Thursday, June 30, 2011

On My Wishlist (1)

In On My Wishlist I spotlight books that I'm really looking forward to. I know there's a meme Waiting on Wednesday and there even are others, but I'm going to rebel and do it how I want it (hehe). I'll feature the synopsis as posted on Goodreads and put a linkie to the Goodreads page of the book. This week: The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge.

The Nightmare Garden by Caitlin Kittredge
Expected publication date: February 14th, 2012

Everything Aoife thought she knew about the world was a lie. There is no Necrovirus. And Aoife isn't going to succomb to madness because of a latent strain—she will lose her faculties because she is allergic to iron. Aoife isn't human. She is a changeling—half human and half from the land of Thorn. And time is running out for her.

When Aoife destroyed the Lovecraft engine she released the monsters from the Thorn Lands into the Iron Lands and now she must find a way to seal the gates and reverse the destruction she's ravaged on the world that's about to poison her.

Goodreads page

I read and reviewed the first book in the Iron Codex series, The Iron Thorn, here on the blog earlier this week. I really liked the book and I'm SO looking forward to reading the sequel. And just look at the cover! Is that droolworthy or what?

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Review: Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris

Dead and Gone by Charlaine Harris
Published: May 5th, 2009
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 312
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge
Other: Ninth installment in the Sookie Stackhouse series. There will be 12 books in total. The 11th book, Dead Reckoning, is published on May 3rd, 2011.
Buy the book: Bookdepository

Warning: This review may contain (slight) spoilers for those of you who haven't read the previous books in the series. Reading is at your own risk. 

Except for Sookie Stackhouse, folks in Bon Temps, Louisiana, know little about vamps-and nothing about weres.

Until now. The weres and shifters have finally decided to reveal their existence to the ordinary world. At first all goes well. Then the mutilated body of a were-panther is found near the bar where Sookie works-and she feels compelled to discover who, human or otherwise, did it.

But there's a far greater danger threatening Bon Temps. A race of unhuman beings-older, more powerful, and more secretive than vampires or werewolves-is preparing for war. And Sookie finds herself an all-too human pawn in their battle.

As always when we meet up with Sookie, she gets into trouble. This time, there is a killer on the loose, who murdered a were-panther. But that's not all. One of the least known supernatural kinds is preparing for war: the faeries. And of course, Sookie finds herself in the middle of the battle.

Let me first start out by saying that I'm not really a fan of the fearies in the Sookie Stackhouse books. Sure, I like reading about Claudine, but Claude and Niall are not my favorites, so to say. So to see that this book talks a lot about the faeries, was a bit disappointing for me. Besides that, I found this to be another enjoyable Sookie book. This was mainly because the relationship between Sookie and Eric seems to be developing, and I'm a major Eric fangirl (in case you haven't noticed already).

Sure, this book wasn't the best book ever, but I found it really enjoyable and overall an entertaining book. (too bad that there wasn't a certain death to be mentioned.. But oh well, I can't have everything)

My overall rating:

Four minus for Dead and Gone: because I enjoy this series more and more, but I still think we haven't seen the epicness yet. Looking forward to the next book!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Review: The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge

The Iron Thorn by Caitlin Kittredge 
Published: February 20th, 2011
Publisher: Delacorte Books
Pages: 512
Challenge: Debut Author Challenge 2011, 350+ Page Books Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge
Other: The first book in the Iron Codex series. The second book, The Nightmare Garden, will be published in 2012.
Buy the book: Bookdepository

In the city of Lovecraft, the Proctors rule and a great Engine turns below the streets, grinding any resistance to their order to dust. The necrovirus is blamed for Lovecraft's epidemic of madness, for the strange and eldritch creatures that roam the streets after dark, and for everything that the city leaders deem Heretical—born of the belief in magic and witchcraft. And for Aoife Grayson, her time is growing shorter by the day.

Aoife Grayson's family is unique, in the worst way—every one of them, including her mother and her elder brother Conrad, has gone mad on their 16th birthday. And now, a ward of the state, and one of the only female students at the School of Engines, she is trying to pretend that her fate can be different.

This book took a little time for me to get into, but it was a great read after that! It was my second steampunk book and I feel like I'm liking it more and more.

The Iron Thorn was perfectly paced in my opinion and I loved that Aoife wasn't afraid to take risks. She comes across as a strong (but a little stubborn) woman, who will take matters in her own hand when she needs to. After receiving a worrysome letter from her brother Conrad, who has gone mad on his 16th birthday, she decides to escape the city and go look for him. She takes her best friend Cal with them, and when they team up with guide Dean, their adventure outside the walls of Lovecraft can truly begin.

