Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review of Under the Moon by Natalie J. Damschroder

Title/Author: Under the Moon (Goddess Rising #1) by Natalie J. Damschroder
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing, December 6th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Their power gives them strength... and makes them targets.
Quinn Caldwell is the epitome of a modern goddess. Her power source is the moon, her abilities restricted only by physical resources and lunar phase. She runs a consulting business and her father's bar, serves on the board of the ancient Society for Goddess Education and Defense, and yearns for Nick Jarrett, professional goddess protector and the soul mate she can never have.
But someone has developed the rare and difficult ability to drain a goddess of her powers, and Quinn is a target. With the world thinking Nick has gone rogue (whatever that means) and that Quinn is influenced by "family ties" she didn't know she had, keeping themselves safe while working to find the enemy proves harder each day.
But not as hard as denying their hearts..."

When I read the summary of this book I was really intrigued by the idea of modern goddesses and all the different ways in which power like that could exist in modern day society. So I was a bit disappointed when there wasn't much explained and/or shown about this in the book itself.

I'm probably going to come off negative in this review, but let me assure you that the book wasn't bad, it was just different from what I had expected. And right at the beginning it made me go REALLY?? at one of the plot points. I mean, really, was it necessary for Quinn to have the excuse of needing to recharge her powers for her to have been having sex with Sam, who is sort of her manager? I mean, she's 38, seems to me like she wouldn't need an excuse. And then for her not to kiss him was all a bit too much just making use of someone she claimed to really care about, when she knew he was in love with her. This definitely did not endear her to me.

Also, the events surrounding the threat to the goddesses seemed a bit too convenient to me. It seemed odd that with everyone knowing about goddesses and their being a whole protective movement and society for them that Quinn needed to go after the one draining goddesses herself.
And then there was Quinn's sister who was just so completely too stupid to live! Seriously, that was bad!

But the tension between Nick and Quinn was great and I liked that for the most part Quinn wasn't some helpless female and could hold her own (well, at least during part of the month). This wasn't what I had expect while reading the summary, but it was an ok read.

My rating: 2 stars

Monday, February 27, 2012

Review of Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta

Title/Author: Finnikin of the Rock (Lumatere Chronicles #1) by Melina Marchetta
Publisher/Date published: Candlewick Press, first published September 29th 2008
How I got this book: gifted myself with it for finishing my research report :) (promising myself I could buy books helped much in speeding up the finishing of said report)

Goodreads summary: "At the age of nine, Finnikin is warned by the gods that he must sacrifice a pound of flesh to save his kingdom. He stands on the rock of the three wonders with his friend Prince Balthazar and Balthazar's cousin, Lucian, and together they mix their blood to safeguard Lumatere.
But all safety is shattered during the five days of the unspeakable, when the king and queen and their children are brutally murdered in the palace. An impostor seizes the throne, a curse binds all who remain inside Lumatere's walls, and those who escape are left to roam the land as exiles, dying by the thousands in fever camps.
Ten years later, Finnikin is summoned to another rock—to meet Evanjalin, a young novice with a startling claim: Balthazar, heir to the throne of Lumatere, is alive. This arrogant young woman claims she'll lead Finnikin and his mentor, Sir Topher, to the prince. Instead, her leadership points them perilously toward home. Does Finnikin dare believe that Lumatere might one day rise united? Evanjalin is not what she seems, and the startling truth will test Finnikin's faith not only in her but in all he knows to be true about himself and his destiny."

This book came recommended by bloggers I trust completely: Alex and Jess. And when I was gushing on Twitter about Witchlanders, Sarah J. Maas said I should definitely read Finnikin so of course I added it to my wish-list!
And can I say it totally lived up to my expectations? :D

I absolutely, completely LOVED this book! Finnikin is such a boy and I loved all sometimes clueless boyness of him! He really has a sense of purpose and loyalty and the moments between him and his father were heartbreaking. And he's smart, I love smart boys :) He is a natural leader and I didn't once question people following him even though he's still quite young.

The worldbuilding was amazing and I really enjoyed slowly getting to know the different cultures! And while the events surrounding the five days of the unspeakable had me a bit confused at first, I eventually figured it out and it was amazing!

Also, Evanjalin! Seriously, how can you NOT love her? She's complicated and has a fierce temper but is vulnerable all at the same time. Sometimes I wanted to hug her, sometimes I wanted to slap her, but most of all I wanted to be her friend and have good things happen to her.

But really, all the characters seemed to live and breathe right along with me as I was reading this book and it was just amazing! I really did not want to put down this book and if life hadn't gotten in the way I definitely wouldn't have! I got completely sucked into the world Marchetta has created with Finnikin of the Rock and I didn't want to leave!

