December 26, 2017

Series: Anna and the French Kiss
Format: Hardcover

Pages: 372 pages
Published: December 2nd, 2010
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
ISBN: 0525423273


4 out of 5 stars

Anna and the French kiss is the story about Anna Olifant that’s sent to spend her senior year at the School of American Studies in Paris. While Anna doesn’t want to be sent to France because she doesn’t speak the language and has to leave behind her best friend and almost boyfriend, she quickly makes friends and falls in love with one of them, Etienne St. Clair

plotwise Anna and the French kiss isn’t the most exciting and unique book on the face of earth. What is however is, is that it’s a really cute, fluffy guilty pleasure. the environment of Paris is explained very well with details that honor the Paris I know and love. This book is not without its problems though and has stirred up quite a controversy because of how the characters handle their situation and the subject of cheating. I, however, feel like this subject was handled well, as these situations are common in real life and instead of going in and really cheat on their partner, the characters take some time to figure out what they want and what their feelings truly hold.

the characters were your average sweet characters that have their place in this kind of cute, fluffy guilty pleasure contemporaries. Anna is a sweet relateable girl that’s kinda stupid and makes a lot of mistakes. Etienne is a guy that tries to please a lot of people and really weights his options to find out what’s best for him and the people around him. The relationship between Anna and Etienne develops steadily like instalove but takes some time to actually take form because of the situation surrounding the characters.

All in all this book truly is a guilty pleasure of mine, and I’d fully recommend it to people that are searching for a quick, fluffy contemporary. Stay clear if you’re easy to trigger on the subject of cheating tho, the book is known for displaying mental cheating.

December 24, 2017

Series: Nemesis #1
Format: Paperback

Pages: 276 pages
Published: January 24th, 2017
Publisher: Diversion Publishing
ISBN: 1682300684


4.5 out of 5 stars

Dreadnought is the story of Danny Tozer, which is a girl that has been stuck in her 15-year-old male body all her life, but when Danny inherits the powers of superhero Dreadnought the power of the cape changes her in what she’s always wanted to be; a girl and a superhero. There’s not much time to get used to her new situation though, there is a super villain on the lose and Danny and her new friend Calamity are on the job to stop them.

The story builds up to be very inclusive and diverse. Danny (which later changes her full name to Danielle, keeping Danny as a nickname) is a transgender superhero that has to deal with transphobia, homophobia. sexism and trying to figure out her new life as a girl and superhero. the issues she deals with are portrayed in a very realistic and relatable manner while still keeping the book a light and quirky superhero story. Danny is forced to choose between the legion, a group of the best superheroes in town from which a few members don’t like her, or staying with Calamity doing things she feels like she’s not strong enough to deal with yet.

The characters are very likable and will probably steal your heart over and over again. Danny has multiple things going for her, she’s trans, lesbian and a superhero. but none of those treats overshadow her as a character of a curious but very self-conscious 15-year-old. Calamity, on the other hand, is the confident 15-year-old, and one of the only people that accept Danny for who she is.

I’d definitely recommend this book to everyone, it’s a light and quirky read that deals with a lot of heavier issues and a cast of characters you can’t help but love.

December 23, 2017

It’s finally time to do a book tag, the coffee tag! There is nothing better than curling up with a cup of hot coffee (or tea) with a book during these cold December days! Books will be chosen based on my opinion, and choices are not meant to be offensive to anyone

let’s go!

Black Coffee – Name a series that’s hard to get into, but has hardcore fans
For my Black Coffee pick, I have picked The Game of Thrones series by George R. R. Martin.
I’ve tried to get until Game of Thrones multiple times, but the books and their language keep throwing me off every single time. Soon I’ll probably finally cave and finally switch to the TV-series, but not until one last try in dutch!

Peppermint Mocha – Name a book that gets more popular during the winter or holidays
For my Black Coffee pick, I have picked Cinder by Marissa Meyer, which is part of the Lunar Chronicle series. During the winter I always get in the mood for fairytale retellings, and Cinder is an amazing Cinderella retelling. It feels me with that warm festive feeling only a good fairytale retelling can do.

Hot Chocolate – What is your favorite children’s book?
For my Hot Chocolate pick, I have picked The Cat Who Came in Off the Roof by Annie M. G. Schmidt. This book is the English translated version of the book I loved the most as a kid, Minoes. Something about its story always tugged me in as a kid and is a story I still fondly remember as an adult.

