Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Review of Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby

Title/Author: Things We Know By Heart by Jessi Kirby
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, April 21st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: When Quinn Sullivan meets the recipient of her boyfriend’s donated heart, the two form an unexpected connection.

After Quinn loses her boyfriend, Trent, in an accident their junior year, she reaches out to the recipients of his donated organs in hopes of picking up the pieces of her now-unrecognizable life. She hears back from some of them, but the person who received Trent’s heart has remained silent. The essence of a person, she has always believed, is in the heart. If she finds Trent’s, then maybe she can have peace once and for all.

Risking everything in order to finally lay her memories to rest, Quinn goes outside the system to track down nineteen-year-old Colton Thomas — a guy whose life has been forever changed by this priceless gift. But what starts as an accidental run-in quickly develops into more, sparking an undeniable attraction. She doesn't want to give in to it — especially since he has no idea how they're connected — but their time together has made Quinn feel alive again. No matter how hard she’s falling for Colton, each beat of his heart reminds her of all she’s lost... and all that remains at stake.

So I'm not really someone who reads books dealing with grief. They scare me. Also, I deal with illness and loss a lot in my line of work, so I tend to avoid it outside of it. But this is Jessi Kirby and I cannot stop raving about Golden, so I desperately needed to read this!

And I thought it was beautiful. Obviously most of us will be able to see the romance coming from MILES away, even from reading the summary, but it is kinda beautiful in that it happens slowly and they first tentatively become friends and then it moves onto something more and I could definitely root for them and while it may be a huge cliché that she falls for the guy who received her boyfriend's heart and all, it was very nicely done and I didn't find myself rolling my eyes at it, which I kinda expected I'd maybe do a little. I didn't totally swoon, but I could get behind this quiet little lovestory. I also could fully understand Colton's anger towards the end, I mean, holy wow, I would have been VERY upset as well.

I really liked both Quinn and Colton and I loved seeing how she's slowly trying to allow herself to be open to the possibility of something new after the devastating loss of her boyfriend. And how she tried to keep her distance from Colton, but couldn't really and the beauty that is her relationship with her family! I loved her sister and her grandmother, they were amazing!
As for her searching for the recipient of Trent's heart, I can sorta understand it, but invading someone's privacy like that is just a big no-no. I mean, wow, that's some serious cyberstalking.
I also liked that Colton wasn't ready to immediately tell Quinn everything, because he doesn't know that she knows, and tries to keep his illness hidden. It seems so much more real teen boy than being totally upfront about his medical history.

One thing I missed from the book was a bit more about Trent and his and Quinn's relationship. I mean, he was SO important to her, I kinda wanted to learn a bit more about him. We only get the tiniest snippest and that was just not very satisfying to me. I get that the book isn't really about him, it deals with the aftermath of losing someone you love and how you cope with that, but I would have liked to know a little more about this boy who was such a big part of Quinn's life.

Things We Know By Heart is probably not a book for everyone, but I thought it was a beautiful story about loss and trying to find closure and allowing yourself to start something new. And I totally love Jessi Kirby's writing, so this was very much a winner for me.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Monday, April 27, 2015

Mini-Reviews (8): Tease, All Lined Up, The Falconer

So ever since June of 2014 I've been failing at writing reviews for the books I read. I know. And because it's been AGES since I read these, I'm just gonna do mini-reviews of them, so as to clear my need-review shelf.

Title/Author: Tease (The Ivy Chronicles #2) by Sophie Jordan
Publisher/Date published: William Morrow, May 27th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

So I have to admit that I wasn't all that impressed with Tease, whereas I usually shout my love of all things Sophie Jordan and romance for everyone to hear. She is le awesome normally. And while Tease wasn't bad, it wasn't really all there for me either.

Both Emerson and Shaw are ok, they're ok together and there are some swoons, but mainly I was not really in the falling in love moments with them. Emerson has kept up this facade with guys for FOREVER and now Shaw comes along, knows her for all of two seconds and then sees right through it? I mean, really? But I liked that he called her out on her shit and wanted the real her.

My rating: 3 stars

Title/Author: All Lined Up (Rusk University #1) by Cora Carmack
Publisher/Date published: William Morrow, May 13th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

So this romance has a whole lot of overprotective daddy and while I appreciate dads who care about their daughters, it seemed a bit overly trying to keep his little girl just that: little. Obviously she's all grown and in college and might just need her father, but to support her and not to be overbearing.

But aside from this, I thought that Dallas and Carson actually handled it pretty well, I respect that he's not looking to give up his place on the team for just any girl. I like a man with ambition. And I could definitely understand Dallas' hesitance to start something with another guy on the team, because she's been used to butter up to her father the coach one too many times.
Also, aside from his overprotectiveness, I did like Dallas' father, he's floundering a bit, not knowing how to talk to Dallas and together they're figuring out how to be a family, which was lovely to see.
Carson and Dallas were good together, as with Tease, I didn't really fall in love along with them, but they seemed good together and I liked it.

My rating: 3 stars

Title/Author: The Falconer (The Falconer #1) by Elizabeth May
Publisher/Date published: Chronicle Books, May 4th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

This was actually one of our book club reads and it was SO GOOD! I think this is one of the only books that we unanimously enjoyed. With some people having stronger feelings about it than others. But that's ok.

I LOVED Aileana! OMG, she's awesome! I mean, she goes out every night and fights faeries and she's an inventor. Seriously, how much more of an ass-kicking main character do you want? And she has a very good reason for it: vengeance for her mother who was killed by a faery. Now remember that faeries are not cute and cuddly, but mostly vicious and murderous and all of those nice things.