I'm so excited to continue the journey of all these characters I've come to love in Froi of the Exiles, I'm sure it will be just as wonderful!
If you're into epic fantasy, you should definitely pick this one up!

My rating: 5 stars

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Cover for The Crown of Embers by Rae Carson

The author just tweeted this from the catalog of HarperCollins! Doesn't it look amazing??? And it will just go so well with the cover of The Girl of Fire and Thorns!!

If you can't tell, I'm very much excited for this book :) Can't wait to add it to my shelf and have it being all shiny and pretty there. And of course to continue the series, cause The Girl of Fire and Thorns absolutely blew me away with its awesomeness (my review)

So, what do you guys think of it?

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Review of A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant

Title/Author: A Lady Awakened by Cecilia Grant
Publisher/Date published: Bantam, December 27th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Newly widowed and desperate to protect her estate and beloved servants from her malevolent brother-in-law, Martha Russell conceives a daring plan. Or rather, a daring plan to conceive. After all, if she has an heir on the way, her future will be secured. Forsaking all she knows of propriety, Martha approaches her neighbor, a London exile with a wicked reputation, and offers a strictly business proposition: a month of illicit interludes... for a fee.
Theophilus Mirkwood ought to be insulted. Should be appalled. But how can he resist this siren in widow’s weeds, whose offer is simply too outrageously tempting to decline? Determined she’ll get her money’s worth, Theo endeavors to awaken this shamefully neglected beauty to the pleasures of the flesh — only to find her dead set against taking any enjoyment in the scandalous bargain. Surely she can’t resist him forever. But could a lady’s sweet surrender open their hearts to the most unexpected arrival of all... love?"

Ok, so from the summary I thought this would be a sweet, sexy story. Yeah, it kind of really wasn't.

I had SUCH a problem with Martha. I mean, I get it, she's been emotionally unavailable for as long as even her siblings can remember, but that still makes the whole thing weird to me. You see, Martha wants to get pregnant because she needs to keep her staff out of the clutches of the evil brother-in-law after her husband dies. And it needs to be soon for the child to be recognized as her husband's heir. So she asks Theo to perform extramarital duties in order to conceive said heir. And then I thought the seduction would begin.

Wanna know what happened instead? Well, it pretty much seemed like rape with permission from the woman. It was NOT sexy. Martha pretty much just endures everything and tells Theo not to bother with everything besides the part where there's actually a chance he will get her pregnant if you catch my drift. And really, I cannot imagine any man finding that sexy. Or carrying on with it for a full month. I mean really? Well, except if the man in question is either stupid or jerk enough not to care. And as Theo is our hero, I don't think he's supposed to be either of those.

And really, then Martha does something noble, but completely stupid in my opinion. I mean, the whole thing had me going NOOOOO! WHAT HAVE YOU BEEN DOING THIS ENTIRE TIME??? Though Theo gets some credit for his actions at the end of the novel, though I thought he was kind of an idiot, he did have some endearing qualities.

Most of all, I didn't believe the 'love' between them, I really didn't. And the whole thing made me completely uncomfortable and that's not the feeling I want to be getting from a romance novel.

My rating: 1,5 stars

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review of The Assassin and the Pirate Lord by Sarah J. Maas

Title/Author: The Assassin and the Pirate Lord (Throne of Glass #0.1) by Sarah J. Maas
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury Children's, January 21st 2012
How I got this book: of course I HAD to buy this!!

Goodreads summary: "A Throne of Glass novella.
On a remote island in a tropical sea, Celaena Sardothien, feared assassin, has come for retribution. She's been sent by the Assassin's Guild to collect on a debt they are owed by the Lord of the Pirates. But when Celaena learns that the agreed payment is not in money, but in slaves, her mission suddenly changes - and she will risk everything to right the wrong she's been sent to bring about."

OMG, I just totally squealed when I got to write the title of this post! Because seriously, I have been a fan of the Sarah J. Maas ever since she posted her first draft of Throne of Glass (then titled Queen of Glass) on FictionPress and I'm so happy for her she got a publishing contract and 2012 will be the year I get to add her first novel to my collection! :) I already pre-ordered it, only 164 days to go! (which really isn't that long, considering I've been waiting for about 8 years ;))
Basically Throne of Glass is a Cinderella retelling with the twist of having Cinderella be a feared assassin!

ANYWAY: of course I had to read the novella. And it is everything I wanted from it! This wasn't part of the story posted on FictionPress and I was really excited about getting to know a bit more about the Celaena she was before she got sent to the salt mines. And I loved how sassy Celaena is! She's such a memorable character!

