Review: Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn

Tokyo Heist by Diana Renn
Published: Viking Children’s Books (Penguin)
Released: June 14, 2012
Source: Purchased

This was a fun read, especially while on vacation. I love Japan and almost anything to do with Japan, though I’ve never once visited. I’ve been looking forward to reading this book ever since I discovered it a couple months ago, and I was not disappointed.
I always love these whodunit mysteries that always leave you guessing. You think it’s character A because it’s so obviously character A, and yet you question your guess because that’s TOO obvious. I’m always unsure of my guesses because of this, and maybe that just highlights a character flaw about myself, but I can’t be the only one like that. Everytime Violet latched on to a new suspect I was like OF COURSE! How could it not be them?! Only to find out, well yeah that’s why it couldn’t have been them… Some people might get frustrated with those kinds of stories but I love them. In the end I wasn’t really all that surprised by one of the involved suspects, but I was just a touch disappointed because I’d liked what we see early on of that character.
Violet has to be one of my favorite characters of all time. She’s just so real. Bursting with ideas, but also the insecurity that virtually everyone deals with at that age. She’s very creative and artistic. I love how she’s drawing her own manga and using that as an outlet for figuring out her ideas on the case. I also love how she uses kimono fabrics to create scarves. Absolutely adore that. All the secondary characters are great as well, and I would have liked to have seen more of Edge, even though romance isn’t really the focus of the book. I’m just a romantic, what can I say? The only thing that marred this book in any way for me was how readily the FBI were taking tips from a teen. That seems a tad bit unrealistic, but then again what do I know? Anything is possible.

Bout of Books 5.0

Time Devoted to Reading
I will be reading every day, and since I’m not working full time this week that will give me more reading time! I also plan to try for two books a day on the two days off I have from work, so hopefully I can do that.

Books to Read

  • A Blue so Dark by Holly Schindler
  • Circle of Silence by Carol M. Tanzman
  • Goddess Interrupted by Aimee Carter
  • On a Dark Wing by Jordan Dane
  • Girl of Nightmares by Kendare Blake
  • Wake by Amanda Hocking
  • Lightbringer by K.D. McEntire
  • Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson

Additional books to choose from in case I finish all of those or I’m not in the mood for them will include:

  • Speechless by Hannah Harrington
  • Embers and Echoes by Karsten Knight
  • Crave by Melissa Darnell
  • The Mephisto Kiss by Trinity Faegen


Currently reading: Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight
Number of books I’ve read today: 0
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Currently reading: Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Number of books I’ve read today: 0
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Currently reading: Embers & Echoes by Karsten Knight
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
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Total number of books I’ve read:


Number of books I’ve read today:
Total number of books I’ve read:


Number of books I’ve read today:
Total number of books I’ve read:


Number of books I’ve read today:
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Number of books I’ve read today:
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Review: Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Release date: June 12, 2012
Source: Purchased
Series: Flirting in Italian #1

I could not put this book down. I was in love with Flirting in Italian.Years ago I took a People to People student ambassador trip to three European countries, and Italy was one of them. This book makes me want to go back so much.
Lauren Henderson does a great job of writing young sexy Italian men. I couldn’t get enough of Luca. Especially the interactions between Luca and Violet. There was insta-attraction, which I think is better than insta-love. And it felt realistic since every time Violet is talking to herself in her mind about Luca, it was the exact same way I’ve done with boys I was into in the past. If for nothing else, read this book because of Luca. He’s too sexy a character to pass up.
The other characters in this book were done well too. I liked how it seemed the four girls might not get along at first, and were then given a common enemy. It would’ve been nice to explore why Elisa is the way she is though, and maybe see all of them start to get along, but that could happen in the next book. I was surprised at what was revealed about Catia, Elisa’s mom. Scenes with Leonardo and Andrea were few, but they were fun ones to read and I hope to see more of those two.
The story was great. Except for a few too many inner dialogues for Violet, the story moves along nicely and is well written. The only thing I was disappointed about was not learning more about Violet and that painting of the girl she looks like. But from the way the book ends it looks like that will explored in the next one, so it wasn’t a huge issue. Especially since there were plenty of sexy Italian boys.
Flirting in Italian is a fantastic summer read and will definitely make you want to go to Italy for your own adventure. I cannot wait to get my hands on the next book coming out in 2013.

