Friday, April 29, 2011

Review: Darkest Mercy & Congratz to Kate and William!

First off, congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge for their marriage! It was beautiful and I hope they have amazing lives together. I'm totally a fan and the wedding was spectacular. :)

Darkest Mercy (Wicked Lovely)
Author: Melissa Marr
Pages: 336
Publisher: HarperCollins
Other Books in the Series: Wicked LovelyInk ExchangeFragile EternityRadiant Shadows
Source: Library
Synopsis (from Goodreads): The Summer King is missing; the Dark Court is bleeding; and a stranger walks the streets of Huntsdale, his presence signifying the deaths of powerful fey.

Aislinn tends to the Summer Court, searching for her absent king and yearning for Seth. Torn between his new queen and his old love, Keenan works from afar to strengthen his court against the coming war. Donia longs for fiery passion even as she coolly readies the Winter Court for battle. And Seth, sworn brother of the Dark King and heir to the High Queen, is about to make a mistake that could cost his life.

Love, despair, and betrayal ignite the Faery Courts, and in the final conflict, some will win . . . and some will lose everything.

The thrilling conclusion to Melissa Marr's New York Times bestselling Wicked Lovely series will leave readers breathless.

Darkest Mercy is amazing. I don't think I ever cried so much when reading a book. It had so much emotion and it meant so much to me. I love these characters. I'm a part of the Rath (WL fan forum) and I've spent a bit more than a year analyzing their actions. I know them. I don't think I've ever been involved in a book so much and I was scared at how the series would end.

It ended realistically for the characters. It's not the ending I wanted, but it's the ending the characters deserve and I can live with that. That doesn't mean it's an adorable sweet happy ending, it means that what happened was right and true. Everything made sense, even though sometimes it wasn't what I wanted, it was the best choice and I respect that. And I have to admit though the end was satisfying, I want mooorrre.

The characters have all grown. I'm SO proud of some of them. I don't think I can hate any of them (except Bananach *Grr*), even the ones that annoyed me to no ends before. Especially one character went above and beyond. I'll forever love that character.

The plot had many twists and turns. I was always wondering what would happen next and I often got it wrong but not always. I'll say this: Melissa is a strong author. She's not afraid to hurt her characters if they or the plot needs it. And kill she does.

Overall, I'm happy. I feel free after reading this book. It's a classic to me and it has changed me in so many good ways. Darkest Mercy is a classic, a masterpiece and if anyone hasn't read the Wicked Lovely series, they really should. And then they should email me their thoughts.



Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss

Anna and the French Kiss
Author: Stephanie Perkins
Pages: 384
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Source: Library
Synopsis (from Goodreads): 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. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.

As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

What a wonderful book. *sighs* I don't know whether to be happy because I read it or cry because it's over. I've decided instead that everyone must read this book.

I'm a bit late reading this so yeah, I've seen all the positive gushing reviews. This book had huge hype and when I first read it, I wondered why's it so special? The overall storyline is simple. Girl moves to Paris and meets gorgeous boy who she can't have for various reasons. It's not the story but how it's told. In between that story are amazing scenes that hit a little too close to home. Anna and the French Kiss isn't a love story. It's THE love story.

Anna herself is a great character. She loves to review movies and has her own website (kinda like blogging for us booknerds!) and she's devastated to move to Paris. It took her a while to get comfortable with Josh, Rashmi, Mer, and Étienne. Her relationships are true. She acts rashly sometimes but as a reader I'm totally with her. I can relate to her so much. Plus her romance with Étienne isn't love at first sight. It takes time to develop.

God, Étienne. He's not perfect. He makes mistakes, but he's the guy for Anna. He has beautiful hair and I wish I knew a guy like him. The way he loves his mother adorable.

Obviously, Anna and the French Kiss is set in Paris. I loved that! I actually felt like Anna discovering the differences between Americans and Parisians (and Canadians). I felt a bit of Anna's culture shock (but I've been learning French for 5 years now so not as much). Reading about places like Notre Dame was beautiful. I would love to visit Paris.

Overall, Anna and the French Kiss is awesome because of all the small stuff which sum up to a new favourite. I'm not sure at which point I fell in love with the book- it happened so naturally. It's the kind of story that makes you want to live life to the fullest. Anna kept me sane when I was having two of the worst days of my life in a row and for that I'm forever dreadful. 5 stars,


Sunday, April 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (4)

Welcome to another IMM post by yours truly. I've had some great books this week and I'm super excited to share them with you! IMM was created by Kristi from The Story Siren and inspired by Alea from Pop Culture Junkee. These are 10 of the books I got this week.

