Friday, June 29, 2012

Review of Lies Beneath by Anne Greenwood Brown

Title/Author: Lies Beneath (Lies Beneath #1) by Anne Greenwood Brown
Publisher/Date published: Delacorte BFYR, June 12th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Calder White lives in the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior, the only brother in a family of murderous mermaids. To survive, Calder and his sisters prey on humans, killing them to absorb their energy. But this summer the underwater clan targets Jason Hancock out of pure revenge. They blame Hancock for their mother's death and have been waiting a long time for him to return to his family's homestead on the lake. Hancock has a fear of water, so to lure him in, Calder sets out to seduce Hancock's daughter, Lily. Easy enough — especially as Calder has lots of practice using his irresistable good looks and charm on ususpecting girls. Only this time Calder screws everything up: he falls for Lily — just as Lily starts to suspect that there's more to the monsters-in-the-lake legends than she ever imagined. And just as his sisters are losing patience with him."

Can I start off by saying that it's annoying that this has a girl on the cover while the novel is narrated by a guy? I know this has nothing to do with the story itself, but it bugged me.

Anyway, now that we've gotten that out of the way, let me focus on the novel itself.

I've been reading a couple of mermaid YA books in the past couple of weeks and everytime I do, I feel like a little girl, being fascinated by the underwater world and just people with FINS! And mostly the merpeople have been like any population and sort of like what I've always imagined them being since I first saw The Little Mermaid and wanted to be Ariel.
Lies Beneath explores the dark side of merpeople and guess what? I LIKE IT!

I love how they're dangerous and beautiful and luring people and are basically killing machines! And the explanation behind the killing of humans was SO good! Like Calder explains it at some point: they can't regulate their own happiness and need to steal it from humans to not fall into a depression. SO GOOD! It's definitely a change from the having a grudge against them or eating them or something like that. The mermaid lore was really good and much darker than most I've come across.

Also, it's not often a YA novel is narrated by a guy and I love that this one was! It made this whole novel so much more interesting than it would have been if it had been narrated by Lily instead!! I loved Calder's voice and loved seeing him struggle between the bond with his sisters and his growing connection to Lily. Calder and Lily had pretty great chemistry and I loved Lily's courage and her poetic tendencies!

I am sad to say that I didn't fully connect to Calder and for me this always detracts a bit from my enjoyment of the book. I really liked immersing myself in the world Anne Greenwood Brown has created, but I didn't frantically keep reading on to find out what would happen next. However, I didn't see the plot twist coming and it's really good! So props to the author for that! Also, I liked that it made sense. Sometimes you have these big revelations and you're going WTF? But this one made perfect sense looking back on everything that had happened.

In my humble opinion, Lies Beneath is a pretty strong debut for Anne Greenwood Brown, one showing the darker side of mermaids and I'm really looking forward to seeing what happens next for Calder and Lily in Deep Betrayal, the second book in the series!

My rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Review of Flirting In Italian by Lauren Henderson

Title/Author: Flirting In Italian by Lauren Henderson
Publisher/Date published: Delacorte BFYR, June 12th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Four girls. One magical, and possibly dangerous Italian summer. Family mysteries, ancient castles, long hot nights of dancing under the stars... and, of course, plenty of gorgeous Italian boys!"

While the weather in Holland hasn't gotten the message that it's almost Summer, or even Spring, I was in the mood for some cute Summery contemporary romance. And granted, there's not much to this summary, but it sounded like it would be just the thing! Seeing Magan from Rather Be Reading go WTF??? made me a bit cautious though, cause she doesn't do this often and I trust her opinion.

But all this aside, Flirting In Italian started off ok, sure I was a bit annoyed at the description of Violet's mother, seemingly being nothing more than an overprotective, fragile woman. And only one of the four girls, Kelly, was immediately endearing to me, but I was willing to look past all that. Because it held the promise of some cute summer romance and family secrets and I'm SO into that!

And I was enjoying myself reading the first part of the book, with the girls going ga-ga over the hot Italian boys and learning more about the culture and just generally trying to form a friendship with each other. Only one of the boys, Andrea, seemed like a winner to me, though I can imagine the attraction of the others just as easily, they just didn't do it for me. But we were doing ok, I wasn't expecting this to be an amazing read for me, but enjoyable looked doable.

Right up until we got a little bit closer to the end and the 'family mystery' started getting more storytime. And it was then that I just found myself staring at the pages in disbelief and thinking 'These people are ALL CRAZY!'. Because really, they were. And Violet's right away believing someone's out to get her and suspecting everyone, even the girls she's there with and it was just weird.

Also, this whole thing started with Violet being curious about a portrait she'd seen that had a girl in it that looked exactly like she did and wanting to find out more about her. She's always questioned whether she was adopted because she looks nothing like her parents. But of course it's a more logical solution to just lie to your mother about your reason for wanting to spend the Summer in Italy than just asking her if she'd been adopted or if her father wasn't her father after all. Obviously. *rolls eyes*

The romance wasn't working for me, Luca was just a bit too messed up and I didn't know if he even really liked Violet or not and it was just confusing as hell. And while I get the attraction of just such a guy, it felt off and I didn't swoon right along with Violet, like I'd wanted to.

Now it's time for a little rant that will contain spoilers:
Seriously, if there'd been ANY chance of me being some guy's cousin, not to mention half-SISTER later on, I'd NOT be thinking of pursuing a relationship with him! Can you say incest?
Also, WTF WAS UP WITH THAT ENDING??? I mean, GAH! These people are beyond crazy and it didn't seem believable and it was just WEIRD! The family servant is trying to poison Violet... Yes, cause that's completely logical. And why the hell didn't Violet text Kelly like she'd promised to when she found out something wasn't adding up? YOU STUPID GIRL!


I just had to get that out, sorry!

I did like the exploring of the Italian culture and the girls forming a grudging friendship over a mean Italian girl. I liked that Paige spoke her mind and owned up to her shortcomings, it was refreshing. I also liked that dancing was such a stress-reliever for Violet, I'm the same way. Music is the thing I turn to when I'm stressed/sad/happy, basically no matter what mood I'm in, music makes it better. I also liked that she discovered a new side of herself that wanted to be an artist.

I started to get worried towards the end because I didn't know how everything would get wrapped up in those last 30 pages, because I was fully believing this to be a standalone. And the end made me SO angry because NOTHING is resolved and all the big plot points are still wide open! Turns out there's going to be a companion novel. I don't really mind a cliffhanger ending, but this wasn't one, it was just me being left completely unfulfilled with all my questions unanswered and let's just say that's not a good place to be after finishing a book.
I'm so mad at that ending that I don't think I'll even pick up the companion novel.

Basically, this novel had the promise of being a cute summer read with some mystery included in it, but I didn't much care for the execution. And the ending left me raging, looking for my torch and pitchfork. It wasn't for me, I don't like being left with a sense of having wasted my time because nothing got resolved AT ALL.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Daisy Update (13)

Hi guys!! I didn't want to wait till the weekend to share with you the wonderfulness that was my weekend at sea with the boyfriend! :) Thanks for wishing me a good trip by the way!

So last week was sort of uneventful in that other than a tiny shopping spree nothing much happened. I went to get comfortable red heels, cause I don't have those yet and instead ended up with two pairs of flats. Yeah, I'm not sure how that happened either... ;) But I am really in love with them! And it was sorta allowed cause they caused as much together as the heels would have all by themselves :) (yes, I do in fact use this excuse a lot)

Then on Friday we drove to a small town near the beach where we rented an appartment for the weekend at a holiday resort, I forgot to charge my camera, so the pictures are all taken with my phone:

View from balcony :)

A DISHWASHER! Heaven in a cleaning device! It's somewhat silly how excited I was to see this in the kitchen ;) We don't have one at home...

