Thursday, December 17, 2015

ARC Review: Firsts

by Laurie Elizabeth Flynn
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary
Publication date: January 5, 2016
Published by: St. Martin's Griffin
Kindle edition, 320 pages
My rating: 3.5/5 ★

Many thanks to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Seventeen-year-old Mercedes Ayres has an open-door policy when it comes to her bedroom, but only if the guy fulfills a specific criteria: he has to be a virgin. Mercedes lets the boys get their awkward, fumbling first times over with, and all she asks in return is that they give their girlfriends the perfect first time- the kind Mercedes never had herself.

Keeping what goes on in her bedroom a secret has been easy- so far. Her absentee mother isn’t home nearly enough to know about Mercedes’ extracurricular activities, and her uber-religious best friend, Angela, won’t even say the word “sex” until she gets married. But Mercedes doesn’t bank on Angela’s boyfriend finding out about her services and wanting a turn- or on Zach, who likes her for who she is instead of what she can do in bed.

When Mercedes’ perfect system falls apart, she has to find a way to salvage her reputation and figure out where her heart really belongs in the process. Funny, smart, and true-to-life, FIRSTS is a one-of-a-kind young adult novel about growing up.

I have conflicted feelings about this book. There were many aspects that I enjoyed, and others that I wasn't so sure about. Firsts addresses some difficult and important topics  that separate it from the usual YA contemporary (romance) novels. It also presents a very unusual and somewhat controversial main character that is the main reason for my uncertainty about my thoughts on the story.

On one hand, I did not like Mercedes and it was incredibly hard to connect with her and feel for her. She has so many issues and does the stupidest things, and it was absolutely infuriating to read about it. But then I think, somehow that's also a good thing. Firsts definitely doesn't portray a teenager that is in control of her life. It's a story about a girl who has literally no clue what she's doing and makes all the wrong choices because she has no role model. Her family life is completely messed up, so that she also has huge trust issues. Mercedes was unable to open up to absolutely anyone (seriously, not anyone). She kept all those secrets until it got way too much for her to handle. I kept thinking that her inability to talk about herself and just trust people was overdone and unrealistic. But then I had to remind myself that just because Mercedes isn't like me, that doesn't mean that people can't have those issues.

I guess what I'm trying to say is that Firsts was a hard book for me to read and it was even harder to warm up to Mercedes. But I don't want to judge the story too much because of that.

One thing that I thought was interestingly portrayed was Mercedes's relationship with Faye, the new girl that arrived at their school. All throughout the book, Mercedes isn't sure if she has only friendly feelings towards Faye or if it's more than that. It showed her general confusion about herself and her life perfectly and I think it really helped her character development. I myself didn't really like Faye, though, but I was glad she was there for Mercedes. She was a really good friend, if a little too much and over the top at times.

Zach, Mercedes's friend-with-benefits kind of thing, was the only character in the story that I really liked. He was kind and patient and always tried so hard. It was impossible not to root and feel for him.

One thing that bothered me was that I feel like lots of things weren't quite resolved at the end. I would've needed something more, more information about what happened, etc. The ending was too focused on the romance, which hadn't played such an important role in the story up until then. Because of that, the topics that had been more prominent before didn't get enough attention, so the ending lacked closure.

Overall, I gave the book 3.5 stars (4 on goodreads) because I enjoyed the story for the most part. I would recommend Firsts to people who are looking for a different contemporary read. As I said, my own feelings are very conflicted, and I don't think this will be everyone's cup of tea. If I had to compare it to any other book I've read, I would have to go with The DUFF by Kody Keplinger, though I have to say I didn't enjoy it quite as much. 



Sunday, December 6, 2015

November 2015 Wrap-Up

Hello there. I'm here today with my very late November Wrap-Up. As always, the weeks are just flying past and I'm trying to keep up. I can't believe it's already December but I'm also super excited because it means that Christmas is right around the corner. I should probably start my Christmas shopping at some point.. But of course I'm here to talk about books, namely the ones I read in the past month.

What I Read


I managed to finish five books in November and I'm happy with this number considering that I'm nearing the end of my uni semester and the workload is just getting bigger and bigger. But anyway, here are the books that I read:
  • Dash and Lily's Book of Dares by David Levithan and Rachel Cohn, 3/5
  • Overall, this just wasn't really my kind of book. While I enjoyed the story itself, the writing seemed pretentious and simply did not work for me. I feel like I couldn't connect to the characters or the story because of that. I'm going with three stars because it was an okay book but nothing more for me.

  • Magiona by Maria Dahvana Headley, 3/5 
  • I really loved the first part of this book, before all the fantasy elements came into the story. The characters were great and I felt so excited about the whole thing. But after the 'big thing' happened, I completely lost interest in the story. Aza, our main character, started to annoy me and I got so confused by the plot. This book is written in a very unique way and while I appreciated that at the beginning, it felt too jumpy in the second part of the book. Aza's actions were often not explained or anticipated in any way, so everything simply happened and I didn't understand why she did the things she did. By the end, I was honestly just waiting for the book to finally come to a close.

  • Scarlet by Marissa Meyer, 5/5 
  • I absolutely adored the second installment in the Lunar Chronicles series. Scarlet and Wolf were both very interesting characters and I loved how everyone's stories intertwined and worked together. As with Cinder, I found the plot to be rather predictable, but I wasn't bothered by it at all.

  • Cress by Marissa Meyer, 5/5 
  • Another 5/5 – I just can't get enough of this series. Cress was, again, pure awesomeness. It's perfectly paced in my opinion. Something is always going on but it doesn't get too much. Another thing that I love is how Marissa Meyer makes you anticipate certain things but then resolves them at the perfect moment. There are no stupid and annoying mishaps and misunderstanding. She just gets everything right.