Oh, how awesome their adventures are when they are traveling to the home of Aoife's father! I loved it. The world was so complex, yet so wonderfully described that I really liked how the book was built up. At 500+ pages, the book was quite big, but don't let that hold you back! Once you start reading, it's like a rollercoaster that you want to keep riding.

Having said that, I really liked this book. I didn't *love* it (hence the 4 star rating) but it was definitely a book that I would recommend picking up if you're into steampunk. Kittredge has created a world that is dangerous and fascinating, and I can't wait to get my hands on the sequel, The Nightmare Garden.

My overall rating:

Because I definitely want to read more of her fabulous storytelling!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Cheezyfeet Books Blogoversary Scavenger Hunt!

It's Bella's first blogoversary on July 1st and she's celebrating with an awesome Scavenger Hunt! HAPPY FIRST BLOGOVERSARY BELLA!! <3

If you came here from Bella's blog, welcome!

Bella is hosting a Scavenger Hunt in which multiple blogs are participating. On every blog, there will be a hint. All these hints are for one certain title. Do you think you know what the title is? Go over to Bella's post *HERE* and fill in the form. If you guess right, you're entered in a giveaway of the book you just guessed! But be sure of what you're sending in, because you only have one chance!

The hint for the Scavenger Hunt on Loving Books is..


Do you think you know which title we're talking about already? Head over to Bella's blog and fill in the form. Not sure yet? Check out the next hint tomorrow at one of the other blogs! For a full llist of blogs participating in The Hunt, check *this* post.

Good luck!

In My Mailbox (35)

Another Sunday, another In My Mailbox! In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren where we show what books we got this week. I went to a book fair this week so I got home with a ton of new books. Here's this weeks vlog :)

Na het licht - De Cycloop by Johan Vandevelde
Na het licht - De nieuwe veroveraars by Johan Vandevelde
Na het licht - De kinderen van de Adelaar by Johan Vandevelde

Most of the Dutch books don't have Goodreads pages, so I can't link them, unfortunately.. 

I'm SO thrilled with the books that I got. Yes, I got a lot of books, but it didn't cost me that much money to get them. We have a fixed book prices system here in The Netherlands, so every title is the same price in every store. On this book fair (Boekenfestijn for us Dutchies, if you want to go; they're stopping by at Jaarbeurs in Utrecht at the end of August) they sell batches of books that can't be sold in store so they sell them with a massive discount. I took advantage ;)

What did you get in your mailbox this week? Happy reading! :) 

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Cover Comparison (1): Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone

Cover Comparison is a new feature on the blog in which I show you the Dutch covers of books besides the original UK or US cover. Sometimes we get completely different covers over here and I thought it would be fun to show it! :)

 Harry Potter en de Steen der Wijzen, the Dutch version of The Philosopher's Stone

Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone, the original Bloomsbury print from 1997

The Dutch covers never show faces. We sometimes get a part of a body or a silhouette, but never more than that. I really like the Dutch covers, but I adore the UK ones. I am lucky enough to own both complete sets so I'll probably make a video about my Harry Potter books in the upcoming weeks before Deathly Hallows Part 2 (EEEEK!!!) comes out. 

Which cover do you prefer?

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Review: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
Published: August 24th, 2010
Publisher: Scholastic
Pages: 390
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge, 350 Page Books Challenge, YA Series Challenge
Other: The final book in The Hunger Games Trilogy. The Hunger Games is currently being made into a movie.
Buy the book: Bookdepository

This review might have some slight spoilers for those of you who haven't read the first two books in the series. Reading is at your own risk.

Young Katniss Everdeen has survived the dreaded Hunger Games not once, but twice, but even now she can find no relief. In fact, the dangers seem to be escalating: President Snow has declared an all-out war on Katniss, her family, her friends, and all the oppressed people of District 12. The thrill-packed final installment of Suzanne Collins' Hunger Games trilogy will keep young hearts pounding.

After the rollercoaster ride that we had with The Hunger Games and its sequel Catching Fire, Mockingjay is the worthy final of this epic trilogy. Nothing short of spectacular, Suzanne Collins manages to write another action packed book that I can only say 'Thank you' for.

