Sunday, July 31, 2011

This Perfect Kiss by Melody Thomas

Title/Author: This Perfect Kiss by Melody Thomas
Publisher/Date published: Avon, July 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It was the moment she had been dreaming of: a stolen kiss at a masquerade ball with the dashing Camden St. Giles. He may not have known who she was, but Christel would never forget...
Nine years have passed since that magical evening. Now Camden, the seventh earl of Carrick, is widowed with a young daughter, a man with a heart in need of healing. And Christel has just stolen onboard his ship bound for Scotland. Neither has forgotten the kiss that had set their hearts ablaze. The longer she remains with him, the hotter his desire burns. But as they grasp their second chance at love, will the secrets from his past threaten to destroy the one love true enough to free his tormented heart?"

As you guys probably already know, I read a fair amount of historical romance. And I always appreciate when the main characters have a history other than: 'ooh, I saw you from across the ballroom 5 seconds ago'. I mean, sure, I love me some love at first sight (though it's usually more like lust at first sight, but still), but I appreciate it when there's already some history there.
Another thing I also appreciate: the book spanning more than 3 days. Really, you can't fall in love in 3 days. You can't. I don't care what you say and I have probably read and enjoyed books this happens in, but still, it's not possible.

And this book had both: history AND a believable amount of time passing! YAY!

I actually had really high expectations after I started reading this. There were some moments with wonderful tension and they didn't just fall onto each other from the start and there was some real source of conflict and well, it just looked like such a winner.

And then it was still enjoyable, but I'd anticipated this story would make me cry. I really thought it would, because it had all the key ingredients. But for all the things they could have fought over, they just got swept off the table somehow. Christel is pretty adamant Camden can't marry her because she was born out of wedlock and then she just say: ok, sure, I'll marry you. I didn't really understand. I mean, I thought she would refuse or just leave and that he had to chase after her. This is where I expected myself to cry. But it didn't happen. Sadly.

This story really had the potential to be amazing, breathtaking, tear-inducing and now it was just enjoyable, which is a shame. But still it was a nice read and I liked that Christel wasn't some damsel in distress, she even dueled!

My rating: 3 stars

Friday, July 29, 2011

Feast by Merrie Destefano

Title/Author: Feast by Merrie Destefano
Publisher/Date published: HarperVoyager, July 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Halloween is a bad time to return to the woods...
Madeline MacFaddin ("Mad Mac" to fans of her bestselling magical stories) spent blissful childhood summers in Ticonderoga Falls. And this is where she wants to be now that her adult life is falling apart. The dense surrounding forest holds many memories, some joyous, some tantalizingly only half-remembered. And she's always believed there was something living in these wooded hills.
But Maddie doesn't remember the dark parts — and knows nothing of the mountain legend that holds the area's terrified residents captive. She has no recollection of Ash, the strange and magnificent creature who once saved her life as a child, even though it is the destiny of his kind to prey upon humanity. And soon it will be the harvest ... the time to feast.
Once again Maddie's dreams — and her soul — are in grave danger. But magic runs deep during harvest. Even a spinner of enchanted tales has wondrous powers of her own..."

I just realised I'd never read Urban Fantasy before. Or, at least, I think I haven't. And I have to say, I don't think it's really my genre.

I did however enjoy this book. It was really different from what I usually read. I tend to lean more towards paranormal romance or fantasy. The Darklings, as the beings who sort of eat dreams to survive, are pretty interesting. Starting this novel, I did feel like I'd missed something. Like this was the second book in the series and everybody else already knows all about Darklings and their powers and such, cause very little information is provided. I still feel like I don't really understand them and that is a bit frustrating.

The POV switches from chapter to chapter and though everyone has their distinctive voice, sometimes it was a bit hard to keep up. Even the 'bad guy' gets chapters from his POV and I really appreciated that. The switching did mean I didn't connect so well to Maddie, but it was enough for me to enjoy the story.

My favourite character was probably Samwise, Maddie's dog. He is AWESOME! Seriously, he turns into a werebeast after biting one of the Darklings and he's just so cool. And adorable. Well, maybe not when he's a werebeast, but he only turns huge monster to protect Maddie and her son, so it's all good.

I didn't really get the actions of the Darklings sometimes, there was an attack on Maddie (the one where Samwise bites a Darkling) that I couldn't understand and the reaction to it all of the people living in the town was also not really normal. And I still don't know why exactly the Hunt was being held and GAH! I have so many questions left and it doesn't really look like this is part of a series...

But I did enjoy this story for what it was, confusing and all. Though I don't think I'll be starting to read much Urban Fantasy, I think it's just not my genre. Still: enjoyable book! And brownie points for having an adorable dog in it.

My rating: 3 stars

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Tunes On Thursday (5)

I've been going through all the music I have on my computer and discovered some songs I hadn't listened to in a while but still love, love, LOVE!!

I LOVE Lifehouse! I think this song was on a Grey's Anatomy episode, but I'm not sure. Still: LOVE!

This is a leftover from my punkrock-fase. Let's call it a fase. I was about 14 I think.