The bedroom, and that yellow-orange glow is cast by the curtains in the skylight on a not so very sunny day. Yeah, that kinda woke me up at 5AM ;)

The 'pet' that came with the appartment. For the record: I do not like seagulls. Or rather, I don't like them this close to me. The stupid bird kept coming back, trying to steal our food and then proceeded to leave nasties on the table he just hopped on. OBNOXIOUS!

So the second day we did a little shopping and found a way to chase the bird off :) Here's the boyfriend being all dangerous with the water pistol, showing the birds who's boss! :D **

And then I could read in peace, my hero!

We kinda just chilled on Friday, went to the swimming pool and had a very nice walk on the beach. Saturday was spent exploring a nearby town, shopping a bit, having drinks in the sun and barbecue-ing on the balcony. Which we had to get at the last minute because we'd forgotten to bring an extension cord for the set we had planned to use. The weather was really nice and I even got a slight sun burn. On Sunday it rained for the most part of the day so we watched a movie, took a walk exploring the resort and had a wonderful dinner, this time with the extension cord the shop at the resort had :) Yesterday we packed up bright and early and came home again.

So, while we didn't really do all that much, it was nice to get away for a couple of days because it made us spend time together-together instead of at home where we also spend time together, but also do our own thing a lot. It was just nice and relaxing and we were both more laidback and there was no rush to do anything. I think we should do this more often! :)

Also, while shopping on Saturday we bought a new cover for the couch! The color is actually a lot brighter in reality and I'm slowly getting used to it. I really like it, it's just that my couch was green for 5-6 years :) Also, we totally got that pretty new blanket that's folded up there (did this so I could take the picture and not have you guys think of me as a slob ;) ) because I forgot to bring one and I just love snuggling up under one at night. Or any time of the day, really.

So, then I came home to over 400 posts in my Google Reader and a lot of e-mails and just SO MUCH TO CATCH UP ON. And the relaxed feeling vanished somewhat ;) And there were some nice books in the mail I had (pre)ordered a while ago, including The Prisoner of Heaven, YAY! And a signed copy of Shine, which I won all those months ago after the #TeamKilt madness from Karen @ For What It's Worth, thanks again Karen, I absolutely love it!!

In other bookish updates I finished some books, fell in love with the Hourglass series by Myra McEntire, WTF-ed at one YA novel you will soon get to see my ranty review for and DNF-ed 2. It was a pretty eventful week reading-wise.
Also, I got paid today and immediately went online and (pre)ordered 10 books... Yeah, I'm definitely on a ban again. Also, I'm running out of space on my shelves... But I feel all warm and fuzzy and happy, so I'm not too concerned by all of this.

This is my last week off before I start working as a real doctor on Monday!! EEP! I'm doing some studying to prepare and am trying to relax as well, cause the next full week I have off won't be until October.

Hope you all had an amazing weekend as well!!

**No birds were harmed, only gotten a little wet (or more wet than they already were) ;)

Monday, June 25, 2012

Sirenz Back In Fashion by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman

Title/Author: Sirenz Back In Fashion (Sirenz #2) by Charlotte Bennardo and Natalie Zaman
Publisher/Date published: Flux Books, June 8th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It's Hell on heels - again!
When Shar tries on a ring from Hades, it activates an obscure contractual clause that puts Shar and former-frenemy-now-friend Meg in Hades' service once more. Shar is whisked away to the Underworld to prepare a ball for Persephone, while Meg is sent to retrieve the errant soul of spoiled rich girl Paulina Swanson and send her to the abyss. Just when it appears the girls will be doomed to serve Hades for eternity, Shar meets two possibly helpful demi-gods who also happen to be gorgeous. Can the girls finally ditch the Lord of the Dead once and for all?"


I read Sirenz, the first book in this series a while ago and it was such a fun read and as you probably already know, I'm a bit obsessed with Greek Mythology and the appearance of it in YA makes me all giddy and excited to read anything to do with it! So when I saw there would be a sequel to Sirenz I went LET ME HAVE IT!! And I was definitely not disappointed!

In Sirenz we met Meg and Shar and let me just say that those two girls are SO much fun! I'd want to be friends with them! The POV switches between them each chapter and I loved seeing the story through in their different voices. I didn't once get confused as to who was narrating and I love how distinctive their voices and characters were.
They've definitely grown a lot since the beginning of the series and I love it when that happens!

Also, while appreciating both for the wonderful characters they are on their own, I just adored the friendship they share. It's not always easy, especially with all of the Siren stuff going on, but they genuinely care for each other and are willing to put aside their own feelings for the other and take pretty big risks. I loved how they both were better persons for being friends.

Though I did think that the action that triggered all of the events in Sirenz Back In Fashion was a bit of a too-stupid-to-live moment, that was the only one, so I can overlook it. I loved meeting all the new characters and reacquainting myself with those that had also made an appearance in Sirenz.

Basically, this was a really fun, light read and I breezed right through it! The writing is very engaging and though I did figure out one plot twist pretty early on, that's only because I'm such a Greek Mythology geek ;) I did understand how Meg didn't see it, cause yeah, it wasn't all that obvious if you didn't have all the information.

There were sweet moments between the two friends, there's romance, there were laugh out loud funny moments, I especially enjoyed Hades' disgruntledness at Cerebus wanting to cuddle and Shar calling him a 'good goggy'. Also, at the end I went OMG! LET THERE PLEASE BE A SEQUEL!!! So you can imagine my excitement when I saw that Goodreads has a third, untitled book listed for 2013 :)

If you're looking for a fun, Greek Mythology YA that will bring a smile to your face: pick up this series!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Friday, June 22, 2012

Off for the weekend!

The picture above shows where I will be spending my weekend :) The boyfriend and I decided it was time to get away for a couple of days before I start my new job. I hope the weather-deities will be nice to us, and if not, I think we'll just go shopping ;)

I am kinda freaking out about not being able to read blogs/keep up on Twitter and everything, but yeah, that'll probably pass once I'm hanging out on the balcony of the appartment we're staying in with a nice glass of wine in my hand and something delicous to eat in the other ;)

Hope you all have a great weekend as well!!

Review of The Baron's Governess Bride by Deborah Hale

Title/Author: The Baron's Governess Bride by Deborah Hale
Publisher/Date published: Harlequin Love Inspired Historical
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Plain, Prim...Perfect! Lord Steadwell's three motherless daughters were heartbroken when their last governess ran off to elope. In her dowdy cap and spectacles, Grace Ellerby seems an ideal replacement - a nurturing, intelligent woman uninterested in marriage. No wonder Rupert doesn't recognize Grace as the golden-haired vision at a masked ball, who slips away before midnight... Frightened by the unwanted attentions of previous employers, Grace resolved to hide her beauty... and her growing feelings for Rupert. One enchanted evening - and a sweet, breathtaking kiss - changes everything. For with Grace's three adorable charges playing fairy godmother, Rupert may discover his happy ending is closer than he thinks."

You guys, I was expecting a steamy read filled with lots of heartbreaking romance, and while it wasn’t all that I expected, I did get the tear-inducing tension that I wanted, so I’m VERY happy!

I’m not gonna lie, I enjoy the romance along with the passion, but what makes one stand out from the other for me are the characters and their individual voices and the chemistry they have together. And while The Baron’s Governess Bride was completely void of any physical intimacies, it was SO good!

Seriously, these two don’t even kiss till the very last page and it’s not one of those kisses that I expect from my historical romance novels, but a very chaste one. But you guys, The Baron’s Governess Bride reminded me of the romance that can be found in novels by Jane Austen and Charlotte Brontë and all of those classics! It’s got all the chemistry and the getting to know one another without the smooching added in, so it’s perfect if that’s not your cup of tea and for the younger crowd to read! It was just an incredibly sweet story of two people who were kinda perfect for each other!

I do have to add that I found myself rolling my eyes a bit at Grace ‘disguising’ her beauty and everyone just going oh well, she’s plain. Because she wore a hideous dress, spectacles and covered her hair with something ugly. I mean, really? REALLY? I was glad Rupert in the end knew himself well enough that he’d probably been fooling himself and not looking hard enough to recognize that she was in fact a pretty woman. Goes to show how far first impressions go!

