Sunday, December 28, 2014

Pages Read Challenge 2015

Whew, it has been a while since I hosted the Pages Read Challenge, but Book Dragon asked if I was hosting it again for 2015 and here we go! It is a fun challenge and I had a lot of fun with this in the past. This challenge was one of the easier ones, in my opinion, as all you had to do was count pages and the rules are not all that difficult.

Now, speaking of rules, here we go:

1) Pick a number of pages you'll be attempting to read in 2015. It doesn't matter whether your goal is 10,000 or 100,000. You can always up your number as we go along, so you don't need to go all up high with your page count.

2) Write a blog post about it in which you will keep track of your page count or come back here and comment with updates when you feel like it.

3) Comment here with your goal number and a link to your blog post (if you have a blog - otherwise, just leave a comment with your name and the goal number). I'll then add you to the list of participants below.

4) The challenge starts January 1, 2015 and ends December 31, 2015. Only pages read after the new year has begun count in for the challenge, but any and every page you read counts for this challenge. I don't care about re-reads, overlaps with other challenges, or e-books! Just count the pages you read, no matter what type of book you're reading :-) See, it's a really easy challenge!

5) As usual: Have fun!

Michelle @ True Book Addict had originally created a wonderful button for the challenge:

Thanks a lot once again, Michelle!

My personal goal will be 15,000 pages for the upcoming year. With a toddler and university, I think this will be challenging enough.

Saturday, December 27, 2014

The Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge

The team of Book Riot has created a challenge I cannot resist: the Book Riot 2015 Read Harder Challenge There are 24 themes that we can spread out over the year whichever way we please and I think most of the themes will be manageable for me. The one theme I may have a real problem with is the collection of poetry. I do not like poetry and I don't have any collections of poetry on my shelves. A particularly hard part for me will the number of books. Twentyfour books for this challenge alone - if I don't find books that fulfill two themes - might end up being the majority of my reads for 2015 if my reading is as slacking as this year's (I only read 32 books so far).

Apart from the occasional check in on the Book Riot website, the hashtag #ReadHarder will connect readers on Social Media websites.

The topics are:

A book written by someone when they were under the age of 25

A book written by someone when they were over the age of 65

A collection of short stories (either by one person or an anthology by many people)

A book published by an indie press

A book by or about someone that identifies as LGBTQ

A book by a person whose gender is different from your own

A book that takes place in Asia

A book by an author from Africa

A book that is by or about someone from an indigenous culture (Native Americans, Aboriginals, etc.)

A microhistory

A YA novel

A sci-fi novel

A romance novel

A National Book Award, Man Booker Prize or Pulitzer Prize winner from the last decade

A book that is a retelling of a classic story (fairytale, Shakespearian play, classic novel, etc.)

An audiobook

A collection of poetry

A book that someone else has recommended to you

A book that was originally published in another language

A graphic novel, a graphic memoir or a collection of comics of any kind (Hi, have you met Panels?)

A book that you would consider a guilty pleasure (Read, and then realize that good entertainment is nothing to feel guilty over)

A book published before 1850

A book published this year

A self-improvement book (can be traditionally or non-traditionally considered “self-improvement”)

Thursday, December 25, 2014

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas everyone! We wish you a joyous holiday, if you're celebrating it. Hopefully, you can spend your time with loved ones, be they family or not. Are you even still reading my blog? I'm such a wuss, honestly. I'm so ashamed! Then again, this past year, I read 32 books so far, when in the past I read over 100. That's what you apparently what you have to get used to, having a toddler and being a full-time student. However, in order to get him accustomed to books and reading, he got a big stack of books for Christmas this year - and he loves them. In the picture, you can see him sitting on great-grandpa's lap.

Now, you may know we live in Germany, so we go with German customs. Baby Jesus is the one bringing the presents here, on Christmas Eve. When no one is in the room, he comes and miraculously the presents appear underneath the tree. It's a nice custom that we stick to, despite Daddy aka my significant other being American. The incredibly bright side here is, that in later years, there will be no kid awake at 4am, trying to make us get up in order to unwrap presents. The wait in the evening is bad enough as it is.

That being said, I shall go back to the festivities. We are about to have dinner here with everyone (again, Germany - presents on the 24th, and both 12/25 and 12/26 are days off for most people, so we get together and eat - and eat, and eat...)

Thursday, August 28, 2014

[Review] Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry

Jolene Perry
Stronger Than You Know
[YA contemporary]

You can buy it here:
Stronger Than You Know (Amazon hardcover)

FTC: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Netgalley):
After police intervention, fifteen-year-old Joy has finally escaped the trailer where she once lived with her mother and survived years of confinement and abuse. Now living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in a comfortable house, she’s sure she’ll never belong. Wracked by panic attacks, afraid to talk to anyone at her new school, Joy’s got a whole list of reasons why she’s crazy. With immense courage, Joy finds friends and grows closer to her new family. But just when hope is taking hold, she learns she must testify in her mother’s trial. Can she face her old life without losing her way in the new one? Will she ever truly belong in a world that seems too normal to be real?