Before I started reading, I read some reviews of people that had read the book already and found the ending to be unsatisfactory. I'm quite the opposite, to be honest; I loved what Suzanne did for the ending. Yes, the book is filled with action and emotion and she really doesn't spare her characters, but I feel like this is the only right way to end the series.

Collins filled this book with more action and fighting and the mockingjay has an important role in this book. I love what she built up to, although I was really sad to read about what happened to some of the characters (those of you who have read the entire series, you'll know which ones I am talking about).

Also, I want to add that I really liked the epilogue that Collins wrote after the story ended. It put everything in perspective and again, she doesn't spare anyone. It was a good and realistic ending for the series and from now on, I can say that the entire series is one of my absolute favorites. I would recommend it to anyone.

My overall rating:

Nothing short of spectacular, this book is epic, awesome, amazing and all other things made of amazeballs.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Review: Dark Lover by J.R. Ward

Dark Lover by J.R. Ward 
Published: September 6th, 2005
Publisher: Signet Eclipse
Pages: 393
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge, 350 Page Books Challenge
Age Group: Adult
Other: First in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. The ninth installment, Lover Unleashed, just came out.
Buy the book: Bookdepository

In the shadows of the night in Caldwell, New York, there's a deadly turf war going war going on between vampires and their slayers. There exists a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. Yet none of them relishes killing their enemies more than Wrath, the leader of the Black Dagger Brotherhood...

The only purebred vampire left on the planet, Wrath has a score to settle with the slayers who murdered his parents centuries ago. But when one of his most trusted fighters is killed - orphaning a half-breed daughter unaware of her heritage or her fate - Wrath must usher the beautiful female into the world of the undead...

Racked by a restlessness in her body that wasn't there, Beth Randall is helpless against the dangerously sexy man who comes at night with shadows in his eyes. His tales of brotherhood and blood frighten her. But his touch ignites a dawning hunger that threatens to consume them both....

I became curious of this series after seeing so much love for it in the blogosphere. I decided to pick the first book up and I'm glad I did. I read it in one sitting and I think this can be the base for a great series!

Wrath is the last full-blood vampire on the planet, and with that the most powerful one. He decides to look after the half-breed daughter of one of his best fighters when he dies, and he finds that he is attracted to her in a way that he never experienced. She doesn't know what she is and who her father is - and thus the stories Wrath tells her are terrifying. But while she doesn't know her heritage, the killers of Wraths parents are still out there, and they are planning..

I really liked reading this book. I have to say that it's DEFINITELY adult material, so younger readers should stay away from it, but otherwise I would recommend it to anyone who likes to read paranormal romance and the like.

The only thing that bothered me a little was the quick transition from fierce and tough guy to loving and caring boyfriend, to call it that. But it made for a great storyline, so that's all I will say about it.

My overall rating:

Four stars and a 'definitely looking forward to Lover Eternal' for this first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

In My Mailbox (34)

Another Sunday, another In My Mailbox! In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren where we show what book(ish things) we got this week! I paid my local bookstore a visit and I also got some books in that I ordered off Bookdepository. Here's this week's vlog:

Books mentioned:
The Clan of the Cave Bear by J.M. Auel (Dutch version)
Welcome to Temptation by Jennifer Crusie (Dutch version)
Dissimulazione by Rita Mondaldi and Francesco Sorti (Dutch version)
Naomi & Ely's No Kiss List by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
Passion Unleashed by Larissa Ione
Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

So another great week for me! I've decided to make July a low buy month again, since I have quite a few books coming in next week as well, so with the low buy I'll be saving up for my BIG birthday haul. Yes, I'll be hauling in advance; everyone around me is on holiday and I'm still home (alone! On my birthday!), so I thought some book buying is in order (fear not, I will not buy every single book for sale on BD). 

What did you get in your mailbox this week? Happy reading! :)

Thursday, June 16, 2011

New layout

I thought it was time for a new layout, so here it is! My old layout was getting a little crowded and I was ready for a layout that was more 'clean', so I started working and I came out with this. There may be some small changes behind the scenes on the blog so everything will work properly, so if something suddenly changes.. That's me, fiddeling with the magic called HTML! *waves* (no seriously.. HTML is more like abracadabra to me, but it seems to be working.. *fingers crossed*)

If there's anything that doesn't work anymore (like dead linkies or whatever), please leave me a comment so I can fix it right away! :)

Review: From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris

From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris
Published: May 6th, 2008
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 359
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge, 350 Page Books Challenge
Other: Eighth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. There are currently 10 books in the series, with two more being published in the future. The eleventh installment, Dead Reckoning, will be published May 3rd, 2011.
Buy the book: Bookdepository

Warning: This review may contain (slight) spoilers for those of you who haven't read the previous books in the series. Reading is at your own risk. 

