Monday, June 30, 2014

Model Undercover: ParisModel Undercover: Paris by Carina Axelsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an early release copy of Model Undercover: Paris via NetGalley. One of the things I like about this book and other books that have teens in them is that they are quite enjoyable for adults as well. In between travels I love to read fiction based in countries outside of the U.S. Of course, Italy and Paris are my favorites so when I saw this title available at the NetGalley site my first thought was "this sounds great!" I was not disappointed. Off the top I can say that there was only thing I found odd. Axelle Anderson is a British teen who is given a trip of a lifetime, a few weeks in Paris to work as an intern in the fashion industry for her aunt. But, to Axelle it's more of a punishment since she is not interested in fashion. She hopes to be a top-notch detective and spends her spare time investigating small crimes. Her parents are trying to steer her away from this and give her the trip.

There is one thing I found a bit off. Though Axelle and her family were British the text of the book was written in American English so the characters felt American instead of British. I kept expecting Axelle to speak like a British teen but she felt very American to me. Outside of that the characters were great. Axelle makes two great friends and has some surprising things happen to her while in Paris. She gets her chance to investigate a great crime and spend some time with her Aunt Venetia who is huge in the fashion industry in Paris as an editor of a fashion magazine. She introduces Axelle to designers and Axelle in the process of becoming engrossed in the fashion industry in a huge way she gets a chance at investigating a huge case. She sees this as her opportunity to make a name for herself as a detective and discovers some surprising things in the course of her investigation. You cannot help but like Axelle and cheer her on as she works to find the answers and also as she gets a chance to do something she had absolutely no interest in and gets a bit closer to her mom, who also loves fashion.

I look forward to seeing Axelle travel and investigate more mysteries!

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

An American Girl in ItalyAn American Girl in Italy by Aubrie Dionne
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was a great read for me. I tend to inhale anything based in Italy, more so when the author does a great job with imagery. Aubrie Dionne gave a good view of Italy. Carly is a gifted musician who plays with an orchestra traveling in Italy. She plays an instrument that I have little experience with so it was great to read the descriptions of her playing and the solo that she was trying to achieve with the opera singer, diva. They worked really hard from venue to venue and it was amazing to read the descriptions of how music is affected by our moods and interpretations. The author did a wonderful job describing their attempts at the song, so much so that, I literally cringed for them when the song did not go the way they intended. Reading about some of the other orchestra members also went a long way for me with liking this story.

Michaelangelo was a wonderful man who we learn about slowly as the story goes along. But, the reader is not sorry they get to know him because not only was he a great tour guide, despite his lack of experience, as well as showing himself to be a great man. Unfortunately, I did not realize there was a book before this one so I have not read it yet so I did not know the history of Carly and Melody's friendship though that did not distract from the story. It did make me want to get to know the characters better and spend more time reading other work by this author.