Tuesday, 8 August 2017

31 day reading challenge.

Hi booklovers

A couple of months ago I saw a video on Little Book Owl's channel where she talked about the ’30 day reading challenge’ and I thought it was a great idea. 

August is the second month of my summer break so I should be able to read every day of the month. This might not be anything special, but I want to keep track of how much I read and which format I read the most of: physical books, e-books, audiobooks, graphic novels. I’ll try to write down how many pages I read / minutes I listen to an audiobook daily in my bullet journal and update you weekly. (I'm actually a bit late in posting this since I'm already a week into the challenge :-s I'll be posting an update for week 1 soon.)

Have you tried this challenge? Any tips on how to make sure I read daily? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Friday, 4 August 2017

June - July 2017 - wrap up.

Hi booklovers

I'm halfway through my summer holiday and July has flown by so quickly, so it's time for my June - July wrap-up.

*War and Wind (e-arc) - Alex Lidell - 4 stars. I was really happy when I recieved my review copy in exchange for an honest review.
I really enjoyed Air and Ash, (review here) so I was really looking forward to reading War and Wind. I enjoyed the second book just as much, if not more than the first one. We get to see a lot more of all of the beloved characters: Nile, Domenic, Catsper. We also got to meet some new characters, who were very interesting - even though some got on my nerves because of what they did (not because of how they were written!). I still hate captain Rima with a passion - even more so than in book 1. He is such a manipulative bastard!
There were so many plot twists I didn't always see coming and I was very pleasantly surprised by them. They kept me intrigued and made me want to keep reading. I loved Domenic even more as a character because of how he is willing to sacrifice his own happiness in order to give Nile her 'happy ending'.
The ending was the perfect stepping stone to the third book and I can't wait to read that.

*A Thousand Pieces of You - Claudia Gray - 5 stars. I've had this book on my TBR for quite a while now and I finally felt like picking it up. I loved this story very much - I alternated between reading the physical book and listening to the audiobook and that definitely added to the great reading experience. I don't think I've ever read a story about interdimensional travel and it really intrigued me. I loved Marguerites character - even though she made some stupid mistakes - and I liked her interaction with Paul. I liked this book so much I immediately ordered the second and third book so I could binge read them and I hardly ever do that!

*Ten Thousand Skies Above You - Claudia Gray - 4 stars. The second book in the Firebird trilogy was just as fast-paced as the first one. I really enjoyed seeing the different universes and how Marguerites, Theo's and Pauls stories develop there. Not as good as the first one, but still a solid 4 star read.

*A Million Worlds With You - Claudia Gray - 4.5 stars. The fact that I read all three books in this trilogy back to back is saying something. This was a very solid conclusion. I have to admit it was sometimes a bit confusing to know which Marguerite we were following but I enjoyed this nonetheless.
I'll be doing a review of the trilogy and link it here once it's up.

*Bad Romeo (e-book) - Leisa Rayven - 3.5 stars. I liked the story, but it did have some clichés and one of the main characters was very, very angsty. I, nonetheless, will continue with the series.

*Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raash (reread) - 4 stars. I buddy (re)read this with one of my pupils. When I read it the first time I gave it 4.5 stars, but this time I'm taking off another 0.5 star because I found there to be some clichés I didn't pick up the first time around. However, I still enjoyed it very much.

*Written in Red - Anne Bishop - 5 stars. This is one of the best books I've read this year and it will definitely make my top 10 of 2017. The interaction between the Others (shapeshifters) in the Lakeside Courtyard, Meg (the squeeky toy) and some of the other humans is great and refreshing. Finally a book where vampires actually enjoy being vampires :-)
(I'll be posting a full review later.)

*Second position (e-book) - Katherine Locke - 4.5 stars. This is the second NA novel about artists that I've read this month (the first one being Bad Romeo) and I have to say I enjoyed this one a whole lot more. I read this book for the #OWBookclub and the theme for July was mental health and disability.
This book deals with topics of mental health and disability in a very human and realistic way. At least it feels realistic to me since I don't suffer from any mental health problems or disabilities. To me it felt like the problems were dealt with in a sincere way, without glossing over it or exagerating things. I loved the conversations between Aly and dr. Ham.
The way the relationship between Aly and Zed progresses and develops was at a much slower pace than in other NA novels and that was good. Given their history together, it wouldn't have felt right if everything went back to normal from the start. I also like how 'normal' they act, they do every day things.
Both their professions - Aly being a ballet dancer and Zed being a teacher - appealed to me very much.
The only thing that didn't feel completely necesarry for me was the 'epilogue', the interview Aly gave. I'm definitely going to read the sequel.

*Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (reread - audiobook) - J.K. Rowling - 5 stars. 
The way Stephen Fry did the voice of Umbridge made me hate her even more than I did when reading the book for the first time.

*The Unexpected Everything - Morgan Matson - 3.5 star. Definitely not the best book by Morgan Matson. The story was too long and it dragged at times. It was a cute read, but I fear Morgan is starting to use the same 'concept' in her stories. What I did really like, however, was the appearance of previous characters and places. It makes it more fun to read the books in publication order.
I'm very happy with my reading over the last two months even if there were some books I didn't enjoy as much as others.

What was your favourite book of June of July? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Monday, 31 July 2017

The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh - spoiler-free review.

Hi booklovers

Today I want to review The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh. This is a very hard book to review. Up until page 342 this was a mèh - okayish book and I could understand the mixed reviews it was getting. The last 40 pages however turned this from a 2.75 stars read into a 3.75 stars read and all it took was a little confession. I read this for the #OWBookclub for March - the theme was Fairytale Retellings - but I didn’t finish it before the end of March.

Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renee Ahdieh
Genre: YA, fantasy, retellings
Format: paperback
Every night the Caliph of Khorasan – Khalid – takes a new bride and every morning the girl is found dead. Shahrzad’s best friend is one of the victims and she seeks revenge. She volunteers to be Khalid’s next bride so she can end his reign of terror. Through her storytelling she manages to stay alive, but she soon finds out there is more to Khalids actions than meets the eye.

-Shahrzad: This is a hard character to ‘rate’: on the one hand she is strong and determined to go through with her plan but on the other hand she is also very fickle and indecisive. Sometimes she was quirky and smart-tongued but at other times she was just downright childish.
I also found it very unconvincing that she changed her mind about Khalid almost overnight.
-Khalid: He is a very ‘hard to read’ character. The moment he finally opened up to Shazi and told her why he has to kill these young women was the moment the story finally grabbed me. Unfortunately, there were only about 40 pages of the book left by that time :-s
-Jalal: He is both arrogant and very honest – well, most of the time anyway.
-Tariq: I didn’t like him at all.
Shazi specifically said she’s nobody’s possession, but I found Tariq to be very possessive – even more so than Khalid - and I didn't like that!
-Despira: A quirky character who wears her heart on her sleeve.
*Plot/worldbuilding/overall rating:
Like I said it took the story 342 out of the 388 pages to fully grab my attention, which is a pretty long time. I am, however, glad I didn’t DNF the book because the cliffhanger ending made me curious enough to want to pick up the sequel. I do sincerely hope that story grabs me from the start.
3.75 stars

Have you read this book? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Waterstones / Sterling Books book haul.

Hi booklovers

At the beginning of June I went to Waterstones and Sterling Books with one of my best friends and of course we both bought some books.

Let's take a look at what I got:

*Sterling books:


Have you read any of these? What did you think of it?
What books did you get in July? Let me know in the comments.
Bye for now

Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas - spoiler free review.

Hi booklovers

Last year during the summer I participated in the Fantasy Favourites Read-A-Thon and I was supposed to read Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, but it had been so long since I had read Heir of Fire that I couldn't remember enough of the story, so I stopped reading it and never picked it up again. The theme for February for the #OWBookclub was 'Badass females' and I thought Celaena Sardothien was pretty badass from what I could remember of the first three books. Also, I want to be all caught up with the series by the time the last book in the series comes out. But like everyone else I found out that the book about Chaol will be published in September and the final book in the series has been pushed back to 2018. At least now I don't have to rush to get through the other books and get myself into a reading slump. Binge-reading books in a series and I usually don't get along, unless they are very good books that aren't too long (i.e. less than 400 pages). Anyway, long intro, let's get into the actual review.

Title: Throne of Glass
Author: Sarah J. Maas
Genre: YA, fantasy
After spending a year in the salt mines of Endovier, Celaena Sardothien is given a chance to win back her freedom by becoming the king of Adarlan's champion. To become the champion, however, she has to defeat a number of other assassins and thieves. Throughout the story she regains her strength, both mentally and physically and she grows into her role as future champion.

-Celaena: oh my,  I had totally forgotten how arrogant and shallow she is at the beginning of the book. At times she cares more about how she looks than anything else. True, she’s a good assassin and she regains her strength throughout the book, but she was still so unbelievably shallow at times.
-Dorian: he is the Crown Prince of Adarlan. He has chosen Celaena to be his father’s champion. He’s at a marriageable age and his mother keeps pressuring him to choose a bride. Dorian, on the other hand doesn’t want to think about that just yet. Of course, he is immediately intrigued by Celaena and of course, he falls in love with her. Some might think this is a spoiler, but you can actually see that plotline developping a mile off. I did enjoy the way Dorian and Celaena interacted and bantered.