In My Mailbox {52}

This is a small amount of books for me to amass over the last few weeks, but I’m trying to hold back since I’ll be going to Portland in 2 weeks. I’ll get to visit my favorite bookstore Powell’s City of Books! I already have a gift card from my birthday in April I’ve been saving, plus some books I’ll be selling. Can’t wait for that. So I probably won’t have another IMM until August. On to the books.

Flirting in Italian by Lauren Henderson
Arise by Tara Hudson
Dreamless by Josephine Angelini
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund {my review}
The Lost Code by Kevin Emerson
Rapture by Lauren Kate
Awake at Dawn by C.C. Hunter
Taken at Dusk by C.C. Hunter


Guys, I usually hate doing these kinds of posts, but I’m doing one now, just because you the readers deserve to know what’s going on. I’ve been given more responsibility at work the last two months while the department manager was out on medical leave (I work in a grocery store produce department), so I was one of two acting managers for the department. But now she’s back and there’s more to do than ever, especially this week with the fourth. Also add in the fact that today is day five of giving up soda, so my caffeine intake is drastically reduced. It’s been leaving me so tired that I’ve been able to do very little reading for the last week or so, except for some manga. Manga is definitely not hard to read, even when you’re tired. I know I was supposed to have a couple posts up the last few days, and I apologize profusely for failing in that. Reviews for those books will still go up. I’m just sorry that they’ll be late.

Since this week is going to be such a busy week, I’m going to not worry about blogging this week. But I will be back on Sunday first thing and hopefully can get into the swing of things again.

The World of Downton Abbey by Jessica Fellowes

This is less a review and more of a gushing post, over this book as well as the series in general. I discovered Downton Abbey around November 2011, if I’m recalling correctly, and stayed up well into the night watching the first five episodes of season 1 on Netflix. I love everything about this show, especially that opening music. I always get a thrill when the opening first comes on, even though I’ve watched both seasons multiple times now. The World of Downton Abbey was released in December from St Martin’s Press, but I didn’t pick it up until after season 2 had finished airing on Masterpiece Classic.
What’s nice about this book is that it isn’t just about the show of Downton Abbey. It talks about the real world of this time that Downton’s based on, and gives information from actual butlers and maids, as well as information from the higher class. It covers 9 areas of interest: family life, society, change, life in service, style, house & estate, romance, war, and then a behind the scenes look at the cast and crew of Downton Abbey. I’d have to say my least favorite chapter was the war chapter, because war has never been one of my interests. I have a three way tie for my favorite chapter between society, life in service, and house & estate. It’s fascinating to read about the division of classes, the give and take between them. Especially interesting was those who work in service. Nowadays it seems like you’re looked down upon if you have work like a maid or something similar, but then it was considered the best kind of work you could have. And then, as now, you were lucky to have a job at all.
English nobility has always been a fascination of mine, mostly stemming from what we see of them in Jane Austen’s novels. I love seeing how they change over the years, and also seeing how little they really do change. Sometimes it seems as though mostly the only change is in fashion, but that’s not entirely it. Ideas and what’s commonly accepted also shift gradually over the years. In Jane Austen’s time I doubt it would’ve been at all acceptable for a woman like Lady Sybil to marry the chauffeur. While in Lady Sybil’s time it is possible. Still not excepted totally, but with the war bringing change it’s not as outlandish as it once would have been.
Reading The World of Downton Abbey has only rekindled my passion for this series, and has made me want to look for similar things to watch and read while waiting for season 3. Another similar movie would be Glorious 39, set during World War II, about a family much like the Crawley’s. It’s more of a mystery, but was definitely enjoyable. Novels that I’ve been acquiring to read include The House at Riverton by Kate Morton, The House at Tyneford by Natasha Solomons. Nonfiction books that I’ve gotten to read include To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl and Carol MdD. Wallace, and Lady Almina and the Real Downton Abbey: The Lost Legacy of Highclere Castle by the Countess of Carnarvon. The former served as inspiration for Downton, and the latter will be highly interesting since it’s the history of the location of Downton Abbey. I can’t wait to dig into all of these.
If you love Downton Abbey as much as me and many many others, I definitely suggest getting The World of Downton Abbey. Chock full of fascinating information about the show itself and the history of the time it’s set in, and the people, you’re sure to enjoy this. A perfect way to pass the time until season 3 comes early next year.