The writing is amazing and I LOVED reading it, so if you're excited about Throne of Glass or if I've managed to convince you it's something to be excited about, definitely read it!

My rating: 5 stars

Monday, February 20, 2012

Review of Allegiance by Cayla Kluver

Title/Author: Allegiance (Legacy #2) by Cayla Kluver
Publisher/Date published: HarlequinTEEN, February 28th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Only I saw Narian for who he truly was: a young man with courage and an independent mind, and made to pay for what was outside his control. He couldn't help his past any more than he could help the way those intense, deep-blue eyes pierced me and held me captive.
An eighteen-year-old queen in love with the enemy as their countries pass the point of no return...
Bound to a man she cannot love, Queen Alera of Hytanica must forget Narian, the young man who holds her heart. For Narian is destined to conquer Hytanica at the behest of his master, the powerful magic-user known as the Overlord. Alera doesn't truly believe Narian will fight against Hytanica-until Cokyrian troops attack with Narian commanding the charge.
Faced with the greatest betrayal a heart can know, Alera must set aside personal feelings and lead her kingdom through its darkest time. And when all hope, will and courage seem lost, she must find strength and remember that even the blackest night must have a dawn..."

***If you have not read Legacy yet, read on at your own peril, because there is a big chance this will contain spoilers for it***

Seriously you guys, when I mentioned to Alexa that the book I was reading wasn't working for me and I was thinking about DNF-ing it, she recommended that I bump this one up on my to-read list to make up for it. And I can tell you she gives the best book recs, so thanks again for getting me to read it sooner than I would have otherwise! :)

I really liked Legacy (my review), I had some minor issues with it, but I was SO looking forward to finding out what happened next. And really, this book does NOT suffer from second-book-syndrome in my opinion! It was filled with action and horrifying events and it made me feel ALL THE THINGS!

In the first book, I was in love with Narian and LOATHED Steldor. And this slowly changed over the course of this novel. I don't want to give anything away, but while he does still do some pretty lousy things (though, admittely very much provoked by Alera), Steldor has proven himself to be a worthy hero and I was actually rooting for him in the end! I love that I've gotten to know him better in Allegiance and he's no longer a one-dimensional character!
And in case you are hoping for lots of Narian, like I was, this is just a warning: it takes a LONG time for him to appear and he's not all that much in the book altogether.

And Alera, gosh, I just LOVE Alera! She is such a strong person and she really goes through some personal growth in this book! It was wonderful!

But London made me cry. I adore him and I want good things for him and he's just such a good, brave man! Also, I love how things that made me go 'this doesn't add up' turned out be due to something that was revealed later on in the book.
Also, Steldor almost managed to make me cry towards the end of the book. So tear-inducing moments, check!
And, as I was hoping, we get some more information about the prophecy and it was fascinating!

I do have to mention one thing: while I absolutely loved this novel, there are some REALLY horrifying things going on in it. It's a lot more gruesome than I remember Legacy to be and while it wasn't a problem for me, a little warning is always nice.

As I mentioned at the beginning, Allegiance made me feel ALL THE THINGS! It was absolutely amazing and I cannot WAIT to read Sacrifice! The title sounds like there will be more emotional stuff going on and I AM SO IN!

My rating: 5 stars

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Daisy Update (6)

Remember how I told you guys I was starting a new internship? Well, it's been going pretty well so far! :) The people are nice and I have my own patients to take care off, which is nice. Also: JUST 6 MORE WEEKS AND I'M DONE! I'm very excited but also a bit scared ;)
While I'm really enjoying myself at my new internship, it does keep me busy more than my previous one and I work longer hours, it adds about 5-10 hours every week. So I've been struggling with finding the time to read/blog/spend time with my boyfriend in the few hours I'm home before I fall asleep again.

On Valentine's Day the boyfriend and I went to see a small concert together and while the concert wasn't all that great and the guys on stage didn't really project any energy at all, it was nice spending time with him outside our home.

Also, in Holland we have this thing called carnaval, which is actually going on right now. It's sort of like Halloween in that everyone dresses up, I was Minnie Mouse for a day :) Only it last for 5 days. I went out on Friday for this and then yesterday I had originally planned to go as well, but I just didn't feel like it and ended up spending the evening blogging/talking on Twitter and reading, and spending time with my parents, who I hadn't seen in 3 weeks, so that was nice :)

Last week I got a new haircut, I think I let them cut about 6 inches off. It was SO SCARY but I'm really happy with it now! What do you guys think?