And aside for Aileana there are even more characters to love: Derrick, who is ADORABLE, Aileana's friends and KIARAN!! KIARAN. I SO ship it. I mean, he trains her in the ways of killing faeries and they have this amazing banter and just YES GIVE ME MORE! I was unsure about him at first, but he grew on me and then OMG THE ENDING!! I just cannot, it was fantastic and horrible and THE WAIT IS KILLING ME.

So. Yeah. I have pretty strong feelings about this one and would love nothing better than to dive right back into this world and FINALLY KNOW WHAT HAPPENS NEXT BECAUSE THE ENDING!!!!
Also: YAY finally a fae book that I didn't dislike!

My rating: 4,5 stars

Friday, April 24, 2015

Review of The Devilish Mr. Danvers by Vivienne Lorret

Title/Author: The Devilish Mr. Danvers (The Rakes of Fallow Hall #2) by Vivienne Lorret
Publisher/Date published: Avon Impulse, April 21st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: For the first time in her life, Hedley Sinclair holds the keys to her own future. She's inherited the crumbling Greyson Park, but the disrepair does nothing to dissuade her. No one will ever lock her up again or attempt to take away what's hers. No one except Rafe Danvers — the charming, fiendish man from Fallow Hall. He's determined to claim Greyson Park, but if Hedley isn't careful, he'll claim her heart as well.

Rafe has every intention of ridding Greyson Park of the conniving Sinclairs once and for all. The last thing he expects is to find the beguiling Hedley — the younger sister of his former fiancée — standing in his way. With drastic measures called for, he plans to marry her off in order to regain control of the estate. The only trouble is, he can't seem to stop seducing her. Even worse, he can't help falling in love with her.

So I really like Vivienne Lorret's writing. Her historical romances always manage to entertain me, so I was excited to start The Devilish Mr. Danvers! Because the 'rakes of Fallow Hall' are very interesting and I'd already met Mr. Danvers in the first book in the series.

Hedley is a likeable main character. She's determined to make it on her own, and she doesn't really seem to know when she should just admit defeat and go ask for help. I mean, freezing your ass off in a house that you got to on foot all on your own and then basically not accepting when your neighbour wants to help you build a fire or gather firewood or any such thing seems a little too stubborn to me. She sometimes toed the line of too-stupid-to-live territory, but she just managed to stay on the right side of things. I did like that she's not afraid to get her hands dirty while she's trying to make her home actually inhabitable. Also, her willingness to try and get over a fear that has deep roots is admirable, and I could totally understand why she would be terrified in those situations, that's a majorly traumatising event!

I REALLY hated her family though. They were nasty and hateful and just did not seem to care for Hedley one bit. I mean, seriously? They hid her away in the attic and are trying to steal her inheritance and when that doesn't work, they just start destroying it?? I mean, SERIOUSLY??? How can you do that to someone who is family? I was very much less than impressed with them, they were just bad people.

I liked Rafe, with his misguided attempts to set Hedley up with one of the other rakes. I mean, obviously he's attracted to her from the start and then he's trying to deny his feelings and there was some wonderful angst about this and Hedley being hurt because he said some less than thoughtful things and yeah. I liked it. I thought they were good together, though if I'd been Hedley, I'd probably would have at least made him apologize for saying some of the things he did. I mean, she forgives him a little too easily in my opinion. But I could definitely work with their romance.

I actually read The Devilish Mr. Danvers in only a couple of hours. Vivienne Lorret's writing always keeps me interested to find out how the couple will get to their happily ever after and what obstacles will get in the way first. And this one was no different. While I wasn't really blown away by it, I did like it and it was a nice fluffy read.

My rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Review of 99 Days by Katie Cotugno

Title/Author: 99 Days by Katie Cotugno
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, April 21st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Day 1: Julia Donnelly eggs my house my first night back in Star Lake, and that’s how I know everyone still remembers everything — how I destroyed my relationship with Patrick the night everything happened with his brother, Gabe. How I wrecked their whole family. Now I’m serving out my summer like a jail sentence: Just ninety-nine days till I can leave for college, and be done.

Day 4: A nasty note on my windshield makes it clear Julia isn’t finished. I’m expecting a fight when someone taps me on the shoulder, but it’s just Gabe, home from college and actually happy to see me. “For what it’s worth, Molly Barlow,” he says, “I’m really glad you’re back.”

Day 12: Gabe got me to come to this party, and I’m actually having fun. I think he’s about to kiss me — and that’s when I see Patrick. My Patrick, who’s supposed to be clear across the country. My Patrick, who’s never going to forgive me.

Reading this book was a bit of a rush, I was SO in the zone that I didn't even really mind that it took them an extra hour to finish up doing work on my car.

It's kinda hard for me to review 99 Days though, because I'm a little conflicted. On one hand I really liked Katie Cotugno's writing and was totally sucked into the lives of Molly, Gabe and Patrick, but on the other hand I was also really cringing at what was happening in this novel and I think that the awesome writing in the end tipped the scale in favor of my very much enjoying 99 Days.

Molly is a flawed character, she cheated on her boyfriend Patrick five minutes after he broke up with her, so technically it's not cheating, but still. And it's with his BROTHER. I mean, yeah, that's basically not ok. BUT I'm all for not judging someone until you know the full story and even though Patrick being a douche isn't an excuse for cheating on him, I can get how it happened. I'm not saying that makes it ok, but I could understand what made her do it. And then Molly spends the summer in her hometown after being gone all year and I was just so with her in her struggle with her feelings for both boys, even though I had a clear favourite, because let's face it, Patrick didn't do much of anything for me and the further we got into the story, the more I thought he was a douche.

