Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Review of The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury

Title/Author: The Forbidden Wish by Jessica Khoury
Publisher/Date published: Razorbill, February 23rd 2016
How I got this book: bought a shiny copy
Goodreads summary: She is the most powerful Jinni of all. He is a boy from the streets. Their love will shake the world...

When Aladdin discovers Zahra's jinni lamp, Zahra is thrust back into a world she hasn't seen in hundreds of years—a world where magic is forbidden and Zahra's very existence is illegal. She must disguise herself to stay alive, using ancient shape-shifting magic, until her new master has selected his three wishes.

But when the King of the Jinn offers Zahra a chance to be free of her lamp forever, she seizes the opportunity—only to discover she is falling in love with Aladdin. When saving herself means betraying him, Zahra must decide once and for all: is winning her freedom worth losing her heart?

I'm always up for a good fairytale retelling and Aladdin is one of my childhood crushes, so obviously I needed to read this!

And I'm very happy to say that I totally loved it! I was a tiny bit hesitant cause another Aladdin retelling I read earlier this year left me with less than giddy feelings and I was definitely not looking for a repeat of that experience, but I didn't have to worry, because Jessica Khoury took parts of the tale I loved and then added SO MUCH GOODNESS and it was just amazing!

I loved Zahra, she's a 4000 year old being and obviously she's seen a LOT and has experienced major heartbreak, but it hasn't gotten her down yet. She hasn't become this bitter person, but instead is still willing to fight for the people she cares about and I liked that. I also loved discovering her backstory and hearing her talk to 'Habiba' in her mind, sort of narrating the story to her. Though I did guess at one point who exactly she'd been before she was the jinni of the lamp, it was still more complicated than I'd imagined and I loved it!

Obviously Aladdin was wonderful. I mean, he's a thief with a heart of gold and it really shows. He's just this amazing boy who has set himself on a path and Zahra pushes him along on it, but I love that he realises what exactly the important things are along the way. There's some definite character growth going on here and I always like that! And he's kinda dreamy, so I was totally shipping it!

I really liked how Jessica Khoury added to the fairytale of Aladdin with the system of the jinni and how it affects the world that Aladdin lives in. There's so much more to it than simply a boy from the streets trying to make his way in the world and a genie who grants wishes and of course has a desire to be free of the lamp. Even though I totally love the original tale as well. But I like when an author takes a beloved tale like this and than adds his or her own twist to it without it detracting from the orginal. And I feel that with The Forbidden Wish, Jessica Khoury has done exactly that!

So basically, I'm saying you should read this and I'll be on the lookout for more from Jessica Khoury as well as kicking myself for not having read anything by her before!

My rating: 5 stars

Monday, August 22, 2016

Mini-Reviews (17): Diplomatic Immunity, My Fair Princess, The Best Friend Bargain

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). 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).

Title/Author: Diplomatic Immunity by Brodi Ashton
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, September 6th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

I'm just gonna come out and say it: this book was a huge disappointment. It sounded like something that I would just LOVE, but instead it had me going 'meh' and having serious issues with several things happening in the novel. I wasn't feeling the main character, who was a bit of a hypocrite and just annoying and the love interest was just... Not interesting. I felt zero sparks and the whole system was messed up and it didn't feel like this was happening to teenagers.

I did like the relationships between Piper and her brother and Rafael and his brother, but all in all, it just wasn't enough to make me like the novel. I felt like it was trying a little too hard, which is a shame, because I remember very much loving Brodi Ashton's writing before.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Title/Author: My Fair Princess (The Improper Princesses #1) by Vanessa Kelly
Publisher/Date published: Zebra, August 30th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

So I liked My Fair Princess, it wasn't earthshattering or majorly shippy, but it was cute and I liked Charles, who was lovely and proper, but willing to let go of it for Gillian. I also liked Gillian, but she had a teensy bit of too stupid to live going on with all her diving headfirst into danger that you could see coming from MILES away. I mean MILES. But the two of them had nice chemistry and there was definitely some tension, which was wonderful. And I also really liked Charles' sister, who loved messing with him a bit, which is what sisters are supposed to do in my opinion.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Title/Author: The Best Friend Bargain (Kisses in the Sand #3) by Robin Bielman
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing LLC, August 8th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

I like a good friends-to-lovers story and this was really sweet. I thought Olivia and Danny were kinda perfect together, but there was a definite lack of communication going on at one point ant that was just hurtful! I mean, wow. Also, I kinda had to laugh a bit at the way Olivia sorta just told someone that she and Danny were getting married and starting a family when she hadn't even told him that she was pregnant, it was all just a little crazy. I could sorta understand where Danny was coming from with his issues, but I was also a bit annoyed by it, because he was just throwing away so many things for himself and for Olivia (and for the women who came before him), that I just wanted to shake him.
Also, the ending threw me off a bit, I mean, that's REALLY quick for another baby (which to be honest doesn't seem all that healthy to me aside from being really quick). But it was a nice story and I liked it.

My rating: 3 stars

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Review of If I Only Had a Duke by Lenora Bell

Title/Author: If I Only Had a Duke (The Disgraceful Dukes #2) by Lenora Bell
Publisher/Date published: Avon, August 30th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: After four failed seasons and a disastrous jilting, Lady Dorothea Beaumont has had more than enough of her family’s scheming. She won’t domesticate a duke, entangle an earl, or vie for a viscount. She will quietly exit to her aunt’s Irish estate for a life of blissful freedom. Until an arrogant, sinfully handsome duke singles her out for a waltz, making Thea the most popular belle of the season.

The duke ruined her plans and he’ll just have to fix them.

Dalton, Duke of Osborne, is far too heartless for debutantes or marriage—he uses dalliances and public spectacle to distract from his real purpose: finding the man who destroyed his family. When his search leads to Ireland, the last thing he needs is the determined, achingly innocent Thea, who arrives in the dead of night demanding he escort her to her aunt. His foolish agreement may prove his undoing. The road to the Emerald Isle is fraught with unforeseen dangers, but the greatest peril of all might just be discovering that he has a heart...and he’s losing it to Thea.

So I really enjoyed the first book in this series that features the basically identical looking half-sister of the heroine of this one, so I was excited to start this. And I liked it, just not as much as the first.

I liked the sassy correspondence between Thea and Dalton that starts of this story, it was witty and flirty and just lots of fun. And at first, the dialogue between the two is exactly that when they meet in real life. They challenge each other and have very nice chemistry and I was just really feeling it. But then the adoration started overflowing and it just sort of fizzled down a bit and I did still find myself hoping they'd find a way to be together, but it wasn't making me smile as much anymore as it did at the start.

I did very much enjoy Thea's antics, pretending to be an Italian opera singer and just getting up to all sorts of mischief. And the duke mainly just staring and dealing with it, while being a bit of a brooding hero with a not-so-servant-like man-servant. I did like the two of them together, they brought out a side of each other that was fun to watch.

