When the Books keep Stacking and the Spines not Cracking

28/11/2016 | 0 Comments

This might be an issue every book-nerd has, but boy, lately it’s been worse than ever. New books come in, and I keep stacking new books onto that every growing pile of books, but I hardly ever find the time to sit down and actually read them. There are so many series that I started and loved, then bought the sequels to and are now collecting a pile of dust on my shelves.

The list goes on and on…

I’m going to show you a small peek into that every growing pile of unread books. These are all books I own, either part of a series or a standalone. All books I am actually dying to read, but just haven’t found the time (or peace of mind) to do so.

  1. The Vanishing Throne, the sequel to The Falconer, one of last year’s favorite reads.
  2. Uprooted…
  3. Glass Sword, the sequel to Red Queen.
  4. Crooked Kingdom, the sequel to Six of Crows.
  5. Winter AND Stars Above, the two last books in the Lunar Chronicles series.
  6. Fire AND Bitterblue, the sequel to Graceling and the final installment in the series.
  7. Dragonfly in Amber, the sequel to Outlander.
  8. Lion Heart, last book in the Scarlet trilogy.
  9. Pretty much all of V.E. Schwab’s books.
  10. Rogue, the sequel to Talon (and all books that follow)
  11. I HAVE AN ARC OF ROSEBLOOD BY A.G. HOWARD THAT NEEDS TO BE READ

20161014_115118

And the list goes on…

Resolution time

I am going on a self-imposed book buying ban! First one EVER since I started blogging, but I am going on a book buying ban. That’s right, no more books for Iris UNTIL I’ve finished some of those pretty books that have been collecting dust on my shelves. I am going to keep a score and am going to maybe set up a reward system. Something along the lines of: for every six books I finish (ones that have been sitting on my shelves) I will reward myself by buying ONE book. So it might not be a total book buying ban, but it’s a partial book buying ban, a last resort, preventing that gigantic stack of unread books to somehow fall over and kill me in my sleep some night.

 

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Changing up the change, what’s going on?

24/10/2016 | 0 Comments

Shocker, I’m still floating around somewhere in the blogosphere. Although, maybe floating isn’t the most accurate way to describe what I’ve been doing these past two months. It was more like looking around every now and then, and then disappearing again. I promised change, then partly delivered, but disappeared right after. It was terrible, I was terrible, and I’m REALLY (don’t want to use the f-word, but it’s the only word that will suffice here, so just imagine it’s actually here) sorry. Now, let’s not focus on making this a 1000 word post on how sorry I am… I’ve said it once and truly, unquestionably, absolutely, without a doubt, mean it, but no one wants to read a post where someone apologizes 100 times by saying the same thing (but putting it a little differently every time). So I’m not going to.

Okay, you’ve been stating A LOT of things you aren’t going to do Iris… What ARE you going to do? Well, first of all, I’m going to tell you what actually happened, and then I am going to do things differently.

Let’s change things up and get down to business

One of the last things you heard from me was that I was going to switch things up. Then that change partly came through, and then you didn’t hear anything from me for two whole months. Change? No change? What’s going on? Well, what happened is that I completely and utterly lost all motivation to blog. I just didn’t feel like blogging at all anymore, so I didn’t. It’s sad, but it’s true. And I realized this week that I don’t want three years of blogging passionately to end by just quietly fading into the background of the blogosphere. These three years have given me so much and pulling a disappearing act is a really crappy move on my part.

I wanted to figure out the why. WHY did I lose motivation? Tough question, very tough question, and it took me a while to figure out. Actually, it took me quite a while to figure out, and I shed quite some tears over it when I did. Whoah! That dramatic? No.

You gotta give me more than no…

Short answer: I changed. I changed and while I did, this, my blog, just no longer felt right to me. This caused irritation and frustration and I no longer felt like blogging. I’ll go one step further by saying that I didn’t want to blog anymore. Which sucked. My blog used to reflect me, and the moment I said that aloud (teary eyed) I was able to put my finger on the problem. I changed and the blog should’ve changed with me, but it didn’t, which is why it never felt right to me. My blog no longer truly reflected me, it showed a part of me, but not really ME, not anymore.

I think we can all agree that’s a pretty big problem to have. So, now I know the problem, that means I can work on finding a solution. True, and I did think of one: change the blog, fix the problem. Easy-peasy right? Unfortunately, easier said than done. I don’t have the skillset to make the kind of changes I want to make, but changes need to be made. So the search began for someone to help me. That road has been a little rocky. I thought I found someone, I was hopeful, then that someone let me down and I was back at rock bottom. Time passed, I looked around but found nothing that seemed sufficient, or it was sufficient but too damn expensive for me. Frustrations grew even more and at the same time I grew sadder about this.

Where’s that sappy happy ending we all love?