I loved Rupert’s three daughters! They were all very much their own person and though not all were equally endearing from the start, I came to care for them very much! I loved that Rupert was such a good father to them and that Grace genuinely cared for them! I thought it was really sweet that their affection grew from their mutual love for those three girls.

But mostly, I just really enjoyed how they grew towards each other, there’s zero insta-love and just them getting to know each other and falling in love in a way that seems believable and natural. The way to were both agonizing over the other not returning their feelings brought tears to my eyes and it stayed that way for most of the last 50 pages of The Baron’s Governess Bride. I just ate it all up! Though I would have liked to see that kiss that left them breathless that I was promised in the summary...

I enjoyed this clean historical romance so much more than I’d expected to! I love it when I get surprised by a book like this and I’d recommend it to anyone wanting to spend an afternoon with a true gentleman and a sweet lovestory!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Review of Tempest Unleashed by Tracy Deebs

Title/Author: Tempest Unleashed (Tempest #2) by Tracy Deebs
Publisher/Date published: Walker Books for Young Readers, June 5th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Tempest Maguire is happy with her decision to embrace her mermaid nature and live among her mother’s clan within the ocean’s depths. Even though training to one day ascend the throne for the aging mermaid queen is rigorous, she finds refuge in the arms of Kona, the selkie who first opened her up to her mermaid side. But when word comes that one of her brothers has been gravely injured on land, Tempest immediately rushes to his side — which also brings her back to her old flame, Mark. And in her absence, a deadly battle begins raging at the hands of Tempest’s old nemesis, the sea witch Tiamat. As the dangerous war erupts, Tempest’s two loves — Kona and Mark, sea and land — will collide for the first time, both to protect her and to force her to choose."

I wish I could talk about Tempest Unleashed without having spoilers in it for Tempest Rising, but I can't. So if you haven't read it and don't want to know about the plot, turn your eyes away.

So, I really enjoyed Tempest Rising and while I wasn't completely happy with the end where Tempest just up and leaves her family and basically her whole life for a boy she's known about a month, I could live with her choice. There was a love triangle with Kona winning in Tempest Rising from Mark, the land-bound boyfriend. And I thought in that aspect all was resolved. Until I read the summary for Tempest Unleashed and went NOOOOOO! But more on that later.

I liked Tempest, she's a well-rounded main character and I liked that she's developed a back bone over the course of the series and isn't in need of rescue all the time anymore. She loves her family very much and wants to take care of them, and I respect her for that. Which is why it threw me off a bit that she hadn't been to see them in 8 months at the start of Tempest Unleashed. I mean, she'd been back to the coast apparantly, but she hadn't gone up on the land to see them? I didn't really understand this.

I love the underwater world that Tracy Deebs has created and all the different creatures, it sounds mindblowingly beautiful. Most of the characters were pretty well fleshed out, more so in Tempest Rising than in this one. We're introduced to a new set of characters that I'm not exactly sure what to think of, even after 400 pages. I'm guessing there's a lot more to some of them then we've seen so far, but as I can't find anywhere if there'll be a sequel (but I'm assuming there will be based on the events towards the end) I hope this will get resolved then.

Can I just say that I adored Tempest's father and little brother Moku? That little guy just stole my heart and Tempest's father is such an amazing guy with an enormous heart and I grieved for him and his loss of the love of his life: Tempest's mother.

It bothered me that while everyone is saying Tempest will be the next Queen, they're keeping a lot of information from her and the current Queen treats her pretty badly, I just didn't get it. I also was somewhat baffled by the fact that when she chose to live underwater, she automatically began training to be the next Queen. It seems to me like you don't go around handing your kingdom to every girl that has a prophecy attached to her that comes by, right? I'm glad we don't have that kind of government system... It didn't make much sense to me, I get that she's supposed to be really powerful and all, but that doesn't mean you just make her queen.

Also, until I read the summary for Tempest Unleashed, I hadn't thought the love triangle would continue into this sequel. I mean, it was pretty wrapped up in Tempest Rising, she'd made her choice. And then she was back at it, kissing both Mark and Kona and not telling either of them about the other guy. It made me lose some respect for her, because she just couldn't seem to make up her mind and it annoyed me. And I can't for the life of me understand why these guys weren't getting mad at her or breaking it off themselves. She's sort of playing them both as the mood strikes her and they just let her! Gah guys! Show some self-respect and tell her to make a decision or get the hell out!

While I wasn't really feeling the insta-love with Kona, I thought she and Mark had WAY more issues. Despite my being kind of creeped out with the whole Kona being over 200 years older than she is. Was anyone disturbed by this as well?

Also, towards the end I was kind of thinking she might be spared a decision by the death of one of the boys, I'm really glad that wasn't how she came to a decision! Mostly, I just feel that the girl needed to be by herself for a while and just figure out who she is without constantly needing to be reassured by a guy.

And seriously, choosing Mark in the end was for a crap reason if you ask me. There are 2 whole books filled with the 'spark' she got when she kissed Kona and how she saw all these colors and stuff and then she says at the end of Tempest Unleashed that he feels 'nice and safe'.... -.- SERIOUSLY? And how exactly does she figure this thing with Mark is going to work? GAH, SO MUCH FRUSTRATION!

Ok, so rant over.

I know that I sound really negative and I'm actually not. I blew through Tempest Unleashed in what seemed like no time at all and didn't notice how much time had passed until I 'came up for air', so to speak. The writing is very engaging and the battle scenes had me on the edge of my seat. I was absolutely invested in the story and this is probably also why I wasn't rolling my eyes at the things that annoyed me that were mentioned above, but going GAH! *$&@!&#
I really felt for Tempest, even when I sometimes wanted to slap sense into her and mostly stop her from kissing those two boys all the time without thinking it through. I experienced her emotions alongside her and could completely understand her being torn between life as a human versus life as a mermaid. It's a heartbreaking decision.

To sum my thoughts up: I think this is a really good addition to the mermaid genre and I'll definitely pick up the sequel if there is one. Does anyone know? If so, PLEASE TELL ME! The love triangle got me all ranty as you can see above, but the storytelling is pretty solid, though I wished sometimes there'd be a bit more information about it all and character development of the secondary characters.

My rating: 3,5 stars

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Top Ten Tuesday: Summer TBR List!

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the other blog I'm part of: The Broke and the Bookish. Every week we share our Top Ten list for a different topic, we'd love for you to join in as well!

This week has got me all featured with my list of book on my Summer TBR list and because there are too many beyond awesome releases, I will cheat and add the ones I couldn't fit in there to this list :)

1. What's Left of Me by Kat Zhang: Two souls in one body! And this is NORMAL for the society Kat Zhang has created! Consider me fascinated already!

2. My Super Sweet Sixteent Century by Rachel Harris: Getting blasted back to the past is one of my dreams and I really hope to fall into something and come back in some romantic era. In the meantime, I will sigh over it happening in novels and live vicariously through the characters.

3. The Demon Catchers of Milan by Kat Beyer: YES ITALY! YES DEMON FIGHTING FAMILY! Enough said really.

4. Erasing Time by C.J. Hill: I'm also fascinated by the future. I wouldn't want to be transported there (this counts as a disclaimer right?), these girls are and it sounds like they have to save the world as well while they're there!

5. Touched by Cyn Balog: It sounds AMAZING! I shamefully confess that I haven't read anything by Cyn Balog yet, though I do own Sleepless. But I'm going to fix this shortcoming in my character soon!

6. The Debutantes by Cora Harrison: I still need to get my hands on I Was Jane Austen's Best Friend, but this one sounds SO GOOD as well!! I mean, it's set in 1923 and I secretly believe I would have made an excellent debutante! Well, except maybe for the whole sarcasm thing and wanting to be a doctor thing...

7. Once by Anna Carey: I LOVED Eve and that cliffhanger ending left me going NOOO! How will I survive till the sequel comes out? Turns out I did manage to, but barely, and now I will get to read Once! YAY!

