Thursday, January 29, 2015

On My Wishlist (71)

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: Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge.

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
Expected publication date: May 5th, 2015

When Rachelle was fifteen she was good—apprenticed to her aunt and in training to protect her village from dark magic. But she was also reckless— straying from the forest path in search of a way to free her world from the threat of eternal darkness. After an illicit meeting goes dreadfully wrong, Rachelle is forced to make a terrible choice that binds her to the very evil she had hoped to defeat.

Three years later, Rachelle has given her life to serving the realm, fighting deadly creatures in an effort to atone. When the king orders her to guard his son Armand—the man she hates most—Rachelle forces Armand to help her find the legendary sword that might save their world. As the two become unexpected allies, they uncover far-reaching conspiracies, hidden magic, and a love that may be their undoing. In a palace built on unbelievable wealth and dangerous secrets, can Rachelle discover the truth and stop the fall of endless night?

Goodreads page

Okay, so don't shoot me. I have not read Cruel Beauty. Yet. I know Crimson Bound is not part of the series, but it still feels a bit weird to be wanting to read this before I've read Cruel Beauty. But I will get to it, eventually. Maybe I was riding out the hype without realising it? Anyhoo, Inspired by Little Red Riding Hood? Gods yes. Just gimme the precious *grabby hands* I haz a need!

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

On My Wishlist (70)

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 Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher.

The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak by Brian Katcher

Expected publication date: May 19th, 2015

It all begins when Ana Watson's little brother, Clayton, secretly ditches the quiz bowl semifinals to go to the Washingcon sci-fi convention on what should have been a normal, résumé-building school trip.

If slacker Zak Duquette hadn't talked up the geek fan fest so much, maybe Clayton wouldn't have broken nearly every school rule or jeopardized Ana’s last shot at freedom from her uptight parents.

Now, teaming up with Duquette is the only way for Ana to chase down Clayton in the sea of orcs, zombies, bikini-clad princesses, Trekkies, and Smurfs. After all, one does not simply walk into Washingcon.

But in spite of Zak's devil-may-care attitude, he has his own reasons for being as lost as Ana-and Ana may have more in common with him than she thinks. Ana and Zak certainly don’t expect the long crazy night, which begins as a nerdfighter manhunt, to transform into so much more...

Goodreads page

Somehow, I'm always drawn to books with names like The Improbable Theory of Ana and Zak (other examples include The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and The Catastrophic History of You and Me). They are way too long but at the same time it ticks all the boxes in my head. Anyhoo, may I just say that this synopsis sounds ADORABLE? Geekish love story. I mean, YES PLEASE. I'm hoping for banter, so I can ship the hell out of it.

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant to Read but Didn't Get To

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature by The Broke and the Bookish where you post a list of books in the selected theme for that edition. This week: Top Ten 2014 Releases I Meant to Read but Didn't Get To. As you all know, I was pretty much MIA for an entire year in 2014, so even though I planned to read a ton of books, I barely read any. So when 2015 started almost two weeks ago, there were plenty of books I still had to read that were published in 2014. I was massively excited when these came out and I'm determined to read them some time in 2015. Here goes!

Darkness Hidden by Zoë Marriott
I love Zoë and so far I have liked every single book I've read by her. The Night Itself was fantastic and I really like this new story Zoë's set out, yet somehow I still haven't read Darkness Hidden. I shall resolve this issue in the near future.

The Art of Lainey by Paula Stokes
This sounded so cute when I first came across it and I really really wanted to read it soon. I even got an ARC. And it's still unread. I know, I suck. After hearing Debby rave about this book for AGES, I was once again reminded that I need to read this book. And so I shall do so.

Since You've Been Gone by Morgan Matson
I KNOW. I KNOW. I'm a massive fan of Morgan's previous books, Second Chance Summer (a.k.a. The Sobfest Book) and Amy and Roger's Epic Detour, so of course I was massively excited about her new book. Which I still haven't even bought *snort* I'm the worst fan ever. *hides in the corner*

Side Effects May Vary by Julie Murphy
One of the most anticipated contemporaries this year, methinks. I'm still slightly intimidated, even though the real hype has died down. I've seen mixed reviews after the book was actually published, so my expectations have been toned down just a little bit. But since it was also one of *my* most anticipated books of 2014, I really want to get to it.

Split Second by Kasie West
I KNOW. BELIEVE ME I KNOW. I NEED TO READ IT. That is all I'm going to say about it.

