The Martian – Andy Weir – Lots of science and giggles

the martian

Title: The Martian
Author: Andy Weir
Publisher: Crown
Pages: 369
Format: Paperback
Links: Goodreads
images9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2yStar-Half-Full

Synopsis:

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he’s sure he’ll be the first person to die there.
After a dust storm nearly kills him and forces his crew to evacuate the planet while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded on Mars’ surface, completely alone, with no way to signal Earth that he’s alive — and even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone years before a rescue could arrive.
Chances are, though, he won’t have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old “human error” are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark’s not ready to quit. Armed with nothing but his ingenuity and his engineering skills — and a gallows sense of humor that proves to be his greatest source of strength – he embarks on a dogged quest to stay alive, using his botany expertise to grow food and even hatching a mad plan to contact NASA back on Earth.
As he overcomes one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next, Mark begins to let himself believe he might make it off the planet alive – but Mars has plenty of surprises in store for him yet.

 

Review:

My TBR jar challenge of the month was “read a sci-fi book”. There is a reason why this was in my TBR jar challenge. I hardly read any Science Fiction. It’s just not my thing and when I do read it, I tend not to overly enjoy it.

But the Martian has been on my TBR list for quite some time. Especially because I wanted to see the movie. (Yes, I do enjoy Sci-Fi movies and TV shows.) And I must say that I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would.

The reason for that is probably Mark Watney, the astronaut stranded on Mars who tells his story through logs. I couldn’t be anything less than charmed by his intelligence and humor. And I think that Mark is the reason this story speaks to so many people, because it is very heavy on the sciences. Which is logical because we are talking space travel, astronauts, survival on mars and all that stuff. For me personally it was sometimes a bit too heavy on the technical side and I found myself skimming through all the science talk towards the end. But the reason I kept reading and kept enjoying myself was Mark telling the story is such an interesting and hilarious way. I found myself chuckling quite often with this book. Especially in times of deathly peril. Cause Mark makes almost dying pretty funny apparently.

Although I truly enjoyed Marks chapters I think my favourites were the ones where we followed Nasa and ground control. I liked how they handled the media and the rescue mission. You see that Andy Weir has put a lot of research in this novel to get everything on point and believable.

Also very interesting and realistic to see how earth reacted to this “disaster”. And with realistic, I do mean realistic. I can see the groups of people gathering around the world to watch everything on big screens, the daily reports and everything. I think this is actually how earth and its population would react to a situation like this.

Now I am going to say something that might sound a bit weird, considering I stated how much I loved Marks dark humour. But I think the book could have benefited from a little less Mark and a little more ground control and Hermes. Because well after 250 soles I kind of had it with his potatoes and all the equations to make water out of air. It became a bit repetitive, hence why I began skimming parts of the story. Because I had to keep on reading, I had to know if Mark would be ok in the end.

So yes, an enjoyable read that is a little bit too heavy on the science. And too light on the fiction.

images9cxhej2y Dark humor that makes you laugh out loud while reading!
images9cxhej2y Very well researched!
images9cxhej2y Realistic build up!
Star-Half-Full Strong world building
mini-half-star-iconSometimes a bit repetitive.
17996254_iHBT9 Very heavy on the science

“Yes, of course duct tape works in a near-vacuum. Duct tape works anywhere. Duct tape is magic and should be worshiped.”    
  LOG ENTRY: SOL 61 How come Aquaman can control whales? They’re mammals! Makes no sense.”
 “I can’t wait till I have grandchildren. When I was younger, I had to walk to the rim of a crater. Uphill! In an EVA suit! On Mars, ya little shit! Ya hear me? Mars!”     

So yes, an enjoyable read that is a little bit too heavy on the science. And too light on the fiction.

For the love of Mary – A tale of painful handjobs and Santa Clause

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Title: For the love of Mary
Author: Christopher Meades
Publisher: ECW Press
Pages: 352
Format read: Net Galley Arc
Links:
Goodreads, Amazon

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Synopsis:

Fifteen-year-old Jacob feels almost on the inside: almost smart, almost funny, almost good-looking, almost worthy of falling in love. His sister is too busy dating guys in Whitesnake jackets to notice, and his best friend is occupied with his own painful pubescent crisis. Jacob’s mother has just started a curious (and rather un-Christian) holy war with the church across the street, while his father has secretly moved into the garage.
Everything changes when Jacob meets Mary. Jacob thinks Mary is the most beautiful girl in the world. If only Mary’s father wasn’t the minister at the enormous rival church. If only she wasn’t dating a youth pastor with pristine white teeth and impeccably trimmed hair. If only Jacob could work up the courage to tell Mary how he feels . . .
As the conflict between the churches escalates, a peeping Tom prowls the neighbourhood, a bearded lady terrorizes unsuspecting Dairy Queen customers, a beautiful young girl entices Jacob into a carnal romp in a car wash, and the church parishioners prepare their annual re-enactment of Operation Desert Storm.