  • Fairest by Marissa Meyer, 5/5 
  • I just had to give this one 5/5 as well. It was so much better than I had thought it would be. The only reason I even picked it up before reading Winter was that I had still been waiting for that last book to arrive. I wasn't really interested in Levana and I thought Fairest was going to be an unnecessary side story that I might as well leave out. But I have to say I'm really glad that I read it. It made me understand where Levana came from and why she might have turned into who she is, but it doesn't try to justify her actions. She's still evil and her actions are wrong – that's made clear again and again throughout the book. I think knowing what her life has been like gave me some valuable background information, not only about Levana but also the rest of the Lunar people that appear in the books. I can't wait to see how all of this is going to play into the story of Winter.

What I Bought


I bought seven books in November, three of which I already read. Two I bought with a gift card that I received for my birthday, so that's okay as well. And for the last two, well, I visited my sister in Brighton and couldn't resist buying some books in the beautiful bookstore there. So I guess I can somewhat justify adding four more books to my TBR when I actually want it to get smaller. Oh, well. So here's what I bought:

December TBR

As always, I don't have a specific TBR for December. I will definitely read Winter this month, but I'm trying to make myself wait until the end of my uni semester to start it. At the moment, I'm actually reading A Brief History of Time by Stephen Hawking, which I bought on a whim the other day when I didn't have a book with me to read on the train ride home. I went to the book store and just decided to pick the smallest book in the non-fiction section because I never read non-fiction and thought now was as good a time as any to start. Well, it turned out to be Stephen Hawking's book. It's super interesting but all the physics stuff is definitely very hard to follow. I don't know if I'll ever actually finish it but I'll keep reading it for now. Then I also want to read Made You Up and Uninvited for my 2015 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge.

On the Blog

Well, this was one of those months (again) when I just didn't really blog at all. I did talk about  the portrayal of Unhealty Relationships in New Adult, but that's already it.

Life

As I already mentioned, I went to Brighton to visit my sister who stayed there for three months (she actually just arrived back home today, finally!). I was really happy to see my sister and especially to see where she's been hiding all these months. Mostly though, I'm just glad I didn't get blown away by the wind. 

So that's it for my November Wrap-Up. I hope you all had a good month and happy holidays to you! 

What was your favorite read of the month?
Do you have any weird ways of picking out books at the book store?



Tuesday, November 3, 2015

On the Topic of Unhealthy Relationships in New Adult

Okay, so this is just going to be a quick rant about the portrayal of abusive/unhealthy relationships in New Adult in general and more specifically, Travis and Abby's relationship in Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire.

Beautiful Disaster was the very first New Adult book that I read, and I absolutely loved it. It completely got me hooked and I loved the relationship of Abby and Travis. At the time I just thought it was so overdramatic and unrealistic and over the top, but it didn't bother me or lessened my enjoyment of the story at all. I didn't really think further than that. But now today, I don't even know why, I deliberately started searching for negative reviews of the book and just for people who discuss the abusive relationship between Travis and Abby. It made me actively realize something that I've always known in the back of my mind but never really thought about, namely how very unhealthy the romance in this book is.

I'm not going to go into detail as to why the romance is unhealthy because I honestly don't think I know enough about emotional abuse and such, so I'm going to leave you with a video by Thoughts on Tomes and a blogpost I found by Molly over at Wrapped Up in Books.

I know that New Adult in general often portrays abusive and unhealthy relationships in a romantic way, and I know that there are tons of people who despise the genre because of that. And here I am, someone who reads lots of New Adult and enjoys most of those books. But I want to emphasize that I in no way support abusive relationships or think that they are okay. I just want to try to explain why I still read books like Beautiful Disaster.

So to begin with, I'd like to say that I've had a boyfriend for four years now (almost three years when I first read Beautiful Disaster and got into New Adult) and our relationship is absolutely nothing like the ones portrayed in Beautiful Disaster and such. I don't think a relationship should be like that and most of all I definitely don't want a relationship like that. I wouldn't want to know someone like Travis in real life and I could not stand to have someone so controlling and dictating as a boyfriend.

I definitely see how portraying emotionally abusive relationships in a romantic way in books is problematic. There are lots of girls who have probably never been in a (serious) relationship and don't really know what to expect. I know that I used to be one of those girls. Having them read books like Beautiful Disaster and wanting a boyfriend just like Travis worries me. That's not how it's supposed to be, everyone! It's important to emphasize that again and again. 

But there are also other types of readers. Of course I don't want to promote abusive relationships, and I'm not going to recommend Beautiful Disaster for its portrayal of love. But when someone can see that such relationships are not something to strive for and see the wrongness of it but still like the book, I don't think that's wrong either. Personally, I can distance myself from the characters and the relationship, overlook all the drama and not think too much about the book itself. I see it as strictly fictional and not something I connect to my daily life. It's a guilty pleasure. For me, New Adult is never going to be a genre I would pick up when I want something to think about. I don't think it's good literature and I don't think it's trying to convey important messages. But thought provoking, meaningful books aren't always what I'm looking for, and for when I just want to shut down my brain and read, I usually go for New Adult.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I just want to say that 1) yes, portraying emotionally abusive relationships in a romantic way is wrong and highly problematic, but 2) it's still okay to read and enjoy those books if you are aware of the problems and that it's a fictional and do not try to apply it to your own lives. 

Okay, so I'm just going to stop here because I'm having serious troubles getting my thoughts straight. I won't be able to explain why I enjoyed Beautiful Disaster because when I think about it rationally, it makes no sense to me either.

