Saturday, December 29, 2012

Review of When You Give A Duke A Diamond by Shana Galen

Title/Author: When You Give A Duke A Diamond (Jewels of the Ton #1) by Shana Galen
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Cassablanca, September 4th 2012
How I got this book: bought it for myself

Goodreads summary: He had a perfectly orderly life...

William, the sixth Duke of Pelham, enjoys his punctual, securely structured life. Orderly and predictable — that's the way he likes it. But he's in the public eye, and the scandal sheets will make up anything to sell papers. When the gossip papers link him to Juliette, one of the most beautiful and celebrated courtesans in London, chaos doesn't begin to describe what happens next...

Until she came along...

Juliette is nicknamed the Duchess of Dalliance and has the cream of the nobility at her beck and call. It's disruptive to have the duke who is the biggest catch on the Marriage Mart scaring her other suitors away. Then she discovers William's darkest secret and decides what he needs in his life is the kind of excitement only she can provide...

So you might remember how much I loved Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen. It was everything I want in a romance novel and featured PIRATES! So obviously I was excited when I saw this one pop up so I immediately ordered it. And I'm so glad I did!

When You Give A Duke A Diamond is totally different from Rogue Pirate's Bride, but Shana Galen managed to once again draw me in and give me all the things I love about this genre!

Juliette is a woman who's chosen to divorce her husband and live the life of a courtesan. And she's managed to become one of the most powerful ones in her age! Juliette knows what she wants and that is a man to truly love her who she can share her life with. I loved how strong she was after all she's been through and how she manages to worm her way into Will's life and heart.

It took a little time for me to warm up to Will, cause he has these OCD tendencies and I just wanted to shake him up so he'd snap out of it. But after learning that there actually is a really good reason for this, I just wanted to hug him and make his hard youth go away. Because I was shocked and horrified at what happened to him. I don't know what I would have done if that had happened to me.

I loved the interaction between Juliette and Will and how they're slowly coming to realise they're falling in love and *sigh* it was just SO GOOD! The sexytimes are sexy and the romance was sweet and there was all this tension and HEARTBREAK and I just love it. And I totally cried.

With When You Give A Duke A Diamond Shana Galen has proven she deserves to be on my auto-read list. If you're a fan of the genre and haven't read one of her books yet, you should, they're amazing!

My rating: 5 stars

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review of Crimson Frost by Jennifer Estep

Title/Author: Crimson Frost (Mythos Academy #4) by Jennifer Estep
Publisher/Date published: Kensington, December 24th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: For a moment, a face flashed before my eyes — the most hideous face I’d ever seen. No matter how hard I tried to forget what had happened, I saw him everywhere I went. It was Loki — the evil god that I’d helped set free against my will.

I should have known that my first official date with Logan Quinn was destined to end in disaster. If we’d gotten into a swordfight, or been ambushed by Reapers, I’d have been more prepared. But getting arrested mid-sip at the local coffee hangout? I didn’t see that one coming.

I’ve been accused of purposely helping the Reapers free Loki from his prison — and the person leading the charge against me is Linus Quinn, Logan’s dad. The worst part is that pretty much everyone at Mythos Academy thinks I’m guilty. If I’m going to get out of this mess alive, I’ll have to do it myself...


Guys, it's no secret that I love mythology. And as I've previously mentioned in my review of Dark Frost, the third book in the Mythos Academy series, I love that this series mixes up all kinds of mythology! There's Greek, Roman, Norse, Russian and I LOVE IT!

I also really love how Gwen and the other characters have grown over the books. And Jennifer Estep's writing has gotten even better! The things I rolled my eyes at in the first three books were pretty much non-existent in Crimson Frost, YAY! Ok, so there's still a lot of mention of what kind of warrior everyone was, but it got less on my nerves. And can I just say that I'm loving the introduction of Bogatyrs and how a sweet blooming gay relationship was handled?

So Gwen is accused of pretty much everything that a Reaper girl did and is put on trial for this. And she's being accused by Logan's dad who seems like a major douche and while he does sorta get his act together a little in the end, I still don't like him. I thought the police should be somewhat impartial, but Logan's dad was just ridiculous. And the thing that bugged me was that they had NO EVIDENCE other than a testimoney, so it's Gwen's word against someone else's. Yeah, that's obviously enough to accuse someone of a crime of this majority and pretty much have the death sentence ready to deal out.

So yeah, that annoyed me. But I did really love the relationship between Gwen and her friends. And between her and Logan. They're FINALLY getting there! There's declarations of love and I was just so cheering them on! And little Nyx has a special place in my heart, gotta love that little furball! And the story is getting up to steam and at the end there was an epic showdown and I love that Gwen finally knows how to kick some ass herself! No more helpless little girl but sword-wielding warrior, she's also really coming into her Gyspy powers bit by bit, which I really enjoyed seeing.

Something that happens at the end pretty much broke my heart and I'm itching to have Midnight Frost be here so I can find out how this is going to be set right cause it NEEDS TO BE! Seriously.

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas!!!

I know I've been MIA a bit lately, but I wanted to wish you all a very Merry Christmas!!

As is tradition the boyfriend and I are dividing our time between his parents', grandaparents' and my parents', so I'm going to pick him up in a few minutes and go over to his grandparents' house for coffee and tonight we're having dinner with my parents. Tomorrow my brother and his girlfriend are also coming and then we're going to have an epic food fest and presents and just lots of family time, YAY! :D

I hope you're all enjoying yourself and spending times with the ones you love!

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Review of Hanging By a Thread by Sophie Littlefield

Title/Author: Hanging By a Thread by Sophie Littlefield
Publisher/Date published: Delacorte BFYR, September 11th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Summer is the best part of the year in Winston, California, and the Fourth of July is the highlight of the season. But the perfect town Clare remembers has changed, and everyone is praying that this summer will be different from the last two — that this year's Fourth of July festival won't see one of their own vanish without a trace, leaving no leads and no suspects. The media are in a frenzy predicting a third disappearance, but the town depends on tourist dollars, so the residents of Winston are trying desperately to pretend nothing's wrong.

And they're not the only ones hiding something.

Clare, a seamstress who redesigns vintage clothing, has been blessed — or perhaps cursed — with a gift: she can see people's pasts when she touches their clothes. When she stumbles across a denim jacket that once belonged to Amanda Stavros, last year's Fourth of July victim, Clare sees her perfect town begin to come apart at the seams.

In a town where appearance means everything, how deep beneath the surface will Clare dig to uncover a murderer?

So you may have noticed I don't read a lot of mystery books, mostly because I usually guess what's going on WAY before the characters and it makes me want to shake them. But I was drawn to Hanging By A Thread because of the paranormal twist with Clare being able to see memories when touching clothes. Because that is just awesome.

And I was pleasantly surprised because seriously, I really enjoyed this book! Clare is a very likeable main character, she's smart and has a clothing style I don't really get, so it's probably cool and I'd kill to have her designing skills! She felt like such a real girl, trying to fit into the town she just moved to, maybe twisting the truth a little to get people to like her and genuinely wanting to get to know a boy her friend doesn't really approve because of his not entirely clean past.

And I did like the boy because he just accepted Clare for who she was and didn't think she was crazy and yeah, I kinda like that in a guy. So while I thought Clare was a bit naive for just trusting him despite his violent actions in the past, I do approve of the boy. Am I making any sense?

I loved seeing the murder mystery unravel and while I did guess who did it way before Clare figured it out, I was still pretty happy with the way things turned out!
The only thing I didn't really like was the interaction between Clare and her mother, they were constantly at each other's throaths and sometimes it seemed like they WANTED to be fighting all the time. Maybe it's because I love my mom so much, but I can't imagine treating her that way. So that kinda bugged me.

But aside from that, I really enjoyed Hanging By A Thread and it has convinced me that there are mysteries out there that are my kind of books, so yay!

My rating: 4 stars

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Fang Girl Promo Blitz and Giveaway!

