Sunday, June 29, 2014

City of Heavenly Fire

Hello there. I am finally finally here with my review for City of Heavenly Fire. I finished this book on June 10 and cannot believe I haven't written a review yet. But better late than never, so here it goes.

City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
Sebastian Morgenstern is on the move, systematically turning Shadowunter against Shadowhunter. When one of the greatest betrayals the Nephilim have ever known is revealed, Clary, Jace, Isabelle, Simon and Alec must flee - even if their journey takes them deep into the demon realms, where no Shadowhunter has set foot before, and from which no human being has ever returned. Love will be sacrificed and lives lost in the thrilling and long-awaited final instalment of the bestselling and acclaimed Mortal Instruments.

Let me begin by saying that I absolutely LOVED this book. This is definitely my favorite of all the Mortal Instruments books. Until now, none of the books in this series really blew me away but then I read the Infernal Devices which was just the best and now there were so many references to the Infernal Devices in here that I could not take it. Too much awesomeness right there. Seriously, everything was perfect in this book. We got the perfect ending to the Mortal Instruments, enough references to the Infernal Devices to melt my heart and the introduction of Emma Carstairs and the Dark Artifices series that is coming out next year, I believe. So if you have not started this series, I highly recommend doing so. There are so many fantastic characters waiting for you in the Shadow World.

Please do not read further if you haven't finished all the books in the Mortal Instruments series and also the Infernal Devices series.

Okay, so I just have too much to talk about and I'm going to try to make it as understandable as possible by doing a lame bullet-point list.
  • Jace and Clary: I'm glad that these two finally got their happy ending. I really loved their relationship in this book and of course they deserved their lake scene. I don't really have that much to say about these two because I feel like everything turned out pretty much the way I had expected it to. And they never were my favorite favorite characters.
  • Simon and Isabelle: Oh my God! My two favorite characters and so much happening with them. Throughout the whole book I was so so scared that Isabelle was going to die. And then that scene where she almost did killed me. I was sitting there reading and saying "no, no, no, no, this isn't happening, no, no, no!" I really really thought this was it. And I almost jumped around on my bed when Simon did his vampire blood move.

    And even though all the bad things had always happened to Simon, I never for one second doubted that everything was going to be fine with him in the end. The scene where Maureen kidnapped him was hilarious and then when he drank Alec's blood I was just laughing out loud again. And don't even get me started on drunk Simon. But then THE ENDING. I still have not gotten over how this book ended for Simon and I have developped a raging hate for Magnus's father. Why would Cassandra Clare do this to us? I was crying so much I had to go to work with extremely puffy eyes the next day. He just lost all his memories of the Shadow world and of Clary and Isabelle. I felt so sorry for Isabelle too because everyone was happy and in love and her boyfriend had just forgotten all about her as if she'd never existed. And when Clary called Simon's home. And then approached him in the street. It was so so heartbraking but then I read about his new band's name I was SO HAPPY. SO SO HAPPY. And of course, Magnus was there to save the day with Izzy. And now Simon is becoming a Shadowhunter himself. Everything is awesome again, thank you Cassandra.
  • Alec and Magnus: As you might know, Magnus is my favorite favorite character ever. He's just pure awesomeness and always there to save the day. So as you may imagine, seeing him almost die in his father's realm really really upset me. But luckily for everyone in my near surroundings, Magnus lived and he and Alec FINALLY got back together at the end of the book. It broke my heart seeing them apart and how much they both loved eachother but just weren't able to work it out until both almost died.

    I've never liked Alec that much before this book. I mean I never disliked him either, but in CoHF I fell in love. There were so many hilarious moments involving him, mostly when he walked in on other people. But not only did he develop a talent to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, he also became a much stronger character in this book. I think the fact that Magnus was in danger really brought out a new side of him and I loved this new Alec who was brave and just shot Meliorn because he deserved it and stood up to his father.
  • Jordan and Maia: The fact that Jordan died did not really come as a surprise to me. But how he died and how noone really cared really bothered me. I mean Maia had been planning on breaking up with him and then just felt guilty that he died thinking that she was in love with him. But other than that, Jordan's death never really played any role at all and I disliked that. He had become a good friend of Simon and then also Jace and I just wanted people to mourn him properly. And I didn't like how Maia and Bat somehow ended up together either because I feel like that makes Jordan's death even less important. So, Jordan, I am sad you died and I'm sorry noone else seems to care, just so you know that.
  • Sebastian / Jonathan: Okay, so I know that Sebastian was the bad guy. And he really was a bad guy. But I just never could hate him that much. I know he killed people just because he could and I know that turning Shadowhunters with the Infernal Cup is bad and I definitely know that how he wanted Clary is wrong but I just could not help it, I felt sorry for him. He just wanted to be loved. So I can't join all the hatred he's getting even though I feel a little guilty for it.

