Monday, December 14, 2015

Review of This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp

Title/Author: This Is Where It Ends by Marieke Nijkamp
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Fire, January 5th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley,thanks!
Goodreads summary: 10:00 a.m.
The principal of Opportunity, Alabama's high school finishes her speech, welcoming the entire student body to a new semester and encouraging them to excel and achieve.

10:02 a.m.
The students get up to leave the auditorium for their next class.

The auditorium doors won't open.

Someone starts shooting.

Told over the span of 54 harrowing minutes from four different perspectives, terror reigns as one student's calculated revenge turns into the ultimate game of survival.

I'm always excited to spotlight another Dutchy, but I basically never get the chance author-wise, so I'm very happy to say that I was impressed with Marieke Nijkamp's debut!

This is obviously a tough subject and it could have easily turned tasteless or a sort of slasher movie turned book, but in my opinion it didn't. Yes, it is harsh, but to me it really felt like this is how it could have happened and I think it shows that Marieke Nijkamp did her research in the subject of school shootings. I cannot even imagine what it must be like to live through something like this and am always horrified when I hear another tragedy has struck a school somewhere in the world. I don't think we've ever had a school shooting in Holland and it does make me question gun laws, but I'm not really looking to get into a political debate on my blog.

We see the events from different POVs and every one of them is terrifying and heartbreaking in their own right. I mean, what makes school shooting even more horrifying for me is that it's not some random person opening fire in a random place, but you actually know this person and he or she has gone to school with you and it might be your friend or part of your family or even someone that you used to date and that is just insanely terrifying. I mean, obviously any and all attacks made on people are awful, but something like this is also personal and that adds that extra layer of nightmare.

I could seriously not stop reading this and it really didn't do me any favours in terms of getting a good night's sleep. I found myself thinking about This is Where It Ends during the day and wanting to find time to read it because I needed to know what happened next because I was just very much invested in these people and the whole school and it was heartbreaking and horrible and all these lives that are destroyed, I still have no words.

I'd recommend reading this when you really have the time to read a chunk of it because you will want to keep reading and for me it really packed a punch.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Saturday, December 12, 2015

Mini-Reviews (9): After the End, Nimona, Scarlet

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2015 has me failing spectacularly. And because it's been AGES since I read these, I'm just gonna do mini-reviews of them, so as to clear my need-review shelf (cause it's humungous, it's not even funny anymore).

Title/Author: After the End (After the End #1) by Amy Plum
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, May 6th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I really enjoyed this book, I have to say that as it's been about a year and a half since I read it, that I had to dig deep to rediscover why exactly, so stick with me.
I totally have a soft spot for Juneau's dogs, they are beautiful and smart and awesome. And so pretty much the whole book I was terrified that something would happen to them as is my default setting when encountering animals in books.

I was intrigued by this world that Juneau lived in and even more so when it turns out it has all been a lie. The why and how of Juneau's powers isn't fully explained and I really hope to find more answers to this in the sequel. I also liked the love interest, though I didn't swoon over him.
The pacing is a bit slow, but it didn't really bother me as I like Amy Plum's writing and I didn't get bored with the story.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Title/Author: Nimona by Noelle Stevenson
Publisher/Date published: Harper Collins, May 12th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I haven't actually read a lot of graphic novels, but Nimona looked like so much fun that I knew I had to read this one! And it is a lot of fun, with Nimona being a shapeshifter and randomly changing into a shark because she feels like it (and also because "I'm not a kid, I'm a shark!", which is obviously much better).
I loved how the 'villain' and the 'hero' are over the top and a bit of a parody on the standard for them and it was just so entertaining! There's lots of mischief and things going wrong and just a lot of heart and I really liked it!

My rating: 4 stars

Title/Author: Scarlet (Scarlet #1) by A.C. Gaughen
Publisher/Date published: Walker Children's, February 14th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley and bought a shiny finished copy

THE SHAME! I cannot believe it took me so long to read this book, especially cause I'd been coveting it for a long time before it came out. But then my book club (which is awesome by the way), made me get my behind in line and settle down to read it. AND IT WAS AWESOME! While excited about it, I was also a bit wary, because Robin Hood was (together with Peter Pan) my first love (I'm not even kidding, I had a serious fictional crush on the fox version of him) and this tale is very dear to my heart.

But A.C. Gaughen managed to give me exactly what I didn't know I could wish for in a fairytale retelling and it was SO GOOD! I loved the relationship between Scarlet and the rest of the gang and especially Robin and OMG THE TENSION! I TOTALLY SHIP IT!
Also, writing this, I cannot believe I haven't read the sequels yet. I should get on with that.

My rating: 5 stars

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Review of The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill

Title/Author: The Trouble With Destiny by Lauren Morrill
Publisher/Date published: Delacorte, December 8th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: It’s not about the destination, it’s about the journey...

With her trusty baton and six insanely organized clipboards, drum major Liza Sanders is about to take Destiny by storm — the boat, that is. When Liza discovered that her beloved band was losing funding, she found Destiny, a luxury cruise ship complete with pools, midnight chocolate buffets, and a $25,000 spring break talent show prize.

Liza can’t imagine senior year without the band, and nothing will distract her from achieving victory. She’s therefore not interested when her old camp crush, Lenny, shows up on board, looking shockingly hipster-hot. And she’s especially not interested in Russ, the probably-as-dumb-as-he-is-cute prankster jock whose ex, Demi, happens be Liza’s ex–best friend and leader of the Athenas, a show choir that’s the band’s greatest competition.

But it’s not going to be smooth sailing. After the Destiny breaks down, all of Liza’s best-laid plans start to go awry. Liza likes to think of herself as an expert at almost everything, but when it comes to love, she’s about to find herself lost at sea.

So I went into this with pretty low expectations because one of my friends did not care for it at all. Which might be why I did end up enjoying it, and also because I really liked Meant to Be, but wasn't over the top in love with it.

I liked Liza, obviously she's way uptight and doesn't know how to share her problems, but she's also willing to go the extra mile for something she believes in and on this occasion, that's the school band. And also, I love how being in the band isn't immediately classified as beeing a 'band geek', like in so many series/movies/etc. I mean, being into music and performing in something that's not a rock band isn't something to be ashamed of right? I get that it's not the 'cool thing', but as I'm musically challenged, I'm always in awe of people who know how to put out a decent tune. So I appreciate how Lauren Morrill handled this.

The shenanigans on the boat were pretty funny, I mean, who would have thought that a bowling ball can break a cruise ship? And there's this whole rivalry going on between Liza and her ex-best friend, of which I particularly liked how in the end you can see it from both sides and that's not something that happens with every story.
And yes, there are a lot of misunderstandings that fuel most of the plot, but honestly, I didn't mind that much, because I could see it happening like that because Liza is just a teensy bit clueless and doesn't know what's in front of her nose unless it's spelled out. I also really liked Liza's friends, though they don't get enough screen time in my opinion.

If you couldn't tell from the summary, there's sort of a love triangle going on, and from about halfway through, I started rooting for the guy who turned out to be in the ship of the book, but I hadn't really expected to be cheering him on. But obviously my instincts were right, cause the other guy is a real douche. And Liza is so clueless, so I couldn't really see why he liked her so much, but I did really like the last couple of scenes, they were very cute!

My expectations were REALLY low, but this turned out to be an enjoyable read, not the best of the best, but a light read that had me smiling at the last couple of scenes. There's awkwardness galore and it didn't give me all the swoony feelings, but it was fun.

My rating: 3 stars

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

Review of How To Seduce a Scot by Christy English

Title/Author: How To Seduce a Scot (Broadswords and Ballrooms #1) by Christy English
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Casablanca, December 1st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley, thanks!\

Goodreads summary: He's the terror of the ton...

The plan is simple:
1. Descend from the Highlands to face the aggravation of a London Season;
2. Foist his wild sister off on some gullible English lord;
3. Retreat before the ladies of the scandalized ton can get any ideas.

Determined to see his hellion of a sister wed, Highlander Alexander Waters is willing to face anything — even the English. He just didn't expect his own rough manners to cause such a riot... or for a blooming English rose to catch his eye.

Gently bred Catherine Middlebrook must find a respectable man to marry or her family will be ruined. She won't allow herself to be distracted by Highland barbarians... no matter how her body may thrill whenever Alex is near.