I loved Molly's friendship with Imogen and Tess, even though something really bad happens that Imogen labels as 'against Ovary Code', which basically makes me love Imogen even more. Molly burned a lot of bridges when she just up and left home and it has an impact on her friendship with Imogen, which is only logical and I liked seeing them mend this over the summer.
Also, I thought there was a really important subject adressed in 99 Days: slut shaming. Molly gets a boatload of crap about cheating on Patrick and then some. And Gabe just cruises by, and nobody wants to egg his house or key his car and he doesn't get alienated by everyone. It's not fair and this double standard happens all the time and speaking up about it is way overdue.

Also, let me gush a bit about Gabe. Gabe is awesome. So obviously he's not perfect either, cause he slept with his brother's girlfriend, BUT he's just nice and easygoing and accepts Molly for who she is and is very supportive. And also, he sounds totally hot. And I loved how he gets insecure and vulnerable around Molly cause he truly cares for her. It was really sweet.

So Molly and Patrick work some of their shit out over the summer and it's definitely NOT pretty and about halfway through I got this sense of doom of things going down and OMG, I was right and it was AWFUL and I could just not stop reading! Molly really messes up and though I'm again not ok with this, I cannot help but understand how she gets into this situation. I just wanted to shake her and tell her to start making better decisions! But also, I wanted to hug her after and tell her it would be ok in the end and I wished she would have talked about this with Imogen sooner, cause that's what friends are for.

There is no sugarcoating what goes down in 99 Days, and it's definitely not all pretty, but it felt real and I am blown away by the awesomeness that is Katie Cotugno's writing and how she made me root for characters that I didn't necessarily always LIKE. So yeah, I though this was definitely worth reading.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Monday, April 20, 2015

Review of Aimee and the Heartthrob by Ophelia London

Title/Author: Aimee and the Hearttrob (Backstage Pass #1) by Ophelia London
Publisher/Date published: Entangled Publishing, April 14th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: He never noticed her before, but now she’s all he can see…

Miles Carlisle is every teen girl’s fantasy. His rugged good looks and exotic British accent have helped catapult his boy band, Seconds to Juliet, to super-stardom. But after two disastrous and very public breakups, Miles isn’t interested in dating just any girl; he wants The One. And the only girl he’s interested in is not only his best friend’s little sister ― and off-limits ― but won’t even give him the time of day…

As a kid, Aimee Bingham had a huge thing for Miles... until he made fun of her for always tagging along. Now that she’s outgrown both him and her pigtails. the prospect of spending two weeks on tour with the childhood crush who broke her heart isn’t exactly enticing. Except now Miles seems interested. Very interested. And no matter how hard Aimee tries to resist him, her crush is definitely making a comeback.

But everyone knows that falling for a heartthrob is a backstage pass to heartbreak...

I think everyone probably has had a celebrity-crush at some point. But what if said celebrity is someone you knew before they made it big and what if they return your crush? I was expecting all kinds of cuteness when I started Aimee and the Heartthrob.
And it was cute, it was fun and I enjoyed reading it, but it didn't blow me away or made me fall in love along with Aimee. And I like have book crushes, so that's a shame.

I liked Aimee, but it bothered me a bit to have yet another YA heroine be like 'I didn't know I was beautiful', when all the boys think she's really hot. I mean, come on, girl owns a mirror right? It's just been done so many times before and it gets old. But aside from that, I liked her, it's obviously a bonus that she's a big reader and also a book reviewer, how cool is that? It's a shame that side of her wasn't a bigger part of the novel, I would have loved it if it was!

Miles was ok, I mean, I get the whole crush on the big brother's best friend thing and he's British, which mostly works in a guy's favor and then he also writes songs. I get it. I just wasn't that impressed by him otherwise. Like I mentioned before, I didn't fall in love along with Aimee, while Miles was a decent enough guy, I wasn't really into him myself.

And then there's the drama moment. I would have thought that it would have been angst with Aimee's brother finding out about them, and there is some of that. But mostly it's about something else and I could definitely get that it wigged Miles out when he saw it. I mean, yeah, I would have been a bit taken aback as well. BUT I also feel that his reaction to it and refusing to let Aimee explain was uncalled for. And it bothered me that after there's been a misunderstanding between them earlier, he'd just not communicate. It felt a bit like drama for the drama and not really relevant plotwise.

But Aimee and the Heartthrob did keep me entertained in the quiet moments of my nightshift and while it's not perfect, it was an enjoyable read. It's pretty entertaining seeing how things work behind the scenes of a boyband and Aimee and Miles did have some cute, fluffy moments that made me smile.

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, April 19, 2015

Tag: Burn, Rewrite, or Reread?

My friend Debby from Snuggly Oranges tagged me to do a Burn, Rewrite or Reread thing and obviously I'm more than happy to play ;)

The rules: randomly pick three books you’ve read, and then decide which you would burn, rewrite or reread. Sorta like Kiss, Marry, Kill, only with books. I used a random number generator and my Goodreads shelf.

So let's do this :)

Round One

Burn: Salt & Storm by Kendall Kulper: This book just fell really, REALLY flat for me. I love books about witches and I just couldn't get excited about reading it and it was just a huge dud for me.

