Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Books: After The Curtain Falls ~ Ainsley Shay ~ promo

Title: After the Curtain Falls
Author: Ainsley Shay
Publication date: January 31st 2014

About After The Curtain Falls

Erik never had to be anything other than a freak…until now.

Two hundred fifty-three days is a long time to fake being normal when night after night you perform miraculous feats on stage in a freak show. Thousands have paid to witness the miracle, suspecting nothing more than a hoax. But it is very real and it is slowly destroying him.

Erik is weakened to the point where he’ll stop performing and start going to school for the first time ever—in his senior year.

His only goal is to rebuild his strength so he can return to the stage and perform doing what he loves most in this world. What he didn’t plan for was the appearances of beautiful Addison and mysterious Naya. Now, unfamiliar feelings and bizarre new friendships threaten to unbalance Erik’s future as a miracle-performing freak.

About Ainsley Shay

Ainsley Shay avoids insanity by living mostly in the fiction world. She believes surrounding herself with positive people, and strives for balance in everything.

She owns more jeans with rips and holes than without; and has recently found the magic of patches. For her, reading or writing the perfect sentence is better than the smoothest piece of dark chocolate melting in her mouth.

She is a deltiologist for pure enjoyment, not for the study of. She longs to move north one day, even though she hates the cold. (Go figure!) So, for now, she continues to live in warm south Florida with her incredible husband, three beautiful daughters, and two lazy cats. (We won’t mention the dog.)

Sneak Peaks 

The moment is perfect to lean in and kiss her. And I badly want to put my hand on her cheek and bring my lips to hers. Addison looks at her wrist, my fingers still there. “I should go,” she says shattering my thoughts.    
I slide my hand from her wrist, along her palm, lingering on her fingertips with my own. Looking up into her eyes, I ask, ”Are you sure you want to?”    
She meets my eyes. “No.” Her voice whispers the simple word I was hoping she would say. “But they’re expecting me down there.” My stomach aches when she starts to get up. “Thanks for catching me when I fell.” She brushes the sand off her dress and walks through the wheat grass toward the shore.

“You’re a freak like me,” Naya says, no doubt present in her tone.  Shaken by her word choice, but intrigued to know why she’s chosen it, I ask, “Am I? And how do you know that?”
I swallow nothing, feeling my throat constrict as I wait for her answer. With concern on her face, her lips purse, and she shrugs one shoulder. “I just know.”
She touches my arm, leans into me and whispers, “As a friend, just be careful. The people here,” she looks to her left and then to her right, “well…they aren’t very nice to our kind."

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Swinging Saturdays #27 ~ London Calling....

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.
I was going to write this post this morning but I decided to go shopping for sports equipment, I bought myself new inline skates!!! Look at those beauties!

So that took up most of the afternoon, now we are going to the UK, to London to be exact. Today I am discussing songs about London. So please enjoy this UK top 5 uh 6... To all people in the very wet parts of the UK, I hope you are all well and I wish you the best of luck. It could have happened here as easily.

1. The Clash ~ London Calling

2. Adele ~ In My Hometown

3. 3 Doors Down ~ Landing In London

4. Paolo Nutini ~ These Streets

5. Rancid ~ Tropical London

6. Michael Bubblé ~ A Foggy Day (In London Town).

So that's it for my Top 6!!!
What is your Top 6 this week? 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com.  I would love to hear what kind of music you like!

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Tiny country, big in long track speed skating!

Everybody is talking about the Dutch at these Olympic Games, because of our domination in long track speed skating. To us, the Dutch, it doesn't come as a surprise that we are doing well. We after all  excel in one winter sport: long track speed skating. Second to soccer (or football as the English and Dutch call it) speed skating is the most popular sports in the Netherlands.

Skating rinks in the Netherlands 

Thialf ~ Heerenveen
It will come as no surprise that the Netherlands has an extremely high amount of top class skating rinks. I decided to find out just how many indoor skating ovals we have, in total: 25 skating ovals!

Plus one in the making, Almere a city in the middle of the Netherlands is building a new indoor skating rink, which will meet the strict requirements of the International Skating Union (ISU). The plan is to organize all International competitions in this new skating rink instead of Thialf, Heerenveen. The Essent ISY WC Allround will be held at Thialf shortly after the Olympics.

Compare this to the USA, which got only two similar ovals for a country approximately 250 times the size of the Netherlands, you can say that the Netherlands is a skating nation. And that we are a bit spoiled with all the pretty skating ovals.

That's only the indoor skating ovals, then there are the outdoor rinks, the ones that are only open on the rare occasion, that it is cold enough for natural ice. Every town, as little as they are have a skating rink. They very in size, some are just fields filled with water, others are 400m like the indoor ovals, but still there aren't many towns in the Netherlands without a natural skating rink. And let me tell you that is NOT the whole winter like in Canada! If we are lucky we get two or three weeks of natural ice, this year? Non! Nada, so no natural ice for us!

So this:

" Check out the Netherlands in early wintertime when ice coats the trees and the first film of frozen water turns into a resistant sheet. People get skates out of the cellar and attic, go out when they can, and all dream of if-and-when the Elfstedentocht — Eleven cities trek — marathon will be held."  ~ Huffington Post

11-city-race ~ Elfstedentocht
Is not what we do every winter, because we don't get natural ice that often, so there is the reason for the overload of indoor skating ovals in the Netherlands. 

