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Wednesday, October 26, 2016

How hard can love be?

Time for a very realistic read! Lately, I read a lot of paranormal things such as wolves and people who can make a world collapse by their tears and so on. I was also in a little reading slump and decided to open up a new book that could get me out of it: How Hard Can Love Be? By Holly Bourne was the book that got me out of the slump and also made me crave to the summer holidays again! 

Amber will finally see her mother after two years of radio silence. She's a bit scared of what she'll come across because she knows how her mother is. Tired of not talking or seeing her, Amber wants to create that mother-daughter bond again but this acquires flying to America. Once there, she needs to help out at the summer camp that's being run by her stepfather and mom. What Amber didn't count on was her mother not being that cooperative when it comes to creating a bond. In fact, her mother totally shuts down and Amber can't do anything but open up to another person she never expected to find here.

This book really is one of those more realistic ones and also one that I really, absolutely enjoyed! But before I go into that a little more, we'll dig in with the characters. First off is Amber. The first impression I had from her was that she had a difficult life. Her father has a new family and her mother has a new family but neither of those make her truly happy. Her stepmom is awful because she manipulates her dad so he's always on her side, and her stepdad took away her mother across the ocean. For short, she's not living the idealistic life we all would want. 

Another thing that you might come across is the fact that she's very bitter and angry all the time, but later in the book she'll explain to the readers and herself why it is that she always seems to bite towards people. Although Amber is a very bitter person at times, you can see how insecure she actually is. She blames herself a lot for her mothers departure. Although she will tell you many times how much she hates Kevin, her stepfather, for taking away her mom, she will give little hints where you can guess she's actually blaming herself and questioning herself. She's also determined that no one will ever love her, this insecurity will be taken care of in the book. This side of her really makes you warm up to her and makes you willing to understand her. 

Yet that's not all to Amber! She's also a feminist. This book will take a closer look to this side where many of us might be interested in these days. Feminism will play a role in it and it will shine through in this character. More about the feminism side of this book will come later. I just really adored this side of Amber because it showed the reader how passionate she really is about this. She's also a very passionate and creative person because of her art skills, which don't surface in the book as much as I wanted it to. That aside, I really enjoyed this character, she'll make sure you know you can't fool her but all the while she's very insecure and hides her feelings for others while being open about her passion for feminism and art. 

A few more characters I'd like to discuss are Lottie and Evie, this book is from a series of three and the other two books are each about one of these characters. Lottie and Evie are Amber's best friends and are also part of the Spinster Club. The Spinster Club is their way of being able to express how they feel about what's happening with women, and so again the topic feminism will be led into the book. What I adored a lot is that you really get to know Lottie and Evie throughout the book. I've read books where the best friends of a character won't resurface the plotline once the main character is on its way to adventure. How Hard Can Love Be? will make sure these best friends come back frequently and that way you really get to know them.

Each of them is really unique. Lottie is someone that loves big words and is a real blabber mouth (if that's the English word?). In other words, she says what she thinks and this can cause her to get very excited which does make you smile a lot. Evie, on the other hand, is very calm and really thinks things through, there's also something going on with Evie but this book doesn't get into much detail. If you'd want to know more about these characters, I recommend reading the other books in the Spinster Club-series

What I adore so much about them was that they were always there for Amber. They are in England and she's in America yet if Amber was in trouble and needed girly advice, they'd wake up immediately and help her out. They were always ready to give advice and worry when needed, I really appreciated that in these characters. They'll also provide a lot of entertainment that makes the reader laugh and truly enjoy it.

A few people from the Camp Amber's working at that I'd like to discuss are: Kyle, Whinnie and Calvin. First of Kyle, Kyle's a nice guy. And believe me when I say you'll read that sentence a lot in this book, but it's the truth. He's always there to help out, he tries to help Amber out when she steps foot on American ground and he's always nice. I really loved this character because of how nice and understanding he really was but throughout the book, yet also his mask will fall off. Kyle might be nice and handsome (from all the descriptions we got) but he does doubt himself a lot. I adored to see this side even more, he was a nice guy all the time and then it's really nice to see him open up to the other characters and say how he feels! He'll also worry a lot about the situation between Amber and her mother which will make sure that Amber opens up to him which she never expected to happen but it did...

