Monday, January 30, 2012

Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder

Title/Author: Touch of Power (Healer #1) by Maria V. Snyder
Publisher/Date published: Mira, December 27th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Laying hands upon the injured and dying, Avry of Kazan assumes their wounds and diseases into herself. But rather than being honored for her skills, she is hunted. Healers like Avry are accused of spreading the plague that has decimated the Territories, leaving the survivors in a state of chaos.
Stressed and tired from hiding, Avry is abducted by a band of rogues who, shockingly, value her gift above the golden bounty offered for her capture. Their leader, an enigmatic captor-protector with powers of his own, is unequivocal in his demands: Avry must heal a plague-stricken prince—leader of a campaign against her people. As they traverse the daunting Nine Mountains, beset by mercenaries and magical dangers, Avry must decide who is worth healing and what is worth dying for. Because the price of peace may well be her life..."

I am a HUGE fan of Maria V. Snyder's books and I'm happy to announce this one wasn't an exception to my love of her work! After the high of Under the Never Sky I was kind of scared to read this one after, cause usually after reading a 5 star read, I don't get that same amazement with the book I read next, but this one prooves it can absolutely be done!

I absolutely LOVED the magic system in this book! I mean, lots of times when you have healer's who perform through putting their hands on someone, they just transfer energy and the wound is gone. But in this book the healer actually takes the injuries into themselves and has the ability to heal really fast, so they don't die of wounds that are fatal to other people. Harsh, but brilliant! I also loved that as a sorcerer you pretty much had one ability or some related to your element and you didn't get the all powerful wizards that go around sometimes.

And that's not all to enjoy about this novel, I also fell in love with the characters! Avry, the main character, is a strong, smart, independant woman who knows what she wants and has the snarky thing going on. Basically I just summed up the qualities of my favourite heroines! I was kind of worried about the love interest, but though he seems like an absolute jerk at first, it turns out he's a really great guy and totally swoonworthy! So yeah, the romance made me happy as well :)

Also, I am giving a shoutout to Belen who is a brilliant papa bear and just all around wonderful guy and I just loved him! I also loved to hate some of the bad guys, which is always a bonus :) And I really liked that Avry isn't a teen, but in her early twenties, cause that's a rare age for a main character.
I'm very much intrigued by the world Snyder has created and cannot wait for the sequel, Scent of Magic, to be released so I can find out what happens next!

So, to sum it up: brilliant magic system, loveable characters, intriguing world building, GO READ IT NOW!

My rating: 5+ stars

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Daisy Update (4)

Hi guys! It's been two week since my last update and though not a lot has been happening, there's still some stuff I can talk about :)

As I mentioned last time, I'm still at the dermatology outpatient center and will finish up there on Friday. Which feels really weird, cause I can't believe I've already been there for 3 weeks! It's been great and I'm glad that I got to practice some skills such as stitching people up again. We really don't get a lot of chances to do this and I think it's SO important.
I ran into some patients that I knew outside the hospital setting, which is always weird for me, as it doesn't happen that often and my intern-life feels separate from my social one usually. I always try not to be the one doing the consult if this happens, cause I don't want them to feel embarassed.

Last week my friend who used to be my roommate before my boyfriend and I started living together came over for dinner and we always have such a good time together! We can just tell each other anything, I know she gets things without me having to explain a lot of extra stuff and it's great. We just talked for 4 hours straight :) I miss spending more time with her, but we're both really busy these days...

In blogging news: there's been a lot of drama going on and while I try to stay out of it, it does make me really sad sometimes. Last week I came across a blog post bashing romance novels which REALLY offended me and I'm still upset about this. It might turn into discussion topic once I've gathered my thoughts on the subject. And calmed down, cause every time I think about it I get mad again!

In budgeting and bookish news: I need to stop buying books! Seriously! I have bought a whopping 18 books as pre-orders from the Book Depository in the last 4 weeks and am waiting for one regular order to be delivered. This credit card I got is making it way to easy to just click and buy the books!
I'm REALLY excited about one: Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (Goodreads). I read this one on Fictionpress way back before she decided to try to get it published (I think I was about 15 or 16 when I read it) and have been following Sarah's blog ever since to check on the progress. So I'm doing happy dances now that I know that August 7th 2012 will be the day that the whole world will finally be able to enjoy this amazing Cinderella retelling about Celaena Sardothien and all the other characters that I have come to love! I'm really looking forward to finally getting into this story again, because seriously, it has stayed with me for over 8 years! 191 days to go...

On reading: I have not been doing so well with the books I'm reading which makes me sad... But I did read a wonderful historical romance which sucked me in from the very first page! I've been gushing about it on Twitter and am excited to write the review and share it with you all! Also, Alexa talked me into reading Allegiance by Cayla Kluver off-schedule and it's GREAT! So thanks for that! :)

That's all I think, hope you all have a great week!

