about teachers, teaching, school and similar topics appeal so much to me. I’m training to be a teacher, so maybe that’s the reason why I like reading these books. 
Gervase Phinn is the author of the Dales series where he writes his personal story of being a school inspector in the Yorkshire Dales, England. The Little Village School is the first book in the new Barton in the Dales series about a young woman starting as head teacher in a small village school that recently received a terrible report and now has to deal with the consequences.

I really enjoy Gervase Phinn’s writing and adored his Dales series so I when I saw this new book last year while in London it was an instant buy for me. I started it immediately after coming home but at that time it wasn’t the right book for my mood and I put it back on my shelf again and picked it up again just recently. This time it was the perfect book. I flew through it in two or three days and enjoyed it as much as all of Gervase’s other books.

Barton in the Dale is a small village with a tightly knit social structure and outsiders are viewed with (a lot of) suspicion from many. Elizabeth Devine is not only an outsider applying for the job as head teacher, she also wore red shoes with silver heels for her interview and nobody knows anything about her. With her charm, her ways of supporting the village businesses, her commitment for the little school and her wonderful character she slowly wins the villagers over. Elizabeth is a lovely character who is a teacher by heart - always has the students interests at heart, tells people what she thinks even if that makes them dislike her and puts all her energy into the school, her teaching colleagues and her pupils.

Elizabeth’s students are a lovely bunch of rural kids who know their way around the countryside, have a vast knowledge of sheep, of how to get rid of rabbits and moles and are witty and so always try to behave their best (even if sometimes they can’t but hey, they are kids, right?).

The little village school is another one of Gervase Phinn’s masterpieces with vivid scenery, wonderful characters (I especially fell for Danny and James) and a story that made me laugh a lot of times and cry like a baby. For me it had everything I expected from it and much more. I will definitely buy the second book in the series and I am looking forward to revisiting Barton in the Dale and all its lovely townsfolk.

The Books in the Barton in the Dale series are:
  • The Little Village School
  • Trouble at the Little Village School

For more information about Gervase Phinn visit his Homepage.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013 books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish
This week is a freebie week. Perfect for me! 
I missed last week's topic and was so sad but now I can do it too:
Top Ten Favorite Book Covers Of Books I've Read

Clicking on the Book Cover will take you to Goodreads

Monday, May 27, 2013 books

Are you one of those poor people too who are not attending Book Expo America and who has to live vicariously through Tweets from your bookish friends attending? 

Here's the solution:
Inky, the mastermind of Book Haven Extraordinaire, decided to host an Anti-BEA-Reathon from today to the 2nd of June. If we cannot be part of all the fun happening at BEA we can at least be part of a wonderful group reading like crazy and having the time of our life on Twitter using the hashtag: #AntiBEAReadathon
I am looking forward to all the fun on Twitter and on doing some damage to my huge TBR-pile.

Do you plan to join? If so pop me a quick line so that we can chat and cheer each other on. pictures

 This week's topic will be:
Gewürz(e)  / Spice(s)

Please link you post to mine in time. 
Submission period is between the 27th of May and the 3rd of June
(11:59 pm CET). 

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

My Life...

That's me right now!

Do you know the part of the good old movie "You've got Mail" where Tom Hanks moves out and tries to write an e-mail to Meg Ryan trying to tell her what he's been up to? That's me right now!

At the moment my life came in the way of blogging - my university life to be more exact. For a long long time I had HUGE problems getting my priorities straight and somehow university courses and studying was never high on my list. Everything else was more important. Everything! Which not only annoyed me and unfortunately my parents too (yes, I do understand why) but it also left me with a bunch of really hard exams that I kept putting off. I got sidetracked extremely easily. 

Finally this semester I managed to get my priorities straight but that hit me one evening and I was not prepared in any way - blog wise. That's why I only have many many ideas and almost no blog posts up. I only have five more weeks of university this semester and after that I have three whole months of glorious summer holidays (I feel so priviledged) and I will finally have enough time to work on the ideas I have, participate in read-a-thons, be outside and get a tan, etc. 