-Chaol: captain Westfall is to be Calaena’s personal trainer to help her get ready for the competition. At first he only sees her as an assassin, but as time goes by he starts to see her as a young and vulnerable girl. Of course, it doesn’t take him long either to develop feelings for her. Again, no spoiler, it’s an obvious plot development. With these two, I also liked how they interacted and bantered. Chaol is the complete opposite of Dorian, always serious and taking his duties very much to heart.

-Nehemia: she is a foreign princess who has come to the Adarlan court. She quickly befriends Celaena since Celaena both speaks and understands Eyllwe. Nehemia is a very strong person who is not always who she appears to be, but she proves herself to be a true friend.

-Elena: The spirit of the long dead queen of Adarlan. She gives Celaena the task of vanquishing the evil roaming the castle’s hallways.
*Plot/worldbuilding/overall rating:
There were some things I really liked about this book: it was fast-paced and action-packed at times. I really liked the characters of Nehemia and Elena. The story was good, however, it does have its flaws. There was too much emphasis on Celaena’s beauty. After reading about it five times, we get it already, you don’t have to repeat it a gazillion more times. Like I said, I found Celaena to be very arrogant and shallow. Granted, her name still bestows fear in the hearts of a lot of people, but, she did get caught and she did end up in Endovier. I also disliked the obvious YA trope of the love triangle. Like I said before, this is no spoiler, it is blatantly obvious the story is going to develop like that. I found the world building to be a bit lacking since we get to see little of the country.

*Audiobook experience:
While I was looking for a book to use my audible credit on, I stumbled upon this one and I decided to listen to a sample of it. I immediately recognized the voice-actress as the one who also read the part of Nina in Six of Crows. I really enjoyed her voice-acting and since I wanted to do a reread of the series, I thought I’d give it a go. It was a really good experience, although I do have to admit that I sometimes found it hard to know when the story switched POV’s.
Have you read this book / series? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.
Bye for now

Friday, 14 July 2017

Heartless by Marissa Meyer - spoiler-free review.

Hi booklovers

I'm finally going to try and catch up with my reviews (I'm not making any promises, though) so today I'll be reviewing a book I read in January for the #OWBookclub: Heartless by Marissa Meyer. The theme for that month was 'Fantasy'.

Title: Heartless
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, fantasy, retelling
Format: hardback
This book tells the story of the Queen of Hearts before she became the Queen of Hearts. This is the story of Catherine, the daughter of a marquess, who loves baking and dreams of one day opening her own bakery with her maid and best friend Mary-Anne. The King of Hearts is very fond of sweets and all things baked, so he wants to marry Catherine. And then we have Jest, the court's joker/jester who is very intrigued by Catherine and vice versa.

-Catherine: You know, I never thought I would actually say this but I genuinly feel sorry for Catherine and I 'understand' how she came to be the evil queen she is in 'Alice in Wonderland'. We see her going trhough so many changes - not always for the better - and you can't even blame her for it. I loved how - even though she tries to stay strong-minded - she also has her doubts. She tries to be her own person. Even though Marissa Meyer said she has taken a lot of liberties with the social rules and norms of Victorian England I feel like you get to see what it was like to be a young girl having your own dreams put aside because you were eligible for marriage.

-Jest: Oh sweet, funny, poor Jest. He is such a versatile charachter with all the struggles he goes trough from being in love with the girl he can't have to being the joker of an unbearably silly king and SPOILER his mission for the White Queen.

-Raven: Intriguing is the word I would use to describe this bird.

-Hatta: The entire time I was reading the book I kept picturing Johnny Depp as Hatta.
He's different from the 'original' Mad Hatter because he hasn't gone mad yet, but they're also very much alike because he is so peculiar.

-The King: The stupidity and foolishness of this man are so unbearable at times - which means he's a well-written character - that I wanted to smack him on the head several times!

-The marchioness: She reminded me of Mrs. Bennet from Pride and Prejudice in the way she behaved to make sure her daughter would marry the king. She got on my nerves several times.