Friday, January 27, 2012

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

Title/Author: Under the Never Sky (Under the Never Sky #1) by Veronica Rossi
Publisher/Date published: HarperCollins, January 3rd 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Aria is a teenager in the enclosed city of Reverie. Like all Dwellers, she spends her time with friends in virtual environments, called Realms, accessed through an eyepiece called a Smarteye. Aria enjoys the Realms and the easy life in Reverie. When she is forced out of the pod for a crime she did not commit, she believes her death is imminent. The outside world is known as The Death Shop, with danger in every direction.
As an Outsider, Perry has always known hunger, vicious predators, and violent energy storms from the swirling electrified atmosphere called the Aether. A bit of an outcast even among his hunting tribe, Perry withstands these daily tests with his exceptional abilities, as he is gifted with powerful senses that enable him to scent danger, food and even human emotions.
They come together reluctantly, for Aria must depend on Perry, whom she considers a barbarian, to help her get back to Reverie, while Perry needs Aria to help unravel the mystery of his beloved nephew’s abduction by the Dwellers. Together they embark on a journey challenged as much by their prejudices as by encounters with cannibals and wolves. But to their surprise, Aria and Perry forge an unlikely love - one that will forever change the fate of all who live UNDER THE NEVER SKY."

So people have been going "OMG! UNDER THE NEVER SKY!" for a couple of months now. The summary left me with a big questionmark over my head, but don't let that deter you, this book is le awesome! This book was the book that after 5 books ranging from meh to really enjoyed it, got me LOVING it.

It took some time to get used to the society and we are pretty much thrown right into the action as it starts with Aria being caught in a fire and getting thrown out of Reverie. But slowly I got to know Aria and Perry and Roar and all the other characters that make this book into the wonderfulness that it was.

I absolutely LOVED Perry! And Roar! Don't get me wrong, I also loved Aria, but Perry and Roar just stole my heart. The boys are amazing and I loved how Perry struggled with his abilities and with Aria and his loyalty to his family... I felt everything right along with him and I love it when that happens! Perry had lots of amazing Perry-moments (and you guys, the moment on the tower with Aria!!), I hope you all discover them as well!

The Aether in the sky is fascinating and I'm very much hoping we'll learn more about it, like how it came into being, if it causes other things than we've already seen. But most of all I'll be reading the next book because I want to find out what happens next! And to get my Perry-fix, cause that boy ran off with my heart!

I'm happy to say this book didn't end with a cliffhanger, like so many books in series seem to do these days. So instead of making me go WHAT? NO!!! it left me with a smile on my face and an intense desire to have the next book ASAP!

My rating: 5+ stars

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Desired by Nicola Cornick

Title/Author: Desired (The Scandalous Women of the Ton #5) by Nicola Cornick
Publisher/Date published: HQNBooks, November 29th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Her wicked ways were the talk of the ton
Teresa, Dowager Marchioness of Darent, is rumored to have exhausted her four deceased husbands with her insatiable needs. So it's no surprise that every rake in the ton wants to bed her. If they only knew... Through clever marriages to men who would ask nothing of her physical self, Tessa has remained rather innocent in the ways of the bedroom. But now she's on the verge of losing everything and wants to take care of the stepson she's grown to adore.
Enter Captain Owen Purchase. The handsome American adventurer has come into the title of Viscount Rothbury. And the rumors surrounding his injuries at sea suggest that he could fit Tessa's requirements. But little does Tessa realize that the gossipmongers are wrong. She just might lose her heart, and her desires, to the most unlikely of men..."

I really enjoyed Mistress at Midnight and Notorious by the same author, so I was hoping to enjoy this one just as much! That didn't quite work out for me, but it was still a nice read.

Mistress by Midnight got me wondering about Tessa, cause she's the sister of the heroine of that particular historical romance and she sounded absolutely intriguing. And she is! She is such a strong character and has been through a lot and basically didn't talk about it with anyone cause she felt she couldn't. Which is really sad, cause her sisters both care for her so much, especially the one she's living with.

I also really liked Owen, he's a great guy. The thing about his history with Tess's sister was a bit weird and I thought he'd made some peculiar choices, but still: he's one of the good guys. You want to trust this guy and make him trust you.

The thing that bothered me in this novel: Tess has been through a seriously traumatising sexual experience and it's left her scarred and she freezes at the mere thought of kissing anyone (this is not what bothered me, I'm getting to the point). BUT then all of a sudden she goes from being comfortable with kissing Owen to having sex with him in one day? I mean, really? It doesn't make sense AT. ALL. Seriously.

At one point I thought both Owen and Tess needed a good whack on the back of their head to get the sense back in the right place, but I did think they had great chemistry.

My rating: 3 stars

Monday, January 23, 2012

The Other Countess by Eve Edwards

Title/Author: The Other Countess (The Lacey Chronicles #1) by Eve Edwards
Publisher/Date published: Puffin, July 1st 2010
How I got this book: bought it as a reward when I finished one of my big internships last year :)

Goodreads summary: "It's 1582 and eighteen-year-old Will Lacey's family is in trouble. After years of wasteful spending, his late father has run Lacey Hall to near ruin. Tasked with marrying his family back into fortune, the new Earl of Dorset is all set for a season at court to woo not just the Queen but potential brides with his jousting skills. But when Ellie – a strong-willed girl with nothing to her name but a worthless Spanish title – catches Will's eye, he faces a bigger battle than he could ever have anticipated."

You may have noticed I love historical romance, it is one of my favourite genres. But usually this means adult fiction. So when I saw this one, which combines historical romance with YA I knew I HAD to have it.

And really, this story is really cute! I mean, Will is a bit (well, a lot) of a jerk at first, but he learns from his behavior and he changes. For the MUCH BETTER! I mean, really, I LOVED Will once he stopped being a blind fool! He showed some real personal growth and I love it when that happens!

