Merry Christmas!

Hi Everyone!
I wish Merry Christmas to everyone who celebrates and to those who don’t, I still wish beautiful time and all the happiness!

I hope you’ll get to spend these Holidays surrounded with people that are dear to you!

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P.S. There won’t be any new posts on Book Dust Magic next week. I decided to take a week long break to keep up with everyone’s blogs I didn’t have a chance to visit for the past few days, and to spend the rest of the time with my friends and family.

 
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Book Review: The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas by Carole Matthews

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Title: The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas
Series: Chocolate Lovers’ Club (#3)
Author: Carole Matthews
Publisher: Sphere
Date: October 22nd, 2015
Pages: 496
Format: Paperback
Source: purchased

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): Christmas is just around the corner but the women of The Chocolate Lovers’ Club have more to worry about than present shopping . . .

Lucy loves running Chocolate Heaven but she hasn’t spent time with her boyfriend, Aiden, in weeks. And then her ex-fiance turns up and things become even more complicated.

Nadia hasn’t let herself get close to a man in a long time, yet she can’t help feeling drawn to Jacob. Will he be her last chance for a happy ending?

Chantal and her husband, Ted, are besotted with their baby daughter Lana – but she’s not sure that’s enough to base a marriage on.

Autumn is dealing with a tragedy that has hit too close to home. But when she doesn’t get the support she needs from her fiance, will she look elsewhere for comfort?

Can friendship overcome all in . . . The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas.

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Review:

If you’re into chick lit, you’re probably familiar with an author Carole Matthews.
She’s one of the most known writers of women’s fiction, with (I think) 30 novels written.
Also, her stories always come within the most adorable covers, so it’s hard not to pay attention to her work.

Being devoted reader of women’s fiction, I wanted to read her work for the longest time.
After few years of putting it off, I decided it was about time to finally grab one of those gorgeous paperbacks and start reading (plus TBD bargain section helped me to decide which one to choose).

The Chocolate Lovers’ Club is the third book in the series but it can be read as standalone.
However, if you want to read this book, I encourage you to read previous books first.
The reason why is because so many things happened in the first two books and, although an author mentioned them through the story and tried her best to keep new readers on track, I think that if I’d read the series in order, I would understand the characters better.

The story follows four women who are best friends whose love for chocolate connected them.
As the author herself said it in her letter to readers at the end of the book, the reason why she wrote this series is to show how women can be there for each other without judging one another.

I understand where she was coming from and I can say she solidly succeeded in her goal, but yet these women were so much different from where I come from, that even though I tried to go with an open mind into this story, at times it was really hard for me to understand them.
There is no girl code (one woman was one’s guy mistress and now her friend is dating him), with questionable morals (cheating and not knowing who your baby’s father is) and easy to fogive approach (becoming fast friend with your husband’s ex mistress who has his child (who’s by the way the same age as yours)).
If you’re a type of reader who avoids all of the above in their books, maybe this book is not for you.

The writing style is really, really good. I’d say it is the best part of this piece. Carole Matthews uses her words in a way that makes you fly through the story. That only is enough reason for me to want to read more of her work.

However, I wasn’t the biggest fan of how this book was concepted.
It follows four POVs, one of them (Lucy’s) written in first person and others all written in third person.
To be honest, I still don’t understand why Matthews chose to write her book that way.
For a really short period it gave me that Sex and the City vibe, in which Carrie tells the story, but then I realized that in those chapters that were written in third person when Lucy was mentioned, she was being Lucy, and not the person who tells the story, so that’s what confused me.

And while we’re talking about Sex and the City, I can say The Chocolate Lover’s Christmas is like a lighter version of it, only set in London and without parties.
Even some scenes reminded me of ones from that show. They would be amazing, if only they were original.

Overall, The Chocolate Lovers’ Christmas is a quick read perfect to put you into the festive mood, but if you don’t like not-so-smart protagonists nor promiscuity, you probably won’t like this novel either.

3

Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop

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Welcome to Midwinter’s Eve Giveaway Hop, hosted by BookHounds.

In this giveaway, I am giving you a chance to win any book for 15 US$ or less, from The Book Depository.
You can choose one or more books, as long as you stick to a budget.

The giveaway is international as long as TBD ships to your country.

If for some reason TBD do not ship to your country, you can choose kindle ebooks for the same amount of money (US Amazon because that’s the only one I can purchase ebooks for others from).

After you enter this giveaway, don’t forget to visit other blogs for more giveaways.