My thoughts:
This was the most heartbreaking, super emotional book I have read in a while! Joy was taken from her mother after years of every kind of abuse you can imagine, after being locked in their home and not being alowed to get out. When the police get her out, she ends up living with her aunt's and her family. I loved everything about the book! Joy slowly learned to trust people again, to feel comfortable around them and to be confident.

I first heard about the book online and a few people mentioned that they felt there was not much happening apart from her healing and dealing with what happened to her. While I see what they are saying, I have to disagree. Her healing and dealing with what happened is important. Everything else would have distracted from the story. Her healing was slow, but I felt the author did a great job of making Joy's transition seem normal, yet it did not drag out.

I absolutely loved the characters in this book. Joy was such a strong girl. She was brave and she survived so much. I just want to hug her long and tell her what a wonderful person she is. The same goes for her Aunt Diana and Uncle Rob. They took her in and treated her like she was their daughter. They were worried about her, they took care of her and did everything in their power to give her a happy life. They fought for her when Joy could not do it herself. Jolene Perry even portrayed Joy's cousins in a very realistic way. They were close to each other and - being teens - did not always understand why things were so different for Joy, so they acted inconsiderate at times, even rude. Nonetheless, they changed when they learned more. And that leads me to Justin and Daisy. These two are the best friends you can imagine. I loved how they both drew out different aspects of Joy.

It broke my heart to slowly understand what all Joy had to endure for the first fifteen years of her life, but what really, really moved me and brought tears to my eyes over and over again was how strong Joy was. She found joy in her life and learned how to trust people after all that had happened to her. Joy is easily one of my all-time favorite YA characters ever!


Monday, August 18, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? (August 18, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Last Week

Last week I was hit with a bad case of a back ache. It is so bad I can barely lift and carry the baby - pardon me, the toddler! Unfortunately, it was really bad starting on Thursday, so due to a holiday I could not see a doctor until today. This really messed with my plans. I did not get much reading done or much work for university.

Nonetheless, I read Frantz Fanon's The Wretched of the Earth for my paper and I read a good chunk of Some Boys by Patty Blount. I am still undecided about this last book. I do not know what to think, but I still have a good part to go, so I will just wait and see.

I also posted a few blog posts last week. For one, there was last week's Monday post and my Top 10 Tuesday post on books I have but am now uncertain whether or not I should read them. I also reviewed Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher and Golden by Jessi Kirby. The latter has a special place in my heart, so if you want to know more about the backstory with me and this particular book, check out the blog post! (And leave me a comment - do you have any books with a special story?)

Reading right now

As I mentioned earlier, I am reading Patty Blount's Some Boys right now. I do not yet know what to think of the book, but I cannot wait to finish it, so this should be a good sign. I am also still working on books for my paper. I'm getting really tired of saying that! I wanted to hand in the paper last week, but alas, the baby needed Mommy time, so he got just that. Luckily, there are a few more weeks until the official due date for the paper!

New In

I did not acquire any new books last week, I think the "haul" from last week's blog post was enough for a bit.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

[Review] Golden by Jessi Kirby

Jessi Kirby
[Contemporary YA]

You can buy it here:
Golden (Amazon hardcover)
Golden (Amazon paperback)
Golden (Amazon e-book)

FTC: I bought this myself.

Summary (via Goodreads):
Seventeen-year-old Parker Frost has never taken the road less traveled. Valedictorian and quintessential good girl, she’s about to graduate high school without ever having kissed her crush or broken the rules. So when fate drops a clue in her lap—one that might be the key to unraveling a town mystery—she decides to take a chance.

Julianna Farnetti and Shane Cruz are remembered as the golden couple of Summit Lakes High—perfect in every way, meant to be together forever. But Julianna’s journal tells a different story—one of doubts about Shane and a forbidden romance with an older, artistic guy. These are the secrets that were swept away with her the night that Shane’s jeep plunged into an icy river, leaving behind a grieving town and no bodies to bury.

Reading Julianna’s journal gives Parker the courage to start to really live—and it also gives her reasons to question what really happened the night of the accident. Armed with clues from the past, Parker enlists the help of her best friend, Kat, and Trevor, her longtime crush, to track down some leads. The mystery ends up taking Parker places that she never could have imagined. And she soon finds that taking the road less traveled makes all the difference.

My thoughts:
Now, this book has a history with me. I started reading it when I was about 8 months pregnant and finished it shortly before the boy turned one year old (now 2 weeks ago). Yes, it took me that long to finish it. But this does not mean I did not like it or that it is a slow read or anything. Mostly, I did not manage to finish it before giving birth because the last few weeks were peppered with lastminute tasks (like - moving, getting settled and sleeping) and I also just could not focus on anything. I would bring the book with me for routine checkups and that was about all the time I had to read. After the boy was born, I did not have the time to properly sit down and read for a good part of his first year. He loves having people around and he can be very insisting. So, to make it short, I did not get to read much after he was born and when about a month before his birthday I had some time alone, I brought Golden back out to finally finish it and find out what happened to the town's golden couple along with Parker.

