Friday, August 31, 2012

Buon giorno!  Welcome to my stop on the My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century Blog Tour, hosted by Shane at Itching for Books.  In addition to a fabulous giveaway, I've got an excerpt from the book, plus my review of this super fun story.  But first, let's meet the author:

As a teen, Rachel Harris threw raging parties that shook her parents’ walls and created embarrassing fodder for future YA novels.

As an adult, she reads and writes obsessively, rehashes said embarrassing fodder, and dreams up characters who become her own grown up version of imaginary friends.

When she's not typing furiously or flipping pages in an enthralling romance, you can find her homeschooling her two beautiful princesses, hanging out with her amazing husband, or taking a hot bubble bath…next to a pile of chocolate.

MY SUPER SWEET SIXTEENTH CENTURY is her debut novel. She did have her own fantabulous Sweet Sixteen in high school. Sadly, it wasn't televised.

Find out more about Rachel Harris & her books:

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Title:  My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
Author:  Rachel Harris
Series:  My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1
Publisher:  Entangled Publishing
Publication Date:  September 11, 2012
Source:  galley from publisher
Purchase:  Amazon | Barnes & Noble

On the precipice of her sixteenth birthday, the last thing lone wolf Cat Crawford wants is an extravagant gala thrown by her bubbly stepmother and well-meaning father. So even though Cat knows the family’s trip to Florence, Italy, is a peace offering, she embraces the magical city and all it offers. But when her curiosity leads her to an unusual gypsy tent, she exits . . . right into Renaissance Firenze.

Thrust into the sixteenth century armed with only a backpack full of contraband future items, Cat joins up with her ancestors, the sweet Alessandra and protective Cipriano, and soon falls for the gorgeous aspiring artist Lorenzo. But when the much-older Niccolo starts sniffing around, Cat realizes that an unwanted birthday party is nothing compared to an unwanted suitor full of creeptastic amore.

Can she find her way back to modern times before her Italian adventure turns into an Italian forever?

My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was such a fun, light-hearted novel...a long over-due break from all the doom and gloom I've been reading lately.  It has a little something for everyone, as it's equal parts contemporary, science fiction, and historical fiction:  a girl from our time travels back in time to 16th century Italy. 

Sure, that sounds like it might be hard to pull off, but Rachel Harris does it seamlessly.  Whether we're following Cat around in present-day or watching "Patience" flirt with Lorenzo, the story flows flawlessly and is always entertaining.  And there are lessons to be learned along the way, which is always a plus.  I enjoy a good story that offers up some well-meaning and well-placed morals -- especially when said story is aimed at the young adult audience.  And in 16th century Italy, you would be hard-pressed not to find individuals with a high standard of character, what with their virtues intact (somewhat bregudgingly for the younger set) and chaperoned outings and the like.

What I enjoyed most about My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century was that unlike so many novels where the protagonist slips easily into their new life, Cat is having such a difficult time adjusting.  She forgets herself often, using terminology from her own time period.  Cat also seems to make a fool of herself at every opportunity, but what she lacks in proper etiquette, she makes up for with the ability to laugh at herself.  Cat knows she'll never have an opportunity like this again, and she's going to enjoy it for all its worth.

The romance is just as cute and sweet as the rest of the story.  But just about everything about this novel was cute.  Well, except for that awful Niccolo.  But that surprise ending?!?  I need the next book NOW, Ms. Harris, if you please.  I just love a book that leaves you with a sense of satisfaction at the end but also has you asking, "Well, what happens next?!?"

Rating:  Photobucket

The carriage stops, and before I can worry about how a proper young sixteenth-century lady would act, I jump out and run for the fields. I throw my arms wide, skimming my fingers along the passing flowers, and laugh.

This is what freedom feels like.

Ever since this morning’s epiphany with Lucia, all I’ve been able to think about is living without the worry of judgment constantly pressing down on me. Here in this ancient world, I’m not just free from unwanted parties and ridiculous future stepmothers. I’m actually free to become the Cat I’ve always wondered about and wished to be.