Bookish update: as I said I haven't been finishing all that many books, so I need to catch up on them soon! I did however order 9 books just half an hour ago and 1 on Friday... Yeah, I have no willpower whatsoever. Besides, I had a 10% off coupon that was begging me to use it!
I'm going to try and do an IMM this week, because it's been about two months (or maybe even a little over 2 months... I suck) and I have a lot of books to show you and people to thank and everything.

So how've you been? Did anything fun on Valentine's Day? Something exciting lined up for this week? Let me know!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long

Title/Author: How the Marquess Was Won by Julie Anne Long (Pennyroyal Green #6)
Publisher/Date published: Avon Books, January 1st 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "The Scandal Sheets call him Lord Ice.
Ruthless, cold, precise, Julian Spenser, Marquess Dryden, tolerates only the finest—in clothes, in horseflesh, in mistresses. And now he’s found the perfect bride, the one whose dowry will restore his family’s shattered legacy and bring him peace at last: the exquisite heiress Lisbeth Redmond.
She's not afraid to play with fire...
But one unforgettable encounter with Lisbeth’s paid companion, Phoebe Vale, and the Marquess is undone: this quiet girl with the wicked smile and a wit to match is the first person to see through the icy fa├žade to the fiery man beneath. But their irresistible attraction is a torment as sweet as it is dangerous: for surrendering to their desire could mean losing everything else they ever wanted."

So if you guys follow me on Twitter, you might have seen me doing all kinds of gushing about this novel already! When I started this book, it had been 3 weeks since the last time I felt really absorbed in a story and it was just all kinds of amazing! I went off-pile for this one because I'd been having some meh reads and had really enjoyed another book in this series before and I'm SO glad I did it!

From the first moment I felt a connection to Phoebe, the main character. She's a schoolteacher and as such not your typical romance novel character. She's smart and can hold her own and I appreciated that about her. Phoebe's going places even if she doesn't have a man to support her.

And then we have Julian, who is just a swoonworthy man and who made me want to whack him on the back of the head and give him a hug at the same time. He's got a HUGE sense of responsibility and was completely trustworthy and just basically a good guy. I mean, I love me some rakes, but a good guy wins my heart every time. And seriously, when he chased after Phoebe's cat when it slipped out the door onto the dangerous streets of London, looking all kinds of ridiculous, he earned himself a special place for all time. (Oh, and the cat is awesome too!)

But no matter how amazing they were in their own rights, together they blew me away! The chemistry was amazing and I had goosebumps all over. And the tension! It was FANTASTIC! Plus, brownie points for totally making me cry! It's been so long since a book brought me to tears, but this one did the trick and it was wonderful! These two actually have real conversations and real problems! And gosh, can I just say how much I was annoyed by the heroine's rival? Seriously, that girl turned out to be EVIL!

But mostly, what I meant to say was that I absolutely, completely LOVED this book! I think I've found myself a new auto-add historical romance author! If you like the genre, be sure to pick this one up :)

My rating: 5+ stars

Friday, February 17, 2012

Book Blogger Love-A-Thon!

The Book Blogger Love-A-Thon is hosted by Katelyn @ Kate's Tales of Books and Bands, if you want to know what it's all about, check out this post!

So today is all about sharing the love and while I'm not officially participating, as I have about half an hour of time on the internet before I should really be eating/showering/getting ready to go out tonight/cleaning (yes, it's very likely that will be skipped).
BUT I thought this was a wonderful idea! And it made me want to write a post about how much I love this community.

Because I do. Very much! I've gotten to know wonderful people through blogging and Twitter has allowed me to more easily get in contact with them and it's great! I mean, just last week I got a new haircut and I showed it to my friends on Twitter even before my boyfriend had seen it (ok, so this was also because he wasn't home for another 5 hours, but still).

I love living in Holland, but it's this community that has me wishing I lived in the US because then I'd get to meet you all!

I want to give a special shoutout to some of my friends on this day of blogger-love :) :

Alexa @ Alexa Loves Books who I'm proud to call my friend! She's such a sweet and generous person and I love talking to her and reading her blog! We share a love of sparkly shirts and food :)

Jana @ That Artsy Reader Girl and also fellow Broke and Bookish blogger, holla! She's such a sweetheart and I still think we should either move Holland closer to the US or have her and Alexa come to Paris so we can all meet up! :)

Kelly A., another fellow Broke and Bookish blogger. We're both addicted to A Song of Ice and Fire series by George R.R. Martin and I love that we can geek out together over things such as screenshots for the second season of the TV show :)

Sarah @ Sarah Says Read, a wonderful blogger who knows what she's talking about and isn't afraid to be critical about what she reads. I totally trust her verdict on the books she's read and I love reading her Sarah Sunday posts!

