Friday, 30 August 2013

1 Year Blogoversary!

So it's a year ago today that I started blogging! I almost can't believe it. So much has happened since then, and I've learnt so much about blogging and books. And I've met a lot of amazing bloggers!

A big THANK YOU to all my followers, I heart everyone of you. Everytime I get a new follower I do a little happy dance. Seriously. And everytime someone leaves a comment I'm so excited, arms flailing and everything. There are actually someone who reads what I write! And then there were these bloggers who said they really liked my blog! Whoaa!  Okay, enough with the exclamation marks. !!! Yeah, as you can see everyone of you means a lot to me, and makes me want to keep blogging, because I love to talk about books. And you keep following even in those periods (and there have been many and long ones) where I didn't blog at all. So thank you, thank you!
I would have loved to do a giveaway, but it'll have to wait a bit, because I'm a bit low on money due to buying school books and stuff. But I will do one some time as a thank you to all you amazing followers.

I haven't blogged as much as I had hoped this past year. When I started blogging it was my intention to post reviews regularly, but that didn't really happen. In just the last couple of weeks I haven't even written one post! The reason is that the last year has been a bit up and down for me. I hope to change that, so I'll be blogging and commenting a lot more in the future.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

A to Z book survey

Jamie over at The Perpetual Page-Turner made this fun A to Z book survey, and I thought I'd join in.


Author you’ve read the most books from:
Jennifer L. Armentrout.

Best Sequel Ever:
I think that would be The Iron Queen by Julie Kagawa. I love this series, but that book was simply amazing!

Currently Reading:
Along for the Ride by Sarah Dessen.

Drink of Choice While Reading:
II don't really drink anything while I read. Too busy reading. 

E-reader or Physical Book?
Psysical book! But I do love my E-reader too.

Fictional Character You Probably Would Have Actually Dated In High School: 
Jase from My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick.

Glad You Gave This Book A Chance:
Cinder by Marissa Meyer. 

Hidden Gem Book:
Speechless by Hannah Harrington.

Important Moment in your Reading Life:
Making this blog and joining Goodreads. It was so nice to meet other people who love books as much as I do, and that I can gush about books with.

Just Finished:
The Selection by Kiera Cass.

Kinds of Books You Won’t Read:
Horror books and zombie books. They just freak me out!

Longest Book You’ve Read:
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (924 pages).

Major book hangover because of:
Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare. I think it took me about a week before I could even look at another book.

Number of Bookcases You Own:
Two, both tall ones.

One Book You Have Read Multiple Times:
Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins. My all-time favorite book.

Preferred Place To Read:
My chair in the living room - under my blanket.

Quote that inspires you/gives you all the feels from a book you’ve read: 
Ahh, this is a difficult one. I love quotes from books and I have many favorite ones, but if I have to choose one that gives me all the feels from a book it'd be this: “I realize now that dying is easy. Living is hard.” - If I Stay by Gayle Forman. 
Also this quote: "I do, Augustus. I do." - The Fault in Our Stars by John Green. Right in the feels.

Reading Regret: 
Not really any reading regrets, but I do kind of regret not joining Goodreads before I did.

Series You Started And Need To Finish(all books are out in series): 
Unbreakable series by Elizabeth Norris. Actually, there's only to books in the series, but I really need to read that last one!

Three of your All-Time Favorite Books:
Anna and the French Kiss, If I Stay and Slammed.

Unapologetic Fangirl For:
Bloodlines series by Richelle Mead. 

Very Excited For This Release More Than All The Others: 
Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins. Just give me the book already!!
The Fiery Heart by Richelle Mead.

Worst Bookish Habit:
Umm.. being super careful with my books, bordering on OCD?

X Marks The Spot: Start at the top left of your shelf and pick the 27th book: 
Anna and the French Kiss.

Your latest book purchase:
The Truth About Forever by Sarah Dessen. I loved this book and can't wait to re-read it.

ZZZ-snatcher book (last book that kept you up WAY late):
Clockwork Princess. I couldn't stop reading, and I had to know how it ended. I think was around two or three when I finished.

The Selection by Kiera Cass

The Selection (The Selection, #1)
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For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My thoughts

Beware, this turned out to be a very long review with a lot of ranting. 
Generally, I don't like when reviews compare a book to another, especially those very popular books, if there's only a few elements in common - and let's face it, it's almost impossible to write truly original books these days. So unless there are some very obvious similarities (or it's a rip-off), I don't think it's fair to the book to compare it to other books. However, with The Selection I'm going to be guilty of exactly this, because the first half part of this book so reminded me of The Hunger Games, just without the brutality and noone has to kill anybody to win. It's more like a princess version of The Hunger Games. Wow, that sounded even more weird when I wrote it! 