8. Dark Companion by Marta Acosta: A seriously creepy school! Sounding all mysterious and intriguing and just all kinds of awesome!

9. The White Glove War by Katie Crouch: I enjoyed The Magnolia League SO MUCH and it's left me DYING to read the sequel!

10. Silver by Talia Vance: I've never read anything based on Celtic Mythology before, but COUNT ME IN!

So, this was me cheating with a second Top Ten list :) Let me know what you've got on your list and if you agree with any of my choices! Any I need to add to it immediately? Break out the piggy bank for?

Monday, June 18, 2012

Review of All These Lives by Sarah Wylie

Title/Author: All These Lives by Sarah Wylie
Publisher/Date published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR), June 5th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Sixteen-year-old Dani is convinced she has nine lives. As a child she twice walked away from situations where she should have died. But Dani’s twin, Jena, isn’t so lucky. She has cancer and might not even be able to keep her one life. Dani’s father is in denial. Her mother is trying to hold it together and prove everything’s normal. And Jena is wasting away. To cope, Dani sets out to rid herself of all her extra lives. Maybe they’ll be released into the universe and someone who wants to live more than she does will get one. Someone like Jena. But just when Dani finds herself at the breaking point, she’s faced with a startling realization. Maybe she doesn’t have nine lives after all. Maybe she really only ever had one."

All These Lives is a hard novel for me to review, because it deals with a subject I don't normally read about, but something that I encounter in my line of work: cancer. And it was unsettling for me, mainly because I usually avoid plots like this one. But, having said that, I must also say that I'm glad I decided to pick it up.

From the summary I'd thought this book would focus more on the nine-lives thing Dani think she's got going on. It does at times, but it's mostly a story about Dani and how she's dealing or not dealing with her twin sister having leukemia. And I'm absolutely not saying it's a bad thing, but it required some adjusting on my account.

I loved Dani. She's funny and sarcastic and a bit of a bully at times, but she's also honest with herself about the things she can and can't do. She can't bear to watch her sister be sick and sometimes she doesn't want to spend time with Jena because of this. She's scared of her sister dying and she loves her very much. She can be a bit brutal, but I liked it. I felt for her through all of it, her concern for her sister, the troubles she has at school and with her parents and the boy she meets who's more than he seems. I was glad that there's an undercurrent of 'might-be-love-interest', but that it wasn't by any means the focus of the story.

At the beginning of the novel it feels like Dani is just acting out, trying to find a way to deal with her sister being sick, but the mindblowingly awful things she starts doing later on are actually part of her way of trying to 'help' Jena. She genuinely believes that every time she 'dies', Jena gets better. And it seems like it, but OMG, I just wanted to shake her and hug her and tell her to not hurt herself anymore!

I thought the dynamics in the family itself were very realistic. I could see parents dealing with one of their kids being sick like this. Everyone has a different coping mechanism, and while the ones employed here aren't necessarily the best ones, I could see it happen. I never really felt much of anything for Dani's mother, except sadness, but I loved her father. He's trying to make the best of it and trying to create happy memories when all Dani's mother wants to do is control everything. I get her reaction, but it never felt more true than when Dani's father says something along the lines of that even though Jena's sick, she still deserves to go out sometime and have fun with her sister. It's something a lot of people forget.

Also, I really liked Jack. The boy that isn't a real love interest at the moment, but might be in the future when Dani's life isn't upside down anymore. He's sweet and has dealt with his own share of worries for his family. I didn't think much of Dani's best friend Lauren, she seemed a bit weird and living in her own world and not very supportive.

I would have liked there to have been a bit more about the bond between Jena and Dani, more scenes from their childhood together and what kind of person Jena was before she became sick. I feel like I don't know Jena very well after reading this book and I was still waiting on learning more about her when I turned the last page.

While this is a tough subject for me to read about, All These Lives is not a depressing book. It's mostly a sister and the rest of the family dealing with one of their own facing the reality of actually dying and it's heartbreaking, but there's also a sense of hope, they haven't give up. Despite my usual shying away from book dealing with things like this, I'm very glad I picked All These Lives up!

My rating: 4 stars

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Daisy Update (12)

Hi guys! It's been two weeks, but last weekend I was busy I couldn't find the time to write up a Daisy Update, so I'll give you the lowdown on what's been going on for the past two weeks :)

Basically not so much.

Well, that's not true: I've been relaxing a lot and basically just doing all the things I enjoy: reading, spending time with the boyfriend, eating delicious food and hanging out with my friends. I also went to the sauna with the boyfriend and it was wonderful! I love relaxing in the water and being all nice and warm after going into the actual sauna. It was a good day :)

You guys may know that the European Championship is going on, of course I went to watch both of the games Holland played and unfortunately lost... Way to kill the mood in a bar! It was kinda painful to watch at times... The first match we watched in a bar and the other one we just watched at a friend's home, which was infinitely more relaxing, as I didn't have to constantly crane my head so I could see some of the screen.
Tonight's the match against Portugal and if it's anything like 4 years ago, that'll be a VERY painful game and I don't think we'll actually win.
I do however love that I heard on the radio that people in Ukraine (where the tournament is held) actually got out of their cars to take pictures of all the crazy Holland supporters all dressed up in orange clothing and all kinds of orange gadgets.

Also, one thing that put a bit of a damper on my weekend last week: 5 days after I picked up my car a rock landed on the windshield while driving and it got a little bit damaged. Which wouldn't have been so bad if while getting it fixed, it hadn't cracked further and instead of just taking a little bit of resin to be ok again, the whole windshield needed to be replaced... Yeah, I could have spent that money on a LOT of other, more enjoyable things.

Last night I went out with my friends from college, we've all graduated in the last 6 months and had dinner to celebrate that now we're all doctors! It was so much fun and while a couple of things went wrong at dinner, including one of my friends' chair breaking and a bit of plastic in another's food, we had a wonderful time. After we met up with the guys and went dancing at a bar in the city. It had been such a long time since I'd done that with them and I love that with them I can just dance like I do at home, as if noone's watching and they join right in :) I love spending time with them, and with our busy schedules we don't do it nearly enough, but last night was just SO much fun! :)

I've been reading up a storm and I'm hoping to continue like this until I start my job in just two weeks... Time just flies by and I feel the urge to study, but I haven't actually opened a textbook yet... Tomorrow, definitely. Or the day after ;)
Because I was so envious of everyone having fun at BEA, I decided to cheer myself up a bit and buy books. But it had been about a month since I last bought them, so I'm allowed right? I bought two Julia Quinn books and some others that had been on my wishlist for some time now. Can't wait till they all get here! I should really show off what I've been collecting for the past 6 months sometime... It's A LOT!

Next weekend the boyfriend and I are going on a mini-vacation, renting an appartment near the beach. Hope with me that the weather will be nice to us, but either way I think we'll have a great time just getting away from everything for a couple of days :)

Today will see me going to my parents in about half an hour to celebrate Father's Day and just catch up with them a bit.
Hope you all have an amazing Sunday and a wonderful week ahead of you!

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Review of Transcendence by C.J. Omololu

Title/Author: Transcendence by C.J. Omololu
Publisher/Date published: Walker Books for Young Readers, June 5th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "When a visit to the Tower of London triggers an overwhelmingly real vision of a beheading that occurred centuries before, Cole Ryan fears she is losing her mind. A mysterious boy, Griffon Hall, comes to her aid, but the intensity of their immediate connection seems to open the floodgate of memories even wider.
As their feelings grow, Griffon reveals their common bond as members of the Akhet — an elite group of people who can remember past lives and use their collected wisdom for the good of the world. But not all Akhet are altruistic, and a rogue is after Cole to avenge their shared past. Now in extreme danger, Cole must piece together clues from many lifetimes. What she finds could ruin her chance at a future with Griffon, but risking his love may be the only way to save them both."