BUT… now we’re here, and this is a blog post… which means that somewhere along the way something changed. Well, let’s just say that it turned out help came from closer than expected. Even more importantly, it means that if I hadn’t tried to solve this all by myself I probably would’ve found help way sooner. Whoops.

If there’s anything this whole issue taught me is that sometimes you just have to speak up and let somebody else help you find a solution to your problem. I have a stubborn streak a mile wide, and if I’d just told my friends and family about what had been going on with my blog sooner it wouldn’t have taken me quite this long to climb out of this nasty rut.

 

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The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye | Book Review & Playlist

29/06/2016 | 1 Comment

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

The Crown’s Game by Evelyn Skye | Book Review & PlaylistThe Crown's Game by Evelyn Skye
Series: The Crown's Game
Published by Balzer & Bray on May 17th 2016
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 399
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.

And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.

Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?

For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.

And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love... or be killed himself.

As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear... the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

What I thoughtMORE RUSSIAN INSPIRED FANTASY! YAY! I think that was my very first reaction when I heard about The Crown’s Game. It is no secret that I am a huge lover of the Grisha-verse and one of the main reasons I love it so much has a lot to do with the amazingly intriguing setting. So I was most definitely down for any book set in Russia! And boy, this book did not disappoint!

First things first, The Crown’s Game wasn’t what I thought it would be! Which actually didn’t turn out to be a bad thing (yay!), I just had to adjust a bit. When I read the synopsis of the book I pictured glorious battles, fighting, stuff blowing up (aka violent things) and that’s definitely not what The Crown’s Game turned out to be. It became clear pretty early on that it was all about “impressing the Tsar with epic magic skills” rather then bloody fights. This made that the story moved quite slow, and not as fast paced as I expected it to be. However, I didn’t find myself minding it as much as I thought I would’ve.

It was a fun read, because it wasn’t as stressful as a story full of fights would’ve been. Instead it all felt quite magical to me. The Crown’s Game is super atmospheric, with amazing world-building! I don’t know too much about 1825 Russia, but Evelyn Skye definitely did her homework! She intricately weaved history into her story, which made it so very beautiful to read. The setting is so incredibly detailed and written beautifully!

The plot, or rather The Crown’s Game itself, was unpredictable to me. Even though it wasn’t really fast paced, the course of the game thrilled me and kept me on the edge of my seat.

The friendship between Nikolai and Pasha was top-notch. One of my favorite things about The Crown’s Game without a doubt! I love a well-fleshed out friendship in my books, and I got just that from Nikolai and Pasha’s friendship. View Spoiler ».

I’m not too sure about the romance though. There’s a love-triangle… which I actually didn’t actually mind it that much. But there was just something a bit off about the romance. It felt a bit underdeveloped to me, as did the characters. Both the romance and the characters could’ve used a little more complexity in my opinion. I think this is what kept me from fully connecting with the characters .

Final verdict IRISJEXX!All and all I think The Crown’s Game made for a really solid debut and first instalment in a VERY promising series! Beautiful writing and aboslutely mind-numbingly awesome world-building and SO MUCH MAGIC! I’m really looking forward to seeing how the story will progress and mature in the books to come!

Little something extraAs I am a part of Harper Collin’s The Crown’s Game blog tour I am including a little something extra in this review: a playlist inspired by the book! I handpicked 10 songs that reminded me of certain moments in the story, hope you enjoy!

four-stars
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Weekend Special #1: BBG Meetup & 24k Walk

13/06/2016 | 1 Comment

Weekend Special numero uno! That’s right, I’m introducing a new feature! We all have those weekends that are more fun than normal weekends (because let’s face it, some weekends we just don’t really do anything special), and the weekend of 4 and 5 June was definitely a memorable one for me. I’ll admit, it’s a bit late (after this first attempt at recapping the weekend I’ll start posting them in between Mondays and Wednesdays, pinky promise), but better late than never!

Saturday: #BBGDUTCHIES

Dutch BBG meetup time! This was only the second BBG meetup ever, but ever since that first meetup back in March I’ve been wanting June to arrive faster. I stayed the weekend with a friend who lived closer to the city we were meeting up in and on Saturday morning we got up around 8 to get ready for the day. The meetup started at 11.15 am and we were early, which left me plenty of time to catch up with everyone! It’s so crazy to realize that I’ve only met these girls once of twice before. We’re always talking and supporting each other online and this makes it feel like I’ve known them for so much longer already. Anyway, I’m getting off-track here. After some quick hugs and catching up it was time for the actual workout and to get sweaty!

Ik

The warming-up consisted of some partner exercises, which were so much fun! Now, Kayla’s BBG workouts are never easy, but I can tell you that they become even harder when you do them when it’s 24 degrees outside and the sun is shining. It was ridiculously hot outside and the water in my bottle more or less resembled lukewarm tea water after only a few minutes. You wouldn’t believe how red-faced I was when the workout was done. I pretty much flopped down on my belly and stayed down for a while.