*Plot/world building/overall rating:
This book was wonderful. Maybe it was a bit slow at first but the last half of the book really made the book perfect. Marissa Meyer really is the queen of fairy-tale retellings. She has turned this book into such a believable story that I truly felt for the characters. The portrayel of Catherine will even make me look differently at the 'original' Queen of Hearts from now on. Don't get me wrong, she is still an evil queen, but I feel like this 'explanation' has made me understand why she is who she is.
She litteraly turned evil and cold-hearted overnight, but it was still done incredibly believable and well-written. The story went from being warm and fuzzy to cruel and evil in a couple of chapters and it felt real.

I think Lewis Caroll would have approved of this prequel story. I also loved the references to the original Alice in Wonderland story and how Meyer took little details from the original story and weaved them in perfectly. I have to admit I was a bit nervous to read this book because I really love Alice in Wonderland but it didn't disappoint. It was so unbelievably good that this book has cemented Meyer's place on my auto-buy authors list.
Have you read this? What did you think of it? Let me know in the comments.

Bye for now


Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Fairyloot #4 - June 2017

Hi booklovers

The theme for the June Fairyloot was 'Elementalists' and this is my unboxing. Enjoy!

The stunning info card
A Stormheart candle by Witchwood Remedies
(I got Thunderstorm)
An Avatar the Last Airbender lip balm from Geeky Clean
(I got water bender) 
 A Hamsa Hand bracelet from In The Moment
A Clairvoyance soap from Ascent Bath and Body
Fairyloot exclusive potion sticky notes
(these are adorable)

Portable Magic pillowcase by Miss Phy
A promo card for Frost Blood 
A chapter sampler
And the June book is Roar by Cora Carmack
A letter from the author
Full unboxing

A lot of people raved about this box, but to be honest, this wasn't my favourite box. I am, however, very excited to read the book, because I've read Cora Carmack's NA stories, I'm curious to see what she did with this one :-)
July's theme is 'Tricksters'. I have absolutely no idea what the book could be :-)
Bye for now

Friday, 23 June 2017

2017 TBR Books Shame Tag - update

Hi booklovers

Since we are almost at the end of June, I thought I'd give you an update on how I'm doing with making a dent in my TBR.

Currently reading
Added in 2017

TBR list - physical books:

*Renee Ahdieh - The Wrath and the Dawn

*Josephine Angelini -Trial By Fire

*Brodi Ashton - Everneath

*Jane Austen - Emma
                      Mansfield Park
                      Pride and Prejudice
                      Sense and Sensibility

*Anne Bishop - Written in Red
                       Murder of Crows

*Malorie Blackman - Noughts & crosses

*Alexandra Bracken - The Darkest Minds

*Anne Brontë - The Tenant of Wildfell Hall

*Emily Brontë - Wuthering Heights

*Charlotte Brontë - Jane Eyre

*Terry Brooks - Het Zwaard van Shannara
                       Het Wenslied van Shannara
                       De Elfenstenen van Shannara
                       De Nazaten van Shannara
                       De Druide van Shannara
                       De Elfenkoningin van Shannara
                       De Wakers van Shannara
                       De Eerste Koning van Shannara
                       De heks van Shannara
                       Antrax (English)
                       De Schaduw van Shannara
                       Jarka Ruus
                       Straken (English)
                       Dragers van de zwarte staf 
                       De Elfen van Cintra
                       Vluchtelingen van Shannara

*Trudi Canavan - The Magician's Apprentice
                          Priestess of the White
                          Last of the Wilds
                          Voice of the Gods

*Cora Carmack - Roar
*Blake Charlton - Spellwright

*Cassandra Clare - City of Lost Souls
                            City of Heavenly Fire
                            Clockwork Prince
                            Clockwork Princess

*Susanna Clarke - Jonathan Strange & Mr. Norrell

*Jenny Colgan - Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe

*Susan Denard - Something strange and deadly

*Charles Dickens - David Copperfield
                            Nicholas Nickleby
                            The Old Curiosity shop

*Anne Easter Smith - Daughter of York

*Stephanie Garber - Caraval

*Elisabeth Gaskell - Cranford
                              Return to Cranford

*Sophie Gee - The Scandal of the Season

*Alison Goodman - Eon

*Seth Graham-Smith - Abraham Lincoln, Vampire Hunter
                                  The Last American Vampire

*Claudia Gray -A Thousand Pieces of You
                       Ten Thousand Skies Above You (added in 2017)
                       A Million Worlds With You (added in 2017)

*John Green - Let it snow

*Philippa Gregory - The Kingmaker's Daughter
                             The White Princess
                             The Other Queen
                             The Favoured child

*John Gwynne - Malice

* Alwyn Hamilton - Rebel of the Sands

*Bernhard Hennen - De elfen

* Wendy Higgins - The Great Hunt

*Robin Hobb - Royal Assassin

*A.G. Howard - Unhinged

*An Janssens - Drakentovenaar

*Erika Johansen - The Invasion of the Tearling
                           The Fate of the Tearling