Also this:

" There is nothing more mythical in Dutch sports than an age-old 11-city race skating across lakes and canals in bone-numbing cold from dawn to dusk. No wonder the Netherlands is the greatest speedskating nation in the world." ~ Huffington Post

has not happened since 1997! (My uncle came in 4th place then!)

Conclusion: natural ice is not the reason for the success at the Olympic Games in Sochi! Having gotten this point through, let's speculate why we are so successful.

Why is the Netherlands so successful at these Olympic Games? 

I think it is a combination about serveral  things: 

1. It's a very popular sport.  
This means there are many athletes trying to become the best.  When so many people get involved in a sport it drives up the standard of that sport. Meaning there are lots of clubs, lots of rinks, lots of competitions, and lots of coaches driving their athletes to be the best.

2. Lots of facilities and equipment. 
My own Viking skates! 
The popularity of skating in the Netherlands brings another element to the table, the sporting facilities, like I said above, we have 25 skating rinks all in an hour driving distance from most places in Holland. The nearest skating ovals to my town are 35 min (Thialf, Heerenveen) and 25 minutes (Leisure World, Dronten) away, to Canadian/American standards this is a short distance away. Where as someone from California, will have to travel half across the country (approx. 1200 km) to Utah, something you would not consider doing twice a week. 

We also have 2 outstanding skating brands here in the Netherlands Viking, and Zandstra. The latter is very popular in recreational skating, not professional skating. But Viking is widely know throughout the worldwide skating community. Then there are the specialized shops who sell all kinds of skating materials, from sharpening materials to suits, to all kinds of boots and blades (not all Dutch brands).

3. Broadcasting and Skating federation: Koninklijke Nederlandse Schaats Bond (KNSB)
We have only ONE skating federation, the KNSB, the Royal Dutch Speed Skating Federation. Which is very active, and ofcourse our country spends some money on this sport as well. As you might have noticed the Royal family (the king and queen) were present at four of the skating matches in Sochi. Talking about supportive! Here are the King and Queen cheering on the Dutch skaters! 

Did you know that King Willem Alexander, skated the 11-city-race in 1986 (200 km!)? This is also the year my uncle won this race. 

Another thing which in my opinion has an influence on the popularity of speed skating in the Netherlands, leading to the successes in Sochi, it that the sport is broadcasted the whole winter, when there is a (International and Dutch) competition, our Dutch tv will broadcast it. 

4. Training really really really hard! 
Of course our success are not without lots and lots of training. You can have the best equipment in the world but if you don't train you skating, you are never going to win anything. The coach cannot push you over the finish and skate the race for you, that you will have to do yourself. The only advantage the Dutch might have is that they have been challenged from a young age due to the popularity of the sport. If you place first, second or third in club competitions, you advance to National competitions, were you are challenged yet again to bring the best you have. 

It all comes down to lots and lots of training in the end.

What do you think are the success factors of Team NL at the Olympics? 
Leave a comment! 

Monday, February 17, 2014

Books: RecruitZ ~ Karice Bolton

Titel: RecruitZ
Author: Karice Bolton
Series: Afterworld, book #1
Publication date: December 27th 2013
Publisher: Bulldog Press
Number of pages: 332 p.
Language: English only
Age category: New Adult
Other books in this series:
AlibiZ, book #2

About Recruitz

Scientists are the new rock stars. The infection has been contained for nearly three months, and the world is celebrating. But humans are still dying. Rebekah Taylor has seen it firsthand. Her husband was killed right in front of her by the very creatures that humans were told they no longer had to fear. 

Rebekah is determined to find out who is responsible for the death of her husband and the obvious cover-up. Fueled with revenge, she begins to find answers that lead to one frightening conclusion. The apocalypse might be over, but the battles are just beginning.

About Karice Bolton: 

Karice Bolton lives in the Pacific Northwest and is a writer of Young Adult and New Adult books. She loves to read anything and everything. She also enjoys baking, skiing, and spending time with her wonderful husband and two English bulldogs.

Karice would love if you stopped by her blog or FB page to find out the latest news on giveaways and upcoming releases, or you can just send her an email. She loves hearing from her readers and responds as soon as she can.

Guest post by Karice Bolton ~ Fascinated by Zombies

Thank you for hosting a bit about RecruitZ! I’m so excited to be here and to be able to talk a little bit about zombies. I’m always amazed at how people say the zombie craze is going away and then another hit show or blockbuster movie comes out to disprove that point!

Go Zombies!

I think part of our obsession with zombies is because so many of us know deep down that a scary outbreak of some sort has happened in the past and can happen again. These creatures kind of embody that fear and take it one step beyond. If a person spends any amount of time on the History Channel or Military channel, it becomes evident fairly quickly that media also loves to scare us to death with reenactments of what an outbreak could do to us as a society. Eeek! It’s just some odd fascination that is hard to shake.

Something that I think fuels our infatuation is the idea of being able to survive, overcome, and rebuild. I think that notion is at the heart of most real life stories—surviving and/or overcoming obstacles, no matter how mundane, which is why I wanted to build a story that captured life after the outbreak was contained.

I have absolutely loved building the Afterworld and look forward to where Rebekah and Preston’s adventures take them in books two and three. RecruitZ was a blast to write and AlibiZ is proving to be just as fun!

Anyway, thanks for listening to me about zombies and the Afterworld!!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Swinging Saturdays #26 ~ Artists who sing about artists!

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.
So my mom challenged me to think out of the box so to say... Do something different with my top 5, she came up with the idea to do a top 5 about artist who sing about other artists in their songs. And let me tell you, this is not easy to put together! It took me a long time to find these songs.  So here's my top five artist who sing about other artists!