Fang Girl by Helen Keeble - September 11th 2012 / HarperTeen

Things That Are Destroying Jane Greene’s Undead Social Life Before It Can Even Begin:

1) A twelve-year-old brother who’s convinced she’s a zombie.
2) Parents who are begging her to turn them into vampires.
3) The pet goldfish she accidentally turns instead.
4) Weird superpowers that let her rip the heads off of every other vampire she meets.(Sounds cool, but it doesn’t win you many friends.)
5) A pyschotic vampire creator who’s using her to carry out a plan for world domination.

And finally:
6) A seriously ripped vampire hunter who either wants to stake her or make out with her. Not sure which.

Being an undead, eternally pasty fifteen-year-old isn’t quite the sexy, brooding, angst-fest Jane always imagined....

Helen Keeble’s riotous debut novel combines the humor of Vladimir Tod with Ally Carter’s spot-on teen voice. With a one-of-a-kind vampire mythology and an irresistibly relatable undead heroine, this uproarious page-turner will leave readers bloodthirsty for more.

-Barnes & Nobles
-The Book Depository

Helen Keeble:
Helen Keeble is not, and never has been, a vampire. She has however been a teenager. She grew up partly in America and partly in England, which has left her with an unidentifiable accent and a fondness for peanut butter crackers washed down with a nice cup of tea. She now lives in West Sussex, England, with her husband, daughter, two cats, and a variable number of fish. To the best of her knowledge, none of the fish are undead.

Her first novel, a YA vampire comedy called FANG GIRL, is out 11th Sept 2012, from HarperTeen.

She also has another YA paranormal comedy novel (provisionally titled NO ANGEL) scheduled for Sept 2013.

Author Links:

So I don't know about you guys, but I'm pretty excited about this book! I'm not much of a fan of vampires, but this sounds like it could be pretty fun and it's nice to have a not so glorified version of vampires :)

Xpresso Book Tours is hosting a giveaway to go along with this promo blitz:

Open internationally, the last day to enter is December 25th.
The prize pack includes:
- one signed copy of Fang Girl (can be personalised)
- a voucher for an ARC of Helen's next book NO ANGEL as soon as they are available (likely to be Spring/Summer 2013)
- a cheerful vampire goldfish paperclip
- Fang Girl stickers featuring the cover and quotes from the book

What are you waiting for? Go enter!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, December 17, 2012

Review of The Mephisto Covenant by Trinity Faegen

Title/Author: The Mephisto Covenant (The Mephisto Covenant #1) by Trinity Faegen
Publisher/Date published: Egmont USA, September 27th 2011
How I got this book: my parents gave it to me for Christmas last year.

Goodreads summary: Sasha is desperate to find out who murdered her father. When getting the answer means pledging her soul to Eryx, she unlocks a secret that puts her in grave danger - she is an Anabo, a daughter of Eve, and Eryx's biggest threat.
A son of Hell, immortal, and bound to Earth forever, Jax looks for redemption in the Mephisto Covenant - God's promise he will find peace in the love of an Anabo. After a thousand years, he's finally found the girl he's been searching for: Sasha.
With the threat of Eryx always looming, Jax knows he has to keep Sasha safe and win her over. But can he? Will Sasha love him and give up her mortal life?

This is a hard book for me to review. I REALLY wanted to love it, but I didn't. And I kinda hate that I didn't love it. I have SO much love for this cover, it's not even funny, I'm just a bit disappointed that for me the story didn't live up to it.

I was pretty intrigued by the whole Mephisto thing and how these boys could get their redemption by finding a girl to love them unconditionally. That's a pretty nice concept. But the whole explanation behind Anabo and Mephisto and everything left me feeling confused. Sometimes it was like I should just know more about this stuff from the way it was mentioned in the story, except we hadn't gotten that part of the explanation yet. Which kinda annoyed me, cause I kept wondering if I'd missed something.

I did appreciate that while religion is obviously a big part of the story, it doesn't get shoved down your throat and it doesn't get preachy. This can majorly put me off and I was pretty happy with how it was handled here.

Another thing that bothered me was that there was some insta-'I can't imagine my life without you' going on' and it felt mostly based on lust and the fact that Jax knew Sasha was Anabo. Aside from Sasha constantly landing in trouble and Jax getting her out of it, I didn't really feel like they got to know each other at all, so the falling in love felt superficial to me.

Also, I was kinda annoyed that while Sasha was ready to turn away from God and pledge her soul to Eryx to find out who killed her father, after that she doesn't do anything to discover who was responsible for it, which seemed off to me. I also really wanted Sasha to grow a spine and stand up to people who were treating her horribly, instead of needing to get some of Jax's anger management issues through kissing him for this to happen.

Having said all this, I must also say that I did enjoy the book. While I wasn't really big on the romance, I did FEEL the emotions Jax was going through, I felt his despair because he believed Sasha would never love him. And the world Jax lives in it pretty intriguing, so I had fun exploring that. I'm also wondering which brother will get his redemption in the next book.

So while I had issues with this book, it still ended up being an enjoyable read and I'm sticking with the series to see where it'll lead us next.

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Daisy Update (27) In which I bought a new car!!!


So lately I've been doing the updates every other week (or less, cause I've been busy and lazy, a deadly combination), but despite doing one last week, I just HAD to tell you about my excitement this week!

I BOUGHT A NEW CAR!! And picked it up yesterday :) I'm still heartbroken because my first pretty little car failed me, but I just love my new car!

Here's a picture:

Ok, so this isn't *my* car, but mine looks exactly like it and I'm too lazy to go down 3 flights of stairs to shoot a picture of mine ;)
I love it and it's so pretty and shiny and it's still a little car, slightly bigger than my previous one, so I can still park it :) And even more important: EVERYTHING WORKS! Everything is new and runs smoothly and it's just wonderful.
I do kinda feel bad for the poor little car I had to leave behind at the dealer's...

The rest of the week has just been BUSY. I didn't make it home before 8 o'clock Tuesday-Friday. Work has been REALLY busy. On Wednesday I went out to dinner with my colleagues, which was fun as I don't get to see them outside of the hospital much. So it was nice to just relax with yummy food. Friday I also worked the evening shift and it was pretty ok, the ER wasn't all that busy and I even got to watch a bit of the finale of The Voice of Holland.

Today the boyfriend and I are going over to my parents' for dinner so I can show off my new car and to catch up :) And to cuddle their dogs, cause I miss them. If I had time to walk a dog, I'd probably have one already, though the boyfriend isn't convinced yet.

I hope you all had a great week!!

Friday, December 14, 2012

Review of Deck the Halls With Love by Lorraine Heath

Title/Author: Deck the Halls With Love by Lorraine Heath
Publisher/Date published: Avon, December 18th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: A Lost Lords of Pembrook Novella

Christmas is a time for miracles... and second chances at love.

In her dazzling first Season, Lady Meredith Hargreaves gave her heart to Alistair Wakefield, the Marquess of Chetwyn, only to have it shattered when he proposed to another. And now that he's free to pursue her? It matters little, because she's on her way to the altar, heartbreak be damned.

Chetwyn once set aside his dreams in favor of duty and honor. But as Christmas approaches, he is determined to put his own desires first and lure Lady Meredith back into his arms, where she's always belonged.

First he steals a dance; then he steals a kiss. But when they find themselves alone in an abandoned castle during a snowstorm, reignited passion consumes them both. And Chetwyn will have one last chance to steal back Meredith's heart, once and for all.

I always forget how short novellas can be and after finishing them I'm usually left with this sense of disappointment they've already ended. Which probably means two things: I'm not much of a novella kinda girl and the novellas I do read are pretty good because else I wouldn't be wanting more. And this one sounded so adorable I just had to read it!

I really loved the second book in Lorraine Heath's Lost Lords of Pembrook series: Lord of Temptation, so when I saw this was about the jilted Chetwyn I HAD to pick it up! And also: it's a Christmas story and it turns out I'm a Christmas story kinda girl after all even after years of denying this.

