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Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Linger

After my first meet-up with one of Maggie Stiefvater's books I couldn't wait to read on in this trilogy! The first book, Shiver, was finished in one day because it was so good. My review about Shiver is online so you can go check it out if you haven't read the second book in this trilogy: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater. That's the book I'll talk a little bit more about today!

Sam and Grace have to fight to stay together. Her parents are having a hard time with accepting Sam and the whole town is up-side-down since the disappearance of a town girl. All the while, Sam is still struggling with his past and Grace is having trouble with her future, the two are captured in a whole new problem they need to solve. Together with that problem a lot of other mysteries start to unravel themselves and time is running out. The wolves are being hunted on and the clock is ticking not only for the wolves but also for the others. They're coming to get you...


This book was mind-blowing on a whole new level. First of there are two knew plot lines that accompany the original plot lines of Sam and Grace. One of these two, is Isabel who, if you read my review on Shiver, did start growing on me because of her sarcasm mainly. And the second newcomer is someone totally new: Cole. Believe me, he's going to make this book even deeper than it was before he was here. 

Maybe first a little bit more about our two original characters Sam and Grace. The end of the first book really had me by the heart. It was emotionally great and I was so happy with the ending! The sweet bond between these two characters goes on in this book. Although I missed some of their earlier spark, it was still there and I still enjoyed it a lot. Sam and Grace are just the two characters to die for. 

Did they change a lot? Well, to be honest Grace is still herself and she's still very intuitive, mature and amazing. I did notice a change in Sam mainly because his life is totally different now and he's trying to enjoy it between all the new-forming problems and tasks that are thrown at him. Yet I did think he felt more happy than he has ever before and this gives you a very pleasant feeling about this character. You just get happy because he is. 

Other characters that are from Shiver and come back are Grace's parents. I never liked them, not even for a bit. Mainly because they were being the kids and acting stupid. They didn't even care about Grace or asked how she felt and waited until she made dinner. This time around they start acting as "The Parents" and disapprove of Sam. Of course, they got on my nerves immediately and also on those of Grace. Grace will act out on them and tell them she's been building her life alone and that they haven't been around but her parents stay calm and are acting like they're deaf.

 They don't want to hear what she's got to say and they just keep saying how bad Sam is. All the while they haven't been around themselves. Let's just say that I'm still not a fan of them. What I did realize during these events is that you really feel the emotions of Grace a lot when her parents are acting like this. It's as if Grace is manipulating you through the book to feel what she feels and that's a great asset to the story. I could crawl into her body and feel how she felt with the situation and I could understand her. Understanding a character is something important in a book, that's how I see it!

Now, the two new plots. First of Isabel! Isabel is the sarcastic one of them all but she's been suffering a lot lately due to certain circumstances. Her parents are also suffering and that's why she feels lost and lonely in the world. I started to love this character more and more all the while she started to develop another personality. She isn't only sarcastic, she's blunt and she'll say what needs to be said. At first you might think she's absolutely horrible and cruel but most of the time she's right. Someone needed to say it and she did it.

But I don't think that's all to this character! Sure she acts blunt and all but she's suffering and she gets angry a lot. Mainly I thought that was because she didn't want to act on what she was really feeling: lost and lonely. Isabel tries to prevent that people see her as a weak little girl by hiding her true feelings behind her mask of anger, sarcasm and bluntness. Throughout the book we do get glimpses of the real Isabel, and believe me they're worth waiting for through the story. I hope that we'll get a bigger picture of the real Isabel in the last book of this series!

A character that really influences her in the book and makes her get all hot and cold is the newcomer: Cole. In the beginning, I have to admit, I didn't feel it for him. He was quiet, cruel and it felt as if he just really didn't care about anything. This is the moment when you start realizing he resembles a lot like Isabel. There are so many things to uncover with this character because he's something new and shiny in the book. He's the one you will start investigating and together with the other characters, mostly Isabel, you'll start to uncover and unravel him and see who he really is. He's more than only his cruel, empty smile and I appreciated the search for the real Cole!

As for the plot, it was as good as the first book! Although there was one aspect that was a little predictable when I was nearing the end and reading the last half of the book. Nevertheless, I found this book very well because it builds on to events from the first book. The things Beck did will come to mention but there's also a part that will not be discussed and which I'm eager to find out in the last book, if they'll mention it at all! 

They don't only build on the events from the first book, of course there are new problems that will be formed. One of them is the thing I found rather predictable, which isn't a bad thing because I still enjoyed it and was surprised at the end. This meaning that I thought things would have turned out differently but believe me: even the ones who think they know the end because it's predictable, are being left with a surprise! 

Another new thing created was the fact that Grace's parents are being difficult of her bond with Sam and another new event that will become a problem just started to create itself when the end was almost there. Which means I'm really eager to read the last book and see if new plot lines will come or old characters will stop hiding themselves! Above that I'm also looking forward to the fact that they have all these new problems and mysteries to solve and I wonder how they are going to manage them. After all, the next book is the last book in the trilogy so it'll either be all solved and a happy ending or all failed and a bad ending. Let's hope for the former!

