Category: Books

Roar by Cora Carmack | Everything and More

20/06/2017 | 0 Comments

Roar by Cora Carmack | Everything and MoreRoar by Cora Carmack
Series: Stormheart #1
Published by Tor Teen on June 13th 2017
Genres: Fantasy & Magic
Pages: 380
Format: Hardcover
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Goodreads
five-stars

In a land ruled and shaped by violent magical storms, power lies with those who control them.

Aurora Pavan comes from one of the oldest Stormling families in existence. Long ago, the ungifted pledged fealty and service to her family in exchange for safe haven, and a kingdom was carved out from the wildlands and sustained by magic capable of repelling the world’s deadliest foes. As the sole heir of Pavan, Aurora’s been groomed to be the perfect queen. She’s intelligent and brave and honorable. But she’s yet to show any trace of the magic she’ll need to protect her people.

To keep her secret and save her crown, Aurora’s mother arranges for her to marry a dark and brooding Stormling prince from another kingdom. At first, the prince seems like the perfect solution to all her problems. He’ll guarantee her spot as the next queen and be the champion her people need to remain safe. But the more secrets Aurora uncovers about him, the more a future with him frightens her. When she dons a disguise and sneaks out of the palace one night to spy on him, she stumbles upon a black market dealing in the very thing she lacks—storm magic. And the people selling it? They’re not Stormlings. They’re storm hunters.

Legend says that her ancestors first gained their magic by facing a storm and stealing part of its essence. And when a handsome young storm hunter reveals he was born without magic, but possesses it now, Aurora realizes there’s a third option for her future besides ruin or marriage.

She might not have magic now, but she can steal it if she’s brave enough.

Challenge a tempest. Survive it. And you become its master.

I’ve read some of Cora Carmack’s previous work, which mainly consists of swoon-worthy New Adult books. As this is her first Young Adult novel, I wasn’t quite sure what to expect from Roar, except that the premise sounded amazing. After finishing that very first chapter I knew it was going to be good, and the story did not disappoint for one single second. From that first chapter and onwards I was hooked. Roar blew me away!

The plot is complex, layered, and really well done. When I thought I’d finally figured something out, new parts were exposed that were a whole new mystery. The slow reveal allows for lots of anticipation suspense. I love how I had to crack my brain to see if I could find out what was going to happen next during the entirety of the story. There was a lot of action as well that made it really well paced and left me unable to stop reading.

The world Carmack portrays is rich and unique. This fantasy realm is unlike anything that I’ve ever read before. There are so many details and so many new lands to discover, I was enthralled by it all! The premise of a few lineages being able to control storms, and those storms having a “heart” was so incredibly intriguing. There is so much to this world Cora Carmack created and I just want more and more and more (can I please have more soon). The idea that I have to wait for more makes me want to sob.

The protagonist of the story is smart and determined and oh so awesome. She’s struggling to find out who she is and what part to play in her world. She develops a lot throughout the story and even at the end you know she’s going to continue growing and become even more of a badass. I love how she fights for what she wants and believes in. Her determination and her spirit make her character very likable.

All you fantasy lovers out there, rejoice! Roar is everything you need in a book and more. This book has jumped right to first place as my favorite book of the year. This is a must read and if it isn’t on your TBR yet I wholly recommend adding it. You will not regret it!

five-stars
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When you Travel +100k to Buy a Book

16/06/2017 | 3 Comments

Last Wednesday I traveled quite the distance to get my hands on a copy of the book I wanted. And when I say quite some distance I mean I traveled from Leiden to The Hague (+/- 20k) and then from the Hague to Amsterdam (+/- 99k). The first wasn’t that big a deal, it only takes about 15 minutes to get there by train, but the second was a spontaneous decision after finding out they didn’t have the book I wanted in the bookstore in The Hague.

The book I am talking about is Roar by Cora Carmack. As I’ve been living under a rock the past few months, dealing with finals and deadlines, the existence of Roar had remained a secret to me, and suddenly I saw tons of posts appear featuring this book on Instagram. The cover is gorgeous and when I read the synopsis I was convinced: I simply HAD to read Roar. I usually order my books online and most of the times that means it arrives in my mailbox the next day. Only this time, the estimated delivery time was EIGHT DAYS, and that simply would not do.

One of my favorite bookstores, ABC (American Book Center), has stores in The Hague and Rotterdam and they regularly post pictures of the new books that have arrived in store. I checked and THEY HAD COPIES OF ROAR. So off to The Hague I went, only to hear there that they did not have copies; only the Amsterdam store had. I was planning to go home after that, albeit a bit disappointed, but when I got to the train station instead of getting on the train back to Leiden I figured ‘what the heck’ and spontaneously got on the train to Amsterdam. Two hours later I came out of the Amsterdam ABC store a very happy girl with a newly acquired copy of Roar in my backpack.