Review: For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund

For Darkness Shows the Stars by Diana Peterfreund
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Release date: June 12, 2012
Source: Purchased

The only book by Jane Austen that I’ve actually read was Pride and Prejudice, after watching the A&E version with Colin Firth in fifth grade, so it was so long ago I don’t even compare anymore. With Persuasion, obviously I’ve never read the book, but I’ve seen the movie starring Ciaran Hinds, so there were comparisons between that and For Darkness Shows the Stars. Thankfully not many, since this book holds it’s own and only draws inspiration, and doesn’t copy. 
Overall I liked all the characters very much. The captains were interesting, as were the admiral and his wife. I would say that I would’ve liked to have seen the admiral, but we didn’t get much exposure of him throughout the story. He took a backseat to his wife and captains. I was very impressed by Elliot’s sister Tatiana, and definitely less so with the father and cousin Benedict of course. There were times when Elliot seemed extremely dense, more so than the story really required, and that was frustrating at times, especially when things are being spoken of quite clearly by the other party.
The story itself was very interesting. I would have liked more details about the world itself and not just the divide between the Reduced and the Luddites. More explanation about the Reduction would’ve been nice, and how the Reduction led to the Reduced besides humanity being arrogant. The one thing I felt weird about while reading was that they were made to seem as though they weren’t actually human, and that just didn’t sit well with me. It seemed like more than just them being from different social classes. Like slavery, but worse in a way, if that makes any sense at all. That was the only thing I didn’t like.
All in all, this was definitely one of my most anticipated novels of this year, just because it was inspired by a work of Jane Austen’s. I was definitely not disappointed with the overall book and would recommend it to those who love post-apocalyptic and dystopians combined, as well as fans of anything Austen related.

Cover Reveal: Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi

I have Shatter Me, but I haven’t read it yet. Though if they redo the cover for the paperback release to match today’s cover reveal for book two, I might have just wait until I can get the paperback copy! Unravel Me is a stunning cover! No synopsis as of yet, on Goodreads at least. Releases February 5, 2013 from Harper Teen!

Waiting on Wednesday {25} The Summer Prince

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine, showcasing an upcoming release that you’re looking forward to. Here’s mine for this week! Link leads to its Good Reads page.

This book just sounds absolutely amazing. Jungle with technology that’s greater than what we have today. Futuristic books are always fun to read. I cannot wait to get my hands on this one, I’d probably devour it in one day.

The Summer Prince by Alaya Dawn Johnson
Publisher: Scholastic
Release date: March 2013

Four hundred years ago, the world ended. And now, on the coast of what was once called Brazil, women rule in the legendary pyramid city of Palmares Três. The city’s Queen only cedes her power to a man once every five years — to a Summer King, whose story will grip the city like a fever.

For June Costa, art is everything. Her brilliant creations — from murals and holograms to a delicate pattern of lights in her skin — have impressed (and irritated) her classmates and teachers alike. Her dream is to win the prestigious Queen’s Award, and the instant fame and success that come with it. It’s a dream she never questions — until she meets Enki. Enki, the newly-elected Summer King, is the hottest thing in Palmares Três. But when June sees Enki, she sees more than piercing amber eyes and a lethal samba: She sees a fellow artist.

Together, June and Enki will create art that Palmares Três will never forget. They will add fuel to a growing rebellion against the government’s strict limits on new tech. And June will fall deeply, tragically in love with Enki.

Because like all Summer Kings before him, Enki is destined to die.