And I also wanted to give a shout out to a relatively new blogger: Bianca @ The Brown Eyed Bookie, she's lovely and you should all go follow her blog!

If I had the time I would list every blogger I know and love, but as I'm kind of running late already, I'll keep it short and just tell everyone who's reading this:
I am so thankful for you and even if I didn't mention you by name, know that I adore every one of you! <3

EDIT: I was mortified when I was just getting my pizza out of the oven (yes, my mind does indeed make interesting connections) and realised I'd forgotten to include Alex @ A Girl, Books and Other Things!! She's been nothing but wonderful since I met her and I love that we share a passion for TV shows such as Gossip Girl and America's Next Top Model! :)

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Theft of Swords by Michael J. Sullivan

Title/Author: Theft of Swords (The Riyria Revelations #1-2) by Michael J. Sullivan
Publisher/Date published: Orbit, November 23rd 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Royce Melborn, a skilled thief, and his mercenary partner, Hadrian Blackwater, make a profitable living carrying out dangerous assignments for conspiring nobles — until they are hired to pilfer a famed sword. What appears to be just a simple job finds them framed for the murder of the king and trapped in a conspiracy that uncovers a plot far greater than the mere overthrow of a tiny kingdom.
Can a self-serving thief and an idealistic swordsman survive long enough to unravel the first part of an ancient mystery that has toppled kings and destroyed empires in order to keep a secret too terrible for the world to know?
And so begins the first tale of treachery and adventure, sword fighting and magic, myth and legend."

This book is part of a self-published success story! Michael J. Sullivan self-published the entire Riyria Revelations series (which is 6 books in total I believe) and sold them THOUSANDS of times! Seriously, I saw the number 50.000 come up somewhere! I'm not sure if it's correct, but still, that's amazing! And now the series is going to be published by Orbit. So yeah, I'd say big success!

You guys probably know I'm a sucker for a good epic fantasy and I had heard floating around that this was an EPIC series. And when I saw that the ebook was over 700 pages, I thought, well, at least it's BIG enough to be epic!

And then I failed to register that it was actually 2 books in one.

Which makes a BIG difference.

I mean, when I started it, it was a bit too slow for my tastes. But sometimes with these 700 page books you get a lot of build up and then lots of awesomeness, so that's what I was holding out for. Until the story started reaching a climax around 300 pages in and I noticed it was actually 2 books in one. And I'm sad to say the second book was also REALLY slow. I mean, there's a lot of flowery language, which doesn't really work for me, and not a lot of dialogue going on. Of course the scene needs to be set, but I found myself skipping parts of this and it made the plot creep along at a turtle's pace.

Also, I guessed something at the very start book 1 that was revealed around the end of book 2. There are some not so subtle hints and it got me wondering if the characters were A) Really dense or B) Completely blind, not to pick up on them. Another thing that bothered me is that with all the description of their surroundings, I never once got the feeling of knowing the two main characters Royce and Hadrian. They remain mysterious and I'm not even sure what age they're supposed to be (this is kind of a pet peeve of mine, as I don't know how to place them in society then).

I did however like the storyline and a couple of the supporting characters. And I absolutely loved that the all-powerful wizard in the story has a serious handicap! So while he comes and goes as he pleases, he's not some deus ex machina mechanism, which made me happy. There is a lot of intrigue going in, which should be interesting.

While this was an enjoyable read, the characters didn't scream LOVE ME! (though Hadrian sort of whispered it) at me and I kinda want to love the characters. I had just expected more epicness I think.

My rating: 3 stars

Monday, February 13, 2012

A Midsummer Night's Sin by Kasey Michaels

Title/Author: A Midsummer Night's Sin (Blackthorn Brothers #2) by Kasey Michaels
Publisher/Date published: HQNbooks, November 29th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Handsome as the devil and twice as tempting, Robin "Puck" Blackthorn lives for the pleasures of the moment. His only rule—never dally with an innocent woman. But when an encounter at a masquerade ball leaves him coveting the one woman who refuses to succumb to his charms, Puck realizes that some rules were made to be broken...
Scandalized to discover that the masked man with whom she'd shared a dance — and a forbidden embrace — is in fact the ton's most celebrated rake, Regina Hackett vows to keep her distance. Yet when her cousin vanishes, it is to Puck that Regina must turn. And as they embark on a dangerous journey through London's darkest alleys, Regina will discover that beneath Puck's roguish facade lies a man who will stop at nothing to protect her — or to convince her to take a chance on an unrepentant sinner."

