Friday, December 30, 2011

Hallowed by Cynthia Hand

Title/Author: Hallowed (Unearthly #2) by Cynthia Hand
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, January 17th 2012
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "For months part-angel Clara Gardner trained to face the raging forest fire from her visions and rescue the alluring and mysterious Christian Prescott from the blaze. But nothing could prepare her for the fateful decisions she would be forced to make that day, or the startling revelation that her purpose — the task she was put on earth to accomplish — is not as straightforward as she thought. Now, torn between her increasingly complicated feelings for Christian and her love for her boyfriend, Tucker, Clara struggles to make sense of what she was supposed to do the day of the fire. And, as she is drawn further into the world of part angels and the growing conflict between White Wings and Black Wings, Clara learns of the terrifying new reality that she must face: Someone close to her will die in a matter of months. With her future uncertain, the only thing Clara knows for sure is that the fire was just the beginning."

**WARNING: spoilers for Unearthly are very much possible!**

Let me give a hooray for the first 2012 release I have read! I totally went off-schedule for this one because I'd been reading some 'meh' books and decided I needed to get out of my reading slump. And I'm so glad I made the time to read this already!!

As you may know, I LOVED Unearthly! I gushed about it in my review and I think it will make my favourites of 2011 list. It was THAT good. So I was really excited to read more about Clara and Tucker and everyone.

Other bloggers who already read this told me there wasn't a lot of Tucker in this one and I'm kind of glad I knew beforehand, because I love Tucker and would have been very disappointed otherwise. So be warned!

In Unearthly there was a sense of hope and excitement about the upcoming moment for Clara to face her purpose, this one is a lot darker and has more sorrow in it. And I FELT the sadness, I hate it when a story is all 'sad things are happening, be sad', this one made me feel it without seeming like I got pushed into it. If you get what I mean. I'm not sure I'm being coherent about this...

Anyway, I think Clara very much grew stronger in this one and while I'm thinking book 3 will give us some real action, this didn't feel as a filler. I'm glad we got to know more about the whole angel-lore and got to meet Clara's father, cause I'd been wondering about him.

The only thing I didn't like was that there's a definite love triangle going on here and while it is well done, I feel like I'm rooting for the underdog. And while I do get what's happening and how things could end up like this, it's got me feeling sad and a bit brokenhearted. I am however glad that Clara feels the same way. She's not really fine with the triangle either and this makes me like her even more.

I warmed up to Christian as we got to know him more, I liked him in Unearthly and in this one discovered he has some really nice qualities and I'm not talking about his hotness, even though that never hurt anyone ;)

And yes, I'm going to say it: TEAM TUCKER! Most mostly team Clara! Because I love her and am looking forward to the untitled third book in this series!

My rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

All the Pleasures of the Season by Lecia Cornwall

Title/Author: All the Pleasures of the Season
Publisher/Date published: Avon Impulse, December 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "On the first day of Christmas:
Lady Miranda Archer accepts a marriage proposal.
On the first day of Christmas, fifteen minutes later:
Miranda realizes she’s made a huge mistake.
For the next twelve days:
Miranda must find a way out of her engagement — which is harder than it looks, especially since her fiancé is pompous, mean, and desperate for her family’s jewels — and convince her true love that all she wants for Christmas is him."

I almost never read Christmassy books. But I REALLY liked this one!

So Lady Miranda is a girl who has a big sense of duty and wants to please her grandfather and all. Which is why she seems like a total pushover when we first meet her. Cause seriously, getting engaged to a man she hardly knows well enough to share a dance with, let alone a life? That's just a recipe for disaster. Well except for the romance novels where said gentleman is actually the hero of the novel. But that is definitely not the case here!

Cause seriously, her fiancé is as ass!! And how naive can you be to hand over your very expensive earrings, cause he says they need 'new casing'? I mean, really?

I really liked the hero and I loved how Miranda's sister was cornering him after Miranda left for her grandfather's, her sister basically cowed him into riding aft her immediately! :)

There was also the first chapter of another novel of the author included, centering around Miranda's brother and his wife and it was wonderful! It's called Secrets of a Proper Countess and I'm dying to get my hands on it, cause it's a full length novel, this one was a novella and I'm anticipating sexytimes and wonderful tension and intrigue and everything!

My rating: 4 stars

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Top Ten Books of 2011

Look at me being all featured on The Broke and the Bookish!!

But just in case you missed it ;) I'll crosspost my list here.

I hope you have all recovered from the food-induced sleepiness that is always sure to hit me at Christmas and have had a wonderful time with your loved ones!

On to the business part of this Top Ten Tuesday, this week's topic:
The Top Ten books you read in 2011

This is gonna be hard for me, cause I want to list so many, but here goes.

1. The Wise Man's Fear by Patrick Rothfuss: I have waited SO LONG for this book!! And it was AMAZING! If you haven't read the first book in this series, the Name of the Wind, and you enjoy fantasy, you should read it, cause it's awesome! Also, I need the next book, like yesterday!