Ik (groep kayla pose)

Djanne, who organized this meetup, pretty much anticipated us being totally overheated after the workout and arranged for some ice lollies. Best. Decision. Ever! After some stretching and some group pictures, it was time for the picknick. Everyone made something and brought it to the meetup, so we had a huge amount of food to choose from, it was perfect and my tummy was totally happy (which it always is when good food is involved haha). It was crazy fun catching up with everyone, loooooots of pictures were taken, and at the end of the day I was crazy sore from the workout, which is just how I like it! A Saturday well spent in my opinion!

Sunday: 24k walk baby!

The plan was to take it slow on Saturday during the workout because I was going to walk a 20k the next day with 7kg in my backpack as a part of my training for the Camino I’m walking this summer… Of course, taking it slow totally went down the drain when it was actually time to do the workout, so when I woke up on Sunday my quadriceps were terribly sore. No time to whine, we (my friend and I) wanted to beat the heat and get an early start so we got our butts out of bed and left the house around 8am.

Walking went pretty well, although the downhill parts of the tracks brought out the soreness of my muscles. Around the 15k mark, the heat was starting to get to me a bit. We might’ve missed a turn and realized that only about 1k later (so had to go back), plus, at that point we should’ve passed the second rest stop already and we still hadn’t… Turns out they had to make some changes to the route and it ended up being a 24k walk instead of a 20k walk.

No biggie, except I ran out of water at 20k… and they had no point to refill our bottles. Even when we finally got to that second rest stop (which was at the 20k point) there was no possibility of refilling and for an event this big, and with temperatures running so high, that just can’t happen. Frankly, it got me a little cranky. I was pretty happy once we finished the walk, and boy was I feeling my legs.

Weekend Special #1

All and all it wasn’t the best walk ever, but I only had myself to blame by pushing myself a little too hard the day before. At the end of the day, we finished that 24k and it was a very good training walk for the Camino. And don’t you think I look adorable in my walking gear? Totally sexy if I do say so myself *cough* haha.

I’ll just leave out how CRAZY sore I woke up on Monday… haha. I think we can all agree it was a very active weekend for me. I gave my body some well-deserved rest on Monday and did some extra stretching and yoga to get rid of the soreness of my muscles.

 

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A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas

12/05/2016 | 3 Comments

A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. MaasA Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
Series: A Court of Thorns and Roses #2
Published by Bloomsbury USA Childrens on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 640
Format: Hardcover
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
five-stars

Feyre survived Amarantha's clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can't forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin's people.

Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

With more than a million copies sold of her beloved Throne of Glass series, Sarah J. Maas's masterful storytelling brings this second book in her seductive and action-packed series to new heights.

First Thoughts (BLOG)

The cover looks a bit ‘plastic.’ where the cover of A Court of Thorns of Roses was badass, the one for A Court of Mist and Fury just doesn’t appeal as much to me. I do like the colors, but the woman on the cover and the dress just seem a bit fake to me.

I had a few theories after finishing the first book, mostly about what happened between Feyre and Rhys at the end of A Court of Thorns and Roses and I can’t wait to find out if I was aiming in the right direction or not.

After the first few chapters: Nope, this is not Young Adult (refers to a very  steamy *cough* and detailed *cough* scene)

Thoughts upon finishing (BLOG)

H O L Y  S H I T. This was pretty much my line of thought for an hour straight after finishing A Court of Mist and Fury. That ending was out-of-this-world, batshit crazy, a ride through crazy town, and absolute utter torture. I’m not even attempting to explain the why to you because there is NO WAY I want to spoil this book for you.This is a bo0k you need to read and make-up your own mind about.

There are so many plot twists in this book that you won’t see coming and I’m afraid of mentioning things that will give it away. Which is why I am going to review this book a bit differently. I’m going to give you a list of reasons why I think you should read (and love) A Court of Mist and Fury. I have no doubt that there are tons of awesome ‘non-spoilery’ reviews out there telling you about the characters, the world-building, the plot, and anything else worth mentioning (because, believe me, everything about this book is worth mentioning). But I don’t fully trust myself, as I’m still an emotional wreck after finishing this book (and I finished it 5 days ago…).