The thought is both thrilling and terrifying.

Alessandra shoots past, giggling like crazy, and I glance at the boys strolling leisurely behind us. Lorenzo shakes his head and flashes a devastating grin, and my mouth goes completely dry. I exhale and drag my eyes back around. Just because I can be a new me here, it doesn’t mean I should go falling for the local hottie.  I just have to keep repeating to myself:  He’s a player, he’s a player, he’s a player.

Alessandra turns and runs backward, never missing a step. She lifts her hands in the air and shouts, “You cannot catch me, fair cousin!”

Her playful energy, much like her smile, is infectious. Laughing, I shake my head and cup my hand over my mouth. “Challenge accepted!”

I hike up my long skirt, and her squeal rings out across the countryside. We run across the crimson poppy field and through a meadow filled with wild daisies, the intoxicating aroma of fresh flowers filling my head. The warm sun seeps into my skin, and as a cool autumn breeze whips loose strands of long brown hair across my face, I smile what might possibly be my first-ever authentic smile.

In two long strides, I cover the remaining distance and tackle Alessandra to the ground. “Oomph!”

She rolls me off her and gives me a playful push. “Your mother,” she says, pausing to catch her breath and straighten her skirt, “must have descended from the Goddess of Victory.”

I draw a ragged breath and shrug. “Nah, I’m just that good.”

Alessandra wrinkles her nose but then smiles brilliantly. She begins gathering daisies into a pile as Cipriano plows into Lorenzo’s back a few feet away. I watch them both nosedive and disappear into the overgrown flowers, laughing and taunting each other. As my throat grows thick, I realize I’m envious of their easy friendship.

“Goddess Victoria.” I turn at Alessandra’s teasing tone to see her holding a crown of daisies. “Victor of our race.” She places it on my head and bows hers in solemn mock adoration. Then she giggles and quickly makes one for herself. “Now we shall match.”

I swallow past the increased thickness in my throat and lower my eyes slightly. “Thanks.”

My eyes sting, and I actually feel the pressure of tears building behind my nose. I blink, shake out my hands, and make the mascara face, trying to get myself together.

What is up with me today?

Luckily, the boys provide a distraction. Cipriano’s dark head pops up to my right, his hands fisted on his hips. “I want it known," he declares to no one in particular, "that I let Lorenzo win. To do otherwise would have been impolite, as he is so obviously enamored of our cousin.”

Blood rushes to my cheeks—even though I know I’m nothing special to Lorenzo—and I brace myself for the typical guy response. Denial, mocking, maybe even a sexist comment in response to Cipriano’s taunting. But when Lorenzo stands to dust himself off, he just grins. “Your benevolence is most appreciated, old man.”

Then he looks at me.

I fight the slow grin wanting to creep across my face as he walks over, stray shards of grass clinging to his curls. His flirtatious gaze grows darker as it trails over me, from the crown of my head, over my freckle-dusted nose, to my toolarge mouth. The muscles of my stomach clench, then release, then clench again. Even though my hair’s a hot mess, my face is completely bare, and I’m flushed from both running and his blatant appraisal, I’ve never felt more beautiful.

And that’s a problem.

Lorenzo plops down and brushes the ribbons of hair away from my mouth, never taking his eyes off mine. Heat ripples througout my body as his thumb grazes my lower lip.

And now my lovelies, it's time for the fantastic giveaway.  Here's what's up for grabs:
  • signed bookmark
  • finished copy of the book
  • trading cards
  • a necklace with a charm backpack on it
  • and tattoos like the character has

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck & happy reading!


  1. Glad you liked it!

    thanks for participating.

  2. Great review! I'm excited for this one!!!

  3. I'm going to be read this very soon. Ive read so many great reviews and I'm excited to find out about Super Sweet for myself. I'm glad you enjoyed it, Jeannette. Great review!

  4. nice review... the excerpt is awesome... :)

  5. The excerpt really makes me swoon!
    Great review! :)

  6. This sounds so fun! I love historical fiction and life switching kinds of books.
    Thanks for linking your review!


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