The supernatural community in Bon Temps, Louisiana, is reeling from two hard blows - the natural disaster of Hurricane Katrina and the man-made horror of the explosion at the vampire summit the month before in the up-north city of Rhodes. Sookie Stackhouse is safe but dazed, yearning for things to get back to normal. But that's just not happening. Too many vampires - some friends, some not - were killed or injured, and her weretiger boyfriend, Quinn, is among the missing."

"It's clear that things are changing, whether the Weres and vamps of her corner of Louisiana like it or not. And Sookie - friend of the pack and blood-bonded to Eric Northman, the leader of the local vampire community - is caught up in the changes."

In the ensuing battles, Sookie faces danger, death... and, once more, betrayal by someone she loves. And when the fur has finished flying and the cold blood flowing, her world will be forever altered.

Another Sookie Stackhouse novel, means another book in which Sookie gets into trouble. This time, she interveres in the tension between the Weres, or actually between Alcide and Patrick Furnan. While they meet to talk everything over, there are spies and other Weres suddenly wanting to take over the pack. Besides the Were problems, Sookie finds herself in the middle of a hostile Vampire takeover. To make everything worse (?), Eric suddenly remembers everything he forgot from his couple of days of living with Sookie and Sookie gets betrayed by someone very dear to her.

Okay. Deep breath. First, let's get out of the way what I didn't like about this book. Charlaine Harris has written a lot of characters during the series, so many that I can barely keep up with any other characters besides the regulars: Sookie, Sam, Eric, Pam, Bill, Claudine, Claude, Jason and Amelia. The smaller characters aren't mentioned enough for me to follow what Sookie is talking about when she remarks something about their thoughts (there are some exeptions to this). Those characters make it difficult for me to follow everything that's going on in the sub plots and therefore I can't see the plots coming AT ALL. I find this to be very frustrating.

Another thing that I encountered while I was reading, was that some things were dismissed too easily. Sookie discovers that she has a great-grandfather, and believes it immediately. The whole thing with Tanya and Sandra was also way too easy for me. And where did the Quinn switch come from? I'm not a big Quinn fan, I'll admit it (Team Eric ftw), but I would have appreciated if he wasn't quickly pushed aside like this. I have a feeling that he'll be back in one of the next books and that Sookie will regret her decision. Also.. The magically remembering Eric came out of nowhere!

Now for the fun parts - because there were plenty and I really enjoyed reading this book. I loved to see some more of Eric, even though I didn't know if he was behaving like this because he remembered, or because he felt that way before. It's hard to tell with a Vampire Viking. I'm still annoyed by Bill - but I guess that's a good thing because there are enough other guys around and Bill is supposed to be annoying. I liked the development of Amelia - I'd like to see some more of her. She seems like a honest and loyal character, a little like Sam. I don't think Sam gets appreciated the way he deserves to be though.

Anyway, enough with my analysis. I really liked reading this book and I'm ever more curious to read more about Eric - Eric fangirl to the max, here. I'm wondering what the protection will bring Sookie and what danger she'll be in in the next couple of books...

My overall rating:

A four minus rating for this Sookie book - because I feel like it's getting better every book - but some loose ends just need to be tied up.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare
Published: March 27th, 2007
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books
Pages: 485
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge, 350 Page Books Challenge, YA Series Challenge
Other: First book in The Mortal Instruments series. The fourth book, City of Fallen Angels, just came out. There will be six books in total.
Buy the book: Bookdepository

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy? 

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know.... 

Exotic and gritty, exhilarating and utterly gripping, Cassandra Clare's ferociously entertaining fantasy takes readers on a wild ride that they will never want to end.

I was probably the last person ever to pick up this series.. It wasn't because I never heard of it, it was just that the synopsis looked.. like something that wouldn't be for me. The whole blogosphere seems to be addicted to this series, so when I saw the first three books on sale on Amazon, I ordered it and I'm glad I did.

Having already read Clockwork Angel - the first book of The Infernal Devices series, the prequel to TMI- I  kind of knew what Shadowhunters were and how their world is built op. Clockwork Angel was a really slow read for me, and City of Bones was quite the opposite! I devoured the book. I was hooked from the first couple of pages!

