Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Review: Everything, Everything

Everything, Everything
by Nicola Yoon
Genres: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Publication date: September 1, 2015
Published by: Delacorte Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 306 pages
My rating: 3/5 ★

My disease is as rare as it is famous. Basically, I’m allergic to the world. I don’t leave my house, have not left my house in seventeen years. The only people I ever see are my mom and my nurse, Carla.

But then one day, a moving truck arrives next door. I look out my window, and I see him. He’s tall, lean and wearing all black—black T-shirt, black jeans, black sneakers, and a black knit cap that covers his hair completely. He catches me looking and stares at me. I stare right back. His name is Olly.

Maybe we can’t predict the future, but we can predict some things. For example, I am certainly going to fall in love with Olly. It’s almost certainly going to be a disaster.

This book got quite a lot of hype when it was released last year and so my expectations had been pretty high. Unfortunately, I have to say I was a little underwhelmed by the story. There were some things that I really loved, such as the writing and the unique format of the book with its illustrations, etc. I also pretty much flew through it, so I can't say that it didn't get me hooked. 

So why didn't I give it a higher rating? Everything, Everything is a pretty short book, and that was very noticeable for me while reading. I wish the characters were more fleshed out and the story better developed. A lot of times, things happened very abruptly and there would definitely have been room for more of a build-up for the big moments of the story.

The plot also really didn't make sense to me. I realize that a fictional story doesn't have to be logical or anything but for example a lot of aspects of Maddy's sickness weren't really explained. There are some people that are allowed to touch her, others aren't. When her teacher comes to visit her he has to go through decontamination but I don't think her mom or nurse do. I would have needed more information to actually buy the story, but before I really got to know anything or anyone, it was already over.

I can't really talk about one of my main reasons for not loving the book without spoiling anything, so only click below if you read the book!

View/Hide Spoiler

As I said, Nicola Yoon's writing is one of the things I really loved. It was light and easy to read but there are also some very quotable lines in the book. I'm definitely interested in reading more by this author, even though Everything, Everything wasn't quite what I had hoped it would be. I'm a huge fan of books written in letter, e-mail or IM format, so Yoon definitely made a fan by including all of that.

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Review: A Gathering of Shadows (Shades of Magic #2)

This is the second book in the series and might contain spoilers for the previous book!

A Gathering of Shadows
by V.E. Schwab
Series: Shades of Magic #2
Genre: Fantasy
Publication date: February 23, 2016
Published by: Tor Books
Hardcover, 512 pages
My rating: 5/5 ★

It has been four months since a mysterious obsidian stone fell into Kell's possession. Four months since his path crossed with Delilah Bard. Four months since Prince Rhy was wounded, and since the nefarious Dane twins of White London fell, and four months since the stone was cast with Holland's dying body through the rift – back into Black London.

Now, restless after having given up his smuggling habit, Kell is visited by dreams of ominous magical events, waking only to think of Lila, who disappeared from the docks as she always meant to do. As Red London finalizes preparations for the Element Games – an extravagant international competition of magic meant to entertain and keep healthy the ties between neighboring countries – a certain pirate ship draws closer, carrying old friends back into port.

And while Red London is caught up in the pageantry and thrills of the Games, another London is coming back to life. After all, a shadow that was gone in the night will reappear in the morning. But the balance of magic is ever perilous, and for one city to flourish, another London must fall.

WOW! This book was amazing! I definitely enjoyed the first book in the series but this one was so much better! While ADSOM was a rather slow read for me, I couldn't put this one down. The emotional involvement (aka feels) I didn't really have with the first book was overpowering in AGOS. The whole book was absolutely perfect.

First and foremost, I adore all the characters.

Lila is reckless and sometimes stupidly so, and even though she is completely different from me personally, I felt like I understood her so well. All the things she's running from, her trust issues, her fears - they felt very authentic. I'm really impressed by the long way she's come and am very much looking forward to seeing what development she will go through in the next book. There were moments when I thought 'Oh Lila, what are you doing?' but I was never annoyed with her thoughtless actions. Lila is overall a really fascinating character and the relationships she's building with the other characters are giving me LIFE.

Speaking of which, Kell and Lila are my favorite thing ever. Their relationship is incredibly well developed. I loved their comradery in the first book but I love where it is headed even more. It is so well written and absolutely perfectly paced. Their stubbornness when it comes to deliberately not thinking about the other person fits their characters so perfectly and it makes my heart sing.

Kell himself is another very complex and interesting character that I absolutely love to read about. He is in a very difficult situation throughout the book as he doesn't really know where he belongs and has the most conflicted feelings. His internal conflicts were portrayed perfectly. All his thoughts made so much sense to me and I really hope we (and he himself) learn more about him and his past in the next book.

As to Rhy and Alucard, I can't wait for more of both of them. Alucard is such a fantastic addition to the already amazing set of characters in this series and he might actually be my new favorite. I see great things in his future!

I honestly can't put the amazingness that is this book into words. I would tell you to read it, because you definitely should, but I don't want to be responsible for anyone's death-by-bookwait because that ending killed me.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

March 2016 Wrap-Up

Let's ignore the fact that it's already mid-April for a second, because I want to share my March Wrap-Up today! March has been a pretty eventful month for me and on top of that my uni workload is getting bigger and bigger. Somehow, I still read (and bought) an acceptable amount of books though and I even managed to catch up with my goodreads reading challenge for a second (now I'm behind again, but that's okay).