Review:

I had the pleasure of reading an arc from this book kindly provided by net galley. The premise of this book really interested me and it sounded like a fun and easy read.

And I was partly right. The book was a very easy read and sometimes it was quite fun. Unfortunately I had some trouble connecting to the story. It might be because I am not an American reader. The plotline of this book is centred around two rival churches: Presbyterian and Methodist. These are forms of believe where I am not familiar with. Thank the lord for google who gave me some clarity about this subject. But due to my lack of background I think quite a few jokes might have been lost on me.

For the love of Mary is also a satire on the whole going to church experience and the underlying relationships between parishioners and different church communities. Again this was a little bit lost on me. Coming from a country where most people only visit church for a wedding, a baptism or a funeral. It is not an issue that lives among our community, so that made it harder to get into this story and invest in it.

On the other hand, every story is about people, love, friendship and relations. That is universal, so I can relate to that part of the book. I mentioned it before but I thought the funniness of this novel was sometimes a bit lacking. A little bit too slapstick for my tastes. At times I have chuckled while reading, but now, after finishing the book only a couple of hours ago I can’t recall a single really funny laugh out loud scene. So that says enough, I think?

This novel is all about relationships and I was surprised that I found the most touching relationships the one that are not the important ones. I was really pleasantly surprised by the interaction between Jacob and the father of Prina. Also the relation between shotgun and Zelda was truly memorable. Their relationship is interwoven into the story in a very sneaky and intelligent way. Only at the very end of the story, you get the full picture as a reader.

So yes, I really enjoyed these minor relationships in the book. So what about the friendships and romance that this story is centred around? Well to be honest they fell kind of flat for me. The only relationship that stood out was the one between brother and sister. Maybe it is because I liked Caroline as a person? But she was a strong character in this book and I think she deserved to be fleshed out a little more. After all what she did for Jacob and his friends I think she deserved a little more gratitude from him. (Like stop checking your watch every 5 seconds, when your sister is making you part of her future plans!)

Christopher Meades writing style is on point. It is fast and flowing and at times the word games he plays are really brilliant. I enjoyed his writing enormously. I also enjoyed the time setting of this story. I am a child of the 90’s myself and I quite enjoyed the little references to pop culture in the 90’s!

Lets talk about the cover!
I hope they don’t change the cover because it is perfect in all its simplicity!I love the little white board that chances God into Mary. And I can’t help but think of the Sistene chapel when I look at the hand that holds the plaque. The bright colours and stars make the book so inviting. I would pick it up in a bookstore without have second thoughts!

Characters:imagesSW7HTJ08imagesSW7HTJ08imagesSW7HTJ08
Setting:imagesSW7HTJ08imagesSW7HTJ08imagesSW7HTJ08
Pace:imagesSW7HTJ08imagesSW7HTJ08imagesSW7HTJ08imagesSW7HTJ08
If you liked: This book reminded me of John Green books, but without tackling really difficult topics. Lets say it is a light version of a John Green book.
Overall thoughts:  So all in all a decent read. I might have enjoyed it more if I came from a similar background or if I would have been younger!

 

T10T: What did I just read?

Welcome to another Top 10 Tuesday. ! For those of you who want to join up with the top 10 meme, please check all the info down below!

This week I am doing a slightly different Top 10 Tuesday then all you lovely T10T’ers out there. The topic was beach reads and I did a T5W very recently on that team. So I decided to dive into the very large archives of T10T and came up with Top 10 books that left me with my mouth hanging wide open.

I am not going to take it very literal, but I am going to use this very wide. I am going to name my 10 favourite books with big plot twists. So not necessary cliff-hangers. But just books that leave you with a “wow, what just happened there feeling.”

Hopeless by Colleen Hoover
You will find a lot of Colleen Hoover in this list, but she does these twists so well. She always comes up with something completely unexpected that leaves you with your mouth hanging wide upon and a “what just happened feeling”. For those of you unfamiliar with Colleen Hoovers work she writes new adult books. I will link the review of this book, so you can get a better idea of my thoughts.