Whinnie on the other hand is a character that made me laugh a lot. She's easy going and very sweet and she'll give you wise advice because of Whinnie the Pooh. Believe me, it'll all get clear when you read it and it might sound ridiculous now but actually, while you read it: it's not. The things she said really made sense and it felt as if I was getting a secret message from the author, or well Whinnie the Pooh. Whinnie is one of my favorite characters because she was so easy going. Other characters didn't need to pretend with her, they could be just them and she'd gladly accept that. She's also a very supportive character which I enjoyed even more. 

Lastly, Calvin. I'm keeping it short with this character but I found that he deserved a special spot in this review too. Calvin is one of the kids at camp but he's a sturdy kid and gets laughed at and excluded from groups. We might not see a lot of him in this book but I did see him grow! Amber really took care of him, even if she risked him getting in love with her but it also made Calvin become a lot more open which I loved to see. He shows everyone not to hide when people laugh at you or exclude you, life goes on and so do you. I loved this little fellow!

Now the plot! The biggest question you'll get in the beginning of the book is "what's going on with her mother?". Amber is all being secretive about what has happened that made her mother run away but it doesn't take long before the author presents us flashbacks. Yet these flashbacks only make you create scenarios that might be possible but not make you any wiser, for now. How Hard Can Love Be? will really take you onto a trip to memory lane and let you discover together with Amber how and when things went wrong and who's fault this actually is, if it's anyone's. 

This also means the plot will concentrate a lot of Amber's repressed feelings towards her mother and her questions to why she never called or came to visit. I enjoyed this in the plot because this gave you a purpose with the character: find out how to deal. The character has many thoughts to share with you which I was a great fan of. The whole story with her mother will also show certain developments in Amber and we'll see her change as will her mother. 

Yet her mother will not give answers easily and you will get frustrated with her. This creates a lot of feels but also a lot of tension you desperately want to get away from which you will. The moment her mother excludes Amber more than she already has, Amber will find new horizons that will open up to her and will make her become happy again: her camp mates. 

The plot really describes the camp and its activities very well. It's not just a scenery so you can visualize it, it'll play a role and that's what I really loved. The camp gave it a very new and refreshing touch while it was dealing with family drama. You'll get to know some kids, you'll get to know their routine and their activities and of course their staff. The staff will open up to Amber and although she's very hesitant about it in the beginning she'll adapt fully.

It's also them and especially the Nice Guy that'll look after her when she's having a breakdown because of her mother. This then causes that she's going to see a lot more of America than originally planned and this makes sure we often get a little pause from the camp scenery which is always a pro to the plot in my opinion. 

What I was also very keen on in this book were the alternations between "Amber in America" and "Amber in England". The book has to cover a difference in language and a difference in culture which it'll do amazingly. You'll learn differences in words and those situations will create funny moments where you can really laugh and enjoy it. What I also mean with these alternations is that we see her friends she met in America but we'll also see her friends from England, which as already said, I absolutely craved for. 

Lastly, a little bit more on the feminism topic. The girls, Amber, Lottie and Evie, are very passionate about it and are real feminists. I really loved it that the plot made time for their Spinster Club meetings because it also dips you under in that topic aside from differences in culture and family drama. You'll get a clearer view on the topic and will be part of discussion through Amber's eyes. I really loved it that the author took time to really incorporate it in the book instead of making it a little detail of the main character and move on from it. 

For short, the plot will alternate between many things in the book. It'll try to solve the family drama and try to explain how to deal with things like this, It'll give you time apart from that and give you a brewing love story with many doubts and will give you a good dose of feminism which is a very nice addition to it. You'll begin with questions and get them answered but you'll also create feels and fall head over heels. 

Before I jump to my conclusion, I'd also like to point out the "Situations that are destined to fail.", before each chapter there's a sheet with this on top and a few key words that introduce the following chapter. I was really keen on it because it was a nice touch-up and made you want to read on because it was so secretive! It also links to the character's insecurities and her finding her way to become more confident so it'll lead to "Situations that won't fail if you don't let them." 