I have to say that after finishing Transcendence, I'm left with mixed feelings. There were parts that I absolutely adored and sometimes I just found myself shaking my head and wanting to do a facepalm. And some of those times I did.

For me, Transcendence started of with a bang by being right in the middle of London and heading towards the Tower. Be still my little anglophilic heart. The whole scene were Cole and her sister went on the tour I was thinking: YES, that is what the Beef Eater did when we went there as well!! It's sorta embarassing how excited I get by stuff like this ;) I was really feeling the moment with Cole's first flasback to one of her previous lives. So we were doing really great. But then when she sorta loses focus with reality because of the flasback and Griffon comes to the rescue, Cole immediately gets all 'let's hide the things I'm good at and I'm not pretty enough to be with this gorgeous piece of manhood that has come my was'.

And I'm kinda tired of that attitude in female main characters. Not just in YA, although it does happen there more often than anywhere else. I would really like to see a girl with at least a figment of confidence. I wasn't Miss Self-Assured when I was a teen, but when a goodlooking boy talked to me, you better believe I wasn't thinking 'he's too pretty to be talking to me'.
So, I'd like to see some female MCs own up to their strengths and not put themselves down ALL THE TIME. Cause it's a bit off-putting for me.


I did really like seeing Cole's past lives unfold and learning more about her past and the bad guy who's after her. Even though I guessed pretty early on what one of the big plot twist was going to be. The other one I had absolutely not seen coming and it was really intriguing! The flashbacks might actually have been the best part of the book, I felt like the writing was more lush and everything became alive and I just felt like I was there in the moment, while I didn't have that same reaction when we were in 'present' time.

Unfortunately, I didn't fall in love with Griffon right along with Cole. He blew hot and cold and I wasn't feeling it. I didn't really connect to either of them and towards the end I found myself facepalming a couple of times at Cole's actions. I mean, seriously? You go and put your trust in the one person who holds a neon sign saying "I WANT TO HURT YOU"? And I completely agreed when Cole's best friend asked her 'Isn't that a bit dramatic?' YES! Way to jump to conclusions. It's just that this seemed a little off and out of character and just there so the story could reach the big finale.

For Fated, the next book in this series, I see a love triangle coming up, but it might actually be one that makes sense. I'm really curious to see how C.J. Omololu will handle it!
The idea of past lives and the Akhet are fascinating and I'm sure we've only seen the tip of the iceberg where this is concerned! I loved how C.J. Omololu connected this to different events and important historical figures and even to extremely talented artists/sportsmen.

I think this was a pretty good start to a series, but I hope Cole will grow somewhat more as a character in the next novel. There were things that worked SO well: the flashbacks and the big plotlines were amazing! But when something makes me do an actual facepalm, well, that's not so good. I am however very curious to find out what will happen next, so I'll definitely be picking up Fated when it comes out!

My rating: 3 stars

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Review of Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo

Title/Author: Shadow and Bone (The Grisha Trilogy #1) by Leigh Bardugo
Publisher/Date published: Holt BYR, June 5th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Surrounded by enemies, the once - great nation of Ravka has been torn in two by the Shadow Fold, a swath of near impenetrable darkness crawling with monsters who feast on human flesh. Now its fate may rest on the shoulders of one lonely refugee.
Alina Starkov has never been good at anything. But when her regiment is attacked on the Fold and her best friend is brutally injured, Alina reveals a dormant power that saves his life — a power that could be the key to setting her war-ravaged country free. Wrenched from everything she knows, Alina is whisked away to the royal court to be trained as a member of the Grisha, the magical elite led by the mysterious Darkling.
Yet nothing in this lavish world is what it seems. With darkness looming and an entire kingdom depending on her untamed power, Alina will have to confront the secrets of the Grisha... and the secrets of her heart."

YAY!!! I was SO looking forward to reading this book cause everyone was going OMG! SO GOOD! and the summary sounded highly exciting and well, I was dying to read an amazing fantasy novel. And I can happily say that I'm joining the fan club! :)

Shadow and Bone made me remember why it is that I love the fantasy genre and every time this happens when I read a really good fantasy novel I wonder why it takes me so long to read another when I'm clearly meant to read and love all these fantabulous books!


The mix of fantasy and Russian influences was amazing and made for a very interesting storyline and it made me want to delve into Russian mythology. Does anyone have good recommendations as to what I should be reading in that aspect?
Starting Shadow and Bone, I immediately felt immersed in this lush world that Leigh Bardugo has created with her storytelling and I loved every minute of it. I love it when a story grabs me from the get-go and doesn't set me down until I've finished it and not even then!

Alina, the main character, was loveable and I felt myself rooting for her, being scared for her and rejoicing at even the smallest of her victories! I absolutely loved the character growth she goes through and the revelation that tumbles her world upside-down (and I'm not talking about the dormant power surfacing here). I felt that when Alina forms a friendship, she's all in. She's loyal and even though she may not always make the right decision, she owns up to her mistakes and I respected that. I also felt that the reason for her powers being revealed now instead of when she was a kid was really good and explained a lot about her life and abilities so far.

And gosh, can I just say that I loved Mal? The boy is simply amazing and I'm wondering if in the next two books we'll also learn if there's more to his tracking abilities than just skill. I'm thinking there's something going on there as well.

I absolutely adored the idea of the Grisha and the Darkling, though I'm not completely sure as to how it all works exactly, but I'm willing to for now put that aside and hope that all will be revealed later on. The Darkling was both scary and compelling at the same time and I can really understand the pull Alina felt towards him. I had not seen a major plot twist coming and I absolutely loved it! Leigh Bardugo kept me guessing as to what was wrong and right and if anything anyone said was true!

I both wanted to savor every page and read faster so I would know how it would all end! I was on the edge of my seat and when I finished it, I couldn't sleep for a while because of all the emotions I'd just been through right along with Alina. Also:
OMG! Towards the end I thought Leigh Bardugo was going to pull something that also happened in The Girl of Fire and Thorns and utterly rip my heart to pieces and then stomp on it! I'm so glad Mal was ok, I mean, I just love that boy and I would have been devestated if he'd died! And GAH! The evilness of the Darkling was just mindboggling!

The only thing that sort of made me go 'huh?' was that everyone just seemed to heal from what I'd thought would be mortal wounds. You can't just walk everything off and well, getting attacked by a volcra (big bad bird-like thing with huge claws and such, if I'm picturing it right) would leave you a bit incapacitated I'd think.

To sum my thoughts up: this was a powerful start to what I expect will be an epic YA fantasy series! If you like the genre at ALL, you should definitely pick Shadow and Bone up! Leigh Bardugo drew me in with her compelling storytelling and I immediately connected with Alina and just felt everything right along with her! Cannot wait till the sequel Siege and Storm will be released!!

My rating: 5+ stars

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Review of Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham

Title/Author: Her Highness, the Traitor by Susan Higginbotham
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Landmark, June 1st 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "As Henry VIII draws his last breath, two very different women, Jane Dudley, Viscountess Lisle, and Frances Grey, Marchioness of Dorset, face the prospect of a boy king, Edward VI.
For Jane Dudley, basking in the affection of her large family, the coming of a new king means another step upward for her ambitious, able husband, John. For Frances Grey, increasingly alienated from her husband and her brilliant but arrogant daughter Lady Jane, it means that she — and the Lady Jane — are one step closer to the throne of England.
Then the young king falls deathly ill. Determined to keep England under Protestant rule, he concocts an audacious scheme that subverts his own father’s will. Suddenly, Jane Dudley and Frances Grey are reluctantly bound together in a common cause—one that will test their loyalties, their strength, and their faith, and that will change their lives beyond measure."

So you guys know by now how much of an anglophile I am. Which means that when I saw this one I knew I just HAD to read it! I mean, Jane Grey is one of my beloved tragic historical figures and I realised that I hadn't ever read a book that focuses on her instead of Mary or Elizabeth during the time this all went down. And now I have, hooray!