*all pictures link to Amazon

Before I FallBree's FireChimeEvercrossed (Kissed By An Angel)The Hunt of the UnicornInfinity: Chronicles of NickLies: A Gone NovelRoses and Bones: Myths, Tales, and Secrets (Bind Up)The Clique #14: A Tale of Two Pretties (Clique Series)

For review: 
The Lens and the Looker: Book #1 of the Verona Series

Thanks to Lory Kaufman and The Fiction Studio! ☻

That's all for this week. Needless to say I'm super excited right now. It's your turn: what did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Review: Life on Hold

Quick note, this is my 101th post! This book blogging thing is so much fun and when I started I wondered if I would stick with it. The answer's YES. Yes I will. Thanks to the support of everyone following. The fact that what I say matters is mindblowingly awesome. ☺♥

Life On Hold
Author: Karen McQuestion
Pages: 168
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Source: Free copy in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis (from Amazon): Fifteen-year-old Rae Maddox just wants to stay in one place like everyone else, but there’s no chance of that happening—not with a free-spirited mother who thrives on cross-country moves. When the two of them land in Wisconsin sophomore year, things are off to a great start: her mom promises they’ll stay until graduation, Rae makes two good friends and finally gets a chance at love. Her newfound happiness is jeopardized when the vice-principal at the high school pairs her with Allison Daly, a new girl with a bad attitude. As Allison’s secrets unravel, and Rae’s mother gets involved, Rae is forced to take charge of her own life or risk losing everything important to her.

Life on Hold is the story of Rae, a cool sophomore in high school who's family never stays anywhere for more than a year because of her mother, Gina. Gina finds moving an adventure but Rae craves stability. It's also the story of Allison, a new girl at Rae's school that Rae has to show around and help assimilate. Allison has gone through a hard time and the principal is depending on Rae to make sure everything works out for her.

Rae's a pretty normal girl. She moves around a lot but that way she learns to quickly make friends. She loves her mother Gina but she wishes her mother would stop moving around. She gets along with most people and is all around a good, normal kid. I can easily imagine Rae as a teenager at my school.

One of the most amazing things about Life on Hold was that somehow I ended up feeling everything Rae felt. When she was annoyed, I was too. When she was happy, I was happy. When she loved and hated something I completely agreed with her. It was very easy to be pulled into her life.

I loved that this story was readable. Once starting I was completely immersed in the story and Rae's situation. Karen's writing is easy to read and her world is complicated but light. Rae's story felt real but also entertaining enough to read.

My one problem with Life on Hold was that sometimes I didn't feel much for the other characters, Allison for example in most of the book. (The end made me think otherwise.) I felt disconnected and that could be a personal problem but it prevented me from loving the story.

Overall, a nice real read. Life on Hold teaches you the importance of small, little actions and the impact they can make on someone's life. I liked it so I'm giving it 3 stars,


Friday, April 22, 2011

Follow Friday and the Book Blogger Hop

Every Friday, bloggers get together to say hi and visit new blogs. This is called hopping and I participate in two of these hops. 

Follow Friday is hosted at Parajunkee's View and it's basically about following and returning follows and discovering new blogs. This week's feature is Cait from The Cait Files. I'm an old follower of hers and she and her blog is awesome so be sure to check it out! Now for the question:

What is your current playlist right now?

I'm in no way a music snob. I listen to radio music and all I ask for music is entertainment. Music isn't my life, books are so I don't know many bands. Anyway in no particular order...

1. Hold it Against Me, Britney Spears
2. ET, Katy Perry
3. Blow, Kesha
4. More, Usher
5. S&M, Rihanna
6. On the Floor, Jennifer Lopez and Pitbull
7. What the Hell, Avril Lavigne
8. Tonight, Enrique Iglesias
9. Born This Way, Lady Gaga

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is hosted at Crazy for Books. Her description of it is... "In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!"

This week's question is: 

If you find a book you love, do you hunt down other books by the same author?

Yes! Definitely, if there's an author who's book I love I'll look for more books by them. Though I might not read all of them (it depends on the amount of love) but I'll look. I love loving books so if an author does something I love, they might do it again. 

To all new visitors, welcome! To older followers, welcome back! Feel free to look around and I hope you're all having an awesome week and hop. Please leave a comment and I'll be sure to visit you too. Have a great week! 

Psst, don't forget to vote for your favourite cover on the poll at the right!