I really liked Ellie. She is indeed strong-willed and this book makes me SO glad to live in the 21st century! Cause really, for girls back then there weren't a whole lot of options. Ellie has the bad luck of having a scientifically-smart-but-really-oblivious-in-other-aspects-of-life father. I mean really, the man is clueless! And careless! I felt really bad for Ellie because of this.

I loved the chemistry between Will and Ellie and I also loved that she was so selfless in this that she put what would be good for him and his family first. I'm not sure I could have done that. I also really enjoyed her friendship with Jane and I'm looking forward to getting to know Jane better in the second book in the series! I really liked Jane as a character, as well as both of Will's brothers and his mother!

I did not like the stuff towards the end at Ellie's uncle's house. I also did not like that we skipped most of it and that it took so long before someone did something about it. I would have loved to at least check in sometime and feel Ellie's despair (I know, I live for the drama ;) in books, that is). I did really like the end, made me smile and I love that! :)

My rating: 4 stars

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Discussion: Medicine and Fiction

So you guys probably know I'm studying medicine and this always makes me a bit hesitant to read a book or watch a movie dealing with health related issues. Or at least where it's a huge part of the plot. Cause there are SO many inaccuracies there and I almost always spot them and it bothers me.

Why does this bother me? Well, I'm living and breathing this stuff sometimes 50-60 (and sometimes more) hours a week and if you can manage to research whole time periods as an author/movie/TV producer you can't tell me you can't research a disease. It sometimes seems a bit sloppy to me.

I always annoy people around me with my shouting of various forms of: 'that SO doesn't happen like that'...

Some basic examples of what has bothered me and basic stuff:

*If you're a doctor, that doesn't mean you know EVERYTHING about EVERY specialty. I mean, really, I want to be a GP, that doesn't mean I will know how to do complex surgeries. Especially not by myself.

*Not all brilliant doctors are jackasses:

I think pretty much everyone knows the character this man plays. Med School isn't very accepting of this kind of behaviour. Not even if you're a genius.

*You don't take X-rays of a head to see if there's infarction/bleeding/tumors etc. It's a CT or MRI, X-rays are for bones.

*On the same note: I read a book recently in which they checked for ligament/meniscus damage with an X-ray of the knee. You can't see those on an X-ray.

*If you're mortally wounded and will die within seconds, you usually don't have time/strength to do anything meaningful in said seconds.

*If while making love the man pulls out before the finish line so to speak, the woman can still get pregnant (this annoys me in historical romance).

*On the pregnancy theme: if it's a woman's first time giving birth, it takes hours for the baby to arrive from the first time you feel a contraction. Seriously, some take 24 hours (or even more). So the frantic screaming of 'THE BABY'S COMING' right after the water broke is a bit premature. Unless you're really lucky (but believe me, that doesn't happen a lot).

Ok, so I can't think of more examples at the moment though I'm sure I've rolled my eyes at other stuff and I can tell you more things that don't happen like they do in books/movies, but some of those have gruesome details that aren't very pleasant to discuss. I may in the future post more on this when I come across it.

So, have you ever come across anything medical-related that made you think 'wait, does that really happen like that?' or do you do the same thing when you come across stuff that's related to your line of work? Cause I'm positive mistakes aren't only made in my field ;)

Friday, January 20, 2012

Prized by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title/Author: Prized (Birthmarked #2) by Caragh M. O'Brien
Publisher/Date published: Roaring Book Press, November 8th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Striking out into the wasteland with nothing but her baby sister, a handful of supplies, and a rumor to guide her, sixteen-year-old midwife Gaia Stone survives only to be captured by the people of Sylum, a dystopian society where women rule the men who drastically outnumber them, and a kiss is a crime. In order to see her sister again, Gaia must submit to their strict social code, but how can she deny her sense of justice, her curiosity, and everything in her heart that makes her whole?"

**WARNING: spoilers for Birthmarked likely!**

You guys, I really liked the first book in this series and was so, SO glad that I already had this one waiting on me, because CLIFFHANGER! And I was dying to find out what would happen with the budding romance between Gaia and Leon, cause that boy totally had potential! So imagine my disappointment when it took ages for him to show up! Or maybe it just felt like ages cause I was pining for some Leon ;)

I like when it's explained why dystopian societies came to be that way and I could imagine this one forming, though I couldn't really see why they wouldn't have thought of looking for a cause for the men's infertility and the low number of girl babies being born. I mean, you're getting extinct, you could at least TRY to look interested. That said, I did get how the women were in charge and even how the Matrarc got that power. Even Gaia had trouble keeping her thoughts straight because of the Matrarc's persuasive powers. It did seem like Gaia went from a bad situation into an even worse one, because this society was just as oppressive.

And now comes one big thing I did not like:
*drumroll* the love QUADRANGLE.
I WTF-ed a LOT throughout all this happening. I mean, even Gaia herself said: 'I never thought I'd be part of a love quadrangle'. No shit.
I'm kinda confused how she went from no boys wanting her because of her scar and them all, except for Leon, thinking her ugly to having all the boys running after her like she's some supermodel. I found it really hard to believe. I mean, I get there weren't a lot of available girls and all that, but still. Really? I mean, REALLY? 4 guys lusting after her? REALLY? I found it hard to believe and very annoying.