Reread: Love In the Time of Cholera by Gabriel García Márquez: I thought this book was amazing and I'm slightly ashamed that I still haven't read any of the author's other books yet. This turned out to be one of my 'beach reads', somehow Summer is the perfect season for me to tackle big books.

Rewrite: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader by C.S. Lewis: it's actually a bit painful for me to have to pick rewrite for this one, because I did very much enjoy the whole series, but this one just was a little less magical for me as some of the other books in the series.

Round Two

Burn: The Half Life of Molly Pierce by Katrina Leno: I didn't actually think this book was bad, it didn't blow me away, and it could have been better, but it's mostly my love for the other two that makes me pick burn for this one.

Reread: Geek Girl by Cindy C. Bennett: THIS BOOK! You guys, this book came out in December of 2011 and there really hasn't been enough buzz about it! I totally loved it, it's amazing! There are real issues and character growth and THE BOY! The boy is everything.

Rewrite: The Rogue Pirate's Bride by Shana Galen: it is actually painful to pick rewrite for The Rogue Pirate's Bride, cause I loved this book as well, but I loved Geek Girl more, and I had to choose and OMG THIS IS SO HARD. But this is an amazing historical romance featuring a PIRATE. And I totally have a thing for pirate's, so...

Round Three

Reread: Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi: SO MUCH LOVE for this book!! I just cannot with my love for Aria and Perry and Roar and I should really reread this cause it's been AGES and I still have to read the other two books in the series...

Burn: Her Dark Curiosity by Megan Shepard: this book was a huge disappointment after I really enjoyed The Madman's Daughter and if the first book had been like this, I probably would have stopped reading right there. I am glad I stuck with it though, cause A Cold Legacy was much better and sort of redeemed the blahness of this one.

Rewrite: Prophecy by Ellen Oh: No matter what my opinion on the other two books in this series, I did enjoy this first book. But I do very much feel that there was all this potential to be completely awesome that it didn't quite live up to. But come on, a non-European based fantasy with DRAGONS, I would read that any day, I just wish the execution had been a little better, especially in book 2 and 3.

So Round 2 was painful... But it has made me all excited to maybe go and actually start rereading some books :)

I tag:

And of course YOU

Friday, April 17, 2015

Review of The Pretty App by Katie Sise

Title/Author: The Pretty Ap (App #2) by Katie Sise
Publisher/Date published: Balzer + Bray, April 14th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Poor Blake Dawkins! She's rich, she's gorgeous, and she's the queen bee of Harrison High. The girls want to be her; the boys want to — okay, enough said. But it turns out Blake’s life is not so perfect — just talk to her dad, who constantly reminds her that she's not up to par, or to her ex-bff, Audrey, who doesn't even look her in the eye.

Then Harrison — and every other high school in America — becomes obsessed with posting selfies on the ubiquitous Pretty App. Next: Leo, an adorable transfer student, arrives at Harrison and begins to show Blake that maybe being a queen bee doesn't mean being a queen bitch. And though Audrey suspects somebody’s playing foul, Blake finds herself catapulted to internet fame after being voted one of the prettiest girls in the country. She's whisked away to star in a reality show — in Hollywood, on live TV. But she doesn’t know who to trust. Because everybody on the show wants to win.

And nobody is there to make friends.

So I'd heard good things about The Boyfriend App and when I came across this companion, I thought well, why not? It sounded pretty cute and I am a big fan of America's Next Top Model and this sounded sorta like it mixed with a beauty pageant, so...

Well, let's just say that The Pretty App wasn't all I'd hoped it would be. I mean, Blake was ok, she's a flawed character, but she owns it and I kinda respected her for that. I also respected that she wanted to change, but just didn't know how. And I liked reading from the Queen Bee's POV for a change. We're pretty much always seeing things from the not-so-popular, not-really-ugly duckling side of things and I liked that Katie Sise switched it up. I also really felt for Blake with her family situation. I mean, she basically gets NO support whatsoever. Her dad is just plain hurtful, her mom doesn't stand up to him and her sister cut her out of her life 4 years ago. How is a girl supposed to cope with this?

I did sorta feel like I was missing things because I hadn't read The Boyfriend App first. The history between Blake and Audrey is mentioned and sort of gotten into what happened, but maybe I'd have more of a backstory if I'd read The Boyfriend App? I can't be sure of course, but it felt like there were some missing pieces that I should have been clued into if I'd read the companion.

And ok, don't kill me for saying this, but the whole Pretty App thing and the show around it felt so American to me! I mean, not in a bad way, but like, I'm not sure that would have gotten this kind of response in Holland. I kinda liked how Blake handled herself during the reality show, but I could also get how people aren't all that eager to forgive her for years of ruthlessly ruling Harrison High. You can't just erase all of that. So it also sorta felt off to me how easily the Trogs accepted her in their circle. Also, the Trogs seem like awesome people.

I couldn't really get behind the romance part of it. It all felt a little too iffy and all the lying or not fully telling the truth and then Blake totally got blindsided and it was just pretty awful. But mostly, I just wasn't feeling it. There was something off about the guy and I was never really sure if he was faking it or not and that bothered me.

Mostly, The Pretty App was an ok read, but it wasn't exciting or cute or fluffy or funny or any of the things I was expecting. And for a tagline that says it has a big-time romance, it fell pretty flat for me. I am however very curious to read The Boyfriend App!

