Book Review · Books

The Princess Plan by Julia London [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★

I received The Princess Plan by Julia London from the amazing team at Mills & Boon. This is the first book in the series A Royal Wedding. 

Historical romances are a hit or miss for me, and this one didn’t really hit the mark like I wanted it to. Prince Sebastian of Alucia is on his visit in London, when his personal secretary is murdered. 

And a murder such as this one creates a very big buzz in London’s high society. When a scandal like this occurs, it’s all anyone talks about, including Eliza Trickelbank, who happens to own a gossip gazette. 

When her gazette receives an anonymous tip off about this crime, Prince Sebastian has no choice, but to work with her in order to solve the mystery of his friend’s murder. 

With a trade deal on the line and a pressure to find a noble bride, there is nothing more dangerous than a prince socialising with a commoner. They can’t seem to agree on anything, and find each other frustrating, but the temptation between them becomes harder and harder to be ignored. 

My Thoughts:

I loved the Cinderella vibe around this book, and the trope of prince meets commoner. I also enjoyed the trope of enemies becoming lovers. Even though, in this case, it was more of a forbidden temptation meets annoyance that turns into affection. 

I liked Sebastian as much as I disliked Eliza. Everything that annoyed me about her, he somehow managed to compensate for. She was trying very hard to be independent, but instead, she gave up a vibe that was almost unbearable and very insecure. With Sebastian I loved the dilemma between country vs heart, which I assume many nobles, especially during that time in England felt. I am sure that many of them sacrificed their love just to do right by their country. 

I found the gazette excerpts quite funny at times, and very enlightening. They take you into a whole new world, where you feel as if you’re there, getting ready for a ball, or reading about the latest gossip of the nobles. The writing style matches the time setting perfectly. I think Julia London did an amazing job when it comes to that. Here is an excerpt that really made me giggle: 

“New information suggests that if a lady wishes to enjoy a romp without consequence, trotting a horse briskly the day after the romp should remove said consequence.”

To conclude, I enjoyed The Princess Plan, but it wasn’t a favorite.

The writing was beautiful and I am sure this will be a favorite for people that love historical romances. The only reason I didn’t love it is because of Eliza’s character and the tropes that I have already seen before. 

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Book Review · Books

Dear John by Nicholas Sparks [BOOK REVIEW]

★★★★

Nicholas Sparks is my “go-to” author, when it comes to romance. Or when it comes to not-happy-ever-after and I want to cry. It’s a gamble when I pick one of his books, never knowing whether the couple will stay together. But one thing always happens – I do cry. Every single time. Dear John was nothing different. A love story between a US Army Soldier who comes home for a break and a girl he meets in his hometown, who’s there for a volunteering project over the summer. 

Savannah is so different from the other girls, so caring and so generous in everything she does. And when they meet with John, it is love at first sight. They spend an amazing time together, but then 9/11 happens and John feels the responsibility to re-enlist. And this long separation makes Savannah fall in love with someone else.

Dear John is one of those books that always makes me cry, and always leaves me with a pain in my heart, as if I have suffered all the pain. It is very emotional and real to the core. After I finished it this time around, I just wanted to consume all the pain John felt and lessen his burden. There is something about his character that makes me care so much.

“What does it mean to truly love another?”

Dear John covers a lot of important topics that are still relevant, even today.

For example, how re-enlisting in the army is expected, and is considered a duty, rather than a choice. When it seems like it’s a choice, but if you choose “wrongly” it’s frowned upon – I don’t consider that free will. And from experience, leaving the army is probably the biggest labyrinth of administration ever made.

Another topic that I greatly appreciated in Dear John was the subject of autism. John has a very troublesome relationship with her father due to this, and not knowing of his dad’s situation, he reacts in a certain way. And I love how Savannah is there to support him, and bond with his dad as well. I loved his hobby – coin collecting. As a stamp collector, I know how much joy there is in finding something rare, and finally completing a set. I was very sad about the outcome on this particular topic, but it is what it is. 

Savannah – I will never understand why she made the decisions that she did. I know that she made the mistake, and I think every reader knows it. Which is why this book hurts the way it does. It pains me to the core, because I know it is true love, but they are just never meant to be. And that last chapter says everything. 

And John. Dear John.

My heart goes to him, for everything he goes through. His pain is too much to handle, and I will always remember him as the sad hero that was never able to be with his true love. 

“And when her lips met mine, I knew that I could live to be a hundred and visit every country in the world, but nothing would ever compare to that single moment when I first kissed the girl of my dreams and knew that my love would last forever.”