Gaia herself really annoyed me for the first part of the book, as did Leon when he finally entered. Gaia seemed to be a shell of her former self and just not the strong girl I had gotten to know in the first book. I'm glad to say that she stepped up later on, but it's a real shock, especially just having finished Birthmarked. Leon seemed unreasonably mad and mean, but he finally returned to the boy I knew and liked.

So while I seriously considered throwing the book across the room for the first half, or maybe 3/4 of the book (well, not really, cause I don't want to break my e-reader), the ending turned out much better! Though I'm not sure if there's enough story left for another book, I'll be sure to pick it up when it get released!

My rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Birthmarked by Caragh M. O'Brien

Title/Author: Birthmarked (Birthmarked #1) by Caragh M. O'Brien
Publisher/Date published: Roaring Book Press, March 30th 2010
How I got this book: own it

Goodreads summary: "In the Enclave, your scars set you apart, and the newly born will change the future.
Sixteen-year-old Gaia Stone and her mother faithfully deliver their quota of three infants every month. But when Gaia's mother is brutally taken away by the very people she serves, Gaia must question whether the Enclave deserves such loyalty. A stunning adventure brought to life by a memorable heroine, this dystopian debut will have readers racing all the way to the dramatic finish."

When I started reading this book, I sure hadn't expected it to turn out the way it did and it was different in a very good way!

I mean, I've read plenty of dystopians before and some basic things are the same in most of them: lots have a girl protoganist, oppressive society, girl at first adhering to the rules, discovering life-changing things about evil-doing society and then trying to bring it down/getting arrested etcera. And there's usually a cute boy somewhere mixed in the plot. And while I love this theme, there has to be something extra for the book to stand out. And fortunately, this book did.

I loved Gaia! She's such a strong character and I love that she doesn't always make the right decision and isn't always on her very best behavior. She learns not to take everything at face value and learns the shock of betrayal. At first I was a bit surprised at her skill as a midwive, until I realised she'd been training for 5 years under her mother and well, you're bound to pick up stuff. I loved how much Gaia cared about her family and her friends.

I really enjoyed the writing and how easy everything flowed. There's a real build-up of tension and I was really glad I had the sequel lined up at that ending, cause seriously, CLIFFHANGER!

And yes, there was also the cute boy. And he WAS a cute boy! I mean, he's got the whole rebel thing down in the end and he's all troubled boyness *sigh*. He didn't always get it right, but I really liked him.
I also thought it was interesting that Gaia is very obviously scarred and doesn't have a whole following of drooling boys and I'd already guessed at the truth behind her scar, cause the events didn't really add up.

I would have liked to know more about how the dystopian society got to be that way. I mean, what happened to the world to cause it? Maybe we'll find out as the series continues.

My rating: 4 stars

Monday, January 16, 2012

My Very UnFairytale Life by Anna Staniszewski

Title/Author: My Very UnFairytale Life by Anna Staniszewski
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Jabberwocky, November 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: ""You know all those stories that claim fairies cry sparkle tears and elves travel by rainbow? They're lies. All lies."—Twelve-year-old Jenny has spent the last two years as an adventurer helping magical kingdoms around the universe. But it's a thankless job, leaving her no time for school or friends. She'd almost rather take a math test than rescue yet another magical creature! When Jenny is sent on yet another mission, she has a tough choice to make: quit and have her normal life back, or fulfill her promise and go into a battle she doesn't think she can win."

I love the concept of this book! I mean, seriously, who didn't dream of being sucked into a fairytale world and helping out magical worlds as a parttime job? I sure did (ok, I'll admit I still do). And to have it then backfire and leave you wishing for a normal life, very interesting! And a good example of the grass is always greener and all that.

I thought Jenny was a good person, if slightly naive and not always reasonable. But hey, she's 12 and she's allowed to be all that. And she apparantly was an extremely talented Adventurer. And while I get that this is an MG in which a kid is usually the hero, I didn't really understand why they didn't have more grown-ups to at least helpt the kids. I mean, I would have liked if there had been some sort of explanation for this.

I really liked Prince Lamb and was actually kind of disappointed that he didn't stay human because I thought he would make a wonderful boyfriend for Jenny. I thought the whole thing with the kingdom of Speak being under a curse that made them loose their mouth and the mystery around the bad guy was really good and there were some very funny moments in the book.

I am kind of wondering if this will turn out to be a series, though I can't find anything on it on Goodreads at the moment. There is some definite potential there!
This was a quick, cute read, it's not amazing, but definitely enjoyable!

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, January 15, 2012

Daisy Update (3)

Hi everyone!

So it's been over a month since I last did one of these and it's actually quite shocking, cause I really thought it'd been only two weeks or something like that...
But let me start by saying I had a wonderful two weeks off from work and interships over Christmas break, just relaxing and reading and drinking lots of tea :) And cleaning up a bit, cause seriously, I hadn't been folding laundry for a LONG time. You know how it goes, you need the drying rack for a new batch and the one that was on it gets thrown over a chair cause you'll 'fold it in a minute'. Yeah, doesn't happen.