Panic by Lauren Oliver
Okay, so the synopsis doesn't really sound all too exciting to me, but I loved all of the books I've read so far by Lauren Oliver, so I'm still keeping this on my list. Lauren made me fall in love with her writing in Before I Fall and even though I must admit that Pandemonium was slightly disappointing, I still thinks she is able to have me hooked on this one.

The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
Okaaaaaay so when I'm writing this post I haven't even actually read House of Hades yet *cough* (told you I'm a terrible fan) but I NEED TO KNOW WHAT HAPPENS. I was all set on preordering the book and reading House of Hades before it came out but then life happened and got in the way so now I'm here sitting with not one but TWO unread Rick Riordan books *twitches* well, let's look at the positives.. At least I still have two Rick Riordan books to read before Magnus Chase hits the shelves? #optimistic

Cruel Beauty by Rosamund Hodge
So um yeah I'm probably the only person out there who hasn't read this book yet. But when I saw Crimson Bound pop up on my feed I was reminded that I really really really need to read Cruel Beauty in the very near future.

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith
YES YES MORE FLUFF! Jennifer is my favourite fluffy contemporary author. I mean yeah, I too find her books a bit predictable or cliché sometimes, but they make me feel gooooood and sometimes it's just what I need. I love them. So yeah, I was jumping up and down when this was up on my radar, yet I still haven't even gotten it yet. *hangs head in shame* I'm very excited to read this on one of these dark, cold, wintery days so I feel all warm and fuzzy inside when I finish.

2015 is going to be a better reading year for me, I just feel it. What are your top 10 2014 releases you haven't read yet? Feel free to leave a link to your post in the comments :)

Friday, January 9, 2015

On My Wishlist (69)

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: Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley.

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Expected publication date: April 28th, 2015

Aza Ray is drowning in thin air.

Since she was a baby, Aza has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it ever harder for her to breathe, to speak—to live.

So when Aza catches a glimpse of a ship in the sky, her family chalks it up to a cruel side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think this is a hallucination. She can hear someone on the ship calling her name.

Only her best friend, Jason, listens. Jason, who’s always been there. Jason, for whom she might have more-than-friendly feelings. But before Aza can consider that thrilling idea, something goes terribly wrong. Aza is lost to our world—and found, by another. Magonia.

Above the clouds, in a land of trading ships, Aza is not the weak and dying thing she was. In Magonia, she can breathe for the first time. Better, she has immense power—and as she navigates her new life, she discovers that war is coming. Magonia and Earth are on the cusp of a reckoning. And in Aza’s hands lies the fate of the whole of humanity—including the boy who loves her. Where do her loyalties lie?

Goodreads page

This.. This just sounds like a magical mix of just about everything I love to read about. The cover is gorgeous, but the synopsis.. Gods, I just NEED to read this book. I just hope I'm not hyping it up too much in my head, because I don't want to be disappointed. It looks like it has so much potential, because it sounds like a highly imaginative world/story. It's a sad thing that April is still so far away..

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Review: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Published: August 2nd, 2012 (Bloomsbury)
Pages: 404
Source: bought
Series: Throne of Glass, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Meet Celaena Sardothien.
Beautiful. Deadly.
Destined for greatness.

In the dark, filthy salt mines of Endovier, an eighteen-year-old girl is serving a life sentence. She is a trained assassin, the best of her kind, but she made a fatal mistake: she got caught.

Young Captain Westfall offers her a deal: her freedom in return for one huge sacrifice. Celaena must represent the prince in a to-the-death tournament—fighting the most gifted thieves and assassins in the land. Live or die, Celaena will be free. Win or lose, she is about to discover her true destiny. But will her assassin’s heart be melted?

Let me start off by saying that this is a terribly hard review to write. Throne of Glass was hyped so much that I felt I should share in the awesomeness in this book and I ordered both the first and the second book, Crown of Midnight (which happened to be very cheap, and ya'll know I can't resist a good deal). And after reading Throne of Glass, I'm starting to wonder if that was a good decision for me. Bear with me while I share my thoughts. Also, please don't kill me for not loving it lol.

First up, the good: the writing was good and really managed to suck me in. The story flows and seems to progress fluently throughout the pages. The characters are well developed, each with their own personality and quirks. Even the minor characters were executed really well, which I really appreciated. The banter between the characters was awesome and yes, there is a lot of chemistry. I can't even count the amount of times where the characters in a book had no chemistry whatsoever yet they somehow had to stick together, or get together. But here, there was no such thing. I would go as far as to say that the characters and their way of interacting is the best thing about this book.

