Tuesday, June 16

[Top Ten Tuesday] Books On My TBR For Summer 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish, through which we share our top ten list on the weekly topic.

This week: Top Ten Books On My TBR For Summer 2015

So these are the books I'm planning on reading this Summer. As always with my reading predictions, I probably will end up not reading all of these, but I really hope I do. I also have exams until mid-July so I won't be able to read much until then.

1. A song of ice and fire series, George R. R. Martin
I read the first book and I've been following the TV show. Honestly, back when I read the first book I wasn't really blown away. I mean, the story was great, the writing was okay, but I didn't really feel overwhelmed like other people were describing. Then I started understanding all the layering and double meanings and clues that were thrown in that first novel alone and I came to love this story. I honestly cannot wait to finish these books so that I can then properly discuss theories and predictions.

2. Lola and the boy next door, Stephanie Perkins
Anna and the french kiss was that kind of fluffy feel-good romance I'm always craving during summer. I'm expecting Lola to go down the same way.

3. Percy Jackson and the last Olympian, Rick Riordan
This one has been in my TBR for so long, I'm kind of ashamed I have yet to read it. Percy is honestly so great I feel kind of bad for finishing the series, so I've been dragging it out and savouring it. But enough is enough. It needs to happen. It will happen. This summer.

4. Magonia, Maria Dahvana Headley 
This is a relatively new release that has really caught my eye. The premise alone sounds awesome, and that cover is gorgeous, so I can't wait to dive in.

5. Just one day, Gayle Forman
I read the If I stay duology and I really really liked it. I'm counting on this one to be equally emotionally draining, and I'm looking forward to reading it. I know nothing of what it is about, and since I went into both If I stay and Where she went this way and ended up loving them, I hope to have the same kind of experience this time. 

6. The shining, Stephen King
I've been wanting to read this for so long, you have no idea. I started it last year, I think, and I got half-way through, but then I put it down and never picked it up again. I have no idea why. This will be my debut into the horror genre, and I remember I was enjoying it before I put it down, so I'm excited to try something a little out of my comfort zone.

7. Crown of midnight, Sarah J. Maas
Okay, so I read Throne of Glass earlier this year. I liked it, but I didn't love it. However, lots of people have been pushing me to read the next instalment, especially now, with the fourth one coming out this fall (I think). So I thought I'd give it a shot. Everyone has been saying the series gets better with every instalment, so I hope I'll enjoy it.

8. Dreams of Gods and Monsters, Laini Taylor
You guys, I'm so hyped for this one! I've been loving this series, and I'm so excited to see how it ends! The only reason why I have not read this yet is because this is a beast of a book, and my experience with the other instalments is that when I start reading I can't put it down until I've reached the end. And I could not tempt myself to read all night during exams period.

9. Eon, Alison Goodman
This duology has had me intrigued for a very long time. I've not heard too much about it, it seems only one or two of the people I know and follow have read it, but all the feedback I've read is positive. Plus, this has a Mulan sort of feel to it and I love Mulan.

10. Cinder, Marissa Meyer
Yes, I know, I have yet to read this. Scandal! It seems like everyone is raving about this and going crazy over the last book being published later this year. Therefore I decided to check it out, and I really hope I like it.

 All images were obtained through GoodReads.

What are you planning on reading this summer? Are you interested in reading any of the books I've listed? Let me know! :)

Thursday, June 11

[Review] Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush, #1) - Becca Fitzpatrick

Author: Becca Fitzpatrick
Original Title: Hush, hush
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Release Date: October 13th, 2009
Finished Date: April 5th, 2015
Pages: 391
Read in: English


Romance was not part of Nora Grey's plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how hard her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Patch draws Nora to him against her better judgment.
But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is and seems to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.
For she is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost Nora her life.
Source: GoodReads

Final Rating:  out of 5

I would like to start by saying that I do not wish to be offensive  but as you can see I really did not like this book. Therefore, I'll try my best to warn others about what I thought, so that they won't be disappointed and don't spend money in a book that they might not like. You are welcome to defend the book if you so wish.
Now that you are warned I have to say I do not understand people. This piece of crap novel has a 4.01 rating on GoodReads, which is unfathomable to me. I expect great things of novels that have these kind of ratings.
This is a sexist, abusive story, and it certainly does not deserve all the hype surrounding it.

The following extended review contains spoilers
If you have not yet read the book and/or do not wish to be spoiled, please do not read any further.

Tuesday, June 9

[Top Ten Tuesday] Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly feature created at The Broke and the Bookish, through which we share our top ten list on the weekly topic.

This week: Top Ten Most Anticipated Releases For the Rest of 2015

It was incredibly hard choosing only 10, but here is my top ten list, in no particular order.