I would love to hear your opinion. If there are any other interesting posts etc. on this topic that you know of, please let me know. I really want to read/hear more about it and I'll definitely try to look out for signs of emotional abuse in the books I read in the future. I'm glad today has made me more aware of this problem.


Saturday, October 31, 2015

October 2015 Wrap-Up

Hello there, and happy Halloween! It's already the end of the month again, so I'm doing my wrap-up today. Also, I'm sorry for the lack of pictures in this post. I'm writing this last minute and am not at home where all my beautiful books are. 

What I Read

October has been a very good reading month for me: I managed to read 10 books! 
  • Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater, ★★★★★
  • Turns out I really really love the Raven Cycle series. This third book wasn't quite as good as the second one in my opinion and I would have hoped for a little more to happen, especially at the end of the book. But overall I enjoyed it very much and I can't wait to see how the story is going to wrap up in the last book. 

  • Rikki by Abigail Strom, ★★★★
  • I had a few issues with this book but overall it was an easy and enjoyable read. Here's my full review. 

  • While It Lasts by Abby Glines, ★★★
  • As always with Abby Glines's books, I really enjoy this book and got through it very quickly, but it definitely wasn't perfect. This third book in the Sea Breeze series was exactly what I needed and expected, quick and fun but with a number of flaws. 

  • Wonder by R.J. Palacio, ★★★★★
  • I loved everything about this book. August was a wonderful character to read from but also all the other perspectives that we get to see throughout the book were super interesting and touching. I cried happy and sad tears with this book and whenever I start thinking of the ending, I think my heart is going to explode. Definitely a must read for anyone

  • Fuel the Fire by Krista and Becca Ritchie, ★★★★★
  • It took me a while to warm up to Connor and Rose, but with this book I definitely fell head over heels in love with them and their relationship. It's so different from anything that I've ever read: it promotes equality rather than the idea that women should be protected (and honestly: ruled over) by their boyfriends as it's unfortunately done all too often in New Adult (yes Abbi Glines, I am looking at you). I would definitely recommend the Calloway Sisters series to anyone who has sworn off New Adult because of the unhealthy relationships. 

  • Easy by Tammara Webber, ★★★★
  • Another quick and enjoyable read. If you like New Adult, you'll probably like this book too. 

  • I'll Give You the Sun by Jandy Nelson, ★★★★★
  • I had huge problems getting into this book and getting used to the writing. I especially didn't like Jude in the beginning. But then I fell in love. With everything. I loved the complicated relationship between Noah and Jude, and reading about what they were each going through broke my heart. 

  • Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway, ★★★★
  • This was a very cute and enjoyable read about love, friendship and family. I liked reading about the relationships between the characters but I had trouble connecting to any of them, which is why I only ended up giving this four stars. 

  • Carry On by Rainbow Rowell, ★★★★★
  • I can't help but compare all of Rainbow Rowell's books to Fangirl, and this definitely wasn't as good as Fangirl to me. I very much enjoyed reading about Simon and Baz, though, and loved the whole magic school aspect, which Rowell managed to separate from Harry Potter very well, even if it had the HP feeling to it. My favorite aspect of the book were all the references to things that happened in the past, and that would've happened in the past books if this were an actual series. I always thought 'oh yeah, I remember reading that' only to realize that I had not, in fact, read that. 

  • Cinder by Marissa Meyer, ★★★★★
  • I finally got started with the Lunar Chronicles series, and I enjoyed the first book a lot more than I thought I would. Here is my full review.
So, that's all the books that I've read this month. My favorites were definitely Wonder and I'll Give You the Sun.

What I Bought

I only have one new book to show you here and it's one I got for my birthday. I also ordered a few but they haven't arrived yet, so I'm going to include them in next month's haul.

November TBR

I definitely want to continue with the Lunar Chronicles next month, but I'll have to wait until those books arrive. I also ordered Made You Up by Francesca Zappia and Uninvited by Sophie Jordan, which I want to read for the 2015 Authors A-Z Challenge.

On the Blog

I finally reviewed some books again this month, namely Rikki and Cinder. Then I also talked about the wishes I would ask the book genie to grant me in my seventh Top Ten Tuesday post. And last but not least, I asked for help in order to finish the Authors A-Z Challenge. 

Life

So as I've mentioned, my birthday was this month. Yaay! I turned 21 on October 16 and had a huge party. No, I'm kidding. I invited some of my friends over to have Raclette (which is a delicious Swiss dish, in case you were wondering! Google it. ;) ). Other than that I've just been trying to catch up on Uni work and all that fun stuff.


So that's it for my October wrap-up. I wish you all a happy November!





Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Review: Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1)



by Marissa Meyer
Series: The Lunar Chronicles #1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction, Retellings
Publication date: January 3, 2012
Published by: Feiwel & Friends
Hardcover, 390 pages
My rating: 5/5 ★

Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl.  Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Cinder sounded like something completely different from what I usually read. For one thing, I don't really read sci-fi; it's just not a genre that usually appeals to me. I've also never specifically sought out fairytale retellings. Unlike other people, that's never really been a selling point for me. Add to that the fact that there is a huge (and I mean huge) hype surrounding The Lunar Chronicles, and I think it's understandable that I had been hesitant to pick this book up for a long time. Would it live up to the raving reviews I had read everywhere, or was it really just not for me?

I am so so glad that I finally decided it was worth giving this book a try. Cinder did not disappoint. All the things I was sceptical about turned out to work perfectly for me. Cyborgs, androids and evil queen from the moon? Yes please!