 

Finding Hope by Colleen Hoover
Finding Hope is the companion novel of Hopeless. And I know that it might seem that there isn’t a lot of new story to add and not a twist. But there is…. Believe me there is. Colleen Hoover is queen of the plot twists!

 

Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma
Forbidden is a mind blowing book on its own. It is about incest and it will shake your world, upside down, inside out. But that ending… I really didn’t see it coming. It left me a broken, crying mess on the floor.

 

Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
Dragonfly in Amber starts off with a cliff-hanger. You read the first couple of chapters and you think you have skipped a book. (I actually hear from other readers that they went to goodreads to see if they had the right book.) The whole book is devoted to explaining this big reveal in the beginning of the book. But be warned because your heart is ripped out from page one and it will not return to you anytime soon.

We were liars by E Lockheart
I was a little disappointed by we were liars because I saw the “twist” coming from miles away. But I am still including him in this lists, because I am one of the few ones. So don’t worry, you will probably be mind blown. And if you are not it is still a wonderful book!

Twisted by Andrew E Kaufman
I can’t say anything about this book, because it will reveal too much. I just need you to read it. To believe me and pick it up for yourself. It is amazing. It is mind blowing. It will fuck with your brain!

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
This is one of the most well-known “plot twist” books of the past few years. Gillian Flynn is a master in writing dark thrillers with really messed up characters. But she does it so well. You hate almost all of the characters while reading, but still you are compelled to read on.

We need to talk about Kevin by Lionel Shriver
It is funny how this book keeps on showing up on my blog. I truly hated it while reading it. Contemplated numerous times to DNF it. But I eventually finished it and it is one of the only books that has stuck with me for so long. It is a very dark story about a high school shooting. Pretty straightforward you would say. But then there is a twist, that left me with my mouth wide open gasping for air. Brilliant and at the same time horrible.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane
I first experienced Shutter Island as a movie and I was completely blown away by the wrap up of the story. So mind blowing and unexpected. And even knowing the end I was still enthralled with the book!

Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover
Ugly love was my first Colleen Hoover book and to be completely honest looking back it is the one with the least mind blowing plot twist. But it is still very good and it gives you all the feels. When Colleen puts all the pieces together, you just can’t help but be amazed by what a wonderful writer she is.

A court of mist and fury – Sarah J Maas – Fury, mist, night and stars…

a court of mist

Title: A court of mist and fury (ACOMAF)
Author: Sarah J Maas
Publisher: Bloomsbury
Pages: 640
Format: Paperback
Links: Goodreads
images9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2y

Synopsis:

Feyre survived Amarantha’s clutches to return to the Spring Court—but at a steep cost. Though she now has the powers of the High Fae, her heart remains human, and it can’t forget the terrible deeds she performed to save Tamlin’s people.
Nor has Feyre forgotten her bargain with Rhysand, High Lord of the feared Night Court. As Feyre navigates its dark web of politics, passion, and dazzling power, a greater evil looms—and she might be key to stopping it. But only if she can harness her harrowing gifts, heal her fractured soul, and decide how she wishes to shape her future—and the future of a world cleaved in two.

Review:

When I turned the last page, I looked up at my husband and said: “This is the best book I have ever read.” And I still stand with that. I am honestly contemplating to take away a star of all my 5 stars ratings, because after reading this none of them are worth 5 stars.

And with that I have said it all. The rest of this review will be me fangirling like I never fangirled before. If you are not into that, please look away. Because I will tell you now I have nothing bad to say about A court of mist and fury (ACOMAF from now on).

People who follow my reviews know that I loved A court of thorns and roses (ACOTAR)deeply. It was one of my favourite books of 2015 and it has since then had an honourable place in my favourite books of all time. So it is safe to say that my expectations were sky-high.

ACOMAF is a book that left me broken. That might sound pretty bad, but it is not. It made me laugh, cry and swoon. It even made me angry to the point that I wanted to throw the book through the house in pure frustration. If there would have been a way to transport into a book and go kick some ass I would have done that. I would have faced some particular High Lord and spilled my wrath at him.

It took me a week to read this book. That is quite long for me, I will admit that. But I did it on purpose. ACOMAF is so good that you could finish it in one night. Because you can hardly put it away. But I didn’t want ACOMAF to be a one night stand. I wanted to establish a long term relationship with it, so I had to take it slow and soak in every detail of the story. I wanted to make the pleasure (and pain, cause there is a lot of emotional pain involved.) last for as long as I could. I am not overreacting when I say I was slightly nauseous when I started the last 100 pages. I just wasn’t ready to let go. I am still not, hence why I spend all my time surfing fan theories about the third book. I need that third book and I need it know!