    I loved the scene when Sebastian is dead and Clary and Jocelyn get to see what he would have been like if Valentine hadn't experimented on him. And I just wanted Clary to have her brother and Jocelyn to have her son. But even though I wished for Jonathan to live, I knew it wouldn't be possible. Even if he had survived through some miracle, the Clave would've still held him responsible for all the terrible things that Sebastian had done. So I think it was easier for everyone to say goodbye to him that way than have the Clave execute him. But I'm still grateful for that one conversation we got. 

and last but definitely not least...

  • Tessa and Jem: I loved every single scene with Brother Zachariah/Jem and I loved every mentioning of Tessa or the ghost at the London Institute aka Jessamine. It just all made me so happy and at the same time I teared up instantly if there was any reference to their past and especially to Will. It was just all too much, too much awesome and too much sad. And at the end when they said that Tessa and Jem were moving to Los Angeles I could not hold back. Because that's where The Dark Artifices series is taking place. That means we're going to see even more of them. I am beyond happy, just thinking about it makes me want to jump around.

So yes, thank you Cassandra Clare for this brilliant ending to a great series. I loved every page of it and I cannot wait for more of the Shadowhunter World. I really hope you'll include these fantastic characters also in the Dark Artifices series because I cannot wait to read more about what happened to them.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Europapark in Pictures

Hello there. It's been a week again and even though I have a ton of books to talk about, I'm gonna post about my trip to Europapark first. My boyfriend and I spent a really lovely two days and had a lot of fun. The weather was perfect, not too hot but still warm enough that I didn't mind getting wet on some of the rides. I took quite a lot of picture and I thought it would be easiest to just show some to you. Europapark is really nicely decorated - inspired by different countries in Europe and then of course there are a lot of rides to go on and so much food (all very healthy of course..). But I'll stop talking now and just show you some pictures!

Saturday, June 14, 2014

The Undomestic Goddess | Attachments | My Life Next Door

Hi there. I'm back with another book post that has been a long time coming. I read these books two to three weeks ago but never got around to writing about them. But now I finally did and decided to post this first, even though I really really want to talk about City of Heavenly Fire.

The Undomestic Goddess by Sophie Kinsella
Samantha is a high-powered lawyer in London. She works all hours, has no home life, and cares only about getting a partnership.She thrives on the pressure and adrenalin. Until one day… she makes a mistake. A mistake so huge, it’ll wreck her career.

She walks right out of the office, gets on the first train she sees, and finds herself in the middle of nowhere. Asking for directions at a big, beautiful house, she is mistaken for the interviewee housekeeper and finds herself being offered the job. They have no idea they’ve hired a Cambridge-educated lawyer with an IQ of 158 – Samantha has no idea how to work the oven.

Disaster ensues. It’s chaos as Samantha battles with the washing machine…the ironing board…and attempts to cook a cordon bleu dinner.But gradually, she falls in love with her new life in a wholly unexpected way.

Will her employers ever discover the truth? Will Samantha’s old life ever catch up with her? And if it does…will she want it back?

I've had this book for so long and started it a few times but then put it away for some stupid reason. I love Sophie Kinsella's books and I don't understand why it took me so long to read this one. I really really enjoyed it now and it might even be a good thing that I've waited this long to read it. Because one thing I remember is that I didn't really understand any of the lawyer talk in the beginning and I'm guessing that's why I put the book away then. But now, working at a law firm, I thought those were the funniest parts. I could imagine Samantha's life so well and loved how the life of a lawyer is portrayed in this story. Of course it was a little over the top at some points, but I still really enjoyed it. The story overall is just a very light read, exactly what I needed. It did all seem quite unlikely to really happen, but it doesn't really matter with books like this, does it?

Unfortunately - and I feel like I'm saying this about every book - I thought the ending was a bit weak.  I don't know if I'm the only one thinking this way but I always want to know what happens after like after the big kiss and the happy ending. And in this story I thought that would've been extremely important. I cannot picture how Samantha's life is supposed to turn out after the end and I really want to be able to do that. But, as I've said, the story was definitely worth reading and I really enjoyed it overall.

Attachments by Rainbow Rowell
It's 1999 and the internet is still a novelty. At a newspaper office, two colleagues, Beth and Jennifer, e-mail back and forth, discussing their lives in hilarious detail, from love troubles to family dramas. And Lincoln, a shy IT guy responsible for monitoring e-mails, spends his hours reading every exchange. 

At first their e-mails offer a welcome diversion, but the more he reads, the more he finds himself falling for one of them. By the time Lincoln realises just how head-over-heels he is, it's too late to introduce himself.

After a series of close encounters, Lincoln eventually decides he must follow his heart... and find out if there is such a thing as love before first sight.

