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Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Invaded

So we had the month of April which was basically invaded by Luxen, aliens. We're June and once again this blog is going to be invaded by yes another alien species! It's also the 21st of June which means it's FINALLY summer and we can all look out to summer reads that brighten our day even more. And of course the lay-out will change with the season, so I'm excited! Anyway, back to our invasion of today: Invaded by Melissa Landers!


Note: this is not a first in a series! I recommend not reading any further as Invaded is the second book and there have been many developments and changes made since Alienated. If you're interested in the series or want to read Alienated, I wrote a review of this book on my blog HERE!

Earth is in need of planet L'eihr's technology but L'eihr won't help out Earth before they have an alliance where everyone agrees to the terms. Cara and Aelyx need to make sure that alliance will be formed by pleasing their people. Cara needs to please L'eihr and Aelyx needs to please Earth. Both knew it would be a huge adjustment and them being away from each other doesn't make things any easier. Especially because both are being targeted and the alliance is in danger.

First off, the characters! Cara seriously grew so much onto me. I can't believe that I didn't like her at first in Alienated. This character really has a very big task and she's very sure of herself to make it true. Her determination and her trying so hard was something I really appreciated. Especially because she's now on another planet, surrounded by species who don't like her at all, Cara is really being tested. I appreciated that this character showed us to always believe everything will come to a good end, and didn't give up. 

I did love the fact that the author made the balance between her being totally alright and not giving up and then give her moments where she really doubts if she can do this and want this. I think that's a very realistic perspective of life as well, the ups and downs, and our character has these moments which gives the book a very realistic twist (well in the feels department since Aliens are not real yet.)! Cara really surprised me by her actions and motivation and I'm really keen on her! 

Then we've got Aelyx, also he is on a planet where the species will test him. Also Aelyx the alien has changed a lot over the past two books, his hatred for mankind has simmered down now he knows Cara. During the book we'll also see his perspective and his feelings towards her and can I just scream? He's so adorable! Another trait in this character was his patience on the unknown planet and try his hardest to form the alliance. He's also really gentle, gentler than I had expected, and really caring which really is a trait that I feel he had less in Alienated

The bond between Cara and Aelyx will be tested as both are on unknown territory and are away from each other's support, but they're still there for each other and that will be highly appreciated by the readers. Both of them might be far away from each other, but the cuteness and gentle, comforting moments will get a chance in this book as well. Something I really appreciated to see as I was a bit scared that we wouldn't see these moments at all because they were apart. However readers might also really appreciate the fact that they're on their own, it really gave them the chance to feel one with the planet they're on and also made sure that the characters knew further development! 

Lastly, I really want to talk about Cara's brother! It might come as a surprise but he really grew on me! I don't want to spoil too much because it really is something to enjoy during the read, but I just love this character so much. He's really funny and caring but in his own way and I was really happy that we'd get to know him after all. Troy is a very surprising character, especially after all the things we already knew about him (which weren't all the most positive ones) and readers will really be pleased by him!

The plot really surprised me the most, because it felt like a huge contrast and I actually really liked that. I'm in love with the fact that it's a reversed world where both characters go to the partner's world and live there. Of course there's this bigger task that's important while they're there but still, it is something really cool!

Especially because now Cara lives on planet L'eihr we'll even get more drowned into the culture and above that get to see the landscapes, the government, the daily schedules and how everything works on the planet. Get ready to become full L'eihr! I really think this is a great asset to the book to see the functioning of this other planet and the contrasts it shows with ours.

But as I already mentioned, a bigger task needs to be done: the alliance. It's only because of the alliance that both character now reside on each other's planet. Thank you alliance, now I know how planet L'eihr looks like. The alliance between the two should help the earth with it's problems but readers will soon try to find out why the L'eihrs want this alliance: what's in it for them? And that's how all the suspicion starts to take place. 

It's not a secret that the Earthlings hate Aelyx and it's also not a secret that L'eihrs hate Cara, these relationship between the alien and the earthlings and the earthling and the aliens will really create a tension and more division in both camps. The remaining question is how everyone is going to react to the tension and that was also the surprising moment in this book. (Which I'm not going to get say because hello spoilers!)

This book actually really contains a lot of surprise and I really loved it a lot more than I did Alienated because there's a lot more action and mystery that's supported by the tension. Above that now Cara resides on L'eihr she won't only find out more about their culture but also about many more other cultures in the galaxy which once again gives a nice twist to the story. When we finally find out what on earth is actually going on, you'll be actually really surprised by this as it is something unpredictable, yet fantastic to find out. I have to say this outcome was actually a lot more twisted and original than I had expected. Then again, I hadn't expected anything like this in the plot.

Next to mystery, action and thrilling I really felt like the story made a lot more room for the feels. Now the characters are divided, the tension will also be transferred onto their relationship which then causes moments of comforting, love and caring but also moments of jealousy and uncertainty which I actually really appreciated. The bonds created will receive a new dept that was really amazing to witness and of course there are also the family bonds and friendships that get more attention! 

Lastly, I noticed that this book has a third in a series, but I don't know if I want to read it. It's not that I hated the two books in this series, not at all. In fact I absolutely enjoyed them! However the author made it look like this was the last in the series as the end feels really the end for me. I'm satisfied with it. I think that's a good thing actually, if readers want it to be the end they can but they can also go on and explore further. I did notice that there's a suggestion that opens the way for a third book, but I also thought that it could be a future thing that we wouldn't ever know and didn't really mind that. I'm not sure what I'm going to do, either read on or stop here and make this my ending. Either ways are possible and I like that about the series. 


PS: I actually originally thought that this was a duology! That's why I thought this was the end, until I found out a few minutes ago that there was a third in the series! 



This book shows such a contrast to Alienated! The characters are now more evolved but still show their traits and strengths through the book. I even felt like we finally got to know them a lot more and a lot better, which is a very big asset to this book. Above that the plot takes a whole new turn as the worlds are now reversed: Cara is on the planet L'eihr and Aelyx is on earth. I really loved to see this going that way because both are foreign on the planets and that causes a lot of new things and a lot of adjustment. We finally also got to know the L'eihr culture a lot more because Cara lived there and I must say this culture was nice to explore! To top it all off, the two characters need to make the alliance between the two races stand, but some don't agree and sabotage which gives the plot a taste of action and suspense! I loved this book even more than I did Alienated!