I loved how ACOMAF is so different from ACOTAR. Not only the writing is in a whole other league but also the character and world building is just breath-taking. I loved Feyre from the start and I would have defended her against all the haters out there. But I don’t think she needs my defending. What Sarah J. Maas did with her in this instalment is answer enough to all those out there who thought she was weak. Feyre is this revenging, Valkyrie-like, kick ass heroine who doesn’t need a man to sort out her business. Feyre was badly broken by Amarantha under the mountain. ACOMAF is in that aspect a story about healing and growing. Not only for Feyre but also for the people surrounding her. I love how in-depth we go with all the characters. How everybody has a back story and we learn more of the past and how they affect the current relationships.

In my review of ACOTAR I mentioned that I really hoped there wouldn’t be a love triangle. And to be honest there isn’t…. it’s not a triangle. It could have been, but Sarah J Maas played it so well that the whole triangle possibility was swept of the table and fell to shattering pieces on the ground. I don’t want to go into too much spoilery details, but just know that I went into this book thinking A and I came out thinking Z. Before I started I even mentioned that I couldn’t believe I would ever change my opinion on some parts of the story. And then there she went, boom, bam and all was forgotten. Brilliant writing!

Another part that I really liked about this story is how it feels like an onion. You peel layer of layer away and suddenly things seem very different. (For example the scene with the weaver. By the end of the book you learn how very significant that scene really is.) Multiple times I was just staring in awe at the page, because pieces from the books just fitted together. And it is not that the first interpretation you gave these particular scenes is wrong. No, at the time you read them they were just that. But then Sarah J Maas twists and turns them into something more, something better… something you never realised it could be. This may sound a bit weird, but I am sure that readers who have read both the books will know what I mean.

For me this book isn’t YA. It is definitely NA with some very steamy sex scenes. Followers know that I love a portion of steamy one on one scenes in the books that I read. And Sarah J Maas just hit the mark with me here. Beautiful, loving scenes, but still erotic and steamy. I love how she made the sex part of the healing process. How she shows younger readers that sex is special, but at the same time pleasant and enjoyable for woman. I cheer for that message in books that will be read by young women. 3 times hooray for that!

I am desperately in love with this book. And the one thing I want to do is pick it up again and start all over. I just don’t want to let go. How I am supposed to wait another year for the final instalment? I want to know how it all wraps up. Especially with that ending. Not really a cliff-hanger, but some vicious, evil ending that leaves me wanting more, and more and more……

images9cxhej2y Strong character development
images9cxhej2y Beautiful world building
images9cxhej2y Swoon worthy romance
images9cxhej2y Brilliant plot twists
images9cxhej2y Strong female characters

If I ever have to live on a deserted island with just one book…. this is the book I would take with me!

Those Summer Nights – Mandy Baggot – Oh those Greek nights

those summer nights

Title: Those Summer nights
Author: Mandy Baggot
Publisher: Bookouture
Pages: 375
Format: Arc, kindly provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
Links: Goodreads
images9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2yimages9cxhej2y

Synopsis:

Imogen Charlton is sorted. Dead-beat husband? History. Dream job? Application sent. But then her impulsive brother, Harry, spends every last penny on a Greek restaurant in Corfu, and is determined to run it himself. It’s up to Imogen to bring him to his senses.
When sexy millionaire Panos Dimitriou offers to buy back his family taverna, Imogen wonders if all her prayers have been answered (and all her fantasies about to come true). But Harry won’t budge, and his enthusiasm is infectious.
Bright pink bougainvillea tumbling over whitewashed walls, endless blue skies, the sparkling Mediterranean; it’s hard not to fall for Corfu. And that’s not all Imogen is falling for…
As the sparks of passion fly between Imogen and Panos, is Imogen having second thoughts on selling the restaurant? And will she have to choose between love and a new dream?

Review:

How could I not like this book? It is about Greece and food, two things I passionately love!
I think this book succeeded in with it was designed to do. It made my mouth water with all the delicious Greek dishes that were described. I can’t count the times that I said to my husband: “Ok, now I want souvlaki. Ow and a portion of Tzatziki!” After finishing the book I started googling holidays in Corfu. (One of the Greek Island that I haven’t visited yet. But it is on the list for next year thanks to Those summer nights.) So yes, it made me yearn for a Greek holiday.