As a total, we can conclude that this book contains absolutely amazing characters that'll each come to struggle with their insecurities and find a way to overcome those. They're also very passionate which makes sure the book gets an extra boost and the plot won't make it boring at all. How Hard Can Love Be? is a book that really makes you crave the summer and a camp full of friends. I totally recommend it!  

"Failure is never getting hurt. Because that means you've not done anything you cared about."

Wednesday, October 19, 2016


When I was on my holiday, I found out my niece had the same book with her as I did. Together we decided to read the book together so we could discuss the book and see how we liked it! We finished it together in three days and now that I'm back, I'm writing my thoughts down in this review about the book we read together: Teardrop by Lauren Kate.

If Eureka knows one thing it's that she should never, ever cry. Not even when her mother died in a car accident, not when her heart gets broken, not when she's having a hard time. Never. Now her mother is gone, Eureka's having a very hard time living her life. Her stepmom sends her off on many appointments to go talk to someone but nothing really helps. It isn't until a boy comes around, Eureka starts to ask questions about what has happened the night of the car accident. Even more so, she discovers that they're coming for her. 

This is only my second book written by Lauren Kate. The first book I read by her was Unforgiven, and then I remember myself saying I really wanted to read some more of this author. I guess the time has finally arrived to make true to my promise!

First off, Eureka! Eureka gave a very stoic impression at first. She never really showed any emotion, she never cried. It was really weird to read those few pages where she explained everything that happened but there was never the part where she teared up on the fact that her mother died. It's from that moment on, I started to ask myself questions. Especially because the back of the book says she should never, ever cry. Alarm bells were ringing because, well why would she never cry? 

Further more Eureka explains she needs to see doctors because she tried suicide after her mom left. Which does show us that her mother was a very important person to her and that's a thing I enjoyed reading about. Eureka would make us see her mother as she saw her by retelling old stories or give more information about her mother. This information is really important because it'll help us out later in the book with discoveries that we made.

The further we go into the book, the weirder it gets for Eureka and we can really notice that she's not feeling at ease. This is the first big change in this character after being really stoic. And many changes follow with this character until she grows to a very strong teenager that won't let the bad overthrow her again. These changes in this character are incredible because it shows her evolution in one big and fluent line. 

As for the boy that came to tell her they're coming for her. He's all mystery! My niece and I really wanted to know more about him, especially because we know what he did when things went south for Eureka and her mother. But the author really wants us to be patience and makes Ander return only a couple of times in the book.

From the few times we see him, I did notice a difference with the people he grew up with. He will believe what he wants and he's determined that things can change. This character will really convince you that you don't need to follow the others but can stand for your own ideas and be okay with those. Other than that I also noticed that this character is really protective but has a very gentle and sweet side to him, even though most of the times I felt like he was a stalker and could be a potential bad guy. I really enjoyed his presence in the book but I really did miss him a lot. I wish we could have seen a bit more about this character, but not all might agree with this because him not being around a lot does create more mystery. 

Now, we don't know much about Ander or his relatives but we do know a lot more about Eureka. Eureka has two friends that will be important in this book. First off, we have Cat! In the beginning I was not really fond of her, she was at times too enthusiastic and it felt like you couldn't trust her with a secret but as the story developed itself more you get to know her much better. Eventually, I can conclude she really grew on me. She's just very eccentric and she did prove herself to be this awesome best friend Eureka could count on. Next to being eccentric she's also a very supportive friend.

Another friend of Eureka is Brooks and oh my, I can say I was totally sold to him from the beginning. Brooks has a very mysterious air having around him and you just want to get close to him. So I agree with all the girls in the book that want Brooks close, he's absolutely amazing. Yet I began to doubt Brooks a lot and he'll also create a lot of mystery and suspense that has to do with the bigger story of the book. Eventually Eureka begins to doubt Brooks and that's the moment you know as a reader, your intuition might have been correct, or not? 

Brooks is a very funny guy but also very protective when it comes to Eureka. He'll always support her and he knows how to handle her now she's so down after her mother died. I was really keen on that aspect of Brooks. Yet also he changes a lot in this book and grows to become hot and cold all the time. We don't know what's going on with Brooks, so this makes sure we have another mystery to solve together with Eureka! 