In comparison to the first book, it's also not very fast paced anymore. The characters take their time to develop themselves more and so do the new events. I can conclude this review with saying that this book just gave me more happy-feelings and made me very curious to the next book (that I'm going to start after I'm done with writing this!). Maggie Stiefvater did a great job again and made sure you wouldn't get bored with the old characters (not that I would get bored, but hey!) by mixing in new plot lines of new characters that need to be unraveled by us readers. I recommend this series because it contains everything you need for a good, sweet read: suspense, mystery, love, friendship, amazing characters and a very strong plot! 

"I feel the weight of the pack's gaze..."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Summer read of August: Did I Mention I Miss You?

August is halfway through and I have found the summer read for this month! After waiting for ages the last book in this fantastic, phenomenal series has arrived. I guess I can even say this is my most beloved series and it pains me to say that this also means it's the end of the trilogy. I finished the last book: Did I Mention I Miss You? By Estelle Maskame.

This review might contain spoilers obviously because we're in book three so many things have changed since book one, also in the plot. Therefore I recommend you to read the reviews I did on the first two books. Did I Mention I Love You? is the first book in this trilogy and Did I Mention I Need You? is the second in the series, book two of course also contains more developments in comparison with book one so beware! Just clicking on the title will open up a new page with the review. 

It's been a year since Eden had heard anything from Tyler. Not only did he leave her not to come back but he also made sure she had to go through all the comments and hateful things that were caused by coming out with their relationship. Eden has been having many rows with her dad and her younger stepfather but also the relationship with her mother is under a certain pressure. She's living in constant sadness, hatred and rage towards and because of Tyler. Then, after a year, his face is back around asking her to come with him to Portland, yet Eden doesn't know if she wants to do this to herself all over again.

I know it feels as if I'm constantly saying the same about this series, that it's amazing and absolutely the bomb and all that but I'm going to say the same thing all over again. I just can't say anything differently about this series because I just really adore it a lot. And again Estelle Maskame made me fall in love with the third and last book in this trilogy. 

Even though each book builds on its previous one, each book will create a new and different environment that will make sure it's not getting boring. Last time around, the book ended with a big plot twist and cliffhanger which I'm sure many of us were eager to discover more about. The book has a time jump of a year and we can absolutely feel the difference when reading the book.

Eden isn't the girl we saw her grow into the first two books. She's sad, she's raging, she's hated and that's really weighing down on her. The reason for her sadness and raging is of course the stepbrother, Tyler. He has left her after all they've been through and after they came out with their relationship. Her behavior therefore is something we can really understand and can tap into. I can't believe I hated Tyler, I've been a great fan of him since the beginning but now he's gone I was fuming myself! And that's what so great about this book and also the trilogy, what the character feels, is something you can and will feel too. Also this book will create many feels just as the previous books did, but I can't complain about that since I'm really someone who loves feels in books!


It was a whole different side that we got to see and Eden just seemed so depressed, she didn't enjoy anything. She didn't want to go out. She didn't want to be dancing and smiling all the time. She was devastated and totally wrecked. I know what I'm going to say now isn't really logical but I was glad to see this side of Eden. It might have been a bit extreme but it also reflects the feelings we all feel when our heart gets broken. And I say extreme because I don't think that many of us hold those hating, raging feelings for a year. Of course I can understand that Eden does. It's been a few years that they know each other and you know, get together a lot and then things happen and everything starts crashing down and he leaves. 


Above that she also has her dad and younger stepbrother hating on her. Not Tyler, because he's not around, only on her. They throw remarks at her, they say mean things. And I wasn't surprised that her dad did this because since book one we've seen her dad is just... not a dad (by lack of a better word), and the book will explains why her dad is being like this which I was not prepared for!

 The thing that surprised me most was Jamie, he's in his puberty and we see that he starts to grow up. What surprised me with this situation was that Jamie had so many similarities to his older brother, it was just scary. But what the point is, is that Jamie also has a hard time accepting Eden and Tyler, he throws many hurting comments too. I never saw that coming because he's Jamie. In book one, I wanted to see him so much more because he was gentle and accepting of Eden but now I just was hating him a lot! 

Also the relationship between Eden and her mother comes under pressure because Eden has many flares of hatred coming and going which she then points to other people around her that have nothing to do with it. Her mother will suffer from these two and Eden and mom will have some difficulties because of this. 

A parent that did make me feel happy was Ella. She's the mother of Chase, Jamie and Tyler. During the previous books we got to know her better and got to know some of her past. We know she's a very stressed person, a somewhat broken person but one that really loves her children. Including Tyler who in book one did drugs and so on. I absolutely adored her even more in this book because she has a very accepting nature and even though half of her family hates Eden, she tries to lessen the pain on her and tries to calm down the family. She is such an example and such a sweetheart you just feel bad for her. She married a man in the past that hit her oldest son, now she married a man that hates his own daughter and her son. 

I absolutely felt sorry for Ella, it really feels as if she only has bad luck. Throughout the book we also hear Eden say that she looks older because of the stress and that makes it so much more relatable and realistic. I think a lot of people who have stress and are in hard situations will be able to relate. As conclusion to this character I can say that she's a very strong person and never gave up on her family, not in hard times not ever. She's also very determined to get where she wants to go and I really appreciated that in this character because she will try to clear the air. Book one made me doubt a bit about this character but now, I can say she really, really grew on me. 