And you guys, it was so sweet! I've gotten to know Chetwyn in Lord of Temptation as having a very well-developed sense of honor and duty, maybe a bit more than is good for him. But I never knew he was this passionate! Who would have thought? I loved seeing this other side of him. And Meredith is a sufficiently intelligent heroine who knows what she wants in the end. I loved that Chetwyn wanted at all times to let it be her choice even when he was laying all his charms on her trying to get her to see things his way.

So yeah, it was short and sweet and ended with a kiss and a happily ever after and a merry Christmas, so my little romantic heart was happy. It made me smile and I'm recommending it to all of you who love sweet romance to go with your Christmas as I'm sure it'll make you happy as well!

My rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Review of Beyond: A Ghost Story by Graham McNamee

Title/Author: Beyond: A Ghost Story by Graham McNamee
Publisher/Date published: Wendy Lamb Books, September 11th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Jane is not your typical teen. She and her best friend Lexi call themselves the Creep Sisters. Only Lexi knows why Jane is different from anyone else: Her own shadow seems to pull her into near-fatal accidents. Jane is determined to find out why these terrifying things happen, and to overcome her shadow enemy. Her sleuthing with Lexi connects her own horrors to the secret history of a serial killer.

So, back when I was a sweet little tween, I was easily freaked out by Fear Street books and the like (especially the Cheerleader series, CREEPED ME OUT, I wouldn't go showering after games at the gym is noone was around anymore, the girl dying because of boiling shower and steam still haunts me). And though I don't really read or watch scary stuff much these days, I figured this would get me back to those days in which I LOVED them.

Unfortunately, it didn't quite work out that way for me.

You see, the whole time I was reading it, I felt like I *should* be scared of everything happening, but I never really felt it myself. Maybe it was because I never really connected to Jane and didn't feel the horror she must have been experiencing. I didn't feel much of anything while reading this book except for a mild curiosity about how it would all end.

Jane and Lexi seemed like a good team friendwise, though I was kinda annoyed that they also seemed to be taking this whole Jane almost being killed by her shadow multiple times less seriously than I would have liked. I mean, I couldn't get over the fact that they waited till the fourth time before starting to investigate it. Don't we have internet for this? I get not wanting to tell her parents for fear they'd lock her away, but not even wondering who or what was doing that to her seemed sorta naive. Especially after the last nail in head incident.

And I kinda wanted to shake Jane right before the big moment in which you can see from miles away SOMETHING BAD is going to happen. I mean, seriously? That was SO predictable. And the whole unraveling of the who, what and where of things was a bit too convenient for me.

I did think that the ghost part of the who and why of it was pretty interesting and I just wish I had felt more involved with the story. I think the main reason why I finished it, was that it was a quick read and I knew it wouldn't take hours of my life to stick with it. It wasn't badly written, for me there just wasn't a connection and because of that no sense of fear, which is kinda what you need for a book that's supposed to be creepy (I'm assuming things here, I could be wrong).

My rating: 2 stars

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Top Ten Favourite New-To-Me Authors of 2012

It's time for another Top Ten Tuesday hosted by the other blog I am one of the contributors for The Broke and the Bookish.

This week it's all about your Top Ten favourite authors you've 'discovered' in 2012. I'm going to be breaking this up into two categories:

Debut Authors

Tahereh Mafi: Ok, so I know this may not really count because she's not a 2012 debut author, but I read her Shatter Me in 2012 and it was SO AMAZING! I'm completely addicted to her writing style and I wish Unravel Me would hurry up and get here already!

Sarah J. Maas: So I knew she wasn't really a new-to-me author as I've read the then title Queen of Glass rough draft when it was on Fictionpress, but this year was the first time I read her as a published author and Throne of Glass was everything I could have wanted and even with the years of putting it on a pedestal in my mind it didn't disappoint.

Leigh Bardugo: Shadow and Bone easily ranks among my favourites of 2012, I'm dying for Siege and Storm to be released!

Elizabeth Wein: I hadn't expected to love Code Name Verity as much as I did, but it was SO amazing! I LOVED the writing and felt ALL THE THINGS!

Katherine Longshore: GILT! Need I say more? LOVE me some historical YA set in the court of Henry VIII!

Stephanie Kate Strohm: if you can have me laughing and swooning with your contemporary romance, you're my kind of author.

Veronica Rossi: I almost passed on Under the Never Sky because I wasn't sure if it would be a 'me' book, but I completely fell in love with the story and the writing and GAH! Through The Ever Night needs to be here already!

OMG, what's wrong with me that I never read their books before??

Myra McEntire: LOVE her Hourglass series! LOVE! How did I skip over it when it was first released??

Julia Quinn: I KNOW! How can my love of historical romance novels NOT have led me to Julia Quinn before?? Especially with my Broke and Bookish buddy Julia recommending her books? Consider me a proper fan now.

Melina Marchetta: LOVED Finnikin of the Rock, I cannot believe it took me so long to finally read it, it was simply amazing.

Because it's my blog and I'm allowed to cheat

Brodi Ashton: Everneath sucked me in (no pun intended) and made me feel EVERYTHING and it just completely pulled me out of my reading slump, SO MUCH LOVE!

Jodi Meadows: Aside from having one of the most beautiful covers of 2012 and Jodi being awesome at knitting pretty fingerless mitts, Incarnate blew me away all on its own and I'm dying to dive back into this world Jodi Meadows has created!

I can't believe I actually managed to keep it to 12, there are so many authors I would love to spotlight and thank for the amazing books that had me in book heaven this year!
Link me up to your TTT lists and let me know if you have any recommendations!

Monday, December 10, 2012

Review of Sweet Venom by Tera Lynn Childs

Title/Author: Sweet Venom (Medusa Girls #1) by Tera Lynn Childs
Publisher/Date published: Katherine Tegen Books, September 6th 2011
How I got this book: bought it with my hard-earned moneys

Goodreads summary: Grace just moved to San Francisco and is excited to start over at a new school. The change is full of fresh possibilities, but it’s also a tiny bit scary. It gets scarier when a minotaur walks in the door. And even more shocking when a girl who looks just like her shows up to fight the monster.

Gretchen is tired of monsters pulling her out into the wee hours, especially on a school night, but what can she do? Sending the minotaur back to his bleak home is just another notch on her combat belt. She never expected to run into this girl who could be her double, though.

Greer has her life pretty well put together, thank you very much. But that all tilts sideways when two girls who look eerily like her appear on her doorstep and claim they're triplets, supernatural descendants of some hideous creature from Greek myth, destined to spend their lives hunting monsters.

These three teenage descendants of Medusa, the once-beautiful gorgon maligned by myth, must reunite and embrace their fates in this unique paranormal world where monsters lurk in plain sight.

Guys, if it hadn't been for me being insanely stressed out at work, I probably would have devoured this in three seconds flat because it read just so easily! So I blame my mind being distracted by the hospital for it taking three days, because once I relaxed it took no effort at all!

You might have noticed I'm a self professed Greek mythology geek. And proud of it. So anything to do with mythology is bound to catch my attention and make me go WANT WANT WANT. And I wasn't disappointed by any means with how Tera Lynn Childs handled the myth of Medusa in Sweet Venom! She's always portrayed as the big baddie and I love this new spin on things!

Sweet Venom switches POV between Grace, Gretchen and Greer, but mostly Grace and Gretchen, since Greer doesn't come in till later on in the story. I really liked both Grace and Gretchen, though I could relate to Grace the most. She's the sweet girl who lacks a little bit of confidence and loves her family. I was that girl in high school who was easy pickings for the popular mean girls because my confidence level wasn't all that high, until I met the group of friends I still hang out with. I love that Tera Lynn Childs shows how your friends (or newly discovered sisters) can change you.

Gretchen is more kickass, independent, and I felt that she grew as a character as well, she discovers it might be ok to let others in and that she can't do it all on her own.
I also liked Greer, but I feel like I knew her the least of the three since she enters the story much later. But that's ok, we'll connect in Sweet Shadows I'm sure :)

Tera Lynn Childs shows us a little bit about the girls' destiny and I'm just itching to find out more about EVERYTHING! There's lots of mysterious goings on that I can't wait to get answers for and hello, CUTE GUYS! I need more of the cute guys! And I need to know WHO MADE THAT PHONECALL!