Me and my friends from high school had a blast on New Year's Eve going to a bar and hanging out! It's such a shame we don't do stuff like that more often, cause I really love spending time with my girls :)

I tried to plan a Christmas/New Year's dinner with my friends from college, but we don't seem to be able to find a day we can all make it :( But instead I had a high tea with two of them last Sunday cause we didn't want to wait for another month before doing something together. And when we discovered the shops were open that Sunday, we of course went shopping before getting to the lovely food! I got two pretty bags on sale and I'm so happy with them! And yes, obviously I needed them... I also got two pairs of earrings and two cardigans. It seemed to be the day to buy stuff in pairs ;)

One of my bags, only mine is greyish instead of black. Can you see the flower attached to it? :)

I've started a new internship this Monday and so far it's been great! It's at a dermatology outpatient centre and I've been learning a lot and seeing lots of patients, so yeah, good internship! Friday I had half a day off cause there wasn't enough to do for all of us and I think this will probably my last unexpected day off ever. So I made sure to treasure the moment!

I was really tired on Friday as I need to get used to getting up early again, also one of my friend's turned 25 on Wednesday and of course I stayed at her place too long playing SingStar! I totally rocked it, though it's NOT pretty, cause I can't sing to save my life, but we had so much fun!

On bookish news: I've been buying SO MANY of them. Seriously, about a week and a half ago I placed an order for 12 books. One of them has already gotten here, the rest are either on their way or pre-orders. I totally pre-ordered Pandemonium and Fever in hardcover, cause I knew I wouldn't be able to wait for them to be released in paperback and I NEED those books! The wait is slowly killing me.

Readingwise I haven't been doing so great. I have already read 9 books since the start of 2012, but only 2 of those were 5 star reads (Under the Never Sky and Touch of Power, they were AMAZING!) and three were 1 star reads. I don't know what's going on, but I keep reading books that don't really work for me and it makes me sad. But today I finished a 4 star read, so hopefully I'm back on the right track.

Also, I want to give a shoutout to Alexa and Jana for being my bookish sisters and cause I love talking to them on Twitter and if you don't read their blogs you should totally check them out!

So, that's about 4 weeks of business summed up. Let me know what you've been up to!

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins

Title/Author: Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Publisher/Date published: Dutton, December 2nd 2010
How I got this book: I bought it as a reward for myself for finishing my last internship :)

Goodreads summary: "Anna is looking forward to her senior year in Atlanta, where she has a great job, a loyal best friend, and a crush on the verge of becoming more. Which is why she is less than thrilled about being shipped off to boarding school in Paris - until she meets Etienne St. Clair: perfect, Parisian (and English and American, which makes for a swoon-worthy accent), and utterly irresistible. The only problem is that he's taken, and Anna might be, too, if anything comes of her almost-relationship back home.
As winter melts into spring, will a year of romantic near - misses end with the French kiss Anna - and readers - have long awaited?"

I very much realise that I'm probably the last person on this planet to read Anna. I do. But I finally caved in to peer pressure and read it, and let me tell you that I thought it was FANTASTIC!!

Seriously, I was one of those who cover-snobbed this book. Because really, while I have gotten used to it now, it is really cheezy and it doesn't scream YOU WILL LOVE ME, at least not to me. But I did love this book! And I can't believe I didn't read it sooner, but now at least everyone can stop yelling at me ;)

I loved this book so much I don't want to pick it apart in a review, so I'm just gonna say that I loved Anna and Etienne and their relationship and how it evolved from friends to more. The last part had me in a reading frenzy, cause even though I KNEW it would all end happily ever after, I needed to actually experience it before I could go to sleep.

I read this book all in one day. On Christmas Day. In between eating, unwrapping gifts and spending time with my family and boyfriend. And I couldn't have picked a better read. It was lovely and sweet and romantic and now all I want to do is go order Lola and the Boy Next Door. Which I will once my credit card is ok-ed.
I think I have found a new auto-buy author :)

My rating: 5+ stars

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Too Wicked To Wed by Cara Elliott

Title/Author: Too Wicked To Wed by Cara Elliott
Publisher/Date published: Forever, November 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Outspoken and independent, Lady Alexa Bingham enjoys the heady freedom of making all her own decisions, even though the challenges of overseeing her family's country estate are daunting. But when a chance encounter with London's most notorious rake awakens a secret longing for adventure, she accepts her aunt's invitation for a Season in Town . . . only to find that breaking the rules of the ton has serious consequences.
The Earl of Killingworth uses his rakehell reputation to hide the fact that poverty has forced him to work for a living. As the owner of a gambling den and brothel, Connor has no time for glittering ballrooms or innocent young ladies. But after a reckless wager leaves him with a new business partner, he is forced to take a risky gamble... Will the cards fall in their favor? Alexa and Connor begin to play a dangerous game of intrigue and deception as they seek to outwit a cunning adversary who wants to put them permanently out of business. But if they are not careful, it is the flames of their own fiery attraction that may destroy them."

If you ever decide to read this book, you should know that the first couple of pages shouldn't discourage you. I felt thrown right in the middle of a story and it was disorienting and confusing at first. And I had a WTF?? moment. But after that it got much better. MUCH BETTER!

I really, genuinely liked Alexa. Sure, she didn't always seem to think her actions through, but at least she DID something! Instead of simpering in a corner waiting for someone to look for her, she dresses up as a boy, enters a men's club and manages to win half a business playing cards. And makes the decision to actually hold onto that half. Which makes for some very interesting clashes with our hero.

What I also liked about Alexa is that she's truly capable. She has been taking care of business on the family estate for years, so she knows about expenses and everything that comes with running something. And she has great business ideas it turns out. I also loved that she wasn't afraid to get her hands dirty.

