Category: Books

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno | Review

13/04/2017 | 0 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.

Fireworks by Katie Cotugno | ReviewFireworks by Katie Cotugno
Published by Balzer & Bray on April 18th 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 336
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Buy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-stars

From Katie Cotugno, bestselling author of 99 Days, comes Fireworks—about a girl who is competing with her best friend to become the new pop star of the moment—and all the drama and romance that comes with it—set in Orlando during the late-'90s boy-and-girl-band craze.

It was always meant to be Olivia. She was the talented one, the one who had been training to be a star her whole life. Her best friend, Dana, was the level-headed one, always on the sidelines, cheering her best friend along.

But everything changes when Dana tags along with Olivia to Orlando for the weekend, where superproducer Guy Monroe is holding auditions for a new singing group, and Dana is discovered too. Dana, who’s never sung more than Olivia’s backup. Dana, who wasn’t even looking for fame. Next thing she knows, she and Olivia are training to be pop stars, and Dana is falling for Alex, the earnest, endlessly talented boy who’s destined to be the next big thing.

It should be a dream come true, but as the days of grueling practice and constant competition take their toll, things between Olivia and Dana start to shift . . . and there’s only room at the top for one girl. For Olivia, it’s her chance at her dream. For Dana, it’s a chance to escape a future that seems to be closing in on her. And for these lifelong best friends, it’s the adventure of a lifetime—if they can make it through.

Set in evocative 1990s Orlando, New York Times bestselling author Katie Cotugno’s Fireworks brings to life the complexity of friendship, the excitement of first love, and the feeling of being on the verge of greatness.

Fireworks was and wasn’t what I was expecting. Cryptic sentence to open with, I know, but bear with me. Sometimes you just don’t know if the book you’re reading is going to knock your socks off or turn out not to be your thing at all, and such was the case with Fireworks.

So I’m talking about not knowing what I was going to get, but also that this book was and wasn’t what I expected it to be… That’s confusing. Let me break it down for you. What did I expect? I expected clichés. I mean, being discovered as a pop star, fame, a love interest that is destined to be the next big thing, it all screamed cliché to me. Not just cliché, but cliché in a big, bold, flashing neon sign kinda way. And I gotta admit those clichés were present in Fireworks. What didn’t I expect? For Katie Cotugno to work them so flawlessly into the story that I didn’t mind them at all. They were there, but they weren’t the most important aspects of the story.

Friendship and self-discovery were two of the most important aspects in Fireworks. I loved the protagonist, Dana. She was the kind of friend, had the kind of loyalty to her friends, that you can only admire and respect. Especially because as the story progressed it became clearer and clearer that her best friend, Olivia, was holding her back. Dana had to figure out for herself what she wanted to do with her life and she underwent a big transformation throughout the story.

If anything made Fireworks for me, combined with all things I mentioned before, it was that ending. I love how Katie Cotugno blew away all my preconceived notions of how I expected Fireworks to end in a cliché. That ending was anything but cliché and it was the cherry on top of a very enjoyable story.

If you’re looking for a fun and enjoyable contemporary read with a solid message attached, Fireworks is the answer. It’s a very well-written story with a sweet romance that you won’t be able to resist!

four-stars
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March Recap ’17 | Cat Antics and the Movies

04/04/2017 | 0 Comments

I’m going to warn you in advance, this recap will be filled with kitten spam. I take way too many pictures as it is and hardly share them online, so I will use my monthly recap posts to unleash them upon all you unsuspecting readers. What I love most about these monthly recaps is that at first the month in question seems so boring and normal, but when you think about it there are tons of small things that stood out and you can tell about!

Mid-March I had midterms, which isn’t all that extraordinary, but during my midterms the rumor spread that Emma Watson was supposedly in Leiden filming the BBC show the Miniaturist. The Rapenburg was closed down and off-limits fo two days and the whole city was in an uproar about it. The Dutch film company that filmed there firmly denied Emma Watson ever having been there, so who knows. Maybe she was here, maybe she wasn’t. I had exams anyway, so no time to gawk where they were filming, haha.

The Song Rising is out in stores! Doesn’t Fury look adorable next to that beautiful stack of books? I love that Bloomsbury released a limited edition that fits the original books as well (instead of the new cover designs) because I get so annoyed when my books don’t match. I do think a reread is in order though… It’s been a while since I  read the first two books and the details have become a bit blurry. So The Song Rising has to wait a bit. Have any of you read it already?

Something that also happened this month: Beauty & the Beast! I was so pumped to see the movie and finally watching it was perfect. The cast was so damn good! The little extra backstory they gave the characters, the songs, just everything… I have so much love for this movie and I need to see it again, stat.