Catherine wasn't part of the plan, but as their battle of wills escalates, Alex comes to realize this "proper" English girl is as wild as the Highlands themselves... and nothing will stop him from having her.

I'm always looking for that next historical romance that will make me swoon and feel all the things, but I'm sad to say that How To Seduce a Scot wasn't it.

It's not that I didn't enjoy it, cause I did. I mean, I liked Catherine, she's a lovely girl who feels a lot of responsibility for her family. She's lost her father and because her mother doesn't always make all the sensible choices, it's fallen on her to pick up the pieces. And she does, for as far as her influence reaches. I actually liked that she put what was best for her family before what her heart may want most, because that's just how it was back then and without a man in the family to provide some sort of income, marriage is really the only option.

I also really liked her little sister and Alex's sister, she was spunky! Catherine's mom was a bit of a puzzling mix of silly and very much a mother who cares for her children. She made some weird choices, but I did like about her that she truly wants her daughter to be happy. But I did feel that there was an adult lacking to take control of the situation other than Catherine. I get that her mom might have been very sheltered and not really know how to handle money, but seriously, stop spending money you don't have!

So far, so good, I liked the setting and most of the character. But then we get to the romance part and I'm a bit iffy about that part of the novel. I mean, I'm not someone who really likes it when people have never spoken and then the man goes on to think of her as 'his angel'. I mean, seriously?? HOW?? There was just a bit too much insta-love from his side of things and it just did not work for me.
The thing is that if this had been the only problem, I probably could have gotten over it. But he really does not treat her all that well, I mean, he's kissing her and in the same breath telling her they can never marry. He's taking a lot of risks with her reputation and he has a sister of his own, so how can he not see that this is not ok? I mean, I know that this happens a lot in historical romances and that's not really the issue, it was just the way he does it didn't feel ok to me. I'm not sure I can express exactly what bothered me about it, but in the end I found myself rooting for the other guy. And that's not a thing I want.

Like I said, I was rooting for the other guy, because there was one, who was respectable and a gentleman and was in my opinion a much better choice for Catherine. Towards the end it was a bit awkward and we are shown why he is not the right choice after all. And seriously, I was kinda annoyed with Catherine for making the choices she did towards the end. But I did feel that Catherine and Alex truly loved each other and in the end I can say that it's the right thing that they're together, but I could have done without all the misguided behaviour.

I sound really negative and I did have some serious issues with how the romance was handled, but I also did enjoy reading this, but I wasn't really rooting for the couple to get together and that's what I want when reading a romance.

My rating: 2 stars

Sunday, December 6, 2015

Review of Forbidden by Eve Bunting

Title/Author: Forbidden by Eve Bunting
Publisher/Date published: Clarion Books, December 1st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: In early-nineteenth century Scotland, sixteen-year-old Josie, an orphan, is sent to live with an aunt and uncle on the rocky, stormy northwest coast. Everything and everyone in her new surroundings, including her relatives, is sinister, threatening, and mysterious. She's told that Eli, the young man she's attracted to, is forbidden to her, but not why. Spirited, curious, and determined, Josie sets out to learn the village's secrets and discovers evil, fueled by heartless greed, as well as a ghostly presence eager for revenge. An author's note gives the historical inspiration for this story.

Forbidden should have been something that I could fall in love with in theory. I mean: it has a historical setting with a mystery and a forbidden boy, what's not to like? Well, it kinda didn't turn out as enjoyable as I'd hoped.

I never really connected to Josie. I mean, she's obviously been through a lot and then she arrives at her aunt and uncle's house and it's AWFUl, and I did like that she's curious to find out what exactly is going on, but other than that, I was just a little 'meh' about her. And maybe it's the fact that the story doesn't span a very long time, but I never really felt like we got to know her very well, I'm still not sure what kind of person she really is.

I had really big issues with the romance. I mean, Josie is really rude to Eli for no reason, while he's only trying to help, which bothered me. And then all of a sudden she's in love with him?? And she wants him to come with her when she leaves the town after only having known him for what? Two days?? I mean SERIOUSLY??? WTF?? This was such a huge intsa-love happening and I could not for the life of me figure out what they liked about each other and UGH! I mean, she was basically ready to die for him, WHERE IS YOUR BRAIN??

I was also pretty annoyed by Josie's aunt and uncle, they were cruel and the only reason we get is that the uncle was disfigured as a kid and he didn't like his brother, Josie's dad. I mean, what? So your ears are weird and that's the reason your a nasty person? I just cannot. And I'm still not sure what her aunt's deal was. And their dog, SO CREEPY! That thing was nasty and then it attacks a human and you don't take care of the wound an discipline the dog? WHAT THE WHAT??

I was horrified by the thing that goes on on the island that is the big mystery and I am even more horrified by the fact that this is actually something that used to happen way back when. But everything gets resolved so quickly and there was no real build-up for me, so the whole mystery isn't much of a mystery after all.

Basically this just didn't work for me, there were too many issues and WTF moments in a bad way and I don't think I would have finished this if I hadn't been stuck in a car for 7 hours driving back home from Berlin.

My rating: 1 star

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Review of For the Record by Charlotte Huang

Title/Author: For the Record by Charlotte Huang
Publisher/Date published: Delacorte Books for Young Readers, November 10th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Chelsea thought she knew what being a rock star was like... until she became one. After losing a TV talent show, she slid back into small-town anonymity. But one phone call changed everything

Now she’s the lead singer of the band Melbourne, performing in sold-out clubs every night and living on a bus with three gorgeous and talented guys. The bummer is that the band barely tolerates her. And when teen heartthrob Lucas Rivers take an interest in her, Chelsea is suddenly famous, bringing Melbourne to the next level — not that they’re happy about that. Her feelings for Beckett, Melbourne’s bassist, are making life even more complicated.

Chelsea only has the summer tour to make the band — and their fans — love her. If she doesn’t, she’ll be back in Michigan for senior year, dying a slow death. The paparazzi, the haters, the grueling schedule... Chelsea believed she could handle it. But what if she can’t?

So I am totally in love with shows and books about the music industry and the people in it. Music is such a part of my life and I wish I had the skills to actually make music myself, but the most I can do is sing along (WAY out of tune) while in the car/alone in my home/at clubs. So I was super excited to read For The Record, cause it sounded really cute and just my kind of thing.

The thing is, I did like For the Record, but from the summary I would have thought that there would be more swoons. And it was sadly lacking in swoony moments for me. I mean, I liked Chelsea, I did feel like she could have stood up for herself a bit more while the whole band was being a jerk to her. I mean, wow, I get that they don't like that she's been pushed on them by their label, but that's not really her fault and just GROW UP ok? So it sucks that your last lead singer didn't work out. I felt that they should really just have given Chelsea a fair chance from the start or that they should have told their manager they weren't ok with a label-picked new lead singer and that they wanted to pick one themselves. The problem with their attitude was that I wasn't really feeling any of the guys. I can get where they're coming from, but it's not endearing, and it's also what made me a bit iffy about the feelings Chelsea develops for Beckett (as alluded to in the summary), one of the guys from the band.

While Beckett may not have been the one who was nastiest to Chelsea, he's not really supportive either and so he seems like a nice guy underneath, but I was just over it and needed a whole lot of convincing to start rooting for them. Add in the REALLY bad choice Chelsea makes by hooking up with Lucas Rivers, who is just a little too smooth for my liking and also just an arrogant douche. This does not make for swoony reading for me.

Another problem I had with For the Record is that Chelsea's best friend joins them on tour as the merchandise girl and then breaks one of the rules and after that makes a huge NO-NO that made me question whether she was actually Chelsea's friend. I mean, WOW. I can't imagine doing that to my best friend. Or any of my friends. Or even one of my lesser known acquaintances. That was just crossing the line WAY OVER. The line is not even in sight anymore.

I did like reading about the band being on tour and all of the stuff that goes on behind the scenes. I liked the backstory about Chelsea's hometown and what happened to her with her former boyfriend, though it did make me wonder if EVERY boy she meets has douchebag potential, I mean, there are some good ones out there. I liked the whole insight in to what it's like to live on a bus with the same people for months and getting cabin fever and all that, that was pretty fun. And I liked discovering that there's a whole lot more to the band drama than we get at first sight, I'd sorta guessed some of it, but OMG it was WAY worse!