I'm not entirely sure what made our hero lock away his heart, but he definitely did. He blows hot and cold and Alexa doesn't know what to make of it, and I didn't either for some time. But of course we learn his true feelings in the end. I liked that though he created scandal, he was also really good for his employees and honorable, you just had to look a little deeper to see all this.

I really liked the tension between the two and something I also really enjoyed: there was some humour infused now and then. I also really liked Connor's friends and am looking forward to reading their own lovestories (at least, I imagine that there will be more books featuring them).

Towards the end I did want to whack Alexa over the head, because seriously, how could she be so stupid to get herself into SO much trouble and endanger her life? I mean, seriously? That woman she trusted in had 'bad news' written all over her. And I thought the bad guy's motive was pretty crappy. But other than that this was a really enjoyable read and perfect for the days around Christmas in my opinion.

My rating: 4 stars

Monday, January 9, 2012

Darker Still by Leanne Renee Hieber

Title/Author: Darker Still (Magic Most Foul #1) by Leanna Renee Hieber
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Fire, November 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "The Picture of Dorian Gray meets Pride and Prejudice, with a dash of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde.
New York City, 1882. Seventeen-year-old Natalie Stewart's latest obsession is a painting of the handsome British Lord Denbury. Something in his striking blue eyes calls to her. As his incredibly life-like gaze seems to follow her, Natalie gets the uneasy feeling that details of the painting keep changing...
Jonathan Denbury's soul is trapped in the gilded painting by dark magic while his possessed body commits unspeakable crimes in the city slums. He must lure Natalie into the painting, for only together can they reverse the curse and free his damaged soul."

I was SO looking forward to this book and with all the buzz about it and all the Denbury fans out there, I'd anticipated falling in love with both the story and the guy. And then I didn't. It's not that I didn't like the book, cause I did, but it wasn't as mindblowing as I had expected it to be.

I didn't connect with Natalie, I think it might be because of the way the story was told: in diary form. And this takes away the edge of my seat experience that could have easily been there, because I know that if she's writing it down, she must be someplace safe and thus everything she relates will work out fine.

I did think it was really interesting that Natalie was mute, I'd never considered that way back when they were shunned and considered freaks. And I think the whole idea of trapping someone in a painting and then inhabiting their body and do all kinds of nasty things was amazingly evil! The only thing I never did really get is why they targeted Jonathan in the first place. I mean, I 'get' it, but it doesn't really make sense for them to have their first victim in England and then to cross to America. But maybe that's just me, I'd be a lazy villain probably ;)

I liked the romance between Jonathan and Natalie, I just didn't love it. I also felt the story moved a bit too slow for me. And the actual vanquishing of the bad guy was a little too easy in my opinion.
But I did like the story and it will be interesting to see what happens next.

My rating: 3 stars

Saturday, January 7, 2012

Discussion: DNF-ing

If you follow me on Twitter, you probably already know that the last two books I read were disappointments. And with one I even went as far as DNF-ing it.

*To DNF: to not finish a book you started reading

I always, ALWAYS feel sad when I do this. I never used to in the past, cause I feel frustrated not knowing how it ends. Or there's the chance of missing out on a great book if it picks up. Those are both things that make me hesitant to DNF a book. But with the amount of books I have both on my e-reader and on my shelf and the limited amount of time I have nowadays to actually do my reading, I've become for lack of a better word 'better' at DNF-ing.

I don't want to read something I don't like. It's as simple as that. I do a lot of things I HAVE to do for my internships and life in general, reading should always be something I WANT to do and not something I force myself to do. So now when I don't feel excited about continuing with a book, I ask myself if it would be better to DNF it and move onto something that I will enjoy.

Sometimes I'm not invested in a story enough to want to continue, sometimes it annoys me so much I want to throw the book across the room. A sure-fire way for this to happen is to have a whiny protagonist. Things that are also discouraging to me: insta-love in the first 15 pages (I mean, seriously?), unbelievable storylines, insta-power (instant mastering of complex skills with no good explanation for why this happens), the main character attracting 5 love interests, nothing happening for 200 pages. There can be any number of things going on, but most important: I find myself not enjoying the book.

I always try to make it to 100 pages to give a book a fair chance. I mean, that's about 2 hours of my life, I can usually pull through to do that. Sometimes I dislike the book so much I only make it to 50. And I think only once or twice I've closed a book after 5 pages.

But then comes the next part: I'm a blogger, what do you do with books you DNF?

I've seen some bloggers post periodically about the books they DNF-ed. Some choose to review them. Some rate them on Goodreads.
As for me, I don't post reviews on the books I DNF-ed because I feel I can't do that based on 50-100 pages. I do however rate them on Goodreads. It could be argued that's not fair if it's not based on the full novel, but I think it also means something if I dislike it enough to DNF, because then I REALLY disliked the book. If there's any hope it will turn up for me, I keep reading.

So, what about you guys? Do you DNF books? Feel horribly guilty and sad about it (like me)? Do you review/rate them?

Friday, January 6, 2012

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard

Title/Author: Bloodspell (Bloodspell #1) by Amalie Howard
Publisher/Date published: Langdon Street Press, May 27th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "The spell was simple...
Cruentus Protectum (Defend the Blood)
But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?
Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds -- much less one that reveals she's a witch with unimaginable power.
What's more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own...
Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood's deadly desires? Or will she lose everything, including herself?"