I loved how the story was told from two different pov’s. In one POV we follow the English Imogen, who sets out with her brother to Corfu. Harry has bought a restaurant at the beachside and he is excited to make it a success. His sister however is very sceptical. Harry has a history with depression and it is even hinted manic episodes. So it is her job to get her brother on the next plane back to England. However when Imogene arrives at Corfu things quickly begin to chance.
The second POV is that of Panos, a very wealthy local who returns to his home island to bring “modern improvement to the local beachfront”. Panos stays with his grandmother and quickly finds that innovation might not be the answer to all his problems.

I had an instant connection with Imogen. She is such a wonderful woman. Funny, caring and very protective about her family. I personally loved her when she got angry, because that made her all the more real for me. I had some trouble connecting to Panos for some reason. Maybe he was a little bit to stereotype for me. Described as a Greek God with lots of money to spend..; that just doesn’t do it for me. I personally liked Harry as a character more. He isn’t perfect, but he is working very hard for the things he loves and cherishes.

And I want a grandma like Yaiyai! She is so funny and adorable! Overall I loved all the characters in this story. I wouldn’t mind spending my summer with them in Corfu! They were all kind-hearted people who were fighting for their happiness.
The community feeling really seeped from the pages and that was made this book so strong. It felt like you could get in touch with traditional Corfu!

One little point of critique maybe. I was a little bit disappointed with the outcome of the story. (Look out for spoilers because I am going into more debt!) I actually thought the story would wrap up differently. Panos tells us the old hotel of his father is still owned by his mother. And it is mentioned that his father wanted to make something “authentic”. I thought that maybe Panos would invest in the ruin of this hotel and make it a traditional Greek hotel. Imogen always dreamed of working in a hotel. So for me that would have been the ultimate wrap up for this story. Panos working on his father’s dream and giving Imogen her lifelong dream along.

images9cxhej2y Vacation vibes all over the place!
images9cxhej2y Lovely characters with a realistic background and story.
images9cxhej2y Corfu really comes to life before your eyes
images9cxhej2y Filled with funny and heartwarming moments
17996254_iHBT9 The male love intrested is a little bit too stereotypical for my liking.

Those Summer Night is a lovely read! It is a warm, funny summer read that every woman should carry in her bag to the beach!

T5W: TBR bench warmers

Time for another top 5 Wednesday! For those of you who want to join up with the top 5 meme, please check all the info down below!

This week I am going to choose an old top 5 theme. Because this week topic was pretty similar to a top 10 Tuesday topic I did a couple of weeks back. So I decided to go with an older topic to share with you guys! My eye fell on top 5 TBR bench warmers. So books that have been on my TBR the longest and that I actually own. You know those books who sit in on your shelves for ever…. Or so it seems.

 

5. The Mercy seller by Brenda Rickman Vantrease
On my TBR and in my possession since: January 2012

The Mercy seller is the second book in a duology. I loved the first book the illuminator. I read this book ages ago and the mercy seller was a really hard book to get my hands on. I think it took me almost 1,5 years to find a copy of it? So it has been over 5 years since I read the first book in the series. And I just can’t remember the storyline anymore. I should reread the first one before diving into this one and to be quite honest I just can’t seem to make myself do that. So many other great books are waiting for me!

4. Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrel by Susanna Clarke
On my TBR and in my possession since: September 2012

I read very mixed review for this book, but the premise just kind of spoke to me. I can’t really say why I haven’t read this book yet. I don’t think there is a definite reason. It just didn’t happen and at the moment I think it will stay that way for a little bit longer.

3. New York by Edward Rutherfurd
On my TBR and in my possession since: July 2013

I read Sarum of this author and I really liked it. Edward Rutherfurd writes books that chronically depict the history of a certain place. In this case New York, like you might have guessed. You start at the founding time and travel through the ages, following historical events, families and such. It is so incredibly interesting and I always learn something new. But his books are very voluminous to put it nicely and it is a large commitment because they are really slow pace. So this humongous book of almost 900 pages is one beast to start.

2. The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton
On my TBR and in my possession since: December 2014

I have no idea why I haven’t read this book yet. I bought it after hearing several book tubers praise it. Then it was on my shelves and the magical realism of it scared the hell out of me. Not good… I know. But I will read it and I actually hope pretty soon!

1.Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
On my TBR and in my possession since February 2015.