Anything good catch your ear recently?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Homecoming by Cathy Kelly

Title/Author: Homecoming by Cathy Kelly
Publisher/Date published: Gallery Books, July 10th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "Eleanor Levine left Ireland seventy years ago with little more than a suitcase and her mother's handwritten recipe book. Now, a lifetime later, she's returning from New York with hard won wisdom and memories of her own. A renowned psychoanalyst, Eleanor knows there's one final journey she has to make...
Lovely young actress Megan Bouchier didn't have to chase success - it arrived effortlessly. Fame was what she always wanted until a disastrous affair made her the wrong kind of headlines - now Megan needs a place to hide...
Darkly beautiful Rae is a wonderful wife, a loyal friend and a dedicated community carer. From Titania's Tea Rooms she dispenses tea and sympathy to everyone - until a painful secret from her past threatens everything she holds dear.
Big-hearted teacher Connie O'Callaghan has given up on love. She's cheerfully approaching forty and besides, why does no man ever match the heroes in her beloved romantic novels?
As Eleanor re-reads her mother's comforting words and watches life unfold from her window in Dublin's pretty Golden Square, she slowly becomes drawn into the lives of Megan, Rae and Connie. But can treasured wisdom handed down from mother to daughter really be relevant today? And what are the ingredients for a life well lived?"

I jumped at the chance to read the newest Cathy Kelly book as I've devoured her novels in the past. She writes sweet chicklit that both me and my mother enjoy reading.

As you can see from the long summary, there's a lot going on in this book. And reading that summary it made me a bit anxious, cause with so much going on, how can you really get into the characters? Get to really know the main character, since you have 4? I so love to connect with them and I remember that in the past when I read Kelly's novels, I usually only really connected with one of her main characters (she usually has about 3). And this time for me it was Connie I connected to.

Connie is a lovely, caring person who thinks that because she's 39 and single, she's on the shelf for life. She lives with her younger sister and teaches at a girls' school. Of course she falls for the single dad, Steve, living in the same building. I loved Steve's daughter Ella, though I did think she sounded a bit younger than her age.

I enjoyed the stories about the other women as well, except maybe for Eleanor's. Eleanor is the wise older woman (84) who sort of guides these women. I could have done without her character, as I felt she didn't really add to the storyline. At the start of every chapter there were fragments from the book Eleanor's mother had written for her and I could have easily done without them as well. They slowed the story down for me.

The book is over 400 pages and still I had the feeling that some things were rushed. Especially the part where Connie and Steve's romance come in, I would have loved to read more about them together. Connie's story could have been a book in itself, and would have been wonderful in my opinion.

While I enjoyed the book, I didn't feel involved in these people's lives, and the switching point of view made me feel like I was missing things. I enjoyed some of Kelly's previous books more than I did this one.

My rating: 3 stars

Monday, July 25, 2011

Legacy by Cayla Kluver

Title/Author: Legacy (Legacy #1) by Cayla Kluver
Publisher/Date published: Harlequin Teen, June 28th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "In her seventeenth year, Princess Alera of Hytanica faces one duty: to marry the man who will be king. But her father's choice of suitor fills her with despair.
When the palace guard captures and intruder — a boy her age with steel-blue eyes, hailing from her kingdom's greatest enemy — Alera is alarmed... and intrigued. But she could not have guessed that their clandestine meetings would unveil the dark legacy shadowing both their lands.
In this mystical world of court conspiracies and blood magic, loyalties will be tested. Courage won't be enough. And as the battle begins for everything Alera holds dear, love may be the downfall of a kingdom."

I'm not sure how to write this review, there were parts of this book I really, really liked and others that I didn't like so much.

The writing was engaging and I felt like I could really connect with Alera. Which is so, so important to me! If I can't connect, you can't make me read a book that's almost 500 pages long. That's right, it was almost 500 pages! There aren't that many YA books out there that have a page count like that.

And that's also one of the things I didn't like so much. Don't get me wrong, I'm all for longer books, cause I invest into getting into a story and I like staying with those characters for a while. But there wasn't all that much happening in this book. I mean, a significant amount of pages would pass between the actual action. And I don't even mean major action, just small stuff.

I really liked Alera, Narian and London, Alera's bodyguard until she does something REALLY stupid. The rest of the secondary characters were a bit lacking in development in my opinion. Especially Steldor (who I kept thinking of as Sheldor, but I watch too much Big Bang Theory), who Alera's father wants her to marry. He's weird and inconsistent and seems somewhat evil, but everyone is convinced he's in love with Alera. It was weird and I didn't like him.

I would have liked a bit more information about the whole prophecy/curse, because let's be honest, there was enough room for it in the book and I'm really interested to find out what exactly is going on.

If you read it, towards the ending I was constantly thinking: SOMETHING is going to happen. I don't care what, but it'll stop BIG EVENT (trying to remain spoiler-free here). And then the book ended and I was thinking: NOOOOO!
Okay, I can't help myself: ***SPOILER, light up to read***
Seriously, I even thought maybe Steldor would be killed during the wedding as they were invaded through the secret tunnel, because why else was it mentioned before??? I was so sure Narian would show up BEFORE they got married. What's up with him leaving anyway? Do you guys think he saw Alera and Steldor kiss on Steldor's birthday and decided to split?
***End of spoiler***

So, I had some slight issues with this book, but overall I really enjoyed it. It's been awhile since I read a YA fantasy and I really love fantasy as a genre. On Goodreads it says the sequel will be out sometime in 2011 and I hope that's true, cause seriously, I NEED to read the second book and find out what happens next!

My rating: 4 stars

Sunday, July 24, 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

Holy crap, it's been 3,5 months since I last did an IMM! So this'll be pretty massive. Though not as massive as it could have been if public transportation hadn't failed in bringing me to a book sale I had planned to go to...

Anyway, I'm bound to forget some books I got, but I'll try to get them all in this post. So this is basically 3,5 months of books, beware.