Lastly her family, as I said, we will get to know her mother through many flashbacks and stories but her mom seems to have two faces nearing the middle of the book. I can't say much about it just mark my words. The flashbacks and the stories are an asset to the book and I'm also glad her mother is put into the book a lot because it creates more clues to a possible explanation. 

As for her father... he's great! I absolutely adored him! He's also having a hard time, even though he was divorced you can really see he's suffering too. Eureka's dad also has a hard time with getting through Eureka. He really tries and that's what I absolutely appreciated in him but after all, it seems he doesn't have much luck. 

Together with him comes Rhoda, the stepmother and can I say I absolutely hated her! I don't know what it is, but in each book the parents are so well written you just hate them! The power of a writer: writing it so well you can feel the same as the main character! Absolutely brilliant! She really pushes people to do what she wants and that's what really irritated me most with her. She doesn't know what's best for everyone but she does act as if she does. As I said I'm not fond of her at all but I do want to congratulate the author on writing her as brilliant as Lauren Kate has. 

Lastly and also very briefly, the twins! Rhoda and Eureka's dad have twins and they're absolutely adorable, yet they won't be spared from all the danger that's coming. Not only Eureka has melted because of them but also Brooks. I really enjoyed the twins because they bring more life and more feels (such as worry, anxiety, love,...) to the story. 

Now the plot. In the beginning, Eureka will give you a lot of information. This information only creates a lot of questions but not a lot of answers. If you read the back of the book really well, you even start with questions but by then nothing will be explained since even Eureka doesn't know anything about that... yet.

The plot will take major turns when Ander comes around and when Brooks starts to act strange and all hot and cold. This will create more mystery not only in the story but also with the characters. This is a great asset to Teardrop because it makes it so much more than it already was. Next to these plot twists there's also a lot that has to do with Eureka's mother and Eureka who's being followed by Ander. 

As a reader you'll really start to question everything you come across because you don't have much to work with. You'll have to use your intuition to try and solve things because Eureka will have a moment of disbelieve and just go on with her life. 

The mystery around who Ander is and what's going on with Brooks will also feed the question: who is Eureka really? And why does she never cry? It really takes a while before we get new answers and before Eureka will start to act but when she does, the story has a lot in store for you. 

There will be betrayal, more questions, mystery, there will be funny moments and moments you don't trust people but there'll also be thrill and tension, anxiety and murder. I can't tell you how much this book will do to you. It really starts slow and you might have to wait long on some answers but this will only cause the book to go out with a bang and give you everything it has, that's what I was really keen on in Teardrop

If that isn't enough there will be a big plot twist at the end but if I have to give one remark on this book, it'll be the ending. It was good, don't get me wrong but there were some details I didn't really find as spectacular as the big things that were happening. This is only a little remark, nothing big because the end battle still really surprised me! 

Another thing I want to say is that the people who want to get Eureka, for whatever reason you will find out during your read, are only seen three times in the book. In the beginning, once in the middle and than at the end. I really missed that a lot because they are important to this story and its further developments. I hope they come around much more in the next book.

Still, I recommend this book to people who want a mysterious read and who want to investigate some things themselves. The book will make a slow start but will give so much more near the ending. Also the epilogue will clear a lot of things for you which is a great thing and this will also make you want to read the following book. The characters are great and each very different from each other. You get background information to events form the past that will guide you in the future which is again a great asset. I think we can conclude that Teardrop is really a good book that's really worth to look into further if you're interested! 

"Can everything you love be washed away?"

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

How it all started, my book adventure

Unbelievable, one year ago, at this time I posted my first blog post. It's been a year! I can't believe it! Back then I was busy constructing my blog and really trying to find the best ways to present things to the visitors that might be coming around. Now, I have everything put together and have my four themes for each season, I have my weekly review I try to hold on to between homework and only a year later but I'm still addicted to books. That said I think it's time to open up the "how it all started" post because I think it's about time I try and explain how I became a bookaddict. 