I want to say that I recommend it to you all, but I know it will make you cry. I’m not recommending this because it will make you sad. I am recommending this for the experience. And for all the never-after loves.

Read my review of Nights in Rodanthe by Nicholas Sparks.

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek [BLOG TOUR]

the high moments sara-ella ozbek blog tour fashion simon  & schuster blog diary of difference

★★★★

I am very excited to be part of the Instagram Tour for The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek. Thank you to Kaleidoscopic Book Tours for this amazing opportunity, and for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. 

The High Moments is a book about Scarlett.

She’s not perfect and she has a very tricky relationship with her mother. All she wants is to be successful and for people to like her. 

She is one of those people that make goals on New Year’s Eve, and then reflect back one year later, just to realise that nothing has changed. But one day, she does decide it’s time for a change. So she moves to London. She doesn’t have a particular plan, but she does want to be a designer. 

She ends up getting a job at a modeling agency with a very low salary. But the fashion industry is the worst place you can go to, if you are willing to change yourself, just to appeal to others. 

Which is something Scarlett, obviously, does. 

She makes friends that aren’t that real. She hands out with the wrong crowd. And she sleeps with men she shouldn’t. She takes drugs. She consumes alcohol. Way more than she is supposed to. But at least people start to recognise her. They invite her to parties she could only have dreamed of. Surely that can’t be all that bad? Well – it is. 

And she doesn’t really learn from it, until it’s way too late. 

This book was compared to The Devil Wears Prada, and I don’t agree with that comparison. The Devil Wears Prada is a gem, and the first of its kind, so it shouldn’t be a very easy story to compare. Just because this book follows a woman that works in a very fast paced fashion industry it doesn’t mean comparisons should be thrown left right and center. 

Additionally, Scarlett is a very insecure person. And despite her goal in design, she doesn’t show a lot of determination. She seemed to care way more about her parties, than to be good at her job and get promoted in her career. But I think that her immaturity comes with her age, and the story was captured in a time when she still needed to experience everything and grow. Which she does, at the very end of the book, even though it’s a slow start. 

Aside from this, I really enjoyed the book, and it only took me one day to finish it. I was very invested and entertained, and I have only praise for that. The scenes were very realistic and the characters were very real. The plot was predictable, but I expected that. Every time Scarlett would make a bad decision, I knew it would come back to bite her. And I also knew she would learn to grow from all the mistakes she made – which she does. And that pleases me. 

“Everyone always wonders how good people can do terrible things, but bad behaviour is the easiest thing in the world, really. You just don’t think about it.”

If you love fast-paced books, filled with humour and fashion, I promise you will enjoy The High Moments by Sara-Ella Ozbek. It will lift your spirits and make you giggle. And on top of that, it will make you discuss Scarlett’s choices in life with your best friend. What more do you want in a book? 🙂

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Blog Tour · Book Review · Books

Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh [BLOG TOUR]

★★★★

Thank you to Mills & Boon, for sending me a copy of Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh, and for the opportunity to participate on this blog tour. 

Would I Lie to the Duke by Eva Leigh is the second book in the Union of the Rakes series. It can be easily read as a standalone though.

Synopsis:

This is the story of Jessica McGale. Her family business is in need of investors, after it collapses due to a fire. Jessica is determined to acquire investors for her business at any cost. When she realises that London’s elite will never give a chance to a humble farm girl like herself, she does the unthinkable. She poses as “Lady Whitfield” and joins the elite on the table. She especially tries to get close to the Duke of Rotherby, as his influence and support could save her company. But one thing Jess never expected to happen, is to grow feelings for him. 

Noel is the carefree and notorious duke, but only his close friends truly know him. When he meets Lady Whitfield at the business bazaar, his world shifts. She makes him want to obey every command she tells, which is something he never imagined doing. He struggles to trust people, but trusting Jess is so easy. 

But what happens when the business bazaar is over, and so is the fake portrayal of Lady Whitfield? How do you cope when someone has lied to you, but you want them in your life forever? Read this amazing book to find out! 

My Thoughts:

I was so hooked about this book, and I finished it in two days. While the plot is a bit predictable and it has a Cinderella vibe to it, I still enjoyed it a lot. 