I love Rainbow Rowell adult novels and I have a very turbulent relationship with her YA novels. So Eleanor and Park sits there on my shelves and I just don’t pick it up. Scared to be disappointed. Scared that it won’t be as good as I think it will be. I know I have to give it a chance, but I am still working up the courage!

 

 

T10T: Ratings that changed

Welcome to another Top 10 Tuesday. ! For those of you who want to join up with the top 10 meme, please check all the info down below!

This week the lovely ladies over at the broke and the bookish want us the share our T10 books our feelings have changed about as time passes on. This can be for multiple reasons. Love more, love less…. So without further ado let’s explore why I have develop different feelings for these books over time.

Books that I would rate lower now:

  • The whole hunger games trilogy by Suzanne Collins
    I don’t like the hunger games. I think that is a well-known fact about me. So why did I gave all the books 5 stars way back in 2012? I don’t know… I really, really don’t know. And I can’t remember doing it. Because all I can remember is really disliking the hunger games. Maybe I was just caught in the hype? Or maybe it was because I never read any dystopian? Anyway, I think I would give the series an overall 3 stars (and that is being generous). I really didn’t like it…..
  • Hate List by Jennifer Brown
    I gave this book 5 stars. It is a really good book that handles a difficult subject really well. But it isn’t a 5 star read. A 5 star read for me is a book that will stick with me for a very long time. A book that I can recall years from now. It has only been a year since I read hate list, but I know it will fade away for me slowly. I will still recommend this book. Wonderful read, you should try it. But not a book that blew me away.
  • Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon
    I surprised you there didn’t I! Huge outlander fan as I am, you wouldn’t think I would mention one of my precious babies in this section. But I am abide to say that Dragonfly in Amber isn’t a five star read for me. I think I granted it 5 stars in my outlander – crazy fase. But now looking back at it, I struggled with this book more than I would have liked. Up to this moment it is my least favourite read of the whole series. So yes, I would bring it down to 4 stars.
  • The notebook by Nicholas Sparks

    The notebook and I go way back. To a time that the husband and I were dating and this book had a special meaning to us. It still has today, but I think I let my personal feelings conflict with my rating. Because for some unknown reason I granted this book 4 stars and that is definitely not what it is worth. For me the notebook is 3,6 stars when we are talking about the actual physical book. But all the stars and more to the movie. That movie is so good! Go watch it! Go watch it now!

  • The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion
    When I think about this book I mostly think “meh”. I gave it 4 stars, mainly because it reminded me of Sheldon in the big bang theory. And boy, do I love me some Sheldon. It also has really wonderful sentences and that made me very mild in the rating. But honestly it is more of a 3 stars, maybe a 3,5 stars looking back. Quite an enjoyable read, but nothing “lasting”.
  • The girl on the train by Paula Hawkins
    I know I said I wouldn’t say anything about this book anymore. I hate this book! But I gave it two stars. Two stars on goodreads means it was ok. This book definitely wasn’t ok. So I would chance it to 1 star which means did not like it. Just because there is no “I hated this book so much that I wanted to burn it after reading” star option.

Books that I would rate higher now:

 

  • One day by David Nicholls
    I remember not knowing what all the fuss was about with this book. But I think I was a bit too young to appreciate what David Nicholls does in his novels. So I think I would be milder this time around. I would really like to reread it to see of grown up me finds the story more interesting, more captivating. Who knows maybe one day….

 

  • Miss Peregrine’s Home for peculiar Childeren by Ransom Riggs
    I gave this book two stars… I know I must be from another planet. I have no idea what got into me and why I marked it so low. Well no, that is not exactly right. I had very different expectations from this book. I expected something scary and that was not what I got. So I think I vented my disappointment in my rating. I am planning on rereading this book! So I will get back to you on this, but it will certainly be higher than 2 stars! 

 

  • If I stay by Gayle Forman
    I have judge If I stay very hard. It will never be my favourite book and I felt almost no connection with the characters. But as time passed by I realised it had a very strong message. More time passed and I read the sequel and loved it. So looking back and seeing the whole picture I would chance that 2 star rating into a 3 star rating.
     

 

  • The fellowship of the ring by J.R.R Tolkien
    I am actually cheating with this one. Because I have reread it this year, so I actively changed my marks. Once upon a time I gave the fellowship two stars. Rereading it this year I gave it 3 stars. Don’t expect anything higher because I can rand for hours why I don’t like Tolkiens writing style. But 3 stars is deserved.