Ok, so this book and I struggled with each other. And I mean, we REALLY struggled. Complete with hissing and raising of fur and all that. I'd been looking forward to reading this one and I regret saying it turned out not to be my kind of book.

The concept is absolutely fascinating, I mean, the magic being infused in your blood and actually turning it black instead of the more natural red color and it having a will of its own, FASCINATING! I'm just disappointed at the actual story.

I know you can be a natural at something, I do, but when generations and generations of witches before you have failed to control this dangerous magic in your blood, you can't tell me you learn to master it in a heartbeat. And almost killing and then saving your immortal boyfriend doesn't count as losing control. And I know Victoria had her familiar help her a bit with the training and all, but there's not a lot going on there or it's not shown in the book at least. And I like it when it's shown.

Also, I had a hard time getting into the Twilight-esque romance. I really don't like comparing anything to Twilight, cause it leaves a bad taste, but a 180 year old vampire falling in love with a 17 year old girl and her blood being almost irresistible to him and all? Yeah, kinda reminded me of it.

And all the teenagers in this book be CRAZY! Seriously. Victoria turns a boy down, he decides to try and kill her. And **SPOILER** he turns out to be a warlock as well****. And there's the whole thing with the girl who's in love with said boy and also goes psycho. Sometimes I didn't know if I was reading about a high school or a mental institution.

I did really like the whole history of Victoria's powers and it would have been really interesting to find out more about what exactly happened to her great-great-great-great grandmother.

But in the end the characters annoyed me too much and I was going WTF??? a bit too often, this book just wasn't for me.
My rating: 1 star

Wednesday, January 4, 2012

To Pleasure a Duke by Sara Bennett

Title/Author: To Pleasure a Duke (The Husband Hunter Club #3) by Sara Bennett
Publisher/Date published: Avon Books, November 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It has taken Eugenie Belmont but a moment to decide whom to marry...
Unfortunately the gentleman in question, the Duke of Somerton, hasn’t yet offered — a mere formality for a confirmed member of the Husband Hunters Club of Miss Debenham’s Finishing School. Like her friends, Eugenie is unwilling to wait demurely until the perfect mate happens by. And, despite the handsome duke’s imposing reputation, she can feel his heated glances in her direction are charged with desire... and possibilities.
Saddled with a dukedom, a haughty dowager, and an irresponsible younger sister, Sinclair St. John is far too occupied with important matters to indulge in romantic whims. But for the first time in his life, a brazen temptress has him utterly distracted. He could — and he should — dismiss her and court someone more befitting his station. But he is irresistibly drawn to this bewitching woman... and must match her game of seduction, move for passionate move."

It's always a good time for historical romances in my opinion, but this time of year with all the cold and the lighting of candles at night and just the general urge to stay inside makes me crave them even more. And this one delivered!

At first I was a bit worried, cause the duke in question really annoyed me with the constant curling of his lip at everything. I mean, obnoxious much? But I'm glad to say Eugenie managed to make him mend his ways pretty soon. He was still haughty and snobbish, but with less lipcurling, so I was good with it.

I really liked Eugenie, I liked how she knew what she wanted and though she knew they were to different in social status for him to propose without scandal, she refused to settle for being his mistress. You go girl! I also liked that her imagination tended to run away with her and get her into trouble.

I SO hated the duke's mother!! I mean, really woman? Discouraging your son from doing things he loves because you don't approve? BAD PARENTING! His sister was also annoying, but more spoiled princess than anything else. I warmed up toward the duke himself over the course of the story, but he was definitely not swoon at first sight for me.

I really enjoyed this novel and the tension between the two main characters was wonderful!
My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Looking Ahead, Back and Things I'd Like To Do

So I'm a bit late with the 2012 resolutions, as everyone seemed to have theirs ready weeks ago. The problem is: I'm not really one for new year's resolutions. I am one of those persons who needs to actually accomplish those goals once set and I didn't really want to add the stress of not meeting them to the stress of juggling work, a social life, reading and blogging. And with the high expectations I have of myself, I just usually don't feel like adding to them at the start of the year. That said, I think I might just make some this year ;)

Looking Ahead
2012 will be the year I graduate from Med School. Which is exciting and scary and making me want to run around in circles from the sheer hugeness of it. This also means it will be the year I go jobhunting and assuming I land one, get to work for about 60 hours a week at the very minimum. Which means I will have even more stress juggling ALL THE THINGS.
I am excited and terrified at the same time, I keep reminding myself that I will FINALLY be a legit doctor and that makes up for most of it.

2012 will also be the year I expect that the boyfriend and I will buy a car. I don't think I've actually owned anything that expensive or moneydraining before.
If all goes well, it will also be the year we move to another apartment or small house, but that may have to wait till 2013. If we move to another place, it will also be the year I will convince my boyfriend to get a dog. Or a bunny if the dog-plan fails. My boyfriend isn't convinced we need pets at all, but I want something fluffy to pet and feed and love and I've always had pets at my parents'!

