Friday, February 28, 2014

My Life...

Monthly Rewind 

My Pic of February

February in One Word
During February I finally got my stuff together and managed to organize my life - university, work and private life. So glad I finally have a planner that has every appointment and deadline in it and my trustworthy notebook. My next semester will be so super organized - at least I hope so.

3 Things that Happened in February
  • My birthday was on February first and I had an amazing day. I spent my day with my family and saw all of my friends this evening and just had the best time. 
  • I spent two wonderful mornings with my favorite little boy and had a great time at the playground. He's almost two now and such a great character. Spending time with him always makes me see the little things in life that still excite him. 
  • I had some time off from university due to semester break and so I had time to organize my next semester and plan the exams I will take during summer semester. Organizing always makes me happy!

An Album that Was Popular on My i-Pod
Annett Louisan, a German Chansion singer I love, produced a new CD which I got from my parents for my birthday. She is a really good singer, with an amazing voice and witty texts. I know that it will probably not interest you English speaking people but if any German speakers are reading this, go check out her album - I highly recommend it.

Book I Read this Month
  • Shannon Stacey - Undeniably Yours
  • Michelle Madow - The Secret Diamond Sisters
  • Rae Carson - The Girl of Fire and Thorns
  • Niki Glattauer - Leider hat Lukas... (German book)
  • Spencer Quinn - Dog on It
  • Rachel Gibson - Daisy's Back in Town
  • Janet Evanovich & Lee Goldberg - Pros and Cons 
7 books
2100 pages

a TV series I liked this month
I binge watched the first season of 2 Broke Girls in February. I saw an episode from time to time on German TV but never watched the whole season. Last year when I was in London I bought the DVD set and finally had enough time to watch it. Loved it! 
Things I'm Looking Forward to in March
  • Going for a coffee with a friend getting to know all the dirt from their trip to the American South. 
  • Starting my new English Literature class about Jane Austen. 
  • Celebrating the birthdays of me, two of my cousins and my little cousin's girlfriend at the beginning of March with my extended family.
  • Booking my trip to Amsterdam - finally! :)

Felix in February
 My dog Felix sleeps in some really weird positions. One of his favorite is with his head under the radiator and his back and behind against a wall. During the Holiday season our Christmas tree was standing in this corner and he was really annoyed that one of his favorite spots was taken over by a stupid tree. 

Thursday, February 27, 2014 books

Undeniably Yours
by Shannon Stacey

Undeniably Yours is the second book in the Kowalski Family series.
You don't have to read the first book before reading this one.

First sentence:
Every time the New England Patriots chalked one up in the win column, Kevin Kowalski got laid.

One-night stand + two percent condom failure rate = happily ever after?
Bar owner Kevin Kowalski is used to women throwing their phone numbers at him, but lately he’s more interested in finding a woman to settle down with. A woman like Beth Hansen. If only their first meeting hadn’t gone so badly...
Beth’s tending bar at a wedding when she comes face-to-face with a tuxedo-clad man she never thought she’d see again. She tries to keep her distance from Kevin but, by last call, she can’t say no to his too-blue eyes or the invitation back to his room. Then she slips out before breakfast without leaving a note and, despite their precautions, pregnant.
Kevin quickly warms to the idea of being a dad and to seeing where things go with Beth. After all, he’s not the player she thinks he is. But she’s not ready for a relationship and, given his reputation, it’s going to take a lot to convince her to go on a second date with the father of her child...
source: Goodreads

My opinion:
Undeniably Yours is the second book in the Kowalski Family series and Kevin Kowalski the youngest of four kids of Mary and Leo Kowalski is the main character.

Before Kevin bought the bar he was a Boston cop but after divorcing his wife he moved back home and is now proud owner of Jasper's where he does everything from tending the bar to doing inventory and the books and kicking out unwanted guests.

One night he kicks out a guy who drank too much and started harassing the girl he came with. Instead of being glad that Kevin helped her, the girl, Beth, is angry because she is now unemployed because the drunk guy was her boss and fired her after Kevin broke his nose. Kevin instantly felt a spark between him and Beth but she leaves after yelling at him. He cannot stop thinking about her and at his brother's wedding she is tending the bar. After the wedding they drink a beer together and finally spend the night together. Unfortunately Beth gets pregnant but when she tells Kevin, which she hasn't seen in weeks, he is thrilled by the idea of becoming a dad and they decide to keep the baby and raise it as friends.