My favorite part of the book was undoubtedly Cinder's character. She is a teenage cyborg mechanic. That sounds confusing, and it actually took me a while to figure out what exactly it means to be cyborg. (I thought this was intentionally done, but I just realized that a quick google search would've helped, as the term is cyborg actually fairly specific. But well, not really knowing was part of the fun for me!)

Cinder is very head-strong. Even though cyborgs are shunned in her society, she makes the best of it. She always stood up for herself and, most importantly, didn't blame herself for the bad things that happened to or around her. That was honestly so refreshing. I feel like even the strongest and most kick-ass female characters in YA always blame themselves for everything. But not Cinder. She always defended herself when she was unfairly accused (of literally everything) just because she was cyborg, especially by her stepmother and -sister. She knew she wasn't to blame for things like the death of loved ones, even if she was repeatedly told it was her fault. Overall, she was just the perfect heroine in my opinion.

The reason why I don't usually seek out fairytale retellings is that I expect them to be very predictable. I had always imagined that the retelling would be so close to the original tale that by knowing the original story, the retelling would pretty much be spoiled. Clearly, I didn't know what I was talking about. Knowing the story of Cinderella didn't help at all in predicting the ending of Cinder. I liked how the similarities between the two stories were obvious, while Cinder was nevertheless very distinct from Cinderella. I will say that the story in Cinder was still rather predictable. None of the plot-twists or reveals took me by surprise, and most of the theories I had formed while reading the book turned out to be true in the end. This didn't lessen my enjoyment of the story itself, but unexpected twists and turns are always a plus and would have probably made me love the book even more.

Another rather weak aspect of this book, in my opinion, was the romance. It wasn't really there. The book's focus was clearly somewhere else, and believe me, I appreciated that. The only reason I was disappointed was because I've read many times how swoon-worthy Prince Kai is, so I expected there to be a little more. But maybe that will come in the next books, and if not I can totally live with a YA series without the romance drama for a change.

Overall, Cinder was a very well written and thought out story. I'm very intrigued as to what the next books will bring and I can't wait to see how the story continues. I would recommend this book to pretty much anyone - you definitely don't have to be a fan of sci-fi to enjoy this story. 



Monday, October 26, 2015

2015 Authors A-Z Challenge - I Need Help


Hello there. So at the end of last year, I decided to participate in the 2015 Authors A-Z Reading Challenge (here's my sign-up post). The goal is to read a book for each letter of the alphabet according to the author's last name. So in the end, it's only 26 books in a year, and I thought I could finish that easily. But then I kind of forgot about the challenge.

So now I need help. I have a couple of letters left, and I want to finish as many books for these as possible in the two months left. Here is the list of books that I've read so far. I'm still missing the letters I, J, L, O, U, V, X, Y, Z. If you know any authors for these letters and could recommend some good books, that would be perfect! I'm looking for rather easy and quick reads, as I already have a number of books that I also want to read this year. So if you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Okay, so this was just my very quick cry for help. I hope you're all having a wonderful day!



Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #7: 10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me


Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


Hello there. This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is 10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me.  I only came up with six, but here they are, in no particular order:



[photo credit: @bookskay]

1. Hunger Games Luxury Edition Box Set
Of course I already own a copy of this series since it's one of my all time favorites, but the books that I own are nowhere near as incredibly beautiful as this Luxury Edition. The reason why I don't already own these lovely copies is that I can't find them anywhere. I'm guessing it was limited edition or something, but every time I see a picture on Instagram or so, I get the jealousy is unbearable. 
2. A wall full of bookshelves
I have very limited space for my books in my room and I keep dreaming of one day having my own place where I can put books everywhere. Mostly, I just want an entire wall in my living room with bookshelves, of course filled with lots and lots of books. 
3. Hidden door behind a bookshelf
This goes perfectly with 2. One of those bookshelves would then actually also be a secret door. I'm not sure what sort of room I would want to hide behind it but I don't really care. 




4. Go to Hogwarts
I'm pretty sure that this is everyone's dream, and it's probably the first wish I would ask the book genie to grant me. I'm not sure yet if I would want to go there together with Harry, Ron and Hermione, or after they have defeated the bad guys. For one thing, it would of course be awesome to be friends with them, but that does also seem very dangerous. Plus, according to Pottermore, I would be sorted into Hufflepuff anyway.




5. Fangirl Sequel
I can't explain to you how much I need a sequel to this book. If that genie could just convince Rainbow Rowell to continue Cath and Levi's story, I would be the happiest person ever. I just want to read more about their relationship, especially how Cath meets Levi's family. Of course I'm happy about Carry On, it's more than I would've hoped for, so I'm not really complaining. And no, I haven't read it yet because it still hasn't arrived even though I had it preordered from Amazon.. 




6. New book by Laini Taylor
I know, I know, there will be one. Next year. Maybe. But it won't ever be enough. I could read Laini Taylor's books all day. She has the most beautiful and most captivating writing style and I fell in love with the characters she creates in Daughter of Smoke & Bone.


So those are all the six wishes I could come up with. You can have the other four, because I'm nice like that.

What are some of your bookish wishes?



Wednesday, October 7, 2015

Review: Rikki (Hart University #1)


by Abigail Strom
Series: Hart University #1
Genre: New Adult, Romance
Publication date: September 22, 2015
Kindle Edition, 205 pages
My rating: 4/5 ★

Many thanks to the author and NetGalley for providing me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Ever since junior high and an ill-fated game of seven minutes in heaven, Rikki Eisendrath and Sam Payne have hated each others’ guts. But when they end up at the same college—and the same dorm—they figure it’s time to declare a truce.

They even become friends… sort of. But when Sam asks Rikki to model for his sculpting project, they start spending more time together—and her feelings for him get more complicated.