10 reasons why

  1. Did you love A Court of Thorns and Roses? If your answer is yes I’m pretty sure you’ll love A Court of Mist and Fury as well, if not MORE. View Spoiler »
  2. It’s written by Sarah J. Maas. If you’ve read any of her books before, you most definitely know what I mean with this. Anything written by Sarah J. Maas is worth reading. She’s a wizard with words; her writing is out-of-this-world awesome.
  3. Everything you think you know, you don’t. The plot is so damn rich. Twists and turns and so many emotions around every corner. You just gotta read, read, and read until you reach the end (which will leave you begging on your knees for the next book).
  4. Steamy scenes. No kidding, this is NOT young adult guys, A Court of Mist and Fury has scenes that’ll have you blushing and fanning yourself. I loved every single piece of it.
  5. Feyre’s character development. In the blurb, it is revealed that she survived Under The Mountain “at a steep cost.” She’s pretty messed up over all that has happened and Sarah J. Maas does such an amazing job at describing Feyre’s thought process. It wrecked me just how well it was described. Feyre is depressed and has a serious case of PTSD, and take it from someone who’s suffered PTSD, it was so realistically portrayed that at times I had trouble keeping the tears at bay, because I know that feeling so well.
  6. New characters! Ones that are SO worth getting to know!
  7. Friends and family. Finding a home. This plays such a big role in the book!
  8. A Court of Mist and Fury will leave you addicted. I’m not even kidding. I didn’t want it to every end, and when it did, I craved more, SO MUCH MORE. I’m not sure what I’m going to do with myself until May 2017.
  9. The ending. I have no words for that ending. You have to experience it yourself, just so you can understand the pain I’m in after finishing this book. Sweet, beautiful, aweful torture.
  10. You just have to read A Court of Mist and Fury because I tell you to.

 

five-stars
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Ruined by Amy Tintera | ARC Review

02/05/2016 | 2 Comments

I received this book for free from the Publisher in exchange for an honest review. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of my review.

Ruined by Amy Tintera | ARC ReviewRuined by Amy Tintera
Series: Ruined #1
on May 3rd 2016
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 368
Source: the Publisher
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-half-stars

Emelina Flores has nothing. Her home in Ruina has been ravaged by war. She lacks the powers of her fellow Ruined. Worst of all, she witnessed her parents’ brutal murders and watched helplessly as her sister, Olivia, was kidnapped.

But because Em has nothing, she has nothing to lose. Driven by a blind desire for revenge, Em sets off on a dangerous journey to the enemy kingdom of Lera. Somewhere within Lera’s borders, Em hopes to find Olivia. But in order to find her, Em must infiltrate the royal family.

In a brilliant, elaborate plan of deception and murder, Em marries Prince Casimir, next in line to take Lera’s throne. If anyone in Lera discovers Em is not Casimir’s true betrothed, Em will be executed on the spot. But it’s the only way to salvage Em’s kingdom and what is left of her family.

Em is determined to succeed, but the closer she gets to the prince, the more she questions her mission. Em’s rage-filled heart begins to soften. But with her life—and her family—on the line, love could be Em’s deadliest mistake.

 

What I thought

It feels like forever since I managed to read a book for myself, but once I got this beauty from Harper Collins I was pretty damn excited to sit down and read away. Even more important, I finally felt like sitting down and writing a review about it after I finished this gem of a fantasy! Ruined is a strong start to a new and what appears to be a VERY promising YA trilogy!

Em is a great main character. She doesn’t have magic, and in her kingdom this is seen as a weakness, as ‘useless’. Opposed to what her kingdom thinks, she’s a very capable and strong person. She doesn’t need magic to make her fierce, her strong will and determination do the trick for her. She puts together an elaborate plan to get revenge, but that doesn’t quite go according to plan.

Em’s plan seems to go quite smoothly, until it doesn’t anymore. This is the only somewhat predictable part of the book. It’s not hard to figure out what makes her doubt her initial plan. I mean, she has to pretend to be the wife of the prince, it doesn’t really take a genius to figure out what could go ‘wrong’ there and how shit could go seriously wrong in a matter of seconds if her secret came out. But I didn’t found myself caring about the predictability at all, simply because the romance was amazingly well-done. A slow-burner, a wonderfully well-written slow -burning romance between Em and the prince. What’s not to like?

I really liked how you get to experience the events in Ruined both from Em’s perspective and Cass’s perspective. I enjoyed being able to see both their sides of everything that happened, it makes it easier to understand their actions and their reactions.

I really hope we’ll get to know more about the backstory in the sequel. For a first book in a series Ruined had the perfect amount of info to intrigue the reader and to make the world stand out,  but I do hope there’ll be more worldbuilding in the sequel, as I’d love to know more about the Ruined, both as a people as well as their powers. They are feared by all society and I’m thinking there could be quite an interesting story behind that.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!

I just love it when a book is action packed, has a budding romance, and a kickass heroine hell-bent on revenge for her parent’s murder. Those are all the right elements to make for a great read. Ruined is a very strong start to a new series and I can’t wait for its sequel! For all you fantasy lovers out there, Ruined is one book to put on the wishlist!

four-half-stars
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