The thing is, I was having a bit of trouble with the way that Thea thinks she 'knows him better than anyone' after having slept with him. I mean, seriously? You've known the man for what, two weeks, and because you've been intimate you know him better than ANYONE else? I can't help but roll my eyes when I read something like this, I mean, if you've actually known someone their whole lives and have deep conversations, then maybe you can say something like this, but having sex once or twice doesn't really do the trick. It's not a magic mind-reading experience.
But I could have gotten past this with just an eye roll or two, if I hadn't been disappointed by the way things concluded, which was a bit anticlimactic. ***SPOILER LIGHT UP TO READ*** Dalton walks away cause he's 'heartless' and then his brother ends up wanting a relationship with him and his brother and all of a sudden he's like YES I LOVE THEA and I'm like WHAT THE WHAT??? You left her like 5 minutes ago, I mean, SERIOUSLY??? What if his brother hadn't turn back around, then they would have been apart forever? And his mother magically learns to get over her fear of going outside that's kept her inside for 20 years because of said brother returning? I was seriously not into the ending at all. *** END OF SPOILER***

Aside from these issues, mainly with the ending, If I Only Had a Duke was an enjoyable read, it's just a shame that the ending left me not so much heaving a happy sigh at yet another happy ending, which is one of the things I love about reading historical romances.

My rating: 3 stars

Saturday, April 23, 2016


It's that time of the year again, the time where we get together and READ! YAY! It's readathon day! I LOVE Dewey's 24 hour readathon and even more so now that I get to spend it with my book club ladies of awesome :)

I'll be heading over to Daph's house in about 30 minutes and I still need to pack (EEP), as in pick out what books to take with me and gather the snacks and just... NOT ENOUGH TIME!

So here's a quick answer to the introduction questions :)

1) What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'll be reading from Daph's home in Zaandam, which'll be awesome :)

2) Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
I haven't picked out my books yet! *panicks* *panicks some more* But I am looking forward to just reading some of the books on my shelves, though I'll also be bringing my ereader.

3) Which snack are you most looking forward to?
ALL THE SNACKS! :) I'm bringing banana profiteroles, which are SO good! I'm sure the other girls will also be bringing snacks, so I probably won't have to eat for a couple of days after I get home tomorrow.

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 in my final year of residency. I've been blogging for about 6 (might be 7) 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, White Collar).

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'm going over to Daph's and I'm finally meeting her cute cat, so that'll be different. Other than that, I'm just going to relax, read and enjoy my book club ladies' company.

Happy read-a-thon-ing everyone!!

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Review of Once Was a Time by Leila Sales

Title/Author: Once Was a Time by Leila Sales
Publisher/Date published: Chronicle Books, April 5th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: In the war-ravaged England of 1940, Charlotte Bromley is sure of only one thing: Kitty McLaughlin is her best friend in the whole world. But when Charlotte's scientist father makes an astonishing discovery that the Germans will covet for themselves, Charlotte is faced with an impossible choice between danger and safety. Should she remain with her friend or journey to another time and place? Her split-second decision has huge consequences, and when she finds herself alone in the world, unsure of Kitty's fate, she knows that somehow, some way, she must find her way back to her friend. Written in the spirit of classic time-travel tales, this book is an imaginative and heartfelt tribute to the unbreakable ties of friendship.

I LOVE Leila Sales' writing, so there was a LOT of pressure on this book to be awesome. And while I did like it, it didn't blow me away.

I'm always intrigued by timetravel and was curious to see how it would work out in this MG novel. And it was a very interesting concept, the thing is that it never really gets explained how the timetravel works and why Charlotte is able to travel while her dad's been spending his whole life loooking for the answer and never really getting it. And I guess I just sorta needed that explanation, because at one point it seems like we're getting it, but then NOPE, sorry!

I was really feeling for Charlotte, she went through a very traumatic experience and then ends up in the future all by herself, trying to make sense of the world that is all of a sudden filled with internet and all of the electric appliances that we now have basically everywhere. All by herself without her best friend and her family, she totally rallies though! She finds her safe place: the library (AWESOME) and things start to happen from there.

Charlotte seems like a nice girl, but she sorta loses herself in the drama that's a mean girl phase at school. And the figuring out of the whole timetravel thing gets put on the backburner until she finds a clue and then we're back in business! I felt that the ending was a bit bittersweet, but I did like it. The thing is that I was never fully emerged in the story and while I did like the way Leila Sales wrapped it up, I still have so many questions!

It was cute though, just not the amazing that I've come to expect from Leila Sales.

My rating: 3 stars

Thursday, April 7, 2016

Review of The Mirror King by Jodi Meadows

Title/Author: The Mirror King (The Orphan Queen #2) by Jodi Meadows
Publisher/Date published: Katherine Tegen Books, April 5th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: Wilhelmina has a hundred enemies.

HER FRIENDS HAVE TURNED. After her identity is revealed during the Inundation, Princess Wilhelmina is kept prisoner by the Indigo Kingdom, with the Ospreys lost somewhere in the devastated city. When the Ospreys’ leader emerges at the worst possible moment, leaving Wil’s biggest ally on his deathbed, she must become Black Knife to set things right.

HER MAGIC IS UNCONTROLLABLE. Wil’s power is to animate, not to give true life, but in the wraithland she commanded a cloud of wraith mist to save herself, and later ordered it solid. Now there is a living boy made of wraith — destructive and deadly, and willing to do anything for her.

HER HEART IS TORN. Though she’s ready for her crown, declaring herself queen means war. Caught between what she wants and what is right, Wilhelmina realizes the throne might not even matter. Everyone thought the wraith was years off, but already it’s destroying Indigo Kingdom villages. If she can’t protect both kingdoms, soon there won’t be a land to rule.


After the cliffhanger ending of The Orphan Queen, I'm SO happy that I already had the egalley for this one so I didn't have to wait in agony to find out what would happen next!

The Mirror King picks up right where we left everyone in The Orphan Queen and I just loved it! We dove right back into the epicness that is this world and Jodi Meadows' writing and also all of these characters and especially WIL and TOBIAH and JAMES. And also Melanie, but we don't see as much of her for the first part cause she went off with Patrick. Who is hateful and will not be mentioned much hereafter because of said hatefulness.

I loved Wil even more in this one, I felt for her in all of her doubts and insecurities and in the starcrossed love she's feeling for Tobiah. I mean, wow, these two have basically everything going against them. One of which happens in this book and was one of the most shocking things EVER. OMG, I still can't believe that happened! She was so strong through it all and really grew as a person and I love that even though everyone knows she's the heir to the throne of Aecor, she's not going to stop kicking ass.

The wraith is still creepy and I'm still not sure that I get it entirely, but in The Mirror King, they're looking for a way to stop it. Or at least keep it at bay. I loved seeing more of the wraith boy and the thing I also very much liked about the magic system is that Wil can animate things, but while they're animated, they keep costing her energy, so it's not just her powering them up and then the things just going off on their own, but it's actually a strain on her and therefore her magic is not limitless.

There are some hints about things that are explained in The Mirror King, but I was SO surprised at at least one of the big reveals! I really don't want to give anything away, but I had definitely not picked up on it, and it was both sad and awesome and plays a big part in the final scenes. Which also gave me some sads, because of reasons. I've gotten so attached to this world and these characters and there are only two books and I wished I could have just spent some more time with everyone and see how their lives turn out after the events in The Mirror King! It's what makes me realise how much I love a book, when I keep wondering what will happen after I've turned the last page.

I'm in awe of Jodi Meadows' storytelling and I really hope she'll be gifting us with more stories!