“When you preach hatred, how do you expect your followers to respond?” 

Wednesday, June 7, 2017

New Moon

A little while back, I tried out the first in a series that I had always told myself you will not read it! Yet I haven't been able to resist and although I had my remarks on it, I still wanted to read the rest of the series so that's what I did! I picked up the audiobook of New Moon by Stephenie Meyer and enjoyed this one a lot more than Twilight!

Note: This is not a first in a series, I highly recommend you not to read any further since this is the second book in the series and further developments have been made. If you're interested in the series and haven't read the first story, I have a review on Twilight HERE!


Bella's life is all about Edward Cullen. Now she knows what he is it's even harder for her to stay away. Edward saved Bella once, but not all danger is gone and the more he realizes she's in danger, the more he's turning away from her. Bella is left with a broken heart over Edward's behavior and comfort comes from a very unexpected corner. But is everything how it looks like?

First I'd really love to talk about Bella because I finally know how I feel about her! In my review of Twilight I wrote that I wasn't really sure how to feel about her, but I do now! I like her! It might be because Edward Cullen is less around her side or it might just be the fact that she grew up and didn't overreact as much as she did in the first book. I feel like she behaves herself a lot more mature and that's something I really appreciated about her. 

Above that, Bella is torn over Edward Cullen who is trying acting weird and that causes her to make changes in her life. It isn't about Edward all the time and that made this character also a lot more pleasant. Bella will sort out her feelings after a while and her feelings were so relatable when you're torn over someone that I could also really feel with her. She'll get stronger and more determined in a mature way and not in a childish one. She really feels like a whole other character, one that I appreciate a lot more and also grew a lot more than Bella in Twilight.

As for Edward, of course I still like him. Just as in the review on Twilight he still finds his way toward my heart and I won't be sorry about that! Once again he shows us how mature he can be, and his little childish moments he had in Twilight will also disappear; which I'm grateful for. I felt like in New Moon we saw even a lot more how protective he is over Bella in a less over-romantic way. I really love this protectiveness of Edward in a tender and sweet way instead of the cliche way we saw it in the first book. And just in general, I really love this character for his protectiveness and kindness. 

However this book made a lot more room for other, new, characters to come in and present themselves, something I was very happy about! First of all, I'd like to talk about Charlie. I just adore this character so much and I'm so happy that in this book he was more present. Charlie is a bit like Edwards but then in a different way, he's protective of Bella but makes it seem like that in the little ways which I appreciated a lot. He's very down to earth but a character that's funny and is just really enjoyable! Sometimes he's also so unknowing which made him even funnier. 

As for a character we saw briefly in Twilight, there's Jacob! Also this character was one that I was really happy to see more of because he adds so much to the story. He's different from Edward, he's less stiff and more outgoing but in a sweet way. He'll also take care of her which is another trait in this character that will be loved by readers. Other than that this character really gives more to the story as he'll be very important and is just a very good friend to Bella which made me appreciate him even more. I feel like the movies made him seem so hateful and not good enough, but in the books he's way different (at least that's what my opinion is).

Now the plot was also a whole new thing. Twilight focused on discovering what the Cullens were and the possible danger that comes along with it. This danger that comes with the Cullens will be the first focus point in the book. I really loved to see this part because otherwise it only seems like they were untouchable. Stephenie Meyer really made it clear that danger comes from all different corners and not just the ones you expect. 

This all leads to the protectiveness that Edward brings as he decides this danger is not what he wants from Bella. I did think he'd become protective but what follows was something I don't really feel was something many would see coming, this isn't anything predictable. Of course if you've seen the movies it is predictable but this was one of the movies I absolutely loathed so I don't remember too much of it. That of course sets everything into motion, Bella is sad because he's being like this and she turns to new friends: Jacob.

New Moon brings such a very nice friendship and bond between the characters, it's really something to appreciate and also something that's really relatable. Of course it isn't full of action but it did make us see more about the characters and their interests which I think is an asset to the book.

However for everyone who thinks this would be boring because there is no action, hold up! There is! Things seem solved after Twilight, the bad guy is gone but does it really mean it's solved? Above that certain things will start to seem weird and not as they first seemed to be. New things will come out of the dark and present themselves. This is a bit cryptic, I know and I also bet half of you know what it is but I like to stay not-suggestive for the ones that don't know. These unsolved problems and new things that are looming around will make sure that the reader, next to all the loss and the new friendship, will get mystery and action into the story. The author made a very good balance between this new mystery and the new friendship in the plot! 

Which brings me to the feelings, the first book in the series was very cliche and had me rolling my eyes so much. The romance was just too much and too thick but New Moon really changes all that. There will be place for friendship, loss, funny parts but of course there's still romance. I'm really happy that the romance is much tender and sweeter instead of the over-romantic-eye-rolling-cliche

Lastly, when we finally know what's going on everything will turn upside down! Bella might be acting as if she's alright but she still feels the ache and that makes her a bit crazy which then causes everyone to get a minor heart attack because every crazy thing she does, has consequences... I'm not going to get into details though (but yet again, most of you already know...). That's yet another thing that I appreciated in this book, when you think it's all okay and well it turns out to be different than what you expected! 

A little note for everyone who did see the films but did not read the books: you need to read them. Although the movie really shows a lot of things that happen in the book, I felt like the ending had a lot more to give in the book than in the movie! So if I can make a suggestion: read the books! Although my review on the first book wasn't too good, I have to say New Moon really surprised me by turning out a lot more different than I had expected!

I enjoyed this book far better than Twilight! Even though some characters don't come around as much as I wished them to, other and new characters get a chance to present themselves and to further develop during the story. The mystery towards the other creature in this series and their influence in the story was also something I really enjoyed to see. And of course there are things from the first book that return because they weren't solved, bringing a whole new portion of action and wonder! I also found this book far less cliche and over-romantic which can only be another asset in my opinion! I'm really looking forward to the next book in the series and to seeing the adventure with Edward and Bella!