I love Shannon Stacey's writing and when I'm reading one of her books it feels more like seeing a movie. Her writing comes to life for me. Her books tell romantic stories but that's something I need once in a while and I love each and every one of them. Undeniably Yours is full of lovely characters. Kevin's family is so welcoming and warm and they stick together like glue. Beth comes from a different background and fled her overprotective parents as soon as possible. They still have a wonderful relationship but to maintain it Beth lives in a different state and she is always on the move which now isn't possible anymore because she is expecting a baby with Kevin.

Undeniably Yours is a story of love, family, finding and being true to yourself, friendship and just heartwarming romantic. Whenever I need a little pick-me-up I read one of Shannon's books and they stay with me for a long time.

The other books in the Kowalski Family series are:

  • Exclusively Yours (read my review here) 
  • Undeniably Yours  
  • Yours to Keep  
  • All He Ever Needed 
  • All He Ever Desired
  • All He Ever Dreamed 

For more information about Shannon Stacey visit her Homepage, her Facebook and Twitter page.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014 books

Booktube Love 
Part Two

I love watching Booktubers on YouTube and today I want to tell you a bit about my favorite ones. I am subscribed to a lot of Booktubers and I why love watching their videos and get inspiration from them. Since I want to share all my favorite Booktubers with you I will make this a recurring feature here on the blog so that I can not only share the links to their channel with you but also tell you a bit about them.

Catriona is behind the Booktube Channel Little Book Owl. She lives Down Under and I just love watching her videos. She does a lot of Tags and Hauls and the occasional Review. Her videos are always super entertaining and we share a similar taste in books so I discover some great books through her channel. She is also on Twitter.

Lisa is a lovely Dutch Blonde Book Bee. She's currently on a book buying ban but still her channel is filled with so many great videos and I love listening to her slight adorable Dutch accent. I hope I'll be able to meet her when I'm in the Netherlands this year. She's also on Twitter and talking to her is always great fun.

Raeleen, the mastermind behind Padfoot and Prongs 07, is a Canadian Book Tuber. Her videos are always wonderful to watch and every time I see one in my subscription box I cannot wait to watch it. I love her enthusiasm and have to laugh out loud whenever she tells you that she can't show a book because her camera is currently resting on it. Her tweets are also great.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014 books

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.
This week the girls want to know my
Top Ten Reasons Why I Love Being A Reader/Book Blogger
Since I didn't have the time to write this Top Ten Tuesday last week I am so glad that there is a Rewind this week. I couldn't decide if I wanted to post about why I love being a reader or being a blogger so I decided to mix and match and tell you five reasons each. 
Top Five Reasons Why I Love Being A Reader
You can travel the world! Books can take you anywhere in the world - past, present and future, different countries and galaxies or to an alternate universe. Reading is taking a trip in your mind and escape your everyday life. 

You can do basically everything - pulling a heist, solving a murder, owning a coffee shop or bookstore, live in different countries for a while, fall in love with a duke, ... You name it and there's a book telling the story. 

You can learn a lot! Books not only entertain but also educate and I don't only refer to the often dry and boring non-fiction books but also fiction can tell you a lot about different countries, cultures, time periods. That's one of the reasons why I get really annoyed when I discover passages in books that are wrong - research is super important when writing a novel set in our world.

I am never alone! One of my friends is always with me wherever I am. I'm taking a book with me everywhere I go. Even to a friend's house or when I'm spending an evening at a bar with them. You'll never know if you will go to the bar alone or if you'll be the first person to arrive. With a book it is never boring and waiting is nothing annoying anymore. 

It is the best way to spend your free time! I have a friend who is a total non-reader and every time we discuss how I can read as much as I do - and we discuss this almost every time we see each other - my main argument is that I don't watch as much TV as he does and do not play computer games. Whenever I have some minutes to spare I can be found with a book in hand escaping into another world. I can spend weekends doing nothing but reading, I divide my time between studying and reading right before exams and I need my reading time - whenever I don't have time to read for longer than a day I really get grumpy. I was the only one reading three books in one week on a trip I took with friends when I was 18. They spent their day at the pool, the ocean, sleeping or playing cards while I was reading between pool breaks - and I regret nothing!
Top Five Reasons Why I Love Being A Book Blogger
I can talk about my favorite thing to do (without annoying my friends regularly)

The community! Having people who love reading as much as I do and being able to chat about books is something I love. I would never want to go back to the time before book blogging. I found some amazing friends through the book blogging community and I am so glad to have them because even though we only know each other online (but we'll meet soon) I know I can count on them!