*Robert Jordan - The World of Robert Jordan's The Wheel of Time
                         The Shadow Rising
                         The Fires of Heaven
                         Lords of Chaos
                         A Crown of Swords
                         The Path of Daggers
                         Winter's Heart
                         Crossroads of Twilight
                         Knife of Dreams
                         The Gathering Storm
                         Towers of Midnight
                         A Memory of Light

*Sophie Jordan - Firelight

*Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff - Gemina

*Kody Keplinger - The DUFF

*Robert J. King - Artifacts Cycle I: The Thram & The brother's War

*Kristian Giles - Raven Blood Eye

*Stephanie Laurens - The Lady Risks all

*Mark Lawrence - Prince of Thorns

*Theo Lawrence - Mystic City

*Scott Lynch - The Lies of Locke Lamore

*J. Lynn - Wait For You

*Sarah J. Maas - Queen of Shadows
                      - Empire of Storms

                      - A Court of Wings and Ruin (added in 2017)

*Gail Z. Martin - Sworn

*George R.R. Martin - A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow
                                A Storm of Swords: Blood and Gold
                                A Feast for Crows
                                A Dance with Dragons
                                De ijsdraak

*Taran Matharu - The Novice

*Morgan Matson - The Unexpected Everything

*Louise May Alcott - Little Women & Good Wives

*Marissa Meyer - Winter
                          Stars Above

*Richelle Mead - Bloodlines

*Jennifer Niven - All the bright places

*Garth Nix - Clariel (Eng)

*Christopher Paoline - Brisingr

*Alexey Pehov - Shadow Prowler

*Stephanie Perkins - My true love gave to me (I've read some of the stories)

*Jodie Picoult and Samantha Van Leer - Between the lines

*Sara Porter - Vasa in the Night

*Terry Pratchett - The Colour of Magic

*Sara Raasch - Frost Like Night

*Laura Resnick - A Planeswalker Novel: The Purifying Fire

*Morgan Rodes - Frozen Tides

*Patrick Rothfuss - The Name of the Wind

*Rainbow Roweell - Attachements

*J.K. Rowling - The Tales of Beedle the Bard

*Angie Sage - Magyk

*Brandon Sanderson - The Final Empire
                                 The Well of Ascension
                                 The Hero of Ages

*Andrezj Sapkowski - De Laatste Wens
                                Het zwaard van het lot

*F. Scott Fitzgeral - De Grote Gatsby

*Victoria Scott - Fire & Flood

*Samantha Shannon - The Bone Season

*Neal Shusterman - Scythe

*Evelyn Skye - The Crown's Game

*Megan Spooner and Amie Kaufman - These Broken Stars

*Maggie Stiefvater - The Raven Boys

*Matthew Sturges - Midwinter
                             The Office of Shadow

*Michael J. Sullivan - The Crown Tower

*Laini Taylor - Daughter of Smoke And Bone
                   - Strange the Dreamer

*J.R.R. Tolkien - The Two Towers
                         The Return of the King
                         The Silmarillion
                         The Unfinished Tales

*Brent Weeks - The Way of Shadows

*Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman -
                                                  Draken van de herfstschemer
                                                  Draken van de winternacht
                                                  Draken van de lentedooi
                                                  Het tijdperk van de tweeling
                                                  De strijd van de tweeling
                                                  De Beproeving van de tweeling
                                                  Bones of the Dragon
                                                  Secrets of the Dragon
                                                  De Furie van de Draak
                                                 Dragons of the Dwarven Depths
                                                 Dragons of the Highlord Skies
                                                  Wachters van de leegte
                                                  Reis voorbij het einde
                                              De schepping van het doodszwaard
                                              De doem van het dooszwaard
                                              De triomf van het doodszwaard
                                              De erfenis van het doodszwaard

*Tad Williams - De Drakentroon
                       De Steen des Afscheids
                       De Groene Engeltoren: De Belegering
                       De Groene Engeltoren: Het Ontzet

In January I had 170 unread physical books on my shelves. Since then I've bought 10 new physical books and I've read 8, so all in all, I'm not doing great in making a dent in my TBR, but I have picked up books that I've had on my TBR for a while.

I haven't included my e-books in this list, but I've been reading a lot of review e-books these past couple of months, which is really cool.

I'm curious to see how many books I'll be able to cross out from this list by the end of December :-) (and how many more I'll have added by then :-s )

Bye for now