“Forbidden to remember, terrified to forget; it was a hard line to walk.”

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Existence

Finally! I got my hands onto a book that I wanted for ages but could never find in any of my bookstores: "out of stock" situation! Yet finally, I got around it and ordered the book: Existence by Abbi Glines, and I feel so happy to have it! Although I did feel a bit disappointed by it and really hope the other books are better!


Pagan isn't any normal girl, aside from going to school and doing homework she sees things nobody else sees. And she shouldn't be able to see the things she sees: souls. None of the souls give her any attention, and she doesn't give them any attention either. One day, that all changes when one of them starts staring at her and eventually starts talking to her. Trying to ignore him, Pagan can't do anything else but start getting attached to the soul. But he is nowhere near a soul... 

First of all, Pagan Moore. As already mentioned above, Pagan sees souls. I really had expected Pagan to be a bit more stressed out about this and to want to find out why she can see them. However, this character feels like it's completely normal and just ignores the souls as a solution. I don't really feel happy about that, because it doesn't really give any mystery to her ability, however I do feel as if that's something unique. Many characters in books that I have read and have a special ability really stress out about it and wonder, this gives Pagan a more unique side. Yet I can't help but want that mystery around her ability which I lacked in her personality.

Other than that I really enjoyed this character, she stood up for herself through all the madness. She's a girl with a lot of spirit! She says no when she feels like it, and she does what she really likes. Yet when she's finally doing so well, she often disappointed me by becoming the needy and judgmental kind of girl. A side I rather not see in her! 

As for her the spirit she comes to see and starts talking to, now that's what I call mystery! The book describes him as a very handsome guy but also as a very relaxed one, and one that likes to get the blood from under Pagan's nails. I can't help but love books where boys behave like that: tempered but still soft and also this soul is like that. Readers will really be pulled into the story because of him and because he also speaks in cryptic messages from time to time. Yet his personality also has the soft side, as I already mentioned, and that soft side will melt us from time to time. I really loved this soul, he probably is my favorite in the whole story because of his character and the mystery he brings!

One other character I really want to discuss is Leif, a very popular guy in the book. Pagan really judges him from the start and the arguments she brings do make us fend for her side. Yet I am really happy that the book made time to let us explore Leif and see what's really going on with this guy. He might be popular but I really loved this character as well, he's very calm and very funny which made an awesome personality that's swoon worthy! However, get ready for more exploring this character because I feel like he will be important in the next few books. 

Now the plot, I kind of was disappointed with the plot. Everything starts out so good: the mysterious soul that talks, getting to know our characters, getting to know the environment. But as I already has mentioned: Pagan isn't really concerned by her seeing the souls and the reason behind it. I felt like that really really ruined part of the plot, the author really left out a part where I think I could have learned so much more about the creatures into the book. We will find out more about them, but the mystery really was lacking. 

However, that is made up by her getting attached to the soul that won't go away. I was keen on seeing how she would act towards it and how she would get rid of it or how she would bring it into her life and handle it. This was something very tender and sweet that I did enjoy from time to time, but sometimes Pagan became so needy (this more towards the end) which then again ruined it a bit in my opinion. 

To every soul is a story, or so I'd like to describe it because the soul she can't get rid of will bring mystery. Thank the Bookgods! After a little while, the plot will make the soul something different, something special and I was really excited about that because finally there was thrill! And when Pagan realized that, she finally started doing her research. Although I found it a bit superficial at times, I did still managed to enjoy it and wonder what was going on. 

And there is more going on than I had first expected, people are coming after Pagan without any reason to. Although that's what we think together with the main character, but once again the soul brings mystery with it and he. knows. more. I'm really happy that the author decided to mix this in because it did give us some action in the story next to the tender and sweet moments. 

Lastly, I'd like to point out that the book is rather fast paced which I think is a negative side because it gives us less time to explore this new world and made us jump from one thing to another. And the ending was also rather rushed! This rushing is really a pity because it should've created a lot more mystery and suspicion for the next book, but it lacked in this department. It did menage to give the reader a satisfying ending though! 

I know it sounds really negative, but I did really enjoy it. The sweet and tender parts and the getting to know characters better was really nice. Also after a while, the suspense and mystery comes so that's a great thing, but I was disappointed and had expected a lot more. I did see that the following books are a lot better rated so I'm still looking forward to the rest of the series, especially because this ending was a cliffhanger!

I have to say I fairly enjoyed the book but really hope that the rest of the series will be better. The thing that made me enjoy it less was the fact that the main character, who sees souls, doesn't really question it a lot and when she becomes attached to ones she still doesn't really ask what's going on. At all. Also I felt like the story skipped from one subject to another on a very rapid pace. 
That aside, I really did enjoy the characters and the story around it enough to really be willing to read the next book as we are left with a very important question at the ending that maybe should've been presented a bit more tragic and thrilling, but sounds very intriguing for the next book! 



"He's about to break all the rules."

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

These Broken Stars

A book I fell in love with, and it was love at first sight really, was These Broken Stars by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner. That cover. It was all it took to convince me I needed this book on my shelves! And after reading the back of the story, I was even more convinced that I needed this book right away!

 When the Icarus comes crashing down, the only survivors left are Lilac and Tarver. Both come from a different social class and both of them hate one another. But when you find yourself on unknown territory, on an unknown planet, don't you think it's better to work together and find your way out of it? Both characters have a hard time trusting one another as this is easy for Tarver being a soldier but hard for Lilac being a royalty. But when the planet blooms with things they both have never seen before, they find out it's better to stay together than alone...

This story is like Romeo and Juliet, mixed with the Titanic, mixed with futuristic elements... and I absolutely found it intriguing, phenomenal and fantastic! This read has so much in store for us and I am excited! 


First of all, the characters! Lilac LaRoux was a character I didn't really know what to think of in the beginning. When we first see her, I felt like she was different from the rest of her social class. Lilac is one of the most popular girls in the whole galaxy because she's a LaRoux and everyone insists she acts like a LaRoux. This girl gives so many mixed signals but she also knows the biggest development in the whole book. 