Two characters to go! Rachel, the best friend of Eden is a character I have a lot of respect for! During this hard year, Eden has been very hard to handle. As I said she has many flares of rage coming and going, she's down and sad. Yet Rachel keeps supporting her, helping her to get out and forgetting about the man who tore down her world. I really, really respect her a lot because many friends of Eden have walked away by now, Rachel sticks around and helps, supports a lot. 

Lastly, Tyler. In the beginning, when he wasn't around, I hated him as much as Eden did. I didn't understand why he left her. I didn't understand why he gave up on her. I didn't understand why he never called or texted or tried to reach her. But, I guess my rage didn't stick as long as I planned. The moment Tyler walks back in... I kind of swooned for him immediately. I'm weak, I know! Tyler always has had this composed and mysterious air hanging around him and this time around he was even more composed than before. 

The thing that I did really saw that was different with Tyler was that he had changed so much, even though he still had that same composed and mysterious composure. He looked away more, he was surprised a lot, he didn't always seem to get things. He was more insecure! who had ever thought that after all this time we'd see Tyler grow to be a bit insecure. Although he had all the reasons to be insecure, I was really surprised and happy to see it since it's a side of him he has hidden pretty well.

Another thing that was changed about him was that he was a lot calmer, didn't get mad very easily anymore, didn't cuss a lot. He was a better version of himself and that might have been the reason he left: to become a better self. The reasons of his departure will be revealed in the book but I don't want to share those. 

So yeah, while Eden was smacking him in the face, I was just sitting there and hoping his face wasn't ruined. I'm such a weak person, swooning while I should be mad! But I'm pretty sure many others of us had the same reaction. (Admit it!) 

Now, the plot. Things from book two, Did I Mention I Need You, still need to be solved and then there's the whole family drama that's taking turns so a lot is happening! Did I think it was too much? Not at all. Did I find it thrilling? Absolutely!

The moment Tyler steps through the door, Eden's Dad's having a heart attack and Jamie was just raging together with Eden. Ella thinks it has been enough drama and hate and rows so decided to go on a family trip to clear the air. This got me so excited, because I knew things wouldn't be going very smooth and all but just the confrontation was amazingly described and written. You would devour this book together with taking teams on the arguments all the while you saw Tyler a bit lost in the whole crowd. 

The thing with Tyler being lost in the crowd is that he's been away for a year. He never expected things to be so out of hand and to be so mean. Tyler doesn't know what to do or how to feel. Or to say for that matter, to Eden who's been living in their mess (that he left) for a year. I really enjoyed seeing this because I think he kind of deserved it and it showed another side to Tyler: the lost puppy we all love. But the arguments really throw in some toughness and fuel to this book to create this atmosphere we all knew was coming down.

Although there's a lot of drama, Chase (the youngest) is being left out of all of it. As if it's a silenced rule! I really appreciated that too because it's something more realistic then we think, sparing some people because they shouldn't be having a hard time. 

If you think things get solved, no they don't because it's not that easy. In real life things don't get solved in a second, and that's why this book again shows us the realistic parts of life. Meanwhile Tyler decided to ask Eden out to go to Portland. Eden's past hometown, which makes her more angry, he "stole" that from her too although the true reason for "Portland" will be revealed! She accepts, they leave without anyone knowing. Not even Eden's mother but that's because at that point they have a fight about Ella. I'm telling you guys this book contains so much stuff and so many arguments, you'd think there wouldn't be any solutions at all! 

But there are. Always. And that's why Eden has accepted and went with Tyler to Portland. Again, as in New York (book two), we get this amazing and detailed version of the surroundings in this city and we really can visualize it. It's something I really want and seek in a book and each time I get it so I'm glad. Together with this city, we get Tyler. The plot now takes a whole different turn. We leave the storm that's their family, and we get in a very calming atmosphere where we'll know the reasons for Tyler's leaving but also we'll see why and how he has changed.

This might be the part that I loved the most in the book because we finally get some evidence it wasn't all bad. We see and live through the changes he has made, we'll get to know certain motives of his and we, together with Eden, will discover him all over again. And you'll be so proud of him, you might forget what he has done to Eden.

Yet things that happened in Did I Mention I Need You weren't all solved at the end of the book. There's still the Tyler's dad issue and the part where he and Eden chose to be together. This book will cover these parts and maybe solve them or bury them. It's also the part in Portland that really surprises the reader because you never expected Tyler to have grown as mature as he has in Portland. He build a career, build his home and so on. Portland gives you all the answers you'll need on all your questions and therefore the passages in Portland will be very satisfying! 

I could ramble on more about the plot but I don't want to. The reason for that is because now would be the part where spoilers are present. I really want you guys to discover more of the book on your own rather then me telling everything and ruining the rest of the journey! But what I can conclude of the plot is that it really contains a lot but won't leave you with any more questions. If  you think that all this information and all the things that are happening will be confusing, I can assure you that also won't be the case. The book concludes the story, and it really pains me because it's such a good story but to all good stories comes an end of course! 