But let me explain. The Selection happens every time the crown prince of Illéa (which is like the new US or what's left after fatal wars) comes of age and need to marry. Every girl in the country at the appropriate age can sign up to enter the Selection, which is a contest of thirty-five girls fighting over the prince, the last one left gets to be his wife and princess. The prince choose who leaves so it's not like they really have to compete. The Selection reminded me of the reaping in THG except that you sign up on your own and it doesn't happen every year. The Selection is a reality show, where the progress is followed by camera for the whole country to see. And the weekly report is led by a famous and loved host, who interviews all the girls and talks with Maxon. Caesar Flickerman anyone?

Next was the castes: The people of Illéa are divided into castes, depending on their trade and their birth, and the lowest castes are the most poor. So, basically it you'd want to move up on the scale. This reminded me of the different districts, except here they coexist. 
America is a five, which means she's a singer and quite poor. She's in love with a six, Aspen, who's a servant and can barely afford anything. He is supporting his whole family, always letting the younger kids get his share. Also, he is proud and while he loves America, he doesn't like that she'll have to become a six if she marries him, and that she is helping him with food and stuff. In the end he breaks up with her right before she is to enter the Selection. He reminded me of Gale both in appearance and in person. I did not like Gale. 

All in all, that first part of the book very much read like The Hunger Games princess style. But in spite of that I found myself caught up in the story and actually had a hard time putting the book down. I don't what it was about it, but it was a lot of fun most of the time, even if it was somewhat predictable. There was a twist in the story near the end that I had seriously seen coming from one of the very first chapters, it was so obvious. So when it happened I was a bit disappointed with the author that she didn't do something more original. 

I couldn't decide if I really liked America. I mean, she was an okay herione, but there was something.. lacking in her. She had a lot of the same qualities as the mainstream YA heroine, and nothing really set her apart. At times I thought she was whiny, but without it never being too much. She still loved Aspen, but was angry with him at the same time. She couldn't love Maxon because she still had those unsorted feelings for Aspen, though eventually she starts to warm up to him. Yes, another love-triangle in the making. Le sigh. 
The funniest parts of the book was America and Maxon's interaction. He was simply sooo cute and confused by all the ladies he had to choose from. America quickly comes clean with him, that she certainly isn't interested in him and she's very honest with him. They soon form a friendship, but is that really all he wants? And does she?

At first I thought the idea with Maxon having to choose a wife between the thirty-five girls was weird, but okay. As the story progressed, however, and I started to root for him and America, it kind of grossed me out that he could date thirty-five different girls - and do whatever with them - and that he actually did that. I kind of hoped he would focus solely on America even though she made it clear she wasn't interested. Yeah, I'm not much for a hero courting a lot of other girls that is not our heroine. 

At last there's all those rebels attacking that just doesn't make much sense. We never figure out why they do it, and it seemed pretty random, making it feel like a way to move the plot along more than anything else. Maybe it'll be further explained in the sequel? Also, this new could have been explained a lot better. I had no idea what it was really like and how the US had ended up being a monarchy. Whaaat? 

Despite this very long rant, I really did enjoy this book. It was fun and a pageturner, and I think I'll be reading the sequel. If you liked The Hunger Games and would want to read it princess style you should definitely give this a shot, if only for the interludes with America and Maxon that are so funny and sweet.

☆ ☆ 

Monday, 5 August 2013

Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)
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Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. 

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future. 

My thoughts

When I read about Cinder before reading it I was a bit sceptical: a retelling if Cinderella set in the future, where she is a cyborg? Eh, right. But after seeing countless good reviews I decided to give it a shot, and to my surprise I liked it. Really liked it. Actually, this book was awesome, and I'm soo glad that I read it. 

There are some elements from the old tale like the evil stepmother, the two stepsisters, Cinder being unwanted and working hard, a prince, and of course a ball. I think these traditional parts of the tale were impressively incoporated in this new story. Besides these this felt very much like a story of its own and didn't feel like only a retelling. Meyer has created a very interesting future world, and the story was exciting and engaging. I loved Meyer's writing. I liked how she described things and how the whole setting and story came to life. 
I did, however, predict one of the main plots early in the story, and I was a teeny annoyed that it took so long to unravel, but I didn't mind that much because I was constantly second guessing in the first part of the book. 