The Raven King – Maggie Stiefvater -Full cycle

the raven king

Title: The Raven King
Author: Maggie Stiefvater
Publisher: Scholastic Press
Pages: 438
Format: Hardcover
Links: Goodreads
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Synopsis:

For years, Gansey has been on a quest to find a lost king. One by one, he’s drawn others into this quest: Ronan, who steals from dreams; Adam, whose life is no longer his own; Noah, whose life is no longer a lie; and Blue, who loves Gansey…and is certain she is destined to kill him.
Now the endgame has begun. Dreams and nightmares are converging. Love and loss are inseparable. And the quest refuses to be pinned to a path.

Review:

This book….. I don’t even know where to start with this review. Cause it is total perfection and at the same time it left so many gaps open. First of all don’t read this review if you are not caught up on the series, because well… there will be spoilers. It is impossible to review a final instalment without giving away some spoilers.

You are still reading? Don’t say I didn’t warn you! Let’s start of by saying this is one of my most anticipated releases of 2016. So the bar was set really high. Skyscraper high, but Maggie Stiefvater didn’t let me down. She delivered the best book in the series and that is saying much considering how much I love this series. Faithfull followers will know that Blue Lily, Lily Blue let me down. And that unnerved me, because it was the novel that was setting everything in motion for the grand finale. I shouldn’t have worried. The Raven king was sublime in all its simple beauty.

The prologue of this book is incredibly strong and had me hooked from the very first sentences. And with that the whole feeling of the book is captured. Because for those who might not have noticed the raven cycle is a very atmospheric read. If you think the previous books were dark, be warned going into this one. It gets darker! If you think the previous books were magical. Magic is everywhere in this one. You will laugh, you will cry, you will mourn. Be ready, because the raven king is one emotional ride.

For most of the series I was really invested in Blue and Gansey. They were let’s say my ship. And that didn’t change and I was so happy we finally got to see them together. Although that kiss of death was a little anticlimactic. But I didn’t expect to be so taken by Adam and Ronan. I know I come late to this party, very late…. But The Ravenking completely changed that for me. I was actually desperate to see them together. See how it all played out for them. Most of you also know that Ronan was never my favourite character of the series. But in this last instalment he finally captured my heart and I don’t think he will ever let it go. I mean, yes he is still the bad boy of the group. And I am not a big fan of bad boys. I will always be a Gansey girl all the way. But this softer, more vulnerable side of Ronan just blew me away. Was it that he was finally interacting with his brothers? Or just the fact that he dared to acknowledge who he really was? Is it Adam who balances him out or did I just finally see the real Ronan? Who will say. But it was hard leaving his POV, because I wanted more of him. More from him. Just more….

Saying that I think it is safe to state that all the characters developed immensely during the whole series. They all grew and learned from each other and it was nice to see the dynamics of there little group chance from time to time. I actually loved that Maggie Stiefvater added another “Raven boy” in this instalment. I really liked Henry Chang. The last book is a little bit late to introduce a new character, so I understand why other reviewers question this decision. We don’t know him very well. We don’t know his background or his motives. But for me this was part of the story. Some of the suspense was created by the million dollar question can we trust Henry? Is he a friend or just another opponent we need to combat?

And yes, maybe Henry cut in to a bit of Noah time. I really didn’t mind that because Noah story for me was told. But on the other hand Noah is a very important character in this final instalment. He doesn’t get a lot of page time, but the things he does are very important for the overall wrap up of the series.

The ends a little bit to open for me. But this time I don’t really mind, because well… there is a chance we get back? I hope? Please, let there be another series about this group!

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All in all a wonderful read. Masterfully constructed story and I will say it again and again the Raven cycle is a refreshing, original YA novel that everybody should have read!

I’ll give you the sun – Jandy Nelson – I’ll give you a whole lot of metaphors

I ll give

Title: I’ll give you the sun
Author:
 Jandy Nelson
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 371
Format read: Hardcover
Links: Goodreads

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Synopsis:

Jude and her twin brother, Noah, are incredibly close. At thirteen, isolated Noah draws constantly and is falling in love with the charismatic boy next door, while daredevil Jude cliff-dives and wears red-red lipstick and does the talking for both of them. But three years later, Jude and Noah are barely speaking. Something has happened to wreck the twins in different and dramatic ways . . . until Jude meets a cocky, broken, beautiful boy, as well as someone else—an even more unpredictable new force in her life. The early years are Noah’s story to tell. The later years are Jude’s. What the twins don’t realize is that they each have only half the story, and if they could just find their way back to one another, they’d have a chance to remake their world.