So yeah, it's safe to say my little Greek mythology loving heart is pretty happy at the moment :)

My rating: 4,5 stars

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Daisy Update (26) and Book Haul (6)


I know I've been a bit MIA with my updates, but the last two Sundays I just didn't feel like doing anything but reading in the free time I had...

So work has been kinda crazy, mostly last Thursday and Friday in which I felt like I had zero control and was just running around trying to manage all 19 of the patients on my floor and there were a couple that were really sick and needed my attention... I was SO stressed! My supervisor told me he thought I was doing really well with everything, which was nice to hear, since I wasn't really feeling like I was, but at the end of the day pretty much everything was taken care off, so I guess I was less disorganized than I thought.
But I was so stressed when I got home that I started a book on Thursday night and had to re-read everything yesterday because I didn't remember any of it.

Anyway, other than the last two days, work has been good, I love working on one of the nursing floor and the bond you get with the patients there because you see them several days in a row.

2 weeks ago my little car suddenly wouldn't go into second gear anymore which made several alarm bells go off in my head and when I took it to the garage they told me I needed to replace the gear shift and the clutch and it would cost me a LOT of money. And I only got it 6 months ago! I wasn't expecting anything this big yet.. I was so disappointed and after discussing it with the boyfriend and my mom (I always call my mom when stuff like this happens) I decided I'd just buy a new car because I didn't want to keep putting money in it and am afraid something else is gonna break in no time.
So last week the boyfriend and I went for a test drive and now I'm just waiting for the paperwork on the financing stuff to be done so I can actually go pick it up, hopefully next week! I'll show it off when I actually own it :)

Last weekend on Saturday we went out to dinner with my parents in celebration of my dad's new job and it was SO GOOD! There were 5 courses, 4 of which you got to choose 2 dishes for, they served everything in smaller portions. Which also meant TWO DESSERTS! It was amazing and I'd love to go back there in a couple of months and try out other dishes :)

Last Sunday we celebrated Sinterklaas with the boyfriend's family, which is like a Dutch Santa (we also celebrate Christmas here) and had a secret Santa gift exchange, which was fun!

This week I've been mostly too tired to do anything but eat and sleep after I got home, but we did have a birthday on Friday and Saturday night that were fun and it's good for me to socialize with people who aren't my colleagues or patients.

Thursday it started snowing and Friday it pretty much snowed ALL DAY and seriously, it was pretty scary to drive to the hospital since the last part is downhill and my car doesn't do so well driving on snow. At one point I just kept slipping and was convinced I was going to drive into a ditch, but luckily it turned out all right. I hate snow. It's pretty if you don't have to go outside, but other than that it's just wet, cold, slippery and nasty.

Book Haul

Egalleys for review:
-And The Miss Ran Away With the Rake by Elizabeth Boyle
-What Happens in Scotland by Jennifer McQuiston
-The Duke Diaries by Sophia Nash: I just love my historical romances and these 3 look so good!
-Maid of Secrets by Jennifer McGowan: I'm a sucker for anything set in the time of Elizabeth I
-Taken by Erin Bowman: ALL THE EXCITEMENT!
-Mila 2.0 by Debra Driza: imagine what it would be like if you discovered you were and artificial intelligence experiment!
-Quicksilver by R.J. Anderson: the sequel to Ultraviolet, I still need to read it, but I been hearing great things!
-Deck the Halls with Love by Lorraine Heath: yay Christmas themed historical romance!
-Losing It by Cora Carmack: new adult!! And it sounds like the first episode of Grey's Anatomy without the whole doctor thing, and I LOVE Grey's Anatomy!
-A Little Bit Wicked by Robyn DeHart: there's a mask on the cover which makes me hope there'll be a masked ball in it, I LOVE books with masked balls!
-Pivot Point by Kasie West: sounds like it'll be filled with excitement and impossible choices :)
-The Sea of Tranquility by Katja Millay: I requested this one because April @ Good Books and Wine and Jen @ Makeshift Bookmark were raving about it on Twitter and I love a book that makes me feel EVERYTHING.
-Gravity by Melissa West
-Sister Assassin by Kiersten White: which is the UK version of MIND GAMES! Can you imagine my excitement??? I just know this will be EPIC! Though I do love the US cover more, but it's what inside that counts of course :)

-Touched by Corrine Jackson: it's about a HEALER! Of course I wanted it!
-The Raven Boys by Maggie Stiefvater: I succumbed to the power of all your combined recommendations and raving about this one and purchased it :)

So that's my epic book haul for the last two weeks, link me up to your post!

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Review of Scent of Magic by Maria V. Snyder

Title/Author: Scent of Magic (Healer #2) by Maria V. Snyder
Publisher/Date published: HarlequinMIRA, December 18th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Hunted, Killed — Survived?

As the last Healer in the Fifteen Realms, Avry of Kazan is in a unique position: in the minds of her friends and foes alike, she no longer exists. Despite her need to prevent the megalomanical King Tohon from winning control of the Realms, Avry is also determined to find her sister and repair their estrangement. And she must do it alone, as Kerrick, her partner and sole confident, returns to Alga to summon his country into battle.

Though she should be in hiding, Avry will do whatever she can to support Tohon’s opponents. Including infiltrating a holy army, evading magic sniffers, teaching forest skills to soldiers and figuring out how to stop Tohon’s most horrible creations yet; an army of the walking dead — human and animal alike and nearly impossible to defeat.

War is coming and Avry is alone. Unless she figures out how to do the impossible... again.


Guys, I'm such a huge Maria V. Snyder fan! I've pretty much read all her books (not the novellas, but I'm not really a novella kind of girl) and she never fails to deliver an amazing story!
And with Scent of Magic she's done it again!!

Though I do have to say that for me this book suffered slightly from second book syndrome, I felt like there was just a huge build up towards the epic showdown that'll be in the third book and some parts failed to excite me as much as I'd expected. But with Maria V. Snyder, that still results in an REALLY GOOD READ!

In Touch of Power I absolutely loved the chemistry between Avry and Kerrick and Belen and the monkeys and with them all split apart, it just wasn't the same. Though I really love each of them on their own, as a group they're just better. Also: GAH, HOW could she split Avry and Kerrick up??? I mean, I get they both have their responsibilities, but to me it would have made more sense if they did it together instead of going off separately and landing in all kinds of trouble because no one was watching their backs! Also, because of this there was somewhat less romance than I would have liked.

I think I'm sounding rather negative, when I'm actually not: I really loved this book! Avry is still the same kickass, hands on, amazing girl that I've gotten to know in Touch of Power and I love that she's a healer! I could feel her struggle with the need to defend herself but the unwillingness to kill someone because it goes against her nature as a healer.
And I loved how Kerrick had his own chapters and we get to know him better through them and yeah, I'm just a big Kerrick fan in general.

Tohon's dead army and Tohon himself CREEPED ME OUT! I do not love zombies, they freak me out! Anything that goes on walking after you've practically cut it in half is BAD in my book. What I liked about them in this novel was that EVERYONE who'd seen them was as freaked out by them as I was, because really, they're not something to be casual about.

Maria V. Snyder added some twists and turns that completely took me by surprise! At some points I had to go back and read again because I was going wait, WHAT?! and I love it when that happens! I'm usually pretty good at predicting what's going to happen, so I'm always happy when I'm caught off guard by events. And seriously, the ending BROKE MY HEART! HOW can she leave me with that ending for another year?? I mean, SERIOUSLY? I should have known better than finishing it right before I went to sleep, I'm still shocked and heartbroken and I NEED Taste of Death RIGHT NOW because it needs to be ok again and just not like this!

I also kinda love that this is for a slightly older YA audience because of the subjects and the sexual references. It's a little more mature and the characters are as well and it adds a little diversity to the genre.

So yeah, basically I'm still in love with this series and even though I loved Touch of Power better, this one ranks among my favourites of the year and I'm pretty sure the wait for the third book will slowly kill me...