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Mini-Reviews (16): Ice Like Fire, Wedding Date For Hire, An Inheritance of Ashes

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). 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).

Title/Author: Ice Like Fire (Snow Like Ashes #2) by Sara Raasch
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, October 13th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I really liked the first book in this series, and sadly Ice Like Fire didn't work quite as well for me, mainly because it suffered from second book syndrome. The whole book basically feels like there are BIG THINGS ABOUT TO HAPPEN, but then they fail to really start happening until about the end of the book.
Which is not to say that I didn't enjoy it, I liked getting to know more about this world and the magic and what the heck is up with this chasm and everything. I just would have liked it to be a little more filled with action as well, along with the worldbuilding. Meira is being held back because she is Queen now and it's not Queen-like to go around throwing a chakram. And while I get this, it's also REALLY annoying.
The love triangle continues and ermagerd, I liked Theron in the first book, but now he was just being annoying and I have mixed feelings about Mather and can we maybe get another option? Because I'm not having shippy feelings for either of them.

The ending definitely leaves me curious to find out how this will be wrapped up in the last book, which is hopefully filled with awesome.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Title/Author: Wedding Date For Hire by Jennifer Shirk
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing, October 12th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Mostly what I remember about this book is not really being into it, but finishing it because it was only 200 pages. I'm always down for a good fake dating story, but this one just fell a little short of what I wanted. There's not a lot of actual depth to the story or the characters and it goes from fake dating to LOVE in ten seconds, which is just not really my thing.
I mean, it was ok and there were some nice moments between the two main characters, but Maddie just seemed too naive and not really seeing what was in front of her and while Trent is a good guy, I just didn't get the shippy feels.

My rating: 2 stars

Title/Author: An Inheritance of Ashes by Leah Bobet
Publisher/Date published: Clarion Books, October 6th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I almost DNF-ed this in the beginning so many times. Then things started to pick up a bit, but I don't know, I just expected more based on the summary. There's never that edge of your seat feeling going on. Mostly, I felt like part of the book was missing, because it felt like we were being dumped down in the middle of a story and things don't make sense and aren't being explained later on, like I'd expected and I'm still confused about a lot of things. I'm still not really sure what was going on with the Twisted Things and the God and what the heck was up with everything??
The plot just sort of simmers on, but while there's a sort of battle at one point, it doesn't really get exciting. But Leah Bobet builds this incredible atmosphere that I can't describe any better than 'grey'. All of it just felt grey and bleak to me and that's the feeling I also get just thinking about the novel. And she did manage to suck me in, because at one point I was like, yeah, ok, I do actually want to know how this ends.

I'm still not really sure what to think of this book, other than that I didn't hate it, but I didn't love it either.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Review of The Wedding Date by Kelly

Title/Author: The Wedding Date by Kelly Eadon
Publisher/Date published: Forever Yours, April 5th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: A little fake relationship never hurt anyone...

Kate Massie has big dreams - they just haven't worked out. Yet. In the meantime, she spends her days clerking for a judge and her nights fantasizing about her tall, dark, and sexy gym crush. So when she runs into him one night, she's shocked to realize he was her shy, nerdy junior-prom date. But that isn't where the surprises end...

James Abell needs a date to his sister's wedding. So when Kate agrees, he's relieved... until one little lie turns their wedding date into a full-blown fake relationship. Only it doesn't feel fake - not the toe-curling kisses and definitely not the electricity. Neither of them is looking for something real... but they just might fall for their own little white lie.

So in between all of my fantasy reads lately I was definitely ready to get some contemporary romance action going! And I basically read The Wedding Date in no time at all, it was a nice little break from all the epic tales I'd been reading.

I liked that Kate and James sort of had a history. I mean, they're not just random stranger bumping into each other and starting a fake relationship, they've actually already met because Kate was James' last minute prom date way back when. There's some reminiscing about this going on, but not a lot of actual details about how their night went back then and why they didn't keep in touch except for him not daring to ask her number. And they did have one actual person in common, though she doesn't feature much except to facilitate their first meeting.

Basically James and Kate were pretty cute together, there are some obstacles in their way, James' decision to not get involved with anyone because he just broke up with his ex and is not ready to dive back into a relationship, Kate's issues with trusting someone not to break her heart. BUT they do work together and there were sparks between them, which I obviously supported.

The thing is, this was pretty short. So while I liked the overall idea of this, it was just a little short of being amazing because there was just not enough of everything. I mean, there's an I love you at some point that had me like HUH? Already?? I could have done with a little more moments where they were finding their footing and moments of doubt and the main fight was resolved pretty easily... I mean, I would just have liked it to be a little more. Because it had all the ingredients I like in a romance novel, but not fleshed out enough to have me shipping everything and having feelings all over it.

That said, it was a very nice, fun read and a good way to spend Easter Monday afternoon!

My rating: 3 stars

Friday, April 1, 2016

Review of The Skylighter by Becky Wallace

Title/Author: The Skylighter (The Keepers' Chronicles) by Becky Wallace
Publisher/Date published: Margaret K. McElderry Books, March 22nd 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks! And also bought myself a shiny finished copy.

Goodreads summary: As the last of the royal line, Johanna is the only person who can heal a magical breach in the wall that separates her kingdom of Santarem from the land of the Keepers, legendary men and women who wield elemental magic. The barrier protects Santarem from those Keepers who might try to take power over mere humans... Keepers who are determined to stop Johanna and seize the wall’s power for themselves.

And they’re not the only ones. As the duchys of Santarem descend into war over the throne, Johanna relies more than ever on the advice of her handsome companion, Lord Rafael DeSilva. But Rafi is a duke too, and his people come first. As their friendship progresses into the beginnings of a tender relationship, Johanna must wonder: is Rafi looking out for her happiness, or does he want the throne for himself?

With war on the horizon, Johanna and Rafi dodge treacherous dukes and Keeper assassins as they race to through the countryside, determined to strengthen the wall before it’s too late... even if it means sacrificing their happiness for the sake of their world.


So I ADORED The Storyspinner and while I didn't love The Skylighter with the same passion, I did very much enjoy it and thought it was a solid ending to this series.

In The Skylighter, we continue the journey that Rafi and Johanna started to get to the wall and restore the power, they team up with Jacaré and there are several things going on all over Santarem, so my attention as a reader was a bit divided. There's a lot of switching back and forth between different points of view and while I liked not only seeing things from one side, it was at times a little too much for me, because some of the chapters were pretty short and I just wanted to get sucked into this person's side of the story and then it would switch already. But we did get to see what everyone was up to, and even with that, Becky Wallace still managed to surprise me with some of the twists.

While The Storyspinner was filled with my ship being shippy, in The Skyligher Rafi and Johanna are at a weird place and while I was still so much rooting for them to be together, it was slightly less swoony. They keep pulling together, pushing away and it's just a rollercoaster. I do very much love them together though, they're both awesome and manage to draw the best out of each other. And I also liked that they're doing everything they can to make sure they can actually be together, BUT there's a limit to what they will do to accomplish this, there are things that are more important.