My main problem with Throne of Glass was that ever since the introduction of the tournament, I couldn't stop comparing the book to The Hunger Games. Sure, there were plenty of differences. But somehow it wormed its way into my head and I was unable to shake it. There she is, our fierce female main character, awesome with a bow, with two guys pretty much fighting over her while she is stuck in a tournament in which she is expected to fight to the death in order to win the thing. Can you really blame me for drawing that parallel?

I think that was the main reason I didn't love Throne of Glass. There is plenty of potential and I can honestly say that I understand why it's getting rave reviews everywhere. Perhaps it's more of a "It's not you, it's me"-thing. I don't know. I do know that since finishing it, I'm unsure if I want to start Crown of Midnight. Pretty much everyone I tell this, tell me that book 2 is "even better" than book 1. But I'm torn. Because I was also promised to love the first book, and I found it to be just okay. But hey, I already own it, so maybe when I'm feeling adventurous, I'll pull if off its shelf, dust it off, and give it a shot anyway.

Monday, January 5, 2015

Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

On the Fence by Kasie West
Published: July 1st, 2014 (HarperTeen)
Pages: 296
Source: ARC for review via Edelweiss
Series: none
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★★☆ ½

For sixteen-year-old Charlotte Reynolds, aka Charlie, being raised by a single dad and three older brothers has its perks. She can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows—including her longtime neighbor and honorary fourth brother, Braden. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world of makeup, lacy skirts, and BeDazzlers. Even stranger, she's spending time with a boy who has never seen her tear it up in a pickup game.

To cope with the stress of faking her way through this new reality, Charlie seeks late-night refuge in her backyard, talking out her problems with Braden by the fence that separates them. But their Fence Chats can't solve Charlie's biggest problem: she's falling for Braden. Hard. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Okay. Okay. I need to calm myself a bit. Or maybe I won't and I'll fangirl all over the place. Yes. Yes, I think I'm picking the latter. Because listen people THIS IS BANTERFLUFF TO PERFECTION. This book. These feels! ZOMG. So many feels while I read this on the train from Harwich to London. Within a few pages I already knew I was falling in love with On the Fence.

If it wasn't already completely obvious, Kasie West is an expert at writing chemistry. I was shipping the ship before the ship was visible at the horizon. West knows how to create characters, how to give them their own distinct personas and also knows how to write them realistically. I loved how she wrote Charlie's brothers and managed to give each of them their own personality and little quirks. They were their own individual without being just "one of the brothers" and I loved that. I *loved* their interactions with eachother, with Charlie, and of course, with Braden. SO MUCH BANTER I CAN'T EVEN. Gods, this was right up my alley. I loved those half-teasing remarks they shot at eachother. Gah.

The romance.. Oh my. The romance is so awesome and I loved it. Braden and Charlie have known each other for so long and I totally understand why it's so hard for both of them to let themselves fall in love. But man, the teasing, how they acted around eachother, I could practically feel the chemistry radiating from the pages. I loved how their relationship developed with the help of the Fence Chats and how we get to see Charlie going through all of her feelings for Braden while for the first time feeling like a girlygirl (which had me giggling several times, just so you know). It took Charlie a while to figure everything out but this was executed so wonderfully that I didn't even mind that it took her an eternity to realise that he likes her.

I could go on and on, raving about the awesome of this book, but it really is something you need to experience yourself. West is able to translate the story into words that make you feel all the feels. When I finished reading this book, I actually really sighed and held my kindle to my chest. Nuff said, right?

Friday, January 2, 2015

Review: The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson

The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson
Published: September 20th, 2011 (Greenwillow)
Pages: 432
Source: ARC via Netgalley
Other: Fire and Thorns, #1
Buy the book: Bookdepository
Rating: ★★★☆☆

Once a century, one person is chosen for greatness.

Elisa is the chosen one.

But she is also the younger of two princesses, the one who has never done anything remarkable. She can’t see how she ever will.

Now, on her sixteenth birthday, she has become the secret wife of a handsome and worldly king—a king whose country is in turmoil. A king who needs the chosen one, not a failure of a princess.

And he’s not the only one who needs her. Savage enemies seething with dark magic are hunting her. A daring, determined revolutionary thinks she could be his people’s savior. And he looks at her in a way that no man has ever looked at her before. Soon it is not just her life, but her very heart that is at stake.

Elisa could be everything to those who need her most. If the prophecy is fulfilled. If she finds the power deep within herself. If she doesn’t die young.

Most of the chosen do.
It took me almost 3 years to finally read this one.. Which is weird, because I was incredibly excited when this first came out. I'm pretty sure all the books are published now, so.. Yeah. Late to the party. But hey, I read this book while I was in London, enjoying the English sunshine in one of the parks. And while it didn't really blow me away, I liked it enough to actually finish the entire book.