I have an exam on Saturday so that is why there isn't anything going on on the blog this week and but I plan on writing a lot of blog posts on Sunday because I have a lot of chatching up to do and I miss writing and talking to you guys. But until Saturday afternoon you can be sure that I look a bit like this:

Monday, May 20, 2013 pictures

 This week's topic will be:
Smooth  / Glatt

Please link you post to mine in time. 
Submission period is between the 20th and the 27th of May
(11:59 pm CET).  

I'm currently swamped with university stuff to write and major studying to do. I know that I have been really bad posting my pictures over the last weeks but I promise I'll post them as soon as I have a bit of room to breath which will hopefully be the case at the end of next week. 

Why didn't anyone tell me that I forgot the Linky for Purple last week?
I included it in this week's post. You can link both your Purple and your Smooth picture below. books

Sadly Bout of Books is over now :(

To be honest; this Bout of Books read-a-thon wasn't the most sucessful for me but I managed to not only stick to reading at least an hour but I also kept my priorities in order and studied quite a lot daily. I usually have huge problems see studying as more important than reading but this week I finally managed and this feels like a HUGE accomplishment.

My Stats:
  • I read at least an hour a day even on days when I was super busy.
  • I finished 2 books (yeah!) - The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis and Cinder by Marissa Meyer
  • Thursday (the day of my exam) was my slowest reading day because I did a lot of last-minute studying and on my way home after exam I met a friend on the tram and chose talking to him over reading my book. 
  • Sunday was my best reading day with 241 pages. I alternated my day between reading and studying (not in that order).
  • Overall I read 3 books:
    • The Sweetest Thing by Jill Shalvis
    • Cinder by Marissa Meyer
    • Educating Jack by Jack Sheffield
  • Overall I read 813 pages. Now I'm impressed - I thought it would be a lot less. 
The next Bout of Books read-a-thon will be from August 19th to 25th
For more information check the Bout of Books website.

Friday, May 17, 2013 books

by Hilary Weisman-Graham

First sentences:
Is the blindfold really necessary?“ Alice asked her parents.

1 Concert
2000 Miles
3 Ex-Best Friends
Alice, Summer, and Tiernan are ex-best friends.
Back in middle school, the three girls were inseparable. They were also the number one fans of the rock band Level3.
But when the band broke up, so did their friendship. Summer ran with the popular crowd, Tiernan was a rebellious wild-child, and Alice spent high school with her nose buried in books.
Now, just as the girls are about to graduate, Level3 announces a one-time-only reunion show.
Even though the concert’s 2000 miles away, Alice buys three tickets on impulse. And as it turns out, Summer and Tiernan have their own reasons for wanting to get out of town. Good thing Alice’s graduation gift (a pea-green 1976 VW camper van known as the Pea Pod) is just the vehicle to get them there.
But on the long drive cross-country, the girls hit more than a few bumps in the road. Will their friendship get an encore or is the show really over?

source: Goodreads

My opinion:
Road Trip!

If you follow my blog for a while now, you will know that I love road trips – being on one, reading about it or seeing it in a movie. I love that everything gets this special dynamic when on a road trip and that being “stuck” in a car with people usually leads to interesting situations.

Reunited was such a book. The synopsis was really promising; going on a trip with your two ex-best friends (oh, how I love this description) to see a one-time-only show of your favorite band that unfortunately broke up shortly after you did; how awesome will that be.

I enjoyed the book and I liked the idea but it wasn’t as captivating as I thought it would be. Don’t get me wrong – it was a nice story of three girls who grew up together and were now, many years later, “forced” to spend time with each other. The situations they had to face and maneuver through were hilarious but the ending was a bit obvious for me.

The girls were lovely (most of the time) and typical 18 year old girls with boy- and parents-problems. They were convincing and real.

So if you are looking for an entertaining road trip novel than pick up Reunited. It’s a quick and fun read with lovely characters and a nice storyline.

For more information about Hilary Weisman-Graham visit her Homepage, Blog, Facebook and Twitter pages. 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013 music

If you follow me on Twitter you might have read that I was at a concert Monday night. My parents gave me two tickets for David Garrett's concert in Vienna and me and my best friend, who is the only one I know who listens to classic on a regular basis, had such a blast.

David Garrett is a German violinist which is living in New York and he plays a crossover of classic and modern music. I heard him play Beethoven as well as Coldplay or Metallica. I love the sound of the violin in general and his way of introducing the masses to classical music is wonderful.