Some personal traits are the following: extremely stubborn and extremely determined. I have to hand it to her but when everyone expects her to act like a queen, she does quiet the opposite. There are a few moments in the book where I don't know what to make of her: the queen who thinks everyone else is below her, or the Lilac who doesn't see differences and thinks people are equal. This was something that really intrigued me because this girl made you so curious to who she really was and what her purpose was. Her stubbornness and her determination will also add to her finding her purpose in life and will also make sure she stays out of danger. 


I really loved to see Lilac because she grew during the story, as one of the higher social classes she didn't know what to do in survival, or how to act in certain situations. She became a very strong individual who knew how to fend for herself and I really admired that development within her. The once rude Lilac will change dramatically and it's very noticeable in the story!


As for the other person who crashed from heaven, Major Tarver Merendsen he's my new book boyfriend you guys! He's a soldier but all soldiers come from a lower social class, his personality will reflect his hatred for people who are higher above. Especially because he wants everyone to be equal and real. I really loved to see Tarver because even though he think Lilac is one of those higher snobs, he'll still protect her. Tarver has also made a very huge development, he becomes more and more open during the plot. This also causes the readers to know more about his past, about his behavior and his feelings which I felt was a great asset because it shows us how he manages to survive.


His knowledge is also something I really admired and added more to the story as it progresses. At one side we have the all-knowing Tarver and at the other side the unknowing Lilac. Yet the further we go, the more we realize also Lilac has knowledge to add which showed another side of her readers will really enjoy. Especially because to all knowledge is a story and both of the characters will give us fragments of the past which I was really keen on. It made us get to know them even better! Even though they're from another social class, it's great to see how they worked together as a team and bundled their knowledge to survive!

As for the plot, it was very surprising! The first few chapters we'll get into the world of the future with the social classes and how everyone behaves in those social classes. I was really keen on seeing that in this story because it explains a lot for the rest of the plot. And slowly but surly the plot builds up towards the crash which leads to Lilac and Tarver in one of the escape rooms and them escaping to find safety on a new planet.

This planet was very rich and very nice to play around with because it has different sceneries and therefore different dangers or hard moments in it. Even though Tarver knows his way around on many planets, and knows how they're each build up, this planet has a different vibe. That's another thing that I really enjoyed: the knowing but not knowing entirely. It made sure that the plot just becomes more thrilling and suspenseful: what is different? And why is it different? Things seem more darker than you'd first thought.

At first the plot will also be a lot about finding the ship, Icarus, that came crashing down and to find the rescuers, if there are any already. Above that in that first moment they touch down the planet, it's also really about the two main characters and their differences. These differences just give so much more to the plot as each of them has knowledge and each of their personalities will roughen everything up.

However, the plot will make a very slow movement towards the dangers onto the planet: mental and psychical. Readers will be happy about the fact that that movement is made very slowly because it therefore still hides a lot. I don't want to get into detail too much because when that movement is made, I was shocked. This is something I really hadn't expected in this book. 

I had expected them to just find the other people on the planet, find the Icarus and be done with it while talking their way out of their differences, but oh no! This plot is so rich, so dynamic and it will just really surprise you when you least expected it. You're in for a much deeper story than you might think, with danger, action but also with a lot of surprising futuristic elements and a lot of plot twists. These plot twists kept everything very interesting and made the plot also a lot more suspenseful! Also, I'd like to say that these two characters are just so amazing. Their hatred for each other really gives so many funny encounters that the reader can enjoy and laugh at sometimes, which made the plot get a more light side.

Lastly, I really love to point out that between each chapter, one of the characters will be asked questions. This is such a great asset to the book to my opinion, because those questions really build up towards the ending. You get a feel about what has happened and how this might influence your ending. It's also a great way to summarize a chapter and comes in handy when you put the book aside and want to catch up!

This book was better than I had anticipated. I was a bit skeptic in the beginning of the book but after a few pages, I was happy to be pulled into the story. The characters, both from a different social class, show us so much and are incredibly written. They always show a side you didn't expect them to have. The plot is also filled with thrill and suspense and when you least expect it, the plot will absolutely destroy you with plot twists. The plot was so rich, unique with a very dynamic but unpredictable new world. Above that many surprises await us in this world and I had never expected anything like this. A very unique story with a nice twist to everything, I absolutely loved it so much!

"And there it is, against all hope, like the sun peeking out from behind the clouds. The smallest hint of a smile.”

Saturday, May 20, 2017

The Winner's Curse

This is one of those books that's just so good that you need the second book, the third and then hope it's longer than a trilogy. I am cursed though, it's only 3 books in this series... Well, I guess I should just enjoy the rest of it and then cry because I wished there were more books. This book was so much better than I had ever dared to dream: The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski.

 PS: that cover! *insert hearty eyes*

Kestrel's known for her power. Not directly hers but her family's power. Nobody dares to say a bad word of her or even look at her the wrong way. One day all of that changes, when Kestrel buys a slave on the market and feels there's more to him than an eye can see. She's ready to uncover the whole truth about her slave, but society thinks a lot differently about her cause. When she finally understands the dept of this person, it might already be too late to cover the truth or even escape...



Where to start, where to start! Both characters that are focused on the most are each such beautifully written characters because they both deceive the other and their environments. For a change, I'll start with the male main character: the slave. Each of the slaves is known to be a Herrani and he is also one of those. What a Herrani is or what they do or who they are, is something for you to find out while reading this book (and I really recommend that you do). I do have to admit that in the beginning I was a bit confused about what a Valorian was or a Herrani or Herran but once you're pulled into the story, you'll know soon enough! 

So about our slave's personality: I just adored him. He might be hiding so many treasures and secrets, maybe even lies and truth, I just absolutely loved him. His personality is very guarded, which is nothing less than I had expected since he's a slave and has been through a lot. However this guarded side of him is actually quiet pleasant because it really gives you the opportunity to find out who he is, alongside with Kestrel who's trying to do the same. 