I loved getting a little bit more of Johanna's parents' backstory and would have liked to see even more of this and to get a little bit more background for the Keeper's powers, cause I feel like there's a whole lot more left to explore in this world, so I'm kinda sad that it's only two books. But I've come across a Q&A that says that there might be more books set in Santarem, SO YAY FOR THAT, PLEASE WRITE MORE!

One thing that kinda bugged me: [Show]

But overall, I thought this was such a really incredible series that I very much enjoyed and would love to read back to back at some point, just to get fully in the feels without having to try to remember the details from the previous book because they're still fresh. Rafi and Johanna have a special place in my heart and I'd love to see what happens AFTER the events in The Skylighter, so please Becky Wallace, write me some more books?

My rating: 4,5 stars

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Mini-Reviews (15): Maid-Sama! Vol 3 & 4, Underneath Everything, The Immortal Heights

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). 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).

Title/Author: Maid-Sama! Vol 3 & 4 by Hiro Fujiwara
Publisher/Date published: VIZ Media LLC, November 3rd 2015
How I got this book: bought a pretty finished copy

So I've been slowly seeing what the world of manga has to offer and Maid-Sama! is just so much fun! I really enjoyed the 3rd and 4th volume, seeing more of Misaki and USUI and exploring their world and getting into all the funny moments with the whole class. And the tension between Misaki and Usui! YES! I totally ship it and if you're looking for a fun gateway into manga, you should definitely pick this up!

My rating: 4 stars

Title/Author: Underneath Everything by Marcy Beller Paul
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, October 27th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Man, I did not love this book. While reading it and now thinking back on it, I'm seriously wondering why I even finished this. And it's probably due to the fact that I was just waiting for things to get amazing and for the big reveal to make my head spin and that just failed to happen. Basically nothing really happened in this novel and I have this vague sense of what it was about and that's also what I felt while reading it, so it's not just the time that's passed that made it so in my head.
I could for the life of me not feel much sympathy for Mattie, I mean, at first I was feeling sorry for her for what happened with her friend and her love interest, but well, then she makes some seriously weird decisions and I'm like, yeah, nope.
I've seen people raving about this, and maybe it's just me and I'm just missing the point of it all, but I could not get into this.

My rating: 1 star

Title/Author: The Immortal Heights (The Elemental Trilogy #3) by Sherry Thomas
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, October 13th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I have all the love for this series and the last book in the trilogy definitely did not fail me! I do think that one day I need to go back and reread the whole thing in one go, because there are some subtle things that get a bit lost when there's a year between reading each book.
But The Immortal Height was amazing and mostly everything I wanted and I was constantly on the edge of my seat because there was all this impending DOOM and OMG I just needed to know how it would end and if everyone would still be alright at the end and if my ship would make it through! I get all feelsy again just thinking about it right now.
Sherry Thomas has some amazing storytelling skills and you should just go read this for yourself. Like right now.

My rating: 5 stars

Monday, March 28, 2016

Review of The Orphan Queen by Jodi Meadows

Title/Author: The Orphan Queen (The Orphan Queen #1) by Jodi Meadows
Publisher/Date published: Katherine Tegen Books, March 10th 2015
How I got this book: bought the beautiful hardcover!

Goodreads summary: Wilhelmina has a hundred identities.

She is a princess. When the Indigo Kingdom conquered her homeland, Wilhelmina and other orphaned children of nobility were taken to Skyvale, the Indigo Kingdom’s capital. Ten years later, they are the Ospreys, experts at stealth and theft. With them, Wilhelmina means to take back her throne.

She is a spy. Wil and her best friend, Melanie, infiltrate Skyvale Palace to study their foes. They assume the identities of nobles from a wraith-fallen kingdom, but enemies fill the palace, and Melanie’s behavior grows suspicious. With Osprey missions becoming increasingly dangerous and their leader more unstable, Wil can’t trust anyone.

She is a threat. Wraith is the toxic by-product of magic, and for a century using magic has been forbidden. Still the wraith pours across the continent, reshaping the land and animals into fresh horrors. Soon it will reach the Indigo Kingdom. Wilhelmina’s magic might be the key to stopping the wraith, but if the vigilante Black Knife discovers Wil’s magic, she will vanish like all the others.

OBVIOUSLY I needed this! I mean, I loved Incarnate (still need to finish that series...) and Jodi Meadow's writing style and just LOOK AT THAT COVER!! I mean, YES! So I went in and was very much not disappointed!

I LOVED Wilhelmina. She's strong and fierce and so loyal to those she loves, but not so much that she doesn't call them on the things she thinks aren't right. And she can also take someone not agreeing with her and still be their friend, that is a sign of maturity right there. I loved how skilled she is with forgery and can basically copy anyone's handwriting. And I really liked that she doesn't lose herself in a romance, obviously she would like for things to work out, but she's also realistic as to the chances of that happening and that there are more important things going on.

I'm very much intrigued by the world that Jodi Meadows has created for this series, I'm not really sure I really get the magic system just yet, but the wraith is both VERY creepy and VERY interesting and I'm very curious to see if things will be a little further explained in the second book.
What I also loved is that Wil and Melanie are truly friends, they may not always agree with each other, but they have each other's backs and I think they also passed the Bechdel test (which I only reference because it was featured on Jane the Virgin's last episode and it made me laugh), so that's a solid yay for friendship!

But now let's talk about the boy. Because the BOY. I had very swoony feelings about the boy and I applaud Wilhelmina for keeping her head straight, cause I'm not sure I could have. I could feel the struggle and them both trying to be sensible about all this and I KNOW that there are so many obstacles, but seriously, my ship better sail in the second book!
I figured out the identity of Black Knife pretty early on for obvious reasons, but it was totally fine, the only things I wasn't sure about is WHY Wilhelmina didn't figure it out before he flat out told her. I mean, super spy anyone?

But OMG YOU GUYS THAT ENDING!!! I cannot. I just cannot. That is seriously no way to end a novel and now I'm REALLY glad that I waited so long to start this, because the second book is almost out and YAY I WILL READ THIS SOON! I think waiting a year would have surely killed me. Go hurry and read this if you haven't already!

My rating: 5 stars

Saturday, March 26, 2016

Mini-Reviews (14): These Vicious Masks, Night Study, Spinning Thorns

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). 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: These Vicious Masks (These Vicious Masks #1) by Tarun Shanker & Kelly Zekas
Publisher/Date published: Swoon Reads, February 9t 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

So obviously I'd pick up a novel that's described as Jane Austen meets X-men. I mean, holy wow, two of my favourite things! And I was not disappointed, I really enjoyed These Vicious Masks!
The heroine is spunky and definitely has no idea what this thing is they call 'giving up'. She's hindered by society's expectations, and more specifically her mother's expectations (wow, that woman annoyed me), but she manages to get around this beautifully. I loved the idea of people having a specific super power and how it's sometimes not even all that clear to the person themselves what that super power is exactly. I loved how loyal Evelyn is to her sister Rose and how she's just willing to do everything she can to save her. And that she has two handsome gentlemen with her doesn't hurt. There's lots of lovely banter that made me smile and not so much of a love triangle that it bugged me, it felt pretty natural.
And OMG THAT ENDING!! I need the next book right now!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Title/Author: Night Study (Soulfinders #2) by Maria V. Snyder
Publisher/Date published: Mira, January 26th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley and also bought myself a shiny copy of it!