1. Acda en de Munnik ~ Laat Me Slapen

This was the first song that came to mind, it's about the death of John Lennon. One line says: " Im sorry, Im sorry mother, John Lennon was murdered." There are many references to the Beatles songs in this song!

Dit is het eerste liedje waar ik aan moest denken, het gaat over de dood van John Lennon.

"De hele nacht de Beatles mam
En om elk uur dat woord.
Het spijt me mam het spijt me zo
John Lennon is vermoord"

2. Ed Sheeran ~ You Need Me, But I Don't Need You

"Times at The Enterprise when some fella filmed me ‘A young singer-writer like Gabriella Cilmi’ "
That's one reference but there is another: 
"Cause with the lyrics I'll be aiming it right I won't stop till my name's in lights At stadium heights with Damien Rice"

3. Anouk ~ Tom Waits

4. Taylor Swift ~ Tim McGraw

5. P!nk ~ Stupid Girls

So that's it for my Top 10!!!
What is your Top 10 this week? 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com.  I would love to hear what kind of music you like!

Friday, February 14, 2014

Books: Runes ~ Runes #1 ~ Ednah Walters

Title: Runes
Author: Ednah Walters
Publishing date: 8th June 2013
Publisher: Firetrail Publishing
Series: Runes, book 1
Number of pages: 245 p.
Language: English only
Age category: Young Adult
Other books in the series:
Immortals, book #2
Grimnirs, book #2.5
Seeress book #3

About Runes

Seventeen-year-old Raine Cooper has enough on her plate dealing with her father’s disappearance, her mother’s erratic behavior and the possibility of her boyfriend relocating. The last thing she needs is Torin St. James—a mysterious new neighbor with a wicked smile and uncanny way of reading her.

Raine is drawn to Torin’s dark sexiness against her better judgment, until he saves her life with weird marks and she realizes he is different. But by healing her, Torin changes something inside Raine. Now she can’t stop thinking about him. Half the time, she’s not sure whether to fall into his arms or run.

Scared, she sets out to find out what Torin is. But the closer she gets to the truth the more she uncovers something sinister about Torin. What Torin is goes back to an ancient mythology and Raine is somehow part of it. Not only are she and her friends in danger, she must choose a side, but the wrong choice will cost Raine her life.

My review

] This book in one word (capital letters this one deserves): INCREDIBLE!!!!!!!!!!!!! THERE IS JUST NO WAY I CAN EXPRESS HOW GREAT THIS BOOK IS, YOU SHOULD JUST GO GET IT AND READ IT!!!!
Sorry for all the capital letters but I just had to express in some way how strongly I feel about this book. This book certainly ranks between the bests of the best, like Richelle Mead, L.J. Smith, Stephenie Meyer and of course some other writer who has done his research well: RICK RIORDAN! Anybody having read and fell in love with these authors will understand how much I must have loved this book. Oh how I should have read this back in August when I got it first, such a waste to have waited this long to read it. It's one of those books I will reread and remember.
This book wil take you on a journey through one of my favourite mythologies: German mythology! Meaning german gods like Odin, and Thor who, thanks to Marvel know has claimed some right to exist on this earth. Putting that aside, this book highlighted some aspects of german mythology that I didn't even know about for example the Norns (look it up on wiki it's interesting!). Maybe I should find my german mythology book to find out some more about them (yes I own several).
The interesting part about this book is that even if you know some of the mythology it still keeps you guessing the whole way through, until the bitter end! And I can tell you, I didn't figure it out, I ran through all my knowledge of German mythology and still couldn't quiet put my finger on what Thorin was. Then there were also some other interesting turns, for example an interesting side character (Raine's mom) which turnout to be one of the biggest surprises of the whole book. (Sorry for the vague explanation here but I just don't want to leave a spoiler in this case).
The reason I love this book is that is wasn't standard, it didn't have many cliques. I does have a lot of surprises in the plot, it wasn't predictable like some books in the genre are. This makes you wonder, keeps you reading until you are finished.
Oh then there is THAT ending! OMG Ednah how could you do that to me!!! I was torn apart, devastated, heartbroken, angry and like: what?!?!? Is this really the last page? No there has got to be more! Damn my kindle won't turn the next page..... Wow turns out it is really hard to write a spoiler free review! But I think I managed quiet well.

My rating

This book will keep you spellbound until the very last page. It is a great adventure with a mythological touch. Incredible plot, relatable characters make this a 5 star read!


well Raine is a wonderful main character, one I like, she fights for what is right, don't gets to freaked out about freaky events, stands up to people twice as powerful. All this has earned her some respect from me. 

She was very enjoyable to spend time with, and we could be great friend because we have similar personalities. However there was one major thing I didn't like about her: Eirik. She was a little  desperate when it came to him. She has had a huge crush on him, but never came out of the "friend role" until some major events. But then she was already having feelings for Thorin and I felt that she led Eirik on for far too long. I think it just wasn't fair and it annoyed the crap out of me.
well he is just, gorgeous, sexy, extremely funny, mysterious. Shall I go on? He is the big mystery the one I wanted to solve but couldn't find the answer on. Not until the very end of the book at least.  I think I found myself a new book boyfriend, LOL.

for some reason Once Upon A Time Cora popped into my mind. Nope no comparison there. You know most books have a bubbly cheery, push-friend-to-do-something-out-of-the-ordinary best friend? Well that's exactly who Cora is.