Looking Back
2011 was a year of many things:
I found out what I want to do with my career after Med School.
I found out what I definitely NOT want to do after I finish Med School (research *shudders*).
It was also the year I read 178 books. I don't think I will ever be able to reach this number again, but it makes me immensely proud and slightly dizzy from the sheer amount of it!
It was the year I convinced myself that it's ok to DNF a book that is not working for me instead of pushing myself to finish it even though it's got me actually disliking reading.
It was the year I decided to step into the 21st century and join Twitter.
It was also the year I met wonderful new blogging friends and further got to know others: Alexa (who loves the same books I do and shares my passion for cute dresses, good food and tea), Alex (the only one I can talk to about ANTM and who freaks out with me over it! As well as Gossip Girl), Kelly A. (my A Song of Ice and Fire reading buddy, who sadly doesn't have a personal blog anymore), Sarah (who shares my love for Jemisin's Inheritance trilogy and who I love to disagree with on the topic of ereaders ;) ), Jess (who has already made me buy a couple of books through her recommendations) and last but certainly not least Jana (who is a fellow Austenland fan and is half Dutch, which is just plain awesome). I'm thankful to have gotten to know you all and all the other wonderful people in this blogosphere!

So those were all good things that happened in 2011.
Of course not everything was rainbows and unicorns, most importantly there was a huge change in my group of friends I've known since high school and I had a hard time with that. One decided to step out of our group for the time being, one I decided to give up on because she doesn't really seem to care and I'd rather spend my time on people who do and one tried to return to our group after an absence of 4 years and pretended like everything was ok when she really hurt me back then (yeah, it doesn't really work like that, at least not for me).

What I'd like to do in 2012
I want to make this non-stress inducing, so I'm not setting goals, just things I'd like to do/try:

-Continue with the series I started in 2011: I am so bad with just reading review books and I need to let myself spend time on those books I've been craving for a year.
-Read books that I bought for myself: while I love all the opportunity of reading so many books for review, I have a whopping 149 books that I physically own that are waiting for me to find the time to read them on my shelf. I need to feel less guilty for slipping those in, cause I BOUGHT (or made other people buy) them and I want to read them.
-Not wait more than a week after finishing a book before I review it.
-Spend less time stalking NetGalley and request less books: because seriously, the sheer amount of them is overwhelming.
-Do other posts than just reviews: I sometimes participate in memes and I've recently starting doing Daisy Updates, but I'd love to do discussion posts, because you know, I haz opinions and all that.
-Leave more comments on other people's blogs: I love receiving comments myself, so I should be commenting more as well.

I think that's enough for now :) I would like to say I could try to buy less books, but seriously, that's not a goal I can hope to accomplish. Especially not when 2012 will be the year I start making money and won't need to budgetize as much anymore.

So, what are your goals/things you'd like to try? Any other suggestions? Or tips on how to achieve this?

Monday, January 2, 2012

Crave by Melissa Darnell

Title/Author: Crave (The Clann #1) by Melissa Darnell
Publisher/Date published: Harlequin Teen, October 25th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Savannah Colbert has never known why she's so hated by the kids of the Clann. Nor can she deny her instinct to get close to Clann golden boy Tristan Coleman. Especially when she recovers from a strange illness and the attraction becomes nearly irresistible. It's as if he's a magnet, pulling her gaze, her thoughts, even her dreams. Her family has warned her to have nothing to do with him, or any members of the Clann. But when Tristan is suddenly everywhere she goes, Savannah fears she's destined to fail.
For years, Tristan has been forbidden to even speak to Savannah Colbert. Then Savannah disappears from school for a week and comes back... different, and suddenly he can't stay away. Boys seem intoxicated just from looking at her. His own family becomes stricter than ever. And Tristan has to fight his own urge to protect her, to be near her no matter the consequences..."

So I really enjoyed this book! I was thinking this would either work really well or fail epicly. I'm glad it was the first one :)

It was refreshing that in this paranormal romance for once the boy isn't the only one in the relationship who is a paranormal being! I loved that Savannah was dhampir, both witch and vampire combined and noone really knew how to deal with this. Though I thought Savannah was pretty smart about some stuff and I liked her, I couldn't believe some of the things she did.

I mean, sure you may not like your vampire dad very much and I get that when you're mad at him you don't go running to him to ask him questions about the whole vampire being business. BUT we no longer live in caves and have this wonderful thing called the internet. Yes, really. It's shocking, I know. I mean, if Tristan's sister can figure out all the stuff about dhampirs by googling for about an hour, I'm sure Savannah could have too. I mean, she was experiencing serious discomfort from the effect of her gaze on people and didn't even think to investigate? And really, she's been kissing Tristan for a while and never questions why he's so weak after it every time??? I mean, COME ON!! Also, I'm betting her mom and grandma knew at least a little about it, so really, there's no good excuse for this ignorance.

Ok, rant over.

I did really enjoy the chemistry between Tristan and Savannah and I liked that they had history together. I thought a couple of sidecharacter Clann kids were too two-dimensional, but I did really like Savannah's best friend Anne, she was awesome! And Savannah's grandma was cool as well :) I love grandmothers in stories!

I was really shocked at the events towards the end of the book and I'm dying to find out what happens next! Both with Tristan and Savannah and with the rest of her family! And I'm looking forward to further exploring all the possibilities that come with being a dhampir!

My rating: 4 stars

Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!!

I wanted to wish everyone a happy new year!!
I'm kind of wondering why I'm awake, as it's 11AM and I went out with friends last night till 5.30AM... Yes, I slept a little over 4 hours, I'm not sure how that happened...
Today will be a day of lots of my boyfriend's family and food and all that, so I'm hoping to get through it without falling asleep at inconvenient moments.

I hope you all have a lovely day!!