1. Pretending to be Erica, Michelle Painted
I got an Anastasia vibe from the synopsis, and since I love Anastasia I had to include this in my top ten. This sounds super interesting and a tiny bit dark.

July 21st, 2015
Young adult, contemporary, mystery

Seventeen-year-old Violet’s entire life has revolved around one thing: becoming Erica Silverman, an heiress kidnapped at age five and never seen again. Violet’s father, the best con man in Las Vegas, has a plan, chilling in its very specific precision. Violet shares a blood type with Erica; soon, thanks to surgery and blackmail, she has the same face, body, and DNA. She knows every detail of the Silvermans’ lives, as well as the PTSD she will have to fake around them. And then, when the time is right, she “reappears”—Erica Silverman, brought home by some kind of miracle. But she is also Violet, and she has a job: Stay long enough to steal the Silverman Painting, an Old Master legendary in the Vegas crime world. Walking a razor’s edge, calculating every decision, not sure sometimes who she is or what she is doing it for, Violet is an unforgettable heroine, and Pretending to be Erica is a killer debut.

2. Every last word, Tamara Ireland Stone
It seems like every BookTuber and blogger on earth who has read this book is raving about it, and the premise does sound great. I've always been interested in mental illness, as it is a topic that I believe to be under-explored. As a result, people don't really know what it is to live with mental illness and tend to dismiss it. I  really hope this can work as an awareness promoter.

June 16th, 2015
Young adult, contemporary

If you could read my mind, you wouldn't be smiling.
Samantha McAllister looks just like the rest of the popular girls in her junior class. But hidden beneath the straightened hair and expertly applied makeup is a secret that her friends would never understand: Sam has Purely-Obsessional OCD and is consumed by a stream of dark thoughts and worries that she can't turn off. 
Second-guessing every move, thought, and word makes daily life a struggle, and it doesn't help that her lifelong friends will turn toxic at the first sign of a wrong outfit, wrong lunch, or wrong crush. Yet Sam knows she'd be truly crazy to leave the protection of the most popular girls in school. So when Sam meets Caroline, she has to keep her new friend with a refreshing sense of humor and no style a secret, right up there with Sam's weekly visits to her psychiatrist.
Caroline introduces Sam to Poet's Corner, a hidden room and a tight-knit group of misfits who have been ignored by the school at large. Sam is drawn to them immediately, especially a guitar-playing guy with a talent for verse, and starts to discover a whole new side of herself. Slowly, she begins to feel more "normal" than she ever has as part of the popular crowd . . . until she finds a new reason to question her sanity and all she holds dear.

3. The leveller, Julia Durango
This sounds awesome. It's about a girl whose job is going into the virtual reality and bringing people back to "real" life. Matrix style. I think I'm going to love this.

June 23rd, 2015
Young adult, science fiction

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.
Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them. 
But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. Wyn Salvador isn’t some lazy kid looking to escape his homework: Wyn does not want to be found. And he’s left behind a suicide note. Nixy takes the job but quickly discovers that Wyn’s not hiding—he’s being held inside the game against his will. But who is holding him captive, and why?
Nixy and Wyn attempt to fight their way out of a mind game unlike any they’ve encountered, and the battle brings them closer than either could have imagined. But when the whole world is virtual, how can Nixy possibly know if her feelings are real?
Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

4. Illuminae, Aimee Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
I'm so excited for this one, I can't even. Just look at that cover. Look. It's gorgeous. 

October 20th, 2015
Young adult, science fiction, dystopia

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.
This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.
Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

5. Mechanica, Betsy Cornwell
Steampunk retelling of Cinderella. Need I say more?

August 4th, 2015
Steampunk, young adult, retelling

Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home.
But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.
Gorgeous prose and themes of social justice and family shine in this richly imagined Cinderella retelling about an indomitable inventor who finds her prince . . . but realizes she doesn't want a fairy tale happy ending after all.

6. Soundless, Richelle Mead
I've never read anything by Richelle Mead, I know, it seems like I'm missing out on epicness (or so everyone tells me) but this one had a really interesting premise. I might start by reading this, and then I'll see about diving into the very acclaimed Vampire Academy series.

November 10th, 2015
Young adult, fantasy

From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore. 
For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom. 
When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.
But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.
Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...

7. Carry on, Rainbow Rowell
I enjoyed Fangirl, but I found it annoying to have the story cut off every chapter by this excerpts of Carry on. I remember thinking back then that I might have enjoyed it were it not being hammered inside the original story, so I was actually very curious when I saw this was being published. I think I might give Baz a chance after all.