It wasn't always like that, in fact it wasn't until I was in my fifth year of high school that books actually started to become an addiction. I remember having a few phases in my teen years where I went to the library every week to get a few new books. Or even buy a few books, that was the time when I was really into Alyson NoĆ«l's series Evermore. Believe me, I was obsessed with it! I remember coming home at noon and eat fast so I could read on in the book. I was 14 at that moment and I also did my book presentation with Evermore. I was so enthusiastic that it got everyone's attention and people followed me around school because they needed and wanted to read the book. I was so proud on myself, because I made people want to read! But those phases of reading always faded away for whatever reason there might've been. 

Skipping forward to the fifth year of high school, we had these different tasks for our portfolio and you could pick one. Either it was keeping up with awards that were being given to books or visiting the annual book fair in Antwerp. At that point, I only read books I was obligated to read. 

My choice? Visiting the book fair in Antwerp. It was "only" visiting and writing a "top 5 things you had to see on the book fair". I wasn't there for the books really, I was there because I really wanted to write that article and make something cool of it. So the day started and my family and me went to visit it without a lot of expectations...

Yet at a certain point during the visit, I turn my head to one of the corners there were at that point and I see it. I see that angel wing and I start to freak out. It was the third book in the Hush Hush series! Now skipping back a few years, when I was in a phase of being into books...

I was just wandering around in the library and just wanted to checkout when a book with a feather on the side caught my attention. I grabbed it, I read it and I brought it back only so I could take the second book with me. I was sold to this series and I did my research back then, just as I do now when I start a series, there were two more books! Yet the library didn't have those and back then I never bought books at all. I just lend them from the library and that was that. So I never finished up the series, I had accepted that by then.

But now I saw it, and I freaked out and I might have been a little loud at that moment because I saw the book laying there and well, what do you do when you see a book you wanted to read so badly? Yep, you buy it. You read it. And you damn right devour it! That was the moment I was sold again to being into books. I read the Dutch version of Silence by Becca Fitzpatrick. When that was done, I went to my local bookshop and ordered the last book in this series. I remember being curled up in bed while reading it. It was also that phase where I didn't really care that my spines broke, which absolutely changed later on! 

After that I really started looking for more books that were angel-demon themed because Becca Fitzpatrick just rubbed it off on me and I couldn't resist. This was the book series that really got me to read again. When I finally found a book that I was interested enough in, I did it again! I bought a book! It is really shocking looking back at it because I never thought that that would be the beginning of the end. After Hush Hush came my first ever English books: Sweet Evil by Wendy Higgins. I said to myself: "Okay, you read slowly because it's English and you need to understand it all!" but when I was through the prologue... let's say I just finished the book very quick all of a sudden! 

When that series was done, I started the LUX-series by Jennifer L. Armentrout and although it took me a few months to finish up the series, I finished it. The phase of reading this time didn't end, I wasn't fed up with it. I kept ordering books, I kept reading and reading and fast forward to now: I'm still reading! I guess it's therefore safe to say that this phase probably won't die out. I admit to have had a few reading slumps though! But here are a few tips I learned on my journey to my book addiction to get out of those: 

  1. If you're in a reading slump, try to open up a new book! That way, you're in a total new world that might be more appealing than the one you were in before.
  2. If you're in a reading slump, try to reread some chapters of your favorite books! That way, you get a feeling of nostalgia and you might want to read again.
  3. If you're in a reading slump, try to read together with a friend or relative in the same book. There's nothing more exciting than reading with somebody else. It makes you want to read on so you can laugh and talk about the characters together and form your own theories.

Although I had those reading slumps, I always got back to reading because it made me a very happy version of myself. I had moments where I came down screaming because my book ended on a cliffhanger (yep, my first ever cliffhanger...) and I absolutely needed the next book! The first time for that was when I finished The Coincidence of Callie and Kayden by Jessica Sorensen. And now, I read more than 100 books on a time-span of two years without stopping entirely! It's now that they buy me books for my birthday because what else would make Erica happy? It really is an obsession but a good kind of obsession! 

Things didn't only stay with reading and putting it on the shelves though. Goodreads came along, a platform where everyone who loves to read can go to. You can make friends, you can find books, you can recommend books or update the progress you're making. I absolutely love it because you really feel like you're in that book community.