This book is written in 3rd person narrator which also gives us a few private moments with the slave's thoughts and actions. This also causes the reader to know some things sooner than Kestrel which actually build up so much more tension than I had expected. Every time I read a 3rd person narrator, I feel like some of the tension is gone but here it wasn't like that. With every clue the slave gave us, a new one came into place and made me wonder what this is all about. I was really keen on being in the thoughts of the slave and know what he was up to, I do wish to have had those moments a lot more than they were given in The Winner's Curse.

One thing I also want to quickly mention about the slave were his tricks. He might not look like one of the smartest but he has so much more power than I had granted him. This guy... he deceived me and oh was I happy to be deceived by this guy... This character was so much more than he wanted us to see!

As for Kestrel, she had most of the story and we also knew so much about her. The moment she bought a slave, most readers would be doubting: does she do it out of a kind heart or does she do it to make her father proud? Her father is the general in the military and he doesn't hide the fact that he wants her to be part of that military. Yet Kestrel is smart, very smart and she knows how to get around her father the best way possible: play a game. One day she'll have to decide anyway: marry or enlist. 

I was amazed by the fact that the female main character is pictured as such a smart woman. I feel like in all books I have read that the women are often pictured as really strong fighters with high emotional steadiness until they break. Kestrel was so much the opposite in this: she couldn't fight well at all, she was the smart strategist who knew every flaw in a plan, who saw what was the best way to approach and who therefore knew how to play a game while bluffing. She was so smart and I absolutely loved seeing that in this character so much. Above that she was also kind to everyone who was kind to her, and she was dangerous to everyone who wasn't kind to her. This contrast was also something that I absolutely admired in her personality.

Both characters are very similar to each other: both of them can easily pass as liars, both can easily pass as manipulating people and both can easily pass as lovable characters. Even though both have the same personality traits and share so many things together, they each still brought so much uncertainty and new things to the story because of their background and because of their treasures, memories, secrets inside of them. These characters were to die for! Both were such good strategists that they couldn't see what the other one was clearly doing and that brought so many feels for the readers and I just feel so in love with these characters PLEASE give them to me in real life, I'll be their best friends!


The thing with these two characters is that even though both seem to hate the other at times, they would do anything for the other. How small the gesture might be and it's then so hard for the both of them to know if the God of lies is loving them or if this is really the truth. The constant doubt about the intentions really was splendid.

This is a story that contains so many games between the people and it's so important to keep your head into it or you will lose. As said on the back of my book: "The gamble is whether you will keep your head or lose your heart. Winning what you want may cost you everything you love." And isn't that true. 

The plot plays with a very big hierarchy and really focuses on the high class society, the reader will be caught of guard by all the luxury, the gossips and the love triangles while trying to gamble their predictions about the plot. I actually really loved to be a part of this high class because it wasn't too exaggerated. Some books tend to go over the top with the gossip and loses the red line in the story but The Winner's Curse really gives a balance between the two. The gossip also really makes you stay sharp because it can be relevant for future events in the book or even past events. 

The biggest focus is of course on Kestrel and the slave: what is she going to find out about him and what is he trying to do to her? The feelings will be all over the place, and you will get frustrated because you might ship people but those people are acting as if the other one doesn't exist and you need them to be together. One step in the right direction, causes them to take two steps back and then I haven't even begun about other character coming in and deciding things for other characters... this book is such a game and a constant pulling and pushing that it's just amazing to read.   

But of course what would this book be without a bit of warfare, more games and of course a total surprise? When we finally realize what has been going on and who lied to who the world has been turned upside down. Other people will arise and better than any of us probably expected them too and the two worlds seem to be changed up. That part actually really reminded me of Beauty and the Beast and I also loved that! Still the personality trait of smart will never leave both characters and this will of course deceive them both once again. Did I already mention that betrayal is also one of the things I'd sum up if people asked me 5 words that described this book?

This seemed the biggest surprise of all, the world turned upside down but then there was the ending, yep there it was and what a surprise we caught there... For the record, that surprise actually broke my heart a lot and also made me need the second book like right away so I could find out who found out or didn't and what they'll do now... I just need The Winner's Crime okay! 

To conclude this review I wish I could give this all the stars in the universe. Never had I expected this book to be as good as it actually is. I am surprised, I am excited, I am ready for the rest of this trilogy and I want the other books right now. This book was so good! The characters share so many of the same traits but still spin it that they seem so unique. The female character really surprised me by being a very strong one by her mind and not by her fighting skills. The level of deadly games and gambling away your life is very high in here, as is the topic of warfare but that really gave this book another unique twists and made it very interesting as well as enjoyable. And if you're looking for feels, surprise, lies, games, gossip, and much more in a total rich new world, this really is your book to read. I absolutely recommend this book to everyone who is ready for so many feels, so many surprises and so many other things. Absolutely one of my new favorite books!

"The God of Lies loves you..."

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

PS I Like You

It's been a long while since I've read anything this cute and adorable. I do have to say, this author always knows a way to my heart with her books. I always wish there was a second part to every book she writes but it's also satisfying to read a standalone, especially when they're so adorable: PS I Like You by Kasie West

Little note: I read this as an Audiobook! Can I just say how much I actually liked listening to an Audiobook? I had never expected that I'd like it because I also don't like e-books. I just want the physical copy! However, I have to say an Audiobook might become very welcome in my life, especially when I'm driving or walking or when my eyes are too tired to read. This also means I don't have a lot of pictures about this book at all, which is sad because I like the cover so much but well, it's worth it!


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Lily hates chemistry. All she wants is to write song lyrics and make music so she can enter the competition. Yet one day, during her chemistry class, someone has left a note for her and she feels intrigued. Whoever the person was, he or she knew what real music was! Lily soon finds herself constantly writing with her anonymous penpal and because of that, she can even write amazing lyrics. But who is the person at the other end?

I have to hand it to Kasie West, she knows how to write intriguing and realistic characters. Each character we came across in this book has so much of reality and it so easy to relate to, I absolutely enjoyed each one of them. 

Lily is very passionate about music and really loves to write lyrics but she feels very shy and self conscious when it comes to that. This character will really show you her passion and it was really nice to see and feel it through her, but she'll also have that realistic side of her that's scared of what people might think about the words. This just really shows how realistic the character is: her need to please the people around her is something a lot of us will be able to relate to! However, I really loved this character's toughness. 