I can spread the love for books! I can gush about my favorites, tell people why I loved books or why I didn't, don't feel bad about the huge amount of unread books I own because there are people who own as much or more than I do, discovered some amazing books and series I wouldn't have picked up otherwise,... 

Getting to know authors! It is a lot harder to get to know authors when you don't live in the US but talking to them on Twitter or writing mails is almost as good as meeting them (who am I kidding). Talking to the people who wrote some of your favorite books and getting to know them a bit better just feels amazing. 

Feeling like I belong! Being part of the book blogging community made me feel like I finally found the group I belong in. Before blogging, I was the only one in my group of friends who read excessively and even though my mum and aunt read quite a bit too I read a lot more than they did. Becoming part of the book blogging community felt like another part of the puzzle that is me clicked into place.

Monday, February 24, 2014 books

The Secret Diamond Sisters
by Michelle Madow

First sentence:
„You're definitely coming to the movies with us tonight, right?” Savannah's best friend, Evie, asked as Savannah got out of the car.

Savannah. Courtney. Peyton.

The three sisters grew up not knowing their father and not quite catching a break. But it looks like their luck is about to change when they find out the secret identity of their long-lost dad—a billionaire Las Vegas hotel owner who wants them to come live in a gorgeous penthouse hotel suite. Suddenly the Strip's most exclusive clubs are all-access, and with an unlimited credit card each, it should be easier than ever to fit right in. But in a town full of secrets and illusion, fitting in is nothing compared to finding out the truth about their past.

source: Goodreads

My opinion:
I loved Michelle's Remembrance trilogy and was really looking forward to her new series telling the story of three sisters moving to Las Vegas to live with their father they have never met.

The idea behind The Secret Diamond Sisters sounded great – 3 sisters moving from a small town in California, where they had money problems and an alcoholic mother, to Las Vegas to live with their super rich dad who owns a hotel there while their mum is in rehab. I like Michelle's writing style because it feels a bit like someone telling you a story instead of you reading one.

Unfortunately this book did not meet my expectations.

It started out a bit slow and the four alternating narrators (Savannah, Courtney, Peyton – the three Diamond sisters – and Madison – a girl Courtney's age living in Las Vegas) got really confusing sometimes. It was hard to know which girl was telling the story when I took a break in the middle of a chapter and came back, so I had to flip back a few pages to remind me who was talking.

It would be really refreshing if you would find loving and caring parents in some contemporary YA every now and then. I have been thinking for a few days now but couldn’t come up with a YA contemporary novel I read where the main character(s) had loving and caring parents. In Michelle's book the mother is an alcoholic who doesn't really take care of her teenage girl and doesn't even care if the bills are paid and the girls have no idea who their father is but when their mum is sent to rehab they are forced to live with him – a Las Vegas billionaire who was never part of their lives (and the youngest, Savannah, is 15 years old!). Adrian Diamond doesn't think it is necessary to meet his daughters at the airport or at their apartment and during the whole story he only talks to his girls approximately three times mostly concerned that they won’t behave well enough or “bribing” them with credit cards or phones. I had this urge to shake him and tell him to start caring about his daughters for once.

The three sisters are on the one hand confused and taken away from their mum, grandmother and friends and put into a whole new surrounding where no one cares about them and start rebelling, at least Peyton, and on the other hand they quickly (over a day or two) start becoming whole new people and change their whole attitude.

I had huge difficulties identifying or even sympathizing with them. I could relate to Courtney a little bit because she is more quiet and introverted than her sisters and loves to spend her time reading but all in all I couldn't find one character in the whole book that I really liked.

For me the whole story conveyed the stereotypical Las Vegas impressions people have of this city. I expected more from this story and hope that it will improve in the next book of the Secret Diamond Sisters series. 

For more information about Michelle Madow visit her Homepage, her Blog, her Facebook and Twitter pages or read the author interview she did on my blog.

The Secret Diamond Sisters will be published on February, 25th 2014

Thanks to the publisher on Netgalley for the review copy of this book