I kind of splurged a bit as a reward for passing the test at the end of my last internship, this is the result:

-The Other Countess by Eve Edwards: SOOO looking forward to this one! There aren't that many YA historical romances to go around so I'm really excited to get to this one!
-Sirenz by Charlotte Bennardo & Natalie Zaman: Greek mythology is awesome and this sounds like such a cute read!

-Waterfall by Lisa T. Bergren: I've heard great things about this book and it sounds awesome, so glad to have it waiting on me now!
-Divergent by Veronica Roth: really, how could any selfrespecting YA dystopian lover NOT be tempted to get this one?? And my wonky old camera has managed to make the cover even funkier. I'm dying to read this one!

-Mermaid by Carolyn Turgeon: I actually WON this about 3 months ago in a giveaway by Amy from Passages to the Past, I know I've said it before, but THANK YOU AMY!! I LOVE mermaids and this book sounds right up my alley!
-To The Moon and Back by Jill Mansell: seriously, I don't get why she's not better known in the US, cause she is AMAZING! I have her on auto-buy, she's one of the reigning ladies in chicklit in my opinion and here in Holland we love her. I haven't read this one yet, but she's never disappointed me before.

-Dael and the Painted People by Allan Richard Schickman: I got this one for review, it's the third book in the Zan Gah series and I enjoyed the first one.

-Master Magician series book 1-6 by W.J. Maryson: these came in the mail Tuesday and I'm so, SO happy! Seriously, it's a fantasy series in Dutch and I read them back when I was 12 or so. BUT they're out of print and for the past few years I've been looking EVERYWHERE for them and now found a set that was maybe gently used. I'm looking forward to rereading them, it's been a LONG time!

Seriously, 3,5 months of requests is too much to add here, so I'll highlight a few notables:

-The Juliet Spell by Douglas Rees
-Eve by Anna Carey
-The Twilight of Lake Woebegotten by Harrison Geillor: I almost never read parodies, but this sounded too fun to resist!

-Vanish by Sophie Jordan
-A Beautiful Dark by Jocelyn Davies: I seriously squealed when I got this one! It sounds awesome!
-The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson: I officially do not appreciate the cover change, this one is so much prettier!

-The Mephisto Convenant by Trinity Faegen
-Wisdom's Kiss by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
-The Traitor's Wife by Kathleen KentI LOVED The Heretic's Daughter by the same author, so excited to be reading this!

-Legacy by Cayla Kluver: I'm currently reading this, about 50 pages in, so far it's good!
-Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz: already reviewed this one, it was really good!
-The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly


-Fury by Elizabeth Miles: I think this book will rock my socks off!
-Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt: already read this, highly enjoyable!
-Wildefire by Karsten Knight: already read, review will be up soon.

Huge THANK YOU to all the publishers!'

So, while that wasn't ALL I've managed to collect in 3,5 months, I can't list everything, that would make this post way too long.
Anyway, have you read any of the books I got? Recommendations as to what I should read first? And what did you get in your mailbox?

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase

Title/Author: Silk Is For Seduction by Loretta Chase
Publisher/Date published: Avon, June 28th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Brilliant and ambitious dressmaker Marcelline Noirot is London's rising star. And who better to benefit from her talent than the worst-dressed lady in the ton, the Duke of Clevedon's intended bride? Winning the future duchess's patronage means prestige and fortune for Marcelline and her sisters. To get to the lady, though, Marcelline must win over Clevedon, whose standards are as high as his morals are... not.
The prize seems well worth the risk — but this time Marcelline's met her match. Clevedon can design a seduction as irresistible as her dresses; and what begins as a flicker of desire between two of the most passionately stubborn charmers in London soon ignites into a delicious inferno... and a blazing scandal.
And now both their futures hang by an exquisite thread of silk..."

There were lots of beautiful dresses in this book! Gosh, it makes me want to go shop and just BUY beautiful dresses. Sadly, I'm a broke medical intern. So no excessive shopping for me. But I can live vicariously through this book! Seriously, the dresses sound absolutely stunning!

And if you wouldn't read it for the fabulous fashion (see, I can do alliteration), you could for the heartstopping romance! OMG, it was just so good! They are both amazingly flawed characters and I just loved it. They fitted together so perfectly and the chemistry was just... so good!

Clevedon made me swoon with his caring for Marcelline's little girl and for Marcelline herself. Seriously, it was a good thing noone was around while I was reading this, cause I had tears in my eyes and must have looked a little crazy towards the end when I just had to keep reading to finish the book before I had to leave for class.

I'd never read anything by Loretta Chase before, but I sure will again after this book! I so love me a strong but sweet male character and this book had one for me. Though his name did make me gag a bit: Gervase. Seriously, I'm glad we didn't get to know that until right before the end, because it took some of his attractiveness away for me.
But: really good historical romance! Go read if you enjoy the genre!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Queen of the Dead by Stacey Kade

Title/Author: Queen of the Dead (The Ghost and the Goth #2) by Stacey Kade
Publisher/Date published: Hyperion, May 31st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "After being sent back from the light, Alona Dare - former homecoming queen, current Queen of the Dead - finds herself doing something she never expected: working. Instead of spending days perfecting her tan by the pool (her typical summer routine when she was, you know, alive), Alona must now cater to the needs of other lost spirits. By her side for all of this - ugh - “helping of others” is Will Killian: social outcast, seer of the dead, and someone Alona cares about more than she’d like.
Before Alona can make a final ruling on Will’s “friend” or “more” status, though, she discovers trouble at home. Her mom is tossing out Alona’s most valuable possessions, and her dad is expecting a new daughter with his wicked wife. Is it possible her family is already moving on? Hello! She’s only been dead for two months! Thankfully, Alona knows just the guy who can put a stop to this mess.
Unfortunately for Alona, Will has other stuff on his mind, and Mina, a young (and beautiful) seer, is at the top of the list. She’s the first ghost-talker Will’s ever met — aside from his father — and she may hold answers to Will’s troubled past. But can she be trusted? Alona immediately puts a check mark in the “clearly not” column. But Will is - ahem - willing to find out, even if it means leaving a hurt and angry Alona to her own devices, which is never a good idea."