My rating: 4,5 stars

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review of Lord of Temptation by Lorraine Heath

Title/Author: Lord of Temptation (The Lost Lords of Pembrook #2) by Lorraine Heath
Publisher/Date published: Avon, September 25th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "Three young heirs, imprisoned by an unscrupulous uncle, escaped - to the sea, to the streets, to faraway battle - awaiting the day when they would return to reclaim their birthright.

Once upon a time, he was Lord Tristan Easton - now he is Crimson Jack, a notorious privateer beholden to none, whose only mistress is the sea. But all that will change when exquisite Lady Anne Hayworth hires his protection on a trip into danger and seduction...

Desperation brought Anne to the bronzed, blue-eyed buccaneer. But after the Captain demands a kiss as his payment, desire will keep her at his side. She has never known temptation like this - but to protect her heart, she knows she must leave him behind. Yet Tristan cannot easily forget the beauty - and when they meet again in a London ballroom, he vows he won't lose her a second time, as fiery passion reignited takes them into uncharted waters that could lead the second lost lord home..."

Guys, have I ever told you how much I love pirates and gentleman sea captains? (Of course I have) There's something about the setting at sea on ships that never fails to set my heart aflutter. Even if being on a real ship mostly does things to my stomach we will not go into further at this point.
So obviously I was all kinds of excited to read Lord of Temptation!

And it was AMAZING! Seriously, at a time when I was craving a good, fluffy historical romance to relax with this was just what I needed! There's a heroine I could root for, a dashing gentleman sea captain hero and TENSION and REAL PROBLEMS and just YAY!

Even though I sometimes thought Anne was a bit naive in her dealings with Tristan, she's not stupid. She knows he's probably not going to be a permanent fixture in her life and acts on it. She's realistic enough that even though she's starting to have feelings for him, that doesn't necessarily mean he feels the same way or that he will give up his life on sea for her. And I loved her for not being delusional! I mean sure, in romance novels I know it'll all work out in the end, but the heroine doesn't know this!

And Tristan! Tristan is absolutely my kind of hero with all his rugged handsomeness and tortured past and just all around being a good guy! I mean, he rescues boys with crooked legs from people who use them as shark bait. I bet he'd be a pretty good puppy raiser as well. And I loved that Tristan wasn't only a good guy to Anne, but to other people as well.

There was this wonderful attraction between them and even though they knew it was wrong, they couldn't help themselves and I loved seeing their romance unfold! There was so much tension and heartbreak and fierce alphamaleness in Tristan when he sees her with another man and I LOVED IT!

I did feel kinda annoyed at one of the silly chits chasing Tristan around, because REALLY? Who actually does stuff like that? It was cuckoo crazy! She just wouldn't take a hint...

But overall this was a wonderful feel good historical romance and I'm glad to have discovered another author in Lorraine Heath who can bring tears to my eyes. This is a really well done version of the Gentleman Pirate/Gentleman Sea Captain plot and I just loved it!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Monday, December 3, 2012

2013 TBR Pile Reading Challenge!

So you guys remember how I talked about my book buying addiction problem before? In that post I mentioned how I was going to challenge myself to read more of my own books and so you better believe I squee-ed when I saw this challenge!

For details, go here.

Basically, it's all about reading those books on your shelf you've been meaning to get to, but haven't yet and YES! THIS IS JUST WHAT I NEEDED! There'll be prizes and mini challenges, but mostly it'll be READING YOUR OWN BOOKS, YAY!

I'm going to go with 'A Friendly Hug' level and challenge myself to read 11-20 of my own books. I really hope to read more, but I'd rather go up a level than be disappointed with myself because I haven't made my goal, because that would be discouraging.

I'm not sure what books I'll be reading, but they'll be coming off this list and this list. I love how Goodreads keeps me organized :)

Ones that I absolutely HAVE TO READ in 2013 include:
If I Die and Before I Wake by Rachel Vincent
Inheritance by Christopher Paolini
Fever by Lauren DeStefano
Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
Until I Die by Amy Plum
Sacrifice by Cayla Kluver
Divergent by Veronica Roth (I KNOW!)

And so many others! Once I start listing them I can't stop and there are 267 physical books on my TBR list! At least some of them will be conquered this year :)

I'm so excited and hope to see many of you join in as well!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Review of Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery

Title/Author: Anything But Ordinary by Lara Avery
Publisher/Date published: Hyperion Books, September 11th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Bryce remembers it like it was yesterday. The scent of chlorine. The blinding crack and flash of pain. Blood in the water.
When she wakes up in the hospital, all Bryce can think of is her disastrous Olympic diving trial. But everything is different now. Bryce still feels seventeen, so how can her little sister be seventeen, too? Life went on without her while Bryce lay in a coma for five years. Her best friend and boyfriend have just graduated from college. Her parents barely speak. And everything she once dreamed of doing--winning a gold medal, traveling the world, falling in love--seems beyond her reach.
But Bryce has changed too, in seemingly impossible ways. She knows things she shouldn't. Things that happened while she was asleep. Things that haven't even happened yet. During one luminous summer, as she comes to understand that her dreams have changed forever, Bryce learns to see life for what it truly is: extraordinary."

I wanted so much to love this book... And I did really like parts of it, but it just fell short of what I had expected.

Because I thought the summary was so interesting I gave this one a chance, as I usually shy away from book that deal with sickness and such because I encounter it so much in my job and books are my escape. But because of the whole waking up from coma thing and the magical realism hints that I got from the summary made me pick it up anyway.

I really liked Bryce at first, I thought she handled the whole coma thing pretty well, maybe even a little too well. I know that at 17, I wouldn't have accepted everything quite to easily. And yes, I say 17, because in her mind she's still 17. The 5 years she spent in a coma don't really count IMO. This may also be one of the main problems I had with her later on. She seems wise beyond her 17 for most of the book and towards the end she turns about 13 in her behaviour. I don't want to spoil anything, but one of the things she keeps from her family and friends at the end was something I wanted to hit her for. It was so incredibly selfish!

I mean, keeping from her family that she was going to die in a month after knowing how they fell apart when she was in a coma was SO maddening! I know it might be hard for Bryce to discuss this and it would still be hard for her parents and sister, but at least they would have time to say goodbye and work towards it instead of them being blindsided by it again. GAH! I was SO angry!

So yeah, there was that. I did really like the medical intern Bryce gets to know, he seemed like such a nice guy, even though I think it might be frowned upon that he starts dating a girl whose medical files he's involved with.
I thought Bryce's boyfriend from before her accident seemed like a pretty nice guy at first as well, until he ends up doing douchey things that I won't go into because SPOILERS. But let's just say that nobody questions the alone time he spends with Bryce, which seemed pretty odd to me. SOMEBODY had to notice, right???

I did kinda like the whole magical realism thrown into the effects of having spent five years in a coma and that Bryce sometimes got flashes of things that had happened while she was unconscious or that were about to happen. That was kinda neat, even if it did knock her out a couple of times. I mean, all my doctor instincts say something in your brain has to go haywire if you've been in a coma for FIVE YEARS. That's a pretty long time and there's bound to be some sort of side effects from it.

The chapters leading up to the ending and the actual ending made me want to throw the book across the room. I was SO angry, as I explained in the spoiler. And it left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm absolutely not saying the book was bad, but for me the end just didn't work and made me mad and go GAH! I had some issues with the book before I got to that part, but in all honesty, if it hadn't been for those last chapters I would have given it a higher rating, but I was just so frustrated by them that I can't.

My rating: 2 stars

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review of Incarnate by Jodi Meadows

Title/Author: Incarnate (Newsoul #1) by Jodi Meadows
Publisher/Date published: Katherine Tegen Books, January 31st 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "New soul
Ana is new. For thousands of years in Range, a million souls have been reincarnated over and over, keeping their memories and experiences from previous lifetimes. When Ana was born, another soul vanished, and no one knows why.
No soul
Even Ana's own mother thinks she's a nosoul, an omen of worse things to come, and has kept her away from society. To escape her seclusion and learn whether she'll be reincarnated, Ana travels to the city of Heart, but its citizens are afraid of what her presence means. When dragons and sylph attack the city, is Ana to blame?
Sam believes Ana's new soul is good and worthwhile. When he stands up for her, their relationship blooms. But can he love someone who may live only once, and will Ana's enemies - human and creature alike - let them be together? Ana needs to uncover the mistake that gave her someone else's life, but will her quest threaten the peace of Heart and destroy the promise of reincarnation for all?"