The plot has it's thrilling and tension parts but also it's calming, swoon worthy, loving and gentle parts. It will create a new city that's described very well so you can visualize it and walk through it yourself. Above that, it'll cover so many things and unanswered questions you'll be very satisfied at the end. 


This does bring me to the conclusion of this review and therefore the whole trilogy. The book(s) contain so many feelings, so many great characters that are well written you could grow to hate them or absolutely adore them. You see the characters grow to be their mature self and to become a better self. Did I Mention I Miss You just won't leave you untouched! It's absolutely amazing, phenomenal, great, funny, gentle, realistic and relatable,... I could go on but I think you guys get what I'm trying to say. It's the book that just got to my heart and tore it apart to put it back together. For short: it's amazing! Go read it! It really contains so much it can't be boring at all! It's a perfect summer read, and the one book that stands out this month. 

Two more things to say: if you are a great fan of this book series and haven't seen what Estelle Maskame has uploaded on Instagram, please let me show you down below! Can we all take a moment to just start screaming! Is this a new story? Or is this a new story about Eden and Tyler? A sequel? Who knows! I'm just so excited! "It's a secret", like hell it is! It's amazing, she's writing a new story! (Please tell me, I'm not the only one jumping around being excited?). 



And lastly: what are you still doing here? I thought you were already on your way to the bookstore to buy the book?! Also Estelle Maskame, you did absolutely fantastic on this series. Much respect! 

"And I thought you meant you'd come back"



Wednesday, August 17, 2016

The Selection

My first book by this author and a theme I was a little bit unsure of when I read the first few pages, yet I can really conclude that I absolutely loved this book and can't wait to finish up the rest of the series. Kiera Cass, you surprised me in a very good way! The Selection by Kiera Cass.



America Singer is drawn out of all girls in Illéa to participate in The Selections, a big competition between 35 girls to win the prince's heart. America's world collapses when she hears she's participating, whereas other girls are full of joy. America is devastated, participating means leaving behind her family, her life and most important her true love. The more she's at the palace and the more she gets to know the prince, the more she actually starts to realize that she never thought about a future like this, about the "what if"... 



Honestly, this book got me all over the place. I was very eager to start reading this series but when I got in the first few pages, I started doubting if this theme would be something for me... It's definitely something for me! It's something new but it's something I did grow to adore a lot! 

America Singer therefore was also a role model in my opinion. The very first moment she steps into the palace she's determined to be herself, even if that means she has to leave the competition and that would mean a mother that's furious. That was the thing I admired a lot in this character, her determination and the will to be herself and not someone else. A book, again, learns us something! I said the same thing in my review of The Distance Between Us by Kasie West, here the lesson is to always be yourself and I couldn't agree more!

This way, America does stand out between the others and gets a lot of attention, yet she doesn't react on this attention like the other girls do. She just tries her best but mostly ignores it while she stays in the palace. The reason why America ignores most of this attention is because she doesn't want to win the prince his heart at all. She's in love with another but stays put in the palace for her family, which makes her a very brave and strong character. Other things about her that I noticed, is that she's an emotional person that would carry the weight of the world if she could. She's a stubborn girl but at the same time she's a very gentle and sweet girl that helps the other girls. These make America a very relatable character for almost everyone, including myself. This character will surprise you with her wisdom, as well as with how she acts around the other 34 competitive girls and this all the while you can really recognize yourself in certain traits of her. 

Another character I really want to discuss is Marlee, she's also a contestant in The Selection and there to win the prince his heart. She was the first friend America had made during the contest and one that sticks around. What I appreciated most about her was that she was as supportive as America and she also didn't hate on the others. Of course she had a moment of doubt towards America because she didn't want to talk about her adventures with the prince because this was still a competition but the two come out of this a lot stronger which made sure their bond stays strong! I really loved their bond and adored to see how their friendship grew into something that would last for a lifetime, no matter who won.

Marlee has a very shining and bright personality which makes it very hard for you to hate her. She's a girl that smiles a lot and thinks positive but won't make the others feel bad. Marlee is a character where you'd think she could be everyone's friend because she helps and consoles most of the girls when they need it. I really appreciated her in the story and I am very curious to what will become of her in the second book, especially because Marlee reveals feelings and secrets near the end of the book...

Next up is the prince, of course because he's also a very important character and deserves some explanation in this review! Prince Maxon, to be honest he surprised me most of all. In the beginning, I rather found him very stiff and formal but during the book we do get to know more of him and see some rather new and interesting sides. It's together with America that we get to know him and discover how it feels for him to be a prince and never be out of the palace. This discovery with America is a great asset to the book, in my opinion, because it's how we learn to understand the opinions of America and see why they change. Other than that, I only want to say that Prince Maxon is a very special gentlemen that'll cause some humorous moments and some pretty serious ones! 

Then the last character I really want to describe is Aspen because I feel like he's such a game changer in the book! Aspen is America's mate that she has to leave behind when the competition starts. In the beginning, I was such a great fan of him and I adored him and understood why America didn't want to leave him but then, what can I say? I guess I fell for the prince his charms! But then Aspen comes back around and together with America our heart starts to beat a little bit too fast and a little bit too loud. Aspen has such a great personality because he does everything for his family, he's the one that provides for his family and will let them eat while he starves. That were the first things that made me swoon for Aspen. Together with that comes his tenderness and gentleness that gives him a very soft side while he seems rather the strong bad boy! Really adored this character too!