There is also another way to find the book community: Instagram. It took me until the summer of 2015 to finally decide to enter that world too. The book community on Instagram is pretty simple: you make pictures of books and you post it. I really fell in love with that too, just making pictures of the books I owned and go outside during Fall to make pictures of it. It's also that way that you can find new books you might really enjoy or make new friends that love the same themed books as you. 

The summer of 2015 was also the time for me starting to realize I didn't want it just to be reading. I wanted more, I wanted to review! I started reviewing a few books and posted it on my Tumblr blog but that died down because all the pictures I reblogged made them invisible. However, the idea of reviewing the books didn't die down. Eventually, on the 12th of October 2015 I asked my mother how Blogger really worked. My mother is a very creative person and she makes all sorts of beautiful tags and colorful cards and projects but she also made me a few bookmarks. My mom also does workshops so other people could learn certain techniques. For all of her projects, cards and tags she made a blog a long time ago: so she new how things worked on it. It was that day that my idea became a reality.
Bookmarks made by my mom, go check out her blog HERE

I started my own blog! Hurray! I could actually, really, truly, start reviewing books and they wouldn't be invisible between reblogged pictures! I was really excited and really had this whole layout envisioned. When I got everything there was to get about Blogger, I had my own blog and as I had wanted it to be all along. Until this day, which is one year people, I still review books and I still post. I'm really proud that I came all this way and still feel satisfied because I can do this. 

Of course, in the beginning things were pretty new and I didn't know if people would actually read this but it turned out people do! I also had some help and tips from Peter. He's from Denmark and also has a website where they review books and talk about books and really everything about books which is amazing: . Those tips really helped me out to make the blog become it's ultimate self and so that it could improve. 

If you're also someone who'd love to start a blog to review books, I'd suggest you do because it's pretty amazing to be able to share your thoughts about the book you just read and help people to make their decisions. Some may really base whether or not they want to read that book by your review. To think that you, as a reviewer, can help them to find their perfect book, that's actually pretty amazing! Here are also a few tips to create your blog:

      1. Choose a name and choose wisely! 
I remember really struggling with finding a name. At that time I was really "Bookangels" because that was how my Instagram was called but I knew people wouldn't immediately guess that I wrote reviews. After weighing off a few names, my mom and me decided that picking "To Read Or Not by Erica" was the best. It suggested the idea of reviews more and it was more appealing.

     2. Choose a platform to put your reviews on! 
There are a few platforms to make blogs on like Blogger or such as Wordpress but each and every one of them will give you something else. Also their technology and "how to use" is often different. Therefore pick the platform you think is more easy for you or attracts you the most since you have to work on it. I chose Blogger because my mom could really explain the basics and it wasn't very hard to comprehend yet these things just differ from person to person.

     3. Choose a layout that attracts and makes you feel happy! 
It's your blog after all! You do what you want and improve along the way. There will be people to help out with it if need be. For example, I had a tip for the layout from Peter. He told me the fond was really tiny and to make it bigger. What looked for me as something okay was actually too hard to read and would "scare" people away. Which brings me to #4

     4. Ask friends, family or total strangers to check out your blog! 
Not only does it create new visitors and therefore possible followers, it'll also make sure that they can review the blog and give tips and tricks to improve it such as "make the fond bigger". 

     5. A tip that I'm still working on after a year: try to post frequently. 
Once you have a lot of people, it's great. I was so happy when there were many people visiting the blog but then I didn't post for a while and that made the visitors drop and made it hard for them to come back. I know it isn't the easiest things to do at all, I still have times where I don't post anything because I didn't finish a book. But if you can, you might as well try! It doesn't need to be every day, it can be once a week, it really differs from how fast you can finish and review a book. You can also just schedule your blogpost! I had a period where I read a lot of books but decided to only post one review a week. This caused that I had two months filled with reviews on a frequent base.