Fury and I took a little walk outside and it was adorable. He was so curious and a bit hesitant, after a while he started chasing flies. I live on the fifth floor, so he normally stays inside, but on the weekends I usually visit my parents and they have a huge garden. Perfect for little Fury to explore the outside world.

I haven’t read much besides thesis related books, but am already working hard on April (finished my first book already)! I am also working on a more regular post schedule for the blog. AND I started bullet journaling, maybe I’ll share a few pages with you in the next recap!

How did March treat you?

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Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley | Book Review

09/03/2017 | 1 Comment

Rock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley | Book ReviewRock Chick Reawakening by Kristen Ashley
Series: Rock Chick #0.5
Published by Self Published on January 3rd 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 120
Format: Ebook
Buy on Amazon
Goodreads
four-stars

From New York Times bestselling author, Kristen Ashley, comes the long-awaited story of Daisy and Marcus, Rock Chick Reawakening. A prequel to Kristen’s Rock Chick series, Rock Chick Reawakening shares the tale of the devastating event that nearly broke Daisy, an event that set Marcus Sloane—one of Denver’s most respected businessmen and one of the Denver underground’s most feared crime bosses—into finally making his move to win the heart of the woman who stole his.

What I thought

Rock Chick Reawakening was a treat! I have been a fan of the Rock Chick books since I discovered Kristen Ashley two years ago (I am so damn late to the party it isn’t even funny) and fell in love with her sassy writing style. Yes, the formula for all of the books in the series is pretty much the same, but sometimes you just need to read a story that will make you believe that fairytales do exist, and the Rock Chick books are just that type of story.

If you’ve read the other books in the Rock Chick series then you’ll be familiar with Daisy. You’ll know she got her happily ever after, after some not so fun times. However, the other books never really went into detail about what those ‘not so fun times’ were, I mean we all had a pretty solid idea of what happened to her, but Rock Chick Reawakening tells the story of Daisy before she met Marcus.

My heart bled for her, as much as my heart bled throughout Sadie’s story. Her story was incredibly hard to take, but what I loved about Rock Chick Reawakening is that, yes it deals with something horrible, but more than anything it focusses on healing. The heavy didn’t overpower the story, it stays a fun and light read regardless of some of the heavy themes. As any of Kristen Ashley’s Rock Chick stories, it focusses on love and healing, and boy did she do a good job, again.

Marcus, on paper, is a bad guy, but it is hard to see him as JUST a bad guy. And although his actions can be bad, he did do a lot of good as well, and it was obvious how much he loved Daisy. As every Kristen Ashley book preaches: not everything is black and white, there’s gray in the middle too.

I loved Rock Chick Reawakening, it was a treat from beginning to end. I teared up, I laughed (believe me, laughing is a given with any book Kristen Ashley has written), and I blushed my way through this book. It was a true rock chick book, with a true rock chick ending.

Final verdict IRISJEXX!For every fan of Kristen Ashley’s writing, Rock Chick Reawakening will be a treat. Daisy and Marcus’s story make for a wonderful addition to the rest of the books and you’ll love learning about how their romance came to be. If you’re looking for a fun and touching story that packs a punch, don’t look any further.

 

four-stars
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By Your Side by Kasie West | Book Review

06/03/2017 | 0 Comments

By Your Side by Kasie West | Book ReviewBy Your Side by Kasie West
Published by HarperTeen on January 31st 2017
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 346
Format: Ebook
Buy on AmazonBuy on Bol.comBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
four-half-stars

In this irresistible story, Kasie West explores the timeless question of what to do when you fall for the person you least expect. Witty and romantic, this paperback original from a fan favorite is perfect for fans of Stephanie Perkins and Morgan Matson.

When Autumn Collins finds herself accidentally locked in the library for an entire weekend, she doesn’t think things could get any worse. But that’s before she realizes that Dax Miller is locked in with her. Autumn doesn’t know much about Dax except that he’s trouble. Between the rumors about the fight he was in (and that brief stint in juvie that followed it) and his reputation as a loner, he’s not exactly the ideal person to be stuck with. Still, she just keeps reminding herself that it is only a matter of time before Jeff, her almost-boyfriend, realizes he left her in the library and comes to rescue her.

Only he doesn’t come. No one does.

Instead it becomes clear that Autumn is going to have to spend the next couple of days living off vending-machine food and making conversation with a boy who clearly wants nothing to do with her. Except there is more to Dax than meets the eye. As he and Autumn first grudgingly, and then not so grudgingly, open up to each other, Autumn is struck by their surprising connection. But can their feelings for each other survive once the weekend is over and Autumn’s old life, and old love interest, threaten to pull her from Dax’s side?