I definitely liked Cinder, I think she was an awesome character. For the past five years she has lived a rejected life, doing all the work and always being complained about. She is treated like an outcast, because she as a cyborg is a second-class citizen, and she sometimes feels like maybe she isn't worth as much as humans. Despite that I think she was tough, getting by anyway with a great deal of sarcasm. She was smart, funny and loveable, and I was impressed by her will to go on, even when everything seemed against her - which it often did.
I think the best part was her easy banter with Prince Kai, which was so funny and had me laughing out loud several times. 

Prince Kai was a very down to earth prince, who was very responsible and would do anything for his country. He was sweet and kind and charming, and I liked him a lot. At one point a certain reaction of his disappointed me a bit, though. Yes, Kai, you know to what I refer. But I suppose I understood him. A little. I hope it'll be further explained in the sequel.  

Cinder was a great fairytale retelling, and if you like retellings (and even if you don't) you should this amazing book. I can't wait to read the sequel, Scarlet, which I'll hopefully get to read very soon.

☆ ☆ ☆ 

Friday, 2 August 2013

Suddenly Royal by Nichole Chase

Suddenly Royal (Suddenly, #1)
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Samantha Rousseau is used to getting her hands dirty. Working toward a master’s degree in wildlife biology while helping take care of her sick father, she has no time for celebrity gossip, designer clothes, or lazy vacations. So when a duchess from the small country of Lilaria invites her to dinner, Samantha assumes it’s to discuss a donation for the program. The truth will change the course of her life in ways she never dreamed.

Alex D’Lynsal is trying to keep his name clean. As crown prince of Lilaria, he’s had his share of scandalous headlines, but the latest pictures have sent him packing to America and forced him to swear off women—especially women in the public eye. That is, until he meets Samantha Rousseau. She’s stubborn, feisty, and incredibly sexy. Not to mention heiress to an estate in his country, which makes her everyone’s front-page news.

While Sam tries to navigate the new world of politics and wealth, she will also have to dodge her growing feelings for Alex. Giving in to them means more than just falling in love; it would mean accepting the weight of an entire country on her shoulders.

My thoughts 

I absolutely adored this book. It was sweet and cute, but with a touch of something more, deeper. It's very much like The Princess Diaries (or the movies anyway), except that this is in the New Adult genre with a feisty, reluctant duchess-to-be and a very hot and irresistible Prince Yummy. 

Sam is a very down to earth, normal girl in grad school who tries to make ends meet financially to support her fathers hospital bills. That is until she is invited to a meeting with a duchess from a small country, who claims Sam is the last descendant from an important royal and wealthy family from Lilaria. Sam now has to decide if she'll keep her normal life or go to Lilaria and undertake the role as duchess and change her life forever, while she is constantly followed by the media. And as if this isn't enough she is starting to fall for Alex, crown prince of Lilaria, which would mean a whole other kind of responsibility. 

I think Sam was a great character. She was funny and sarcastic, and said some of the most hilarious things. I laughed out loud a lot because of her. Her world was turned upside down, but I think she handled everything very well, both becoming royal and all the things that happened to her and those around her. I liked how Chase portrayed, how everything changed for Sam, the choices she had to make, the responsibility she got, how the media was just everywhere, and of course the life as a royal. Becoming royal also mean that Sam gets to spend time with a certain prince.

I loved, loved Alex. He was sweet and hot, and a genuinely good guy, who supported Sam all the way. He had me swooning so many times. I think Sam had an impressive self-control around him - I don't think I would have been able to hold back. Anyway, he and Sam had great chemistry, and I loved the moments between them. Sam tried hard not to fall for him, because it would mean having to become queen and facing a future in the ultimate spotlight, but who was she kidding - Alex was totally irresistible.   

There was a great cast of secondary characters, and they all brought something to the story. I liked Sam's father who urged her to go, her best friend with all the funny comments, and Alex's sweet sister, whose story I can't wait to read in the companion book. Also, I really liked the imaginary country, Lilaria, and I think Chase did a good job of describing it and making it seem real. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book. It was a fun and light read that also had a certain depth to it. If you like the NA genre Suddenly Royal is a book I'll definitely recommend. 

☆ ☆ ☆ ☆ ☆