Thursday, March 27, 2014

Why I've been MIA lately

You may have noticed me being around less than usual. I've had so much going on in my life and I honestly didn't have the energy to be on Twitter or on the blog much so that's why I've been MIA. So what's going on?

Well, I used to work 40 hours a week and run the household which was hard enough for me as it was because it seriously cut into my reading time. I still have that going on, but for about a month now, I've been going to the gym three times a week and that has been killer for my free time. It was time for me to get fit and to stop being exhausted after walking two flights of stairs (honestly, it was ridiculous). I'd been walking every day for half an hour during my lunch break, but I still was so horribly out of shape.. So I took the step to get a gym membership. And I've been working out three times a week for at least an hour ever since.

I feel more energised, my clothes fit me better (well, they are getting too big) and I have more peace in my head. To top that off, I'm losing weight, so it really is a win-win-win-win situation. But I've been neglecting reading and the blog and for that I am sorry; I still enjoy reading and stuff but my progress is about 30 pages every day so I have yet to actually finish a book this month xD Oops?

Anyway, I really want to get a healthy body and mind before I dive back into blogging. Like I said, I'm still reading but I want to prioritise getting healthy right now -- so blog posts might be few and far between. But I'll be back, no worries :-)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

On My Wishlist (68)

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: Landline by Rainbow Rowell.

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Expected publication date: July 8th, 2014

Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts... Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

Goodreads page

Obviously, this isn't a young adult novel. It is, however, a book by Rainbow Rowell, the evil genius behind Eleanor & Park which was so amazing I immediately wanted to read ALL of her books. She is able to capture the setting beautifully and I just.. ugh. There are no words for Rainbow's writing. Just know that I'll pick up anything she writes after that rollercoaster that was her debut novel.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Review: The Bone Season my Samantha Shannon

The Bone Season by Samantha Shannon
Published: August 20th, 2013 (Bloomsbury)
Pages: 466
Source: bought
Series: The Bone Season, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

It is the year 2059. Several major world cities are under the control of a security force called Scion. Paige Mahoney works in the criminal underworld of Scion London, part of a secret cell known as the Seven Seals. The work she does is unusual: scouting for information by breaking into others’ minds. Paige is a dreamwalker, a rare kind of clairvoyant, and in this world, the voyants commit treason simply by breathing.

But when Paige is captured and arrested, she encounters a power more sinister even than Scion. The voyant prison is a separate city—Oxford, erased from the map two centuries ago and now controlled by a powerful, otherworldly race. These creatures, the Rephaim, value the voyants highly—as soldiers in their army.

Paige is assigned to a Rephaite keeper, Warden, who will be in charge of her care and training. He is her master. Her natural enemy. But if she wants to regain her freedom, Paige will have to learn something of his mind and his own mysterious motives.

The Bone Season introduces a compelling heroine—a young woman learning to harness her powers in a world where everything has been taken from her. It also introduces an extraordinary young writer, with huge ambition and a teeming imagination. Samantha Shannon has created a bold new reality in this riveting debut.

It has been a while since I read this book (it was our November Book Club pick) but I never found the words to write an actual review, which is why it took so long for me to type this one up. And to be honest, I'm still not sure if I can put into words what I thought of this one, so please excuse any incoherent sentences in this review. I'd say I'm sorry, but I'm really not.

So. Let's talk a bit about my reading experience. When I picked it up, I was a bit daunted by its size, as it's a whopping 466 pages and the book is pretty huge. But I'm not shy of a challenge and I find that the biggest books often give me the most satisfaction when I finish reading them (I know I'm an oddball) so why not? To be fair, and also to warn everyone who is thinking of picking this book up, the first 100 or so pages are one massive case of infodump. I mean, REALLY. There's a map in front of the book, as well as a list of all known sorts of clairvoyants AND the back holds a glossary. That should tell you enough about the world the story is set in. But don't let it hold you back. Because once Shannon has introduced you properly to the world, Paige and the Rephaim, you'll slowly find yourself falling in love.