I just wish that there had been more swoons, cause I was really counting on this to be a cute contemporary with a huge swoonfactor (I mean, how can making music with a guy you like be anything less than romantic??), but it never fully got there for me.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Review of Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins

Title/Author: Until We Meet Again by Renee Collins
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Fire, November 3rd 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Goodreads summary: They exist in two different centuries, but their love defies time

Cassandra craves drama and adventure, so the last thing she wants is to spend her summer marooned with her mother and stepfather in a snooty Massachusetts shore town. But when a dreamy stranger shows up on their private beach claiming it's his own — and that the year is 1925 — she is swept into a mystery a hundred years in the making.

As she searches for answers in the present, Cassandra discovers a truth that puts their growing love — and Lawrence's life — into jeopardy. Desperate to save him, Cassandra must find a way to change history... or risk losing Lawrence forever.

I was SO hoping to love this book, and while I did enjoy it, it wasn't all that I'd wanted it to be.

I'm a sucker for time-travel romance, there's just something about the whole idea of going back in time, I'd LOVE to be able to do that. So I was a little disappointed by the fact that Cassandra and Lawrence really only meet on the beach. I mean, it owuld have been so much more interesting if they'd be able to visit each other's homes and the beach pretty much looks the same 90 years later, so... And somehow I would have thought that there'd be more to work out manner-wise between a girl from 2015 and a guy from 1925. I mean, lots of things about what is appropriate and what's not and manner of speech and everything, but I wasn't feeling that this was really an issue aside from a casual mention of it every now and then.

I liked Cassandra and how she's not immediately like OMG you're so hot, so it's totally cool that you're on this private beach that you should not be anywhere near when she meets Lawrence for the first time. She's suspicious and hesitant and I liked that. I kinda didn't like that she's also being pressured by her mother to date this other guy and she goes along with it. I felt that she was leading him on and it was just not very nice. I also really had a problem with her mother's behaviour, I mean come on, Cassandra does a stupid ass thing at the beginning of the novel, but she's not a bad kid in general and I felt her mother was being too hard on her and pushing her in directions that I didn't really get.

So Lawrence is basically a good guy, but I never really got a very good feel for his character beside that. He says all the right things, but at the beginning of the book he's a bit of a pushover and that's not very attractive. I did like that he writes poetry and that's secretly a career that he wants to be pursuing instead of being a lawyer.

I did like Cassandra and Lawrence together, but I was never really shipping it. And I was having a WTF moment towards the end when Lawrence says that Cassandra is 'the love of his life', I mean, SERIOUSLY??? You're what, 17? And you've known each other for a month? REALLY??? That is just. Wow. I mean, NO. Just NO. I cannot deal with this and it's probably what soured my opinion about the rest of the book because it left a really bad taste in my mouth.

I feel like I'm sounding really negative about Until We Meet Again and it definitely had it's flaws for me, but I did like seeing how Cassandra and Lawrence were trying to figure everything out, though I felt that Cassandra was fighting harder for Lawrence's life than he was himself. There's a whole lot of shenanigans going on and I did not see coming how it would all play out in the end.
So Until We Meet Again was an ok read for me, but I feel that it could have been so much more and the 'love of my life' bit was just not working for me.

My rating: 2 stars

Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review of Falling Into Bed With a Duke by Lorraine Heath

Title/Author: Falling Into Bed With a Duke (The Hellions of Havisham) by Lorraine Heath
Publisher/Date published: Avon, October 27th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: After six unsuccessful Seasons, Miss Minerva Dodger chooses spinsterhood over fortune-hungry suitors. But thanks to the Nightingale Club, she can at least enjoy one night of pleasure. At that notorious establishment, ladies don masks before choosing a lover. The sinfully handsome Duke of Ashebury is more than willing to satisfy the secretive lady's desires — and draws Minerva into an exquisite, increasingly intimate affair.

A man of remarkable talents, Ashe soon deduces that his bedmate is the unconventional Miss Dodger. Intrigued by her wit and daring, he sets out to woo her in earnest. Yet Minerva refuses to trust him. How to court a woman he has already thoroughly seduced? And how to prove that the passion unleashed in darkness is only the beginning of a lifetime's pleasure?

So yes, I am very much actually writing a review again, nobody panic!


So as a rule I tend to enjoy Lorraine Heath's books, they're full of romance-y goodness and basically just make me one happy girl. And the premise of this one sounded SO good, so I was definitely ready to settle down and just fully immerse myself in Falling Into Bed With a Duke.

And that is what happened. I mean, I pretty much just read most of this in one blissful afternoon in which I just had a really strong motivation to keep sitting on the couch and see if everything would work out for Minerva and Ashe in the end. I totally loved that Falling Into Bed With a Duke has a very bold, very strong heroine and she's not taking risks just for the sake of it, but because she's weighed the pros and cons and decides to go through with it. She believes that she's firmly on the shelf and will therefore never know what it's like to be with a man in the biblical sense, so she decides to try this outside of wedlock, obviously a very big no-no in that time. And I thought she actually was pretty smart about this, hiding her face behind a mask. The only thing that sort of puzzled me was how she could possibly Ashe wouldn't recognize her outside of the club, when she kept putting herself in his way. But yeah, in light of the plot moving forward and such, it was kinda necessary.

I was slightly jolted every time Ashe's sort of reliving his parents' deaths came up, because I can get having a vivid imagination and these images popping up the first while after their accident. But after so many years, if he hasn't been there, it felt a bit weird. I'm not saying it can't happen, but I'm just slightly skeptical about this. I did really like that he's got dyscalculie, which is quite possibly not recognized enough these days, and it surely wouldn't have been back then. It added another layer to his character and made me want to shake him for not telling anyone about his troubles.

The chemistry between Minerva and Ashe was amazing! And I loved that Lorraine Heath didn't go for the insta-love, even if they did have insta-lust. The love part really came after they started getting to know each other outside of the Nightingale Club and it was so incredibly sweet to watch! And also, the sexytimes were very sexy indeed. And I totally loved how they worked out their differences and how Ashe grovels because he has wronged Minerva. I'm a sucker for a guy doing the groveling. Also, I SO much love both the appearance of Minerva's brother and her father, they have the alpha male protectiveness thing going on and it's awesome. But mostly I loved how her parents both just want her to be happy and don't really care if she marries a duke or a baker, as long as it's who she wants to be with.

But most of all, I just loved the hero and heroine and was in full support of their romance developing and for them to start their happily ever after!

My rating: 5 stars

Saturday, October 17, 2015


It's that time again, the time when I try to clear my whole weekend in honor of Dewey's 24 Hour Read-a-thon! It's one of my favourite events ever and it's double fun now because I have the awesomest book club in book club history and we're doing this together! YAY! Last time we were at my house, a week after the official event, but today we're joining in with all of the other amazing people who will be reading up a storm today.
Because I'll be at Debby's, I probably won't be blogging much during the event, so I'm posting the start of the event questionaire thingy early :)

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'll be reading from Debby's home in Rotterdam, which I'll be leaving for in less than an hour and OMG STILL NEED TO PACK THINGS. *panicks*

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
This is the stack of books I'll be bringing:

As usual, I'm mostly just looking forward to getting to read some of my physical books, though my pretty new ereader is tempting me with all these books too...

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
From the look of things, we'll be having ALL the snacks, I'm really looking forward to trying Debby's guacamole and I made Oreo cheesecake cupcakes, which are yummy :) I think I won't really have to eat for a week after this.

4) Tell us a little something about yourself!
Hello everyone! :) I'm Daisy, 28 years old, resident of Holland, proud kitty momma and during the day I'm a GP in training, currently doing my psychiatry rotation. I've been blogging for about 6 years I think and try to always make time for the readathon, cause it's awesome. Other things I love include the boyfriend, cooking/baking, READING obviously, pirates and lots of TV shows (including but not limited to ANTM, Nashville, Awkward, Downton Abbey, Suits).

5) If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
I'll be going over to Debby's, which is a change cause I've only ever read at my house or my parents'. Aside from that, I'm just gonna chill, read books, enjoy my awesome bookclub's company and wear a bunny onesie, which is also new.

Happy read-a-thon-ing everyone!!