Although she's very shy about her words, her actions will show you how much she actually cares about what people think about her otherwise. It's a nice contrast added to Lily, one many readers will enjoy. Even though she sometimes is a little bit naive, I really think a lot of readers will love her for her strength to face society and bring it down while still being the shy but passionate girl that doesn't want to be judged. 

Another character that I absolutely adored was Isabel, the best friend of Lily. I felt like she was a little bit more bright, shiny and funny in comparison to Lily which also shows a nice contrast between the characters. Isabel is a very supportive friend, a very sweet friend and I really appreciated that about her. The thing is, Isabel always means good. During the story you'll see how she wants to set Lily up with boys and how she'll react on Lily's behavior. It's a very funny thing to see because she really tries hard and means well with her intentions. I also feel like Isabel is someone readers will easily relate to. 

Lastly, I would like to shine a light onto Lily's family! Oh boy, they're a handful! Lily has 3 siblings, one sister and two younger brothers and then her parents. During the book she'll explain how hard it is to have such a big family and how she feels about that. This is yet another thing that would be something people can relate to! Her siblings really gave me a very satisfying feeling. Her sister is more observant than I first thought which brings a very intriguing and special part to the book and her two younger siblings are just too cute for words. I really loved how Kasie West played the card of the massive family, especially because more contrast will be caused with the characters.

While Lily has a very busy and noisy family, her penpal has nothing: divorced parents who don't look after the penpal and a stepfather who absolutely doesn't like the penpal. I'm saying penpal because I just want to grab and hold onto its anonymity! The contrast between Lily's penpal and Lily is massive but still, they enjoy each other's company during the exchange.

I was really keen on seeing all these contrasts coming together to create the characters individually but also made them seem connected through it all. After all, in real life we're also very diverse but still connected to each other by our passions, dreams and feelings. That's also the thing I adored in PS I Like You, it's so realistic and so real which makes it very easy to relate and to feel with the characters! 

Lastly, I really want to point out that, as in real life, society will have such an influence that I ADORED! Lily and her penpal will really show us how easy it is to get two faces because of society. Lily being very shy about her words because she don't want to be judged, her penpal by acting like another person so their secret is being kept. While they talk through letters, you'll notice how easy it became for the both of them to talk about the real them and I think it was an important message for us as well as something very unique and special to see during the read. 

Now, the plot what other things can I say that it was just cute? When I envision Kasie West, I think instant cute! Yet this book, as all her other books, do have more than just cute. This story line was very intriguing because it really shone a light on how people act and how they really are.

As mentioned above, the characters will show a very diverse personality with each their own weaknesses and strengths. The plot will really close up on Lily and her penpal for this and show us how diverse you can actually be on daily basis (two faced in other words) and the cause of this. I really was keen on the underlying message in there. Or it might've been me that over-analysed it and thought there was a message! However, I feel like the author made a very special story line by letting the comparison of the real life Lily and the Lily in the letters go on for a while, it shows the reader the effects of the judging society and how Lily goes along with that.

The letters provide anonymity in this story which was another factor I was really keen on. First of, it made us get to know both Lily and her penpal way better because the anonymity made them open up and show their real selves. Secondly, it made the mystery come alive: who was at the other end?

And that other end of course will make sure this story will become cute and adorable. It's really about the letters at first but the plot will develop more and more towards the question about who is at the other end. Also this was something I really loved to see in the book because I was also very curious to that other end, although I have to say when the development is made it becomes more and more predictable.

Even before Lily discovers who it really is, the readers will already have known it for a long time. I think that's a negative side of the story, however I didn't mind it and still really enjoyed it. For others this might be the thing that makes them stop loving the story. I do have to say that after Lily knows who it is, the story will become less predictable! It's just the penpal who isn't a surprise at all.

Of course the plot isn't all about the penpal, but this is one of the important things. It's also about Lily overcoming her fears and her judgments towards herself and others! I already said that Lily is very passionate about music and she wants to get into a competition. Because of her noisy and loud family she doesn't have a lot of success with finding the right words, because of her penpal she does. However Lily is still shy to speak up and tell her lyrics. This story will also go onto the journey of opening up for this and finding your way around your weaknesses. I really was keen on that as well.

And of course there's Lily's family to give the plot a rest of the penpal and the competition and making room for funny encounters between the members. I really enjoyed these parts because they were so light and so humorous. I also absolutely loved her family and the weird habits they have just make you smile.

Lastly, readers will also really be able to enjoy the conflict that will present itself to Lily when she knows her penpal. Her judgments about the person will contradict with what she learned through the letters. It's really intriguing to see how she'll feel about it and how she'll solve this, if she'll solve this at all!

 Although this book was predictable, I absolutely loved this book. It's all that I had expected from Kasie West, and once again she fulfilled my desires by giving me a very adorable, cute and funny read! The characters are absolutely amazing and also a reflection of so many real people out there. Their two sides, their side to please society and their side where they are themselves, were really raw and also really realistic and I just adored to see it in PS I Like You. Next to that, the readers are in for a very tender romance that starts with just the anonymity of writing with a stranger and the growing force of this. I also really liked it that we could go on and think about who the penpal may have been, although that was the most predictable part in this book. Yet I couldn't resist it and really fell head over heals with this book: predictable but oh so sweet! It's a great book and I hadn't expected anything less by this author.  


“You’re my favorite way to pass the time. But time stands still when you’re on my mind.”

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Reboot

Time to review a book I have received for my birthday. It's a book that I've stumbled across multiple times in a bookstore, but always in Dutch and I prefer reading in English. So when it was my birthday, I finally asked for this book and received it. Thanks again! I absolutely enjoyed it: Reboot by Amy Tintera.

 Somewhere in the future, there's a life after death for most of us. We awake after we die, we're stronger, faster, we heal while we blink... that last part is true when you're a high number. Wren, 178, is in control. She's fast, heals and doesn't blink when someone shoots her and she doesn't feel. Once you awake, and the higher your number, your lack of emotions increases and you can kill for the ones that protect you. All is going great until Callum, 22, arrives in HARC and he wants her as his trainer. His low number only indicates one thing: emotions and Wren is not someone who likes that at all. When training does not succeed, she's asked to eliminate him. But something about 22 makes 178 doubt. The odds will not be in her favor if she declines...