This novel was (and still is) food for thought in my opinion. The theme here is making choices yourself and facing them. Parker is a good girl who always does what her mother tells her to do. Her life is completely directed by her mother, and any thoughts and ideas she may have about her future are instantly shot down. When she starts investigating the disappearence of Julianna and Shane, she slowly learns to make her own decisions and stand up for them in order to live life and not just be a passenger on the trip. I really loved how Parker grew as the story progressed.

The mystery behind the disappearance was really interesting as we learn more about the secondary characters and naturally about Julianna and Shane. I loved how Jessi Kirby wrapped it all up in the end. We may not know everything that happens after Parker figures out the mystery behind the disappearance, but I as the reader know enough to have my own thoughts and ideas.

If you like a mystery and a main character that really grows throughout the story, you will find gold with this book! (The pun is a coincidence, sorry if you don't like them ;) )


Thursday, August 14, 2014

[Review] Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher

Annabel Pitcher
Ketchup Clouds
[YA contemporary]

You can buy it here:
Ketchup Clouds (Amazon hardcover)

FTC: I bought this myself.

Secrets, romance, murder and lies: Zoe shares a terrible secret in a letter to a stranger on death row in this second novel from the author of the bestselling debut, My Sister Lives on the Mantelpiece.

Fifteen-year-old Zoe has a secret—a dark and terrible secret that she can't confess to anyone she knows. But then one day she hears of a criminal, Stuart Harris, locked up on death row in Texas. Like Zoe, Stuart is no stranger to secrets. Or lies. Or murder.

Full of heartache yet humour, Zoe tells her story in the only way she can—in letters to the man in prison in America. Armed with a pen, Zoe takes a deep breath, eats a jam sandwich, and begins her tale of love and betrayal.

My thoughts:
Sadly, this book fell flat for me. I fell in love with the cover and the blurb sounded like this would be an intriguing story, however, it just did not work for me. There is so much going on, from Zoe's letters to the deathrow inmate confessing she murdered a boy and her feelings of guilt to Zoe's family's problems, to Zoe's love problems and more family problems and secrets and illness. It was really overwhelming and I felt as if none of it was presented to the full extent.

While I usually enjoy letter-style narration, in this case it bothered me. I never got a feeling I could relate to or connect with any of the characters. The idea of writing a series of confessional letters to a deathrow inmate seemed so good, but for me, in the end, it did not work out simply because Zoe writes those letters on the premises that she committed a crime similar to that of the inmate, Mr. Harris, when the facts show something different. I understand that she feels guilty and has no one to talk to about her guilt and her feelings, but I read the book waiting for her crime to be revealed only to experience this letdown (it was not a crime committed or anywhere near a crime).

The two biggest letdowns for me were the actual "murder" and the epilogue, which in my opinion did not much for the book. It was set in another country, and while it was told from one of the main characters' POV, I still fail to see the reason behind this epilogue.

This being said, I think the story would probably appeal to many other readers. Taking into account my backstory - being a 30 year old mom and having studied a few semesters of law - I think this just was not a book for me. I kept waiting for the crime and I just do not see it, I went into this book expecting one thing and came out getting something completely different.


Tuesday, August 12, 2014

[Top 10 Tuesday] To read or not to read?

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's topic is: Top 10 books I'm not sure I want to read anymore - after buying them - you may or may not know this, but for me, I read reviews and then often buy books based off of that without waiting a bit and thinking. Unfortunately, this happens to me ten books rather frequently. Now, I will showcase ten such books here - and maybe you can tell me whether I should still read them?

1) Black Hole by Charles Burns - I bought this one at the beginning of the graphic novel craziness. I read Marjane Satrapi's Persepolis books, Maus, and a couple others, but this one (along with Jeff Smith's Bone is still on my shelves, unread.

2) Stray by Rachel Vincent (and the two following books in the series - I love those kind of books, but for some reason, I never got around to reading them and now I'm very uncertain about them.

3) The Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells - I remember seeing this book on so many blogs and I loved the reviews, but I still haven't read it. I don't know if it is still my kind of book?

4) One Day by David Nicholls - I know people have been raving about this one, and when I bought it I was sure I would love it - but so far, nothing enticed me to actually read it.

5) The Bookaholic's Guide to Book Blogs by Rebecca Gilleron & Catheryn Kilgarriff - I bought this when it was first published (years ago!), and I'm pretty sure the majority of the information in this non-fiction book about book blogs is outdated already. Now, why do I still keep it? And should I read it anyhow?

6) The Hate List by Jennifer Brown - Another on of those hyped books I bought as soon as I could. And then, it sat, and sat, and sat. I remember why I wanted to read it, the theme just intrigues me so much! But I don't know what is keeping me from reading it. Should I put it all the way on the top of my reading stack?

7) Graceling by Kristin Cashore - I know, I can't believe it either! I still have not read that one! And I don't even know why.

8) Matched by Allie Condie - Another "I know!" right there!

9) The Mockingbirds and When You Were Here by Dais Whitney - Yes, I managed to buy two books by the same author without reading a single one of them. And now, I don't know what to do with them.

10) Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver - To be honest, I would have to search for a review to remember why I bought this one. That doesn't sound good, huh?

Now, should I read those books? Which books and why? Please help me out!

Monday, August 11, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? (August 11, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Last Week

After my Monday reading post I did not get to post at all the entire week. Somehow, the week just flew by and I barely managed to work on the term paper I have to hand in soon, let alone write blog posts. However, after posting the #FF Friday post, I managed to get one more review in on Saturday. I finally wrote down my thoughts and feelings on The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke!

Last week I finished two books. One is an audiobook I had been listening to since April: Ketchup Clouds by Annabel Pitcher. I will give you my thoughts on this one later this week.

The other book I finished was Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry. I will review this gem later this month, but let me tell you already, you might want to keep your eyes open for this one to show up in book stores!

I also read a few books for my paper, but those were more theoretical in nature, so I will not bore you with the titles and (rather boring) covers. One book you might want to look into, however, if you want to learn a bit about Canadian Literature: Margaret Atwood's Survival!

Reading right now

I started reading In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins. I haven't read one of her books in a while, and I realize how much I missed her writing style and her feel good stories.

I am also reading more books off my assorted stack for my paper.

New In

Well, I fell off the bandwaggon a bit with the semi-self-imposed book buying ban. However, I am already working my way through those books. I received all those books from the publishers via Netgalley.

I received In Your Dreams by Kristan Higgins, which I am already reading. And then, there is Jilted by Rachael Johns.

I also received both The Opposite of Love by Sarah Lynn Scheerger and Stronger Than You Know by Jolene Perry. I already finished the latter, as you have seen, and a review is forthcoming.

Also new on my e-reader are Course of Action: The Rescue by Lindsay McKenna & Merline Lovelace. This book contains two stories, and I have not yet read much about them. I remember enjoying a few of Merline Lovelace's previous romance novels, so I had to get my hands on this one. Margo Howard's Eat, Drink and Remarry is a memoir of sorts and the blurb sounded too funny!

And the last book I received this past week was Some Boys by Patty Blount.

What about you? What have you read this past week and did you get any new books?

Saturday, August 09, 2014

[Review] The Assassin's Curse by Cassandra Rose Clarke

Cassandra Rose Clarke
The Assassin's Curse
[YA fantasy]

You can buy it here:
The Assassin's Curse (Amazon paperback)

FTC: I received an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary (via Netgalley):
Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan. But that only prompts the scorned clan to send an assassin after her. And when Ananna faces him down one night, armed with magic she doesn't really know how to use, she accidentally activates a curse binding them together. To break the curse, Ananna and the assassin must complete three impossible tasks-all while grappling with evil wizards, floating islands, haughty manticores, runaway nobility, strange magic, and the growing romantic tension between them.

My thoughts:
Whew! I was updating my Goodreads status infrequently with this book because - and I quote from the status updates "I'm flying through this book like the world ends tomorrow & knowing the end might save us". This statement (about 70% in the story) is a very accurate description of my reading style with this book and of my feelings.

First, let me say, the cover is a dream! I love it so much, it was the main reason for why I requested it. The story involving a female pirate, an assassin, wizards and magic just added to the positive feeling I had going into it already. And this book just gave me everything. Not just the cover, but the story as well, lived up to my positive feeling and I can only say I am thrilled. I cannot wait to read more about Ananna and Naji (the assassin in the title). Their story is wonderfully written and absolutely riveting. Ananna is a wonderful, strong character who would not obey her parents and marry a boy she just met, so she ran away and ended up being stuck with Naji, an assassin who attempted to kill her. And this is where the action begins!

Cassandra Rose Clark managed to put me under a spell with her writing and her characters. The story did not just flow, it raced and before I knew it, I was on the last pages - and completely in awe, but also upset that I would have to leave Ananna and Naji. This being said, the second book in this series, The Pirate's Wish is already out, so if you start reading the series now, you will not end up in a bind like I did when I finished The Assassin's Curse. And if that is not enough, there are two short stories or novellas out as well: The Witch's Betrayal and The Automaton's Treasure.


Friday, August 08, 2014

[#FF Friday - Feature and Follow!] Social Media Favorites?

Welcome to my blog! I have decided to participate in #FF Friday again. This is a weekly feature hosted by Parajunkee's View and Alison Can Read designed to connect bloggers.

This week's question is:What is your favorite social network and leave us a link so we can join you!

Now, while I'm both on Twitter (as @stackednpainted) and on Instagram (also as @stackednpainted), I cannot really make up my mind. I love being able to share pictures I take on the go as well as short notes and messages.

Monday, August 04, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? (August 4, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Last Week

Here we go again! Last week was one heck of a busy crazy mess. First, we celebrated my baby boy's first birthday, meaning he no longer is a baby. I was sad and gloomy all week long, because he is growing up so fast! It feels like I came home from the hospital maybe a month or two ago, yet we celebrated his first birthday. What happened with all those months in between?! Looking at the pictures we have taken in the past year. He has changed so much already and he learned so much! He has been walking on one hand for weeks now (he first started walking with the help of two fingers of any adult available when he was 9.5 months old) and now he is transitioning once again to walking on his own - at least whenever he is distracted by something he wants to get to.