Double Espresso name a book that kept you on the edge from start to finish
For my Double Espresso pick, I have picked They Both Die at The End by Adam Silvera.
They Both Die at The End was this cute, heartfelt story that kept me on edge all the time, because I was expecting Rufus and Matheo’s inevitable death after every single page turn.

Starbucks – Name a book that you see everywhere
For my Starbucks pick, I have picked The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.
This book is everywhere I could possibly imagine, and the movie adaption has spread it even more as of late. Add some fanatic Nerdfighters in the mix that leave the book in weird places for people to find to promote the Vlogbrothers, and you literally start seeing it appearing where you don’t expect it to.

Hipster Coffee – Give an indie or lesser known author a shout out.

For my Hipster Coffee pick, my shout out goes to Amanda Hocking.
Amanda is an author I haven’t ever heard about before walking into the beautiful Kanin Chronicle series in the bookstore, and immediately fell in love with her world-building, definitely check her out!

That’s it for the Coffee book tag! I honestly enjoyed doing this one, and definitely check out some of my picks, I’d highly recommend all of them!

December 22, 2017

Format: Clothbound Hardcover
Pages: 357 pages
Published: October 1st 2009 (first published July 4th 1865)
Publisher: Penguin Classics
ISBN: 0141192461


3 out of 5 stars

Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland is a story about Alice who falls down a rabbit hole and lands into a fantasy world that is full of weird, wonderful people and animals. I’m honestly very conflicted by this book, as one part of me really likes the creativity that went into creating this children classics, and the other part finds it quite boring to read as an adult.

This book features a lot of crazy situations which make you wonder what in the world just happened, and Through the Looking-glass which turns up the level of crazy even more. As a child, Alice is somewhat relatable, especially for kids that have a lot of imagination. but as an adult, while I still could vividly imagine Alice’s surroundings and what was happening, I just couldn’t relate to Alice and the bad decisions she made anymore.

As an adult I kept felt the book was annoying, I could see messages about adult matters like drugs and food I wasn’t able to see as a child. When digging deeper into the story (and the clothbound edition helps with this matter, as it gives you an essay with explanations which refer to the exact sentences though small numbers) a lot of deeper messages appear.

I’ll take my head off to Lewis Caroll for writing a children’s classic that’s very enjoyable to read as a kid, but holds a lot of messages to adults. I, however, wouldn’t recommend reading it again, unless you’re a child which is able to let their imagination run wild to it’s fullest.

December 21, 2017

Series: Six of Crows #1
Format: Hardcover

Pages: 462 pages
Published: September 29th 2015
Publisher: Henry Holt and Company
ISBN: 1627792120


5 out of 5 stars

Six of Crows is the story about misfits from Ketterdam (based on Amsterdam). Kaz is the leader of the Dregs, an infamous gang in their territory “The Barrel” in Ketterdam. When Kaz is offered a big sum of money for a job by mister van Eck he agrees to take the job. Van Eck wants Kaz and 5 other members of his crew to get into the impregnatable ice court in the capital of Ferda to help one of the prisoner’s knowledge escape from the hands of the enemy.

Six of Crows is a successor series to the Grishaverse, which is not necessary to have read to jump into Six of Crows but could offer some extra insights. Leigh Bardugo did an amazing job with both world and character building. Though her description from the barrel I recognized my hometown of Amsterdam which the world is based on in great detail.

The cast is very well written and a loveable group of very diverse outcasts with a very diverse representation from all over the world. From a character that’s deeply hinted to be gay, to a couple which couldn’t be further from each other slowly accepting their love and not letting their different cultures ruin their relationship.

Six of Crows was an amazing read, and I’d fully recommend reading this! I want to add one sidenote to this though: if you happen to speak Dutch, definitely pick up the Dutch version over the English version because of the use of dutch street names and names can get annoying to read for a dutch reader.

November 20, 2017

Series: Rise of the Empress #1
Format: Hardcover

Pages: 363 pages
Published: October 10th 2017
Publisher: Philomel Books
ISBN:1524738298

An East Asian fantasy reimagining of The Evil Queen legend about one peasant girl’s quest to become Empress–and the darkness she must unleash to achieve her destiny.