The other girls we'll discover while we read but it's clear that everyone has different intentions. Often I thought some girls were only here for the prince, other times I thought they were there for the crown. Some were their for the support they could provide doing this for their families. It's really interesting to see their intentions and see how they make them come true or not come true during the competition!

As for the plot, things were great. If you thought this was all about romance, you're wrong. Of course the biggest part contains some romance, most of the time it's rather a subtle thing and something that's very sweet and swoon worthy but there's so much more than just romance! Another thing I really enjoyed in this book were the castes. Every person has a number from one to eight, if you're a one you're rich and all that but an eight has the worst and hardest life. It's a little bit like the Hunger Games with their districts and each district has a special thing. Here that's the same, sixes for example, are all servants while fives are the ones with talents such as singing or making art and so on. Seeing this made the competition with the 35 girls a lot more interesting because some girls found themselves better because they're a better number and that will create discussions and, of course, backstabbing which is always there during a competition. 

Speaking about backstabbing, the plot will focus a lot on the girls and their behavior which is something logical but I'm glad that we saw a very wide side of all the girls and their behavior. Kiera Cass didn't focus on all girls, that'd make a book itself I think, but she did pick multiple girls and through America's eyes we see how they behave and react on Maxon or on the other girls. Some books would rather skip that part or make it something very little but The Selection gave me a good amount to be very satisfied!

Also, I want to mention the feels! The characters will become close and closer but we'll see them turning their backs on each other because of a small fight too. Above that the book made me stand in the middle of two camps: Team Aspen or Team Maxon and I really adore it when books to that. I think I made up my mind though but you never know if the next book will change that. It'll be a discovery together with America. 

Two more things to cover! First the rebels... because yes, there's also a part to this book that has a lot of thrill and tension. Rebels of the north and south are trying to get into Illéa and make it their own. This will make sure that the girls will have to go hide multiple times during the plot because the rebels are attacking and I really think that this breaks through the romance and fighting between the girls and gives this book something else. I really appreciated it, and I'm pretty sure many others would like this too so there's something refreshing instead of reading about the competition the whole time. 

Lastly, I want to point out that next to thrill, competitive girls and romance there's also a lot of humor. Maxon, America, as well as many others in this story, are very funny and will cause embarrassing moments that are funny to read. Which again makes sure we break through all the backstabbing and love parts in the book.

Overall, I can conclude that this book was something very refreshing and for a theme totally different from what I'm used to with princesses and all, this was a very amusing read. It has amazing characters and will break through with parts that contain tension and humor. If you haven't read The Selection, I recommend you do! Not only will you be torn between two teams, but you'll also feel as if you're part of the contest yourself.

"35 girls. 1 crown. The competition of a lifetime."




Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Shiver

The time of the Book Feast has arrived and I went to it with a mission: grab the Mercy Falls-trilogy. No excuses, I just needed those books! I would get them! And after a little searching I found the last pair of them... now they're mine. The day after I started reading in the first book: Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater and let me tell you this: it had everything and when you have everything you can't stop and so I read 435 pages in one day.


Ever since Grace was a very young child, she was fascinated with the wolves in the backyard. Especially in the one with the yellow eyes, the wolf had something human-like, something familiar. It took six years for her to watch him and get him closer. It isn't until a boy is killed by wolves that the town begins to show interest into the pack. The suspicion grows and the town wants them dead. Grace fights against them, still fascinated with them.Yet that fascination takes a whole different meaning when she meets a guy with the same yellow eyes... 


I had high expectations for this book because I heard a lot of good things about the writer, Maggie Stiefvater but also because it was my first book that contained wolves. I find them very interesting creatures and very mysterious, maybe a little dangerous but I like them. This was the test for me whether the book with the wolves would get me hooked on the series or that it wouldn't..., after I read this book, I know one thing for sure: I need my own wolf!

First a little bit more on the characters. Grace is one of the main characters and the one that shows a big interest in the wolves too. That's why I could relate to her from the start. Of course her past made her get this slight obsession with the pack of wolves in the woods. Her friends often said that she had to grow up multiple times which made her, as well as me, upset. If it's something that interest you, you don't need to "grow up". This were the first emotions where I could really get Grace a lot, and believe me a roller coaster of emotions will follow with this character which made me really understand her and relate to her. 

Yet multiple times she herself says that she's stoic. This might be because she's the grown-up. Throughout the book it feels as if her parents are the kids and she's the parent. Her parents are gone, working all the time and they are dependent on Grace. She needs to cook and make sure everything is fine. They don't really look after her at all and she was very irritated by that, maybe even hurt. That was another moment that I could really understand why she was feeling the way she was feeling and her parents got on my nerves. 

Everything combined, Grace is an amazing character that tells she's stoic but actually is filled with all sorts of emotions. She's independent and very mature and will stand her ground. She'll fight for what she wants and she'll try everything to keep the people she loves safe and protected. What I also found out is that she's a character that will forget the problems between her and the other character to help them, which shows again how strong and mature she truly is. 