I kinda love how spontaneous this decision was. It has been a while since I did something completely random like this and I had a blast. The Hague is a fun city to be in, it has a very nice feeling to it and while I was there I took some time to grab an iced coffee and people-watch for a bit. It also wasn’t a completely wasted trip because I did find a copy of Fairest by Marissa Meyer for my mother. I have never really been a fan of Amsterdam (except for the bookstores, haha), it is way too busy and tourist filled for my taste, so I really just browsed the bookstores and went back home again.

On the train ride home I, of course, started on the first few chapters in Roar and I am so hooked! It has been a while since I was this excited over a book, but damn, this book is the very example of why I love reading so much. IT.IS.AWESOME. Definitely a trip worth taking the time to make! I have about 100 pages left and I can’t stop reading!

When I told my friends what I’d done they looked at me like I’d lost my mind, or they just said they’d expect nothing less from me haha. This is a perfect example of the lengths a book nerd will go (or travel) to get the books they want.

Have you ever done something like this?

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The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 Pages

08/06/2017 | 5 Comments

The Problem with Forever by Jennifer Armentrout | Broke my Heart and Mended it in +400 PagesThe Problem with Forever by Jennifer L. Armentrout
Published by Harlequin Teen on May 17th 2016
Genres: Contemporary, Love & Romance
Pages: 474
Format: Hardcover
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Goodreads
five-stars

For some people, silence is a weapon. For Mallory “Mouse” Dodge, it’s a shield. Growing up, she learned that the best way to survive was to say nothing. And even though it’s been four years since her nightmare ended, she’s beginning to worry that the fear that holds her back will last a lifetime.

Now, after years of homeschooling with loving adoptive parents, Mallory must face a new milestone—spending her senior year at public high school. But of all the terrifying and exhilarating scenarios she’s imagined, there’s one she never dreamed of—that she’d run into Rider Stark, the friend and protector she hasn’t seen since childhood, on her very first day.

It doesn’t take long for Mallory to realize that the connection she shared with Rider never really faded. Yet the deeper their bond grows, the more it becomes apparent that she’s not the only one grappling with the lingering scars from the past. And as she watches Rider’s life spiral out of control, Mallory faces a choice between staying silent and speaking out—for the people she loves, the life she wants, and the truths that need to be heard.

As anything that Jennifer Armentrout writes is pretty much on my auto-buy list and so The Problem with Forever too found its way to my home. It pretty much inevitable that my Read-Everything-By-Jennifer-Armentrout-Obsession struck again… And boy, what a book! The Problem with Forever definitely won me over (as pretty much every book has done before). It was powerful and moving, and it broke my heart and mended it all within +400 pages.

Mallory was a complex character, sometimes her story was incredibly hard to read, but at the same time she’s relatable and tries so hard that you will root for her every step of the way as she tried to put her past behind her and overcome her fears.  Her character grows SO MUCH throughout the story and has so much depth, it is on of the aspects of the story that made this book shine from beginning to end.

Then there is Rider Stark, who has the whole kinda-bad-boy-with-a-heart-of-gold going on. Rider and Mallory have so much history together and so much chemistry that all the feels and the sparks just fly right off the pages. He’s artistic and kinda (read: a lot) damaged, which is hardly surprising considering the past they share. Again, so much depth and complexity to his character. I dare you to not fall in love with his character (I’m betting you can’t).

The supporting characters were just as good as the main characters: Mallory’s adoptive parents, Rider’s foster family, Mallory’s best friend! Characters usually make or break for me, and The Problem of Forever is a perfect example of how they can make a book unforgettable. That, and the writing, because, as always, Jennifer Armentrout’s writing was beautiful and on point!

The Problem with Forever is an emotional and inspiring book that will break your heart and mend it again. It’s a beautiful story about what it means to be brave and moving past the difficulties of what is in one’s past. It has wonderfully complex characters with tons of depth that you can’t help but root for along the entire way!

five-stars
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The way my Reading Habits have Changed over the Years

06/06/2017 | 6 Comments

Last week I ended up thinking about the way my reading habits, as well as my blogging habits, have changed since I started this blog March 2013. I came to the conclusion that they have changed quite a lot over the last four years. As I pondered on what may have caused that change, besides the fact that I have changed and therefore my habits are bound to have changed as well, there was only one other thing that I know did impact my reading habits: university.

That damned education, always getting in the way of my quality reading time… Haha. Nah, it’s not that bad. Honestly, I still read a lot! However, the amount of reading I do for fun, for nothing and nobody but myself, has cut back quite a lot since starting university. And really, the books I did read, mostly university related, weren’t all that to blog about. I felt like I didn’t have anything to contribute anymore and so it happened that my blog pretty much flatlined.