To be honest, the infodump is both the book's weakness as it is its strength. It takes you a while to figure everything out and to be able to place everything because the world is so complicated and thought out, but once you do, the book is fantastic. It's as actionpacked as it is intriguing, both the world of the clairvoyants as the world of the Rephaim. I found myself falling in love with the book from around the 120 page mark and I still found myself in that state, although maybe slightly more fangirlish, at the end of the book.

Paige is one feisty ass motherfucker. She feels real, and she's not perfect by any means. She has flaws, she makes mistakes, but she is real about it and she learns from them. She is kicking ass without being arrogant, if you know what I mean? I mean, she is still figuring stuff out after being thrown into the world of the Rephaim, but she's not afraid to give it her best shot. I admire that about her. She was a fantastic character to accompany on her journey and I loved experiencing everything with her.

And then there's Warden. Warden is in a league of his own, let's be real. From the moment he was introduced, I was curious about him. When I got to know him, I was fascinated. By the time I was halfway through The Bone Season I was shipping shit so hard it was hard to focus on all the other stuff going on. I mean, I turned into a complete fangirl. And I still am a groupie; I think I may be going through Warden withdrawal as we speak.

I loved the dark and twisty plot and all the storylines. It takes a while to kick off, partly because of you being dunked into the world with a whole shitload of facts about the world, but when it does, you seriously cannot stop reading. The plot was well put together and set up REALLY well for the sequel (WHY DID IT HAVE TO END THERE, SAMANTHA?! ARE YOU TRYING TO KILL ME?!) and I feel like I've already been waiting YEARS for The Mime Order to come out, even though it's only been a couple of months. If this was only the first book, I am excited to see what Shannon has in store for us in terms of the story arc over the next books. I bet it's gonna rock my socks off!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

On My Wishlist (67)

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: Royally Lost by Angie Stanton.

Royally Lost by Angie Stanton
Expected publication date: May 6th, 2014

Dragged on a family trip to Europe’s ancient cities, Becca wants nothing more than to go home. Trapped with her emotionally distant father, over-eager stepmother, and a brother who only wants to hook up with European hotties, Becca is miserable. That is until she meets Nikolai, a guy as mysterious as he is handsome. And she unknowingly finds herself with a runaway prince.

Nikolai has everything a guy could ask for-he's crown prince, heir to the throne, and girls adore him. But the one thing he doesn't have... is freedom. Staging a coup, he flees his kingdom and goes undercover on his own European tour.

When Nikolai and Becca meet, it’s their differences that draw them together. Sparks fly as they share a whirlwind of adventures, all the while dodging his royal guard. But Becca's family vacation ends in a matter of days. Will Nikolai and Becca be forced to say goodbye forever, will his destiny catch up to him, or will they change history forever?

Goodreads page

CUTENESS OVERLOAD! I predict that I will succumb to fluffy overdose when I'm done reading this book and y'all know how much I love me some fluffy books! *nods* Yeah, I'm pretty excited to get started on this one. I don't mind that it sounds unbelievable.. I mean, I enjoyed The Prince and Me as well, so yeah. Guilty pleasure. Sue me. I'm hoping this one will bring lots of adorable and romance!

Monday, March 17, 2014

Review: The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter
Published: February 26th, 2013 (Harlequin Teen)
Pages: 303
Source: for review via NetGalley
Series: The Goddess Test, #3
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★☆☆☆

Note: this is not the first book in a series, and can therefore contain (minor) spoilers for the previous book(s) in the series. Reading of this review is at your own risk.

Love or life.
Henry or their child.
The end of her family or the end of the world.
Kate must choose.

During nine months of captivity, Kate Winters has survived a jealous goddess, a vengeful Titan and a pregnancy she never asked for. Now the Queen of the Gods wants her unborn child, and Kate can't stop her--until Cronus offers a deal.

In exchange for her loyalty and devotion, the King of the Titans will spare humanity and let Kate keep her child. Yet even if Kate agrees, he'll destroy Henry, her mother and the rest of the council. And if she refuses, Cronus will tear the world apart until every last god and mortal is dead.

With the fate of everyone she loves resting on her shoulders, Kate must do the impossible: find a way to defeat the most powerful being in existence, even if it costs her everything.

Even if it costs her eternity.