I must say, I became to dislike Eirik more and more throughout the book. I can't put my finger on why exactly that is. It was sweet and all to throw Raine a surprise party, but he just wasn't a strong character. He was a bit of a wimp.

Favourite quotes

"What is the underlying reason, St. James.""Greed. G-R-E-E-D. Five letter word., Mr. Finney. Not Four" 
"Okay. I'm listening. Explain your reasoning.""Humans are by nature self-centered. It doesn't matter how civilized or primitive they are. If they want something, they'll find a way to get it or take it. The old empires used land, women, religion, pride in one's nationality, or preservation of their culture as an excuse to start a war." - Thorin
“Blue eyes was studying the damaged mailbox like an insurance adjuster. Why couldn't he go bother someone else? Or at least put on a shirt?”  - Raine about Thorin.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Books: Cornerstone ~ Kelly Walker ~ promo

Title: Cornerstone by
Author: Kelly Walker
Series:  Souls of the Stones #1
Publication date: November 30th 2013
Genres: Fantasy, Romance, Young Adult

About Cornerstone

Epic Fantasy combines with Young Adult romance in this stunning new adventure set in a richly developed medieval world. Second Stone and Broken Stone are now available! Also be sure to look for Jaded Stone, the thrilling prequel to the Souls of the Stones series.

When Emariya Warren learns enemy forces have captured her father, she’ll do anything to save him. Anything. Even marry a mysterious prince she knows nothing about in order to rally the strength to arrange a rescue. During her journey to Torian’s foreign castle, Emariya comes face to face with her mother’s killers–and a deadly secret.

 Not only does Emariya possess a powerful but unexpected magical gift passed down through each of her families, the prince she’s promised to marry possesses a third, and an ominous prophecy has warned the three gifts must never be combined.

If she breaks her promise to marry Torian, she won’t be able to save her father and if she keeps it, she may bring a curse upon everything she holds dear. Determining which choice is best won’t be easy, but when she meets the gorgeous prince who may desire more than just her heart, she realizes she will have to fight just to have a choice at all.

Her heart wants him desperately. Her head begs her to run. If she doesn’t want to share her mother’s fate, she’ll have to find a way to untangle the truth from the lies in time to save herself. Discover the heartbreaking betrayals, fascinating magic and fated love of Cornerstone.

About Kelly Walker

Kelly Walker is a YA and NA author of several romantic titles, including the Souls of the Stones series. She has an unhealthy appreciation for chocolate, and a soft spot for rescued animals. Her best lessons on writing came from a lifetime of reading. She loves the fantastical, and the magical, and believes a captivating romance can be the most realistic magic of all. Kelly, her husband and her two children share their Virginia home with three dogs who walk her, and two cats who permit her to occasionally share their couch.

Interview with Kelly Walker:

1: Why did you choose to write a YA Fantasy book instead of other young adult sub-genres such as contemporary, paranormal, dystopian, etc.? 

I don’t think I really had a choice. I had to tell this story. Sure, I filled in some details, but mostly Riya wrote her own story and I just had to try and keep up. Once it took shape, I had to find a good genre to put it in. The only genre I intentionally stuck to was YA. I like to read YA books, and also because of the age range, I was pretty sure most would want to classify it as YA, so I tried to keep it appropriate.

2: What distracts you the most while you’re writing? 

Everything! The kids, the dogs, facebook, email, you name it. I've had to learn to go into my home office, shut the door and block the internet when I really want to get a good chunk of writing done. Otherwise I get sidetracked.

3: What is your all time favorite fantasy book? 
That’s like asking me to pick a favorite type of chocolate! Hmm, let’s see. Well, I consider fantasy a pretty broad category. I mean, you are asking me to chose between all the Harry Potter books and Twilight books and Outlander and A Song of Ice and Fire. And let's not forget Throne of Glass and Crown of Midnight. There is so much awesome fantasy out there, I can't simply pick a favorite.

4: What comes first, character or plot? 
Definitely character! For me, characters and maybe a small tidbit about their situation wheedle their way into my head, and then I have to work to figure out exactly who they are, and what their story is. That's not to say I've never intentionally created a character to fill a plot need, but for the most part, especially for my main characters, they are what drive the story.

5: What advice(s) would you give to writers whose dream is to publish a book? 

Do it! Do it right, and do it professionally, but do it. In today’s volcanic publishing landscape, fulfilling those dreams is entirely possible and plausible. Do your research because there are a lot of less than scrupulous people who prey on the uneducated, but if you want to publish a book and you are willing to put in the time and energy and effort, the sky is the limit.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #11

Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks! This is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews and anyone can get involved!

Note: Click on the cover and it will take you to amazon for more information. Please be aware the prices might have changed.  


  Freaking excited about this one!

Won or gifted:

What did you get this week?

Saturday, February 8, 2014

Swinging Saturdays #25: Biffy Clyro Spotlight

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.

Today we are doing a spotlight today, of a band that I love very much, but I always feel that it is an underdog. Not many people seem to know this band, strange because their music is fantastic! So without further ado.

Vandaag doe ik een artiesten spotlight voor een band die ik helemaal geweldig vind, maar waarvan ik altijd het idee heb dat het een Underdog is. Niet veel mensen schijnen deze band te kennen, wat ik raar vind want hun muziek is echt geweldig! Dus hier Biffy Clyro!

1. The Captain

This is the first song I ever heard by this band! All though I don't like the video much, it's pretty cruel.

2. God and Satan

Love the lyrics of this song! Geweldige tekst heeft dit liedje!

3. Black Chandelier

This is from their latest cd! Don't you just love it? Dit is van hun laatste cd, mooi he?