 

You can enter here:

a Rafflecopter giveaway
https://widget-prime.rafflecopter.com/launch.js

DISCLAIMER:

  • This giveaway is international as long as The Book Depository ships to your country.
  • You must be 18+ old to enter or have your parent’s permission to enter (because I’ll need to ask you to give me your address so I could send the book to you).
  • I am not responsible for the shipment, but am responsible to order a book on time (The Book Depository is responsible to deliver you a book on time and in a good condition).
  • Once chosen, winner will be emailed and will have 48 hours to reply, otherwise another person will be chosen as a winner
  • NO CHEATING! Cheaters will be disqualified

Good Luck!🙂
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Early Book Review: A List of Cages by Robin Roe (Buddy Read)

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Title: AList of Cages
Author: Robin Roe
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Date: January 10th, 2017
Pages: 320
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads): When Adam Blake lands the best elective ever in his senior year, serving as an aide to the school psychologist, he thinks he’s got it made. Sure, it means a lot of sitting around, which isn’t easy for a guy with ADHD, but he can’t complain, since he gets to spend the period texting all his friends. Then the doctor asks him to track down the troubled freshman who keeps dodging her, and Adam discovers that the boy is Julian–the foster brother he hasn’t seen in five years.

Adam is ecstatic to be reunited. At first, Julian seems like the boy he once knew. He’s still kind hearted. He still writes stories and loves picture books meant for little kids. But as they spend more time together, Adam realizes that Julian is keeping secrets, like where he hides during the middle of the day, and what’s really going on inside his house. Adam is determined to help him, but his involvement could cost both boys their lives.

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About our buddy read

I read A List of Cages with Jasmine from How Useful It Is. She is an amazing blogger who’s reviews are always a pleasure to read.

Her review is already posted on her blog, so make sure to visit it and read her toughts.

We both composed three questions (Jasmine’s idea) for each other, and you can read her questions here on my blog (with our answers) and mine on her blog.

 

This book is the author’s first ever novel. Do you feel reluctant to read it?

Jasmine: No. I don’t judge by the author’s number of novels published. I saw the cover looks cute and by the glimpse of the synopsis, it sounds interesting. I always hope the book is good before I start reading and I am so glad my wish come true!

Irena: No! Since I started reviewing books I learned how important it is to give debut authors a chance, because they don’t have a fanbase that supports them (yet). I always like to give new authors a try so when a novel comes from a debut author, it kind of makes me want to read it even more.

 

What do you love most about this book?

Jasmine: I love that justice is served. I love it when a book teaches us things. This book is full of things to remember, especially, how your smiles can affect others.

Irena: I loved how this book carries an important message, but at the same time it shows teenage life in realistic way, describing not only dark moments that come along with the story it brings, but also fun momends in which friends bond. I loved how the author found the balance between the two.

 

Do you want the author to write more books?

Jasmine: Absolutely! Please write more!

Irena: I would be honoured to read more of Robin Roe’s work.

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My Review:

A List of Cages is not a book that grabs your attention immediately.
At least, it was not in my case.
I saw it’s cover on Netgalley, but didn’t pay much attention to it until I got an invitation to review it.
That invitation made me read what this story is actually about, and, since it sounded interesting and like something that could possibly make me learn something new, I decided to give it a try.
I am so glad I did! This book ended up as one of the best books I read in 2016, because of the powerful message it brings.

The story centres around two boys: Adam and Julian. It is told in first person, from both boys’ POV.

I loved how author managed for both voices to sound differently, which is very important for me when it comes to alternating perspectives.
I enjoyed reading both point of views, but I have to admit that Adam’s was more enjoyable for me, because Julien’s was sometimes too hard to read (emotinally).

That’s why I question whether the word “enjoyed” is the right one to use. This book was great, even perfect at some point, but it was also very, very hard at times.
Some situations in this story were emotinally draining.
Robin Roe is not afraid to tell the story in realistic way. There’s no sugarcoating.
The violence is described in a way that it is not too descriptive, but shows you enough to make your eyes tear up.

This is a work of fiction, but I honestly believe that similar cases to Julien’s are happening right now in the world we live in (I still remember one episode of Oprah Show that I watched when I was a kid, with three brothers with similar fate as Julien’s).
Therefore, A List of Cages is so important! I think people of all ages should read it, and after they do, they should talk about it, talk about what happened in this story and make others read it too.

This book tells us how important it is to find our voice and talk. And for those who can’t, we have to help them find their voices, encourage them in a way we can, and never stop talking.
There are so many awful things going on in the world right now, and raising our voices is one way we can at least try to make things better.

Although A List of Cages is a novel that talks about serious topic, it also shows life of teenagers in a realistic way.
There are funny scenes and everyday life moments.
Parties, chrushes and bonding also found their places on pages.
Because of that aspect, this novel reminded me of The Perks of Being a Wallflower (the movie, I still haven’t read the book. Oh, and in case you didn’t know, The Perks of Being a Wallflower is my all-time favorite movie. Ever!).