I'm always a bit wary when a book has been so hyped as this one is. Sometimes you find yourself disappointed, but that absolutely wasn't the case here! I really, REALLY enjoyed Incarnate and it definitely lives up to the pretty cover and I love that it actually has to do with the story instead of just being beautiful!

I thought the whole concept of the same souls being reincarnated over and over again for the past 5000 years was SO interesting! I mean, it's weird right, knowing you're going to die but being sure you're going to come back in a couple of years. I would love it if you knew, cause then I could totally justify all the book buying: in 5000 years I can definitely read them all! And I can absolutely understand people being scared when they come across someone who has 'replaced' one of their own.

And the thing is, while I can understand insecurity and confusion, it was still really lousy how they treated Ana. Especially Li, her 'mother'. Seriously, that woman doesn't deserve the title. The only thing she did was give birth to Ana and then continue to make her life miserable. One thing that slightly bothered me: the fact that Ana's mother Li seemed a bit two-dimensional in her awfulness towards Ana. I would have liked to have learned more about her character to understand where it was coming from.

But then there's Sam, and Sam is a wonderful guy. Sam has music in his heart and is gentle and I loved that even though he's freakin 5000 years old, he's also very much a teenage boy when Ana meets him. There were moments when I was frustrated and wanted to scream KISS HER ALREADY!! But other than that I loved Sam.

And Ana, Ana is not the easiest person out there. She's majorly defensive and impulsive and sometimes I had a hard time keeping up with her feelings and mood swings but I loved her. I loved the contrast between her and the rest of the population. She felt everything more intense I think and I was always right there in the moment with her.
Also, I LOVED that both Ana and Sam had such a strong reaction to music! I am that girl who has a memory and feeling associated with pretty much every song I know and though I'm not a musician I could so relate to their passion!

I think what I loved most about it is that I was RIGHT THERE with Ana the whole time. I was just as in the dark about everything as she was and I felt happiness, betrayal, attraction, wariness along with her and it was amazing! And I cried! It's been SO LONG since I cried over a book! LOVED IT!

This was a stunning debut and I'm already pining for the sequel!

My rating: 5 stars

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Top Ten Most Anticipated Books For 2013

So this week my Top Ten Tuesday list is up over at The Broke and the Bookish! And because looking for books to put on my list made me open about 43 windows with books' Goodreads pages, I couldn't possibly limit myself to 10. So here I'm doing a little twist and make this:

Top Ten Anticipated Sequels of 2013

Through the Ever Night by Veronica Rossi: because more Aria and Perry and Roar can NEVER be a bad thing! LOVED Under the Never Sky!

Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo: Shadow and Bone was such an amazing start of this series!! NEED MORE!

Dance of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin: I hadn't expected to love Mask of the Red Death so much, but I did and I cannot wait to find out what happens next!

Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi: Tahereh Mafi has such an unique writing style that completely sucked me in and made me feel all the things in Shatter Me, so YAY getting back to that world!

Asunder by Jodi Meadows: HarperTeen has the best team working on their covers! Incarnate had such an interesting concept and Sam totally stole my heart!

Everbound by Brodi Ashton: EEE! THE ENDING OF EVERNEATH! It nearly killed me! SO GOOD!

Last Book in the Series

The Bitter Kingdom by Rae Carson: LOVED, LOVED, LOVED both The Girl of Fire and Thorns and The Crown of Embers and was DEVASTATED by the ending. Heart ripped out, stomped on and all that. So I really need this book. Now.

The Goddess Inheritance by Aimee Carter: Goddess Interrupted ended on SUCH a cliffhanger and I'm both sad and excited to read the final instalment of this lovely series!

Boundless by Cynthia Hand: TEAM TUCKER! Seriously, I know Christian has his moments, but I'm still firmly Team Tucker. So sad this series is ending...

Sever by Lauren DeStefano: I haven't even read Fever yet, bad me... But I pre-ordered this one so I can marathon them if I haven't gotten to it before the release date! :)

Requiem by Lauren Oliver: The same goes here: I haven't read Pandemonium either, but I'm scared because of the cliffhanger ending and all and will probably need this IMMEDIATELY. So I might wait a little longer till my pre-order of Requiem gets here :)

So that's more than 10, but who's counting? Not me.
Let me know if I've missed any you're looking forward to and link me to your list!

Monday, November 26, 2012

Review of Unspoken by Sarah Rees Brennan

Title/Author: Unspoken (The Lynburn Legacy #1) by Sarah Rees Brennan
Publisher/Date published: Random House Books For Young Readers, September 11th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "Kami Glass loves someone she’s never met... a boy she’s talked to in her head ever since she was born. She wasn’t silent about her imaginary friend during her childhood, and is thus a bit of an outsider in her sleepy English town of Sorry-in-the-Vale. Still, Kami hasn’t suffered too much from not fitting in. She has a best friend, runs the school newspaper, and is only occasionally caught talking to herself. Her life is in order, just the way she likes it, despite the voice in her head.

But all that changes when the Lynburns return.

The Lynburn family has owned the spectacular and sinister manor that overlooks Sorry-in-the-Vale for centuries. The mysterious twin sisters who abandoned their ancestral home a generation ago are back, along with their teenage sons, Jared and Ash, one of whom is eerily familiar to Kami. Kami is not one to shy away from the unknown — in fact, she’s determined to find answers for all the questions Sorry-in-the-Vale is suddenly posing. Who is responsible for the bloody deeds in the depths of the woods? What is her own mother hiding? And now that her imaginary friend has become a real boy, does she still love him? Does she hate him? Can she trust him?"

I have a confession to make: I'd never read anything by Sarah Rees Brennan before. And now I am KICKING myself for that! I LOVED THIS BOOK!! And I also have some serious cover-love for Unspoken, it's just so pretty :)
Let me tell you all the things I loved about it.

I was immediately engaged by the writing style, it felt like talking to one of my best friends, joking around, it felt like there was just this bond immediately between me and Kami and I love it when that happens!

Kami is a main character I can root for, she's smart, isn't afraid to speak her mind and she's just a good person! I loved how witty she was and because of this the conversations were one of my favourite parts of the story. Every one of them was filled with life and didn't sound forced or like something you'd NEVER EVER hear someone saying (this is a pet peeve of mine). I loved that she was so curious about everything and was bold enough to go after the answers, even if that might not be the best idea sometimes.

And then there's Jared and Ash, the Lynburn boys. While I like Ash well enough, my heart absolutely belongs to Jared. That tortured, unsure, lonely boy who I just wanted to give a really big hug the whole time. He's a combination of endearing and confusing and GAH AGGRAVATING, but apparantly that's how I like my boys. I absolutely loved the interaction between him and Kami and how there was so much TENSION without them even TOUCHING. And for the sake of my heart, please let there be kissing in the next book! Cause I was ready to tear my hair out, feeling just as frustrated as Kami (and bald is NOT a good look for me probably).

I loved how Sarah Rees Brennan had me both laughing and crying, she definitely has the funny down as well as the deep emotions and I felt ALL THE THINGS! It was wonderful! I felt like writing down all these things Kami and the others said a lot of the time, one of my favourite quotes is:
"Honestly, Jared, one thing at a time. Why are you in the well with me? This is a really bad rescue!"

The only thing that annoyed me somewhat is that when Jared and Kami discovered they could do magic, all of a sudden they could DO magic without anyone explaining exactly how it was done. But that's the only complaint I have.

I thought the whole Lynburn Legacy was sufficiently creepy and VERY interesting and I had not seen the whodunnit we discover towards the end coming! The ending left me crying and staring at the screen of my ereader going NOOOO! YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS! I really need the sequel, Untold, NOW instead of August 2013... My heart can't take this kind of ending, it's been pretty much stomped on...