I loved the world building, Simon, Clary, and of course, Jace. Oh my, how shocked I was when I finally discovered 'The Big Twist' of which I heard so much.. And The Big Twist really did suck! But I read on, and I was like a kid in a candy store after finishing this book. I just loved it.

Simon is such a nice character. I love how Clare portrais him. Kind of geeky, but with a big heart. It's obvious how he feels about Clary, but not in an annoying way. I'm really looking forward to reading more about him.

Then there's Clary. I liked her, too. I thought she was a nice character to follow around and be introduced to the modern Shadowhunter world. She was easy to follow and I really liked her personality in terms of the fact that she's a fighter and she stands up to experienced Shadowhunters.

But when I talk about Clary, I have to mention Jace too. Oh man, I loved him. I still do! I think he's a great character, although he's cocky, but I like that. I can fully picture him in my mind with every snarky remark he makes. Oh yes, I love Jace.

Despite The Big Twist (of which I seriously hope that it turns out to be a stupid joke to set them up), I loved this book and I'm REALLY looking forward to reading the rest of the series. I'm so glad that I own City of Ashes and City of Glass already!

My overall rating:

Nothing short of addicting and awesome, City of Bones definitely deserves every piece of these five stars!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

In My Mailbox (33)

Another Sunday, another In My Mailbox! In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren where we show what books (and bookish things) we got this week. My IMM was HUGE this week! I got a couple of eGalleys and to top everything off I received quite an amount actually in my mailbox. Here's this weeks vlog!

For review (eGalleys):

"Real books":

Bookwise it was a great week!! I la-la-love every single one of them and hopefully I'll be able to squeeze in some reading time in between hospital visits :) For those of you who don't follow me on twitter: my sis was admitted in the hospital on Thursday after her specialist called in that she needed to go to the emergency unit after her hemoglobin was dangerously low. After spending 4,5 hours there, they hooked her up to an IV to get her meds. She's doing okay, but she'll have to stay til at least Tuesday. She's going to be fine, they just want her to recover quickly :)

Let me know what books you got in your mailbox this week! Happy reading! :) 

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Review: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Published: December 2nd, 2010
Publisher: Dutton
Pages: 372
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge
Other: NA
Video review: Youtube
Buy the book: Bookdepository

Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris—until she meets √Čtienne St. Claire: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near-misses end with the French kiss Anna—and readers—have long awaited?

Anna's father decides that Anna will attend a boarding school for her senior year. Not any boarding school, no. He decides to send her to Paris. Anna doesn't want to go, but she has no choice. She ends up in the dormitory and gets welcomed by Meredith, who lives in the door next to her. At the same evening, Anna bumps into St. Claire. He's got great hair, beautiful eyes, a gorgeous smile and not to forget his English accent. She feels butterflies in her stomach - but St. Claire has a steady girlfriend, and there are no signs of the two of them breaking up. In other words: absolutely NOT available.

Anna and the French Kiss tells about the romantic feelings that Anna has in the city of love: Paris. Besides that, she's struggling to find her way in the foreign city, without speaking any French (well, she can say Yes, but thinking it is spelled 'w-e-e' doesn't count). There's an instand click with St. Claire, and we see how the story develops between the two of them, and in the rest of Anna's personal life.

Cheesy? Yes. Cute? Yes. Absolutely awesome read? You betcha! I read this book in one sitting and I loved it. St. Claire (or should I say Etiènne?) is a great character with great hair (!) and is just overall a great love interest. I found him a very likeable and potential swoonworthy character, even though he sometimes is a douchebag. That doesn't matter, I'm sure everybody who read this book loves him all the same.

Anna was a very likeable character and easy to relate to. I like that Stephanie Perkins didn't make her perfect, but gave her natural charisma instead (which doesn't mean that Anna isn't pretty - she's just not typical pretty). She's witty and funny and I love her sarcastic remarks.

Overall I have to say that I really really liked this book and I would definitely recommend picking up a copy! Perkins has a great writing style - easy to read and filled with sarcastic and funny remarks at just the right places.

My overall rating:

Because I loved it!And because I love great hair!