I never really realized how much spare time I had during high school. It didn’t really feel like it at the time, but even though I had homework and exams, I was nowhere near as busy as I am now. When I wasn’t in the middle of an exam-week, I actually had a very decent amount of time for myself. Moreover, busyness and stress aside, my social life wasn’t ‘all that’ either. Which left a LOT of spare time to read and blog, and boy did I do both of those things often.

These past three years of university have been great, but also really stressful and tiring. When looking back at my blogging, it is clear to see when studying got tough, because my blogging got erratic or turned completely absent. I struggled so much to keep up with my review copies, keep the blogging creativity and posts flowing, but I just couldn’t handle all of it together. I read so many books for university and that just leaves a lot less time to spend on reading for fun. When I realized that, I slowly started to realize that without reading the books I just didn’t have as much to talk about over here. Erratic blogging was the result. There was a period where I thought I simply had fallen out of love with blogging, but I realize now that I never really did… I just felt like I had nothing to contribute.

I have gotten a bit off track here. A necessary evil, as I wanted to explain how I think the change came about first. Let’s get back on with it: how have my reading habits changed?

Say Hello to a Picky Reader

First and foremost, I don’t just read EVERYTHING anymore. Since I have less time to read books for fun (thanks to tons of university reading) I have gotten more picky about what I read. I carefully choose the books I want to read because I want to spend the time I have on reading a book that I truly want to read, instead of reading for the sake of reading and finishing as many books as I can. Sure, it is fun to look back on a year and say you’ve read over a 100 or 150 books, but that is not what I want reading to be about. That just no longer for me. So yeah, I turned into a picky reader.

I have become a DNFer

Another way my reading habits seriously changed is that I don’t finish all the books I start reading anymore. I used to read whatever I could get my hands on and read it all regardless of whether I actually liked the book or not. Finishing a book was so important to me. Nowadays, when I get to the point that a book is just not working for me I DNF it. I might pick it up later on, but I no longer force myself to finish a book for the sake of finishing it.

I need to Take my Time

I used to be able to finish a book in a few hours. Thinking back I am amazed at how fast and easily I was able to read. Nowadays it can take me days, if not weeks, just to finish one book. Damn I miss those good old days, haha. Most of the time I just don’t feel up to reading the entire book in one sitting, I need breaks. Maybe I’ve gotten old…

My reading habits might have changed, but I don’t think these are necessarily bad changes. The opposite, I am quite content because I read whatever I want to read and don’t stress over the number of books I have read at the end of the year. I like to say I stopped focussing on quantity as much and started caring way more about the quality of the books I do read. So, let me end this post by telling you what summarizes my current reading habits: quality over quantity!

How would you sum up your reading habits? Have they changed much?

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May Recap ’17 | Thesis Struggles, Essay Deadlines, and Sunny Weather!

30/05/2017 | 0 Comments

This post recaps my month: my personal life, the fun and not so fun; books I’ve read; movies/ tv-shows I’ve watched; and all other things worth mentioning.

If I had to sum May up in one word it would be hectic. As the post title suggests, there was a lot of university related stuff to be done, but even though I had a massive to-do list even I had some time to enjoy the sun!

I’m back on Instagram! I dusted off my SLR camera and am taking bookish pictures again. I forgot how much fun that was. I am, and never have been, good with props, so I am using nature as my props. I love grabbing a bunch of books and just going outside and see whatever catches my eye. The weather is just perfect for this approach right now! In the meantime, I will try and improve my inside picture-taking skills (while not sharing it because I usually do not like the way it looks).

Something I also shared on Instagram: I started a bullet journal! Well, technically I started one at the beginning of April, but as I have been trying out what works for me I have kept my trap shut about it, haha. I always loved journals. I love lists and keeping track of whatever I want to keep track off. I have tried SO MANY different journals over the last few years, but they never quite fit my needs perfectly… My solution was to taka matters into my own hands. I have tried quite some different layouts over the last months, and this is the latest development for my ‘weekly spread’. Since I started my Bujo I have discovered I love the start of a new month because setting it up is so much fun! The way I have set it up right now I am able to track my habits, can manage my blogging, and have an overview of what is to come the current month and in the future. Who knows, if you are interested, I might even do a post on it somewhere in the future, as it really is a learning curve.

In terms of working out, I have been slacking this May. Unfortunately, being hella busy at university means you have to make some sacrifices, and May is exam month after all. I haven’t been running as much, although I squeeze in runs wherever I can, gym time has been non-existent. However, all things come to an end, and so will my deadlines! If there’s one thing I am looking forward to about June it is the fact that I will have more time to spare. Which means BACK TO TRAINING!