I really, really enjoyed the first book in this series. I mean, it was funny, with snarky characters and lighthearted and just all around a nice read. And I was so looking forward to reading this one. And then it fell a little short of my expectations.

I loved Alona in the first book and in this one it just seemed like for every step she'd gone forward in the last book, she took a million ones back in this one. She sort of devolved and it didn't work for me. It didn't help that I absolutely loved Will and Alona's scenes together and there were hardly any here. I still like Will though, he's just a good guy, though a bit confused and not always good with women, but that's part of his charm.

I thought the group of ghost-talkers Will meets was a bit creepy and weird. And abusive. I'm thinking we'll find out more about them in the next book, right now they seem like the bad guys. I couldn't really get into the newly introduced characters and I would have preferred if the focus had been more on Alona and Will. I missed their interaction and romance.

Without spoiling anything, I just want to say I'm not sure if I like the way the story is going. I mean, it's interesting and all, but it seems like a lot of innocent people will get hurt this way and well, I'm curious to see how it'll all turn out.

So, I did expect more/different, but that doesn't in any way mean this book wasn't enjoyable. It really was, I still like the main characters and the story has a nice flow to it. I just didn't enjoy it as much as the first book. But still good!

My rating: 3,5 stars

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

The Ghost and the Goth

Title/Author: The Ghost and the Goth (The Ghost and the Goth #1) by Stacey Kade
Publisher/Date published: Hyperion, June 29th 2010
How I got this book: own it

Goodreads summary: "After a close encounter with the front end of a school bus, Alona Dare goes from Homecoming Queen to Queen of the Dead. Now she’s stuck as a spirit in the land of the living with no sign of the big, bright light to take her away. To make matters worse, the only person who might be able to help her is Will Killian, a total loser outcast. He alone can see and hear (turns out he’s been “blessed” with the ability to communicate with the dead), but he wants nothing to do with the former mean girl of Groundsboro High.
Alona has never needed anyone for anything, and now she’s supposed to expose her deepest, darkest secrets to this pseudo-goth boy? Right. She’s not telling anyone what really happened the day she died, not even to save her eternal soul. And Will’s not filling out any volunteer forms to help her cross to the other side. He only has a few more weeks until his graduation, when he can strike out on his own and find a place with less spiritual interference. But he has to survive and stay out of the psych ward until then. Can they get over their mutual distrust — and the weird attraction between them — to work together before Alona vanishes for good and Will is locked up for seeing things that don’t exist?"

So, as I've also heard other people mention this book isn't meant to be deep. It's not. And that's completely fine with me, cause it was such a cute, relaxing read!

The ghost-lore in this book is pretty straight forward: some people linger after their death and Will can hear them and around him, they become solid. As in they can touch him and other things when they're near him. Though Will tries as hard as he can to keep this hidden. Cause, guess what, dying doesn't mean people get easier to handle. They all want something and have unfinished business and the only one able to hear them is Will.

I just loved both main characters. With every chapter you switch between their POV and it works. Alona is so snarky, it was hilarious! But that's not all there is to her, she's also smart and if she tries (really hard) she can be nice. And her life wasn't exactly the walk in the park it seemed like from the outside.
Will is a little rebellious, but underneath he is a good guy. A really good guy. Oh, and the title is sort of wrong: he's not a goth. He even says so himself, but I guess The Ghost and the 'boy-who's-not-actually-goth-but-perceived-as-such' doesn't make for a nice title.

Anyway, this was a quick, fun read and I'm looking forward to finding out what happens next for Alona and Will!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Monday, July 18, 2011

Music That Makes Monday Suck Less (4)

It's time for Music That Makes Monday Suck Less!! Probably the best title this feature has ever had :)

Okay, so seriously, sometime it's embarassing to admit, but I love most of Katy Perry's songs. They're so happy and they get stuck in my head. And now it can be stuck in your heads too! Hooray! :) The clip is a bit too silly for my taste though...

And this next song is just beautiful. And it's the music to the commercial for the digital camera I want.

So, that's it for me now, what are you guys listening too?

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz

Title/Author: Spellbound by Cara Lynn Shultz
Publisher/Date published: Harlequin Teen, June 28th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "What's a girl to do when meeting The One means she's cursed to die a horrible death?
Life hasn't been easy on sixteen-year-old Emma Connor, so a new start in New York may be just the change she needs. But the posh Upper East Side prep school she has to attend? Not so much. Friendly faces are few and far between, except for one that she's irresistibly drawn to — Brendan Salinger, the guy with the rock-star good looks and the richest kid in school, who might just be her very own white knight.
But even when Brendan inexplicably turns cold, Emma can't stop staring. Ever since she laid eyes on him, strange things have been happening. Streetlamps go out wherever she walks, and Emma's been having the oddest dreams: visions of herself in past lives — visions that warn her to stay away from Brendan. Or else."