As you may know, Maria V. Snyder = <3 basically. I haven't read a book by her that I didn't enjoy and Yelena and Valek hold a very special place in my heart, along with all the other characters in this world. And just when I thought she couldn't top what she'd did with them before, Night Study comes along and may just be my favourite out of all these books! It's Yelena and Valek as I love them best, and finally getting Valek's whole backstory and diving a little bit deeper into the mystery of his immunity to magic and I just LOVED it! I was so feeling for both of them through everything that happens in Night Study! I'm trying really hard not to say anything that might be a spoiler, but I just would love for everyone to pick up this series, starting with the original Study Trilogy and then just continue on and be immersed in all this awesomeness! I both dread and can't wait for the next book, because it will be the last! My rating: 5+ stars

Title/Author: Spinning Thorns by Anna Sheehan
Publisher/Date published: Gollancz, December 10th 2015
How I got this book: bought a shiny copy

So I was the only one of my book club to enjoy this. And I really did, it's far from perfect and I did struggle a bit to get into it, but then I was feeling it and second half was much better than the first in my opinion. I liked this twist on Sleeping Beauty, seeing what happened to our original Sleeping Beauty as she becomes the queen and has children of her own, mainly I just liked Willow. She's not much of a traditional princess, she's interested in magic, even though she's not really allowed to be and she's a bit too trusting at first and because of this and because of the unfairness of punishing a whole clan for the deeds of one fairy, things are getting set into motion.
It's a bit dark and there's a lot of build-up and also there's a really annoying sister and her fiancé who are like Barbie and Ken annoyingly 'perfect'.
But I really liked the story and the thing that grows between Willow and the unnamed fairy and I was rooting for the romance and towards the end had many feels about this.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Review of The Hidden Twin by Adi Rule

Title/Author: The Hidden Twin by Adi Rule
Publisher/Date published: St. Martin's Press, March 22nd 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: For eighteen years, Redwing has lived in hiding in a city of hissing pipes and curving temples perched on the side of Mol, the great volcano. Her father hoped she would grow up to be a real human girl and not a wicked creature out of mythology, so he secretly spared her life as an infant.

But when two priests track her down and attack, she calls forth fire to protect herself, and her secret is out. Redwing soon catches the attention of a cult with a thousand year-old grudge, a group of underground rebels, and the son of the Empress. And when Redwing’s sister goes missing, she uncovers a greater plot to awaken Mol and bring his lava down upon them all.

Now, Redwing must draw a line between myth and history and prove herself more than a monster if she is to save both her sister and her home.

So before starting this I'd seen people LOVE it and also people who REALLY didn't like, so I was curious where I'd fall on this spectrum. And I'll have to say that I fall somewhere right in de middle.

There's not a lot explained about the world that The Hidden Twin is set in and things start happening before I really had a grip on the people and the places we were seeing. And I felt a bit like I was floundering about, not really seeming to catch myself and really get a sense of what was going on, which detracted from my enjoyment of the story a bit. But Adi Rule set the scene eventually and I was able to get into it then.

I'm thinking there's a LOT of backstory actually there for this world, but the sad thing is for me, that we're not really getting shown a lot of it. I mean, there's all this mythology and also the faith of the people that gets mentioned, but not fully explained and because of this, I just barely got a glimpse of the interesting things that Adi Rule's come up with and it could have just been so much more! I mean, the redwings and the Others are SO interesting, but I'm not really sure who or what they are and I've definitely read the whole thing. I found myself checking multiple times that yes, this really is a standalone and yes, it's also really just 242 pages. It felt more like the summary of a story than the whole story.

But that's not to say that it wasn't entertaining, I mean, the main character, who is nameless (seriously, WHAT IS UP with her family??), is feisty and while not interacting with people all that much before the events in The Hidden Twin get going, she manages to come up with all the snappy comebacks and I liked it. The only thing is, that it was a bit hard to believe that she could be so natural with all these people when mostly she's only been interacting with her father and sister, so it seemed a bit improbable. But she was funny, so I went with it.

I really liked the idea of redwings and the hints of the mythology and even the tiny romance part of it. But what kept bugging me was that it was just too much of a plot for the amount of pages, so it just lacked depth for me. It could have been so much more if there'd just been more room for the story to unfold and to really understand what was going on. I mean, the big finale takes less than 10 pages. I mean, what?

I still think that this story and the idea behind it has a lot of potential, I just wish it had been fleshed out a bit more, because now parts of it just fell flat.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Mini-Reviews (13): How Willa Got Her Groove Back, The Shadow Queen, Reign of Shadows

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). 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).

Title/Author: How Willa Got Her Groove Back (Creative HeArts #2) by Emily McKay
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing, February 22nd 2016
How I got this book: received if from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

So I hadn't figured out before starting this that it was not only the second in a series, but that each character in the series basically has ther own little mini-series, so at the end I was like WAIT WHAT? This is not how it ends right?? And it's not, there's only a bit of a wait before the next part of Willa and Finn's story.
In this part of their story we mainly see what a mess Willa's dad is making of everything and how much he's not being there for his daughter and how much this upsets Willa. There's the of a potential romance between Willa and Finn, but not much of it there yet and while I enjoyed How Willa Got Her Groove Back, it was a bit disappointed not to have more fuzzy feelings for the romance just yet. I'm probably picking up the next instalment, but I would have liked it better if it had just been one books, cause it's only 240 pages and could have easily fitted in a bit more and just have it out all at once.

My rating: 3 stars

Title/Author: The Shadow Queen (Ravenspire #1) by C.J. Redwine
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, February 16th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I REALLY liked The Shadow Queen! I'm always in when it comes to fairytale retellings and this one of Snow White did not disappoint me in the slightest! I loved the backstory and OMG SO CREEPY with the apples! That's just plain awful. Come to think of it, I haven't had an apple since reading this book *shudders*. I loved the worldbuilding and the magic system and how and when it has a cost and why there's a difference to it. I also really liked Lorelai, she's a strong kickass girl who just needed that final push to get her to challenge Irina and now she's determined to take her down, even if it costs her her life. She's been training for years to get her full set of skills and it never feels like she's just naturally good at everything she does.
Also, I really liked the BOY. Kol is just awesome. And I love that he and his friends can turn into dragons, because dragons are the best thing ever. I loved seeing them both struggle with this attraction growing between them and I was really rooting for them to get together.
That ending is just OMG WHAT NO! And I NEED the next book. Like now.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Title/Author: Reign of Shadows (Reign of Shadows #1) by Sophie Jordan
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, February 9th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Reign of Shadows was a bit of a disappointment for me, because I'm used to LOVING Sophie Jordan's books and this one didn't quite work for me. It wasn't really bad, but I had just expected a bit more. Mostly, I was a bit bored while reading it, cause I feel like not a lot happens and found myself wondering where this story was even going? I mean, obviously if she's the hidden princess we need to get some action at some point, yes? Well, it didn't quite happen for me.
I did very much like the twist at the start of the novel, which I won't give away, because that part was awesome and I hadn't figured it out in the slightest. I did kinda wonder at all the skills that Luna has, seeing as she's been living in the tower with overprotective guardians her whole life.
The romance was just doing nothing for me, and that's one of the things that really bugged me, cause I LOVE Sophie Jordan's historical romances and I know that she can give me all the swoons, but with this it just sorta fell flat.
Towards the end things started to get set in motion, and there's a cute furry sidekick getting mixed into the story, but there was just too much build-up for me.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Mini-Reviews (12): The Earl Next Door, Burning Glass, Into the Dim