I read the first book in this historical romance series The Taming of the Rake a while back and while I wasn't over the moon over it, I did really enjoy it and when I saw this one would be about Puck I kinda squealed! Cause I loved him so much in that book, I was really excited to find out what he would get up to in his very own adventure :)

And Puck did not disappoint! Seriously, A Midsummer Night's Sin was a wonderful romance! I liked Regina, but Puck really stole the show! In the first book he was the perfect younger brother, making mischief and generally annoying his older brother. In this one, we get to know him some more and see his love of life and it's contagious!

I was however shocked and horrified by Regina's father! That man is pure evil! Seriously! I kinda didn't like this part of the story. I mean, sure there is probably some need for the plot to have something besides the romance, but this was rather dark and historical romances are usually just happy places for me.

But seriously, enter Puck and everything was bright and shiny again! I was also glad we got to see more of the last brother: Jack. He made a 5 second appearance in the first book and he seems like a very interesting character, so I'm very much looking forward to his story!

My rating: 4 stars

Friday, February 10, 2012

TGIF at GReads! (3)

TGIF is a fun meme hosted by the love Ginger @ GReads!

This Friday's Question:

Love Stories: What are some of your favorite fictional love stories?

For a hopeless romantic like me, this is a pretty hard question ;) But I'll do my best not to rant on for too long.

Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen: Well OF COURSE I was going to put this first! It's only my favourite book of all time and the romance between Lizzie and Mr. Darcy is amazing, I love a lovestory where arguments turn into love :)

Anna and The French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins: seriously, THIS BOOK! Upon finishing it, I wanted to start all over again! It is amazing and I'm dying to read Lola and fall in love with Cricket :)

The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman: HEARTBREAKING! But so beautiful!

Robin Hood: I LOVE the story of Robin Hood and Marianne, though maybe not so much in the recent movie retelling (2011 I think, the one with Russel Crowe). But I've idolised this romance since I was a kid and watched the Disney version and I see no reason whatsoever to stop now :)

The love stories in romance novels I told you I was a hopeless romantic ;) My absolute favourite historical romance authors are Sarah MacLean and Sophie Jordan, these ladies know how to write good romance! And I've recently read 2 books by Julie Anne Long which were also amazing!

Let me know what some of your favourite love stories are! Do you agree with mine?

Oh, and TGIF! Seriously!

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Discussion: Stress and Blogging

So I remember a time way back in July 2010 when I was a naive young blogger and I thought it wouldn't be that hard. That I wouldn't be stressed out by it sometimes. That I would *always* have time to read and write posts and all that. That it would always be easy.

Yeah, I learned some things since then.

I don't mean to sound negative or discouraging, blogging is something I love with my whole heart and I plan to continue on for a long time. But it's not always easy to actually do it.

Most of you guys are probably in the same situation I'm in: having a job, going to college, having a busy family life with or without kids. And there's always the thing where sometimes other people just seem to want some of your attention. Or pets do (my parents' dogs just sit on my computer when I'm staring at it too much for their tastes). The point is: life can get in the way.
For me, that's sort of happening right now. I started a new internship on Monday and it means working 1-2 hours a day more than my last one (which amounts to 5-10 hours a week). That's a lot. Based on previous experiences this will probably mean I'm out cold come tomorrow 9PM. This also leaves me so tired sometimes that my brain can't form coherent sentences (I apologize in advance if this happens somewhere along this post). So blogging gets shoved on the backburner a bit because of this.

And if I allow myself to think about this too much, I can really freak out about it. Because I want to do EVERYTHING. Being a friend, girlfriend, daughter, sister, doctor, reader, blogger, music-lover, food-lover, shopaholic. And I want to do it all the best I can. And I could do this, if only there were about 100 hours in the day...

So yes, enter the stress. For me, the stress comes from having A LOT of books I need to read and review and not getting to them in time. From writing up the posts in time. And, because I alsy want to be a social blogger, the reading and commenting on other blog posts.
This is also meant as an apology to everyone on whose blog I haven't been leaving comments lately: I'M SORRY! I love reading everything, my mind's just been going blank lately, but I promise I'll do better!

I used to solve stress by making lists. But making lists doesn't exactly help if you can't cross off stuff on it. Then it's become a list of doom. So now I'm list-free and I just try not to stare so much at the virtual pile of egalleys I need to read. Soon. It's the world renowned ostrich-method. Works like a charm (except for those moments when I still freak out).

But mostly I just take a deep breath and try not to let it get to me. Blogging and reading are things I love and sometimes I just need to work around all the other stuff going on in my life. While I"m not someone who's easily stressed out, I can usually rationalise everything, sometimes it just gets to me a bit.

I don't know if anyone's made it all the way through my rambling, but if you did: how do you handle stress and blogging? Do you even have stress at all? Any tips that can help me on the way to zen-hood?