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Review of Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Title/Author: Dumplin' by Julie Murphy
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, September 15th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked... until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant — along with several other unlikely candidates — to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

So there's been a lot of buzz about this book and most of it is well-deserved. I was interested from the moment I saw the part in the summary that says 'Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body.'. I really wish everyone, including myself, would always feel this way.

Like Side Effects May Vary, Julie Murphy doesn't sugarcoat things in Dumplin', there's a lot of ugliness going on when it comes down to high school and people who are different from the norm in how they look. And you know what, it's not ok that some people are made fun of for how they look. It's not ok that people get oinked at if they're overweight or if a guy thinks it's funny to neigh like a horse because you have buckteeth. It's not. But it is reality and a whole lot of people are not going to change anytime soon.

I loved how Willowdean was this confident person, who knows who she is and doesn't take crap from people. And then she goes and shrinks in on herself because of a guy. And I SO got that, but it still made me cringe to see it. And I really hated how she let what other people would think ruin her happiness. I could fully understand how things happened, but holy wow, was she making a big mess of things for herself!

I sorta have mixed feelings about Dumplin', cause on one hand I LOVE how it made me think about everything about body image and how there's this pressure to look good and be thin and while as a doctor I also tell people to lose weight, that is not the most important thing in being healthy. It's also a healthy mind. And your BMI can be too high, but you can still be healthier than someone who wears a size 2. And I can especially relate to the part where Julie Murphy through Willowdean talks about how everyone has their moments in which they don't feel beautiful or inferior to someone else, because we've probably all been that person at one point in life or maybe a little more often.

But there are a couple of things that I didn't like so much, and some of it's due to me not really connecting with Willowdean as a character. The way she treated this one guy made me cringe every time, because to me if felt like she was just using him and while he may not be her crush, he was a sweet, decent guy who didn't deserve this. And I also felt like she was basically using the other unlikely candidates at first, in the end I believe that she's truly their friend, but I didn't feel like this started with the purest of intentions.
And I really had a problem with her relationship with her mom, they're both not giving an inch and it was painful and harsh and nothing really gets resolved in my opinion.

I guess that part of what disappointed me is that it sends a body positive image like The DUFF did, but The DUFF is just so much more amazing in every way and I can't help comparing the two books. I just felt that this could have been something more.
BUT this is not me saying that I didn't enjoy reading Dumplin', because I did like it and it was a quick read for me (though I had zero time to read the last couple of days). I appreciate that it's harsh at times, and that Willowdean does grow as a person over the course of Dumplin', but the spark that would have made me love this book just wasn't there for me.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Review of The Sleeping King by Cindy Dees

Title/Author: The Sleeping King (untitled series #1) by Cindy Dees
Publisher/Date published: Macmillan-Tor/Forge, September 8th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: The Sleeping King is the start of a new fantasy series by New York Times and USA Today bestselling author, Cindy Dees.

Dees has won a Golden Heart Award, two RITAs for Category Suspense and Adventure and has also twice snared RT's Series Romantic Suspense of the Year. She is a great storyteller, and the adventures in her more than fifty novels are often inspired by her own life. Dees is an Air Force vet-the youngest female pilot in Air Force history-and fought in the first Gulf War. She's had amazing adventures, and she's used her experiences to tell some kickass stories.

But as much as she loves romances, Cindy's other passion has been fantasy gaming. For almost twenty years she's been involved with Dragon Crest, one of the original live action role-playing games. She's the story content creator on the game, and wanted to do an epic fantasy based on it, with the blessing and input of Dragon Crest founder Bill Flippin.

The Sleeping King is the first in an epic fantasy series, featuring the best of the genre: near immortal imperial overlords, a prophecy of a sleeping elven king who's said to be the savior of the races... and two young people who are set on a path to save the day

So live action role-playing games have fascinated me for a time now, mainly because I've never actually participated in one and it sounds like a whole lot of fun, but also like a huge investment of both time and also costumes and such (some of my friends LARP and they have the most amazing props). Which is why the mention of this being the base for this epic fantasy immediately drew my attention!

I have to be honest, I was a bit daunted by the size of The Sleeping King (it's a whole whopping 496 pages), but the writing drew me in from the start, so my worries were soon non-existant. And I really loved the voices of both Will and Raina, who are our two main heroes. Obviously, there's a whole band of characters to get to know and I really liked that there's a quest. I mean, they actually really have a purpose in setting everything in motion, and while to sorta fall into it in the beginning, they definitely man up to the challenge so to speak.

There's a whole lot of worldbuilding going on and I was immediately intrigued, so the amount of information that is given didn't bother me in the slightest, cause I'd love to know even more of this world. I will however say that the story was a bit slow to really take off in the beginning and I'm still kinda wondering where all the different players tie in and how their storylines will come together, but I'm sure that will be further explained in the next book. And I do get that our two heroes need a backstory, but I very much liked it when they fell in with the same band and the story could take off.

The Sleeping King is my kind of epic fantasy, there's a quest and lots of travelling and there's so much scheming going on and just characters for me to love and root for! The romance that plays a minor part was a little too sweet for my liking, but it did develop sorta naturally, so I can get behind it, but it's not my favourite ever. I am however REALLY curious to find out what happens next for Will and Raina and everyone! I'm definitely hooked on this world and the people in it.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

Review of A Whole New World by Liz Braswell

Title/Author: A Whole New World (Twisted Tales #1) by Liz Braswell
Publisher/Date published: Disney Press, September 1st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Welcome to a new YA series that reimagines classic Disney stories in surprising new ways. Each book asks the question: What if one key moment from a familiar Disney film was changed? This dark and daring version of Aladdin twists the original story with the question: What if Jafar was the first one to summon the Genie?

When Jafar steals the Genie’s lamp, he uses his first two wishes to become sultan and the most powerful sorcerer in the world. Agrabah lives in fear, waiting for his third and final wish.To stop the power-mad ruler, Aladdin and the deposed Princess Jasmine must unite the people of Agrabah in rebellion. But soon their fight for freedom threatens to tear the kingdom apart in a costly civil war.

What happens next? A Street Rat becomes a leader. A princess becomes a revolutionary. And readers will never look at the story of Aladdin in the same way again.

I'm BACK! I know it's been almost two months and I'm very much embarassed by that, but after reading A Whole New World, I found that I had something to say again and I decided to just go for it :)

A Whole New World immediately caught my attention, because I LOVE Aladdin! It's one of my favourite Disney movies and I've watched it so many times, I can literally just mute it and still get all the words right, especially for the first part. Which is also why I noticed that the first 20% of this book is basically the same as the movie. Which was not very much appreciated by me. And that's because I was looking for a fresh take on this beloved tale of mine and not have the first 76 pages be something I know by heart, but in book-form. But then the twist comes when Jafar takes the lamp instead of Aladdin and I was like, ok, let's give this another chance. But in the end I didn't really warm up to this twisted tale.

I mean, in the original tale, I love Aladdin's heart and his bravery and resourcefulness and the romance with Yasmine is believable and sweet, but in A Whole New World I was very much not feeling it. While the instant infatuation works in the Disney movie, here it fell flat and Yasmine definitely shows a side of herself that I didn't find pretty at all in A Whole New World and I really couldn't find myself cheering for their lovestory. I mean, even Jafar, who I love to hate in the original tale was not his best villainy self. I mean, he's this big bad sorcerer now, how does he not just kill Aladdin, capture Yasmine and be done with it? Also, I HATED that he destroyed the magic carpet, who is still one of my favourite characters.

But most of all, I'm disappointed by the lack of shininess that was the genie. I mean, you get this sort of charm coming off him, but it's muted and I get that he has less chance to show his magic and humour and all when he's tied to Jafar, but this spark that he has was just missing and I'm kinda disappointed by how things ended for him.

But aside from this, I was just basically a bit bored by the whole story. It never really got exciting for me and the charm and sizzle that I remember from this story was just missing. I felt that the things that were added to make it into this twisted tale were not really interesting or needed to be there. What I'm looking for with all these retelling and twists on classic stories are things that make me go ooh, that's clever and capture the magic of the original thing, but also make it a little something more. And I never got that from A Whole New World, which is a disappointment as I'd really been looking forward to reading it.
I might just go and watch the movie and laugh over the genie's antics now.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Saturday, July 11, 2015

Review of The Maddening Lord Montwood by Vivienne Lorret

Title/Author: THe Maddening Lord Montwood (The Rakes of Fallow Hall #3) by Vivienne Lorret
Publisher/Date published: Avon Impulse, July 14th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: Frances Thorne can handle anything — except losing her position, her home, and her father to debtor's prison all in one day. So when a generous offer of assistance falls into her lap, she's grateful for a second chance, even if it seems too good to be true. The last thing she needs is for the charming, infuriating — maddening — Lord Lucan Montwood to stand in her way.