4. Bubbles

This song is so funny and happy.

5. Opposites

Bonus song ;) ~ Mountains

So that's it for my Top 5!!!
What is your Top 5 this week? 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com.  I would love to hear what kind of music you like!

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Books: The Dumont Diaries ~ Alessandra Torre ~ promo

Title: The Dumont Diaries
Author: Alessandra Torre
Publication date: September 4th 2013
Genres: Erotica, Romance 

About The Dumont Diaries

Lust is a dangerous thing. 
It can make you believe things that are not real. 
It can seduce your mind and lead it blindfolded to the cliff that will be its demise. 

What would you do if you could leave your life? Wake up one day and be someone else? I signed the contract. I left Candace Tapers and her slutty, strip club life behind, abandoned every part of that life with one hesitant swipe of my pen. 

The contract was clear: 

1. Sex 
2. Public Appearances 
3. No romance 

“I need a wife. I am not signing up for romance, or affection, or a full time job. 
I will not love you. I will have no use for you other than sex and photo ops.” 

Sex with Nathan was easy. More than easy. Panty-melting, can-never-get-enough HOT. I had begun to think that I could live this new life, showered in luxuries, orgasms, and diamonds. Then, I started tripping over secrets. 

The Dumont Diaries contains a strong alpha male, super hot explicit sex, and twists and turns that might cause unnatural heart palpitations. This book does not contain BDSM elements. 

*The Dumont Diaries was originally released, and is still available as a four-part miniseries. This book combines the four pieces of the miniseries into one, full-length novel.

About Alessandra Torre

Alessandra Torre is a new author who focuses on contemporary erotica. Her first book, Blindfolded Innocence, was published in July 2012, and was an Erotica #1 Bestseller for two weeks. The sequel to Blindfolded, Masked Innocence, will be released in February 2014. Alessandra lives in the Southern United States and is married, with one young child. She enjoys reading, spending time with her family, and playing with her dogs. Her favorite authors include Lisa Gardner, Gillian Flynn, and Jennifer Crusie.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Books: The Princess Problem ~ Diane Darcy

Title: The Princess Problem ~ A Fairy Tale Romance
Author:  Diane Darcy
Published: 16th, May, 2013
Publisher: Self published
Kind of story: Standalone, Novella
Number of pages: 121 p.
Age category: Adult
Language: English only

About The Princess Problem

In real life, she’s given up on the fairytale ending...

After having her heart broken twice, Alicia Dayne has sworn off men, decided to concentrate on her career, and is delighted to win a lucrative contract to make a commercial for Highborn Mattresses.

She could make the most awesome fairytale commercial ever, except for Jonas Highborn, who isn’t exactly thrilled with her Princess and the Pea ideas, and really doesn’t want a prince in tights representing his company.

Though he’s trying to keep his grieving mother happy by letting her have charge of the commercial shoot, and though Alicia’s trying to keep in mind that this annoying guy is her boss for the moment, they can’t seem to keep from clashing.

My review

First of all, I have been having trouble getting those reviews written, I don't know why, since I have actually been taking notes for awhile. Which by the way is new for me, I never use to take notes in the past, but then again I didn't read as much as I do know. Another one of my problems is that I keep forgetting the characters names, not so convenient  if you are trying to write a review! Anyways let's try this again. 

I read this book on a relaxed saturday afternoon. I didn't know what I wanted to read, just found Vrolijk Hart, which I finished in about an hour, and I was craving for more shorter reads and came across this fun little novella.  And this was just the kind of story I needed at that moment. A fairy tale, well a modern fairy tale. Thinking about it, it kind of reminds me of A Cinderella story, you know the one with Hillary Duff and Chad Michael Murray, well minus the high school drama.

This is definitely not a high school story, although there are no sex scenes in this book. Yes I am just calling it as it is, it is true though, this is a clean romance story. The main character Alicia just landed her first big project, designing a promotion champagne for Highborn Mattresses. Which is cool, I like the fact that she's a hard working starter, which I can relate to easily because I am just started my first job. Even though Mrs. Highborn was just looking for a date for her son, the business was still a major player in this story. It was not just a background detail, which made the story realistic.

And of course there was the romance, the emotions growing on both sides. Alicia not being aware that he was flirting with her, which was hilarious. Also the bantering between Alicia and Jonas gave for a lot of hilarious moment throughout the book. 

My rating

All in all I must say that I have enjoyed this story very much even though it might have been a little bit cliche, at the moment it made my day! Therefore I rate this novella 4 snowflakes!  

Buy your copy here: 

Monday, February 3, 2014

Books: Chasing Wishes ~ Nadia Simonenko ~ promo

Title: Chasing Wishes
Author: Nadia Simonenko
Publication date: Winter 2014
Genres: Contemporary, New Adult

About Chasing Wishes

 “I wish I didn’t have to go home. I wish I was someone else — someone with a future…”

For sixteen-year-old Nina Torres, it feels as if life is nothing but a dead end. Despised by her rich classmates and afraid that she’ll become just like her drug-addicted mother, Nina’s future seems to get dimmer every day.

There is one bright spot in her life though…

Sitting beside her one night, the only person in the world who cares about her makes a promise. No matter what happens — no matter how much Isaac’s wealthy family disapproves — he and his girlfriend Nina will be together forever.

Fate plays a cruel trick on Nina, though, and a visit from Child Protective Services the next morning turns Nina Torres into Irene Hartley, a woman with a future but who will never see her beloved Isaac again.