Robin Roe did an amazing job when it comes to characterization.
Her focus was not only on Adam and Julien who are “stars” of the story, but she also created side characters who weren’t only interesting, but also went through development as well.
My favorite character was Charlie. I loved his story and enjoyed reading about him.

The writing style is really good.
Once you start reading, it’s hard to stop, and it reads quickly.
If my Nook didn’t chrash in the middle of reading, I would probably finish it even faster then I did.

Overall, A List of Cages is a book that should find itself on everyone’s tbr lists.
I know that there’s still no book that everyone likes, but in this case, I really think that many people should at least give it a try.

5

Movie Monday: Definitely, Maybe

Movie Monday is a weekly feature here on my blog, in which I’m rambling about movies I’ve watched lately.

This week I watched a romantic comedy, all by myself, and it was amazing!

 

Definitely, Maybe

definitely-maybe This romantic comedy came out in 2008, but somehow, I missed it. When I say I missed it, I really mean it: I didn’t know this movie existed until few days ago when I saw it’s trailer on our local tv. I know, I know, that must be really strange, I was confused too, especially because this movie is full of well known actors and actresses.

The story follows Will Hayes who is telling a story to his daughter about his life before she was born. The reason why he’s telling the story is to tell her how he and her mother got together, but there’s a catch: We don’t know who the mother is, because he changed the names, so his daughter has to guess which one from three girls from his life before ended up marrying him.

I really loved the way this story was told, because we also had to guess which girl will win in the end, and along with that, we got to cheer for our favorite or against the one we didn’t like.

I was really afraid that the girl I rooted for wouldn’t win, but the way this story resolved left me in a happy place.

Definitely, Maybe is chick flick by all means and I highly suggest it to everyone who enjoys movies from that genre.

 

Note: Picture in this post is not my property but taken from IMDb site and is property of UniversalMovies.

Sunday post (Weekly Wrap Up Dec. 12th – 18th)

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Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Kimba @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

This meme was created for bloggers to spotlight posts they published in the week, as well as to talk about what they plan to write in the week that’s coming.

Sunday post is also great opportunity to showcase books we got in the week behind us.

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This week wasn’t my best, when it comes to blogging.
I kind of disappeared after Thursday and, since I haven’t scheduled posts that supposed to go live on Friday and Saturday, they never made it.
However, they will go live the week after this next one (that is already planned).
This whole situation made me learn a valuable lesson: always schedule your blog posts!

Other then that, this week was somewhat interesting.
I buddy read A List of Cages with my friend Jasmine from How Useful It Is. We both loved it and our reviews should go live this Tuesday.

Also, my Nook (e-reader) chrashed and now I have to read my ebooks on my phone, and let me tell you, I don’t like it. It’s been only few days, but I already miss my e-ink screen.
I plan to read ebooks I already got for review, but I don’t plan to request any books from Netgalley from now own (the only exception will be Sophie Kinsella’s new book in UK edition, if it ever shows up on Netgalley).

I plan to buy myelf a new ereader (probaby Nook again), but I don’t think that will happen too soon.

Last week on Book Dust Magic:

Monday: I talked about movie called Nine Lives, in my Movie Monday post

Wednesday: I talked about By Your Side in my WoW post

Thursday: I reviewed The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano

 

Next week on Book Dust Magic:

Upcoming reviews:

movies: definitely-maybe

books: a-list-of-cages chocolate-lovers-christmas miracle-in-a-museum

I also plan to talk about beautiful Christmas Covers and there will be a new giveaway going on Wednesday.

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Book Haul:

For review:

my-sweet-revenge the-owl

Won in a giveaway:

21042012104 I was lucky enough to win Remember My Name in HQ twitter giveaway

22042012111 Lekeisha from Lekeisha The Book Nerd hosted a giveaway for Black Friday, and I was the lucky winner. I chose two books from TBD, and Christmas Ever After is one of them (the second book will probably arrive next week). Thank you so much, Lekeisha!

Gifted:

22042012110 Holly Martin was kind enough to send me her novel Christmas at Lilac Cottage to thank me for taking part in two of her blog tours this season. She also signed the copy and wished me Happy Christmas in this cute little Christmas card.

22042012109 This parcel from my Secret Santa arrived last week, and I got a shopping bag, three pens and the newest novel by Karen Swan, called Christmas Under the Stars.

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Current giveaways on Book Dust Magic

There is still enough time for you to enter my Winter Is Coming giveaway (if you haven’t already).