The end of the bachelors' wager is near, and Lucan Montwood can taste victory — just so long as he can stay away from the one woman who sees through his façade. Yet when he learns that Frances has been caught in an insidious trap, Lucan can't deny that he will do anything to help. Convincing her to trust him is the hard part, resisting her is next to impossible, but falling in love with her? That may be far too simple.

So I read both of the other books in this series and looking back, I think I actually liked the first one, The Elusive Lord Everhart, the best. Though this one was enjoyable as well.

I'm used to rooting for the heroine and connecting with her and understanding how she jumps to the wrong conclusions at times. I mean, in most romance novels there misunderstandings, and that's ok, as long as I can GET the misunderstanding. But in The Maddening Lord Montwood, I had a hard time going along with the choices the heroine, Frances, makes. I mean, she cultivates a dislike for Lucan Montwood and doesn't listen to his advice, even though she's known him for ages and doesn't really have a reason to dislike him. Obviously his father wronged Frances' father, but it's also very clear that Lucan didn't have anything to do with it and that he hasn't been in contact with his father since it happened, so how does she find a reason to blame him, at least partly, for all of it? Also, she keeps disregarding his doubts about a certain character that turns out to be a true villain, even though it's SO obvious and UGH. I really wanted to just shake her and see what was right in front of her.

So Frances and I didn't really click. Though I did like her boldness towards the end and that she teaches selfdefense to women. That was pretty awesome. I did, however, very much like Lucan. I liked him in the previous books as well, so I'm happy he got his happily ever after in The Maddening Lord Montwood. He carries a lot of darkness from his past with him and he's just full of kindness and just a good man deep down. And also, I liked that he knows sleight of hand and sneaks into houses and such. What can I say, I like my men a little mischievous.

The plot mostly flows from Frances' less than stellar life choices, so I wasn't all that excited about it, but watching the romance unfold was nice, but not the heartwrenching, tears in my eyes kind of story that I love. It was an enjoyable read, but for me it wasn't that special one that stays with you after finishing the book.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Thursday, July 9, 2015

Review of The Fixer by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Title/Author: The Fixer (The Fixer #1) by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books, July 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: When sixteen-year-old Tess Kendrick is sent to live with her older sister, Ivy, she has no idea that the infamous Ivy Kendrick is Washington D.C.'s #1 “fixer,” known for making politicians' scandals go away for a price. No sooner does Tess enroll at Hardwicke Academy than she unwittingly follows in her sister's footsteps and becomes D.C.'s premier high school fixer, solving problems for elite teens.

Secrets pile up as each sister lives a double life... until their worlds come crashing together and Tess finds herself in the middle of a conspiracy with one of her classmates and a client of Ivy's. Suddenly, there is much more on the line than good grades, money, or politics, and the price for this fix might be more than Tess is willing to pay

I totally freaking loved this book, so much that it made me itch to write a review. Which hasn't happened in over a month. I blame all this on the awesomeness of The Fixer!

Mystery and thriller type novels aren't usually my thing, but for Jennifer Lynn Barnes I make an exception, because with The Naturals series she has proven that she's beyond capable of drawing me in that kind of story. And she once again had me absorbed, this time in Tess' story.
Tess hasn't had an easy year, she's been caring for her grandfather, who has Alzheimer's and she's been covering for his lapses, trying to keep everything afloat. And I SO felt for her, I mean, she's put her life on hold because she loves her grandfather so much and doesn't want to be separated from him. Imagine being a teenager and taking on that responsibility. I also felt that Jennifer Lynn Barnes portrayed the effects of Alzheimer's on a person really well. Having a loved one suffering from this disease is one of my worst nightmares, so seeing it in a novel always hits me in the feels.

But then Ivy, Tess' older sister by 17 years, comes back after being gone for 3 years, takes charge of the situation and whisks Tess off to live with her. And their relationship is complicated. There are trust issues and old wounds that reopen and it doesn't help that Ivy's job as a professional fixer means that she keeps a lot of secrets about a lot of powerful people. But I loved seeing them interact and how they grow and I'm really hoping things will get better between them in the sequel.

So there's a whole lot of politics going around and Tess sorta accidentally gets thrown in the middle of it through the sons and daughters of said powerful people, who she goes to school with. And obviously Tess and her friends don't go to an adult with their concerns at first, but decide to do a little digging themselves, and while I'm not sure if that could have happened in the real world, it is a thing of beauty to read about.
I LOVED Tess' friends, I mean, Vivvie offers to cheer Tess up by recapping her favourite romance novel and/or horror movie. That is my kind of girl. And ASHER. So much love for Asher and his antics and boyness. I love that he says things like "You say go away, I hear be my bosom buddy." He reminds me a bit of Sturmhond from The Grisha Trilogy and for me that's pretty high praise. I can also get behind Henry, who broods beautifully. But mostly, they are all smart and loyal and I constantly got the urge to just hug Vivvie and most of all Asher. I like it when that happens!

There are a whole lot of twists and turns, some I saw coming, some I did not even come close to. Mostly, it kept me on the edge of my seat, wanting to read on and on and grumbling at work and social events that got in the way of this. It was intriguing and because I was so invested in the characters, I felt like I HAD to know right then and there. And though The Fixer ends with somewhat of a cliffhanger, it's mostly a promise of more awesomeness to come in the sequel and I liked it.

There's this amazing thing about Jennifer Lynn Barnes' writing that just clicks with me! I love her style and the voice she gave to Tess and how she mixes this fastpaced, exciting plot with heaps of humor, which always gets you brownie points from me. I thoroughly enjoyed myself while reading The Fixer, laughing out loud at certain passages and just not wanting to put it down. So yeah, I pretty much adored The Fixer and cannot wait for the sequel!

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Hyped Books I Haven't Read

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by my other blog The Broke and the Bookish

Note: I do actually own all of these books, so there's the intention to read them at some point in life.

1. The Wrat and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh: this has been getting a LOT of hype lately and OMG I desperately want to read it, but SO MANY BOOKS SO LITTLE TIME.

2. Simon Vs the Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: this has been pushed towards me by many, many people. And while at first glance I wasn't much interested, the things I've heard about it are SUPER cute, which is right up my alley.

3. The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski: basically this one got hype all over the place when it came out and it made me both want to read it and a little scared of it, but some day.

4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell: this could have basically been ANY book by Rainbow Rowell, but I feel like this has been shoved into my face SO many times! And even though the description still doesn't hold all that much appeal to me, I still bought it, so you know, THE HYPE MONSTER WORKS.

5. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes: anything Jojo Moyes writes gets a lot of hype, but I started noticing with this one. I don't usually read books that deal with illness or the aftermath of accidents, but maybe this one is worth all the hype?

6. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: *hides* I KNOW OK? I've been meaning to read this FOREVER but all the love slightly scares me...

7. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick: basically I'm scared that I won't love this one as much as everyone and their great aunt did. But it does sound SO CUTE and fluffy contemporaries are my jam, so.

8. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn: this one of overhyped and even people who don't read know about this one, even before the movie came out. This is definitely out of my comfort zone, but as most books that get a movie, I do feel like I should read it. The debate is ongoing.

9. The Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight by Jennifer E. Smith: some loved it, some didn't love it so much, but there has been a lot of talk about this one. I mean, 48 of my friends on Goodreads have read this (yes, I actually counted them). It has a cute British boy in it, what could possibly go wrong?

10. The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan: I think only J.K. Rowling writing a sequel to Harry Potter would have gotten more hype at the time. And since I LOVED the Percy Jackson series, I REALLY need to get it together and read this.