My rating: 2 stars

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Review of A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley

Title/Author: A Desperate Fortune by Susanna Kearsley
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Landmark, April 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: For nearly 300 years, the mysterious journal of Jacobite exile Mary Dundas has lain unread — its secrets safe from prying eyes. Now, amateur codebreaker Sara Thomas has been hired by a once-famous historian to crack the journal's cipher. But when she arrives in Paris, Sara finds herself besieged by complications from all sides: the journal's reclusive owner, her charming Parisian neighbor, and Mary, whose journal doesn't hold the secrets Sara expects.

It turns out that Mary Dundas wasn’t keeping a record of everyday life, but a first-hand account of her part in a dangerous intrigue. In the first wintry months of 1732, with a scandal gaining steam in London, driving many into bankruptcy and ruin, the man accused of being at its center is concealed among the Jacobites in Paris, with Mary posing as his sister to aid his disguise.

When their location is betrayed, they’re forced to put a desperate plan in action, heading south along the road to Rome, protected by the enigmatic Highlander Hugh MacPherson.

As Mary's tale grows more and more dire, Sara, too, must carefully choose which turning to take... to find the road that will lead her safely home.

I read and adored Susanna Kearsley's The Rose Garden a couple of years ago, it was SO amazing. And since I have pretty much been eyeing all her other books, but never found the time to actually read one. Until now. And it was awesome.

I love how Susanna Kearsley takes an unknown, normal woman in history and weaves a story around her. It makes my heart very happy. And in A Desperate Fortune, I loved both the story set in the present and the one in the past.
Mary Dundas has been left behind by her father as a child, and was taken in by her aunt and uncle. Who, while being good guardians, are not her own parents and she misses her father and brothers. But Mary's personality has not suffered because of it, she's strong and determined and works through whatever gets in her way. And also, I love how she cares for her little dog. I mean, she took him in when he was left behind by his 'family' and I can totally get how she relates to this. She's smart and I loved her storytelling abilities, she's pretty amazing.

Sara Thomas also totally stole my heart. She's been diagnosed with Asperger's and while she's not always the most socially adept person, she manages very well and I just loved her. Someone told her that she's not capable of being in a relationship and it's hurtful and I totally adored how the man in her life gets her to give him a chance by using logic. When she tells him it won't work because her other relationships didn't work, he reasons that in those other relationship the man wasn't him and therefore it may work this time. I loved how he's really in this and is actively chasing this woman that is wonderful and intelligent and has a lot of heart. And I loved that with the right person, it doesn't have to be a struggle to be in a relationship for Sara, she doesn't have to prove herself or be anyone other than herself.
And I also totally adored her bonding with the little boy, who was pretty darn cute himself.

So basically, there are also two lovestories and I loved both of them! There's the strong, protective man in Mary's story that I just wanted to hug and yell at him to tell her how much he cares about her. And to Mary herself as well! OMG, these two communicate in the end and I get how it wasn't normal in that time period to talk about your feelings for each other, but WOW I just wanted them to get together and KISS ALREADY. It was pretty sweet seeing them fall for each other.

I loved disovering along with Sara what happened to Mary and I'm glad we got more details than Sara did from the diary. I wouldn't have survived not knowing what happened to Mary and Hugh and the little dog. But mostly I just loved Susanna Kearsley's amazing writing that totally sucked me in and made me want to keep reading and then after finishing it, hug my e-reader to my chest and breathe a happy sigh.
This book was amazing. Go read it.

My rating: 5 stars

Monday, April 13, 2015

Review of Dream a Little Dream by Kerstin Gier

Title/Author: Dream a Little Dream (Silber #1) by Kerstin Gier
Publisher/Date published: Henry Holt and Co, April 15th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Mysterious doors with lizard-head knobs. Talking stone statues. A crazy girl with a hatchet. Yep, Liv’s dreams have been pretty weird lately. Especially this one where she’s in a graveyard at night, watching four boys perform dark magic rituals.

The really weird thing is that Liv recognizes the boys in her dream. They’re classmates from her new school in London, the school where’s she’s starting over because her mom has moved them to a new country (again). But they seem to know things about her in real life that they couldn’t possibly know, which is mystifying. Then again, Liv could never resist a good mystery...

So this was actually the first book I finished in 2015 because I hadn't noticed that the publication date had been moved to April. So. Daisy fail. But as I was very much excited to read it, I didn't mind so much. And guys, it was SO GOOD!

I've never actually read anything by Kerstin Gier before, I do own her other series, but I haven't actually gotten around to starting it, but I immediately fell in love with her writing! There's just something so fresh and fun about it and I found myself just wanting to keep on reading. And as I had struggled a bit with the two books I read before Dream a Little Dream, which were also pretty gloomy, this was just what I needed.

I think what I loved most about this book were Liv and Mia. Those two are just so amazing and I wanted to hug them and be friends with them and they are just my kind of girls. Their reactions to the things that got thrown at them because of their mother's incompetence in communicating and just being more than a bit selfish in my opinion, were just so genuine! But mostly I loved how they were sisters. There's just something about that sibling bond and it was beautifully done here.
There were many things I could love about Liv, she's funny, intelligent and has a backbone. Also, I loved the way she described things and her view of the world and everyone in it made me giggle a lot of times. And I firmly believe that she has a good heart.
And you've got to love Mia for making sheep-noises when she sees her sister join the tons of girls who've gone crazy over a boy.