She tries to focus on the guy she’s been crushing on instead. But Sam’s the one she can’t stop thinking about, even though their arguments are starting to heat up as much as the chemistry between them.

With antagonism and attraction this intense, there’s bound to be an explosion. But when the dust settles, will Sam and Rikki be enemies, friends… or something more?

Rikki didn't disappoint, but it didn't surprise either. What I expected from the summary and from the New Adult genre is pretty much what I got. It was a cute story and I enjoyed reading it a lot  (and finished it really quickly because I couldn't put it down) but there were also some aspects that bothered me, hence the four stars (or more like 3.5).

Rikki and Sam have always competed against each other in school and therefore they weren't the best of friends. They pretty much hated each other, really. But then somehow, they also don't. I liked their story of hatred turned to friendship turned to maybe something more. It was rather predictable, but I expected that from the summary and it didn't keep me from enjoying the journey. 

What I really liked about Rikki's character was that she seemed very 'modern'. She has two mothers, she doesn't believe in slut-shaming and she generally tried not to be prejudiced against anyone. All of this, however, was very heavily underlined throughout the story. I wish it could've been a little more subtle, so that it doesn't feel forced.

"I was being totally heterocentric and I didn't even notice. It just goes to show
how unconscious our preconceptions are. Sorry about that."


"No, thanks. But makeup doesn't make a woman slutty."
"So you're saying I'm not slutty?"
"I don't believe in slut-shaming girls for how they dress or do their makeup or--"
"How many guys they've slept with?"
"That, either. No one should be shamed for their choices."

Again, I think it's great that these things are actually addressed in the book, but these two quotes just don't feel like natural conversation to me. I would've wanted to see the fact that Rikki and her friends had these opinions more in their actions. I also had some other problems with the writing. It was often too descriptive, especially when Sam was concerned. His face, his body, his everything was described so incredibly detailed that it felt very unnatural. The same goes for Rikki's thoughts in general. The story is told in first person from Rikki's point of view and we spend a lot of time inside her head. Her thoughts are described in so much detail, and sometimes I would've wanted there to be more doing and less thinking.

Another thing I liked was how the author handled the sex aspect. As you probably know, New Adult novels are usually very steamy and often focus a lot on sex. Strom managed to give the story just enough steam without making it only about sex. It was a love story first but of people who are in college, so that topic couldn't simply be ignored.

I would recommend Rikki if you're a fan of New Adult and in the mood for something quick, fun and not too deep. I felt like the author tried to give the story depth and make it thought-provoking, which I appreciate, but for me it didn't really work. But since that wasn't what I was looking for in Rikki, I was able to simply like it for what it was.



Sunday, October 4, 2015

September 2015 Wrap-Up

Hello there. It's the beginning of October and therefore time for my September Wrap-Up.

What I Read

I was kind of shocked when I looked at my goodreads and noticed that I only read three books this month. But then I remembered that I also re-read the first three Throne of Glass books, so I guess that makes a total of six books, which I'm totally okay with. Here's what I read:

  • Never Always Sometimes by Adi Alsaid, ★★★
  • This was somewhere around 3.5 stars for me. I really liked the first part of the book and Dave as a character, but the second part was a huge disappointment. I wasn't a huge fan of the writing and I didn't like Julia very much at all. Then the ending was really wrong somehow in my opinion. I had been so incredibly excited for this book but it was quite the let-down, unfortunately.

  • Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas, ★★★★★
  • This had been one of my most anticipated books of the whole year and it did not let me down at all (for the most part). It was so action packed that I couldn't put it down and I can't wait to see how everything will continue from here. I just have to mention something that I kind of hated, but since it contains spoilers don't read it if you haven't read the book!  View/Hide Spoiler

  • The Dream Thieves by Maggie Stiefvater, ★★★★★
  • I don't know where to start with this one. It was absolute perfection. I am so in love with all of Stiefvater's characters, especially Ronan. I had already really enjoyed the first book but now this was so much better. The whole story is unpredictable and original and just pure awesomeness. Can I please be friends with Gansey and Blue and all of them?

That's already it for the books I finished in September. I also read quite a big chunk of Blue Lily, Lily Blue, but I'll include that one in next months wrap-up.

What I Bought

Okay so I know I said in my August Wrap-Up that I don't want to buy any more books for the rest of the year, but I still have five books to mention here. That's okay, though, because two I received from my amazing boyfriend and one I had preordered (and that's okay!). The other two I had already bought when I wrote last month's wrap-up, so technically, I didn't break my rules. But anyway, here are the books I got:


October TBR

As you might now, I am not very good with sticking to TBRs. In fact, I am very bad at it. I made a post about my Fall TBR, which you can look at here. I will just pick the book that interests me most from that list. At the moment, though, I am already reading a book that is not, in fact, on that list. But oh well. I also recently realized how absolutely horribly I'm doing with the 2015 Authors A to Z Reading Challenge. This is bothering me less than it should, and I'm already kind of okay with the fact that I probably won't be able to complete it. But I might try to slightly adapt my TBR for the rest of the year so that I will be able to check off a few more letters.

On the Blog

I'm going to do this quick and painless: I only uploaded two posts, my August Wrap-Up and a Top Ten Tuesday (Fall TBR). Shame on you, Karin. SHAME. ON. YOU.

Life

To be honest, I am kind of glad that September is over. It wasn't the best month for me, although it started pretty good, i.e. with holidays. My boyfriend and I went to Italy for a week, which technically should be relaxing and wonderful. For some reason, and don't ask me how I did it, I managed to hurt my back so that I wasn't able to walk or stand up straight for two days. Great. Luckily, it got much better rather quickly after those first two very painful days. I was even able to go on a trip to Berlin to play soccer only a few days after, so it didn't end up ruining all my holiday plans. But then university started and somehow it managed to drain me of all energy and motivation for everything. I didn't read very much and I didn't study at all. Again, great. That's why I am so ready for October, and hopefully I will get back into the swing of things soon.