Review:

This is a traditional case of “it’s me, not you”. I’ll give you the sun is a widely loved book. But for me it just didn’t work its magic.

I can see why people are in love with this book. But let’s start off with why I didn’t like this book much. First of all I just didn’t connect with the characters. And it wasn’t because I didn’t like them. Because overall Noah and Jude are strong characters. The chapters switch between Jude and Noah and their narration is very different from each other. I never had trouble figuring out who was actually telling the story. So yes, that was very well done! Especially because they both have their own little characterisation in the text. Noah paints pictures in his mind and Jude uses text from her grandmothers bible.

The reason why I didn’t connect with the story and the characters, has everything to do with the writing style. And I think that your overall enjoyment of this book will depend solemnly on your love or hate for Jandy’s writing style. I didn’t hate it, but I certainly didn’t love it either. For me it was just too “new age”, if that makes any sense? This book is full of crazy metaphors that turn the story into something too poetic for me? In normal circumstances I don’t mind a metaphor here or there. But when a book is over 370 pages and is filled to the brim with flowery prose than I lose my focus. And with my focus I lose my interest for the characters and what is happening to them.

And that is such a shame because I’ll give you the sun is an incredible, strong story. So many things are going on. It deals with grief and guilt in a very original and realistic manner. I loved how this book portrayed the homosexual characters in this novel. Strong, on point, realistic and with that little ray of sunshine that could help teenagers with the same doubts and problems. On the other hand there is Jude, who his heterosexual, but has her own issues to deal with. When are you “that girl”? How do you know when something is right?

For me this story was also about children learning that their parents are humans. People who make mistakes and sometimes they won’t make everything better. Sometimes they make things worse. But they always try their best. I thought that was a beautiful message.

So yes, I see why so many people loved this book and can’t stop raving about it. I am just not one of them and that is a shame because I had quite high expectations from this book. The writing just kept me at a distance and it felt like I was reading a book. And for me “reading a book” normally feels like “experiencing a story”.

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Very flowery, with lots of metaphors. If you can handle that, it is a strong, beautiful story!

T5T:Beach reads!

It’s Wednesday again and that means it is time for Top 5 Wednesday. For those of you who want to join up with the top 5 meme, please check all the info down below!

For this week I am sharing with you my top 5 summer reads and I am sharing them with you in no particular order! They are all my favourites! Grab yourself a beach towel, a nice cold drink and one of these books to get that summery vibe going!

  • Summer at Rose Island by Holly Martin
    I have been raving about this book on my blog so most of you guys should know how I feel about it and what this book is about. It is quite simple, I am head over heels in love with it. You won’t find the typical waving palms and cocktails in this book. But that doesn’t change the fact that it is a very summery read with an instant feel good vibe over it. For those of you who still doubt the magic of this book. It has beaches, sharks and swimming. And romance… oh don’t get me started on the romance!

 

  • The sisterhood of the travelling pants by Ann Brashares
    Is there a book out there that screams more summer than sisterhood of the travelling pants? The book is about teenage girls during summer! This book is a YA book and explores these girls first steps into adult life. Their first summer apart, first crushes, first fights, a whole lot of first!

 

  • Amy and Rogers epic detour by Morgan Matson
    It has been a while since I mentioned this book hasn’t it. Last year I just couldn’t stop raving about it. But now summer is here and I am read to rave one more time! Let’s start of by saying there is no beach involved in this book. No ocean, no beach, no cocktails… you won’t miss it because it has root beer, play lists and like the title says an epic detour. But it is not all fun and games. Amy and Rogers Epic detour has a deeper layer to it and that is what makes this book so good.

 

  • The cathedral of the sea by Idelfonso Falcones
    Something completely different and you might be wondering why I added a humongous book to the list. Well first of all, when you are on the beach you have time to read. But that’s not the only reason. This book is set in Catalonia Spain and although it is set in past it still gave me an urge to visit Barcelona. To wander the streets of the Barrio Gotico. To take a dip in the Mediterranean. So yes, I will admit it is not your typical beach read, but give it a go, you won’t regret it!

 

  • Wish you were here by Mike Gayle
    Look it has a beach on the cover, so you can be pretty sure that it will be a beach read. Yes, I have selected a book that is actually set around a beach for this selection. This particular book is set in Malia, Greece. And for those who aren’t familiar with the author it is guy-lit. (Mainly chicklit written by a guy.) A romance written by a dude. It is the perfect light read for your days on a Greece beach!

Top 5 wednesday is organised by Sam . You can find all the info in the goodreads group.