Reading: reading-wise this is going to be a very sad score… Don’t say I didn’t warn you!

  1. Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Thorns and Roses. 4/5 (reread)
  2. Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Mist and Fury. 5/5 (reread)
  3. Sarah J. Maas – A Court of Wings and Ruin. 4.5/5
  4. Gillian French – Grit (2.5/5)
  5. Blair Thornburgh – Who’s That Girl (currently reading)

Tv-shows:

Once Upon a Time season 1, episode 1 – 22. Never finished it before, loved it!

Thirteen Reasons Why season 1, episode 1 – 13. Very mixed feelings about this… So many mixed feelins I could write an essay. 

Grimm season 5, episode 1-3. So addictive!

Movies:

Guardians of the Galaxy Vol 2. SO MUCH LOVE.

Finding Dory. So freaking adorable.

Inside Out. Finally watched this, it was so good!

Moana. The bomb!

Trolls. Fun enough, not a whole lot of depth.

What did you do in May?

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Grit by Gillian French | Beautiful Writing, Poor Plot

25/05/2017 | 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.

Grit by Gillian French | Beautiful Writing, Poor PlotGrit by Gillian French
Published by HarperTeen on May 16th 2017
Genres: Contemporary
Pages: 304
Format: ARC
Source: the Publisher
Buy on AmazonBuy on Book Depository
Goodreads
two-half-stars

"His presence beside me is like heat, like weight, something I’ve carried around on my back too long"
Raw and moving, this contemporary realistic debut novel will leave readers of E. Lockhart and Gayle Forman breathless as it unflinchingly unfolds the tragic secrets being kept in a small, deceptively idyllic Maine town.

Seventeen-year-old Darcy Prentiss has long held the title of “town slut.” She knows how to have a good time, sure, but she isn’t doing anything all the guys haven’t done. But when you’re a girl with a reputation, every little thing that happens seems to keep people whispering—especially when your ex-best friend goes missing.

But if anyone were to look closer at Darcy, they’d realize there’s a lot more going on beneath the surface. Staying out late, hooking up, and telling lies is what Darcy does to forget. Forget about the mysterious disappearance of her friend. Forget about the dark secret she and her cousin Nell share. Forget about that hazy Fourth of July night. So when someone in town anonymously nominates Darcy to be in the running for Bay Festival Princess—a cruel act only someone with a score to settle would make—all of the things that Darcy wants to keep hidden threaten to erupt in ways she wasn’t prepared to handle…and isn’t sure if she can.

As the title of this post might give away, Grit wasn’t quite what I expected it to be. When I read the synopsis for the first time I expected a mystery or something thriller-ish, and that wasn’t quite what I got. The story was mostly concerned with Darcy, the main character, and the obstacles she has to overcome in the course of the story. Which is fine, just a slight adjustment of expectations, if it wasn’t for the messy plot the first third of the book.

The first third of Grit I felt like tons of things happen, but it doesn’t go anywhere at all. Despite the great writing, beautiful writing even, the first part just fell completely flat for me. This is such a shame because I think it would have been perfect if the plot had been cleaned up a bit. Between the job, the family, the mystery of the Fourth of July night, the pageant, and the budding romance there’s just too much going on to really enjoy the story. The plot felt too busy. All these different aspects just didn’t seem to click for me. I think the story could’ve done without the pageant bit, and instead delve deeper into some other aspects of the plot.

As for the protagonist, Darcy, I really enjoyed the dynamic she had going on with her sister and cousin. I appreciated how important family was to her, and I think she showed a lot of strength and determination with all that’s going on. But (yes there’s a but, I’m sorry) sometimes I just couldn’t connect with her. I felt bad for her because she didn’t deserve all the shit thrown her way just because of something she did in sophomore year (that circulated), but I found myself liking her less and less near the end of the book.

The writing saved this book for me. Gillian French knows how to use similes to her advantage, that’s for sure, and I liked how she portrayed the people inside the town. The second third of the book was done very well, especially the edge between Shea and Darcy. That edge combined with the sisterly love throughout the story made the story more or less enjoyable for me.

I did not know what to do with that ending. It didn’t work for me. I felt like it wasn’t in line with the rest of the story.

I really hate to say it, since I was really really excited about the premise of the book, but Grit was a bit of a disappointment to me. The plot was divided and just too much. I think a bit of cleaning up could turn this book from ‘okay’ possibly into something really good. The writing, the tension, and the sisterly love saved the story in my opinion, and for now, I’ll settle with saying that Grit was an ‘okay’ read.

 

 

 

two-half-stars
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