Eighteen-year-old Xifeng is beautiful. The stars say she is destined for greatness, that she is meant to be Empress of Feng Lu. But only if she embraces the darkness within her. Growing up as a peasant in a forgotten village on the edge of the map, Xifeng longs to fulfill the destiny promised to her by her cruel aunt, the witch Guma, who has read the cards and seen glimmers of Xifeng’s majestic future. But is the price of the throne too high?

Because in order to achieve greatness, she must spurn the young man who loves her and exploit the callous magic that runs through her veins–sorcery fueled by eating the hearts of the recently killed. For the god who has sent her on this journey will not be satisfied until his power is absolute.

Reading Schedule:
November 19th to 25th 2017 – Chapters 1-21
November 26th to December 2nd 2017 – Chapters 22-42

Discussion:
Starting on November 26th 2017, chapters 1-21 are open for discussion.
December 2nd 2017, the book in its entirety is open for discussion.

Thoughts:
The story is build up as a Maleficent retelling, and it does that very well.  The plot moves along quickly, but yet gradually which really shows Xifeng’s development into the dark and twisted ant-heroine you somehow can’t stop cheering for. Julie C. Dao has a really nice and comforting writing style that brought the nature of the book a whole extra dimension of not knowing which characters you can trust or not. Sadly, Dao’s writing style also take the power out of plot twists by either making them feel weak and unimportant, or foreshadowing them a lot making them obvious pages in advance.

When Xifeng got introduces as the main character I couldn’t figure out to feel about her, as in the first pages of the book she looks like a gorgeous sweet girl that’s trapped in the ideology of the upbringing her aunt gave her. but once Xifeng decides to leave her aunt to follow what she feels like is her destiny, her character starts to develop very quickly. Xifeng’s internal conflict between staying a decent human being and becoming the evil empress fate want her to become is interesting to read, as it gives Xifeng a more human personality and feel, rather than just that of an evil empress.

Forest of a Thousand Lanterns was a very refreshing re-telling of a villain that truly build up the character rather than just giving her a love interest and changing her into evil because of a broken heart. I’d definitely recommend this book to people that enjoy villain stories and fairy-tale retellings.


4 out of 5 stars

 

November 19, 2017

Series: Starcrossed #2
Format: Paperback

Pages: 324 pages
Published: April 28th 2015
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 1250064198

WARNING: THIS BOOK IS CONSIDERED NSFW


3 out of 5 stars

Broken Juliet is the story of Cassie Taylor and Ethan Hold that both attend the same acting school, Grove. When Cassie and Ethan play together the sparks of their chemistry fly across the stage. With a fated casting choice in the play Romeo and Juliet, their dysfunctioning relationship begins.

When Cassie and Ethan get cast as leads in a romantic play years down the lane, both of them are forced to look back to their dysfunctioning secret affair during their years at the Grove.

Broken Juliet start where Bad Romeo ended. And not much has changed with the characters. Cassie still has no personality, and Ethan is still a douchebag that tries to win Cassie back in the future by saying he changed. However, the story was much improved on by finally showing us the breakups that got mentioned multiple times during Bad Romeo but were never shown. Giving the characters a bit more of a character.

Broken Julliet still contains sex, a lot of it.
While these scenes are written well, they tend to become very repetitive after a couple of scenes. I really liked Leisa Rayven’s writing style in these scenes, but that sadly didn’t save them from being the same “get undressed”, “have sex”, “deal with the aftermath” scenes all of the time.

Just like Bad Romeo, Broken Juliet is a cute read, but it features too much and mainly repetitive sex scenes. I’d recommend it if this is the kind of book you’re looking for, but don’t read it for the plot.

November 9, 2017

Format: Paperback
Pages: 406 pages
Published: December 23rd 2014
Publisher: St. Martin’s Griffin
ISBN: 1250063272

WARNING: THIS BOOK IS CONSIDERED NSFW


3 out of 5 stars

Bad Romeo is the story of Cassie Taylor and Ethan Hold that both attend the same acting school, Grove. When Cassie and Ethan play together the sparks of their chemistry fly across the stage. With a fated casting choice in the play Romeo and Juliet, their dysfunctioning relationship begins.

When Cassie and Ethan get cast as leads in a romantic play years down the lane, both of them are forced to look back to their dysfunctioning secret affair during their years at the Grove.