And let's talk about the boy. Because the boy was very nice and I could definitely ship those two together. They were so sweet! I could also potentially ship Liv with one of the other boys, but I'll let you figure that one out yourself. But at the moment I'm happy with the situation with Liv and The Boy. They're very much alike and I liked that he appreciated her for the things I loved about her. Also, it was just a whole lot of cute.

I'm very much intrigued by the whole dream and demon situation and I don't think it's quite over yet! Which is fairly obvious when you remember it's a book series, but still. I loved how the different doors to people's dreamworlds matches their personality and how they can be locked and secured with riddles and passwords and such. LOVED it. Also, I loved the dreamworld of Henry's little sister. I wish my dreams were like that! I felt that basically anything is possible in the dreamworld Kerstin Gier describes and it was just so lush and amazing! I would have been drawn to it and would want to know everything about it like Liv.

Basically, if you're looking for a fantasy that is a whole lot of fun with a loveable main character, I'm saying you should read this. Because it was awesome and I'm dying to find out how Liv and everyone else is going to get in trouble in the next book. And I also want to know whether or not Lottie (the au pair) will have HEA of her own, cause I didn't mention her before, but she's the best kind of person there is.

My rating: 5 stars

Sunday, April 12, 2015

Daisy Update (59)

So a LOT has happened since my last update, but not all of it's interesting ;)

At the moment, I'm recovering from my night shift week of DOOM, I worked 5 nights in a row and while that may not sound like much, it adds up to over 50 hours and now I have a really tired and am slowly adjusting to being awake during the day instead of at night. I'd flipped my rhythm around so well that I wasn't even all that tired yesterday morning when the day shift people came, which is not really a good sign. But the kitty has been cuddly and I have a soft blanket, so I think it'll be ok :)

We had another book club meeting, we went out for sushi, which is YUM and talked about anything and everything and scared other visitors of the restaurant again. Which is always fun :D I love these girls, and book club night is one of my favourite things each month! I love how we can share our love of reading and fangirl over things together and also rant about other things, even if we don't always agree on everything.

Last week I went our for lunch and shopping with two of my friends, who I hadn't seen in a while and it was lovely to catch up with them! One of them is having a tough time and I'd been checking in on her by phone, but it's not the same as seeing how she's doing in person. Also, these two are the best shopping buddies! One of them is the same size as me, which can be unfortunate if there's only one size left, but our body types are different enough that it's not really a problem and it was especially fun when she handed me one of the dresses she had tried and didn't really like on her and I bought it and then we did the same thing in reverse at the next store.

We had a bit of a scare Friday evening, the kitty runs around the backyard when the weather is nice, but we thought we'd kitty-proved it so she couldn't get out, which as worked so far. But then she was suddenly nowhere to be found and it turns out she'd escaped and was gallivanting about with some of the other kitties that live on our street near some houses they are building right behind ours. Which wouldn't have been such a problem, if only she came back when we called and tried to bribe her with treats and such. But she hid in one of the houses and then we couldn't find her anymore and OMG I was so worried! In the end she came home, but she was all jumpy and just a scared little kitty-cat and now I'm in overprotective cat mom mode and saying she's not going out ever again. Maybe I'll change my mind, but this first experience with kitty out of the yard wasn't a good one.

This afternoon the boyfriend and I will probably head out to get some new flowers and other plants for the backyard. The weather has been getting better over the last week and we should start making our little garden look nice again. I love shopping at this kind of store, so I'm always good with plans like this :)

I hope you're all having a great week!

Friday, April 10, 2015

Review of 101 Essential Tips: Cat Care

Title/Author: 101 Essential Tips: Cat Care by Andrew Edney
Publisher/Date published: DK, April 21st 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

So I requested this book a little while after we first got our cat. Who is obviously the cutest kitty in the whole world, but that's beside the point. The point is that we'd never had a cat in our home before and aside from the obvious stuff, I didn't know much about the pretty felines. And if you are like me, this book is a good basis to build from!

I really liked how the tips are all accompanied by a photo or another visual, because it makes it fun and easy to read and I like looking at cute kitties when I'm reading a book with tips on their care. It's a short book and very easy to get through in a short amount of time, and they get to the point, which is a good thing.
I'm actually more of a fan of some other books on cat care I've read that go into more detail and deal with background about the how and why of things, but if you read 101 Essential Tips: Cat Care, you get a good basis on which to interact and care for your cat.

My rating: 3 stars

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Review of The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre

Title/Author: The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things by Ann Aguirre
Publisher/Date published: Feiwel & Friends, April 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: Sage Czinski is trying really hard to be perfect. If she manages it, people won’t peer beyond the surface, or ask hard questions about her past. She’s learned to substitute causes for relationships, and it’s working just fine... until Shane Cavendish strolls into her math class. He’s a little antisocial, a lot beautiful, and everything she never knew she always wanted.

Shane Cavendish just wants to be left alone to play guitar and work on his music. He’s got heartbreak and loneliness in his rearview mirror, and this new school represents his last chance. He doesn’t expect to be happy; he only wants to graduate and move on. He never counted on a girl like Sage.

But love doesn’t mend all broken things, and sometimes life has to fall apart before it can be put back together again...

I feel like a bit of a black sheep scrolling through the Goodreads ratings of this book, but I didn't like it as much as other people have so far.