First up, I think maybe my expectations for this book were a bit too high. I'd heard so many people raving about this series as a whole, and maybe that caused my expectations to sky-rocket. Perhaps if it hadn't been hyped up that much, I would've enjoyed it more -- with a more realistic approach. But as it is, that was not the situation. So here are my thoughts.

The good: I love how Carson does not baby her characters. She doesn't pare them in the slightest and dares to take risks. The pacing of the story is pretty much perfect. It never gets boring, or slow, or held up by info-dumps (I'm looking at you, Stormdancer). She really knows how to keep the story going and I think that is the main strength of the book. Everyone who knows me knows how easy it is for me to give up on a book, or to take over a month to read a particular book just because I can't get past the massive backstory.. Anyhoo, I really enjoyed that. I also enjoyed that she made Elisa different, as in she made her a big girl, even though that didn't influence the story whatsoever because she lost the weight while travelling *HEADDESK*. I mean, why? There's the opportunity to make this big girl a fierce character, to make her different, but in the end she's pretty much the same as all other female characters in fantasy series (at least as far as appearance goes). I would have liked Carson to use that element of Elisa's character a bit more, but alas.

The bad: while it never actually gets boring, there are several times where I was wondering when something would actually happen, as I felt like the story was just going along without any ups and downs. In Dutch we call this "kabbelen", but for the life of me I can't think of a way to describe what I mean in English. I mean, the story is just there, not being exciting or whatever so I guess that made me a bit bored at times (so maybe it did get boring). While I felt the pacing was awesome, the story never managed to hook me properly to blow me away like it did with several of my friends.

As for the love interests.. My answer to that is "eh". I'm pretty much indifferent to both of them, seeing as there is nothing to make me root for one or the other. I need banter! I need chemistry! Man, I need something to get me going. But no. A missed opportunity, if you ask me.

So.. Those are my incoherent thoughts on The Girl of Fire and Thorns. Perhaps it's best for me to say I thought it was mediocre. When I finished the book, I was convinced that I wasn't going to continue the series, but now that I think about it I think Carson may be able to fix the things I didn't like in book 2? She has one of the most important things down, which is the storytelling itself. I'm still conflicted. Most of my friends absolutely love this book and the rest of the series, so I seem to be an exception in not fangirling about my reading experience :-)

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Happy New Year! Some New Year's Resolutions

Happy New Year everyone! May 2015 be filled with love, health, happiness and good books.

As per usual, I list some reading resolutions for the new year. While coming up with these, I always intend to reach my goals but if you know me, you know I'm the worst at sticking to things.. But hey, it won't happen if you don't try so here goes nothing :)

Keep reading -- goal: 50 books
To see how this goal is going, you can also check out my Goodreads (that will probably give you a more accurate idea of how I'm doing). Last year I initially set out to read 70 books but I got nowhere near that amount and I adjusted my goal during the year. I don't want to do that this year so I'm going for 50 books!

Classics -- goal: 5 books
This will probably be the biggest fail of a challenge in the history of challenges AGAIN, but since I really want to venture out more, I'll leave this on here. I don't expect much progress, though the book club plans a classics month. That'll be one down!

Read more sequels -- goal: finish 10 series
The amount of series I have not finished yet is ridiculous. I must be in the middle of about 15 series in which I only need to read the last book, but somehow haven't done that. I'm determined to change this.

Read more standalones -- goal: 15 books
There are so many series, it's easy to overlook the standalones! To make sure I don't get sucked into a tsunami of series, I intend to read at least 15 standalones this year. Preferably fluffy ones. Or exciting ones. As long as they are awesome, I'm game.

Read your own books -- goal: 20 books
I came up with this goal when I was swimming in review books. I still have quite a lot, but I've also noticed that I tend to not read books I buy. So I've bought a ton of amazing books in 2013 that I haven't read yet, and I want to do something about it. So in 2014, I'm reading 20 books I own as of January 1st, 2014.

Support the debuts -- goal: 10 books
I haven't really done anything in terms of debut challenges last year, but I've missed it so I'm reintroducing this goal.

Read the eGalleys 
I don't have an exact amount of eGalleys I want to read but I'm terrible at reading my eArcs. I have so many on my kindle yet I never seem to read them. I got to reading some old eGalleys while I was in London last year, so maybe I can tackle some of my 'backlist' of galleys this year. I need to work on my NetGalley percentage!

So these are my goals for 2015 :) They'll be on a separate page for easy access so I can hopefully add books to all the goals and reach them before the year is over.

Now I'm curious; what are some of your goals?

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