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!