Monday, 15 April 2013

Dante's Girl - Courtney Cole

I requested this e-book on Netgalley quite a while ago yet even though I was approved straight away, it's taken me a while to finally read this. I'm not sure why I was so unsure about this, I really disliked the cover yet I'd seen a couple of great reviews for it and it sounded like the kind of book I would enjoy. Yet I was looking at all the galleys I've requested and haven't read yet the other day and this title caught my eye so I thought I'd finally give it a go. My reaction? Why did I wait this long?!

Synopsis: When Reece bumps quite literally into Dante at Amsterdam airport, she doesn't expect to see him again. However, after a freak volcanic eruption that has grounded all flights, Reece is taken to Caberra, an island just off Greece, with Dante who happens to be the son of the Prime Minster of Caberra. And lives in a palace. And happens to also be drop-dead handsome. Reece is a farm girl from Kansas, in a totally different league from Dante yet is that enough to keep them apart from one another. As Reece gets to know Dante and spend an amazing summer in the beautiful Caberra, she starts to discover if love is all that matters in a relationship.

Review: Oh my. Just, oh wow. There are times when you are so surprised that you love a book that you can't really explain why you like it...anyone understand me here? Anyone at all?
Okay. Let me attempt to explain myself. So we have this cover. I judge books by their covers, I know I shouldn't but when a book IS RIGHT THERE STARING AT ME, I'm more inclined to look at it if it has a pretty cover. It's like judging people on their appearance. We don't want to do it but we still do.
The cover, for me, is not a great selling point. It tells me this is a cheesy, 'omgdoeshelovemeomgwhatshouldido' kind of book. Which in some ways it is, but it's definitely, DEFINITELY much more than that. I also feel a bit weirded out by the whole close-up of a couple kissing, and of the fact there's a snap of his hand of her behind, I don't know I feel like I'm intruding on a personal moment. It works now I've read the book, everything is relevant but yeah. I still don't like it.

So I entered this book judging from the cover, as I do a lot. But then, I was suddenly sucked in to this - although perhaps a little unrealistic but exciting and beautiful world. There are moments where the fluffy romance seeps through but mostly, I found this a book that portrays the ups and downs of love, it showed a portrayal that felt real to me and, although not everyone is the Prime Minister's son, through Dante we see that conflict between your love and duty to your family and country mixed with your love for someone you deeply cared about. This book is mostly about the romance between Dante and Reece and that natural progression from strangers to friends to good friends to something more, but it also shows the need for friendship and the misunderstandings that come along with being that close to someone. There's also, like I said, the relationships with family as well as the relationships between those you dislike too. And I liked that mix there which made it not feel like a fluffy, cheesy, cliche romance.

Some reviews have criticised the writing, saying it makes Reece sound really selfish and stuck-up but I would have to disagree entirely. There are these lovely, vivid descriptions of a setting or scenery thrown in with the witty, sharp dialogue from the likeable Reece. She was a lovely protagonist and I loved her sense of humour and comments on things that made this read much more enjoyable. Like I've said, the romance is at the heart of the story but it's not all the story covers, otherwise I think I would not be writing such a positive review. There a a few sub-plots as well that become more prominent as the novel progresses. If I was in a perfect world, I would have liked the darker sub-plots to have had more page time but I still liked the way it was written entirely! There's all this tension throughout 60% of the novel where you can see the potential for Reece and Dante but there's something not quite letting it happen. Simply, for half of the book I was shouting KISS ALREADY at them.

AH THE CHARACTERS.
DANTE'S GIRL holds a lovely cast of original and both annoying and hilarious characters. I loved the characters perhaps the most because they all felt familiar somehow to me, like I could relate my own (albeit small) cast of friends to them. There's the lovely, down-to-earth Reece. And Dante. OH DANTE. Well, he's quite a catch in all honesty, he's lovely in appearance. He's lovely as a person. He's lovely to everyone. HE'S JUST SO LOVELY. AND HANDSOME. And exotic too..hmmm. He reminded me a lot of Etienne St Clair in Anna and the French Kiss. There's also Mia, a typical rebelling teenager, who I loved and I liked the friendship that forms between her and Reece, it's really nice to read. And Gavin, who just added so much humour to the novel. Urgh, not Nate. Too creepy.

This book is one of the best sweet romances I have read in a while that would be perfect as a beach read or on a lazy afternoon. It really shows the romance of travelling, something I think that is quite hard to put across especially in a book when EVERYONE has had bad experiences on aeroplanes (I hate plane toilets so much that I have to stick my fingers in my ears when I flush or run out quickly). This probably isn't the perfect book for every reader but for me, this was the kind of book I needed that really sucked me into the story and threw me out at the end with a smiling, lovesick puppy expression. I cannot wait for the next installment of this book, Mia's Heart, to find out what will happen next in Caberra.
In a sentence, I loved this book utterly.

I give it a 5 out of 5

Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for letting me review this book in exchange for a review

Author's Website: http://courtneycolewrites.com/
Pages: 356
Publisher: Lakehouse Press
Challenges: None

Perfect for readers who loved:
Anna and the French Kiss - Stephanie Perkins
The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight - Jennifer E Smith
13 Little Blue Envelopes - Maureen Johnson
Saving June - Hannah Harrington

5 comments:

  1. I feel bad that I judged a book by its cover! Since this one looks so amazing too! I didn't know what this one was about and have seen it on other blogs, but didn't give it a second glance because it didn't look like by sort of thing. *hangs head in shame* I will definitely look out for this one now. Thanks for the great review, Rebecca :)

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    1. Oh no, don't! I think everyone does it and although we try not to, it is hard. This is the perfect book to be an example why we should try books even if the cover is a bit...not nice.

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  2. I have to say I kind of disagree with judging a book by its cover, because I actually like this cover. Its different from others that I've seen and I would definitely give it a go. It sounds like such a great book and I'm so glad you enjoyed it! :)

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  3. I've just added this to my wishlist because it sounds amazing. I'm ashamed to say that I actually like the cover, even though it is a little cringey.
    I think I'm going to see if I can get this on my Kindle now. Thanks so much, Rebecca! Dante sounds AMAZING. :D

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  4. I absolutely loved this book! I read it in less than a day. I immediately bought the second book in the series because it was so good.

    Cath Brookes
    We saw BC Digital Marketing

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