Unspoken is filled with loveable characters, an engaging writing style, a creep factor and clean romance with so much tension I was chanting JUST KISS ALREADY in my head. So yeah, I'd highly recommend to any of you who are into that sort of book.

My rating: 5 stars

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Review of Silver by Talia Vance

Title/Author: Silver (Bandia #1) by Talia Vance
Publisher/Date published: Flux Books, September 8th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "As I step into the room, a silver flash blurs my vision. Before I can take a breath, the world falls away."

Brianna has always felt invisible. People stare right past her, including the one boy she can't resist, Blake Williams. But everything changes at a house party where Brianna's charm bracelet slips off and time stands still. In that one frozen, silver moment, Blake not only sees her, he recognizes something deep inside her she's been hiding even from herself.

Discovering she is descended from Danu, the legendary Bandia of Celtic myth, Brianna finds herself questioning the truth of who she is. And when she accidentally binds her soul to Blake, their mutual attraction becomes undeniable.

But Blake has his own secret, one that could prove deadly for them both.

Bound together by forbidden magic, Brianna and Blake find themselves at the heart of an ancient feud that threatens to destroy their lives and their love.

So I haven't seen much about this book around the blogosphere (could be me, please tell me if you've read it!), but I did know that Rachel @ Fiktshun really loved it, so I was all kinds of excited to finally start it!

And I was sucked in from the moment I read the first sentence: "Beauty is pointless when no one is looking." LOVE! I know the invisible girl plot has been done before, but this time there's actually a pretty good reason why people (not just guys) didn't notice her before. It was actually kinda cool.

I really liked Brianna, even though sometimes I thought she was a bit quick to jump to conclusions. And sometimes I couldn't follow her thinking and would go 'but HOW did you get that from what he just said??', but it didn't bother me all that much. I loved her scientific tendencies and her need for a fitting explanation for stuff she didn't understand.

I kinda didn't like Brianna's friends. They seemed extremely shallow and I found myself wondering why these girls were friends, as they obviously didn't trust each other. At one point Brianna's attacked and the girls are accusing her of getting it on with both guys she's found with, who happen to be the questionable boyfriends of both of her friends. I mean, WHAT??? Seriously?? Because OBVIOUSLY that's the most logical explanation...

Blake blew hot and cold and was just SO CONFUSING! And I LOVED IT! He has all these conflicting emotions and loyalties and GAH! There were times I wanted to smack him and times I wanted to smooch him and I could just feel everything Brianna was feeling about him right along with her!

One thing I didn't really like was the casual treatment of sex. I mean, while I know losing your virginity isn't life changing, it's a big deal. But in my opinion sex is always a big deal, even if it's your 400th time. Also, it may have been my naivety, but when one of Brianna's friends went off with a boy, I thought they'd be just KISSING. Yeah, I was kinda wrong.

I loved the Irish mythology, if you know me, you know I'm a bit of a mythology geek and I haven't explored this particular part of mythology just yet, so it was refreshing and SO interesting! I'm dying to learn more about it in the sequel! I really loved Brianna's powers, though I did think she could access them a bit too easily. And I'm kinda annoyed at her grandmother for NOT telling her when obviously SHE KNEW!

Sometimes the storyline was all over the place and I actually was wondering if I'd missed some thing, but sometimes we just weren't clued in and I was left chasing to catch up. There were moments when I got so annoyed at certain characters and things happening that I wanted to throw the book across the room, but then it would be amazing again and I'd settle in with a contented sigh again.

There were parts that broke my heart, parts that confused me, parts that annoyed me, but no matter how much of a hot mess this book was at times, I could absolutely overlook it, because I was a hot mess right along with it! I connected to this story and to Brianna and Blake and I just felt ALL THE THINGS, it was wonderful!

My rating: 4 stars

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Review of Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama

Title/Author: Monstrous Beauty by Elizabeth Fama
Publisher/Date published: Farrar, Straus and Giroux BFYR, September 4th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: Fierce, seductive mermaid Syrenka falls in love with Ezra, a young naturalist. When she abandons her life underwater for a chance at happiness on land, she is unaware that this decision comes with horrific and deadly consequences.

Almost one hundred forty years later, seventeen-year-old Hester meets a mysterious stranger named Ezra and feels overwhelmingly, inexplicably drawn to him. For generations, love has resulted in death for the women in her family. Is it an undiagnosed genetic defect... or a curse? With Ezra’s help, Hester investigates her family’s strange, sad history. The answers she seeks are waiting in the graveyard, the crypt, and at the bottom of the ocean — but powerful forces will do anything to keep her from uncovering her connection to Syrenka and to the tragedy of so long ago.

So, I'm a big mermaid fan, like pretending to be Ariel when I was younger, still secretly wishing I could explore an underwater world and dance with the fishes fan. And mermaid books and I have been having our ups and downs. But I'd heard great things about Monstrous Beauty, so I went in expecting to at least be entertained.
And I don't know what went wrong, but somewhere along the lines it did.

I'm not sure if it was just bad timing, but I never fully connected to this story. I was pretty annoyed by the first chapter, in which the mermaid fell in love with a young man and then 'forgot' he couldn't breathe underwater. So instead of living happily ever after with each other, he drowns within minutes of meeting her for the first time.
Yeah, that kinda put me off a bit. I mean, HOW did she forget it and not notice her 'true love' was suffocating?? SERIOUSLY??

Ok. Enough about that rocky start.

After this we meet Hester, a girl who's sworn off love because all the women in her family die within days of having a baby girl. She's pining after her friend Peter, who by the way is a great guy. The POV switches between Hester and Syrenka, the mermaid from the first chapter. The constant switches may be what made me fail to connect to either of these characters, I get why it was done story-wise, but for me as a reader it didn't work.

I kinda disliked that Hester, who was secretly pining for Peter, who was in turn secretly pining for her, fell for Ezra instantly. I do think there's excellent reasoning for this in the end, but well, I felt bad for Peter. I also didn't like that as soon as Ezra entered the story, everyone else seemed to vanish to the background. At first we got to know Hester's family and friends a bit, but after meeting Ezra, she really doesn't spend much time with them anymore, or at least not 'on screen'.

I think the main problem was that I was never all that excited about reading Monstrous Beauty. I could easily put it down and then not pick it up until the next day. It wasn't that it was badly written, I didn't have serious problems with things that happened in the story, but it just didn't work for me like I know it did for other people. I did like that it showed a MUCH darker side of mermaids than what I'm used to and I liked that Elizabeth Fama wasn't afraid to show us the gory stuff as well. I just felt that everything was a little superficial, there was just something missing for me.

My rating: 2 stars

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Review of Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines

Title/Author: Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury, October 13th 2009
How I got this book: it was gifted to me by my brother, thanks!

Goodreads summary: "It’s a fight to the death — on live TV—when a gladiator’s daughter steps into the arena

Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family.

Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying.

The rules help the family survive, but rules — and the GSA — can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him..."

I must be the world's worst gift receiver, because it can really take me AGES to finally get to reading books I've been lucky enough to get as gifts. Though I do really try.
So I've owned Girl in the Arena for about two years now and have just gotten around to reading it. At the time I got it, I was SO excited because it was one of the first 'for fans of The Hunger Games' books I'd come across. And the summary did make it sounds like it would be right up my alley.

Except that I'm slightly underwhelmed by the book itself. To me it seemed to be more about all the politics and the history of the GSA than actual fighting. And I was like: but, WHAT ABOUT THE FIGHTING?? It was as if you were reading The Hunger Games without the actual Hunger Games taking place.

It seemed like Lise Haines wanted to tell us EVERYTHING about the Gladiator Sports Association and its origins and the plot suffered for it. I mean, I was expecting edge of my seat action while also having a girl battle her attraction to the guy who killed her seventh stepfather and instead the plot crawled by at a snail's pace.