Okay, so that's it. I hope you all had a great month and happy October to you!



Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #6: Fall TBR

Hello there, I am baaack! I'm sorry for the absence this month but university started again last week and before that I was on holidays (again). I've been trying to get used to going back to uni this past week and it hasn't worked out very well so far. Of course I also want to get back into blogging, but this semester looks like it's going to be pretty stressful and I don't know how much time I will find for my blog. Enough, hopefully. But anyway, I'm here today with another Top Ten Tuesday!

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


This week's topic is Top Ten Books On My Fall TBR. Fall is finally here and I have to admit, I'm glad about the slightly colder temperatures and the chance to wear a jacket and boots again. Of course I also want to read lots of books this season, but here are my top ten I want to get to (in no particular order):



Blue Lily, Lily Blue by Maggie Stiefvater
I'm currently reading The Dream Thieves and I'm really enjoying this series so far. The characters are all growing on me and I can't wait to see what happens with them.

I'll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
I know, why haven't I read this already? I've had this book for a while and I honestly have never heard one bad word about it. Everyone loves it so much, but for some reason I still haven't read it. I'm definitely planning to change this SOON!

Magonia by Maria Dahvana Headley
Even if the cover is the primary reason why I bought this book, I'm also really intrigued by the story. For some reason, this sounds like the perfect fall book for me (don't ask me why, though).

Emmy & Oliver by Robin Benway
I have such high expectations for this book and I can't wait to see if it lives up to them. I really, really need a good contemporary book in my life again. I feel like I haven't read one that has truly warmed my heart in a while and this sounds like exactly one of those books.

The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson
Of course, fall is also the time to read some fantasy books. For some reason, I haven't read this book yet even though I've had it sitting on my shelf for a while. I really want to get to it and the cover looks very appropriate for the season in my opinion, so there's nothing holding me back.




All the Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr
My wonderful boyfriend got me this book and I'm really glad he did. I think this is one of the books that I would've made excuses for not buying for way too long because I know it's going to be hard to read and I know it will take me a while to get through. But all the fantastic things I've heard about it have convinced me that I need to read this book, and soon!

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
I know, I know, I know. Another shameful confession: I haven't started The Lunar Chronicles yet. But I'm fully prepared to hop on that bandwagon now, so calm down. I was so excited when I first got this book and I wanted to start it right away. But then I didn't, for some reason. And I kept not reading it until I got to a point where it felt almost too late to start now. But I'm doing it, I promise. Before the year is over, I will have read this book.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio
This was a rather recent purchase but it sounds so all-around amazing that I want to get to it as soon as possible. I think it's a book I need to be in the mood for, though, so it's probably not going to be the very first I'll pick up from this list.

Snow Like Ashes by Sara Raasch
Another one of those books that I've been so excited for when they first came out but then ended up just not reading. And now the sequel is coming out and I still haven't read the first book. But I intend to change that this fall, too. 

All I Know Now: Wonderings and Reflections on Growing Up Gracefully by Carrie Hope Fletcher
Carrie is so talented and wonderful and I love watching her videos. I can't wait to hear what she has to say in her book, I'm sure it will be great.

That's it for my fall TBR. I hope you're all having a great week!

What are some books on your Fall TBR?
Which book should I pick up first?


Tuesday, September 1, 2015

August 2015 Wrap-Up

Hello there. I can't believe August is already over, but there is no denying it. So of course, this means it's time for my monthly wrap-up.

What I Read


This is where it already gets difficult. I read six books this month and seven novellas. Which I'm going to count as one books, even though goodreads counts them as one each. But anyway, here are the books:
  • The Wrath and the Dawn by Renee Ahdieh, ★★★★★
  • I absolutely loved this book. It completely blew me away and I really didn't expect it. Ever since I finished it, I haven't stopped pushing people to read it. I can't really explain my feelings, it was just so good. I will admit, though, that I didn't like all of the storylines the same and I have a somewhat bad feeling about what the next book is going to bring. But that's just one more reason why I need The Rose and the Dagger in my hands right now. 

  • The Truth About Alice by Jennifer Mathieu, ★★★★★
  • I've had this one for a while and now finally read it for the Booktube-A-Thon. My expectations were pretty high and I was not let down. Jennifer Mathieu addresses bullying in a very honest and real way and I loved how this book was structured. Alice's story is told through different people and we only get to hear her herself at the very end of the book. It totally worked for me and even though all the other people made me really angry for what they did to Alice, I somehow liked them as characters. If you're up for a non-happy read, this one is very powerful, honest, and beautiful. 

  • The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon, ★★★★
  • This was a reread for me but it didn't feel like it. This might have to do with the fact that I read the book for the first time in school, at the very beginning of our English classes, when I hardly knew the language at all. I remember not liking the story very much the first time around. Now, I really appreciated the book and, most of all, the characters. Christopher was such an interesting person and I loved learning about him. 

  • The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater, ★★★★★
  • This one took me completely by surprise. First of all, I didn't expect to like it very much because I didn't enjoy Shiver by Stiefvater very much. I went into the story without knowing what it was about and I didn't expect it to feel so creepy. I don't now what I thought the book was about, but it definitely wasn't what I anticipated. But not in a bad sense at all. It's such a refreshingly different story that I can't wait to continue with the second book. And the characters are all wonderful and lovable and so different from what we're used to in YA. 