I really loved that I got to see all the events come to pass through the eyes of two women who were married to two of the most powerful men in England at that time: Jane Dudley, duchess of Northumberland and Frances Grey, duchess of Suffolk. It was so much more interesting to see a broader viewpoint than just the one shown from the people directly involved would have been, like for example Jane Grey herself. Through their husbands these ladies know a lot of the secrets and court intrigue and I just ate it all up.

I have to admit that I liked the chapters that focused on Jane Dudley better, she was a more engaging character, Frances was sometimes a bit cold in her behaviour and it threw me off. I did really appreciate that we see both of the men history has painted as villains in a different light through their wives' eyes and although I knew it wasn't going to end well for all of them, I was so rooting that maybe this time it would be different. Reading this I discovered that I actually didn't know a lot of things about how this all happened and I was kinda surprised to see THE Robert Dudley married for love! I mean, the only thing I've seen of him was when he was with Elizabeth in the novels and he didn't seem to care much about his wive then. Also, I can't help but picture him as Joseph Fiennes... And I hadn't realised before that Jane Grey was married at the time of her short reign, I was SO sad when her husband died, I really liked him as a character...

But I was sad at pretty much all of the deaths, be they by beheading or illness. Also, I keep getting frustrated that for most of the historical characters who died a 'natural' death (as in that they didn't get sentenced to death), no one knows exactly what they died of! It's probably my medical training, but I'm horrified at the things they didn't know and couldn't do back then and reading about stuff like that makes me all the more grateful to live in the 21st century!

This is not a negative point towards the author or anything, but sometimes I found it a bit hard to keep track of all the different Johns, Katherines, Janes and Marys, there seemed to be a lack of names to choose from in those times ;) I thought the author did a pretty good job at this though, most of the time she would mention their rank and family name along with the first name, so I could more easily figure it out.

I liked that Susan Higginbotham managed to teach me something about the time period and the people involved without being boring. The writing was engaging and like I said before, it was nice to see it through the eyes of these two women, who give the facts colour with their love for their husbands and children. Definitely recommended for historical fiction lovers like me!

My rating: 4 stars

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Review of The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross

Title/Author: The Girl in the Clockwork Collar (Steampunk Chronicles #2) by Kady Cross
Publisher/Date published: HarlequinTEEN, May 29th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "In New York City, 1897, life has never been more thrilling - or dangerous.
Sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne and her "strange band of misfits" have journeyed from London to America to rescue their friend Jasper, hauled off by bounty hunters. But Jasper is in the clutches of a devious former friend demanding a trade-the dangerous device Jasper stole from him... for the life of the girl Jasper loves.
One false move from Jasper and the strange clockwork collar around Mei's neck tightens. And tightens."

So I mentioned how Steampunk isn't really my genre in my review of The Girl in the Steel Corset, the first book in the series, but that it had managed to convince me not to give up on the genre entirely, cause I really enjoyed The Girl in the Steel Corset! So when I saw the sequel, The Girl in the Clockwork Collar, on NetGalley I just HAD to request it!

And really, I'm in love with Kady Cross's writing! It's absolutely wonderful and she has me believing in all the crazy stuff going on and all the inventions that are mentioned! I mean, I'm more of a magic kind of girl instead of actual contraptions doing stuff, but well, she just makes it work! And I keep finding myself thinking what a GENIUS Emily (one of the characters) is for coming up with all this stuff! I wish I could invent things...

I'm really liking the character development all of the main cast is going through and getting to know them better was wonderful! Finley is still the kickass girl she was in the first novel and is trying to figure out what it is exactly that she wants now that her 2 halves have been merged for the most part and just basically discovering who she is. I loved that with her it's not all black and white. She has a good heart, but she's also attracted to the darker side of things and I loved watching her figure it all out and owning up to her struggles with it.

And Griffin... That boy is still as swoonworthy as he was in The Girl With The Steel Corset, even when I sometimes wanted to slap him on the back of his head to FINALLY GET ON WITH SOME STUFF I WON'T MENTION! I love the chemistry between him and Finley and am really very much appreciative of there not being insta-love between them, because that is one of the biggest pet peeves I have when it comes to novels!

The abilities of all these characters we meet again are immensely interesting and I didn't feel that this book suffered from second book syndrome at all! There's enough action and definitely plot progression so I was rather enjoying myself reading it. There's some build up to what I think we will find out more about in the third book and I'm already anticipating a lot of angst and drama and an EPIC BATTLE.

I do have to say that the characters still seem a lot older in their behaviour than their actual age. If I didn't know they were teenagers, I'd say they were all about 23-25. This kind of bugged me at times, because I kept having to remind myself they were a lot younger than they appeared.

So basically this is a wonderful steampunk series and I'm sticking with it cause I can't wait to find out how it will all end! Even recommended to non-fans of the genre, the writing and characters are good enough on themselves!

My rating: 4 stars

Friday, June 8, 2012

Review of Dark Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title/Author: Dark Frost (Mythos Academy #3) by Jennifer Estep
Publisher/Date published: KTeen, May 29th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "I’ve seen so many freaky things since I started attending Mythos Academy last fall. I know I’m supposed to be a fearless warrior, but most of the time, I feel like I’m just waiting for the next Bad, Bad Thing to happen. Like someone trying to kill me — again.
Everyone at Mythos Academy knows me as Gwen Frost, the Gypsy girl who uses her psychometry magic to find lost objects—and who just may be dating Logan Quinn, the hottest guy in school. But I’m also the girl the Reapers of Chaos want dead in the worst way. The Reapers are the baddest of the bad, the people who murdered my mom. So why do they have it in for me?
It turns out my mom hid a powerful artifact called the Helheim Dagger before she died. Now, the Reapers will do anything to get it back. They think I know where the dagger is hidden, but this is one thing I can’t use my magic to find. All I do know is that the Reapers are coming for me — and I’m in for the fight of my life."

**WARNING: If you have not read the first two books in the series, you might want to skip this review as I can't promise there won't be spoilers for those 2 books**

I recently read the first two book in the Mythos Academy series and while I didn't review them separately, there'll also be something about them included in this review of Dark Frost. Because I cannot talk to you about that third book without that, it's just the way I'm wired ;)

So far this series has been a ride of ups and downs for me. I LOVE the idea of Mythos Academy and all the students being descended from these amazing warrior races: Amazons, Valkyries, Spartans, Romans and the odd one out: Gypsies. Or rather just one as Gwen is the only known Gypsy at Mythos. I absolute adore it. I also love that the Gods have Champions and it's not just limited to Roman or Greek Gods, but every kind of mythology possible. Of course there needs to be conflict, so Loki, the bad boy among the Gods enters the picture to bring the chaos. So far I was an incredibly happy camper.

And I like Gwen, she's got a good heart and is loyal to her friends and loves her family. I like that in a girl! Admittedly, she had her shallow moments, but don't we all? The only problem I've been having with her is that there were some things that were just SO obvious and she just completely ignores the obviousness and gets to the wrong conclusions and well, sometimes she does some things that make me go: how did you not see this ending badly to begin with??? SERIOUSLY?

I mean, seriously, how did she not think that it might be a bad idea to just grab the dagger when she figured out where it was without even checking if anyone was around and maybe getting some reinforcement just in case and actually having a PLAN as to where to take it next??? REALLY? With the fate of the world depending on it? REALLY? I found this kind of hard to believe.
Also, don't even get me starten on Metis leaving when Gwen was 'questioning' Preston. I mean, really, when she stepped out I just knew he was going to escape. It was just so irresponsible! And it seemed out of character for Metis to me.


I loved Logan, Daphne, Carson and Oliver. They're just amazing, strong people and I loved the dynamics between them and Gwen. They all have their own set of problems and I love getting to know them better. Also, I absolutely adored the new character that was added to this book: Nott, the Fenrir wolf. She completely stole my heart and even made me cry a bit. And yeah, I'd love to have a talking sword like Vic. If I knew how to use it instead of just slicing myself up by accident. Which I would.