The day after that, we celebrated my Dad's birthday. So once again, we had family over and we all ate - and ate and ate!

The rest of the week was spent working on university stuff and very little reading for fun (none, actually, if you think The Inimitable Jeeves should not count as fun, because I have also been reading it for university - but I love it, so I'll count it!). But: I finished this book and I can only continue to praise and recommend it!

Reading right now

I am still re-reading Dubliners by James Joyce. I hope to finish it this month, but the month is short, so we'll see.

New In


Monday, July 28, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? (July 28, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Last Week

I was so busy with my paper and dealing with a sick baby, I didn't read much last week. I managed to get to university for a meeting with a lecturer on said paper, and as I ran into another lecturer, I managed to get another few questions off my list of "questions to ask my lecturers".

However, I wrote two blog posts aside from last weeks It's Monday! What are you reading?: For one, I wrote a Top 10 Tuesday post on book characters I'd want with me on a deserted island. And then, I wrote a review on a wonderful book with themes such as family, growing up, love and college: Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando - I highly recommend it!

Reading right now

I am still re-reading Dubliners by James Joyce. I hope to finish it this month, but the month is short, so we'll see.

Also, I am reading another collection of short stories - this one by P.G. Wodehouse: The Inimitable Jeeves. I will definitely be taking that one with me when I head out again the next time (probably tomorrow).

New In

Nothing! I did not read much, so I did not browse books either. For once, I was able to stick to my semi-rule of "no reading, no buying".

Thursday, July 24, 2014

[Review] Roomies by Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando

Sara Zarr & Tara Altebrando
[contemporary YA]

You can buy it here:
Roomies (Amazon hardcover)
Roomies (Amazon paperback)

FTC: I received an eARC from the publisher via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: (via Netgalley)
It's time to meet your new roomie.

When East Coast native Elizabeth receives her freshman-year roommate assignment, she shoots off an e-mail to coordinate the basics: television, microwave, mini-fridge. That first note to San Franciscan Lauren sparks a series of e-mails that alters the landscape of each girl's summer -- and raises questions about how two girls who are so different will ever share a dorm room.
As the countdown to college begins, life at home becomes increasingly complex. With family relationships and childhood friendships strained by change, it suddenly seems that the only people Elizabeth and Lauren can rely on are the complicated new boys in their lives . . . and each other. Even though they've never met.
National Book Award finalist Sara Zarr and acclaimed author Tara Altebrando join forces for a novel about growing up, leaving home, and getting that one fateful e-mail that assigns your college roommate.

My thoughts:
What happens when two girls who are absolute opposites are placed as roommates in college? Elizabeth - EB - is an only child who lives with her mother only on the East Coast, whereas Lauren is the oldest child in a family of many (eight, I believe) and lives in a house in San Francisco with both her parents. Lauren originally requested a single room, so she is bummed when she gets her roommate assignment. Just once, she wanted to have a room all to herself. EB on the other hand is happy to not be alone. She always hoped to have siblings, so she's excited to meet her new roommate.

Over the summer, the girls write each other emails to get to know each other, but their lives also change. I enjoyed the dual point of view in this novel a lot. Sometimes it can bog down the development of the story, but with Roomies it worked out just perfect.

Now, what would a young adult novel without some love interests? Over the summer, the girls also meet boys that summer and this is a nice addition.The boys seem to complement the girls even, so it was not overdone or set up to cause drama, which happens frequently.

All in all, I am very happy with how this novel turned out and I am glad I got to read it! If you enjoy dual point of view in young adult novels, give this one a try!


Tuesday, July 22, 2014

[Top 10 Tuesday] On a Deserted Island

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's topic is: Top 10 Characters I would want with me on a deserted island

1) Hermoine from Harry Potter (duh!) - she is smart, well-read and probably has a lot of good ideas on how to get things taken care of and on how to get us off that island - because that is the ultimate goal, isn't it?

2) Tris from Divergent - she knows how to kick ass and sticks with her friends

3) Four from Divergent - because he also kicks ass and I have a good feeling about him there

4) Jane Rizzoli from Tess Gerritsen's series - she takes down bad guys like no other

5) Maura Isles from Tess Gerritsen's series - she's the one with the medical knowledge here

6) Watson from Sherlock Holmes - because he's smart and no matter what you say about Holmes, I absolutely love Watson!

7) Harry Dresden from the Dresden Files - more magic is always a good thing

8) Severus Snape from Harry Potter (duh! again) - because you have to love Professor Snape, he rocks!

9) Professor McGonagall from Harry Potter - because she balances out Snape's roughness, yet she's darned good!

10) MacGyver - you don't know him? well, everybody needs a MacGyver in their life, especially on a deserted island!

Monday, July 21, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? (July 20, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

Last Week

Last week marked the end of yet another semester, so I was rather busy for the past 2 weeks. I did not read much, to be honest. However, I tried to finally make a list of all the books I have on my Kindle. I already have a list sorted by genre for my paper books, but I figured I should see my unread e-books as well. This sets up the basis for my TBR short "stacks" on a sticky.