Nine years later, a blind and incredibly handsome young entrepreneur hires Irene to be his personal assistant. Terrence Radcliffe reminds her so much of Isaac that she can hardly believe her eyes, and she’s falling for him fast. Irene knows that fairy tales don’t come true, but she allows herself one last wish. She wishes that she could finally say goodbye to Isaac and let herself take a chance on Terrence.

What she doesn’t know is that Terrence is also searching for someone: a shooting star who streaked through his life nine years ago, and he won’t give up until he finds her…

Chasing Wishes is a powerful contemporary tale of lost love and wishes come true, recommended for ages 17+ due to adult content.

About Nadia Simonenko

Nadia Simonenko is a scientist and author currently living in Pennsylvania with her husband, two cats and a dog. When she isn’t writing, she develops new drug compounds and dreams about someday painting her office to look like a forest.

Website ~ Twitter ~ Facebook ~ Goodreads

Excerpt of Chasing Wishes

I'm sixteen and Isaac is seventeen…

I have a test in the morning tomorrow and I can’t study for it. No matter how hard I stare at the pages of my English textbook, I still can’t concentrate. My headphones don’t help because I have nothing to plug them into—they’re just a poor excuse for earplugs now that my cassette player is gone.
Nobody’s used a cassette player in over a decade, so I don’t know why Mom thought she’d get anything for it.
Even if I had earplugs, they wouldn’t help tonight. They’d block out the sounds of my mother on the living room couch with whatever ‘boyfriend’ she’s brought home this time, but I’d still know it was happening. I’d still hear the sounds in my mind—the moans, the creaking of the sofa, the sounds that no sixteen-year-old girl ever wants to hear her mother making.
I’d still know she's in the next room fucking someone who won't even remember her name in the morning.

Whoever he is—it's almost never the same man twice—she has to please him if she wants to get her next fix, and she always wants her next fix. I haven’t exactly asked any of them, but I somehow doubt the other girls at school worry about stepping on needles when they walk to the bathroom at night.

My stomach grumbles loudly, reminding me of the other reason I can’t study. My high school gives me free breakfast in the mornings, but that was it for me today. Mom took my last paycheck from the diner to pay the electricity bill, so I haven’t been able to afford lunch this week. They pay me again in three days, though. I can survive on breakfasts until then if I have to.

Mom cries out in the next room—an empty imitation of pleasure and happiness—and I feel my desk shake as the back of the sofa slams against the wall.

"She’s just doing what she has to," I whisper to myself as I close my textbook. I have to rationalize her actions to myself before I get angry, before I do something stupid like stomping in there and yelling at them to be quiet.
That would just draw her customer’s attention to me, and that’s the last thing I want. Instead, I bite my tongue and head for the window.

With quick yank on the handle and a hard shove, the window creaks open on its rusty hinges and I wriggle through it and out onto the fire escape. The rich girls at school all think that I’m trailer trash from "the Hill" in New Haven, but Mom and I actually rent the third floor of a house near the train tracks. Not a damned one of them would dare set foot in my neighborhood; they’d be too afraid that someone might see them. It’d be a stain on their pristine reputations to be suspected of maybe, just maybe, hanging out with one of us filthy poors.

Fuck all of them. Fuck every last one of them and their fake, perfect smiles and full stomachs.
I close the window behind me and climb up the fire escape to the roof. The street is empty tonight as I lie back against the gray shingles and stare up at the sky. The sky’s tinted red by the bright lights of downtown like a never-ending sunset. The late September breeze feels wonderful… I could stay up here all night.

"It’s a shame you live downtown, Nina," calls out Isaac from further up the roof behind me. "Tonight’s the peak of this week’s meteor shower and the lights are drowning it out."

I smile as he shuffles carefully down the steep roof and then plops down beside me. I should have known he’d be here. He lives more than ten miles away, but somehow he's always here when I need him.
"Yeah… not a chance," I say. "With all the streetlights, you can’t even see the stars, let alone a meteor shower."

I sigh and shake my head, and Isaac squeezes my hand comfortingly. His touch is warm and caring, and it almost makes me forget where I am. The first time he touched me last year, I nearly had a heart attack. He’s almost a year older than me and, well… I thought he was like the others—like Mom’s countless boyfriends. He isn’t. He’s the only boy at school who talks to me, the only anyone who I can call a friend, and he doesn’t care what it does to his reputation with the other rich kids.

He looks over at me and smiles, and his green eyes glitter in the dim light as if they’re holding in the punch line to a joke that I’ve been dying to hear. I feel comfortable holding Isaac’s hand now. I feel safe with him.

"If we can’t see them in the city, what if we go out into the country?" he asks after a long silence. "What if I drove us back to my mom’s house and we watched the meteor shower out there?"

I look over at him in surprise. Who is he kidding? It isn’t fair of him to ask me something like that. He already knows the answer because I’ve been to his house once before.

I’d never seen a house as magnificent as his until he invited me to his birthday party last year. He lives with his mother in an enormous, beautiful mansion built out in the woods overlooking Glen Lake, about five miles north of the city. It felt like something out of a fairy tale.

A fairy tale with an unhappy ending, though… his mother threw me out the second she saw me. She told me never to come back and yelled at Isaac after the party for inviting "the wrong kind of girl."