The thing is, the writing can be AMAZING. Sometimes it was so good. And then other times it felt a bit childish to me in the descriptions and the repitition of the words. There were a lot of sentences that had the same word repeated in them 2 or 3 times and it got a bit annoying. Also, seriously, after the first few mentions of Gwen being a Gypsy, I GOT IT OKAY? I don't need to be reminded every other sentence that Gwen is in fact a Gypsy. I mean, who knew? She's a Gypsy? REALLY? *ahem, excuse my sarcasm* I could have done without the constant reminders of everyone's particular brand of warrior. I mean, it's handy for the characters you don't see every other page, but for Gwen and her friends it just kind of got annoying.

I'm really enjoying the growth the characters go through and just seeing the whole plot unravel. It's starting to get REALLY exciting the more the story progresses and I'm already itching to get my hands on the fourth book in the series, Crimson Frost, and find out what's going to happen next for Gwen, her friends and basically the rest of the world!

So yes, I'd say if you're into mythology you should read this. And yes, you'll probably roll your eyes at some point like I did, but if you can look past all that, the story is really good and it's definitely worth getting into!

My rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Review of A Night Like This by Julia Quinn

Title/Author: A Night Like This (Smythe-Smith Quartet #2) by Julia Quinn
Publisher/Date published: Avon, May 29th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "Anne Wynter might not be who she says she is...
But she's managing quite well as a governess to three highborn young ladies. Her job can be a challenge — in a single week she finds herself hiding in a closet full of tubas, playing an evil queen in a play that might be a tragedy (or might be a comedy — no one is sure), and tending to the wounds of the oh-so-dashing Earl of Winstead. After years of dodging unwanted advances, he's the first man who has truly tempted her, and it's getting harder and harder to remind herself that a governess has no business flirting with a nobleman.
Daniel Smythe-Smith might be in mortal danger...
But that's not going to stop the young earl from falling in love. And when he spies a mysterious woman at his family's annual musicale, he vows to pursue her, even if that means spending his days with a ten-year-old who thinks she's a unicorn. But Daniel has an enemy, one who has vowed to see him dead. And when Anne is thrown into peril, he will stop at nothing to ensure their happy ending..."

So there's a lot of enjoyable historical romance out there if you know where to look. There are some that are really good. And then you have the more rare novels that are truly amazing. This one falls into that last category, I loved every minute of reading it!!

And I mean, what wasn't there to like? You had the strong female character who has actual conflict in her past that she's hiding. There was the strong, handsome and very much likeable hero who I instantly adored, even though he did make me go MEN! in the first couple of pages as well. They have amazing chemistry together and there was a whole set of secondary characters for me to love. I mean, what more could I wish for, right?

I loved Anne, she's a strong, intelligent woman and even though she fell for Daniel, she didn't lose herself in the haze of love and lust, but still managed to be sensible. I also loved how she cared for her charges and for Daniel. And Daniel, he did a really stupid thing while drunk some years ago and has been away from home ever since. He's definitely matured as a result and I loved the bond between him and his family, they are such a wonderful set of people! I loved that even though he was definitely spending time with his cousins because he wanted to be around Anne, he was still a good sport about it and participated in their lessons. I don't think I've ever giggled so hard at a historical romance as the part in this one where Anne, Daniel and the three cousins are acting out a play which one of the cousins wrote herself. It was SO funny! And seriously, I agree with Frances, the play did need a unicorn ;)

And Julia Quinn definitely had the funny going on! I mean, I love it when there's amazing tension and sexytimes, but for me personally, I couldn't imagine being with someone who couldn't make me laugh and I love it when this also enters into the lovestory. And I just love it when a book makes me giggle!

Also, I really appreciated that they didn't immediately jump into bed together. Sure, there's a kiss within 2 minutes of them meeting each other, but they actually form a relationship before taking it further. And I liked that, it seems more realistic to me.

But most of all I found that I very much enjoyed Julia Quinn's writing style. The story just seemed to flow effortlessly and I was immediately sucked into this world she's created and found myself genuinely caring about what happened to all of the characters! I am so kicking myself for not reading a Julia Quinn novel before!! Seriously, I absolute LOVED A Night Like This and it has made me Julia Quinn's newest fangirl!
A Night Like This was everything I could ask for in a historical romance and bonus points for bringing the funny!

My rating: 5+ stars

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Armchair BEA: Best of 2012

So today we're talking about the best of 2012: the best books you've read so far and ones you are anticipating that you think will belong on that list before 2012 is done!

I'm gonna give you my 5 star reads so far by genre:

YA Paranormal Romance
Everneath by Brodi Ashton
Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Hemlock by Kathleen Peacock

YA Dystopian
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin

YA Fantasy
Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder
Allegiance by Cayla Kluver
Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas

YA Contemporary
Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Pilgrims Don't Wear Pink by Stephanie Kate Strohm
Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

YA Historical Fiction
Code Name Verity by Elizabeth Wein
Gilt by Katherine Longshore

Adult Fantasy
A Storm of Swords: Steel and Snow by George R.R. Martin

Adult Historical Romance
A Night Like This by Julia Quinn
The Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen
A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long

And what I think I'll be adding before the year is over:
Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
Defiance by C.J. Redwine
Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
Seraphina by Rachel Hartman
Touched by Cyn Balog
Shadowfell by Juliet Marillier
The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson
Lessons From A Scandalous Bride by Sophie Jordan
One Good Earl Deserves a Lover by Sarah MacLean

So, how about you guys? Any you recommend based on my list that I've fallen in love with? Any that I should be getting ALL THE EXCITEMENT over that aren't released yet? Let me know! And leave a link in the comments so I can check your post out!!

Monday, June 4, 2012

Review of Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Title/Author: Of Poseidon (Of Poseidon #1) by Anna Banks
Publisher/Date published: Feiwel & Friends, May 22nd 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Galen, a Syrena prince, searches land for a girl he's heard can communicate with fish. It’s while Emma is on vacation at the beach that she meets Galen. Although their connection is immediate and powerful, Galen's not fully convinced that Emma's the one he's been looking for. That is, until a deadly encounter with a shark proves that Emma and her Gift may be the only thing that can save his kingdom. He needs her help - no matter what the risk."

This was one of my most anticipated reads of Spring 2012 and you should all know that I have a thing for mermaids. I just love the underwater world that comes with them and I guess I never really got over my obsession with Ariel I developed as a kid ;)
There are really good things about Of Poseidon and some things that I liked less.

I really liked Emma. She's a sweet girl and throughout Of Poseidon she develops a spine and a fierce temper and I really liked it. I love girl that can hold their own! She gets a lot thrown at her and stays true to herself while dealing with all of it. I liked that she's curious and calls Galen on it when she thinks he's not telling her the full story.

And I loved Galen, he's very confident and because he hasn't dealt with teenage human girls before and because of his royal status gets obeyed in the water world, he has a hard time adjusting to Emma. I loved seeing him being shaken out of his comfort zone! And he does insecure very charmingly, if a little violent when provoked into jealousy.

But basically, I really liked them together, they were bickering and full out arguing and there were just sparks flying everywhere. It was amazing. Because they keep things from each other there's the Big Misunderstanding and I felt for both of them and they even brought tears to my eyes. So yeah, the lovestory part completely worked for me.

The only thing that had me feeling annoyed was the interaction between Emma and her mother. It just felt off and forced and just made me very uncomfortable reading it. Reading the whole story makes me understand a bit more about why her mother reacted to some things so strongly, but it was still weird. Also, aside from some sort of casual mentioning of it, I felt that the death of Emma's best friend was sort of ignored. The time between Chloe's death and the start of the school year is glossed over and the way it was dealt with even made me forget sometime that Emma was devastated by her death.

I kinda saw the whole plot twist towards the end coming for some time, but the sort of cliffhanger ending makes me REALLY excited to read the next one and find out what's going to happen now with all of these characters! I really liked Anna Banks' writing style, I felt sucked in and read the whole thing in a sunny afternoon spent in my parents' backyard. It was wonderful and I felt everything Emma and Galen were feeling and YAY MERMAIDS!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Armchair BEA 2012 Introduction Post!