     6. Lastly, share it! 
If you are on Goodreads and you say that you finished your book, you can always put up a review about the books and give it its stars worth. You can either copy paste your whole review in it or, as I do it, copy paste just a part of the review in it and also give the link to your blog. That way you lure people to click the link and check out the full review on the blog. You can do whatever way you prefer it! If you're on Instagram, posting pictures of your books, you can also edit your photo on your computer or phone and put the link on the picture with the word "Review". At first glance, people will see there's a review available and therefore might want to click the link in your description or type over the one on your picture to check out your blog.

These were tips I found really helpful during my journey to make my blog but I'm still open for tips! If you guys made it this far and read this: give tips if you want to! I have a contact box at the right of the screen and you can just put them there, that way I'll see them in my inbox and make improvements. Also, book recommendations are always welcome!

This pretty much concludes my journey through the book adventure. I read and fell in love with it, I became addicted so hard that I go to Book Fairs and buy books online and I became part of the book community only to end up here with my own review blog. It's been one year since the latter and I feel very proud! If you've been around for a while, then thank you for going on this journey with me because it's because of you that I kept going with writing the reviews! Thank you

Now, let's celebrate by reading a good book! 

"Books give a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything"
~ Unkown

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

The Power

A few months back, I wrote my review on the first book in the Titan-series. A sequel series to the Convenant series. By then I was waiting full of excitement on the release of the second book in this series: The Power by Jennifer L. Armentrout. And I can finally say that I have read, no, devoured the series in two days. 

For the ones here that haven't read the first in this series, I recommend you not to read on since there will be further developments to the characters and to the plot. This will create a less pleasant read of The Return because you know more information than you already should. Therefore, I recommend you not to read the review of The Power but to read the review about the first in the series: The Return. Just clicking on the title will open a new page with the review on the first book. 

Now Josie's finally settled in the world she was introduced to a while ago, she's finally growing to become a badass-ninja. Although she thinks she's making process, Seth's holding on tight not so sure if in the end she'll be able to kill. He knows how it goes and he knows how it feels. Guarding these feelings from her, Seth grows to really love her company. Yet not all is over. Last time they saved Josie but the danger isn't gone. The Titans and other dangers are still looming around and trying to get her. Seth is determined not to let her out of his sight. It isn't until something bad happens, Seth starts to realize also he might be a danger to Josie... 

This book was again... too good for words! I just can't describe it. But that's how I feel each time I read something written by Jennifer L. Armentrout. She's just incredible, and let's be honest: so is Seth. 

Speaking of Seth I think it's a great idea to start with some more information about how he has changed in comparison to The Return. In comparison to the Covenant series, we've already seen a very different side of Seth, this time his good side is accentuated even more. Seth has become a very calm person in comparison to other books where he's a part from. Although he really (still) curses a lot and gets angry at certain moments, he really wants to do the right thing. 

This meaning: doing good by Josie. The thing that's really accentuated most in this book is the way he really wants to protect her from all the harm in the world. He trains her, but he knows she might not kill in the end and that really worries him a lot. I absolutely love this side in Seth, yet I enjoy seeing him get angry too because it shows he's only human.

What might be the best thing about Seth in this book is him trying to be perfect for Josie. He's really trying to be nice, to be good and to make her feel at ease and make her smile. In The Power we'll also see a lot of gentleness in Seth, something I never expected to see as often as I did in this book. And I think that only proves one thing about Seth... Other than it'll also become very clear that Seth worries a lot about himself trying to be good. His insecurities about being good enough for her will shine through more than ones and it'll also put pressure on this relationship. This pressure will also cause a moment where Seth has to make a very drastic decision which we will all dread. 

As for Josie, she's grown into her badass-ninja. Her words not mine. She's really feeling confident and has grown accustomed to the new world she was brought into a while back. In the beginning of The Return, I was doubting her strength to fight but now she has really proven herself. Although she knows her own power, she does doubt herself a lot because she starts to compare herself to others that seem stronger.

This will bring out some of her insecurities but many of her insecurities will start to return when Seth puts a little pause on their bond and training. This is the moment we really see Josie break down which again makes sure she's a very realistic and relatable person, since we all suffer from heartbreaks. Josie really proves her in this book and really overcomes many of her past fears. 