I’ve never felt so worthless in my entire life as when she dragged me to the door in front of everyone and pushed me out onto the porch. The other guests pretended not to watch, but I still heard the snickering.
It wasn’t Isaac’s fault but I still hated him for weeks after that all the same.
"I’m serious," he insists, rolling on his side and looking me straight in the eyes. "We’ll go straight up onto the roof like we do here. Just you, me, and two mugs of cocoa. It’ll be great."
Mom screams like a whore downstairs, and I turn away from Isaac as my face flushes with humiliation. I hate where I live. I hate who I am, where I come from and—most of all—that I’ll never, ever get away from here.
"Come on. I don’t care what my mother thinks. She doesn’t have to know," he urges, placing the palm of his hand softly against my back as I roll and face away from him. I stiffen at his touch but force myself to relax. He doesn’t understand the problem—maybe even can’t understand it. How could he? He gets to be my Isaac all the time, but I only get to be his Nina when nobody else is around.
"Promise she won’t throw me out again?" I ask, looking back over my shoulder at him.
"I promise," he answers with a smile that makes my heart skip a beat.
We carefully climb down from the roof, sneak down the fire escape, and then run together to his car parked down the block. His car is a sleek black Mercedes sedan, and when he holds the door open for me, I’m surprised that it doesn’t have the usual new car scent I’ve grown so accustomed to smelling. Instead, his car smells like pepperoni pizza.

"Oh yeah," he says with a wink, "I forgot to tell you about that part. I didn’t see you in the lunch line today so I thought you might like some dinner."

I want to slap him, hug him and cry into his shoulder at the same time. I’m starving but I feel terrible that he brought me food. I don’t want him to feel sorry for me and I never want to be a burden to him. I’d do anything to not take a slice of pizza, to pretend I’m full and happy even though I’m skin and bones, but… but it’s pizza! I haven’t eaten since breakfast and I’m salivating just from the tantalizing aroma.

"It’s okay, Nina. I’m hungry too, so dig in before I eat it all," he tells me as if reading my mind, and then he gets into the driver’s seat. His car is so quiet and smooth that I can barely tell it’s moving. My stomach grumbles loudly, antagonized by the irresistible smell wafting up from the back seat, and I finally give in and pull a slice out of the box.

"You know," I babble in between wonderful, gooey bites, "I’m eating pizza in a car worth more than everything my family owns added together and you don’t care at all. What if I spill grease on it? Shouldn’t you be flipping out on me?"

"It’s just a car, Nina," he answers with a shrug as he gets onto the highway and leaves the run-down houses of the Hill behind us. The bright lights of New Haven fade into the distance and then disappear completely as trees spring up around us.

"But it’s your car," I protest, but he only shakes his head and laughs.
"A drop or two of pizza grease isn’t going to make it catch fire or anything. Relax, Neenie… oh, and grab me a slice while you’re at it, okay?"
We stuff our faces with melted, cheesy deliciousness for the entire ride, and by the time we arrive at his house fifteen minutes later, my hunger is finally sated and my dull, throbbing headache from low blood sugar is receding. Isaac has no idea what a lifesaver he is to me.
He holds the passenger door open for me with a smile and then we sneak together through the darkness toward his house. Strategically placed spotlights light up the mansion’s granite façade and illuminate the ivy trellises affixed to the conservatory exterior, shining so brightly that the house is probably visible from across the lake.
That’s probably the point, I think as I follow Isaac around back and into the garden. It’s not about making the house pretty; it’s his mother showing off how wealthy she is.

"Shh," he whispers in the dark, ducking out of sight beneath a window and pulling me down beside him. "Mom’s still awake."

I hear footsteps inside the house and the creaking of wooden floorboards as I huddle in the grass beside Isaac. We’re sitting so close to each other as we hide from view that I can feel his breath on my cheek. His body presses against mine from shoulder to hip, and it’s doing something strange to my brain. It’s… it’s thrilling. I feel as if I’m in a spy movie or something, but I’m in it with Isaac and that makes it even better.
As his mother’s footsteps disappear off to the other end of the house, Isaac pulls away from me and the spell is broken. He’s just Isaac again and I’m just Nina. My skin feels cold now that he’s not touching me.
"This way," he whispers, waving for me to follow him. Before I know what’s happening, I’m climbing behind him up the ivy. The vines are so old that they’re as thick as tree branches, but I’m still scared as I climb higher and higher up the wall. My heart pounds in my chest as I reach the third story windows, and I gasp in terror as a vine breaks free from the wall and shifts beneath my foot.

I won’t look down, I tell myself. I just won’t look down and I’ll be okay. I’ll stay right here and wait until I’m calm and then I’ll keep climbing. Just don’t look down!
I look down and start to panic. "Give me your hand," Isaac whispers from above me. He’s already up on the roof, looking nervously down at me.
"I’m okay," I tell him, but my trembling voice gives me away. I’m scared as hell and I’m getting dizzy from vertigo.
"Nina, give me your hand," he repeats, and this time he’s not asking. His tone tells me that I’m giving him my hand and that’s that—it’s not open to debate.
I nod weakly, wipe my sweating palm on my T-shirt, and reach up toward him as I cling to the side of the house. He grabs my hand tightly, braces himself against the rain gutter with both feet, and pulls me up onto the roof beside him as if I weigh little more than feather.
"Are you okay?" he asks.
I nod back and he leaps to his feet again, grabs me by the hand and drags me reluctantly behind him higher and higher up the roof. The wind is stronger than I expected up here; one false step and we’re both just obituaries in the morning paper.
"Come on, Neenie. We’re almost there!"