First of all, the fact that you can wake up again after you die and the minutes between dying and living becomes your number, sounds awfully intriguing. I'm already wondering what number I'd be and what that'd mean.

As you already could have read in the synopsis of the book, Wren is a very high number. She's one of the over 120's with her 178 minutes. The higher the number the faster, stronger and less emotions. Everyone around the area has heard about the all too famous 178 who loves to chase people and then kill them as her order. They're scared of her. Wren never really cared about that and she always comes off really tough and controlled. I really loved to see that in a female character. Her steadiness really made her an intriguing character and her fighting skills might've been terrifying but I was so jealous. 

Wren has been in HARC for 5 years, she doesn't remember things from the past and she just does what the bosses tell her to do: kill or get killed. Her emotions are gone and that also made her, in some way, a very vulnerable character, something I had not expected to see. People are so scared of her and even though she doesn't totally get why, that'll change soon enough when the newbies arrive.

Callum is one of the under 60's with his very low number: 22. He isn't as strong or fast, he won't heal fast and he will scream when he gets shot. Above that the lower the number, the less of a chance his emotions are gone. The first day he's in Callum's already tortured by the Reboots who've been in HARC for a very long time. It isn't until he sees Wren that he feels he might make it after all. After challenging her, Wren also chooses to train him with all the consequences of it. What really struck me with Callum was the fact that he was hopeful, even though his number is one of the very lowest. And he's also still very cheerful even though he's a reboot. At the beginning I did not know what to make of Callum, he was very eccentric, very happy and always smiling and secretly flirting with Wren. Callum is also a very gentle person who's very devoted to Wren and would never heart anyone, even if his own life dependent on it.  

This was such a huge contrast between the two and also a huge contrast between this book and all other books I have read. Sure the females are in most books also very strong, but here we saw the male being very dependent on the female and also their emotional balance seemed rather new to me in comparison to all other books. The fact that Callum was such a low number and therefore more emotional, also really changed Wren in small ways and made her turn with the wind and have an inner fight with herself: feel or don't feel. 

Although their bond began to grow at some point in the book, the author started to step up her game and also started to speed everything between these two up which was such a downside in my opinion. In the beginning we could witness it grow slowly but surely and see how feeling things, friendship and all, affected Wren since she's not used to feeling emotional as such a high number. Luckily, the author recovered that later on which I'm really thankful for. However it did make sure that Wren was already super into the emotional things and that her inner fight suddenly stopped, too rushed in my opinion!

As for the plot, I really enjoyed the story. It all begins very foreign and mysterious: what are reboots and why do they have a number? Why are they part of HARC and not normal society.


It's very clear in the beginning that there's such a big hierarchy inside HARC and what Reboots mean to them: a weapon. HARC provides safety, food, shelter for the reboots and the reboots save humanity by clearing out the threats as they're made for those. They're the subjects and they have to listen. If they don't, dead will be upon them once again. Although this hierarchy won't be that obvious all the time, it's there in a very subtle way which I absolutely enjoyed in this series. It kept the characters in tow and the reader saw a reality of a dystopian future.

As already mentioned, the newbies will get trained and that means we'll also see a lot of action. I have to say that I was more thrilled in the beginning of the book than the middle section because in the beginning the focus really was on training, surviving and eliminating which I really found interesting to see in this world, very thrilling and very intriguing. 

Wren really gets influenced by HARC's sayings and Callum's ability to think for himself and think emotionally, this gives her the ability to start thinking for herself as well. And that makes her end up with rebelling inside of herself and making drastic decisions that will then end with something I thought we wouldn't see until later on in the book, or even in the next book. I have to say that it was very surprising, thrilling and also very enjoyable (what I mean is something for you to find out) but as I said before it's then that everything started to get rushed between Wren and Callum and also where the action really felt less suspenseful than inside of HARC.

Now Wren really needs to find out if HARC was really lying to her about all the "good" things they do for the Reboots and how many "good" things she's doing to return the favor. HARC won't make it any easier for her as they're constantly watching her. When her roommate starts to act differently just as all under sixties are behaving very weirdly, Wren is also going to transform into a person to really think for herself. The fact that something is up with the under sixties is something I hope we'll find out more about in the second book. We only touched the surface of what's going on with them and how it affects everyone but I hope to see more of it soon. The only remark towards the changes with the under sixties is that I didn't find it build up well enough, especially with Callum, nevertheless I'm still very curious to the next book!

It's safe to say that I was very intrigued by the story and its characters. A whole new world about these creatures, the Reboots, opened in front of me and I was very into the whole fighting thing. Above that the main character really has an inner fight between what's right and what might have been lies. The book did not solve all of that immediately which only makes me very curious to the next book.
Although I really loved the bond between Wren and Callum, at some point in the book, their bond was a bit too sped up and therefore disappointing, but the author did recover from that later on. Also the mystery around Callum and what's going on with under-sixties wasn't build up too well in my opinion, but also makes me very curious to the next book as I want to find out a lot more. Other than that, I really enjoyed this world and can't wait to found out what will happen now and who the real enemy is.

"5 years ago, I died. 178 minutes later, I woke up."

Wednesday, May 10, 2017

Bound

Finally it's time to review a book that's been on my TBR pile for a very long time. I bought this book on the annual Book Feast last summer and I don't know why I have prolonged reading this one so long... I really don't know why and I don't approve of my behavior! A book that should be read by a lot more people: Bound by Sarah Bryant.

Sophie has been seeing strange things since she was a little kid. And those things have been scaring her and haunting her forever. Determined to never see the creatures again, she runs to the ends of the world. Or literally the pub "End of the World" where she starts working. Soon she finds out that coming here was a mistake as more creatures are haunting her and new creatures find their way to her. Above that, two strange boys she feels oddly connected to start acting extremely weird. There is more to the ends of the world than she had first thought...