Another character that's still as amazing as I had imagined him is Deacon. I haven't mentioned him in the review about The Return but I might have in reviews of the Convenant. Deacon is Aiden's brother, and I remember in the beginning when I first met him, I thought he was weird but he did really grow onto me. 

Even more so, he has become a very independent person that will say what he wants and go for that. Also, in this book he'll take a stand and fight for what he wants, even if they don't want him to do anything. That's what I really love about this character, he's very funny that you mistake him for not being attentive. But in fact, he's really observant that it might shock you how intuitive he is and how much of a difference he can make in a situation. 

Above that I really love it that he's loyal and can be trusted. Many times in the book this side of Deacon will come through and you'll really want to have a friend like him. Josie can really count on him and in the end, so will Seth. By the way, Luke and Deacon... they're so cute together! 

The last character I want to discuss is Apollo. Josie is a demigod, a daughter of Apollo yet he doesn't act like a father. This does grow to irritate Josie a lot and she'll also suffer from this. It's at that point that we really understand Josie and why she's angry and sad about her father. Also other characters will finally understand her, even when she doesn't say anything. I don't like Apollo because he doesn't take Josie as his daughter while he acts like a parent with other characters that aren't even close to his daughters / sons. 

The characters will further develop themselves and will become a lot stronger and determined than I had expected. Nevertheless, I was really excited to see them become different (in a good way). 

Now the plot! In the previous book, things weren't really solved. The Titans are still on the loose which means the characters will be confronted with them a lot in this book. They're learning how to get the Titans back under control and how to get them locked in their place again.

This will acquire a lot more power than only one demigod, and will cause the moment where Josie needs to go and find the other remaining demigods. Above that she'll have to learn how she can defeat them. This will give the readers a big quest to the ways of destroying a Titan but will also create and solve a lot of mysteries we had in book one. 

Above that there's the fuss about the halfs and pures that's becoming a way bigger problem than it was in the beginning and than I has expected. It comes this far that halfs and pures are out on vengeance! This will create so much more tension and thrill in the school and with the characters, they're having a hard time controlling their peace and calmness. 

This means that  the book will mainly concentrate on two different problems and this will acquire two different solutions. While the head of the school tries to solve the problem with halfs and pures murdering each other out, the other characters will try to solve the Titan problem. 

What I enjoyed about these problems is that it puts a lot of pressure on the characters and you can see how they achieve certain goals while being under this pressure. Next to the pressure of finding solutions there's also a lot of pressure on Seth to be the good guy and not to repeat history. This is another personal matter Seth has to deal with in the plot and it makes you really understand the way he's thinking. Now Seth has to deal with that too, we really get to know him a lot better and that's a big asset to the book because it's an explanation to certain actions and decisions he will make. 

Seth starts to have a difficult time with controlling and keeping his calm and Josie starts to doubt herself. Above that characters from the past return and nobody really knows if this is a good thing or not. To be honest, these characters did fine until a certain point. Then I started to really grow irritated by them because they are selfish. This certain point is very hard to explain because it's at the end and that's supposed to be a big surprise. Speaking of a big surprise, the final battle was a very big surprise! It was something totally unexpected but it was also something we might have seen coming if we payed more attention to it. 

The plot will contain a lot of feels and it will test your loyalty and trust in certain characters, which is a great thing about The Power! Above that a lot of mystery will be solved and solutions will finally start to being formed as we get more help from an unexpected person. The story line will keep you busy and will alternate between tension and mystery and further developments on the relationship between Seth and Josie that's coming under pressure. 

To conclude this review I want to say the following: go. get. the. book! If you enjoyed the first book in this series, you will enjoy the second book too. It doesn't only build further onto the events of the first book but it'll also create new events and new feels for you to discover. The characters are still as great as they were in book one but they'll grow to be even better. If you loved Seth and Josie, you'll absolutely get more of them in The Power while being torn apart and being put back together. Hold on tight while you suffer through heartbreak, pressure, insecurities, gentleness, fighting and an unexpected ending. I absolutely recommend this series! But beware, if you want to read the Covenant series too, read this series first before you start the Titan-series! Otherwise you spoil yourself. 

"Courage. Strength. Absolute power."