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield

Title/Author: Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield
Publisher/Date published: WestSide Books, December 15th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher

Goodreads summary: "Caitlyn, a paranormal teen on the run with her mom as they hide from government trackers, must choose between saving herself or saving the world."

Ok, so usually a Goodreads summary is enough to give you an introduction to the book, but this time I'll have to add some. Cassie is a paranormal teen in a world where paranormals, or Paras are prosecuted and the government has hired lots of 'trackers' to neutralize the threat they pose. They even force captured Paras to help them track other Paras down. Cassie and her mom are on the run from them after her dad was killed by a mob and her brother was taken by a mystery woman.

For me, this hunting of the Paras seemed very much like the practices of the Nazis against the Jews. So yeah, it was REALLY brutal. And therefore pretty scary. Because who says that can't happen in our society? I mean, not with the paranormals, but the majority being turned against a certain group of people isn't all that hard to picture. This is a pretty dark novel overall.

I liked Caitlyn, though I did think she was a bit careless and all for a boy she knew about 2 days. I mean, being on the run half your life, literally running for your life and your mom's, isn't something to quit lightly. I did like that she was a mindreader and that she could only fully relax in the water, because it shut everything out. I also liked that she was a loyal friend and that she knew to stand up for what she believed in. I felt for her because her mother who also used to have the ability to read minds completely shut down after her dad died. And not being able to talk about all this with her mom. That really must be hard to face!
The thing is, I didn't really believe the romance and I never connected to Caitlyn herself.

We also meet Caitlyn's brother, who was taken and corrupted by a mystery Para woman. I didn't really get what his reasoning was. I mean, I get that he's been with this woman for years and that he was sort of brainwashed by her, but to me it was horrifying how he turned on his birth family.

There's this huge battle for power at the end and I just couldn't see how Cassie could be so powerful all of a sudden. Her power seemed to just expand with the demand made on it and that's a bit of a turnoff for me.
**SPOILER, light up to read**
I mean, really, her brother is tapping into the power of ALL the people in the city and she's battling with the power of just 4? REALLY? Plus, he's been storing up power for a while. I just didn't believe it.

The premise of this book was really interesting and I finished this pretty quickly. I just wished there would have been some more character development. And I would have liked to see a bit more of the developing of power in Cassie, cause it all just seemed a bit convenient. But all in all, this was an enjoyable read and it got me thinking about racism and the prosecution of minorities.

My rating: 3 stars

Monday, February 6, 2012

Ditched by Robin Mellom

Title/Author: Ditched: A Love Story by Robin Mellom
Publisher/Date published: Hyperion, January 10th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "High school senior Justina Griffith was never the girl who dreamed of going to prom. Designer dresses and strappy heels? Not her thing. So she never expected her best friend, Ian Clark, to ask her.
Ian, who always passed her the baseball bat handle first.
Ian, who knew exactly when she needed red licorice.
Ian, who promised her the most amazing night at prom.
And then ditched her.
Now, as the sun rises over her small town, and with only the help of some opinionated ladies at the 7-Eleven, Justina must piece together — stain by stain on her thrift-store dress — exactly how she ended up dateless. A three-legged Chihuahua was involved. Along with a demolition derby-ready Cadillac. And there was that incident at the tattoo parlor. Plus the flying leap from Brian Sontag's moving car...
But to get the whole story, Justina will have to face the boy who ditched her. And discover if losing out at prom can ultimately lead to true love."

I was sort of expecting a tale a la the Hangover (you guys have seen the movie right? I mean, I didn't really like it, but I was expecting something along the same lines only cute) and it turned out somewhat differently as Justina doesn't really seem to suffer from memory loss, it's just a REALLY LONG story and she tells it stain by stain.

Of course she doesn't really know exactly WHY everything happened the way it did, but after the initial moment of not remembering after she's tossed out of a car she has her facts lined up again. I was kind of sceptical about the whole just getting up after you've been dumped outside a moving car onto the concrete, but try to ignore that, as the story is cute!

Justina is adorably clueless and has a knack for getting into embarassing situations. And getting stains on her prom dress! Sometimes I thought she was a bit too clueless, especially about Ian and I wouldn't even have really blamed him for giving up on her. I mean, really, he's a teenage boy and pretty much a saint for just accepting all of what happened. I mean, I liked Justina, but she just managed to choose the wrong next step and assume the worst. I don't think she would have survived in something like the Hunger Games for 5 minutes. And that's ok, but I would have liked for her to at least sometimes be a little bit smarter about her decisions.

Anyway, apart from this, I did really think it was a cute story. Not amazing, but still enjoyable!