Cover War! Supernaturally vs. Starcrossed

Cover wars is a fun little (peaceful) feature that I like to do here at Tantalizing Illusions. It's all about the gorgeous covers of to-be-released books. Basically, every week there will be two book covers, the previous champion and the challenger. There's a poll up at the side and all you need to do is vote for your favourite cover. Why do I do this? I love pretty things and I'm interested in seeing which cover people enjoy more.

Hades vs. Supernaturally was last week's challenge and Hades lost by one vote to Supernaturally. VERY close, right? Before I continue, I'd like to mention that I noticed Hades has a new cover on Goodreads, so what do you think of that?

Hades (Halo, #2)

I personally love it. Much darker than the other one and it's so pretty! Makes me ten times more excited to read it!

Anyway, to this week's War...
Supernaturally (Paranormalcy, #2)vs. Starcrossed (Starcrossed, #1)

They're both so pretty and I'm loving the dresses flowing in the wind? What's your favourite? VOTE NOW! :)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Spotlight on... Melissa de la Cruz!

I was looking around and thought it was time for another spotlight post. I was browsing through my books and I noticed I've read many books by Melissa de la Cruz. She has many books coming up and is an author with amazing range. For all of you new to Tantalizing Illusions, Spotlight on is a feature where I basically gush about one author/cover/theme, etc. It's also a great way to get information on your favourite authors and  to see what I've read and loved in the past.

Melissa de la Cruz

Melissa de la Cruz is the New York Times and USA Today best-selling author of many critically acclaimed and award-winning novels for teens including The Au Pairs series, the Blue Bloods series, the Ashleys series, the Angels on Sunset Boulevard series and the semi-autobiographical novel Fresh off the Boat. 

She has worked as a fashion and beauty editor and has written for many publications including The New York Times, Marie Claire, Harper’s Bazaar, Glamour, Cosmopolitan, Allure, The San Francisco Chronicle, McSweeney’s, Teen Vogue, CosmoGirl! and Seventeen. She has also appeared as an expert on fashion, trends and fame for CNN, E! and FoxNews. 

Melissa grew up in Manila and moved to San Francisco with her family, where she graduated high school salutatorian from The Convent of the Sacred Heart. She majored in art history and English at Columbia University (and minored in nightclubs and shopping!). 

She now divides her time between New York and Los Angeles, where she lives in the Hollywood Hills with her husband and daughter. 

Bio courtesy of Goodreads

Melissa's Website
Melissa's Twitter

Books by Melissa de la Cruz:
The Blue Bloods Series
Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, Book 1)Masquerade (Blue Bloods, Book 2)Revelations (Blue Blood, Book 3) (Blue Bloods Novel)The Van Alen Legacy (Blue Bloods, Book 4)Misguided Angel (Blue Bloods, Book 5)Lost In Time (A Blue Bloods Novel)
(lost in time hasn't been released yet)
Bloody Valentine (A Blue Bloods Book) (Blue Bloods Novel)
Keys to the Repository
(a kind of guide book with more information on the world of Blue Bloods)
The Au Pairs series:
The Au PairsSkinny-dipping (Au Pairs)Sun-kissed (Au Pairs)Crazy Hot (Au Pairs)
The Ashleys series:
There's a New Name in School (The Ashleys, Book 1)Jealous? (The Ashleys, Book 2)Birthday Vicious (The Ashleys, Book 3)Lip Gloss Jungle (Ashleys)
Angels on Sunset Boulevard series:

Angels on Sunset Boulevard The second novel is called Angels Lie but I couldn't find the cover. It was released in 2009
Wolf Pact series:
Wolf Pact, being published in 2012, no cover yet. This series follows Bliss from Blue Bloods.
The Beauchamp Family series:
Witches of East End (The Beauchamp Family)
(this is an adult level book to be released on June 21 2011)

Melissa de la Cruz has written more books but they are adult books so I chose not to include them. For a full list of all her books, click here.

I've started many of her books- Blue Bloods (which I've read all of except Bloody Valentine which is on my shelf), The Ashley's (book 1), Angels on Sunset Boulevard (book 1) and it's apparent to me that Melissa is a very fluent and varied writer. She can write about any character realistically. Her books do tend to have a bit of glamour in them and she does that with a flair. Every story is different and every character, even the annoying mean girl has weaknesses. Her books are addictive and easy to read. Once you start them you're trapped in that world and will constantly be awaiting the next book in the series. She's written many books and I plan on reading as many of them as I can get my hand on.

Have you read a book by Melissa de la Cruz? What did you think of it?
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