So sometimes I fail at writing reviews for the books I've read, and 2016 has me failing spectacularly (as did 2015). 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: The Earl Next Door (The Bachelor Lords of London #1) by Charis Michaels
Publisher/Date published: Avon Impulse, March 1st 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I'm sorry to say that I did not very much care for The Earl Next Door. I think I finished it because I was waiting for things to get better and for the romance to grab me and because I REALLY wanted to like it, but it fell a little short of my expectations. The main reason for this is that with my historical romances, I kinda need to cheer for the couple to get together and with Piety and Trevor, I was basically wondering what in the world they were doing with each other. I mean, I felt a bit of insta-love, at least from Piety and Trevor wouldn't admit it, but I think it was there for him as well. And there's just lots of awkwardness and REALLY annoying family member and Piety's mother who for the life of me I cannot understand, because WOW you just cannot try to do that to your daughter. So much wrongness.

I did like Trevor's dry humor and the lady across the street who keeps meddling in everything, but the romance wasn't really what I was looking for.

My rating: 2 stars

Title/Author: Burning Glass (Burning Glass #1) by Kathryn Purdie
Publisher/Date published: Katherine Tegen Books, March 1st 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

This is another one of those instances in which I wonder why I finished it. And it's probably because the premise is interesting, but then the execution failed to deliver. I mean, Sonya's ability to sense what other people are feeling puts her in a pretty special position and in this case puts her right beside the emperor. The fact that she also takes over whatever other people are feeling makes that I'm still wondering about her personality, because all I could see was what was projected on her by other people and that bugs me.
The other thing that was a major issue for me was the romance. I'm ALL about the romance, but in this one it really annoyed me because HELLO love triangle and Oh, the country is in danger, but WAIT I can't get my priorities straight because I have lusty feelings for both brothers. UGH. Sonya just acted so impulsive and immature and irresponsible, I just could not get myself to like her.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Title/Author: Into the Dim (Into the Dim #1) by Janet B. Taylor
Publisher/Date published: HMH Books For Young Readers, March 1st 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

I'm always down for a good timetravel story and after seeing some mixed reviews on Goodreads, I was a bit hesitant, but it turned out ok. So this books is over 400 pages and for pretty much the first 100 or 150 nothing much happens. At least, nothing exciting. And the heroine seems a bit clueless, cause she only really seems to have booksmarts and not stuff she can actually put to use, like how to tell if someone is being creepy. But I got over this when they went back into the past to save Hope's mother, which she's determined to do, having to overcome some fears while doing so. I liked that they went back to the time of Eleanor of Aquitaine, because she's such an interesting historical figure! So that was entertaining. The things that I liked less at this point were the romance, because I wasn't really feeling either potential love interest and the mindless cruelty of the villain. I mean, there's not really a point to her evil and I like it when I can actually understand what drives the people working against the main characters.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Friday, March 18, 2016

Review of The Great Hunt by Wendy Higgins

Title/Author: The Great Hunt (Eurona Duology #1) by Wendy Higgins
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, March 8th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: When a strange beast terrorizes the kingdom of Lochlanach, fear stirs revolt. In an act of desperation, a proclamation is sent to all of Eurona — kill the creature and win the ultimate prize: the daughter of King Lochson’s hand in marriage.

Princess Aerity knows her duty to the kingdom but cannot bear the idea of marrying a until a brooding local hunter, Paxton Seabolt, catches her attention. There’s no denying the unspoken lure between them... or his mysterious resentment.

Paxton is not the marrying type. Nor does he care much for spoiled royals and their arcane laws. He’s determined to keep his focus on the task at hand — ridding the kingdom of the beast — but the princess continues to surprise him, and the perilous secrets he’s buried begin to surface.

So I haven't read anything by Wendy Higgins before, even though 3 of the 4 Sweet Trilogy books (which is weird cause there are 4 books) are on my shelf. I should get on that, because I really enjoyed The Great Hunt!

At the start I was a teensy bit concerned that this would be a case of insta-love and the romance being more important than the rest of the plot, but I'm glad to say that my worries were for nothing, because I fully supported this part of the story and the character themselves realise there's something more important than this romance.

Princess Aerity has always known that she's going to inherit the kingdom and there are certain responsibilities that come with this and with being the eldest sibling. And she doesn't fight this, she has a very mature sense of her duty and though obviously she isn't always happy about it, she really tries to do what's best for her kingdom. And I really admire this, a lot of times you see a character be whiny about the things that are expected of them and sometimes about things that have a lot less impact on your life than having to marry a the random person who slays the beast instead of someone you love like you've been told all your life. While it's obviously devastating, she takes it in stride and tries to make the best of it and I loved how she realised how far the risks and sacrifices of the hunters went and that she genuinely tried to get to know a bit about them.

There's a great deal of mystery about this beast that is terrorizing the land and one of the things about it was something that I figured out pretty early on, but one other twist that I'm not even going to hint at took me by surprise, but it made SO much sense looking back at some of the things that had happened earlier. I'm really curious to learn more about the magic system, but this fear and hatred of the Lashed is a bit horrifying. I mean, wow, I get that there's been a madman who was Lashed, but you can't just go around banning or killing anyone who happens to have the same powers! Imagine all the good they can do with it!

But let's talk about the ship for a bit. There's this instant attraction, but over time as they get to know each other, it grows into a little something more and I liked it. I also liked that there's staring at attractive and sometimes half naked men, because well, I'd also be staring if there were some physcially fit hunters running around flexing muscles and the like, so this seemed very healthy to me. But I really liked my ship together, and they knew that there was a big chance that he wouldn't be the one to slay the beast and she's have to marry someone else, but they just couldn't help it and I was like YES KISS!

With how Wendy Higgins left things, I really NEED the next book because holy wow, there are some things that definitely need to be fixed and there's a build up to even more trouble from a crazy woman and I just need closure. Very much.

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, March 15, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Books on My Spring TBR!

As always, TTT is hosted by my other blog The Broke and the Bookish!

I'm gonna go ahead and list 10 shiny new releases that have caught my eye!

1. My Lady Jane by Cynthia Hand, Brodi Ashton and Jodi Meadows: OMG I NEED THIS!! LIKE NOW!! I'm SO jealous of the people who managed to snag it off of Edelweiss because it was only up for a short time and I didn't check and AAAAAH! But I'll just pre-order it, so no problem.

2. The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson: So I fell in love with Morgan Matson's writing last year when I read Since You've Been Gone. Obviously I need to read this ASAP.

3. Dream On by Kerstin Gier: the first book in this series was my first read of 2015 and it was AMAZING! So I need this sequel in my life! I totally love Kerstin Gier's writing style.

4. The Rose and the Dagger by Renee Ahdieh: I think this will be on LOTS of lists. Because holy wow, the first book was beyond amazing and THAT ENDING!! Also, can we take a minute to appreciate the brilliance of these covers?