I really, really enjoyed this book! I mean, it had it all: a likeable main character, her charming love-interest, intriguing legend, DRAMA and nice supporting characters.

Seriously, I REALLY enjoyed this book.

Ok, now I've gotten that off my chest, let's move onto the actual review. Emma Connor has been having a hard time, in the past two years her twin brother and her mother have passed away and she was left to stay with her alcoholic, violent stepfather. Until after he caused an accident DUI, she went to live with her aunt Christine, who is a prominent upper-east-sider. And finally a normal, caring person for Emma to come home to.

Emma hasn't let the past make her bitter and I liked that about her. Sure, her bullshit radar is sharp and she sniffs out guys that are bad news, but she wants to make new friends and have a somewhat normal life. Except normal isn't what life has planned for her. I really liked Emma. And Cisco, Angelique, Ashley and aunt Christine. And BRENDAN! BRENDAN! BRENDAN! So good you have to say it three times! Brendan is lovely, I'd stare into those green eyes forever given the chance.

The curse was so intriguing! I mean, imagine being cursed to die when you meet the ONE! And being predestined from birth to be with that one person and being so attracted to eachother that avoiding said person is physically impossible. I kind of guessed how the curse could be broken, it's really sweet and slightly cheesy, but it worked.

The whole story just worked and I was so rooting for Emma and Brendan to pull through it all! Oh and the bad guy was evil! EVIL! I wished really bad things onto him! There was an excerpt from another story surrounding Angelique at the end and I would LOVE to read that! I can't find it on Goodreads yet, but I'm keeping an eye out, because Angelique is awesome!

Oh, and this is one of the first paranormal romances I've read that's not part of a series! So if you're into a good story, but don't want to wait for the next book in a series, read this book!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Saturday, July 16, 2011

From Print To Screenplay (2): Austenland

So this is not a book compared to movie thing, this is me squeeling cause a book I loved is going to make it to the big screen!! YAY!!!

I really, really enjoyed Austenland, if you want you can check out my review of it I did a while ago.

I'm so hoping they'll do it right and not like some projects that had me cringing and saying 'You have to believe me: the book is amazing!' in embarassment. So yeah, hoping that's not gonna be necessary.

For more information, read this.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt

Title/Author: Sometimes It Happens by Lauren Barnholdt
Publisher/Date published: Simon Pulse, July 12th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "On the last day of her junior year, Hannah's boyfriend Sebastian dumped her. Facing a summer of loneliness, Hannah turns to her best friend Ava for comfort. Ava does what BFFs do: she stays by Hannah's side... until it's time for Ava to head up to Maine for the summer. Also left behind is Ava's boyfriend, Noah, who's such a great guy he gets Hannah a job at the diner he waits tables at. Slowly, Hannah comes out of her funk thanks to Noah's good conversation and their fun times at the diner. But things get complicated when their friendship turns into attraction - and one night, into a passionate kiss.
The novel opens on the first day of senior year; the day Hannah is going to see Ava, Sebastian, and Noah all in one place. Over the course of the day secrets and betrayals are revealed, and alliances are broken and reformed. In the end, everyone is paired up once again, but not the way you might think..."

The main character in this book, Hannah, does a Very. Bad. Thing. So bad it needs capitals. But, the title of the book is right: sometimes it happens. And then you have to deal with it. And I think Hannah dealt with what she did in the best possible way in the end.

I really liked Hannah. I know she did a bad thing, because it opens with the day after it happened and then you get flasbacks throughout the summer. But she's a really likeable girl. I mean, I could so remember myself at that age, obsessing about boys and what every little thing means, going as far as even analysing everything he said and the way it was said. I WAS that girl. I mean, she drives past her ex-boyfriend's house to check if the girl he cheated with is there. I remember biking around town to catch a glimpse of the guy I liked or going by the place he worked. Fortunately, my crushes rarely lived in the same town I did, else I probably would have gone mad.

And Noah. Gosh, I loved Noah. He sounded absolutely wonderful and I liked how they grew from being friends to more. They had great chemistry and I really liked the scenes. they had together.
I also really loved Lacey, I mean, come on, that girl is hilarious! And then there's Ava, Hannah's best friend. I didn't really feel sorry for her, because throughout the whole book I thought there was something wrong with their friendship. Hannah did the Very Bad Thing, but Ava wasn't a great friend either. Though of course that doesn't excuse it. But still.

This was such a fun read, it was perfect to de-stress with after my huge exam last Friday. There were some things that didn't flow perfectly, but overall I really enjoyed the book, it's a perfect summer read.
My rating: 4.5 stars

Thursday, July 14, 2011

I'm back!

Thanks to all for wishing me well on my trip! It worked :) Oh, and there'll probably be pictures somewhere in the future when I get everything in order around here.

So, after three wonderful days in Paris I came home to discover one of my windows broke while we were away. So now we have a hole in it covered by a plastic bag, cartboard, tape that's not really holding up and we sort of put a chair in front of it to make it stay. There's also a picture of this, cause I figured I'll probably be able to laugh about it in a couple of weeks. Or months.

Cause right now it really sucks.

BUT: Paris was amazing!! I loved it. Except for the traffic in Paris itself, OMG, it was like noone cared if they got a dent in their car or not! And we took my mom's brand new, shiny, red car and well, she told me to bring it back in one piece. Which we did, but we had some scary moments.