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Currently Reading:

chocolate-lovers-christmas my-sweet-revenge

I am still reading The Chocolate Lovers Christmas (I plan to finish it very soon), but I also started My Sweet Revenge by Jane Fallon, which I am reading on my phone, so it will take a while before I finish it.

 

That is it!
Let me know what’s been going on with you, what you’ve been reading or watching this week and feel free to leave your links so I can visit you.
Have a lovely Sunday!

Book Review: The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano

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Title: The Empire Cat’s Christmas Gift
Author: Nic Tatano
Publisher: HarperImpulse
Date: November 4th, 2016
Pages: 265
Format: eARC
Source: from Publisher for a review

 

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

The purrfect gift this Christmas…

The night her house catches fire, kick-ass lawyer Tish McKenna’s neatly ordered life is thrown into chaos. At least she’s alive—thanks to her adorable cat, Socks!—and after her near-death experience Tish realises she wants more in her life than late nights and case files…

Professionally speaking, hot-shot attorney, Spencer Capshaw hadn’t realised how far off track he’d come. Sure, he had his reasons originally—saving his dad’s life required more money than the DA’s office paid him—yet helping corrupt corporate bigwigs was not why he became a lawyer…

With a little help from a furry friend, these two lost souls find each other in the heart of Manhattan. But when Tish and Spence are pitted against each other in a trial that pushes them both to their limits, can their budding relationship survive?

Will there be a diamond in Tish’s stocking this Christmas? Find out in new festive favourite The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift by Nic Tatano!

vrpca

Review:

One look at The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift is all you need to figure out why I wanted to read this book.
It has a cat (and I adore cats, cats are my weakness) and it screams “festive”.
I mean, what more do I need?
Nothing, that’s what.

Except… the only thing that’s festive when it comes to this story is it’s title (in reality, if we remove the title from this cute picture, it doesn’t feel so festive anymore, does it?).
It all comes to good marketing, because the book came out around Christmas time, but the story itself is festive as much as I Heart Vegas by Lindsey Kelkthe story takes place during several months and the last chapter happens around Christmas. That’s it.

But don’t let my complaining stop you  from picking this book up! It was a good story, after all!

I had some problems with it (I will get to them soon), but overall I pretty much enjoyed it the whole time.

I am not sure what it is about Nic Tatano‘s writing, but it feels like everytime I read one of his books, I can’t seem to stop myself. “One more chapter” – that’s what I say to myself and before I even realize, I read half of the book.

The story centers around Tish, a lawyer and an owner of a really cute tuxido cat called Socks.
At the very beginning of the story, Sucks turns out to be a hero – she wakes up Tish while their apartment is on fire and, therefore, she saves their lives.

Although Sucks plays a role in The Empire State Cat’s Christmas Gift, her presence is not what keeps this story going.
When in The Lost Cats and Lonely Hearts Club, the first book in this series, the story centers around cats (so much that it was even overwhelming at times), in this sequel the balance between the two (cat’s and people’s stories) was done better.

Spencer is Tish’s love interest. He is a successful attorney with good manners, and I even dare to say that his character represents a knight on white horse.

He acted perfectly, but I find it hard to believe that today a guy of his age would use phrases like “fine young lady” for a woman he likes.

I also didn’t feel the chemistry between the two of them. I felt like the whole thing was happening way too slow at first, and then, all of a sudden, way too fast.
When we’re taking only that part of the book into cosideration (chemistry/relationship development between Tish and Spencer), it almost felt like reading a christian fiction.

As I already said, I had some problems with this story.

My first problem was slut shaming. This is not the first time happening in chick lit genre that a woman who “looks like a plastic doll” is immediately portraited as a cheap slut who doesn’t know how to behave herself and is stupid.
I was very dissapointed when I read how characters were judgamental and I couldn’t help but feel that the writer’s  own points of view blended to pages, because if every single character speaks down about something/someone in the same way, I can’t help but think that the author shares the same opinion.

Secondly, we should believe that Tish is “shark” in court, but she seemed unprofessional to me. Spencer was even worse. 
So, even though Tatano told us they were very good lawyers, he showed us a different story (spoiler: great lawyers do not talk about movies they watched the night before in front of the court, they do not talk about their personal life with the judge in the middle of the case, they do not have to win one case so they wouldn’t end up on a street and if they do, they are not too picky when it comes to cases and people they will represent, and they surely don’t represent people they want to see lose the case).

Thirdly, the villian of this story was underestimated. I believe he would do what he did, but I don’t believe for a second he would be so stupid to do it the way he did it in this story, and got so easily caught in his crime.

Altogether, this was a quick read that I would recommend to chick lit lovers.

3,5