Review: The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos

The Emerald Talisman by Brenda Pandos
Published: March 24th, 2010
Publisher: Obsidian Mountain Publishing
Pages: 280
Source: For review from author
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge
Other: First book in the Talisman series. The second book, The Sapphire Talisman, is already published.
Buy the book: Bookdepository

To be normal, sixteen-year-old Julia Parker would shed her empathic gift in a second. Life has been difficult since her mother's mysterious disappearance ten years earlier - an event she witnessed, but can't remember. Julia's situation becomes more complicated after a near death experience from a blood thirsty stalker. As high school students go missing it is clear there is a connection to her own experience--past and present. Someone has to stop the madness and a chance encounter with a creepy psychic foretells that only Julia is the key to stopping the madness, but it may require the life of the one she loves.

Let me start off by saying that this is not your standard vampire YA title! Brenda Pandos has managed to give the whole vampire world a new spin and I have to say, I like it!

The story tells us about Julia, who lost her mother because of a freak accident ten years ago, and left her with psychic abilities that tell her what people around her are feeling. She would do anything to be normal. Unfortunately, when her car breaks down and she has two ways to go home, she picks the latter and finds herself facing danger and something she would never have thought possible. After that, Julia discovers she has a bloodthirsty stalker and she finds herself in the middle of a year old battle between supernaturals.

The turn that Pandos took on the standard vampire stories was a nice surprise. It made me want to read more and more, so the least I could say was that I was hooked. Sure, Julia makes a couple of decisions that are questionable and I wouldn't have done, but since it makes a good story, you won't hear me complain about that.

I think Julia can be a great friend when she pays attention (unfortunately, because of her psychic abilities, her mind is often somewhere else), but she's smart and alert. The best thing about her is that she's not one to back away from a fight - she'll never go down without a fight, and I loved that about her.

The beginning of the book didn't have me hooked, but as soon as the story developed and the characters were brought into place, I couldn't put it down. Some of the minor characters (like Julia's friends) are really hard to seperate because of the lack of depth in those characters, so I would have liked to have seen a little more to those characters.

I would like to see how Nicholas is going to develop in the next book. I found him to be a good character; a good love interest and overall an interesting persona.

After the slow beginning, I was hooked and I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book. I'm really looking forward to reading The Sapphire Talisman!

My overall rating:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Review: All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris
Published: May 1st, 2006
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 336
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge
Other: Seventh book in the Sookie Stackhouse series. There are currently 10 books in the series, with two more being published in the future. The eleventh installment, Dead Reckoning, will be published May 3rd, 2011.
Buy the book: Bookdepository

Warning: This review contains (slight) spoilers for those of you who haven't read the previous books in the series. Reading is at your own risk.

In All Together Dead, Sookie is trying to put past failed relationships behind her and has a new man in her life: the handsome and mysterious shapeshifter Quinn. But in the wake of the devastation from Hurricane Katrina, and with the entire Louisiana supernatural community still reeling, Sookie is summoned by Sophie-Anne Leclerq (the Queen of Louisiana) to accompany her to a historic regional vampire summit. However, the conference -- where entire power bases could be gained or lost -- is filled with friction and ill will; and when delegates are found brutally murdered, Sookie finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy-ridden power play where the unlikeliest of suspects could be a cold-blooded killer. 

In this Sookie Stackhouse book, Sookie is dating Quinn, who she met a little while before. Meanwhile, she is summoned to the vampire summit - where Queen of Louisiana Sopie-Anne will stand on trial for killing her husband. Sookie will be going along with the Queen and her entourage. Of course, no book in this series would be complete without some more trouble: the Queen's right hand forces a blood bond to be established without Sookie's consent, The Fellowship of the Sun is involved in a plot to kill the vampires and Sookie's brother Jason takes drastic steps into the community of Hotshot.

This was one of the books in the series that was most put together in my opinion. Everything evolves around the vampire summit, and yes, there are some things coming back from being mentioned in Definitely Dead, but overall I'd say this is one of the better books in the series. There aren't too many small characters involved that have important roles - and the ones that have, are clearly recognizable between the rest of the characters. In my opinion, there are always too many characters in the story. But this one was easy to read. We saw a little of Eric's personality through - the character and personality that I've loved since the beginning of the series. It was good to see him back! 

I'm wondering where we will see Barry again. I have some kind of feeling that Barry and Sookie will be confronted with eachother, someday.. Although I have no idea when and why. I *do* have the idea that we will see more Eric, because of the bond or because he wants to. We'll have to wait and see! 