  • When You're Back by Abbi Glines, ★★
  • So this was the one big disappointment of this month. I've talked about how much I like the Rosemary Beach series countless times, always emphasizing that it's more of a guilty pleasure than anything else. And when I started When You're Back, I felt really in the mood for one of these light, fun books. But for some reason, I just couldn't stand the continuation of Reese and Mase's story. I had made a few attempts to read it before but always ended up putting it down. And this month I was convinced that if I would just give it a proper chance, I would end up liking it just like the other books. But that just did not happen. I was so incredibly annoyed by the characters and by their relationship, I wanted to shake them and scream at them. Reese and Mase's relationship was really just incredibly unhealthy and I could not stand it. 

  • Tales from Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, Robin Wasserman and Maureen Johnson
  • So these are the seven e-novellas that I read. It mostly had to do with all the clips from the Shadowhunters TV series that I keep seeing. I just felt like reading some Shadowhunters stories and instead of rereading TMI or TID, I decided to read these new novellas that focus on Simon. It took me a while to warm up to them but now I'm actually looking forward to the three novellas that aren't out yet. I also enjoyed most of the flash-backs to earlier stories from the Shadowhunter Academy. Here are my ratings for each of the novellas:
    -  The Lost Herondale, ★★★
    -  The Whitechapel Fiend, ★★★
    -  Nothing But Shadows, ★★★★
    -  The Evil We Love, ★★★
    -  Pale Kings and Princes, ★★★★
    -  Bitter of Tongue, ★★★★★ 

  • The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger, ★★★★
  • I'm a little confused as to why I enjoyed this book. I don't feel like I really got the story at all and I didn't really like the main character either. I was also kind of annoyed that Holden went through absolutely no development, but I still liked the book overall. I don't know.

What I Bought


I bought eight books this month, which is more than I read and that is not good. I'm going to try to cut back on my book buying for the rest of the year because my birthday and Christmas are both coming up and I will no doubt receive one or two books anyway. And my TBR is at an all time high at the moment with over thirty books. I know that compared to other people that's not that much but I don't want it to get out of hand. Anyway, here are the books I bought this month:


September TBR

I have a few books I want to read in September, starting with a reread of the Throne of Glass series before (finally) reading Queen of Shadows. I also want to continue with the Raven Cycle series and other than that, I don't have anything planned. As I've said, there are quite a few books on my TBR and I will just pick what I feel like reading.

On the Blog

I've uploaded an incredible eight posts to my blog this month, which is quite a lot compared to the lasts few months, so I'm happy with that. I want to get back into reviewing books, though, because I did none of that in August. But here's what you might have missed and I would love for you to have a look at:
As I mentioned in my July Wrap-Up  I've just been working all month, which has both been fun (because I work with so many great people) and exhausting (thanks to my boss). I also got really exciting news last week from university: I passed all of my exams (!!!) and actually made it through the first year of my law studies. I could not be happier with my grades and everything and I had a massive freak-out at work when I found out the grades were out. The failure rate is between 20%-50% depending on the subject and I just haven't been quite able to grasp the fact that I didn't fail one exam. Sorry for rambling, but I'm getting happy and proud all over again. Anyway, other than that, I also went to two weddings in August which were both incredibly beautiful and I'm so happy for my friends. 

Exciting Things Happening in September

Well, university is about to start again, which is slightly unnerving. But before that, I have two weeks of free time and I have a lot of fun things planned. First, this Thursday, my boyfriend and I are going to Weltklasse Z├╝rich, which is a Diamond League track and field meeting here in Switzerland. This might not sound very exciting if you aren't interested in track and field, but I can't wait to go. And then on Saturday we are leaving for Italy to spend some time at the beach until Thursday the week after. And I'm already leaving for Berlin the next day for the weekend, returning Sunday night. Then university starts again on Monday and it sounds pretty stressful to me but at the same time relaxing, because holidays. I'm definitely very excited for it all.

What are your plans for September?
Any favorite books you read in August that I should check out?



Saturday, August 29, 2015

Saturday's Quote #2

Hello there. I have designed another quote picture that I want to share today. I decided to call these posts 'Saturday's Quote' and I will try to upload one every now and then on Saturday. I had so much fun doing the first one that I couldn't wait to try again. 

I chose one of my favorite quotes from Ready Player One by Ernest Cline, a book I absolutely adored, for this week's post. It's a rather negative quote in my opinion which is why I didn't want to use too many happy and bright colors. But anyway, here it is:


I'm really happy with this one too and I'm even more proud of the fact that I used Photoshop to create it. I took over my boyfriend's computer for a couple of hours and tried to teach myself how the program worked, but of course my boyfriend had to help me (a lot). 

Soo... what do you think?



Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #5: YA Romance 101

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Hello there. This week's Top Ten Tuesday topic is Top Ten Books That Would Be On Your Syllabus If You Taught X 101, and I decided to go with YA Romance. I picked ten different 'kinds' of romances, that aren't necessarily my top favorites, though. I hope this is okay and not bending the rules too much. 


The Insta-Love
First off, something I do not recommend including in your book: Insta-love. It's extremely annoying most of the times and tolerable at best. The book I chose for this is Ignite by Lily Paradis. On page 7, the main character has already fallen madly in love with a random guy she just met, who made her loose the ability to speak and think. Oh, how I hated that. But to be fair, the book got better after that, so if insta-love is something that doesn't bother you, you should consider picking it up.

The Love Triangle
Another classic in YA romance and another thing I recommend you avoid: the love triangle. I don't think anyone actually likes these, but I, for one, don't particularly hate them. They can be done well, in a way that doesn't bother me. As an example, I have chosen a series where I actually enjoyed the love triangle: The Infernal Devices by Cassandra Clare.