Nonetheless, I read - and skimmed a good part - of The Empire Writes Back by Bill Ashcroft et al. This is a text book on post-colonial literary theory and I had a good time reading / skimming it. It will be useful for a paper I have to write.

And I believe I did not finish Uncommon Criminals by Ally Carter before my last Monday post? Anyway, I finished it and loved it!

Reading right now

I am still re-reading Dubliners by James Joyce. It's a great short story collection and I am glad I took a class where we talked about nothing but Dubliners!

Also, I am reading another collection of short stories - this one by P.G. Wodehouse: The Inimitable Jeeves. It seems to be the month of short story collections?! Some of you may know the TV show Jeeves and Wooster starring Stephen Fry and Hugh Laurie, and these are the stories the show was based on. Jeeves is the valet of Bertie Wooster, an English gentleman in circa 1910 (?). I absolutely love the stories as they are oftentimes laugh out loud hilarious!

New In

During the past 2 weeks (or has it been three?!) I received these books for review via Netgalley:

B, uzz Books 2014: Young Adult (not pictured), which is a collection of excerpts of up and coming YA books for the fall/winter season; Killer Instinct by Jennifer Lynn Barnes is the second installment in the The Naturals series, a bit of a crossover of Criminal Minds and The Mentalist, maybe; and I Only Read It For The Cartoons by Richard Gehr, with information on the The New Yorker's cartoon artists.

Zac & Mia by A.J. Betts is the story of two cancer patients and while this sounds a bit like a very well known novel by John Green (The Fault In Our Stars, in case you didn't get the hint), I have high hopes that I will love it at least as much as most people loved TFIOS; and finally Vivian Apple At The End Of The World by Katie Coyle, which is the story of a girl living in our world but society believes that the end of times is near and at the day that has been proclaimed as the day of the Rapture her parents disappear.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

[Top 10 Tuesday] Movies and TV Shows

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's topic is: Favorite Movies or TV Shows - and I'm adapting it a bit - based off of books/book series

Favorite Movies

1) The Princess Diaries - I absolutely love both the books and the movie! Princess Mia is awesomely awkward at first and warms up and becomes more confident as her story progresses.

2) 10 Things I Hate About You - Heck, my brother (!!!) knows the lines by heart! No kidding, he knows every single line, he likes the movie that much! As for me, this is an amazing teen movie based off Shakespeare's The Taming of the Shrew. I enjoy the chemistry between Heath Ledger and Julia Styles, but I love the two actors anyway. If you haven't watched it yet, get a copy. I highly recommend it!

3) She's The Man - Another Shakespeare-based teen movie, this time with Amanda Bynes and Channing Tatum (I love me some Channing anyway!). It's a movie based off Twelfth Night and the jokes in this movie are probably very much for teens, but I love them. There were so many laugh-out-loud scenes and I still have tears in my eyes when I watch this one. I mean, tampons for nosebleeds? Hello!

4) The Harry Potter movies - all of them. Because they're awesome! It's that simple!

5) The Lincoln Lawyer - For this one, I have to thank a former lecturer. Matthew McConaughey's character, Mick Haller, ends up in a difficult and dangerous situation. I have the audio book here and hope to listen to it this summer!

Favorite TV Shows

6) Rizzoli & Isles - while there is a significant difference between the show and the books, I still love the way the characters are portrayed. It's not accurate, but it is done in a way that makes me still enjoy and appreciate it.

7) Bones - Another inaccurate portrayal of a series of mysteries. But let's face it, Emily Deschanel as Tempe Brennan and David Boreanaz as Seeley Booth - that's hot!

8) Elementary - For one, I love mysteries, in case you haven't noticed yet. And then I like that Watson is a woman and a tough one at that. And Holmes is this odd and insanely clever former drug addict. I love it!

9) Jeeves & Wooster - How could I leave this out? I mentioned in a previous TTT how much I love P.G. Wodehouse's books, and I love the show just as much! Hugh Laurie and Stephen Fry are doing an amazing job portraying Bertie Wooster and his valet Jeeves. You have to read the books and watch the show, trust me!

10) M*A*S*H - It's a classic with lots of laughs.


11) Pacific Rim - Though not officially a movie after a book (series), you can ask almost anyone who has watched the movie and read the manga series Neon Genesis Evangelion that it is incredibly similar. It's a rip-off, if you ask me!

Saturday, July 12, 2014

[Review] Impostor by Susanne Winnacker

Susanne Winnacker
1st Variants
[YA paranormal]

You can buy it here:
Impostor (Amazon hardcover)
Impostor (Amazon paperback)
Impostor (Amazon eBook)

FTC: I received an eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

Summary: (via Netgalley)
X-Men meets Veronica Mars in this thrilling first book in the VARIANTS series

Tessa is a Variant, able to absorb the DNA of anyone she touches and mimic their appearance. Shunned by her family, she's spent the last two years with the Forces with Extraordinary Abilities, a secret branch of the FBI. There she trains with other Variants, such as long-term crush Alec, who each have their own extraordinary ability.