If you have been following me for a while, you know I have this weird love-hate-relationship thing with The Goddess Test series. I started off incredibly excited with book one, only to be confronted with a whole different sort of Gods than I was expecting, and not in a good way, but I finished. The second book was harder to finish, but I was determined: it would get better. Wouldn't it? Well, by the end of book two I was sure it wouldn't, but I also had this weird determination to finish the series. And I did. I'm sort of proud of the fact that I ploughed on and finished the series, even though I didn't really like it. So why did I push on?

Greek mythology is something that has fascinated me ever since I learned of its existence. I love the stories and after falling in love with Rick Riordan's Greek mythology stories (Percy Jackson, y'all!) I was pretty much reading anything that had a reference to Greek myth. The Goddess Test sounded like it was a bit more romanticised, but I decided to give it a go. Fast forward three years later. The final book is out and while I still wanted to finish it, I was hesitant. The ending of book two was a real 'Oh man, really?' moment (picture this said by Honey Boo Boo) and I didn't really thing it would pick up. But how could I leave this series hanging after reading the previous two books AND the novella book? So I read it. And within the first few chapters, I wanted to throw up.

We are witnessing a childbirth, in all its gory glory and I seriously felt ill. While it isn't really that long or even that much in detail, I felt very uncomfortable and put off when I read that. I had to put the book down for a bit. And then I waited to long to pick it back up again, resulting in me being annoyed by just about everything in the book. The characters are soap opera actors still, but now there's this weird kind of solution thing going on in the background. To top that off, I was suddenly aware of Carter's use of the word 'though' in every other sentence. While she didn't exactly use it in every sentence, it was mentioned way too often, sometimes even several times on one page. And once I noticed that, I couldn't stop noticing it. It was driving me crazy. I've never heard a single person say 'though' that often in my life.

Having said that, I think this ending was the best outcome for the series and the characters in this series. There are some casualties, some battle scenes and Kate trying to outsmart the King of the Titans which was more amusing than it was thrilling or smart. What I liked was that the girls who were killed before Henry found Kate proved to be such feisty things that threw themselves into the situation headfirst, almost without questions. Even Persephone was bearable. Of course there also was the lame attempt at a love triangle, which fizzled out without hassle. For me, those scenes were uncomfortable to read as they were so forced and didn't feel natural at all.

The problems Kate encountered over the course of this book were either solved or discarded within a few chapters, which made them appear like minor bumps in the road, even though I think they were meant to show Kate's struggle to end this the right way. When a character is experiencing difficulties, I want to see them conquer those things, not give it a small push and make the difficulties fall over, if you know what I mean. Several solutions to Kate's other problems were so mindblowingly obvious they might have held banners and megaphones, but Kate was too stupid to figure them out. To top that off, even though she is now the Queen of the Underworld, she still hasn't developed a backbone. Really, girl?! Gah, so frustrating! She is very good at crying, complaining, stomping her foot, sighing and sobbing but she was unable to take matters in her own hands. I wish she would've grown into a stronger character by now, but alas, I was left disappointed.

The small plus that I want to point out that it still felt like watching Days Of Our Lives or something similar, the Gods actually behaved like Gods sometimes instead of hormonal teenagers. Those moments were scarce, but they were there, and that was a massive improvement from the earlier book.

There are plenty of people out there who enjoyed this book and the series, but it just wasn't for me. I feel like this wasn't the story for Carter to tell, for some reason. I disliked this series, but I do think she is capable of writing something better so I'll pick up Pawn in the future, hoping it will prove me right -- or wrong. But at least I'll have given it a shot (or two).

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

On My Wishlist (66)

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 Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
Expected publication date: April 15th, 2014

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

Goodreads page

Wheeee the queen of long book titles has a new book coming out! *hops excitedly* I adored both The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This Is What Happy Looks Like and I cannot wait to get my hands on this one. Whenever I need something fluffy, something to pick me up when I'm a bit down, this is my medicine. A real feel good book. LOVE. *content sigh* Yeah. I need this. Like, yesterday. Please?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Review: The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith

The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith 
Published: May 24th, 2012 (Headline)
Pages: 215
Source: bought
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

Who would have guessed that four minutes could change everything?