October 6th, 2015
Young adult, fantasy, romance

Rainbow Rowell continues to break boundaries with Carry On, an epic fantasy following the triumphs and heartaches of Simon and Baz from her beloved bestseller Fangirl.
Simon Snow just wants to relax and savor his last year at the Watford School of Magicks, but no one will let him. His girlfriend broke up with him, his best friend is a pest, and his mentor keeps trying to hide him away in the mountains where maybe he’ll be safe. Simon can’t even enjoy the fact that his roommate and longtime nemesis is missing, because he can’t stop worrying about the evil git. Plus there are ghosts. And vampires. And actual evil things trying to shut Simon down. When you’re the most powerful magician the world has ever known, you never get to relax and savor anything.
Carry On is a ghost story, a love story, a mystery and a melodrama. It has just as much kissing and talking as you’d expect from a Rainbow Rowell story — but far, far more monsters.

8. Cut both ways, Carrie Mesrobian
Bisexuality is an issue that I feel has not yet been approached by too many authors. I don't know why, but it usually is not something I've seen being written about very much - in fact, the only bisexual character I can name of the top of my head is Magnus Bane. And I read a lot. I'm interested to see how this will pan out.

September 1st, 2015
Young adult, contemporary, romance

Will Caynes never has been good with girls. At seventeen, he’s still waiting for his first kiss. He’s certainly not expecting it to happen in a drunken make-out session with his best friend, Angus. But it does and now Will’s conflicted—he knows he likes girls, but he didn’t exactly hate kissing a guy.
Then Will meets Brandy, a cute and easy-to-talk-to sophomore. He’s totally into her too—which proves, for sure, that he’s not gay. So why does he keep hooking up with Angus on the sly?
Will knows he can’t keep seeing both of them, but besides his new job in a diner, being with Brandy and Angus are the best parts of his whole messed-up life. His divorced parents just complicate everything. His father, after many half-baked business ventures and endless house renovations, has started drinking again. And his mom is no help—unless loading him up with a bunch of stuff he doesn’t need plus sticking him with his twin half-sisters counts as parenting. He’s been bouncing between both of them for years, and neither one feels like home.
Deciding who to love, who
to choose, where to live. Whichever way Will goes, someone will get hurt. Himself, probably the most.

9. The dead house, Dawn Kurtagich
It has been a while since I've read a psychological thriller, and the premise of this one really stood out to me.

August 6th, 2015
Psychological thriller, young adult, mystery

Part-psychological thriller, part-urban legend, this is an unsettling narrative made up of diary entries, interview transcripts, film footage transcripts and medical notes. Twenty-five years ago, Elmbridge High burned down. Three people were killed and one pupil, Carly Johnson, disappeared. Now a diary has been found in the ruins of the school. The diary belongs to Kaitlyn Johnson, Carly’s identical twin sister. But Carly didn’t have a twin . . . 
Re-opened police records, psychiatric reports, transcripts of video footage and fragments of diary reveal a web of deceit and intrigue, violence and murder, raising a whole lot more questions than it answers.
Who was Kaitlyn and why did she only appear at night? Did she really exist or was she a figment of a disturbed mind? What were the illicit rituals taking place at the school? And just what did happen at Elmbridge in the events leading up to ‘the Johnson Incident’?
Chilling, creepy and utterly compelling, THE DEAD HOUSE is one of those very special books that finds all the dark places in your imagination, and haunts you long after you've finished reading.

10. Dreamland, Robert L. Anderson
Well, this sounds creepy but interesting. Being able to travel through people's dreams is a  new concept to me. I can't wait to see how it was explored.

September 22nd, 2015
Young adult, fantasy

Odea Donahue has been able to travel through people’s dreams since she was six years old. Her mother taught her the three rules of walking: Never interfere. Never be seen. Never walk the same person’s dream more than once. Dea has never questioned her mother, not about the rules, not about the clocks or the mirrors, not about moving from place to place to be one step ahead of the unseen monsters that Dea’s mother is certain are right behind them.
Then a mysterious new boy, Connor, comes to town and Dea finally starts to feel normal. As Connor breaks down the walls that she’s had up for so long, he gets closer to learning her secret. For the first time she wonders if that’s so bad. But when Dea breaks the rules, the boundary between worlds begins to deteriorate. How can she know what’s real and what’s not?

 All images and synopsis were obtained through GoodReads.