When a serial killer rocks a small town in Oregon, Tessa is given a mission: she must impersonate Madison, a local teen, to find the killer before he strikes again. Tessa hates everything about being an impostor - the stress, the danger, the deceit - but loves playing the role of a normal girl. As Madison, she finds friends, romance, and the kind of loving family she'd do anything to keep.

Amid action, suspense, and a ticking clock, this super-human comes to a very human conclusion: even a girl who can look like anyone struggles the most with being herself.

'Fun and suspenseful' Marissa Meyer, New York Times bestselling author of CINDER

My thoughts:
X-Men meets Veronica Mars? I'm not so sure about that. I did not see much of Veronica Mars' character or abilities in Tessa, to be honest. The X-Men part though, that one I agree with. I have a proposition for a better match of a second show, but we'll come to that at the end.

Tessa does not have her ability completely in check, when she is thrust into her first investigation in order to find a serial killer, so some things go wrong and she does things she knows she should not do even before her assignment - like impersonate a fellow variant in order to get a kiss from a certain hot guy. In some ways, Tessa is still very much a teenager, yet, she is tasked with a job for an adult. In fact, I think even adults might have problems with her task.

Her pining for her colleague, Alec, who has a girlfriend, even though she is portrayed as an evil hag, and Alec's confusing behavior towards Tessa (come hither, stay away) was what annoyed me quite some times. I wanted to tell her "Girl, you will find a better guy, one who does not have a girlfriend, no matter how hot you think he is right now!" multiple times throughout the book.

Now, my first problem was the end. I'm not sure it was the best end the book could have and the way the mystery was resolved was a bit off. While the main idea behind it reminds me of the counterorganization of X-Men, and I believe it would be very likely, if variants existed, something simply felt off to me. Also, in the end I feel incredibly sorry for Madison's family, as they have to deal with the loss of their daughter now.

Secondly, Tessa often seemed unable to really do anything despite two years of training. Granted, two years is not much when it comes to the art of spying and crime solving (want to check how long it takes for people to join any federal crime solving agency?), however, I believe she should have been more capable, whether she has fully mastered her variant or not.

I believe this series has lots of room to grow into something amazing! Like I said before, it really reminds me in X-Men meets Get Smart. You have the heroes with the supernatural abilities, and looking at Tessa, you have the clumsy spy on top of that. Since I love both shows, this worked well for me, despite the issues I had.


Thursday, July 10, 2014

[Review] The Naturals by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

Jennifer Lynn Barnes
The Naturals 1st The Naturals
[YA mystery]

You can buy it here:
The Naturals (Amazon hardcover)
The Naturals(Amazon paperback)

FTC: I recieved an eARC via Netgalley for review.

Summary: (via
Seventeen-year-old Cassie is a natural at reading people. Piecing together the tiniest details, she can tell you who you are and what you want. But, it’s not a skill that she’s ever taken seriously. That is, until the FBI come knocking: they’ve begun a classified program that uses exceptional teenagers to crack infamous cold cases, and they need Cassie.

What Cassie doesn’t realize is that there's more at risk than a few unsolved homicides—especially when she’s sent to live with a group of teens whose gifts are as unusual as her own. Soon, it becomes clear that no one in the Naturals program is what they seem. And when a new killer strikes, danger looms close. Caught in a lethal game of cat and mouse with a killer, the Naturals are going to have to use all of their gifts just to survive.

Think The Mentalist meets Pretty Little Liars—Jennifer Lynn-Barnes’ The Naturals is a gripping psychological thriller with killer appeal, a to-die-for romance, and the bones of a gritty and compelling new series.

My thoughts:
I heard a lot about this book before diving in. Some related it to Criminal Minds, some to The Mentalist - and many said it was like those crime shows, but for young adults. To me, all these comments do have a point, but: I love the book with or without the similarities to shows I admittedly enjoy a lot. To me, The Naturals was a nice entrance to a new series that hopefully will not end after book two or three.

Our main character, Cassie, has been through a lot in her few years. Her mother was brutally murdered (no spoilers here!) and she lived with family until she decided to go off on an adventure on her own, when she is recruited as a sort-of profiler for the FBI. She will be one of a team of young adults with special abilities. Where seasoned agents have to learn the tricks of the trade, these young people have a natural gift and I found the explanation considerably reasonable. They do not have supernatural abilities, they just have natural traits that help them notice things sooner than other people. It only recquired a minimal amout of suspension of disbelief on my part, especially as I have met people who could pinpoint to certain important aspects way before anyone else had noticed.

Cassie stumbles into her new home with her team mates just as a new serial killer is on the loose and the FBI agents responsible for the project are in the midst of it. While the young adults are supposed to stay out of it, we all know what a big "No" does - it entices even more. And thus, the action starts for all of them.

The novel was gripping from the start and would not let go even after I read it. Jennifer Lynn Barnes did a wonderful job working out the different characters. They came to live to me and I had no problems imagining them standing right in front of me, in all their colorful (or dark, in some cases) glory. I thoroughly enjoyed The Naturals and am looking forward to the second book in this series, which will be out later this year!