Anyway, I'm rambling. But I'm back and looking forward to catching up with all the posts, seriously, it's like my reader exploded when I was away.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Off To Paris!

Yes, I'm off to Paris for a couple of days! One of the perks of living in Holland: Paris is only a 5 hour drive away :)

This'll be my third time going, but the first time with my boyfriend and I'm looking forward to doing all the cheesy romantic stuff ;) And since it's France, I felt like I needed to pack stylish things. Which aren't necessarily my most convenient clothes, but I've packed some of those as well. I'll probably wear only 10% of what's actually in my bag...

I'll be back Thursday night, so we're not gone that long, but in the meantime: happy reading everybody!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Hereafter by Tara Hudson

Title/Author: Hereafter (Hereafter #1) by Tara Hudson
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, June 7th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Can there truly be love after death?
Drifting in the dark waters of a mysterious river, the only thing Amelia knows for sure is that she's dead. With no recollection of her past life — or her actual death — she's trapped alone in a nightmarish existence. All of this changes when she tries to rescue a boy, Joshua, from drowning in her river. As a ghost, she can do nothing but will him to live. Yet in an unforgettable moment of connection, she helps him survive.
Amelia and Joshua grow ever closer as they begin to uncover the strange circumstances of her death and the secrets of the dark river that held her captive for so long. But even while they struggle to keep their bond hidden from the living world, a frightening spirit named Eli is doing everything in his power to destroy their newfound happiness and drag Amelia back into the ghost world... forever."

This book left me with a lot of questions. Amelia, and therefore the reader as well, knows very little about the whole ghost-lore and the how and why of everything. I liked the twist on ghosts that they couldn't touch anything, but also couldn't float through walls/people/anything standing in the way. Which means you can't just creepily haunt people in their sleep by floating in through their closed window. Which is kind of reassuring.

The writing flows very nicely and I was invested in Amelia and Joshua's story, but I did have some issues with this book. For example, it takes place in about a week, 5 of which Joshua and Amelia spend together. And she says she loves him. You CAN'T love someone after a week of knowing them!! Not if it's not your newborn baby, who you can love in 2 seconds (you've also had about 9 months to get used to the idea, but still). I mean, really, it's not love. It's a crush.

And towards the ending with the big showdown, I was kind of annoyed by how easy it all was for Amelia. She doesn't know how to use her ghostly powers and all of a sudden she scares away bad guys and escapes them like she's been doing it for years? It was a bit too convenient in my opinion.

I thought Amelia and Joshua were likeable main characters, but who really interests me is Ruth, Joshua's grandmother. She's got a lot of non-friendly feelings towards ghosts and I'm really dying (couldn't resist) to find out why! I mean, there has got to be a reason right? Something that happened in the past? And finding out what happens with Jillian will be interesting as well.

While I'm not so into the insta-love thing that was happening here, I did really enjoy the chemistry between Joshua and Amelia and I think that Hudson has created a world that I could explore for at least two more books (which is conventient, since it's the first in a trilogy) and I'm looking forward to getting some answers to the questions that popped up while reading this one!

My rating: 3,5 stars

Saturday, July 9, 2011

2011 In Books So Far

So I thought I'd reflect back on my reading over the first half of 2011. And it's been a GREAT year reading-wise so far.

The stats:
Books read: 88 (seriously, I read 91 books in 2010, this is huge)
Pages read: 31411
YA books: 45
Historical romances: 18

Those two are my major food groups, so to speak. I've been neglecting my fantasy addiction and gone more toward Paranormal Romance. I've branched out with some non-fiction, a classic and some literary fiction, but mostly it's been YA and historical romance, two genres I love with a passion!

Some of my favourites of the year:

-Delirium by Lauren Oliver (I CANNOT wait for Pandemonium, I mean, that ending!!!)
-Die For Me by Amy Plum (revenants have got to be one of the most unique supernatural beings I've read about in a long time)
-The Goddess Test by Aimee Carter (Greek Mythology fan-geeks unite!)

-If I Stay by Gayle Forman (seriously, how could I not have read this sooner???)
-Wither by Lauren DeStefano (eerily realistic and beautiful..)
-Unearthly by Cynthia Hand (who showed me that books about angels can be awesome)
-The Princess for Hire series by Lindsey Leavitt (gosh, how awesome are those books?? I wish I could be a stand-in princess...)

Special mention goes to The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss, which I had been not-so-patiently-but-gritting-my-teeth anticipating for a looooong time and it finally got here and I just love my nice and shiny hardcover! (see, it's right over there --> isn't it PRETTY??) I love Rothfuss' writing and am now back to tearing-my-hair-out waiting for the final instalment...

And another special mention to Sarah MacLean, whose Love By Numbers series I have loved so much! She really knows how to write great romance!

Favourite Quotes of this Year:

"Books are more real when you read them outside"
- Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater

"One could not count the moons that shimmer on her roofs, or the thousand splendid suns that hide behind her walls."
- A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini

"I have an apple that thinks its a pear. And a bun that thinks it’s a cat. And a lettuce that thinks its a lettuce.' 'It’s a clever lettuce then.' 'Hardly,' she said with a delicate snort. 'Why would anything clever think it’s a lettuce?' 'Even if it is a lettuce?' I asked. 'Especially then,' she said. 'Bad enough to be a lettuce. How awful to think you are a lettuce too."
- The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss (incidentally a conversation between my favourite characters: Kvothe and Auri)

So, that's me so far. With all the amazing books coming out soon, I expect the second half of 2011 will be just as great :)

What are your favourite reads so far?