My overall rating: 

3.5 stars for the Vampire summit! I'm looking forward to reading the next couple of books :) 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Re: Darkness Too Visible

The Wall Street Journal published an article on June 4th about violence, swearing and other things that were considered not suitable for young adults, in YA books. I've been thinking about what Ms. Gurdon wrote about a mother who couldn't even find a YA book in a bookstore that she found suitable for her 13 year-old daughter, and telling us about the dark themes that are going around in the YA book industry.

Now, I'm not saying that I'm an expert or that everything that I say about this article is the absolute truth, but this is my interpretation of this article. I had to blow off some steam after reading that text, and so here I am.

First, let me address the matter of the mother who was unable to find a book for her 13 year-old daughter, because all the YA books were either suicide, self mutilation or vampires and that was all dark stuff. Don't get me wrong, I do think that there are tons of books out there that have those themes, but to say that she couldn't find a single book in the bookstore tells me that mom didn't look well enough. The implication that contemperary (and YA books as a whole) only tells us about dark stuff, is complete and utter rubbish. What about great authors like Sarah Dessen and John Green, to name a few? They write great books, tell us (and the young adults their books are marketed for) important lessons about what to value in life.

Having said that, let's get to the 'dark stuff'-trend in YA. It's true that there are more and more books coming out that handle with exessive violence, deaths, eating disorders, rapes and self mutilation. Those books are there for a reason, besides the fact that they sell, which is probably the main reason that the book is published in the first place. It is because it's important to tell young adults about these kind of things. The author of the article in the WSJ picks Rage by Jackie Morse Kessler to illustrate things. In this book, Missy cuts herself, aka uses self mutilation to express her emotions because she doesn't have another way to express herself. While this book is dark and confronting, it also informs us about the way people who cut themselves react to certain things and what triggers the impulse to take a knife. It's not to ask for attention, like many people out there seem to think. It's so much deeper than that. If Ms. Gurdon had read the book, she would have known that Morse Kessler is trying to create awareness for problems among young adults. Because while it may be harsh, graphic, confronting and painful to think of, she gives us a little insight in what it is to deal with the situation.

What I really wanted to say after reading this article, is that the text implies that all that exessive violence that young adults read about, are not filtered by their parents (ie they shouldn't have let their child read that book) and suggests that young adults should read books that do not deal with the darker, heavier things that are out there nowadays. Can I just say that this really pisses me off? In my experience, and I was a reluctant reader in my teens, teens should not be kept away from everything that contains issues like Ms. Gurdon indicates. Teens should be made aware of the things around them and they should not be sheltered from what is going on in the world. Because when you give your child books that you have approved off, that don't contain things like death, disease, violence, how is a child to deal with that in real life if you don't educate them about it? The world isn't made of butterflies and fuzzies! It's not all love and it's certainly not easy.

The reason that books have the themes that they do now, in comparison to the titles that came out say 40 years ago, is that the world is a different place. Children and especially young adults are really difficult to get to reading, and when they read, they want to be entertained. They want to see the characters talk the way that they do, instead of the polite talk that some parents may want to see from their children. They want it to feel real. While violence is a darker theme in the novels out there right now, the reason there is more violence in books is because the world is getting more aggressive.

So here's another problem that I deal with. They want young adults to read more. But they also seem to want to lower the levels of violence and 'dark stuff' in young adult novels, making the books more plain and bringing us back so many years in terms of literature. What is wrong with the progress young adult literature is making? Because some parents have problems with the openmindedness of the authors that write books today?

I agree that some books are quite harsh and not suitable for some agegroups. But while, for example, The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins is packed with violence upon violence, it also teaches us lessons about how to deal with suppression, what love is and the importance of freedom.

Books that deal with the 'dark stuff' that was mentioned in the WSJ article, teach us valuable lessons. Why do you want to take those lessons away from young adults?

In My Mailbox (32)

Another Sunday, another In My Mailbox! In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren where we show the bookish things we got this week. A small week for me this week, but that doesn't make it any less good!

I also got a steampunk and Mockingjay inspired ring from Etsy! I love Etsy and I loved this ring as soon as I laid eyes on it, so of course, I bought it. What did you get in your mailbox this week? 

Happy reading!

Saturday, June 4, 2011

Giveaway winner!

It's really hot here so I'm going to make this short and sweet (at least, sweet for the winner!). The winner of my spontaneous giveaway is...