5. Once Was a Time by Leila Sales: I love Leila Sales. So this time travel book and me will get along very well if there's any logic in the world.


7. The Skylighter by Becky Wallace: The first book was perfection and I'm betting this will be as well!

8. Because of Miss Bridgerton by Julia Quinn: Julia Quinn is amazing, she always brings the funny and the romance with all the feels and I'm just so ready for more of her genius.

9. The Natural History of Us by Rachel Harris: YES MORE FLUFFLY GOODNESS! This will be a perfect sit outside in the sunshine read.

10. The Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye: This just sounds like all kinds of exciting fantasy goodness and I am SO in.

So, that's my TBR for this Spring, let me know if we share any or if I need to add more books to my list (YES PLEASE)!

Monday, February 22, 2016

Review of Lady Bridget's Diary by Maya Rodale

Title/Author: Lady Bridget's Diary (Cavendish #1) by Maya Rodale
Publisher/Date published: Avon, February 23rd 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: Lord Darcy is the quintessential Englishman: wealthy, titled, impossibly proper, and horrified that a pack of Americans has inherited one of England's most respected dukedoms. But his manners, his infamous self-restraint, and his better judgment fly out the window when he finds himself with the maddening American girl next door.

Lady Bridget Cavendish has grand — but thwarted — plans to become a Perfect Lady and take the haute ton by storm. In her diary, Bridget records her disastrous attempts to assimilate into London high society, her adoration of the handsome rogue next door, her disdain for the Dreadful Lord Darcy, and some truly scandalous secrets that could ruin them all.

It was loathing at first sight for Lady Bridget and Lord Darcy. But their paths keep crossing... and somehow involve kissing. When Lady Bridget's diary goes missing, both Darcy and Bridget must decide what matters most of all — a sterling reputation or a perfectly imperfect love.

Guys, I have lots of love for Bridget Jones' Diary, especially for the movies, they're is funny and they give me feels and it's just incredibly comforting. And obviously I love that it's loosely based on Pride and Prejudice, which is my all-time favourite novel. So I was majorly excited when I came across Lady Bridget's Diary, I mean, a historical romance version of Bridget Jones? YES PLEASE!

And you guys, I was very much not disappointed! I love when a romance author also brings the funny, cause that usually makes for the best reads and Maya Rodale accomplished that, it wasn't as laugh out loud funny as I've experienced in Tessa Dare's and Julia Quinn's books, but it did make me smile and I like that.

I really liked Bridget. She's a bit clumsy and awkward, but she does try very hard to fit in to society and that's not always the best recipe for great decisions, but I loved her for it anyway. She's trying to make a success of her family coming to England because her brother inherited a dukedom and I loved her loyalty to her sisters and her brother, while also experiencing things that brothers and sisters all over the world know: your sibling know how best to vex you. I liked that she knows what she wants and she's not willing to settle.

Darcy... How can I not love any man with this name and these qualities? I loved seeing him open up, both to himself and to Bridget and I love that he is trying to put his brother first, but it REALLY interferes with what he wants and I was just rooting for him to find a way to fix everything so he and Bridget could be together. He's a genuinely good man and I love how he also values family and goes around in his lordly way and fixes thing. I also loved that he had a fist fight with his brother a la Daniel and Mark in Bridget Jones' Diary, that's one of my favourite scenes in the movies :)

And the chemistry! Bridget and Darcy have amazing chemistry and it's a bit of a slow burn, but then it's BOOM SPARKS YES! And I had many feels and there was lots of rooting for the couple and lots of UGH for the person standing in their way. SO.
Also, I totally loved that there was a Mean Girls reference.

Basically what I'm saying is that I adored Lady Bridget's Diary! It was fun and full of feels and all my favourite things of both Bridget Jones' Diary and P&P! Including a scene in the rain and one in the lake and the fight and just lots of YES.

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Songs I Wish Were Books!

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

I LOVE music, I'm always playing it in the background while I'm reading and YES to this TTT topic basically!! :)

1. Up All Night by Rosemary's Sons: this one is by a Dutch band and I LOVE the song and the images it conjures up, so I'd love if someone wrote a book inspired by this!

2. Gravity by Sara Bareilles: this song is everything. I would read it if it was a book. But this basically goes for all of Sara's songs, because they're all stories.

3. Lost by Jonathan Jeremiah: I'm a sucker for love songs and this is beautiful, talking about a flawed love that can't do without the other person.

4. Goodbye To You by Michelle Branch: I would love to read a story about the love and the life that she's saying goodbye to and choosing to be on her own.

5. Call Me Maybe by Carly Rae Jepsen: because this would obviously be the cutest summer love story ever and I love me some fluffy awesomeness!

6. All In by Lifehouse: It was really hard for me to pick just one of Lifehouse's songs because OMG so much love for all of them! All about taking that leap and giving your all to someone else, I love it.

7. Accidentally in Love by The Counting Crows: Yes, it's another love song, but this would make for such a cute fluffly read in my opinion and I need more of those!

8. So Close by John McLaughlin: 'So close and still so far', I imagine that one seemingly unattainable love or the one whose off-limits like the brother's best friend or something like that. JUST MAKE IT WORK OK?

9. Stuck by Stacie Orrico: this song resonated SO well with 16/17-year old Daisy, I used to play it on repeat and to me it's so much about that time before I met my boyfriend when I used to crush on boys and it was just such an uncertain time in that I never knew what was up with this one guy and just UGH FRUSTRATION. "I hate you, but I love you". Yeah, that's basically right.

10. I'd Rather Be With You by Joshua Radin: I'm thinking another lovely fluffly contemporary romance. So obviously YES.

And this bonus one is one that I think Jamie will forgive me for stealing from her list:

Almost Lover by A Fine Frenzy: this is one that along with Stuck resonated with late-teenage Daisy and I used to listen to it on repeat all day long.

Any you'd love to see made into books as well?

Friday, February 12, 2016

Review of The Girl From Everywhere by Heidi Heilig

Title/Author: The Girl From Everywhere (The Girl From Everywhere #1) by Heidi Heilig
Publisher/Date published: Greenwillow Books, February 16th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: Sixteen-year-old Nix Song is a time-traveller. She, her father and their crew of time refugees travel the world aboard The Temptation, a glorious pirate ship stuffed with treasures both typical and mythical. Old maps allow Nix and her father to navigate not just to distant lands, but distant times - although a map will only take you somewhere once. And Nix's father is only interested in one time, and one place: Honolulu 1868. A time before Nix was born, and her mother was alive. Something that puts Nix's existence rather dangerously in question...

Nix has grown used to her father's obsession, but only because she's convinced it can't work. But then a map falls into her father's lap that changes everything. And when Nix refuses to help, her father threatens to maroon Kashmir, her only friend (and perhaps, only love) in a time where Nix will never be able to find him. And if Nix has learned one thing, it's that losing the person you love is a torment that no one can withstand. Nix must work out what she wants, who she is, and where she really belongs before time runs out on her forever.

The mention of time travel always pulls me in, as do pirates (because I have a thing for pirates, I cannot help myself), so this seemed like a golden combination. And I did like The Girl From Everywhere, just not as much as I'd hoped to.