Okay, let's be honest here too - he's really good looking and funny too. Between songs he told stories about things that happened to him during his last tour and some were so funny that I almost couldn't breeze. A friend of mine went to the last three concerts he played in Vienna and loves him so much and now I totally understand why.

credit goes to my friend Berni
The concert was an entertaining show with lots of good music, wonderful musicians, awesome dancers and David Garrett himself was just to die for (and I don't mean because he was so handsome - which of course played a minor role too). He even had a small stage that was almost next to my seat so he was basically standing 10 meter away.

The playlist included songs like Viva La Vida by Coldplay, the Overture of Carmen, Michael Jackson's Earth song, Beethoven, Chopin, Argentine tango, ACDC's Thunderstruck and many many more.

Here are some of my favorite songs for you:

If you like interesting music and modern takes on classical music you should listen to David Garrett's songs. I will try to get tickets for the next concert he's playing in Vienna because this one was just awesome. I'm still on a high today.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013 books

Simply Irresistible
by Jill Shalvis

First sentences:
Maddie drove the narrow, curvy highway with her past still nipping at her heels at fourteen hundred miles.

Maddie Moore's whole life needs a makeover.
In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother - a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.
Starting over won't be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career--if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.
The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes and mouth are making it hard for her to remember that she's sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie's struggles to overcome the past, though she's about to discover that there's no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
I discovered Jill Shalvis’ books by coincidence last year and instantly fell in love with them. I read the first three books in the Lucky Harbor series and bought the first six but I failed to write a review for them after reading. Epic Fail!

So, I decided to pick Simply Irresistible up again, reread it and finally write a review because I really love this series.

Simply Irresistible is the first book in Jill Shalvis’ Lucky Harbor series and introduces us to the three estranged sisters, Tara, Maddie and Chloe and the inhabitants of Lucky Harbor – all of them, especially the hot guys. Why are they all living in a small seaside town in Washington and can’t be found here?

The three sisters, even though they are as different as possible, are such a lovely bunch and after some differences about how to deal with the inn, they become a really good team. Each and every one of the characters introduced in this book is nice and lovely and someone I would love to know in real life.

Simply Irresistible starts when Maddie, Tara and Chloe arrive in Lucky Harbor to take inventory on an inn they inherited from their mother. Maddie wants to renovate it and make it into a flourishing business because her life is upside down at the moment and she can’t think of anything better than to start fresh. Tara, also known as the Steel-Magnolia, just wants to get out of this town as soon as possible and Chloe is a free spirit and cannot think of anything worse than being in one place for long.

Entering Jax, a really super hot carpenter/town lawyer/major/bar co-owner, who not only helps renovating the inn but also helps Maddie find herself.

Simply Irresistible is a wonderfully written, entertaining book that I had difficulties putting down and if you are not against reading slightly steamy scenes you will like it.

The books in the Lucky Harbour series are:
  • Simply Irresistible
  • The Sweetest Thing
  • Head Over Heels
  • Lucky In Love
  • At Last
  • Forever And A Day
  • Under The Mistletoe
  • It Had To Be You
  • Always On My Mind (expected publication: September, 2013)
  • Once Upon A Time (expected publication: February, 2014)
For more information about Jill Shalvis visit her Homepage, her Blog and her Facebook and Twitter page.

Monday, May 13, 2013 pictures

 This week's topic will be:
  Purple / Lila

Please link you post to mine in time. 
Submission period is between the 13th and the 20th of May
(11:59 pm CET).  

I'm currently swamped with university stuff to write and major studying to do. I know that I have been really bad posting my pictures over the last weeks but I promise I'll post them as soon as I have a bit of room to breath which will hopefully be the case at the end of next week.

Sunday, May 12, 2013 books

It's time for a Bout of Books Read-a-Thon!

From tomorrow till Sunday there will be another Bout of Books Read-a-thon hosted by the lovely Amanda from On a Book Bender and Kelly from Reading the Paranormal. It is a week long read-a-thon that begins 12:01am Monday and runs through Sunday midnight in whatever time zone you are in. Bout of Books is low-pressure, and the only reading competition is between you and your usual number of books read in a week. There are challenges, giveaways, and a grand prize, but all of these are completely optional. For all Bout of Books 6.0 information and updates, be sure to visit the Bout of Books blog. 