Wow, to this book. I remember scanning the rows of Young Adult on the Book Feast and being really happy because FINALLY there were English YA books this time. My eyes had scanned this one, picked it up, read the back and felt over it, but I wasn't entirely convinced and put it back. But sometimes, your little reader's heart tells you to go back and take it before you regret it. And boy oh boy am I one lucky girl to have picked it up and taken it with me because this book was a surprise!


First and foremost our main character: Sophie. She's what the mystery is all around, when she was a very small kid she saw one of the Revenants. Strange creatures that came towards her, were drawn to her and absolutely scared the living crap out of her. So Sophie decides to run to the ends of the world and hope to outrun them there. When she arrives on a little island somewhere near Scotland, we finally get glimpses of her personality. She's very determined and composed, very witty with comments and also very curious of nature. Although her curiosity seems to be suppressed by her anxiety of these creatures. 


What I also really loved about this character next to her curiosity and determination, and her witty comments because they were funny, were her feelings towards her being seen as a mad person. People she told about the creatures thought she was just crazy and stupid while she's actually a very wise character. She picks up on all tricks by other characters, she picks up on the slightest details and this wise side of her will come in handy when the time comes. I really enjoyed seeing a girl being very wise in a story and she really shows us that part in Bound. She'll never forget anything, even if it has sunken to her deepest state of consciousness...


As for other characters in the book first of all I want to talk about the two guys that are actually pretty strange! Sam and Lucas, when our main character Sophie finds out about them there this weird vibe about them. They're both rich, they're both very isolated from the other townspeople which makes them rather weird youngsters. Soon Sophie also finds out they're very weird and feels a very odd connection to them but she doesn't know what it is exactly. 


I like Sam because well, he's all that I had expected: he's the hot guy in town. Yet Sam has this very mysterious side that makes you really want to get to know him but also not get to know him. He'll really have a strange vibe which makes us doubt if we should actually trust him or not. As for Lucas, he's the introverted one, the opposite of Sam which I thought was a nice addition to the characters because it gave a lot of diversity. 

Then there is Michael, I really adore this old man. He was a bit strange maybe but he was very friendly towards Sophie and open. He's also very wise and knows when to come to rescue in awkward situations so I really liked this character although I had hoped to know him a bit better than we do now. I feel like he'd also have a very unique background which I wished to see more of.


Lastly, there's Ailsa! I really loved this character as well because she was very open and also very girly! She's all you'd expect from a character that becomes friends with Sophie: more eccentric than Sophie; who's more composed. Ailsa made sure that the book had a very outgoing taste and really helps to build up the story!
 

Now the plot! The first few things you'll notice is the big mystery. Sophie decides to hold back on us in the beginning and we don't really know who or what she's talking about until she comes forward with it. When she does though, not all mystery is resolved because this book is just one big mystery read! Characters will have weird conversations where Sophie and the reader eavesdrop, weird circumstances, strange dreams. This book is one mystery for both reader and main character which I found a very great thing in Bound. Both the reader and Sophie are out on a very deep secret and we'll have to discover it together which makes Sophie a very relatable character because you will connect with her through it all.


But it's not only weird circumstances or conversations, it's also the townspeople. As I already said before, the characters will show a wide diversity of personalities and the author will make use of that. Some characters are holding something back and you'll notice but what is it exactly is still part of the bigger plot. You might think it lies in their diversity but what if that isn't true? This really made it a nice read as well because all the little things are connected to something big but you can't put your finger onto it because you need to know everything in order to discover. 

And of course there're also the mysterious creatures that are following Sophie everywhere that we know nothing about. First there were only the Revenants, but as soon as Sophie sets foot on the little island a lot more creatures will come her way. I was really pleased with this because these creatures opened up a very wide world of diversity in the paranormal aspect but will still surprise you with what's actually roaming around! 

The paranormal activity does give the reader a very nice opportunity to guess what they are and rule it out during the plot. I for instance first thought there were ghosts but then something happens and I'd say they weren't ghosts but reincarnations maybe or mythological creatures. It's a great asset to the book because you'll be searching for the answers and those answers lie in those creatures as well!

Lastly there are the dreams Sophie has. I must say I was very surprised by these dreams because I had never expected dreams to have any part in this. Yet I was very pleased with them because there's a girl in those dreams and she only talks in riddles and cryptic messages. It did add more to the mystery as well as the thrill and suspense to what is actually going on.

Once we finally find out what this is all about, I was really surprised. I thought the book wouldn't be able to surprise me this much because it already gave so much to be surprised about. Yet this was something I hadn't even thought about, even though if I had paid closer attention I could have guessed it! Some more clever ones will get it a lot faster but I did really enjoy the fact that I could really search for the answers in my own imagination while checking in with the main character if she thought about this as well.

Lastly I'd like to point out that the plot doesn't really tell us everything at once, I felt like there were part of the truths we got to know along the way by circumstances and things that happened. Although you felt like you'd finally knew, the characters who influence the plot still hold back. They stayed quiet because they were bound to and this causes us to wait a little bit longer in suspense. But when you find out the truth a new world of mystery, secrets and people who want to harm them opens in front of you and it just gives so much tension to it all that I absolutely devoured the book. And then that ending! 

I do want to say that I sometimes was a bit confused because we didn't really have any truth to hold on to since our character was just dropped in all of this just like us. However I did still really enjoy it and can't wait for the sequel or well, next part, in the series: Riven.


To conclude this review I'd really like to point out how underrated this book is and how much I want it to change! This book was such a great one to read and I absolutely devoured it. At the start we're already confronted with the mystery around the main character and what she's exactly seeing. The fact that both reader and character didn't know what these creatures actually were made it a very pleasant read, because we get the possibility think for ourselves and come up with theories and rule them out along the way. Also the townspeople are a great asset to the book as they are also very strange and add to the mystery alongside the weird dreams Sophie has been having. The book really is one big mystery where everyone is bound to keep silent and this makes the reader frustrated as well as eager to find out what everything is about. When we finally realize what's going on and who we're dealing with, we're in for such a surprise and close to the ending that will leave you shivering in disbelieve!

"There are no such things as monsters, Sophie told herself. No demons, no witches, no ghosts..."