What are your most anticipated releases? Are you interested to read any of the books I've listed? Let me know! :)

Monday, June 8

[Review] Saphire Blue (Precious Stone Trilogy, #2) - Kerstin Gier

Author: Kerstin Gier
Original Title: Saphirblau
Publisher: Henry Holt
Release Date: October 30th, 2012 (December 1st, 2009)
Finished Date: April 2nd, 2015
Pages: 362
Read in: English

Gwen’s life has been a rollercoaster since she discovered she was the Ruby, the final member of the secret time-traveling Circle of Twelve. In between searching through history for the other time-travelers and asking for a bit of their blood (gross!), she’s been trying to figure out what all the mysteries and prophecies surrounding the Circle really mean.
At least Gwen has plenty of help. Her best friend Lesley follows every lead diligently on the Internet. James the ghost teaches Gwen how to fit in at an eighteenth century party. And Xemerius, the gargoyle demon who has been following Gwen since he caught her kissing Gideon in a church, offers advice on everything. Oh, yes. And of course there is Gideon, the Diamond. One minute he’s very warm indeed; the next he’s freezing cold. Gwen’s not sure what’s going on there, but she’s pretty much destined to find out.
Source: GoodReads

Final Rating: ★★ out of 5

I can't even explain how much of a disappointment this story turned out to be. I was expecting it to be more of an intricate and overall serious plot than it actually was. You can see here that I actually really loved the first book, as I saw incredible potential for an awesome development of the story - the world building was quite sound and the characters were very interesting. Meaning, it could have been awesome. But it wasn't. Why?
It felt, quite honestly, like the actual time travelling plot did not matter much after all. This book was much more focused on romantic drama. And I was not expecting that at all. It seemed to me like a middle grade romance, and that was not what I signed up for.
If you keep that in mind and/or you are just looking for something light and fun to read, you might enjoy this. It really is funny.

The following extended review contains spoilers
If you have not yet read the book and/or do not wish to be spoiled, please do not read any further.

Thursday, June 4

[Review] Maybe Someday (Maybe Someday, #1) - Colleen Hoover

Author: Colleen Hoover
Original Title: Maybe Someday
Publisher: Atria Books
Release Date: March 18th, 2014
Finished Date: March 31st, 2015
Pages: 385
Read in: English

At twenty-two years old, Sydney is enjoying a great life: She’s in college, working a steady job, in love with her wonderful boyfriend, Hunter, and rooming with her best friend, Tori. But everything changes when she discovers that Hunter is cheating on her—and she’s forced to decide what her next move should be.
Soon, Sydney finds herself captivated by her mysterious and attractive neighbor, Ridge. She can't take her eyes off him or stop listening to the passionate way he plays his guitar every evening out on his balcony. And there’s something about Sydney that Ridge can’t ignore, either. They soon find themselves needing each other in more ways than one.
A passionate tale of friendship, betrayal, and romance, Maybe Someday will immerse readers in Sydney’s tumultuous world from the very first page.
Source: GoodReads

Final Rating: ★★ out of 5

I have such mixed feelings about this book... This was my debut into the genre of New Adult, and although more than two months have passed since I've read it, I'm still conflicted.
There were some elements to this that were entirely refreshing, and the romance itself was swoon-worthy, but there were this little things that ticked me off.
Let's be honest: Maybe Someday is a book about cheating. Cheating and betrayals. And that particular topic hits a nerve with me. Colleen Hoover has this way of writing that makes you want to understand, and were it about anything else, I would have.
Still, I really liked the book, mainly because I think it was an incredibly original idea and very well executed. Although the accompanying music wasn't really to my taste, and I found the songs to be quite repetitive and similar, it was an amazing idea to combine literature and music and make it an incredible sensorial experience.
Two stars for the actual story. It gets one additional star for the innovative idea of incorporating music into the story.

The following extended review contains spoilers
If you have not yet read the book and/or do not wish to be spoiled, please do not read any further.

Tuesday, June 2

[Review] The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3) - Rick Riordan

Author: Rick Riordan
Original title: The Titan's Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians, #3)
Publisher: Disney Hyperion Books
Release date: Januray 1st, 2007
Finished date: March 11th, 2015
Pages: 320
Read in: English

When Percy Jackson receives an urgent distress call from his friend Grover, he immediately prepares for battle. He knows he'll need his powerful demigod allies at his side; his trusty bronze sword, Riptide; and... a ride from his mom.
The demigods reace to the rescue to find that Grover has made an important discovery: two new powerful half-bloods, whose parentage is unknown. But that's not all that awaits them. The Titan lord, Kronos, has set up a devious trap, and the young heroes have just fallen prey.
Hilarious and action-packed, this third adventure in the series finds Percy faced with his most dangerous challenge yet—the chilling prophecy of the Titan's curse.
Source: GoodReads

Final Rating: ★★★★ out of 5

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again - I wish I had read this when I was younger. It’s not that I cannot completely appreciate Percy Jackson at 21, it’s just that I feel like this series was missing in my childhood. Maybe if I had read this when I was 12 and waiting for the next Harry Potter release, - yes, because Harry Potter was all I read when I was 12 - I would have found another thing to fangirl and obsess about.

This was another awesome adventure in the Olympian world. I’m going to be really sad when I end this series. It was action-packed and so exciting, I found myself on the edge of my seat several times. Highly recommended! 

The following extended review contains spoilers
If you have not yet read the book and/or do not wish to be spoiled, please do not read any further.