The Slow Burn
Maybe this is just personal preference, but something that is all too rarely done in my opinion is a good slow burn romance. It's the exact opposite of the aforementioned insta-love, where the characters develop feelings over time rather than at first sight. If you are interested, I would recommend I'll Meet You There by Heather Demetrios, a wonderful example of slowly developing love story.

The Drama Queens
While they're mostly annoying, overly dramatic love stories can be entertaining sometimes. One of the examples where all the drama, and I mean there is a lot, didn't even bother me is Beautiful Disaster by Jamie McGuire. I guess you'll just have to make me ship the characters so hard that I can overlook all the drama and just want my happily ever after. 
(I cheated a little because Beautiful Disaster is very clearly a New Adult book, so don't read it if you're not ready for that!)

Hate Turns to Love
You know when you hate someone with all your heart but for some reason you end up falling in love with them? Yeah, me neither. Even though I don't think it will ever happen to me, I love reading these kinds of stories. A good example would be the Shatter Me trilogy by Tahereh Mafi.



The Heartbreaker
Love is beautiful and usually it's a happy thing, especially in books. But then there are the ones that leave you crying, like full-out sobbing. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green, for example. I seem to like torturing myself, because these kinds of books usually win me over easily. I guess, any book that makes me feel such strong emotions deserves to be a favorite.

The Pretended Romance
As far as I know, this only ever happens in books too, but I kind of really love it. You know, when there's some weird coincidence and the characters end up in a fake relationship that then somehow turns into a real one. My YA example for this would be To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han and, if you'll allow me to cheat again, Faking It by Cora Carmack is a great New Adult example.

Forbidden Love
Sometimes love isn't easy. For example, when you fall in love with the 'wrong' person, someone you should never have fallen for. Your predestined enemy. Someone from from the wrong social circle. Honestly, there are too many examples. The one book I would recommend for this kind of romance is The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski

The Unfortunate One
Sometimes, everything works out perfectly for the characters and the happily ever after comes so easily, thanks to lots of lucky coincidences. And sometimes it really doesn't. You know, the ones where everything goes wrong, that keep you on the edge of your seat because of a thousand of misunderstandings and unlucky events. Like with Allyson and Willem in Just One Day by Gayle Forman.

The Perfect One
Finally, if you just want to get the whole romance part perfectly right, you should have a look at the always wonderful Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell. Not only are the characters perfectly imperfect, their friendship and later romance develops naturally, without the help of any lucky but unlikely coincidences that for some reason keep bringing the characters together.

What books would you suggest for any of these categories?



Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday #4: Auto-Buy Authors

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.


Hello there. It's time for another Top Ten Tuesday post (I should really do these more often!). This week's topic is auto-buy authors. I couldn't think of ten, so here are my top eight (I even tried to put them into some order):

8. Stephanie Perkins
Stephanie Perkins writes the cutest love stories and I can't wait to read more of her. I don't know if I would necessarily pick up something other than YA contemporary by her right away, but I think I would definitely give it a go. Once she comes out with more books (ones that I like as much as Anna, Lola and Isla), she might even climb higher on my list.

7. Cassandra Clare
I know some people are annoyed with Cassandra Clare for always coming out with new stories of the Shadowhunter world, but I'm not one of those people. Like with Stephanie Perkins, though, I don't have an unconditional love for everything she writes, but I'm rather just very fond of everything she writes, which is why she isn't higher up in the list.

6. Morgan Matson
Morgan Matson is my go-to summer author. I love all her books and I will buy each and every one she will release in the future. For now, I'm going to try to catch up with what she has written under her penname 'Katie Finn', but until next summer, I will need a new Morgan Matson book.

5. Gayle Forman
Another YA contemporary author, I know, I know. What can I say, I just love YA contemporary. And I especially love Gayle Forman. Most of her books are just 'good' (i.e. four star reads) for me but then there was Just One Day that changed it all. Gayle Forman definitely has to thank that duology (or better, herself for writing that duology) for being this high in my list. I will keep reading everything Gayle Forman comes out with until I find something I like as much as Just One Day.

4. John Green
I read all the John Green books at the end of 2013 and since then, I've been waiting. With him, I will hit that preorder button as soon as I hear a new book is coming out.

3. Sarah J. Maas
Of course, Sarah J. Maas has to be on this list. It's not a secret how much I love all her books and obviously I will buy anything she releases.

2. Laini Taylor
To me, Laini Taylor can do no wrong. With her writing, even a story that I might not 100% be interested in is a must-read and I will buy them all.

1. Rainbow Rowell
Of course, Rainbow Rowell had to be at the very top of this list. Fangirl is my favorite book of all time and I loved all her other books only slightly less. I can't imagine Rainbow Rowell to ever write something I wouldn't like. To show you how sincere I am, I will tell you a little secret: As I said, Fangirl is my all time favorite book. And if you've read it (if not, what are you doing?), you'll know that a lot of the story is centered around Cath's fanfiction of Simon Snow. I actually only read those parts once and whenever I reread the book (which is a lot), I tend to skip them. Because Simon Snow really didn't interest me that much. But now Rainbow Rowell's Carry On is coming out soon(ish), a story only about Simon Snow. The logical conclusion would be that I, since I wasn't all that interested in the Simon Snow snippets in Fangirl, would also have no interest in reading Carry On. But that is only accurate if we ignore the fact that it's written by Rainbow Rowell. Which, of course, I can't and which is why I have Carry On preordered anyway and I'm counting down the days until its release. So yeah, I love Rainbow Rowell.

So that's it for this week's Top Ten Tuesday. I hope you are having a wonderful day!

What are some of your auto-buy authors?
Do we share any?