Cassie is a character which I felt like has no true personality for herself. she nods to all opinions and tells everyone what they want to hear to make sure she fits in in the Grove. The moment she and Ethan get together Cassie changes in a character that’s horny 24/7 and bases all decisions she makes upon that sensation.

Ethan is a character that acts like a douchebag all of the time due to his dramatic past. Ethan’s intentions never become clear as he keeps sending mixed signals to Cassie while also being horny 24/7 himself.

With mentioning both the main characters 24/7 the next is inevitable: the sex. This book contains sex, a lot of it.
While these scenes are written well, they tend to become very repetitive after a couple of scenes. I really liked Leisa Rayven’s writing style in these scenes, but that sadly didn’t save them from being the same “get undressed”, “have sex”, “deal with the aftermath” scenes all of the time.

Bad Romeo is a cute read, but it features too much and mainly repetitive sex scenes. I’d recommend it if this is the kind of book you’re looking for, but don’t read it for the plot.

November 6, 2017

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 304 pages
Published: October 10th 2017
Publisher: Dutton Books for Young Readers
ISBN: 0141346019


3.5 out of 5 stars

Turtles all the way down (which in fact does not feature turtles, if you’re in for turtles you’re bound to be disappointed) is the story about Aza, which fights her daily battles against her OCD and Anxiety. Aza gets caught up in the mystery surrounding the disappearance of Russel Picket, which happens to be the father of one of her childhood friend, together with her best friend Daisy because of the hundred-thousand dollars that’s rewarded for the golden tip.

This short summary sets the book up for being a good mystery novel while dealing with mental images. Sadly the mystery part of the novel disappointed me greatly, for which I redacted 2 stars. The book sets itself up just fine, it introduces Aza’s mental illness in great detail (up to the molecular level) while setting up the mystery aspect by introducing it through rumors Aza’s best friend Daisy. Sadly after the mystery is set up it frankly fails to develop itself and move along after it introduces us to Aza’s childhood friend Davis. At that point in the book (about 20% in) the story started to feel stagnated, and sadly stayed like that until the very end.

However, this book is somewhat saved by its excellent portrayal of its characters and the uphill battles they fight.

As mentioned before Aza is a character that battles OCD and Anxiety, which were displayed with high accuracy and are very relatable for people that suffer from these illnesses. Aza’s character is shaped perfectly around her illnesses with her being very selfish because of her anxiety, but at the same time wishes she wasn’t a bother to the People around her.

Aza’s best friend Daisy is a very likable character that’s always there for Aza, even though she’s not easy to be around all the time. She displays how the people that are close to people with mental illnesses are affected by it, and that no matter how much you love a person how tough it can be to be around.

The only character I didn’t like as much is Davis. I just couldn’t connect to him because of how much of plot device he was, and not much more.

All in all, I gave this book it’s 3,5 stars because of it’s excellent portrayal of mental images. I think this book could help some people understanding how mental illnesses affect a person and the people closest to them, and for that, I’d definitely recommend this book. Definitely don’t read this for the mystery though, as it really falls flat in that aspect.

October 30, 2017

They Both Die at the End by Adam Silvera

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 384 pages
Published: September 5th 2017
Publisher: HarperTeen
ISBN: 0062457799


5 out of 5 stars

They both die at the end is about two boys, Mateo Torrez and Rufus Emeterio, that get a call little after midnight, to give them some bad news: They’re going to die today. Mateo and Rufus are total strangers, but, for different reasons, they’re both looking to make a new friend on their End Day. The good news: There’s an app for that. It’s called the Last Friend, and through it, Rufus and Mateo are about to meet up for one last great adventure and to live a lifetime in a single day.

Unlike what the title suggests, this book is not about death, but rather about living and making the best of every single day. It’s about being the person you are and want to be without fear. The concept of the story of the character getting informed and knowing that their deaths will happen somewhere within the next 24 hours. Mateo and Rufus were complete strangers but found each other through the “Last Friends” app which matches strangers that are dying to be able to meet up and have fun on their last day alive.

The friendship between Mateo and Rufus was realistic and relatable, and their relationship progresses slowly but realistic. Their emotions of them saying goodbye to their loved ones, or wishing they could because they’re not responsive is real and leaves you emotional through the entire book. Mateo and Rufus are characters that you’ll grow attached to, even knowing what will happen

This is a book that everyone should read and reflect on its message because life is too short to read bad books.