Hi all! I decided to sign up yesterday (I know, really last minute..) and join in on the fun :)

So for today the theme is 'Introduce Yourself' and for those of you who don't know me yet, here are the answers to the questions posted on the kicking off post for Armchair BEA:

Please tell us a little bit about yourself: Who are you? How long have you been blogging? Why did you get into blogging?
My name is Daisy, I'm 24 years old and just finished Med School and am now a real doctor as I keep reminding myself ;) I got into blogging through the College Students group on Goodreads, our fierce leader Jamie decided to start a collaborative blog called The Broke and the Bookish and asked who would be interested in joining, so I immediately jumped at the chance. And that's what got me to start my personal blog as well.

What are you currently reading, or what is your favorite book you have read so far in 2012?
I'm currently reading The Girl in the Clockwork Collar by Kady Cross, I'm almost finished with that one. I'd love to pick a favourite, but I've read a lot of books that I absolutely loved, so if you're interested, here's a list of my 5 star reads of 2012 so far.

Which is your favorite post that you have written that you want everyone to read?
I loved writing this discussion about Medicine and Fiction because it allowed me to incorporate two huge parts of my life :)

If you could eat dinner with any author or character, who would it be and why?
Definitely Jane Austen. I know, I know, been dead for a long time and all that, but it would just be wonderful to sit down with her and pick her brain about everything!

What literary location would you most like to visit? Why?
Hogwarts. As a student, I accept no less. I'd love to immerse myself in the magical world that is the Harry Potter universe and OMG, COOLEST SCHOOL EVER!

What is your favorite part about the book blogging community? Is there anything that you would like to see change in the coming years?
My favourite part is the easy friendship that I've formed with some of the bloggers out there and I love geeking out with everyone over books I loved and just basically everything to do with reading. Also, it makes me feel less abnormal for reading so much. Basically I'm trying to say: YAY FOR ALL YOU GUYS!!

So that's my introduction! If you're participating, leave me your link in the comments and I'll be sure to check your post out! Also, if anyone wants to chat, I can usually be found on Twitter :)

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Daisy Update (11) In which I bought a car!!

So you guys remember how I mentioned last time that I needed to get a car?? I TOTALLY DID! :D I went to check it out last week with my parents and then picked it up yesterday and we're already great friends :) Here's a picture of my cute little car:

Ok, so this one isn't mine, but they took the pictures down from the dealer's site and I haven't snapped a picture of it yet myself and it's raining here, so I don't feel like going outside. But mine looks the same :) It's small enough that even I can park it easily and big enough that I can still take stuff with me, so I'm happy :)
Though spending all that money on it made me wince somewhat, but it's what I'd been saving it for, so I'm telling myself to get over it. Which is easier every time I drive it and it makes me feel all happy to know it's mine, even though it's still somewhat surreal that I actually OWN A CAR.

Anywhoo, the last two weeks have seen me working at my parttime job, this Friday was the last time, so now I get to have a month off before starting my new job and just relax before I will need to work ALL THE HOURS. It's scary and exciting and it makes me feel like I should be studying EVERYTHING so I'll be prepared. So in between the relaxing I'll actually also open a book every now and again ;)

And seriously, you'd think the weather would be nice to me and all since I have all this time off, but NOOOO, it insists on raining and being all kinds of nasty even though it's almost Summer. I mean, seriously? I'd like to go on a small vacation with my boyfriend and since all the budget went into buying the car, it'll need to be in Holland, so it'd be nice if the weather was at least somewhat less unpleasant. *sigh*

Last night I went out with some of my friends and designated drove so I could show off my shiny car :) We had fun, but sometimes I feel a bit old with all the 16-year-olds also going to those bars (even though they're for people over 21). Being the DD meant that I was giggling a lot at all the things I caught and my friends didn't, I love people watching! :) But being sober also meant that I saw ALL THE THINGS. And well, some things I'd rather have been blisfully unaware of...

I also met my new cousin yesterday! She's 4 weeks old and totally adorable! :) I can't help myself, I just love babies, all cute and cuddly and shopping for gifts for little kids is one of my favourite things ever. Her older brother turns 3 today and he roped me into playing picknick and cars and shop with him all afternoon and was just all kinds of adorable. He's a really sweet little boy and I hope that he won't get over the phase where he hugs people goodbye, cause it's so sweet!

In bookish news: I've been reading all 3-5 star books for the past 2 weeks and it's been great! I haven't once felt the urge to DNF a book and I'm just loving it! :) Also, I read my first Julia Quinn novel last weekend, her newest release A Night Like This and I'm SO in love with her writing!! I'm dying to read more of her books and am just generally a new fan :) If the Duke and I, which is sitting on my shelf, is anywhere near as good then I think she'll go on my auto-buy list! :)
I love it when I discover a new author to love!

This week will basically see me doing as less of the things as I possibly can, I'm just going to relax and read and try to catch up on the sleep I didn't get last night (SO TIRED right now) and I wish you all a great week as well!
For all of those going to BEA: I hope you have fun meeting all the authors and bloggers and I wish I could be there with you guys! Maybe next year...

Saturday, June 2, 2012

Review of Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker

Title/Author: Unbreak My Heart by Melissa C. Walker
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury Children's Books, May 22nd 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Sophomore year broke Clementine Williams’ heart. She fell for her best friend’s boyfriend and long story short: he’s excused, but Clem is vilified and she heads into summer with zero social life.
Enter her parents’ plan to spend the summer on their sailboat. Normally the idea of being stuck on a tiny boat with her parents and little sister would make Clem break out in hives, but floating away sounds pretty good right now.
Then she meets James at one of their first stops along the river. He and his dad are sailing for the summer and he’s just the distraction Clem needs. Can he break down Clem’s walls and heal her broken heart?"

So you guys, books dealing with subjects like cheating and having the actual main character cheat with someone always makes me a bit hesitant. Because there are things that are sure to get my hackles up and one of them is cheating.
I loved that someone in the book mentioned he had an issue with cheating and Clem said 'a lot of people do'. It's true, I get all ragey and seriously had my night ruined a couple of weeks ago when someone I was with that night told everyone she wanted to seduce a guy who had a girlfriend and daughter. I was SO pissed.

So yeah, the possibility of me being very much pissed of at the main character made me a bit wary of Unbreak My Heart. But I'd been hearing really good things about it everywhere and even from people who have similar thought on the subject of cheating that I felt ok going in.

And you guys, I shouldn't have worried so much, cause the book is just wonderful!! I mean, sure I got annoyed with Clem at times when she related everything that happened with her and her best friend's boyfriend, but she felt so bad about it and she knew she had done a really bad thing that I didn't have a red haze cloud over my vision. Clem is a good person who did an awful thing. And I loved that slowly over the course of the summer she started realising just where what it was that was so wrong about what she did and why her best friend wouldn't speak to her anymore. Her slowly getting to this conclusion and realising the reason she was so sad showed such character growth! It was amazing!

Also, I loved the dynamics in Clem's family! They were trying to give her space, but were also ready to support her when she needed it. It was just such a warm, loving family and sometimes I think we don't get enough of that in YA novels, so it made me appreciate it even more. I really loved Olive, Clem's little sister, she was so cute!

And you guys, I just absolutely loved James, the boy who helps unbreak Clem's heart. I loved his happy personality and just that he was such a good guy. And he and Clem had great chemistry, I had a smile on my face the whole time I was reading about them together.

But what I most loved is that although James helps unbreak Clem's heart, she mostly does this herself, with help from her family. She realises that the breaking of her heart wasn't just about the boy and so it's not up to a boy to fix it.

This was such a wonderful summer read! It would be perfect for those nice days sitting by the pool or in your backyard, just relaxing and getting lost in this story, cause believe me, you will get sucked in by the writing, it's SO good! I am definitely going to check out more books by Melissa C. Walker!

My rating: 5 stars