Monday, July 6, 2015


So I haven't blogged in over a month... EPIC FAIL I KNOW

June has been a mix of spending two weeks on vacation in Thailand (which was AMAZING), then night shift week of DOOM, then a heat wave entered Holland and I've had zero desire to do anything but sit outside underneath a parasol and read, sometimes sliding over into the little pool that we set up. SO. That's where I've been ;) I'll give a more extensive update soonish. Possibly with pictures :)

Anyway, today I felt the urge to blog again, so I'll probably be slowly getting back into this, I have a TON of books that I need to review cause of all the reading I've been doing and it's a bit overwhelming, but you gotta start somewhere right?

Hope you're all enjoying Summer!!

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Blog Tour + Giveaway! Powerless by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs

Title/Author: Powerless (The Hero Agenda #1) by Tera Lynn Childs and Tracy Deebs
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Fire, June 2nd 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Kenna is tired of being "normal". The only thing special about her is that she isn't special at all. Which is frustrating in a world of absolutes. Villains, like the one who killed her father, are bad. Heroes, like her mother and best friend, are good. And Kenna, unlike everyone else around her, is completely ordinary— which she hates.

She’s secretly working on an experiment that will land her a place among the Heroes, but when a Villain saves her life during a break-in at her lab, Kenna discovers there’s a whole lot of gray area when it comes to good and evil and who she can trust.. After all…not all strength comes from superpowers.

I personally really enjoyed Powerless, as it's another take on the superhero lore and that's always exciting to me :)
For this blog tour to celebrate the release of POWERLESS everyone is answering the question: “If I could have any superpower…” and below you'll find their very interesting answers!

Tracy Deebs, POWERLESS co-author

If I could have any superpower in the world, I would be a technopath. Anyone who knows me knows how absurd it is to imagine me as one—and just how grateful I would be if I had that power. I’m one of those people who actually repel technology. I can almost never get those soap dispensers or faucets that turn on when you wave your hands to work in the bathroom, my computers, smartphone, and tablet always do the most bizarre things imaginable, wherever I am technological things stop working, and I have the power to demagnetize hotel room keys (and my college cafeteria card) just by touching them. So, yes, being a technopath sounds pretty awesome to me …

Tera Lynn Childs, POWERLESS co-author

If I could have any superpower, I’d pick the ability to control the weather. First, I’d head to California and bring on a monsoon season of non-stop rain to end the mega-drought. Then I’d come home to Vegas and do a little tinkering with the seasons. Keep it under 100 in the summer, stay away from the below-freezing temps no one believes we actually get in the winter, and make sure that spring and fall are full of as many thunderstorms as possible. The more thunder, lightning, and rain, the better!

Learn more about Tera and Tracy at


Leah Scheier, author of YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR, describes her superhero alter-ego:

I am Celebrita and my super-power is the ability to morph into any celebrity. Naturally, I only use my powers for good. I'm not in it for the free Versace gowns, the private jets and the red carpet struts. Instead, I make myself available to the hardworking celebrity who can't handle getting up in the morning for an early shoot due to a rough night of partying. Sleep in, dear celebrity. I will be there for you, dressed entirely in saran wrap and diamonds. Stuck in rehab for a few weeks? Never fear, I'll appear in photo ops with orphans for your favorite charity functions.

Unfortunately, I have an evil twin named Paparazza. She has the same super power as I do, but she is armed with a selfie stick and insatiable greed. She is responsible for the great PR disaster stories: wardrobe malfunctions and public meltdowns, DWI arrests, and pretty much every Kim and Kanye appearance on record. A great reckoning is coming. Keep your eye on PEOPLE magazine…

Leah’s Sourcebooks Fire debut YOUR VOICE IS ALL I HEAR releases in September. Learn more about this book at


Zoraida Cordova, author of THE VAST AND BRUTAL SEA

If I had a superpower it would be the ability to change into a mermaid... I'm sure this is not surprising! But I would make it my mission to discover the world's ocean. I would bring back all of my findings, and search out lost civilizations. Like Indiana Jones meets Ariel.

Pick up Zoriaida’s YA novel THE VAST AND BRUTAL SEA available in trade paperback now. And contact the author on Facebook here


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Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Off To Thailand!

So this year the boyfriend and I have made the good life decision to go on vacation to Thailand! :) So we'll be enjoying the good life, good food and beautiful scenery as pictured above.
It is pretty hard to leave the kitty behind (we already dropped her off at the boyfriend's brother's house, it's SO quiet here at the moment), but we'll be back and then we'll just cuddle extra. Hopefully.

So this is me saying that the blog will be quiet for the next two weeks, cause I was going to be a good blogger and get some posts typed up before I left, but alas, preparation for the journey took longer than I thought it would (as always) and then I got a cold and that's been messing with my blogging mojo.

I wish you a happy two weeks!

Friday, May 29, 2015

Review of Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires by Sophie Barnes

Title/Author: Lady Sarah Sinful Desires (Secrets At Thorncliff Manor #1) by Sophie Barnes
Publisher/Date published: Avon Books, May 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Welcome to Thorncliff Manor, where London's elite mix, mingle, and may even find their heart's desire...

There are thousands of things Christopher, Viscount Spencer, would rather do than hunt for a bride, especially since experience has taught him that women are not to be trusted. Then he finds the intriguing Lady Sarah scrambling around in Thorncliff's conservatory and he is instantly charmed by her passionate nature. But why is she so intent on avoiding him?

Lady Sarah would make the perfect bride for a peer — if not for a tarnished past that she's hiding from the ton. A stay at Thorncliff Manor was meant to help her plan for her future, not fall in love. Yet Christopher's kisses are irresistible, his gallantry enticing. When her secret stands to be revealed, will the truth ruin their dreams of happiness?

So I was very much in need of a good historical romance when I started this book, and Lady Sarah's Sinful Desires did not disappoint!

I really like Sophie Barnes' writing style and I kinda liked that this wasn't set in London for a change. I mean, don't get me wrong, I LOVE reading books set in London with all of the ton present and balls and calling on each other and EVERYTHING. But this setting of Thorncliff and the houseparty was very charming as well.

I liked Sarah, she's smart and funny and she has a pet hamster. I mean, hello, she's living in historical England and she has a PET HAMSTER. That is just awesome in my book. Also: hamsters are great pets, I had one myself when I was younger. She's obviously not made all the right choices in her past and back then you were judged harshly for that. By your parents as well as the rest of the world. She has a major sense of duty and loyalty to a family, that in my opinion doesn't deserve said loyalty. I was so wishing for just the teensiest bit of warmth or love to show from her father and stepmother, but there was ZERO affection there. I don't really understand this, I mean, sure I can get being angry with her at first, but after two years? Can you not get over this and try to give her a GOOD future instead of one with a hateful and disgusting man in it? That was some bad parenting right there.

But I did really like Christoper and Sarah together. They have great chemistry and banter and I loved to see them become friends and then something more. There's mutual respect and affection that grows naturally and I really liked seeing their lovestory unfold. I also thought Christopher's reaction to Sarah's secret was realistic. It wasn't perfect, but it felt real for the time they lived in.
And OMG, how much did I love Christopher's family! His sisters and his mom are perfection. They're the ultimate family, teasing each other, telling each other how it is, but there's so much heart there! I would have loved to spend even more time with them!

Sophie Barnes spins an interesting tale about a lady with a less than perfect past and how she goes on from there. Obviously there's a happily ever after, because this is a historical romance novel after all, but the road to getting to said happily ever after was very much enjoyable and there was a connection between Sarah and Christopher that made me root for them and that's basically what I want from a romance novel!

My rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Review of The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler

Title/Author: The Summer of Chasing Mermaids by Sarah Ockler
Publisher/Date published: Simon Pulse, June 2nd 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: The youngest of six talented sisters, Elyse d’Abreau was destined for stardom — until a boating accident took everything from her. Now, the most beautiful singer in Tobago can’t sing. She can’t even speak.

Seeking quiet solitude, Elyse accepts a friend’s invitation to Atargatis Cove. Named for the mythical first mermaid, the Oregon seaside town is everything Elyse’s home in the Caribbean isn’t: An ocean too cold for swimming, parties too tame for singing, and people too polite to pry — except for one.

Christian Kane is a notorious playboy — insolent, arrogant, and completely charming. He’s also the only person in Atargatis Cove who doesn’t treat Elyse like a glass statue. He challenges her to express herself, and he admires the way she treats his younger brother Sebastian, who believes Elyse is the legendary mermaid come to life.