What I thoughtBy Your Side is pure sweetness! Kasie West has once again written an outstanding and magical love story! I do have to admit that I was a bit skeptic at first. Going into this story I expected it to be a tad surrealistic, because how on earth would NO ONE realize that someone (beloved daughter, best friend, whatever) was missing. The whole concept just seemed a little surreal to me. BUT: I should have known not to worry because we’re talking about Kasie West here: queen of contemporary writing!

By Your Side starts off incredibly cute (and a bit of a cliché): boy and girl get trapped in a library for three days in the middle of winter. Initially, they don’t really want anything to do with each other, but then, unavoidably, feelings slowly start blooming between them. And that’s where the cliche’s end. Which, obviously, I am not going to tell you anything about because I don’t want to spoil anything for you.

I loved the slowly blooming romance between the two and you can’t help but root for them along the way. Kasie West takes it slow and it gives Autumn and Dax a chance to fall in love with each other beyond the physical attraction. There’s fluff, there’s adorableness, there are moments to swoon at. Totally loved Autumn and Dax together.

Now the big question: does By Your Side go beyond the romance? Does it have depth? I am so glad you asked: YES, It does! Autumn suffers from anxiety attacks and Kasie West has tackled this disorder so well, while still sticking to the light and fluffy feeling that you expect from any contemporary read. I won’t share too much about Dax because I think telling you too much will become spoiler-y. I promise you though that his character has plenty of depth as well. Final verdict IRISJEXX!

By Your Side is a fluffy read with a deeper underlying meaning to it. Highly recommend this read to anyone that wants a cute and fluffy read, but wants a little something ‘more’ added to the story.

four-half-stars
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February Recap ’17 | Fury, new phone, BA Thesis

04/03/2017 | 1 Comment

“A child can teach an adult three things: to be happy for no reason, to always be busy with something, and to know how to demand with all his might that which he desires.” ― Paulo Coelho

If you change “child” in the quote above into kitten, you sum up my life since little Fury came to live with me. I picked him up at the end of January, the little rascal has been with me for over a month now, and there’s no need for television in my house anymore! It is almost surreal how much you can love a cat in such a short period of time. It is so much fun to watch him chase his own tail or shadow throughout the house, play with his toys, my toes (even though that’s not always as fun), or try to wrestle my pen from my hands whenever I’m writing something down. He’s a force to be reckoned with (does his name proud, haha) and I have so much love for the little guy.

I named Fury, after a kitten in Jennifer Armentrout’s the Dark Elements series. And since I feel like sharing I’m going to give you a small excerpt from White Hot Kiss, the book in which the kittens are introduced:

Roth snorted. “That one is Fury. The white one is Nitro and the black one is named Thor.”

“What? You called these cuties something like that, but named a giant snake Bambi?”

He bent forward, placing a kiss on my shoulder. It was so fast I wasn’t sure he’d actually done it. “There’s sweetness in evil,” he said. “And remember, looks can be deceiving.”

I lowered my fingers, running them over the kitten’s little head.

“I wouldn’t do that if I—”

Fury sank its claws and teeth into my hand. I yelped, jerking my hand back. It remained latched on, a squirming ball of vamp kitty.

Roth grabbed the fluff of fur, gently removing it from my hand. “Bad kitty,” he said, dropping it next to its siblings.

I stared at the demonic furball as it licked its bloody claws, and then shifted my gaze to Roth. “I don’t understand.”

“Let’s just say that they weren’t always this cute and cuddly-looking. They can get pretty big when provoked, but even in this form, Hellhounds are afraid of them,” Roth said.

Now, my little guy is not a “vamp kitty” or a “demonic furball” (most of the time), he’s all for sweet cuddles. However, you should have seen him when he encountered my parents’ dog for the first time, demonic furball definitely fit the situation. So, I couldn’t resist and named him Fury. Now, let chance be I have just the right picture to show you.

I had to submit my BA thesis proposal this month (can’t believe I’m finishing up my bachelor degree THIS year!) and it got approved. As a student English Language and Culture, I am really really excited that I get to do my BA thesis on one of my favorite books and subjects: Tolkien and fairy tales! As you all probably know, fantasy is a genre that borrows different elements from other genres. Alongside myths, fairy tales are important predecessors to fantasy. And while reading Tolkien’s The Hobbit and Lord of the Rings trilogy I was always struck by the fairytale elements in these stories. So, for my BA thesis, I get to analyze the various elements of the fairytale and see if they can be applied to Tolkien’s work. So far everything got approved and I had my thesis advisor appointed to me (I got SO LUCKY with the professor that was assigned as advisor!!).