Friday, July 8, 2011

Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson

Title/Author: Before I Go To Sleep by S.J. Watson
Publisher/Date published: HarperCollins, June 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Christine wakes up every morning in an unfamiliar bed with an unfamiliar man. She looks in the mirror and sees an unfamiliar, middle-aged face. And every morning, the man she has woken up with must explain that he is Ben, he is her husband, she is forty-seven years old, and a terrible accident two decades earlier decimated her ability to form new memories.
But it’s the phone call from a Dr. Nash, a neurologist who claims to be working with Christine without her husband’s knowledge, that directs her to her journal, hidden in the back of her closet. For the past few weeks, Christine has been recording her daily activities — tearful mornings with Ben, sessions with Dr. Nash, flashes of scenes from her former life — and rereading past entries, relearning the facts of her life as retold by the husband she is completely dependent upon. As the entries build up, Christine asks many questions. What was life like before the accident? Why did she and Ben never have a child? What has happened to Christine’s best friend? And what exactly was the horrific accident that caused such a profound loss of memory?
Every day, Christine must begin again the reconstruction of her past. And the closer she gets to the truth, the more unbelievable it seems."

Oh my gosh, it would be so scary to wake up every day and not know where you are, why there is a man in bed beside you you can't remember meeting and then finding out that you're more than 20 years older than you thought you'd be...

This is what Christine faces every day. And it's scary. And it forces her to depend on Ben, the man she wakes next to every day, who says he is her husband. Though she has no memories of a marriage or their relationship whatsoever. Given that every day she's told or tells herself through her diary what's happened to her, I think she copes pretty well. Sort of like the movie Fifty First Dates, only creepy. VERY creepy.

Throughout the whole novel I had the feeling something was wrong, and well, of course given the summary something IS definitely wrong. And I kept on guessing what it was, and yes, I also got it right somewhere in those guesses. If I ever develop a mental illness, I think it would be extreme paranoia; I see conspiracies everywhere.

I had a hard time not skipping to the end to find out what had really happened the night Christine became an amnesiac. OMG, it took so loooooong to get to the point where I knew! I mean, really long! And sometimes the plot barely seemed to crawl forward. But in the end, slowly but surely, we got there and I loved it! It was so creepy! I don't read creepy books often, because well, I get scared easily, but I really enjoyed this one. Even though the suspense sometimes turned more into a sort of stretched thin little band that made me want to just skip ahead 20 or so pages.

The plot is wonderfully complicated and I really enjoyed discovering everything that had happened. BUT this book also made me sigh in frustration when it happened so slowly!
So I'd say: read it if you like intricate, suspenseful stories, but not if you want instant gratification.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Thursday, July 7, 2011

From Print to Screenplay (1): The Count of Monte Cristo

Also known as: What the hell did Hollywood do to my precious book??

Seriously, I was soooo excited to be watching this movie last night, because I'd read the book last year and loved it and wanted to share this experience with my boyfriend. And let's face it, I'm not gonna be able to make him read a 1000+ page novel. So the movie it is!

But what the hell did they do to my precious book?? I mean, I get that not all the intricate plotpoints could make it into the movie, but really? It seemed like that person who wrote the screenplay never even read the book! It was very, very, VERY loosely based on the book. So loosely that they changed almost everything of importance. Well, except for the fact the main character is still Edmond Dantes and he got thrown into Chateau d'If for a loooong time.

That's about it.

I was so annoyed! I think I could have otherwise enjoyed this movie, but I KNEW that these things weren't supposed to happen like this! I mean, they even changed the fact that Edmond's father died of poverty into him committing suicide. And if I remember correctly Mercedes waited at least two years for him instead of one month. GAH!

So, I'm not so pleased with this movie-adaptation, they butchered a book I love!

I did think it was cool that the guy who plays Albert looks exactly like one of the covers for the book:

Anyway, did any of you guys read the book and watch the movie? I can just imagine someone having to read this for class and being short on time and just watching the movie instead (I know a lot of people who used to do this in high school). And then completely FAILING the test because it's nothing like the original book.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lady of Seduction by Laurel McKee

Title/Author: Lady of Seduction by Laurel McKee
Publisher/Date published: June 1st 2011 by Forever
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It's a mad, ill-advised journey that leads the usually sensible Lady Caroline Blacknall to the legendary isle of Muirin Inish, off the windswept coast of Ireland. Even so, she doesn't expect to find herself shipwrecked and then rescued by a man she believed she would never see again. A man who, long ago, held her life in his hands... and with it, her heart.
Reformed rake Sir Grant Dunmore knew he could never forget the beautiful woman he once endangered nor will he ever forgive himself. But history seems doomed to repeat itself, for as long as Caroline stays on the island, she is trapped in a secret plot that could forever free Ireland - or turn deadly for all. And yet, now that she is in his arms again, how can he dream of ever letting her go?"

I was disappointed with this book. I was expecting wonderful tension and throughout the book I thought he would leave her only to realise he loved her (those kind of scenes always make me cry) and come running back. And none of this happened...

I mean, I love those kinds of historical romances when there's a lot of tension and secret glances and reputation-compromising meetings in darkly lit rooms and such. I LOVE those moments. And then they kiss and try to fight the attraction and there are things preventing them from being together and...
Times like these I realise I'm a hopeless romantic. And I don't even care.