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Daisy Update (5)

Hi all!!

I really wanted to do an IMM today but two things happened:
1)I talked so much last night my voice is messed up and it kinda hurts to talk
2)We got home MUCH later than I expected, we were at my boyfriend's parents' house and well, let's say I thought we would have been home about 6 hours ago

This is basically what has messed up all my plan for this Sunday, except for reading :)

Last Friday was my last day at the dermatology outpatient centre and I brought cookies and got a good evaluation of my internship, so I was pretty happy! I'm starting a new internship tomorrow at a pulmonary disease department, which I hope will be as good an experience as this one was! It's always kind of scary to start a new internship to me cause of all the new people you meet, I'm a pretty shy person. So keep me in your thoughts tomorrow as I try to find my way in a new place!

On Tuesday I had dinner with a friend of mine I hadn't seen in 6 months! She's been abroad for an internship and we hadn't managed to find a day to get together before, so it was great seeing her and catching up on everything :) She had some horror stories to tell about the hospital she worked at in Ghana... (seriously, I don't ever want to have to go to a hospital there!) I got her some candy that's exclusively available around Sinterklaas, she'd come back just after and I knew she really liked them :)

You know how I said last week that I should stop ordering so many books? Yeah, I pre-ordered another one... I have no willpower whatsoever when it comes to buying books... But at least in about 6 months all will be in my home and I will be a very happy girl!

It's been really cold here and on Friday it even snowed! We've been having temperatures down to -16C at night and -6C during the day and I'm freezing all my appendages off everytime I venture outside... I wish it would hurry up and be spring already! I do not approve of this coldness.

On bookish news: I finished one book and a novella and DNF-ed one book. And I've started Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta and it is SO GOOD!! Seriously, it was recommended by Jess and Sarah J. Maas (when I mentioned I LOVED Witchlanders she said I should definitely read this one :) ) and I'm totally in love with the writing and the story! I'm about halfway through and I'm so glad I don't have to wait to read Froi of the Exiles as I have it from NetGalley :)

This week will see me preparing for the belated Christmas dinner I'm having with my friends on Saturday (we couldn't find a day to do it sooner ;)), so there will be cleaning and groceryshopping and all such fun things.
Hope you all have a great week!

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally

Title/Author: Catching Jordan by Miranda Kenneally
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Fire, December 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "What girl doesn't want to be surrounded by gorgeous jocks day in and day out? Jordan Woods isn't just surrounded by hot guys, though - she leads them as the captain and quarterback on her high school football team. They all see her as one of the guys, and that's just fine. As long as she gets her athletic scholarship to a powerhouse university. But now there's a new guy in town who threatens her starring position on the team... and has her suddenly wishing to be seen as more than just a teammate."

Do you ever read a book that's been so hyped up and everyone's been telling you you'll absolutely love it because it's awesome? And then you don't?
Yeah, that's basically what happened for me with Catching Jordan.

I'd been reading raving reviews about this novel and I love a cute contemporary romance, so I was really excited to read this one. But it didn't really work for me, and I knew it wasn't going to pretty much from the start. I only finished it because I thought it would get better, but for me it didn't.

In the first 12 pages or so Jordan's dad managed to really piss me off by being an obnoxious ass (sorry for the wording, but he really made me see red a bit) and just a really lousy father. And there didn't seem to be a good reason for this. I mean, it's explained eventually, but really, that is a douchebag reason for not supporting your kid. Seriously.

And I'm sorry to say Jordan as a main character didn't work for me either. I thought she and the whole story of her being a girl in a men's sports was just kind of bland and the whole time it had me thinking 'wait, this is the 21st century, not the 50s!'
Also, her guy friends from the football team were so stereotypical! I mean, really, all they talk about is screwing around. With cheerleaders. And I'm not a prude, but at my high school there wasn't that much actual sleeping together going around as there is in this novel and I felt like it was handled a bit too casually.

Also, the love interest Tyler felt wrong. He and Jordan didn't seem to have a connection and he was just too overbearing for my taste. But then there's Henry, Jordan's best friend, EVERYONE and their aunt he's in love with Jordan, except for Jordan herself. I just didn't believe it. I also thought he was a bit of a jerk and making things complicated for no good reason.

And then there was the medical mistake that annoyed me: you do not make an X-ray to see if there's damage done to the ligaments or meniscus of a knee. You can't see those on them, so when they said they didn't see any damage that was probably because they didn't see ANYTHING on that. Ok, rant over.

Anyway, probably by now needless to say I was very much disappointed by Catching Jordan, because I had expected a cute contemporary romance with a kickass heroine and it just wasn't the book for me.

My rating: 1 star