There's a set of very complicated characters and Nix is a decent main character, but I'm still not entirely sure about her, but that might be because she herself isn't sure what she wants and who she wants to be. There's a restlessness about her that I felt throughout the novel and it made me itchy a bit myself.
Aside from Nix, there's Kashmir, who was an obvious instant like for me, because hello suave thief with lots of banter! I also really wanted to push him and Nix together and be like 'ok, now kiss'. I loved some of the moments between them, but aside from their banter, there's such a lack of communication! OMG, I just wanted to scream at them to just TALK to each other instead of constantly skirting around the subject and UGH!

But this is basically one of my main issues with The Girl From Everywhere: nobody communicated. Seriously. Or maybe it was just that Nix doesn't really communicate with anybody. Not with Kashmir, and also not with her father, which leads to lots of unnecessary difficulties and I mean, I know that without some of it there wouldn't be much of a plot, but I very much dislike when the plot revolves around people not being sensible enough to just talk to each other.

The other thing that was a bit jarring was that sometimes there would be jumps in conversation or scene or a time lapse and it made me wonder if I'd skipped over some part or if there was a page missing in my egalley, but it usually did flow in the sentence, so I'm guessing it was how it was meant to be, but that pulled me out of my reading flow.

I did very much like the idea of being able to travel to places and times based on maps and I loved all the use of mythology! Some of the time-line logic towards the end made me go cross-eyed a bit because of all the loops, but the author made it work. The ending felt sort of abrupt, in that something happened that felt out of character to me, but it does make me wonder what will happen next! There's so much build up in this novel and there's also some action, but I'm guessing we'll see lots more of it in the next book.

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Review of Assassin's Heart by Sarah Ahiers

Title/Author: Assassin's Heart (Assassin's Heart #1) by Sarah Ahiers
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, February 2nd 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: In the kingdom of Lovero, nine rival Families of assassins lawfully kill people for a price. As a highly skilled member of one of these powerful clans, seventeen-year-old Lea Saldana has always trusted in the strength of her Family. Until she awakens to find them murdered and her home in flames. The Da Vias, the Saldanas’ biggest enemy, must be responsible — and Lea should have seen it coming. But her secret relationship with the Da Vias’ son, Val, has clouded her otherwise killer instinct — and given the Da Vias more reason than ever to take her Family down.

Racked with guilt and shattered over Val’s probable betrayal, Lea sets out to even the score, with her heart set on retaliation and only one thought clear in her mind: make the Da Vias pay.

There's just something about books about assassins that always manages to draw my attention. I'm kinda wondering what this says about me...

I've been reading a lot of 'meh' books lately and have DNF-ed quite a bit, so I was REALLY hoping Assassin's Heart would not have the instant sigh factor that some of my recent reads have had. And it didn't! I was sucked in from the start and I totally love that!

We meet Lea just before the murder of her whole family (as described in the summary) and see how she operates and we also see a bit of her relationship with Val. And I really liked seeing this glimpse into what Lea's life was like before the plot of Assassin's Heart starts rolling. And knowing that it'll all go downhill very fast gives it a bittersweet vibe from the get-go.

I really liked Lea. I mean, she's definitely a kickass character in the literal sense of the word, but she's also smart and determined and even though I'm a bit like, girl shouldn't you think a bit more before running off and doing whatever, she makes it work. I did really want someone to shake some sense into her when she's all like 'I'll murder ALL the Da Via's for what they did' and there are like 50 of them and she's by herself. Yeah. Odds and all that. BUT she has a plan and is also open to adjusting it a bit, so I could work with this.

I really enjoyed the worldbuilding and I loved that Lea's views about how 'normal' the system is that they have in Lovera with it being legal to kill people for money are being challenged a bit. I mean, the whole idea behind this and the mythology is delightfully complicated and I loved getting a bit deeper into the how and why of things. I cannot imagine the whole Family before family thing, but it's maffia-esque and while I don't really understand it, I can accept it for what it is.

The plot is pretty fast paced and towards the end things start snowballing almost out of control, but OBVIOUSLY Lea has a plan and after the bomb that was dropped plotwise in the last couple of chapters, I'm REALLY wondering what will happen next! I felt like this was a very solid start to the series!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Thursday, January 28, 2016

Review of The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin

Title/Author: The Year We Fell Apart by Emily Martin
Publisher/Date published: Simon Pulse, January 26th 2016
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley, thanks!

Goodreads summary: In the tradition of Sarah Dessen, this powerful debut novel is a compelling portrait of a young girl coping with her mother’s cancer as she figures out how to learn from — and fix — her past.

Few things come as naturally to Harper as epic mistakes. In the past year she was kicked off the swim team, earned a reputation as Carson High’s easiest hook-up, and officially became the black sheep of her family. But her worst mistake was destroying her relationship with her best friend, Declan.

Now, after two semesters of silence, Declan is home from boarding school for the summer. Everything about him is different — he’s taller, stronger... more handsome. Harper has changed, too, especially in the wake of her mom’s cancer diagnosis.

While Declan wants nothing to do with Harper, he’s still Declan, her Declan, and the only person she wants to talk to about what’s really going on. But he’s also the one person she’s lost the right to seek comfort from.

As their mutual friends and shared histories draw them together again, Harper and Declan must decide which parts of their past are still salvageable, and which parts they’ll have to let go of once and for all.

So I'm usually the person who avoids books dealing with illness, in the main character or one of the people they're close to. But every once in a while I do pick one up and usually end up loving it. And this is what happened with The Year We Fell Apart.

Obviously Harper is a flawed main character, she's made an enormous mess of everything and she seems determined to keep making self-destructive decisions. But what you also get from being inside her head in this novel is that she's struggling SO much to keep everything together, and sometimes it doesn't work and she falls apart and does things that she later regrets. And you know what, I get it. She's dealing with a LOT and it's not even remotely resembling easy and sometimes she just wants to feel good, only the things she does that aren't the best decisions, don't actually make her feel good. And she slowly starts to realise this, but it's hard to change this. Especially when a whole lot of people have already made up their minds about who you are.

I loved that she has an awesome friend in Cory, he's just an amazingly good guy and he sticks with Harper, even though it must be really hard for him to juggle his friendship with her and with Declan after what happened. I also really liked seeing Harper develop a healthy friendship with two girls who she meets in her photography class, as the only other female friendship she's got going on is definitely more of the frenemy type and HATE that. I mean, wow, way to be supportive.

The thing is, I was pretty much loving this, though it's a lot more dark and angsty than the cover lets on, but the last part of the book kinda ruined it a bit for me. I mean, I was rooting for the romance to develop because hello, Declan is a good guy and I liked how Harper was the best version of herself when she was around him. I always feel that you shouldn't need to change essentially to be with someone, but they should make you be the best version of yourself, so I was full on going YES. But then some stuff happened towards the end and that just popped my happy swoony bubble and it was just extremely not ok. I mean, WOW, REALLY? I can get why he jumped to conclusions, but the way he reacts after that is just so insanely way over the line that I just could not after that. Basically all my happy feelings were gone.

So while I think this is a strong debut that deals with the illness of a family member in a very realistic way and shows how it can affect someone, I still had some serious problems with the way things ended and that soured my opinion of The Year We Fell Apart a bit.

My rating: 3,5 stars