But, none of this happened in this book. Cause what happens after she nearly drowns getting to his island? The next day they fall into his bed together. I mean, seriously. That was a bit fast for me. I know they have history, but get this: it's not really good history. I mean, he kidnapped her and her sister when her sister refused to marry him. That wouldn't make me fall in love with the guy.

There's probably something that I'm missing, as this is a series of romance novels and I haven't read the previous two, but I really didn't get why she was in love with him. I could have understood if it grew during her stay at the island, but right from the start? Didn't work for me.

It was a nice story, just not what I look for when I'm reading a historical romance.

My rating: 2 stars

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

It's My Blogoversary!

I can't believe it's been a year already! I almost forgot my own blogoversary! I remember how I felt like such a spaz writing my reviews at first and not knowing what to say or if anyone would be interested in what I thought or if I should comment on other people's posts or not... And now I feel so comfortable in the blogosphere!

A little while ago, we celebrated our first blogoversary at the Broke and the Bookish, the other blog I contribute to. And Jamie, our wonderful leader, gave us a nice set of questions to answer so as to let everyone get to know us better. So I thought that in honor of my own blogoversary, I'd repost it here and tell you all a little more about me.

So, hi, I'm Daisy, a 23-year-old medical intern. Oh, and I love books, did I mention that already? Like I mentioned, I also contribute to The Broke and the Bookish. The Broke and the Bookish was founded in the College Students Group on Goodreads, I jumped at the chance to be a part of it and loved blogging so much I decided to get my own!
I so wanted to show you guys my awesome bookcases, but sadly, my camera decided to die on me.

1. How Do You Balance Reading and School/Work? To be honest, I don't really. There's not much balance to go around, I either study really hard and sadly have no time for reading. Or I read and conveniently *forget* I should be studying instead. It's gotten somewhat easier now I have an ereader and can just pile books on there in case I go anywhere on weekends or for the commute to and from the hospital. Seriously, it fits in pretty much any purse I own, so I can take a book with me anywhere, I love it! I work about 50-60 hours a week and with my boyfriend sometimes needing cuddles and friends and parents who want my attention sometime, it can get tough to squeeze in reading time. I always try to read before going to sleep and Saturday is my designated reading day, you have to be really persuasive to convince me to do otherwise.

2. Do you have any authors whose books you'd put on an "auto-read" matter what they wrote? So this one is easy: J.K. Rowling. There's no questioning it, if she ever decides to write another book/series/essay/ANYTHING, I'd buy it. I so loved Harry Potter, I can honestly say my life would be less -for lack of a better word- magical if I hadn't read them.
The same goes for Patrick Rothfuss and Suzanne Collins, their books go on auto-buy. And if Jane Austen were still alive and kicking, she'd be on the list too, cause I so love her books. And this is the mind that created Mr. Darcy, who knows what she would have come up with if she'd lived longer.

3. Favourite bookquote? So this one's pretty long, but it's beautiful:

"If you have never spent whole afternoons with burning ears and rumpled hair, forgetting the world around you over a book, forgetting cold and hunger--

If you have never read secretly under the bedclothes with a flashlight, because your father or mother or some other well-meaning person has switched off the lamp on the plausible ground that it was time to sleep because you had to get up so early--

If you have never wept bitter tears because a wonderful story has come to an end and you must take your leave of the characters with whom you have shared so many adventures, whom you have loved and admired, for whom you have hoped and feared, and without whose company life seems empty and meaningless--

If such things have not been part of your own experience, you probably won't understand what Bastian did next."
- Michael Ende - The Neverending Story

This describes my love of reading so absolutely perfectly, everyone should feel like this at some point in their lives I think. I can't imagine a life without books and this exact feeling.

4. Favorite place to shop for books? Hands down the booksales we have every once in a while around here. They are awesome. And they don't make me feel guilty for getting 20 books, cause they're all so cheap! We also have a beautiful bookstore in the town I live in, I can just get lost in there for hours
And I'm lucky enough to have been to London last year and OMG, the bookstores there are just amazing! There are so many more to choose from, it was heavenly, I swear my boyfriend thought I was going crazy :)

5. Do any of your friends, family or significant other share your passion? Well, I have friends who read. My mother reads. I've even convinced my boyfriend to pick up a book this year. But none of them share my passion. I mean, seriously, it's one of the best things about blogging: you guys say 'nice haul' when I'm telling about 15+ books I've gotten from a sale, while my friends and family ask me if I really need them. I do. I need all of them. Also, my friends probably read 15 books a year or something. I sometimes read that much in 2-3 weeks.

5 Random Things About Me:
1. I'm studying medicine, but I hate going to the doctor myself and I always self-diagnose before I got. Which is probably really annoying (sorry!).

2. I speak Dutch, English, French, German and a little Latin. I really wish I could speak Chinese or Spanish, that would be awesome!

3. I make a mean chocolate pie. It's so good even one of my friends who doesn't like chocolate pie (which is weird on a whole unique level altogether), loves it.

4. My to-read list on Goodreads has 824 books on it, 95 of which I physically own. 6 months ago, there were 591 on this list. I've read 79 books since and am beginning to fear I will never see the end of the list. It's exploding and it seems to grow overnight by itself.

5. I love watching Ugly Betty (so sad it ended), Grey's Anatomy, America's Next Top Model and Gossip Girl. I love relaxing with all the drama going on there.

You all still awake? Thanks for taking the time to get to know me a bit more and if I did make you snooze, at least you got a nice little nap out of it right?