Today it's time to write down my goals for this read-a-thon.During the Read-a-Thon week I have one exam on Thursday and need to study for another on next Saturday. So I need to divide my time between studying and reading. On Monday I will be at the David Garrett concert in Vienna with one of my boys, a.k.a one of my best friends, have an exam on Thursday, a party on Friday and will go watch the new Star Trek film with my bestie on Staurday. So I'll keep my goals pretty low and see if I can achieve them. 

My Goals

  • I want to read at least 1 hour a day. 
  • I want to finish at least two books.  
  • I want to visit more blogs during Bout of Books and comment. 
  • I want to enjoy this week of reading, rambling and being surrounded by bookish people.  
As you might know by now, I hate (yes, hate) having to come up with specific books I will read during the read-a-thon and I'm glad that there's no need for me to write them down beforehand. So I will choose them during the week, depending on my moo
Daily Updates: 

Number of pages I've read today: 80 pages

Number of books I've read today: 1
Books I read: Cinder
Books I finished: 0

Number of pages I've read today: 71 pages

Number of books I've read today: 2
Books I read: Cinder & The Sweetest Thing
Books I finished: 0

Number of pages I've read today: 206 pages

Number of books I've read today: 1
Books I read: The Sweetest Thing
Books I finished: 1

Number of pages I've read today: 64 pages
Number of books I've read today: 2
Books I read: Cinder & Educating Jack
Books I finished: 1

Number of pages I've read today: 78 pages
Number of books I've read today: 2

Books I read: Cinder & Educating Jack
Books I finished: 1

Number of pages I've read today:73 pages
Number of books I've read today: 2
Books I read:
Cinder & Educating Jack 
Books I finished: 1

Number of pages I've read today: 241 pages
Number of books I've read today: 2
Books I read:
Cinder & Educating Jack
Books I finished: 2 books

Showcase Sunday is weekly meme hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea which was inspired by In My Mailbox from Kristie at The Story Siren.
It is a possibility for us to show what amazing books we got during the week.
I seemed to have my book buying under control but this week I reached a new low point on my bank account. I ordered some books on Amazon and took a trip to my local bookstore on a rainy day. 
This is my prey:

And some more books should arrive tomorrow. Not sure if that's so clever.

Thursday, May 9, 2013 books

Anna and the French Kiss
by Stephanie Perkins

First sentences:
Here is everything I know about France: Madeline and Amélie and Moulin Rouge.

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris--until she meets Étienne St. Clair. Smart, charming, beautiful, Étienne has it all...including a serious girlfriend.
But in the City of Light, wishes have a way of coming true. Will a year of romantic near-misses end with their long-awaited French kiss?
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
Anna and the French Kiss was the third YA book I read back in December 2011, loved it and waited for the perfect time to re-read it.

With Anna Stephanie Perkins creates a wonderful story, set in an American boarding school in Paris, with lovely main and minor characters and one of the most loved boys in YA. I am a sucker for stories set in cities/countries I know and when the characters are all living together, like in a school or apartment, I’ll like it.

Anna, who is forced by her parents to move to Paris for her last high school year is the protagonist of the novel and a wonderful one. She needs a long time to open up to people and start exploring the city but than she discovers all these lovely places and people and grows a lot during this year. For me, Anna was totally realistic. I remember this feeling of being in love with a boy who isn’t available all too well. And the boy she likes … *sigh* What makes Anna so realistic for me is that she not only is lovely and nice but that she’s also selfish in some situations and when she hurts people she has huge difficulties to admit that she was wrong.

Ètienne St. Clair, the boy next door, friend of all, love interest of many – how he made me feel like a schoolgirl again. We all had a secret crush when we were in high school and I guess he had a least some of Ètienne’s character traits. St. Clair feels the need to be loved by all and that’s what makes him a friend of all. He never really disagrees with people which adds to his lovely persona but it also makes him a bit shallow. Fortunately that changes through the book.

Anna and the French Kiss is a lovely book with wonderful characters who immediately felt like close friends and shows me (a girl who has been to Paris but hasn’t fallen in love with it) a new and interesting view of Paris. At the end I decided that I should give this city another go and visit it again some time soon.

For more information about Stephanie Perkins visit her Blog and Twitter page.