Step by step, foot by foot, we finally make it to the ridge of the roof and sit together with our backs against the chimney. The warm bricks are the perfect complement to the chilly autumn breeze coming off the lake. I lean back against the chimney and my brain starts to feel fuzzy as Isaac’s arm touches mine again.
"Well shit," he suddenly swears, and then he starts to laugh. "You’re going to hate me, Nina."
"What’s wrong?" I ask, rolling my eyes at him in the dark. Me, hate him? Yeah right.
"The cocoa’s in the kitchen," he whispers embarrassedly. "I’ll go back down and…"
"Are you crazy?" I interrupt him. "No way! You’re not making that climb again in the dark."
"You sure?" he asks, and I shake my head.
"Seriously, Isaac. I’m okay. How would you climb up the ivy with mugs, anyway?"
He sighs in relief and suddenly, I understand something new and amazing about him—something I’d never realized about him before. He’d promised me cocoa, and if I still wanted it, he was going to get it even if it meant climbing back down the ivy—even if it meant stupidly risking his life over something as little and pointless as a cup of cocoa.

I… I’m not that special. He shouldn’t do that for me.
…but it makes me so happy that he would.
"Look, Neenie!" he calls out, pointing up at the clear, starry sky above us. "I knew we could see the meteor shower from out here."
He’s right—the stars are bright and beautiful above us, and the tall trees block the pink glow of New Haven from sight. I curl up against the chimney and enjoy the warmth of the bricks—and the warmth of his body pressed softly against mine—as we stare up at the sky together.

There are no car horns out here, no people shouting, no strange men in the living room with my mother… why can’t I have this instead? I don’t want the house or that ridiculous conservatory—I just want the feeling that I’m safe, the feeling that things can work out and that there'll be a happy ending someday.

I don’t want to be Nina Torres anymore. I don’t want to grow up to be like my mother.
A shooting star flashes through the sky above us and Isaac excitedly points up at it.
"There it is, the first one of the night! Make a wish," he says, but I’m way ahead of him. I’ve been making my wish for years.
I wish that I didn’t have to be scared of Mom’s customers touching me or of stepping on her needles in the dark at night. I wish that the rest of the students at school didn’t hate me—that I didn’t get knots in my stomach on the school bus every morning.

I wish I didn’t have to go home after this. I wish I could stay here with Isaac forever.
Isaac stares silently up at the sky for a long time before looking back down at me, and for a moment, he almost looks scared.
"I wished for…" he starts, but I cut him off before he can finish.
"Don’t tell me your wish or it won’t come true!"

He inches closer and smiles awkwardly before saying anything. Suddenly I realize just how quickly my heart is racing. Why does being around him do this to me? I… no, I can’t let myself think like that. I can’t let myself think about things that can never happen between us.

"It can’t come true unless I tell you," he whispers, and before I can say anything else, he kisses me.
My arms somehow find their way around him as we snuggle up together against the warmth of the chimney, and all my fears fall away. God, this is wonderful! I’ve never felt like this before, and as Isaac presses his lips to mine again, I feel a tear trickle down my cheek. Another one follows it—then another—and soon he’s holding me close as I cry in his arms. Maybe it’s not so wonderful after all. Why am I crying?

"I wished I had the guts to tell you how much I love you," he whispers in my ear.
All I can do is cling to him, kissing him over and over as tears stream down my face. I can’t make heads or tails of my feelings right now. Am I miserable or overjoyed? Both? What the hell is going on inside my head?

I love him. I can never, ever have him, but I love him to death.

"I don’t give a shit what my mother thinks or what your mom’s like, Nina," he whispers, squeezing me so tightly that I feel as if I’m going to pop. "No matter what happens—no matter where life takes us—I’m going to find you. We’ll be together and I don’t care what anyone else says."
Maybe life has something to offer after all. Maybe I’m not really doomed to end up like Mom—a drug addict, a prostitute who steals from her own fucking daughter.
Deep down inside, though, I don’t really believe it.
I wish that I could believe him, but I just don't anymore. I wish I could believe in a happily ever after, but I’d only be setting myself up for disappointment. His mother would never accept me; I’d be nothing to her but her son’s bad decision.

Tonight, though, being with Isaac is everything I could possibly want. I lay in his arms on the roof all night long as we watch the stars fall down around us.

I wish I didn’t have to go home. I wish that I was someone else—someone with a future.
Wishes only come true when you’ve made the wrong wish.
I don’t know it yet, but tomorrow morning, Child Protective Services is finally going to pay my mother a visit.
I’m going into foster care far, far away, and I’m never going to see Isaac again.

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Saturday, February 1, 2014

Swinging Saturdays #24 ~ In the city of Amsterdam......

Swinging saturdays is a musical meme hosted by Ice Cold Passion, to share our passion for music. The goal is to make a top 5 (or Top 10) for whatever genre or artist you like or get creative and share a theme based music top 5. For example a bookish soundtrack, funny songs, song to listen to on a rainy day top 5.
This week top 5 is going to be fun, and I little Dutch, because I am sharing with you, my Amsterdam top 5! Did you know that there are a lot of songs either named Amsterdam or about Amsterdam? These songs are not only by Dutch artists either! Think: Coldplay! They have a song named Amsterdam! 

1. Drukwerk ~ Hee Amsterdam

2. Imagine Dragon ~ Amsterdam

3. Acda en de Munnik ~ In De Stad Amsterdam

4. Coldplay ~ Amsterdam

5. Jacques Brel ~ Amsterdam

So that's it for my Top 5!!!
What is your Top 5 this week? 
Want to host Swing Saturdays next week? 
Send me an email: icecoldpassions@gmail.com.  I would love to hear what kind of music you like!