After reading and loving both Fangirl and Eleanor & Park, I obviously had to read this book. And it did not let me down at all. I just love Rainbow Rowell's writing and the characters in her books are always so well developed and feel like real life people, which I absolutely love. I thought that Lincoln's character was extremely interesting in this book, especially because you could watch him change and make his own choices and everything. It was just all so well written. What I loved most is how at the beginning you get this image of a not-so-attractive young man who still lives with his mother and is overall a rather boring guy. Or at least that's what it was like for me. But then you start to realize that that's just how he sees himself and I thought that was really well done. When I read about him from Beth's point of view, I couldn't really understand at first how those two images could be the same person. I loved how his insecurity made the reader see a whole different person than he might actually be.

Overall I just really liked this book, even though I didn't love it as much as Fangirl. I definitely recommend it to anyone. I often laughed out loud at the email exchanges between Beth and Jennifer and fell in love with every single character in this story. I can't wait to read more from Rainbow Rowell, she definitely is becoming one of my favorite authors.

My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
Life in Samantha Reed's home is neat and clean and orderly - precisely planned by her local politician mother. Next door, at the Garretts', things are loud, messy and irresistible. And whe gorgeous Jase Garrett climbs the trellis outside her bedroom and enters her life, she finds herself falling passionately in love with him and everything he brings with him. The only hitch is, she's got to hide it from her mother. Then something unthinkable happens, and Samantha is suddenly faced with an impossible decision. Which perfect family will save her? Or is it time she saved herself?

I really liked this book. It was a light summer read and exactly what I expected it to be. And it was finally one of those books again, where the story isn't only about how two people fall in love and become a couple but also about what the relationship is like afterwards. All the characters are really well developped, some more likable than others. I feel like I don't have any negative thing to say about this but the reason I didn't give it five stars was that, even though I really liked the book overall, there was no moment that really touched me or that I could totally relate to or anything that evoked any kind of strong feeling. I just read through it and it was cute and all but not something heartwarming or anything. I can't really explain it, it just wasn't a five star book to me.

I still recommend reading it to anyone looking for a light summer read. It really is perfect for that.

So this is all for now. I really need to keep up with blogging if I want to talk about all the books I read and  other things happening in my life. Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

May Wrap-Up

Hello there. I can't believe it's June already. Where is this year going? I'm not sure I'm ready for June. But here I am, doing my May Wrap-Up. I read eight books this month and because I've written a review for all of them, I'm not going to talk about the books more here.

So these are the books I read this month:
  • Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira | | Review
  • Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins | | Review
  • To all the Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han | | Review
  • Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins | | Review
  • The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey | | Review
  • Panic by Lauren Oliver | | Review
  • The Knife of Never Letting Go | | Review
  • The Undomestic Goddess | | Review

Overall I think I had a good reading month and I read a lot of great books. I'm also really excited for June because, of course, City of Heavenly Fire came out (and I have yet to buy it). So I'm definitely going to read that one as soon as I've finished My Life Next Door. After City of Heavenly Fire I'll probably have some trouble picking out a new book. So I'll just take it as it comes.

Thank you for reading!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Istanbul Travels

Hi there. I'm sorry it's been a while, but I've got an exciting reason to have kept you waiting. As you might know, I went to Istanbul for a prolonged weekend and just returned yesterday. The trip was pretty amazing, a lot better than I'd expected. We went with our firm's soccer team to play in a two-day tournament. And because a two day trip to Istanbul without any time to go sightseeing isn't really worth it, we decided to leave early and enjoy two additional days of exploring the city.

After arriving on Wednesday night, Thursday was our first day in the city. We went to see the big tourist attractions such as the Blue Mosque and the Hagia Sophia first and then went to the Grand Bazaar. These were all very impressive and not like anything I've seen in other cities before. I especially loved the Blue Mosque, from the outside as well as the inside. On Thursday night we went to a beautiful restaurant high up above the roofs of Istanbul, where you could see a big part of the city. The view was absolutely breathtaking and of course I had to take a million pictures.

On Friday, we decided to have a more relaxed day with less walking and more enjoying the sun at the hotel pool. In the late afternoon, though, we took a boat across the Bosphorus to explore the Asian part of Istanbul and also to do some shopping. Then we had a delicious dinner and decided to explore Istanbul's nightlife, which, as it turns out, is pretty good.

Unfortunately we had to get up rather early the next day for the first day of soccer. This was so much fun, even though we lost almost every game. The weather was perfect as well, not too hot but still sunny (which also meant I got a really bad sunburn by the end of the day). That night we went on a boat tour with all of the 18 teams participating in the tournament where we also got to meet some new people. After the boat tour, we went out again, only to find it even harder to get up early the next morning for the end of the tournament.

On Sunday night, then, we were all pretty exhausted and stayed close to the hotel to eat and have a drink afterwards. Overall, the trip was amazing and I'm not sure how much I like being back now. I really liked Istanbul, even though it wasn't the most beautiful city I've ever been to. But being there with all these great people definitely made it memorable.

I'll leave you with some of the pictures I've taken during the trip. Thank you for reading!