I also, finally, got a new phone. My old phone slowly has been perishing away for over a year now and I wasn’t too sure it was going to last much longer. I got to splurge on a new phone case as well, which, if I do say so myself, is adorable!

What I’ve Read

1. Kasie West – By Your Side. LOVED IT! Feel-good contemporary read with deeper meaning (my review will go up on Monday!)

2. Jamie Shaw – Mayhem. A reread before the fourth and final book, Havoc, in this series was released. This is one of my guilty pleasure reads!

3. Jamie Shaw – Riot.  A reread before the fourth and final book, Havoc, in this series was released. This one was my least favorite

4. Jamie Shaw – Chaos. A reread before the fourth and final book, Havoc, in this series was released. So freaking hilarious!

5. Jamie Shaw – Havoc. Dreamy, book boyfriend material!

And I guess this means I managed to fulfill my goal to read one book for myself every week! Yay! Hopefully, I’ll get to read a bit more in March.

What was the best book you read in February?

 

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New Year’s Resolutions and Goals: the 2017 Edition

06/01/2017 | 6 Comments

I’ve never really been the person to set New Year’s Resolutions, but, reading-wise, 2016 was a disastrous year for me… This is something I aspire to change in the upcoming year. We’re now a few days into the new year, and I realized there are some things I want to do differently in 2017.  And, there are some goals that I really want to achieve, things I really want to do and not postpone any longer, cross off some things off my bucket list so to speak. So I figured I’d try my hand at a New Year’s Resolution list and share it with you guys.


Finish at least one book for myself every week

I want to finish at least one book for myself every week. Looking back at the amount of books I’ve read in 2016 makes me sad… I got so wrapped up in my study and LIFE, that it became normal when weeks went by when I didn’t read at all, or the only books I read were university-related. I feel like I missed out on tons of good books and, with a little help from you, I am going to try my best to get all caught up again!

Question for you: What were your favorite reads of 2016? Leave your reply in the comments and I’ll add the books you mention to my list of books to read!

Get back into reviewing ARCs and books

I want to get back into reviewing. I’m pleased to tell you that I’m already working on this resolution! I currently have 3 ARCs at home that were sent to me to review and I’ve almost finished the first of the three books and am jotting down my thoughts on this book on the go, which, hopefully, will make writing reviews go more swiftly! I also wrote down and marked deadlines for reviews in my planner, to make it easier for myself to stay on top of them.

Another question for you: Do you have to juggle studying and blogging? How do you make sure you’re on top of it all? I should probably plan ahead more…

Start reviewing NA and Romance novels

More sexy time! Which I realize sounds odd, haha, but what I mean is that I want to start reviewing New Adult and Romance novels on the blog as well. Since I am painfully single, I get my fix in the form of books.  I never really reviewed these books on my blog, because I thought it didn’t really fit in with the Young Adult books (which I predominantly reviewed). New blog name, new resolutions, new books that will be reviewed.

Run a full marathon

In 2016 I set the goal to run a Half Marathon. I ran the Amsterdam Half Marathon in October, which was quite the experience. Some things are bound to go wrong when you do something for the very first time, this happened to me as well. I made some stupid newbie mistakes, which I shared in this post. This year I want to run the Rotterdam Marathon! Yes, that’s the full marathon, 42 point something kilometers. And yes, I am crazy, but it’s something I want to do at least once in my life, so why not in 2017? I already got my starting ticket, and training has already started, for I’ll be running this bad-boy April 9th. If you’re in the neighborhood and want to come cheer me on, do feel free!

Try new workouts or sports

I want to try different things. I know I am a good runner, I know I can lift weights in the gym (which I’ll continue to do in 2017), but I want to try new workouts. For instance, I want to go climbing (or bouldering!) and try a kickboxing class. I might want to start doing yoga at least once a week as well because it helps with the muscle soreness and it is so incredibly relaxing (and boy do I need some more relaxing in my life). I just want to try more things and, who knows, maybe I’ll find something I will love so much I’ll stick with it.

Question for you: Any fun workouts or sports that you think I should try out? Or want to see me try out? Let me know in the comments!

Start a fitness journal

I want to start keeping track of how much I lift.I know there’s progress, that I do more reps and lift heavier, but I never really wrote it down before. So when I wanted to see how far I’ve come earlier this week I pretty much blanked. I have a beautiful planner and I am going to put it to good use and write down the reps and amount of weight from now on.

So these are my resolutions for 2017! I am going to put my Erin Condren planner to good use and let it help me keep track of my reading, my blogging, and my workouts. I might share a post in the future on how I divide and format my planner to fit me best.

Do you have any resolutions? Do tell me what yours are!

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