Congratulations! I will send you an email (expect this later tonight, because I'm literally melting here in the house..), to which you need to reply in order to claim your prize :) 

Hope you all have a great Saturday everyone! *goes off to cool herself*

Friday, June 3, 2011

Review: The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan

The Last Olympian by Rick Riordan
Published: May 5th, 2009
Publisher: Disney Hyperion
Pages: 381
Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge, 350 Page Books Challenge, YA Series Challenge
Other: Fifth and final book in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. All books are published. There is a spinoff series, The Heroes of Olympus. The second book in that series will be published later this year.
Video review: Youtube
Buy the book: Bookdepository

Warning: This review may contain (slight) spoilers for those of you who haven't read the previous book(s) in the series. Reading is at your own risk.

All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of a victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows.

While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate. 

Percy is nearing his sixteenth birthday, and all the half-bloods have been preparing for battle. The battle against Kronos and the Titans is drawing nearer and nearer and Percy feels he is fighting against his own faith. The Olympians are busy guarding their empires and trying to hold back Typhon, Olympus is practically inviting the Titans in - so Percy and the half-bloods guard the city. Helped by the Hunters of Artemis, old Sea Gods, his friends and unexpected allies, Percy will have to fight to keep the Lord of Time from taking Olympus.

First up: What an EPIC ending to this series. There's no other word for it, except maybe AWESOME. I was on the edge of my seat with this book from the first page. Okay, not everything comes out of nowhere and some things are downright predictable, but the way Riordan has writting this epic book packed with battle is just amazing. The battle scenes were lively and actually packed with action, power and yes, even some love. I la-la-loved it!

The unfolding prophecy took a little twist for me - I didn't expect it to end this way, but I liked it. I liked that not everyone was spared and that the whole book was practically full of battle preparations and actual battle.

To make a long story short: if you haven't picked up this series (WHY?!) you really need to. Buy or borrow a copy of The Lightning Thief - you will not regret it! It's made of awesome! And amazeballs!

My overall rating:

Because it's my second favorite series: right after Harry Potter.

Thursday, June 2, 2011

30 books in 30 days challenge!

Soooo I haven't been reading *that* much in May, so when I saw this challenge over at The Cait Files I thought it would be a great way to catch up on my reading! Thirty books is a lot of reading, and yes there will be some shorter books tucked in there so it evens out the longer books I plan on reading.

So.. Here's a planned list of books that I want to read in June!
1. A Touch Mortal by Leah Clifford
2. Aphrodite the Beauty by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
3. Perfect Chemistry by Simone Elkeles
4. Lover Eternal by J.R. Ward
5. The Darkest Kiss by Gena Showalter
6. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
7. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
8. Frostbite by Richelle Mead
9. The Sorceress by Michael Scott
10. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
11. XVI by Julia Karr
12. Wings by Aprillyne Pike
13. Fallen by Lauren Kate
14. Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce
15. Wildefire by Karsten Knight
16. The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter
17. Persephone the Phony by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams
18. Gregor the Overlander by Suzanne Collins
19. City of Glass by Cassandra Clare
20. Covet by J.R. Ward
21. Evernight by Claudia Gray
22. If you could see me now by Cecilia Ahern

Honestly, if I can make it past 20 I will be extatic! That would make a massive dent in my TBR pile.. And of course, I can shift in the books that I want to read in June.. I hope there'll be a lot of sunny days so I can spend my time outside in the sun, lounging in the garden! *looks forward to summer*

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

May wrap up

The month of May just flew by! I don't know about you, but I have no clue were all those 31 days went. May was over so quickly! Readingwise, it was a bit of a slow month, with 8 books read, but that's okay. I'll make a dent in my TBR in June! *evil laugh* I have read a total of 63 books, which makes a total of 22,206 pages read.  I passed the 20,000 mark!! Woopwoop!! I'm still way ahead of my challenge (100 books in 2011), so I think it's fair to say that I'll make it to the 100 books. Here's my wrap up video for May!

Read in May
1. The Darkest Night by Gena Showalter
2. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
3. Haven by Kristi Cook
4. City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare
5. Nick & Norah's Infinite Playlist by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan
6. White Cat by Holly Black
7. Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan
8. Dead in the Family by Charlaine Harris

Started but not yet finished
Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder
Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

Last month was a month with a couple disappointing titles.. And I think that's purely because my expectations of those were so high. It's not that they're not great books, but they just weren't as good as I thought they would be.

BUT my absolute favorite of the month is Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan. I LOVED that book. It was absolutely awesome! Rude, yes, but definitely awesome. I would recommend it any time! (GO READ IT)

What was your favorite read of May? And what was the least favorite book you read in May? Happy reading!
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