I really liked Tommy G., Lyn's stepdad, who sadly dies in the arena at his final fight. He seemed like a genuinely good guy and the right kind of stepfather, even if he and Lyn's mom perhaps didn't get married for the right reasons. I also liked Lyn's friend Mark, though only superficial, as I don't feel we got to know him very well. Lyn's mother on the other hand REALLY annoyed me! I thought she was selfish and made a lot of bad decisions and then expected Lyn to make the same ones.

I did think the world that Lise Haines has created was really interesting and it's kinda scary, cause I could totally see something like this gladiator sport getting way out of hand and taking over lives. Lyn herself felt pretty detached from everything, which resulted in me failing to connect to her. I guess I just expected something a little more exciting than it was for me.

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Daisy Update (25) and Book Haul (5)


So last week I was too lazy to post an update, because well, I was just in vacation mode.

I had a wonderful 10 days off from work! I slept till 8AM every day (I loved waking up at that time and knowing all my coworkers were starting their day at work, does that make me evil?), read a lot, tried new recipees, baked cookies, cooked for my friends who came over, it was bliss! I did get rather restless on Tuesday because it was my FOURTH day of not working in a row and well, I found out I've turned into a bit of a workaholic over the last four months. Who would have thought...

But by Wednesday I didn't have this problem anymore ;)

Thursday had a bit of a bad start because the power plant in the town I live in had sort of blown up a bit. The side of one of the buildings was completely blown away and we could see a lot of smoke. It didn't really help that on the radio they were talking about missing people and telling us to stay inside because they weren't sure what had happened yet. In the end it turned out noone was hurt and it was safe to go out, but it took a while before they had the right information, it was kinda scary.
Of course I slept through the whole apparantly quite loud bang and following noise, but the boyfriend woke me up.

We spent Thursday at a spa in a town 20 minutes away and it was just so relaxing! I LOVE going to the spa and sitting in the saunas and whirlpools and they have this salt bath things in which you can just float, which is very soothing. So Thursday night I felt completely relaxed and wrinkly :)

Saturday night we went out for dinner at a Mexican restaurant and it was SO GOOD! I love Mexican food, though I can't really handle anything too spicy. We usually go to a different restaurant, but this one was really good as well, so I think we'll just have to switch it up every now and then :)

And last Tuesday was the day I had to get back to work, which I was actually looking forward to. I love feeling useful and much as I love staying inside with a blanket, cup of tea and a good book, I don't think I'd appreciate it as much if I didn't have to work as well. I also wouldn't be able to afford my shopping and book buying habits, so there's that.
This week I was back on one of the nursing floors, which I prefer to the ER. I also got to do some stuff I don't do that often, like sticking needles in people's chest if there's fluid there so we can send it to the lab for analysis and it was pretty awesome! And just so I don't sound masochistic: it's pretty much the same as someone taking your blood, the needle just goes somewhere else.

Thursday night was my turn to do the evening shift and it was pretty busy, but ok, though I didn't have time to eat and I fear that all my hard work in my week off in gaining back some weight has been for nothing now that I'm back to work. Oh well.

Book Haul

So because of that booksale thing I talked about last time, it's a pretty big haul :)

-Sleeping Arrangements by Madeleine Wickham
-Venus Envy by Louise Bagshawe
-Footsteps by Katharine McMahon, I've never read anything by her before, but the books look so pretty...
-Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower
-Hood by Stephen R. Lawhead: I've been looking for this one for so long! And they're always out at the bookstores, even the online one, so YAY!
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger, I was a bit hesitant because I did like The Time Traveler's Wife, but had some issues with it, but I figured it'd be worth a try.
-Vanity Fair by William Makepeace Thackeray: which I already owned, fail...
-The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: LOVE THIS BOOK! I just didn't own a copy yet.
-To Ride Hell's Chasm by Janny Wurts
-The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
-The Reckoning by Kelley Armstrong: they didn't have book 2... :(
-Stolen by Lesley Pearse
-Rebel Heiress by Fiona Mountain
-Loving Mr. Darcy by Sharon Lathan
-The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
-Venom by Fiona Paul: YAYYY! It finally got here!
-The Crimson Crown by Cinda Williams Chima: SO GOOD! The boyfriend is currently reading this :) I LOVE this series SO MUCH! And am really sad this was the last instalment...
-Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder: LOVE THIS BOOK! I'm such a fan of Maria V. Snyder and I like the UK cover better than the US one, it's so pretty!

-Hysteria by Megan Miranda, EEE! EXCITEMENT!
-A Most Scandalous Proposal by Ashlyn MacNamara
-Once Again a Bride by Jane Ashford
-Chantress by Amy Butler Greenfield
-Poison by Bridget Zinn, I've been pining for this one for some time now! It looks amazing!
-The Borgias by G.J. Meyer
-The Water Witch by Juliet Dark, the sequel to The Demon Lover, which I really enjoyed :)
-Renegade by A.J. Souder, AAAH! SO EXCITED!
-Dance of Shadows by Yelena Black, isn't this cover GORGEOUS??

So that's all for me, hope you guys have an amazing week and leave me a link to your book haul in the comments!

Friday, November 16, 2012

Review of Every Day by David Levithan

Title/Author: Every Day by David Levithan
Publisher/Date published: Random House Children's Books, August 28th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Every day a different body. Every day a different life. Every day in love with the same girl.

There’s never any warning about where it will be or who it will be. A has made peace with that, even established guidelines by which to live: Never get too attached. Avoid being noticed. Do not interfere.

It’s all fine until the morning that A wakes up in the body of Justin and meets Justin’s girlfriend, Rhiannon. From that moment, the rules by which A has been living no longer apply. Because finally A has found someone he wants to be with — day in, day out, day after day.

With his new novel, David Levithan, bestselling co-author of Will Grayson, Will Grayson, and Nick and Norah's Infinite Playlist, has pushed himself to new creative heights. He has written a captivating story that will fascinate readers as they begin to comprehend the complexities of life and love in A’s world, as A and Rhiannon seek to discover if you can truly love someone who is destined to change every day."

I must confess that I've never read anything by David Levithan before. I know, I'm a bit ashamed myself. So with everyone raving about his other books and this one being hyped as well, I was trying so hard not to have high expectations. And I succeeded, though I don't think it would have been a problem otherwise, because this book was really good!

The writing style sucked me in immediately. David Levithan made me connect to A right from the start, even before I knew he called himself A. It felt like sitting down with an old friend, reconnecting and curious to find out what's been going on with the other.

I know there's some discussion going as to whether people think A is male or female. I'm not really sure that it matters, but I've been picturing A as a he, his character felt male to me, I don't know why that is. So I'm gonna go with that, because I can't call A an it and otherwise it's kinda difficult to talk about him (read her or it, whichever you prefer instead of him).

I liked that through A we experience a million different stories in one. A is in a different life every day and must adjust to it and use the knowledge of the body he's inhabiting to get through the day. I LOVED the days when we got to know more about the person whose body he was in for the day. I loved that there was this huge diversity in them and their circumstances.

The problem for me was that I wasn't really feeling A's relationship with Rhiannon. I thought it went a little fast on his part with the whole falling in love thing. I mean, I absolutely get the wanting to belong to someone for more than just a day and the attraction to someone you've just met, but for someone who never forms attachments, who is actually actively trying not to, it all progressed very quickly.

Instead of it being so focused on the relationship, I'd have liked more answers on WHY A was constantly switching bodies and didn't have one of his own. And HOW do you stop this? The whole idea of this happening was endlessly fascinating to me and I wish I could have learned more about the mechanism behind it.

Also: SPOILER, LIGHT UP TO READ: THAT ENDING! Seriously, I KNOW it couldn't have possibly ended well, because A would have had to betray everything about himself to effectively murder another person, but it tore my heart out! There was such a sense of hopelessness and despair and I was just staring and going NO! YOU CAN'T LEAVE ME LIKE THIS! Poor A...

The writing itself was SO GOOD and engaging and made me kept turning the pages, wanting to find out what would happen next! What life would A be entering in today? I really liked both A and Rhiannon, I think they're good people and I love the message this sends of falling in love with a PERSON and not a gender, while you might be sexually attracted to a gender, it's the person you come back for.

My rating: 4,5 stars