Tuesday, July 08, 2014

[Top 10 Tuesday] In the confessional

Top Ten Tuesday is a bookish weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

Today's topic is: Blogging Confessions

1) I have an insane amount of unread books on my shelves - and on my Kindle! I have no clue when I am going to read them, but I'm on a book buying ban right now, so hopefully I can make a dent? Yeah, who am I kidding!

2) I have recently resolved to make a short list of books to read. Of all the unread books I have, I try to write seven books on a post-it which I keep in my Filofax. These seven books should be a goo dmix of YA, mysteries, classics and romance novels, and naturally, they should not all be ebooks or print copies. Once I am down to one book on the list, I am allowed to make a new list. I'm at the second list right now and I hope it works this well with the next list. It is rewarding to see the books you can cross off an incredibly large TBR list!

3) I am bad at reviewing and blogging in general on a regular basis. Back in the day, I had more time and would bring my laptop almost anywhere. Then, I managed to keep what resembled a schedule, but nowadays? Noooo! Not happening. I don't know why, but oftentimes, the baby will wake up in the evening and I have to take care of him. Or I'm exhausted from the day. (He's an active little guy, and at days "I solemnly swear, I am up to no good" seems to be his motto for life! Gosh, I love that precious boy!)

4) I envy all those living in the US for their wonderful library system. No kidding, you live in paradise and I hope you notice it! Here the library books are dusty, smell yucky, and let's not go into the whole issue of finding current acquisitions of books that would even remotely fall under any of the categories or tropes I enjoy.

5) I hate, hate, hate creases, dogears and the likes on my books. Really, if you want to read one of my books, you might have to live with the most scrutinous exam (*cough* I'll spy on all your reading habits *cough*) before you get to hold one of my books in hands!

6) I smell new books! There's nothing better than the smell of a new book. Well, maybe babies smell better, but new books smell heavenly!

7) I have never read Lord of the Rings or Game of Thrones. I know, how can I? But LotR is just not my cuppa. Believe me, I tried. And GoT? Well, the significant other and his BFF talked about it frequently without giving away much - that is, not much other than "whenever you like a character, he or she dies soon enough". So no, that's not for me either *sigh*

8) I hate it when the books in a series don't match on my shelves. On one hand, I cannot wait to read the next in series, on the other, if it's the wrong binding, I might have to buy a second copy, you know? The probably first time this happened was with Harry Potter, and right now I have the same issue with Ally Carter's Gallagher Girls series.

9) I admit, I do not feel like receiving an ARC means I absolutely have to write a review. I may very likely do so, but occasionally, the book just doesn't work for me and I hardly ever review DNFs.

10) I hate reading books for university because it takes away reading time for fun. Chances are, these books are also fun, but the forced reading is kind of off putting to me.

11) I kept the saddest confession for last: No matter what I do, I'm always, always behind on reviewing. I wish I had little gnomes that could help out!

Did you join in this meme? If so, leave a link, please, or add your answers in the comments! br>

Monday, July 07, 2014

It's Monday! What are you reading? (June 6, 2014)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week. It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I have not participated in any of the reading and TBR stack memes in ages, but I believe I want to get back into the habit of doing that - along with blogging on a more regular basis in general. If you join in on any of these memes, please let me know!

Last Week

Last week I blogged again for the first time sind the last 24 Hour Readathon. I started with a Top 10 Tuesday on Classics. This was a nice foray into the world of classics, which I ended with a short list of classics I want to read next. Now I just have to remember I made this list!

I followed up with a review on Camp Payback by J.K. Rock. I previously reviewed the first installment in this series, Camp Boyfriend.

I also finished reading Jessi Kirby's Golden, a book which has a special place in my heart for a very particular reason. I started reading this book approximately one year ago. Yes, it took me that long to finish it. And no, it is not bad! However, I started reading the book in the last stretch of my pregnancy and even brought it with me to the hospital when I was in labor. Silly me! I actually thought I might have a couple minutes in between contractions to read. I just finished it, about 3 weeks before the precious boy turns one year old. I figured it would be a nice way to enter this last stretch of his first year on earth.

Reading right now

Right now I am reading Dubliners by James Joyce. This collection of short stories is set in Dublin and while the main characters change with each story, we see or hear about previously mentioned characters several times. I certainly enjoy this collection, though at times their lives are harsh.

Ally Carter's Uncommon Criminals is the second novel in the YA series The Heist Society. I am almost up to date with her Gallagher Girls series, but I decided to take a break in order to catch up with The Heist Society first. Both series are wonderful, but not much alike (unless you take the kick-ass teenage heroines into account). I cannot wait to finish this book!

New In

I am actually on a book buying ban, however, I could not resist these two books. I finally finished Rescue Me by Jill Shalvis, which is the third book in the Animal Magnetism series, last weekend, so I had to order these two. Never mind all the other unread books on my shelves!

I also received Accidentally Married by Victorine E. Lieske and Doppelganger by Milda Harris via Netgalley. I am curious to read those two books, so watch out!