Another character in the book is Sam. Sam had a very dynamic past, it was all good until his parents had gone mad and tried to make him die. That's also why I like to call him the sad puppy. He's very moved by those events and as Grace describes him, it's as if a part of him is missing because of those events. He's a very sensitive young guy but tries to stay strong and when I say try, I really mean that. Throughout the book many passages show you how strong he's trying to be when all he wants is to give in to his weaknesses. 

These two characters have such a great bond that it gives the reader something very sweet. Something I had never seen coming and something I accepted gladly. Sam and Grace have something unique and they're both really loyal to each other, this is what I loved about them. Their bond brings a lot of emotional depth into the story.

There are a few other characters I really want to discuss! First of Beck. He's one of Sam's older friends and it feels like he's two faced. At first I thought he was a very nice man but then certain events happened which made me think he might be the bad guy. Sam is devastated by it and since he's so sensitive, I as a reader felt his emotions very strongly. Yet he tries to understand and with that a very moving event will develop itself which shows Beck in a new and different perspective. Maybe he did things but only to do good. It's still a little mysterious and I can only hope we'll get to know more about the effects of what he did, might have done, in the next book.

Another two pair of characters are Jack and Isabel. They're brother and sister and in the beginning I didn't like either of them. Yet slowly they started to really grow on me. And in the end I also saw how similar they were, both very sarcastic which I began to enjoy a lot at the end of the book. I'm really hoping that we see more of Isabel, I feel like there's more to her than the story has told us! As for Jack, he was a real jerk in the beginning and I still don't get why, especially after I got a glimpse of his other side!

And lastly I want to discuss Grace's two best friends: Rachel and Olivia. Rachel hasn't been around a lot but she's very eccentric in a way that's not my thing. The eccentric kind of thing like Effie Trinket (The Hunger Games) is some kind that I enjoy but Rachel was different. Her personality was just hyperactive all the time and needed attention. So not a fan of her best friend but we don't see her that much! 

As for Olivia... I disliked her from the beginning. At least Rachel got the chance to grow on me but Olivia didn't. She's a lot like Grace, the quiet girl that observes a lot. Olivia's also someone who likes to see the life through her camera which I enjoyed but then she made a comment on Grace and the wolves that just made me dislike her a lot. And seeing the events turn, she didn't shock me with the decisions she made. Very predictably but that might be because I didn't really enjoy her. 

As for the plot, it's obvious that this will have to do with wolves and the pack. Yet it's a plot that really contains a lot of romance, strong friendships and of course mystery. The mystery comes with the wolves and with the events that keep turning with the wind. We get to see two perspectives (Grace's and Sam's) and of course, what would a plot be without a bad guy? Or bad guys... because some things aren't right with the wolves. 

First of the plot starts with telling how and why Grace is so fascinated with them, only to have to go through fire to save the pack of the townies. The people hate the wolves because a boy was killed by them but Grace feels like they're no harm and therefore tries to save them. After that whole adventure with suspense, we have the special guy rolling in the book that has the same yellow eyes as the wolf Grace connects with. Above that there's the mystery of the pack leader, Beck, that did things wrong and is trying to find a solution for all the mystery and danger that is hitting Mercy Falls after the death of the boy. 

Another thing I really want to tell is that there are also trips down to memory lane, especially in the perspective of Sam who will tell you where things went wrong in his past and also his relationship with Beck. I was really fond of this because it really showed you how Sam became Sam and what major influence Beck had. I'm such a great fan!


If all, I think I ought to say that in the beginning I found the book a little fast paced but nothing that bad that I'd hate the book. In fact, I absolutely loved the book because it made me laugh out loud, made me curious, made me emotional and made me love. My first book written by Maggie Stiefvater was a big success and so was the wolf-themed book. I read the Shiver in one day because I couldn't stay away from it, so during my breaks of studying, I took the book and read as much as I could, only to give me a massive plot twist at the ending. 

I absolutely recommend this book to people who love the paranormal department, mixed with many mysteries, animals, a sweet romance and strong bonds. If you're looking for all of this with some emotional events, this is also the book you're looking for! Maggie Stiefvater will not let you down and her writing style is very easy to read and to comprehend. The characters are relatable and the story isn't hard to imagine so it's very easy to step into the world and mysteries of Mercy Falls. If you all will excuse me now, I'm going to find my own wolf and in the meanwhile read the second book in this absolutely amazing series! 

"The wolves are calling. Everything you know will change."

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

Mockingjay

I can't believe it. I can't believe that it has come to an end! A little while ago I put my film comparison of Catching Fire online. It took me one more book before I was allowed to finish this fantastic series. You know what else I can't believe? That I waited this long with going into this series! Which means a thank you is in order. Fien, thank you! Without you, I probably would never have come around to read this series, and it would be a shame! I gladly present you my feelings towards the book: Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My feelings on this book are still very raw and when I just closed the book I was shocked, confused but so happy. This end was really worth my time! I do warn that there might be spoilers in this, I'll talk about developments that have happened in this book and also tell how I felt with this series. If you haven't read Mockingjay, I strongly recommend not to read on and to go read my reviews on the previous books: The Hunger Games and Catching Fire


Katniss Everdeen closed Catching Fire with blowing up the arena and being saved my her mentor and the Head Gamemaker. Facing hard times with the Capitol, it's decided that Katniss will have to become the symbol of the rebellion: The Mockingjay. All that while there's no sign of Peeta and other tributes that weren't saved from the arena, Katniss is facing the problems and nightmares all by herself. It's not until there's an unexpected turn that Katniss realizes who the real enemy is...