When Christian needs a first mate for the Cove’s high-stakes Pirate Regatta, Elyse reluctantly stows her fear of the sea and climbs aboard. The ocean isn’t the only thing making waves, though — swept up in Christian’s seductive tide and entranced by the Cove’s charms, Elyse begins to wonder if a life of solitude isn’t what she needs. But changing course again means facing her past. It means finding her inner voice. And scariest of all, it means opening her heart to a boy who’s best known for breaking them...

So there's a reason why people are always like "EEEE! NEW BOOK BY SARAH OCKLER!!" And The Summer of Chasing Mermaids further confirms my opinion that it is a legit reason.

Sarah Ockler has a way of storytelling that just has me sucked into the story and made me feel like I was right there in the moment with all of these characters. She let me experience the pain Elyse was feeling and the disappointment, but also the hope that slowly creeps in. I was right there with her, and I love it when an author manages to put me IN the story instead of just on the sidelines. I loved Elyse for losing her voice and then finding it, and BECAUSE she's so obviously not perfect in her way of dealing with what happened. She's so much a human being that I could imagine walking into the room, grabbing my hand and telling me something with one of her Sharpies.

I loved the lyrical quality of Sarah Ockler's writing, and especially the voice she gives to Elyse. It was beautiful and at times I just wanted to savour the words. But I also needed very much to keep on reading to find out what was going to happen next, because there's a plot that is not just there as backdrop, it's a real, living thing, with vivid characters and a town that I could fall in love with. And even the characters that we never really 'meet', Elyse's family, are very much a real personality in The Summer of Chasing Mermaids.

But so much of my love goes out to the ones we do meet: Kirby, who becomes both a friend and another sister to Elyse and is a very bighearted person that I just want to hug. Christian, who is obviously the love interest and a beautiful one, who has so much love for his brother and turns out to have so much more depth than you would imagine. And Sebastian, Christian's adorable 6 (and a half!) year old brother, who believes in mermaids and doesn't think it's only girls who should get to dress up as them, he is the cutest little boy ever and I just wanted to cuddle him and read him stories forever.

There's a lot at stake with the Pirate Regatta, there's the town's future to think about and some ugly family stuff that made me sad for the people dealing with it. Throughout this summer, Elyse and the others discover a lot about themselves and others and it was truly beautiful to see them experience these things and grow because of it. This little town has a lot of heart.

Just like with The Book of Broken Heart, The Summer of Chasing Mermaids is so much more than a cute contemporary read. It deals with loss, the loss of your dreams and a future that was within your grasp. Losing your voice and losing yourself. Losing the thing that you think defines you. But it also tells us about family, the good and the bad. About finding yourself, about accepting people for who they are and fighting for their right to be themselves. About friendship and love and everything. And I fiercely loved every minute of reading about all of these things.

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Books I Plan To Have In My Beach Bag This Summer

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by my other blog The Broke and the Bookish

As I'm going on vacation next Tuesday (to Thailand, YAY!), here's what's on my list to read on one (or more) of their gorgeous beaches:

1. Valiant by Sarah McGuire: I found out late that the release date of this one had been moved up, so I'm reading it now, around its original release date. Also: YAY FAIRYTALE RETELLING!

2. The Invasion of the Tearling by Erika Johansen: seems fitting, as I read The Queen of the Tearling last year on vacation ;) Also, I think fantasy novels make for perfect beach reads.

3. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella: I LOVE Sophie Kinsella and I'm really curious about her first YA novel!

4. Hello, I Love You by Katie M. Stout: This sounds super cute! Boarding schools! And a comparison to Anna and the French Kiss! How can this possibly go wrong?

5. The Night We Said Yes by Lauren Gibaldi: there's been a lot of buzz about this one, and I'm really excited to read it! It sounds like it could be kinda awesome.

6. Get Dirty by Gretchen McNeil: I read Get Even last year and really enjoyed it, this will serve as my Pretty Little Liars fix until it starts up again :)


8. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas: I've heard this is amazing and steamy and this sounds like a perfect beach read to me. Or anywhere. Also: it's Sarah J. Maas, obviously I'm reading this as soon as possible. Quite possibly on the airplane, so there's not possibility of damaging it around sand/water/etc.

9. Wrong About the Guy by Claire LaZebnik: I like Claire LaZebnik's books and any adaptation of Emma will forever be read.

10. Simon vs. The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli: I've heard this is supercute and fluffy and happiness inducing. The only thing that will be missing if I read this on the beach, are Oreo's, cause I think it might be a little too hot for chocolate...

What's going to be in your beach bag? Tell me about your holiday plans!

Friday, May 22, 2015

Review of Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos

Title/Author: Material Girls by Elaine Dimopoulos
Publisher/Date published: HMH Books for Young Readers, May 5th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: In Marla Klein and Ivy Wilde’s world, teens are the gatekeepers of culture. A top fashion label employs sixteen-year-old Marla to dictate hot new clothing trends, while Ivy, a teen pop star, popularizes the garments that Marla approves. Both girls are pawns in a calculated but seductive system of corporate control, and both begin to question their world’s aggressive levels of consumption. Will their new “eco-chic” trend subversively resist and overturn the industry that controls every part of their lives?

So I'm a big fan of tv shows such as America's Next Top Model and Project Runway and all of those things. I'm fascinated by the fashion industry, even though I'm not really a fashionista myself, but I do like pretty clothes. So obviously this dystopian that deals with said fashion industry sounded endlessly entertaining to me!

And I really liked Material Girls, it was a pretty fun read, and it made me REALLY want to buy pretty dresses (which is not really the point of this novel). I liked both Marla and Ivy, though I was kinda wishing Ivy would grow a bit more of a spine, but well, she's a flawed character and I could relate to her struggle. Ivy really wants to be a better person, but at the same time, she doesn't want to lose her spotlight and wants to take care of her family and it's hard for her to see a way to combine all of these things.
And Marla goes from a blind rule follower to a bit of a rebel, but the one problem I had with her character is that it never really felt like she was making the decision to go in this new direction. It all just sort of happened to her.

The world that Elaine Dimopoulos has created was really interesting and it made me think about our society and how we're very much a consumerist society and while I happily join in on this, I can see the downside and the wastefulness of it. The whole way of controlling society by giving 8th-graders a career path they can't really change was awful, and to make children that age already work because otherwise they will be too OLD to be in style? Wow. Just. Wow. I did kinda love seeing how Elaine Dimopoulos also showed us the consequences of this sort of program for the kids who don't get picked for a creative career path and the confusion that someone who's not in this line of work can still enjoy the job they do. The whole perception of things is off and it was a bit mindblowing to read about Ivy asking a doctor is she was happy in her line of work, which to her was inconceivable.

To go along with this storyline, there was a pretty cute lovestory, I liked the tentative romance blooming between the two.
Because the book is not all that long, and we see the story unfold from both Marla and Ivy's POV, it lacked a bit of depth to their characters. I did feel like I knew both of them, but I would have liked to have a little more insight into their motives and what makes them the way they are. They have a backstory, and it's ok, but I would have just liked a bit more.
I did like that there's not big happily ever after where the whole dystopian society has been disbanded and all the problems have been solved because of a couple of teenagers rebelling. Because that's just not very realistic and such things take time, so I appreciate where Elaine Dimopoulos left us at the end of Material Girls.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Review of A School for Unusual Girls by Kathleen Baldwin

Title/Author: A School for Unusual Girls (Stranje House #1) by Kathleen Baldwin
Publisher/Date published: Tor Teen, May 19th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: It’s 1814. Napoleon is exiled on Elba. Europe is in shambles. Britain is at war on four fronts. And Stranje House, a School for Unusual Girls, has become one of Regency England’s dark little secrets. The daughters of the beau monde who don't fit high society’s constrictive mold are banished to Stranje House to be reformed into marriageable young ladies. Or so their parents think. In truth, Headmistress Emma Stranje, the original unusual girl, has plans for the young ladies — plans that entangle the girls in the dangerous world of spies, diplomacy, and war.

After accidentally setting her father’s stables on fire while performing a scientific experiment, Miss Georgiana Fitzwilliam is sent to Stranje House. But Georgie has no intention of being turned into a simpering, pudding-headed, marriageable miss. She plans to escape as soon as possible — until she meets Lord Sebastian Wyatt. Thrust together in a desperate mission to invent a new invisible ink for the English war effort, Georgie and Sebastian must find a way to work together without losing their heads — or their hearts...