Imagine if she hadn’t forgotten the book. Or if there hadn’t been traffic on the expressway. Or if she hadn’t fumbled the coins for the toll. What if she’d run just that little bit faster and caught the flight she was supposed to be on. Would it have been something else - the weather over the Atlantic or a fault with the plane?

Hadley isn’t sure if she believes in destiny or fate but, on what is potentially the worst day of each of their lives, it’s the quirks of timing and chance events that mean Hadley meets Oliver...

Oh my god you guys, this is one of the cutest books I have ever read! I actually read this book WAY before I read This is What Happy Looks Like, which I reviewed in January, but somehow I never wrote a review for The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight. What was I thinking?!

When Hadley asks Oliver to watch her suitcase while at the airport, the story takes off. They don't know eachother, but they somehow immediately click, even though Hadley appears a bit weary to trust the handsome stranger who is entirely too willing to help her.

While this books deals with the whole dreaded instalove thing, it really didn't bother me while reading it. I felt like they actually got to know eachother on their flight and even before that a bit. It doesn't appear like they dive in headfirst. I actually got the idea that both Hadley and Oliver are sure they'll never see eachother after their flight.. But for serious guys, Hadley and Oliver have amazing chemistry. They just click. Like, they are still getting to know eachother, but they already have these sort of inside jokes. In everything they say and do it's obvious that they have chemistry and I loved how that made its way off the pages. Stamp of approval!

The only thing I didn't really like were the 'flashbacks' to the past. I just wanted to get back to their present, because Oliver was there and I loved these character's interaction so much. I don't think I would ever get enough of that because it was seriously cute.

I debated with myself if I wanted to give it a 4.5 rating because it's so adorable and cute and fluffy, but I think this 4 stars is sufficient. Don't get me wrong, I adored this book. Seriously. If you only remotely like cute contemporaries, you need to check this one out. It may be only 215 pages, but it's 215 page of adorable. Trust me.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

On My Wishlist (65)

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: Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy.

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
Expected publication date: March 18th, 2014

What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you?

When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission.

Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

Goodreads page

This seriously sounds like a book that will break my heart, dance on it and put it back where it belongs. All in a good way, of course. With it being a debut for 2014, it gives me extra reason to want to read it -- but let's be honest: does it need anything more than that synopsis for you to pick it up? I know that for me, it doesn't. Only a few more weeks until this hits shelves! *stares at calendar* *sits on hands*

Sunday, March 2, 2014

Review: Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler

Fixing Delilah by Sarah Ockler
Published: December 1st, 2010 (Little Brown Books FYR)
Pages: 308
Source: bought
Series: NA
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆

Things in Delilah Hannaford's life have a tendency to fall apart.

She used to be a good student, but she can't seem to keep it together anymore. Her "boyfriend" isn't much of a boyfriend. And her mother refuses to discuss the fight that divided their family eight years ago. Falling apart, it seems, is a Hannaford tradition.

Over a summer of new friendships, unexpected romance, and moments that test the complex bonds between mothers and daughters, Delilah must face her family's painful past. Can even her most shattered relationships be pieced together again?

The first thing I wrote down when I finished reading was 'Fixing Delilah has the perfect combination of tragedy and that cute contemporary feel that I love', which is pretty much the summary of this review.

Delilah has a very rocky relationship with her mother. Her mother is always working, closes herself off from everyone and has alienated herself from Delilah, who has been trying to get closer to her mom for years. Her mom, however, won't talk about what happened to tear the family apart all those years ago. This is really frustrating for Delilah and you as a reader and really makes you want to find out what happened. When it's finally revealed, it all becomes clear why it hasn't been easy for Delilah's mother to open up.

The characters are incredibly realistically written, in a way that I can completely picture them in my mind. I loved that both the 'good' and the 'bad' characters felt equally believable and had their own traits to make them human. One of the minor characters I particularly liked was Patrick's dad, even though I don't exactly know why. The chemistry between Delilah and Patrick was amazing and I loved reading all of their scenes, even the ones where they argued. It was so obvious that they connected, it was awesome to read.

Sarah Ockler has the gift to write a story that will draw you in and make you unable to stop reading. After reading Fixing Delilah and Twenty Boy Summer I now know I will definitely want to read more of Ockler's work and I cannot wait to get my hands on more of her books.

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