First of all I'd like to tell that this book really showed me the most emotional side of Katniss. She's facing the capitol without Peeta which also means there's nobody to comfort her when the nightmares come. I really think this was a great asset to the book, over the three book we saw Katniss develop from a young volunteer to a strong woman that carries the weight of the world on her shoulders. And that not only as a tribute but also as a symbol: the Mockingjay. She never asked to become this symbol but she became it and that all because of the little things she did that were against the capitol. 

What I find most interesting is that most of the time Katniss didn't understand what she was doing or that she was provoking the Capital. Some may say it made her look foolish or naive but if all, I think it made her look innocent and this projects all the lives that have entered the Hunger Games. Each person was an innocent person. An innocent child who didn't know what would happen and didn't know how to provoke the Capital. And that innocence grew out to be a strong woman that has faced a million things.

I can't say that I always related easily to her since she's in a war and I'm obviously not, but I did find myself in her feelings at times. When she volunteered, I understood why, I could relate. There are definitely moments you can relate with her but there were also moments you can't understand her logic because it went against your own. That was something that I really liked because it gave you such a different angle on what she was thinking. She worked on her impulses and instincts and that made it all the more dangerous but also more thrilling while reading. 

Of all movies I was also the biggest fan of Mockingjay part I (I haven't seen part two, I had promised myself not to watch it until I read the book). And therefore it was also really amazing to read how it all looked and to see the differences. What a book has more in comparison are the thoughts of the character. It's the thing I missed in the movies but were, of course, strongly present in the book. I really enjoyed to read into the thoughts of Katniss while she observed District 13. How she saw it and how she felt in it. 

The first part really kept my attention because of District 13, because of the new things Beetee and Gale invented and because Katniss could relate a lot with Finnick. The emotional state they were in while Annie and Peeta were captured really pulled at me. Yet there was one thing I did miss and that was Effie. I know the movie mentions her but now there was no word of Effie. The uncertainty of knowing where she was and whether or not she was alive was really eating at me. In each previous review I told you I was a great fan of Effie and each time I said I wished we would see a little more of her but this time she was gone. We didn't know where she was or if she was alright. 

And yes, I'm going to say it again: I wish I saw more of Effie because she's always been so eccentric which I loved about her. She was always optimistic even though she felt the effects of the Capitol. And sure, you can say that she was as much as a puppet of the Capitol as the prep team but for me it felt differently. Above that it made me feel how Katniss must have felt while Peeta was gone: uncertain and incomplete. 

Speaking of the prep team, the moment they were found in the cells because they stole bread I knew there was something more dark to District 13. Something I hadn't seen coming while I read the previous books but in that instant I was completely sure that something wasn't right. Was it only the fact that the prep team was harmed? No, it was also Coin. Somehow I didn't feel like trusting her. She didn't say a lot, she didn't come around a lot and most of all she wasn't that open towards others. 

Many characters gave me the impression that I understood them, their way of thinking. I could see through them, but Coin... She was just different in a way I couldn't put my finger on it. Yet ever since that one moment, I knew she wasn't as innocent as I expected her to be. And after everything it became more and more clear she had her own hidden agenda. Now I wonder, if it's a shout out to our real world? Some of the previous leaders had their own hidden agenda's. It's just a thought that came in my mind while I read the book...

Meanwhile I really started feeling it for Haymitch. The moment he goes to Katniss in the hospital and tells her he'll glue the earpiece to her head or find a different way, it becomes more and more clear he really cares about Katniss in a way I wasn't prepared for. Also, we finally find out what happened to him, what the capitol did to his family and loved ones. It might sound weird but it felt like bonding with him. And if I can be honest... I secretly hoped he would get together with Effie... Whoops! 

Another character that really grew onto me was Finnick. Somehow between Catching Fire and him losing Annie, I really lived up to his character. The moment he dies, I didn't believe it. I couldn't believe it! I reread the page two times because I thought I misinterpret the passage but no. Finnick died just when I was so fond of him. I keep wondering why now, he was just married with Annie, he had just gotten her back and now she loses him. Above that the book never really gave me a satisfying answer on what Annie did and how she reacted. I wish I knew how she reacted. One time we see her again and she reacts so calm, all the while I remember her being confused very easily and a little crazy. I wonder if she went more crazy after she realized she lost him or if because of his death, she ever felt the need to kill President Snow herself. It might just be me thinking it and asking myself, this book is just this fantastic that it made me overthink a lot of the passages and then I form these sort of questions!

Of course there are also characters that bitterly disappointing me! Which, I'm sorry to say, was Gale. In the beginning of the book, he was my hero. I was still in the middle of choosing Peeta or Gale, but Gale started to irritate me more and more when I read on in the book. I didn't know if it was because he was always so negative towards Peeta or if it was because of his jealousy, I just didn't like it. Then we enter part two and he stuck with Katniss until the end, kept moving and kept helping. I felt good about him again, but already made my mind up to who I wanted with Katniss. 