You probably all know that I have a thing for historical fiction/historical romance. And basically the title of this book sold me, I mean, what's not to like about a school for unusual girls??

I really liked Georgiana, she's a character that I could definitely relate to, not interested in conforming to society's expectations and a scientist at heart. I love that she can't help herself when she thinks 'what if', it's made her jump out of a window trying to fly and accidentally set her father's stables on fire cause she wasn't allowed to do her expiriment inside the house in a safer environment. She's smart and driven and doesn't take no for an answer, and she also has her vulnerabilities, which made me like her even more.

So Georgiana and I were doing pretty well and then we enter Stranje House and there's a whole extra set of characters for me to be intrigued by. I mean, the other girls there are REALLY interesting, all with their own set of skills, some with a hint of paranormal that I enjoyed. I loved how they're all so fierce and how even though they've been burned before, they're still more than ready to include Georgiana in their group. And also, Miss Stranje herself sounds like the most awesome of ladies and OMG there's a romance brewing there that's just YES.

And of course there's a romance for Georgiana as well. I could very much get behind the ship, because Sebastian sounds dreamy and they do the banter thing that I love and actually share an interest in science. The only thing that didn't work so well for me is the speed at which their relationship progresses to love. I mean, wow, they haven't even really known each other for a week or so? I get that they've been in some situations together that have the potential to speed up things, but they were just a bit shy of insta-love for me. They did have wonderful chemistry though and there was a moment that had me reading with tears in my eyes, so the feelings were there for me.

I wasn't really impressed with the characterization of Georgiana's parents though, they're a bit cardboard and it felt unrealistic that parents would leave their daughter at a house they think she's going to be tortured. I mean, WTF? But as they're not a big part of the novel, I could get over this.
Of course there's also a villain, Lady Daneska, who seems like a complex character, but I'm not really sure what to make of her yet. There's probably a reason why she's so vile, but for now she just seemed to be evil for the sake of being evil mostly.

I did very much like the backdrop of Napoleon's exile and am very interested in seeing where Kathleen Baldwin takes us with her somewhat alternate history. I'm a bit sorry the sequel won't be from Georgiana's POV, but as I really like the other girls as well, I think this won't be a problem, cause I'm really intrigued by Tess!

My rating: 4 stars

Monday, May 18, 2015

Review of Seriously Wicked by Tina Connolly

Title/Author: Seriously Wicked (Seriously #1) by Tina Connolly
Publisher/Date published: Tor Teen, May 5th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: The only thing worse than being a witch is living with one.

Camellia’s adopted mother wants Cam to grow up to be just like her. Problem is, Mom’s a seriously wicked witch.

Cam’s used to stopping the witch’s crazy schemes for world domination. But when the witch summons a demon, he gets loose — and into Devon, the cute new boy at school.

Now Cam’s suddenly got bigger problems than passing Algebra. Her friends are getting zombiefied. Their dragon is tired of hiding in the RV garage. For being a shy boy-band boy, Devon is sure kissing a bunch of girls. And a phoenix hidden in the school is going to explode on the night of the Halloween Dance.

To stop the demon before he destroys Devon’s soul, Cam might have to try a spell of her own. But if she’s willing to work spells like the witch... will that mean she’s wicked too?

I'm always looking for that next book about witches that will make my heart happy, but a lot of times, they seem to fall flat for me. Luckily, Seriously Wicked does not fall into this category!

There were so many characters for me to like, Cam is smart and strong and sassy and I totally loved her! She's got a sense of humor that I very much appreciate. And it was really fun to read from the daughter of the 'wicked witch''s point of view. I mean, she's SO determined not to be a witch herself and that she doesn't have magic, even though we can all guess that's not exactly true from the start. But she does it with a flair and dodges her mother's somewhat less than orthodox teaching methods the best she can. It was really entertaining!

I actually also liked her mother in all her witchy plotting and creative ways of punishing Cam. And Cam's best friend (who I can't remember the name of at the moment, sorry!) is a true best friend and accepts Cam for who she is and genuinely wants to help her even when there's a whole lot of crazy going on that I could have imagined might make her think she's in over her head. But she stick by Cam and I totally loved her for it.
Also, there's Devon, the love interest who's just really cute. And a sassy demon that I couldn't help have LOLs over, cause demons can only come out once in a while and are therefore still stuck in the Elvis Presley time period with the pelvis shaking and everything.
And a very friendly dragon that I adored!

Basically, this book was just such a breath of fresh air with its lightness and FUN, combined with a plot that was creative and whimsical and just a whole lot of awesome. I LOVED Tina Connolly's storytelling and am very determined to start reading more of her work! I think I have Ironskin sitting on my shelf somewhere, so that shouldn't be problem :)

Guys, this book was super cute and fun and full of witchy goodness! And I just found out it's actually the first book in a series. This could have easily worked as a standalone, but I'm very interested to see what will come next for Cam and everyone!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Review of Novice by Taran Matharu

Title/Author: Novice (Summoner #1) by Taran Matharu
Publisher/Date published: Feiwel & Friends, May 5th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: When blacksmith apprentice Fletcher discovers that he has the ability to summon demons from another world, he travels to Adept Military Academy. There the gifted are trained in the art of summoning. Fletcher is put through grueling training as a battlemage to fight in the Hominum Empire’s war against orcs. He must tread carefully while training alongside children of powerful nobles. The power hungry, those seeking alliances, and the fear of betrayal surround him. Fletcher finds himself caught in the middle of powerful forces, with only his demon Ignatius for help.

As the pieces on the board maneuver for supremacy, Fletcher must decide where his loyalties lie. The fate of an empire is in his hands. The Novice is the first in a trilogy about Fletcher, his demon Ignatius, and the war against the Orcs.

So there are a lot of elements that reminded me of different book series/tv series/games in Novice, and I think it will get mixed reactions because of that. It didn't bother me in the slightest and just made me have 'awwww' moments!

Like a lot of fantasy heroes, Fletcher starts out as a normal peasant boy, who doesn't really know where exactly he came from, and then he discovers he's actually a magically gifted person. He's been taken in as an infant by a blacksmith, who has raised him as his own and is basically a truly good person. Then he gets his hands on a mage's book and actually summons a demon, which is the CUTEST EVER. I mean, SERIOUSLY. If you've met Ignatius, you will be squeeing over him along with me. He's basically a combination of Pascal (from Tangled) and Mushu (from Mulan, mostly because of firebreathing options) and I WANT ONE OK? He's awesome. You could just read this for Ignatius alone, but the rest of the book was so much fun as well!

I liked Fletcher, I liked that he's openminded about dwarves and elves and is trying to build bridges and turns out to be a true friend to those close to him. I also like that he's got courage. I mean, he dives headfirst into some potentially dangerous situations because he's trying to save someone and when you encounter stuff like this you really don't have a lot of time to consider your options. I also liked that while he's a quick learner when it comes to training as a mage, but not everything comes naturally to him.

I totally loved the worldbuilding! I mean, all the different types of demons and what they and the mages can do and the whole political system is just YES! And also, there's a magical boarding school, which is one of my favourite things to read about if done well. And in The Novice, it is done well.

So there are recognizable themes from Lord of the Rings, with the whole Elves and Dwarves and Orcs thing, but well, it doesn't bother me, cause I kinda consider LOTR a classic when it comes to the genre and we don't blame authors for having similar themes to Jane Austen's in romance novels either. Also, there's the 'gotta catch 'em all' feeling of Pokémon, with even a demon who's called Vulpid and sounds EXACTLY like Vulpix, which I had a LOL moment over with one of my friends who was also reading it. And there's how the connection to the demons reminded me a bit of His Dark Materials. And also, Harry Potter for obvious reasons.

But seriously, none of that mattered to me, or rather, it did in a GOOD way, because I LOVE all these elements and I felt that there was enough originality for me to totally love Novice. I loved Taran Matharu's writing and breezed through this book! It felt like a breath of fresh air, it was just so much fun to read! This is one series that I'm very excited to continue!
Also: can we just focus on the awesomeness that is the cover for a bit? SO PRETTY!

So basically, I'm saying that if you're like me and love yourself some fantasy novel with magical boarding school and ADORABLE creatures, you should definitely pick this up. Like, now.

My rating: 5 stars