I was all set to go for the cute and swoony read, but it never got there for me. I mean, I was ok with Sage at first, it's pretty cool that she's leaving positive messages on people's lockers and just trying to be the best version of herself, but it also felt REALLY forced. I mean, I was never entirely sure if what she was showing the outside world was actually who she was with all her causes and do-gooder attitude or if it's just something she's playing at. And she has this big dark secret (that we don't get to find out until about 75% through, which really annoyed me) and the mention of Shadow Sage which got tiring pretty fast for me. I mean, honestly, we're never really told exactly why Shadow Sage would know what to do with bullies and how to get back at them and everything. I wasn't that impressed.
It did feel pretty realistic that she was constantly being on her best behaviour around her aunt, who took her in, because she was afraid she would get sent back into the system if she wasn't the perfect kid. I do very much get this, because that would be scary.

There's the potential for a love triangle here, but it doesn't really happen, basically because Sage ignores the guy's feelings for her and instead dives into a relationship with Shane. I mean, the other guy has been her best friend for years and when he tells her he's in love with her she gets mad at him because of lying to her (about something that was pretty much a big NO-NO) and then they never really talk about it after. WTF?
Also, the start of the relationship with Shane felt off, it felt a bit stalkerish from her side to me and I was just not really into it. And for me it felt like insta-love, I mean, there's an actual quote in chapter three that says "Until this moment, I didn't realize I was walking around all this time with a Shane-shaped hole inside of me". I mean, SERIOUSLY??? SO much cheese, which I'm usually ok with, but it was way over the top in here.
Towards the end she does this big gesture thing to help him get out of a sticky situation and I just didn't believe it. To begin with, I didn't buy into the biking for 11 hours in one day. And obviously Shane's dad is a bit of a douchebag, but basically stalking and harassing him? I'm not sure that's ok.

The Queen of Bright and Shiny Things does deal with important subjects, like bullying and dealing with grief, but I'm not sure I think it's handled in the best way. And I still can't get over Sage's saintly front, which felt a bit fake to me. Her aunt was pretty awesome though, a strong independent woman who truly cares for Sage and handles being the guardian of a teenager really well in my opinion. And I also liked the friendship between Sage and Lila, because they were truly bonding.

It's possible that this is a case of it's not you, it's me, or that Ann Aguirre's romance just doesn't mesh with me. A lot of other people did love it though, so see for yourself whether you fall more towards my spectrum of viewing it or not.

My rating: 2 stars

Monday, April 6, 2015

Mini-Reviews (7): The Body in the Woods, Making It Count, The Once and Future Duchess

So ever since June of 2014 I've been failing at writing reviews for the books I read. I know. And because it's been AGES since I read these, I'm just gonna do mini-reviews of them, so as to clear my need-review shelf.

Title/Author: The Body in the Woods by April Henry
Publisher/Date published: Henry Holt and Co, June 17th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

So I read this book on the airplane on the way to Morocco and so much of it was read in one sitting. If I hadn't been on an airplane, this probably wouldn't have been the case.
The premise was interesting, though having teenagers be part of a field search for a body seems sort of inappropriate, I mean evidence sure, but if there's a chance you'll come across a deceased person, I personally feel that you should only use professionals. And obviously the authorities don't approve of the main characters' quest to discover the killer themselves, DUH.

But hey, they do it anyway and find themselves in danger and one of them becomes the target of said killer and towards the end I was like, OMG, SERIOUSLY??? You should really know better than to walk right into this trap that's being laid for you!! Wow, you've been trying to find a killer and then it's like, yeah, ok, I'll go with this strange person, that totally makes sense.
The Body in the Woods was ok, but it wasn't a very exciting read.

My rating: 2 stars

Title/Author: Make It Count (Bowler University #1) by Megan Erickson
Publisher/Date published: William Morrow Impulse, June 3rd 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

So I'm always looking for that next awesome NA read, and while Making It Count was a decent read, it wasn't that next great thing. The main character Kat is ok at first, but then she blows stuff way out of proportion and does the 'I'm not going to tell you what's wrong, you should be able to read my mind and figure it out' thing and it's ANNOYING. I mean, seriously, just tell the person you're in a relationship with what's bothering you! If we could all read minds, life would be way easier, but we can't ok? Also, I thought she had a shitty reason for staying in a relationship with a guy who was treating her badly at the start of the novel.

Alec was ok, he seemed like a good guy, but I didn't really swoon over him, which I would have expected, cause I like my men hot and nerdy. I thought their relationship could have been developed a bit better, because now it felt to me that they mostly had a physical attraction and that's it.
I did like that Making It Count deals with dyslexia, which is not something that you see a lot in YA or NA and I appreciate this being brought up, because a lot of people have it!

My rating: 2,5 stars

Title/Author: The Once and Future Duchess (Royal Entourage #4) by Sophia Nash
Publisher/Date published: Avon, May 27th 2014
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

I liked The Once and Future Duchess, one thing I particularly enjoyed is that the heroine, Isabelle, is a duchess one her own, having inherited the title, which is pretty awesome, as that basically never happens in historical romance. I mean, there's always an abundance of dukes, but duchesses who are not married to said dukes are pretty hard to come by.
And I liked Isabelle because she is strong and intelligent and isn't afraid to go after what she wants. Our duke is also likeable in that he is loyal and just a good man, but this loyalty also got majorly in the way of the romance. I mean, so he promised her deceased father that he would make sure she married a man close to her own age and he's what, a decade her senior? It seems to me that this was pretty much the norm back then, but ok. So even though they love each other, he decides that he can't because of said promise.

And while this makes for some real complication in their lovestory, it also made everything move incredibly slow! OMG, it took forever for him to start taking action and in the mean time it wasn't extremely exciting, though they did have wonderfully romantic moments together. I just would have liked for the pace to be a little faster.
But it was a pretty sweet story and I enjoyed reading it!