But he was also the one who wanted to murder so many people in District 2. I partly got why he wanted it, they are close with the capitol and somewhat their puppets but I never saw Gale as someone who'd play as dirty as the capitol. The end of the book then tells me that Gale is in district 2, working there and he didn't return for Katniss. This stung a little. Gale was such a good friend to her, and he started irritating me but I thought their bond would be stronger. He's having such a good position now, which made me feel like he was now a puppet in the world after President Snow. So his character disappointed me during the last book, I just wish he stayed good friends with Katniss!

The good thing about is it that Gale was out of the way and Peeta could be all over Katniss but things didn't seem to go as fluent as we thought now, did it? Peeta has been tortured by the Capitol, as well as in the movie as the book I was really moved about it and very curious to if we'd ever get him back and in what state he'd be. The rescue mission comes along and I was so happy that Katniss and Peeta would be reunited but I guess it's safe to say Peeta was just not up for it. 

In that moment I really lived up to Katniss and her emotional state. She turned away from him because he wasn't himself anymore. I got that a lot, Peeta said things that really hurt to hear out of his mouth. Therefore the moment she decides she wouldn't go through with it and leave him alone because all he does is say hateful things, I wasn't really glad. I saw my ship shatter with each word Peeta said! The team then tries to get his memories back to the reality of it, this was something I was keen on but wished to see some more of. 


Speaking of helping him out with if his memories are real or not real, we're already in the Capitol by then and it's right at that moment the thrill comes alive even more. Johanna hasn't been able to come which is a sad thing because for some reason also Johanna began to grow on me. She's all alone but still very strong, in the beginning I thought she was stupid and harsh but eventually she's not the girl you see her for. Johanna has a thick skin but there's a big heart beating underneath it. 

It's only in part two that I realize that the end is really nearing. It's also in part two that I realize how big the damage will be after the war. The Capitol has prepared herself for attacks and has such a fine technique of harmful aspects that I was really surprised. I even got scared a little when the mutts came around, calling her name. That was terrifying but it's also where we lost most of the people I wanted to have around after the war. 

Which eventually brings me to the fact that Prim... also isn't around anymore. That was a big shock though I knew that it wasn't the Capitol that threw things out of the air. Somehow my gut told me that there was more to that than Katniss knew at the time. All of this eventually was confirmed by the one and only President Snow. More about him in a few, I just want to talk a bit more about the post-war time where Katniss was so in shock that she didn't talk and eventually met Snow. The time she didn't speak, I at least had wanted a little more empathy with Katniss but a lot of the characters, hello Gale, just weren't around that much or not at all. She's been the Mockingjay but nobody turns around for her? Luckily, there was Haymitch who eventually realized this wasn't anything to laugh about anymore. 

But it was also a time to find out that Effie was still alive, yet damaged. I can't tell you how happy I was that she was at least still alive! Just captured but also hurt by the Capitol. With Effie came also the biggest plot twist of the post-war part because Katniss does it again, she turns again towards the Capitol...

President Snow, captured in his rose garden which felt a little easy for him but as long as he died in the end I was happy, told her it wasn't him that killed Prim. He gave so many aspects that confirmed what my gut was telling me all the time: Coin is a threat. But Coin saw Katniss as a threat, my mind hasn't made up if she was all bad or if it was just because she didn't like Katniss. Then came the vote for a next Hunger Games which was so unexpected, especially because they fought for a country without them! Followed by Katniss turning towards the Capitol, towards the new power. I was glad, I was relieved and I was a little excited because after all, Coin wasn't my favorite and now she's dead.

The story doesn't end there of course, people think Katniss is just crazy and they lock her up which showed us readers how weak she was feeling and how much she was grieving. She wanted to escape and die, rather than live and have a trial. It's right in that moment we see that Katniss isn't the Mockingjay, she's the volunteer again. She's the child again that doesn't know what's going to happen but wants to survive and then decides to give in and let go of life. That was such a heavy part but it was followed by a much better part where she went back to live in her District and Gale never coming again but Peeta being there for the nightmares. 

If all I can say that this book was the most thrilling of all and it broke me the most. Many of my favorite characters died but it was also the book that made me realize how much I loved certain characters. Some people aren't happy with the ending because it's sad but it's as my friend Fien says: it's realistic. It shows the effects of the war, of being a leader in the war and seeing everything from the first row. The people with a ship got what they wanted, it was a very sweet ending but the reality and the grief did come through and that's something I really enjoyed. The last sentence that's being said in the book also made me realize that this isn't the end of them. It's just the beginning...

All together I think we can say that this book was amazing, the character developed more than I expected after already starring in two books, the thrill was there, the emotions all over the place and as a reader you're really pulled into the story and became a soldier of your own. You hated, you loved, you cried (admit it), you felt the end and started with a new begin. The series has it all! I'm really happy that I decided to read the books because I'm someone who tries to keep books that are highly spoken of on a little distance. But standing ovation for Suzanne Collins, she made me feel everything and nothing with this series. 



"If we burn, you burn with us."