What I Read

  • Me Before You by Jojo Moyes, 3/5 ★ 
  • I think my problem with this book was that my expectations were simply too high from all the raving reviews I had read. As it was, I was rather underwhelmed, and didn't even cry a single tear, which in itself is a miracle for me. For my full review go here.

  • Stars Above by Marissa Meyer, 5/5 ★ 
  • This book was everything I had hoped for. Additional background information on all my favorite characters as well as more closure. I loved every single story in this book. If you're a fan of The Lunar Chronicles (and who isn't?), this book will definitely make you very, very happy.

  • Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, 4/5 ★ 
  • I don't have much to say about this other than: read it. It's a short story about a girl camping out for the new Star Wars movie, and even though I'm not very much of a Star Wars fan myself, I really enjoyed it. It was quick, cute and quirky and left a smile on my lips.

  • Lady Midnight by Cassandra Clare, 5/5 ★ 
  • I honestly feel like Cassandra Clare's books are getting better and better. Lady Midnight offered so much, and I loved it all. So many new characters were introduced that were all very individual and interesting. The whole Blackthorn family has definitely found a special place in my heart and so did Emma and Christina and everyone else. And as always, this book was super fast paced and action packed. Even though it's huge, I never lost interested or felt like the story was moving too slowly. Definitely recommend this one to all the Shadowhunter fans out there!

  • A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab, 5/5 ★ 
  • V.E. Schwab is without a doubt incredibly talented with words. I love the worlds she created in this book and most of all, I loved how different the three of them were. While this book didn't make me feel all the feels or anything, I definitely care deeply for the unique characters and I can't wait to see what the future books will bring.

What I Bought

That's all for my March wrap-up! I hope you all had a successful month!

What's your favorite book you read this month?
Any exciting new addition to your shelves?

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Review: The Heir (The Selection #4)

This is the fourth book in the series and might contain spoilers for the previous books!

by Kiera Cass
Series: The Selection #4
Genres: Young Adult, Dystopia, Romance
Publication date: May 5, 2015
Published by: HarperTeen
Paperback, 342 pages
My rating: 4/5 ★
Princess Eadlyn has grown up hearing endless stories about how her mother and father met. Twenty years ago, America Singer entered the Selection and won the heart of Prince Maxon—and they lived happily ever after. Eadlyn has always found their fairy-tale story romantic, but she has no interest in trying to repeat it. If it were up to her, she'd put off marriage for as long as possible.

But a princess's life is never entirely her own, and Eadlyn can't escape her very own Selection—no matter how fervently she protests.

Eadlyn doesn't expect her story to end in romance. But as the competition begins, one entry may just capture Eadlyn's heart, showing her all the possibilities that lie in front of her . . . and proving that finding her own happily ever after isn't as impossible as she's always thought.

The Heir is one of the books I was super excited for before it came out but then when I actually had it, I never picked it up. But now, almost a year later, I decided it was time, and I don't regret it. 

Overall, I really enjoyed this book and it gave me everything I had wanted from it: a fun and light read that I finished quickly. From all the mixed things I've heard, my expectations were quite low and therefore I was pleasantly surprised. 

A lot of people seemed to dislike the book because of the main character and I can understand that but at the same time I don't feel the same way. I found Eadlyn to be quite irritating and I feel like if the story had been told from anyone else's point of view, she would definitely be a character I wouldn't like. As it is, I actually found it interesting to read from her perspective. I liked that Kiera Cass created a flawed and rather unlikable character and didn't try to somehow cover it up and give reasons that would make Eadlyn's behavior okay. Some things she says and some of her actions are simply awful and she doesn't even realize it, and there's no excuse for that. She is spoiled and arrogant and pretty selfish. I think it is her way of trying to handle a job she clearly isn't qualified for and I don't really blame her for it but that doesn't mean I like her because of it either. 

At the same time, I think Eadlyn has some very admirable qualities. She is proud, and she hates to be looked down upon for being a young woman (especially because she will be the first female ruler IllĂ©a). Even though she is very insecure at times and unsure whether she can handle all the pressure her job brings, she doesn't think she needs a man by her side in order to rule a kingdom. I loved that. She also tries really hard to do a good job at being a princess and future queen, and her dedication definitely shows a more mature side of her. 

Overall, I think Eadlyn is exactly how I would imagine an 18 year old future queen to be. Obiously, she has grown up very privileged and that makes it hard for her to actually understand the problems and challenges the 'common people' face. But she wants to be a good queen, and she tries to do the best she can under the circumstances, even if it backfires more often than not. 

I'm really interested to see how the story will continue, obviously also because of the huge cliffhanger at the end! I hope Eadlyn will be able to open up a little, but I also want her to stay true to herself. I mean, it's not like it's impossible to find love if you're not the kindest, sweetest soul in the world. People will love you for your flaws too, and I hope the next book will prove that. I'm also very curious to see how the uprisings in the country will be faced and resolved. 

This book turned out to be a positive surprise for me and I definitely intend to pick up The Crown at some point. If, like me, you have been debating whether or not to pick up this book because of the mixed reviews, I encourage you to give it a go!