My rating: 3 stars

Sunday, April 5, 2015

Happy Easter!!

I hope you're all having a lovely long weekend and are eating lots of chocolate eggs! I know I'll be doing just that in a little while ;)

Friday, April 3, 2015

Review of Kiss the Earl by Gina Lamm

Title/Author: Kiss the Earl (Geek Girls #3) by Gina Lamm
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Casablanca, April 7th 2015
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: On the eve of her first comic book release, Ella Briley has a problem: no date to the launch party. Things go from bad to worse when she stumbles into the past... and straight into the arms of her very own Mr. Darcy.

Patrick St. John, Earl of Meadowfair, is too noble for his own good. To save his friend from what is sure to be a loveless marriage, he's agreed to whisk the girl off to wed the man she truly loves. But all goes awry when Patrick mistakes Ella for the would-be bride... and finds this modern girl far too tempting for even the noblest of men to resist.

So after reading The Casual Vacancy, I was really looking forward to reading something cute and fluffy and which would possible bring me lots of feelings. And while I sometimes needed to remind myself to just go with it and not be a non-believer, I totally picked the right book for my mood!

Kiss the Earl was so cute! It was fun and thas an abundance of feelings and I was just rooting for these two! Even if I was a bit confuzzled by the hero's reasoning at one point towards the end, but yeah, men-logic sometimes confuses me in real life as well, so...
I really liked Ella and her carreer as a graphic novel illustrator, that is SO cool! Seriously, I have a lot of respect for people who can bring stories to life and I can't draw to save my life, so Ella seemed pretty awesome to me! Also, I love that she has a non-mainstream job that she has a real passion for. Patrick was a fun character as well, he's loyal and a decent guy, who also manages to land himself in some pretty weird situations because of said loyalty.

And together these two were pretty amazing! They have chemistry that made me smile and swoony moments and misunderstandings that would have been easily fixed, but I didn't care because I was totally feeling it and it was just *sigh* romantic. Also, I loved that he nursed her back to health and was pretty much kicking the 'doctor''s ass for not taking better care of his hygiene. So, SO important! And can I just say that EEP Ella definitely has a realistic fear of getting an infection in this time period? OMG, I cannot imagine not having antibiotics and all the other benefits of today's medicine.

So Kiss the Earl didn't really make me cry, but I did have tears in my eyes and the urge to clutch my scarf because I was so focused on finding out if they would have a happily ever after after all. So basically Kiss the Earl was an adorable read that I was so ready for!

My rating: 4 stars

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Review of The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling

Title/Author: The Casual Vacancy by J.K. Rowling
Publisher/Date published: Little, Brown, and Company, September 27th 2012
How I got this book: bought it
Buy this book at: The Book Depository

Goodreads summary: When Barry Fairbrother dies in his early forties, the town of Pagford is left in shock.

Pagford is, seemingly, an English idyll, with a cobbled market square and an ancient abbey, but what lies behind the pretty façade is a town at war.

Rich at war with poor, teenagers at war with their parents, wives at war with their husbands, teachers at war with their pupils ... Pagford is not what it first seems.

And the empty seat left by Barry on the parish council soon becomes the catalyst for the biggest war the town has yet seen. Who will triumph in an election fraught with passion, duplicity and unexpected revelations?

So to be honest, I would not have picked up this book if it wasn't for the author's name on the cover. I mean, come on, it's J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter was a huge influence on my life as a teenager and the main reason I decided to start reading books in English instead of my native Dutch, so obviously I put this on the TBR and then put off reading it for the longest time because actually reading it scared the crap out of me.
And now that I have finished it, I sorta want to shout to everyone that I've conquered the beast!

Although, to be fair, it's really not a beast of a book. It's just huge. And very much literary fiction, which is not my usual go-to genre and I can still spot my comfort zone somewhere in the distance, but we're definitely out of it. And it is very much true what everyone has been saying: don't expect an adult Harry Potter, because this is not it. And that's ok. Because J.K. Rowling's writing is a thing of beauty and it shines in The Casual Vacancy as well.
Even though my heart would have been very happy if it had been an adult Harry Potter or any fantasy at all.

But this time, J.K. Rowling invites us into the world of Pagford, a very small town that carries on as small towns do, until there is an unexpected death and because of that, a spot to fill on the town council: a casual vacancy. She then shows us how all of these people live their lives and how the death of this one man affects them, even the ones who didn't much like him or who considered him their enemy. And in this novel, J.K. Rowling perfectly portrays the small town effect that I both love and not love so much, in which everyone knows everyone's business, but then also turns a blind eye to some of the less pretty things going on.

It did seem to take me forever to finish the first half of this book, I got easily distracted and honestly, these people are a bit depressing. They pick petty fights and there's bullying and basically NOBODY is happy and there doesn't really seem to be any hope for this changing anytime soon. But then I sat myself down, told the beastie we'd be doing this together from now on and it worked. And towards the end, I really wanted to keep reading, because it's like a trainwreck, you just can't look away and have to know how it will all turn out!

Like I said, J.K. Rowling's writing is a thing of beauty and she has once again managed to create an intricate world with very much 3D characters, though not really people to root for per se. I kinda still have to get over the fact that there's swearing and sex and all of those things in this novel... So while The Casual Vacancy scared me, I'm glad I read it because while it's brutal and harsh, it also deals with important subjects and I respect J.K. Rowling for writing this novel.

My rating: 4 stars