I could completely understand where Jess was coming from, and in order to save her business, I don’t think there were any other options, given how much rejection she faced in the first chapters. But as soon as she started developing feelings, she should’ve been honest with Noel. The person in me felt uncomfortable for her every single time she would deliberately put herself in an awkward situation and not tell the truth when she had a chance to. And the business trip to the farm? Oh, that got me biting my nails again. I also understand that continuing with the deception was a crucial part of the plot, to produce the drama that it did, but I am just not a fan of dishonesty. 

Noel was an amazing character, even though, at times, he seemed like the typical rich boy.

I loved the way his relationship with Jess progressed during the couple of days, and how he started opening up. Honestly, I didn’t believe it at first, given that it was based on a lie. I thought that given the fact how much trust issues he had, he could never get past her betrayal. And for me, his way of coping and resolving the issue didn’t fit with his character. I have the feeling that people who are lucky enough to have a high income and live in the elite societies are much more wary of “gold diggers”, and everything Jess does (even though for a good reason), seems to be for her business. So I wouldn’t have blamed him if he reacted in a way more different way and just told her to “bugger off”.

Overall, I enjoyed Would I Lie to the Duke and it was a very pleasurable short read to get me away from reality. I don’t always dive into historical romance, and this was a surprising change that ended on a positive note. Honestly, I am glad that it sparks a debate in my mind and makes me think of “what I would have done” on either side of the relationship. I would have acted very differently. And maybe that’s the reason I’m not married to a duke (yet). 😀 

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Books · Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday: Books I Want To Read Based on the Cover

Hello, lovely people!
For all of you who don’t know what Top Ten Tuesday is, or don’t know how to get involved, click here.

I have to admit – I love this Top Ten Tuesday prompt. There has always been that time when you see a cover of a book, and you immediately pick it up, or add it to your Goodreads list, without even checking the synopsis. It has happened to me many times. Even though I always try to choose my books carefully, there are always those times when I just can’t resist.

1. Furyborn by Claire Legrand

From the moment I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. The cover is so beautiful and symmetrical. It has red and gold. It has a crown and a sword. And I don’t need to know anything else. My copy of this book also contains deckled edges, which is part of a very fun blog post I did recently, where I try to find books for a challenge. Check it out here.

2. The Illustrated Child by Polly Crosby

I love the art on this cover. The pink paint scattered behind the title. And the girl with the red hair that appears to be carefree and happy. It gives me good vibes, and I like it.

3. Wonderland by Juno Dawson

The neon style captured my attention straight away. Then, the rabbit reminded me of Playboy – I won’t lie. So I was intrigued. And then I read the title – which instantly corrected me that it was something to do with Alice in Wonderland. And I was sold.

4. The Flight by Julie Clark

I have a thing for planes and deserted islands. Perhaps I think it all started with the series “Lost”. I am the person that will watch plane crashes one hour before boarding a plane. That person that listens to plane crash podcasts – it’s me. So, unsurprisingly, when I spotted a plane and a beach, I had to request it from NetGalley.

5. Feathertide by Beth Cartwright

I love reading about the sea, and I love mermaids. I think this cover is beautiful and very artistic, and I couldn’t resist to add it to my TBR.

6. A Deadly Education by Naomi Novik

The orange and brown combination, and the simplicity, but accuracy of the design is something I can’t resist. I immediately knew it was to do with magic, and I am ready. I will be reading A Deadly Education at the end of the month.

7. Wicked Like a Wildfire by Lana Popović

I mean – just look at that cover! It’s so beautiful. Need I say more?

8. The Bear and the Nightingale by Katherine Arden

The winter theme, the lovely warm cottage and the artistic style immediately gave it away for me that this is a Russian setting. And being Slavic, this theme is very familiar to me, and I am always drawn to it.

9. These Witches Don’t Burn by Isabel Sterling

Witchcraft, spiritual things, tarot reading are things I enjoy in my own time, for just myself, as it helps me relaxes and find my inner peace. When I saw this cover, I was immediately intrigued and interested.

10. Sea Witch by Sarah Henning

Sea, witches, possibly mermaids? Yes, please? The illustration is fantastic and I can already sense danger and mystery. Of all the books listed, I thing this one may be the one I am most excited to read.

And there we have them – the Top Ten Tuesday books I want to read, only based on the cover. I didn’t include their synopsis on purpose, because they might appeal to you as well based on just the cover. And if they intrigue you enough to search for them, maybe they should be your next read too. 🙂

Let me know in the comments some of the books you want to read based on the cover, or if you have read any of the books I mentioned above. And if you could choose one to read, which one would it be? If you have your own Top Ten Tuesday post, let me know – I would love to check it out!

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