2. The Near Witch by Victoria Schwab: this book! THIS BOOK! It was so insanely amazing I wrote a gushing review about it! This book made me believe in fairytales again and it was wonderfully beautiful!

3. Witchlanders by Lena Coakley: EPIC FANTASY! I love fantasy, as you can probably guess from my list and this one was fabulous! I wonder how this has not gotten a lot of buzz, cause it's amazing! This is a book I want to shove at everyone and make them read it, and bonus: this book works for boys as well as girls. Virtually no romance, but lots of amazing storytelling.

4. Delirium by Lauren Oliver: I was a bit hesitant to read this at first, but OMG, this was SO GOOD! I didn't want to stop reading this and the ending left me needing cuddles and wishing I already had the next one waiting for me, cause this wait is SLOWLY KILLING ME! I am so pre-ordering Pandemonium...

5. The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley: this book took me by surprise, as I hadn't expected to love it so much! It is a pretty clean historical and contemporary romance novel as the main character travels back and forth in time and it is simply wonderful! I felt shocked, I cried, I was yelling for them to KISS ALREADY!! And I didn't care it got me funny looks!

6. The Girl of Fire and Thorns by Rae Carson: another fantasy, this was a good fantasy year it seems ;) I LOVED this book! It has a strong female lead and I'm dying to find out what happens next for Elisa! The Godstone is fascinating!

7. The Demon King, The Exiled Queen and the Gray Wolf Throne by Cinda Williams Chima: I am naming the whole series, because it was fabulous! And another series I would give to a boy (I'm making my boyfriend read them right now). I love the main characters Han and Raisa! They are both so beyond amazing! And I love to hate the 'bad guys' in this one, which is always fun :)

8. Unearthly by Cynthia Hand: so, confession: angel books haven't really been working so well for me, but THIS ONE DID!! Seriously, there's virtually no preaching and Clara is wonderful and I am so Team Tucker with his amazing boy-ness being swoonworthy and all! I have been lucky enough to have already read Hallowed, and it is also amazing!

9. The Kingdom of Gods by N.K. Jemisin: I have fallen in love with this whole series and I think I can safely say this one is my favourite of the trilogy! It focuses on Sieh and is just wonderful. I read this during the Dewey 24-hour Read-a-Thon and didn't once feel the inclination to sleep. It was THAT good.

10. Die For Me by Amy Plum: REVENANTS! They are SO cool! Seriously, I loved this book! I am also so pre-ordering Until I Die :)

And, cause you really didn't think I could narrow it down to just 10 (you didn't right?:

11. Princess for Hire and The Royal Treatment by Lindsey Leavitt: SO EXTREMELY CUTE! These are the first 2 books in a MG series and it is fabulous! I love the whole idea of substituting for princesses! I wish I had a little girl in my life I could give these books to!

12. Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George: another MG and ADORABLE! I had a huge grin on my face while I was reading this and I loved every minute of it! As the abovementioned Princess for Hire series, I would love to have a little girl I could give this to!

So, that's my list. How does yours compare? There are lots of books I think I'll see on all of your lists that have not made mine for the simple fact that I have not read them yet (I am thinking Divergent, Daughter of Smoke and Bone, Shatter Me, Lola and the Boy Next Door, The Night Circus...). Let's hope they're on next year's list :)

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Happy Holidays!!

I wanted to wish you all a very merry Christmas if you celebrate it and I hope you will all get to spend time with your loved ones!

I am going to my parents' house in a couple of hours and on the second day of Christmas we will be at my boyfriend's parents' house. Probably eating lots of food and just having a good time :)
Every year I try to make it a rule to not be on the internet during Christmas, but to just spend time with my family. I sometimes make an exception, but mostly I won't be around. So see you on the 27th! Best wishes to you everyone!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George

Title/Author: Tuesdays at the Castle by Jessica Day George
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury Children's Books, October 25th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Tuesdays at Castle Glower are Princess Celie's favorite days. That's because on Tuesdays the castle adds a new room, a turret, or sometimes even an entire wing. No one ever knows what the castle will do next, and no one - other than Celie, that is - takes the time to map out the new additions. But when King and Queen Glower are ambushed and their fate is unknown, it's up to Celie, with her secret knowledge of the castle's never-ending twists and turns, to protect their home and save their kingdom."

THIS BOOK! Seriously, THIS BOOK! It was so extremely CUTE and awesome! If I had a little sister or cousin or any little girl in my life right now, I would give it to her. You want the little girls you know to read this book. Little boys too, though this feels to me more like something a girl would enjoy.

Almost the whole time I was reading this, I had a big smile on my face! It was adorable and funny and I loved how strong Celie and her brother and sister were, faced with everything! I mean, I don't know if I could have done all that if I was supposed to run a castle without my parents suddenly.

And the castle, seriously, the castle is AWESOME! I mean, really, living in something that is alive and thinking and adding rooms! And especially changing them so the luxury of your room showed how much it liked you! AMAZING! I LOVED the castle! And I loved that the castle loved Celie and vice versa.

And if you have a faded stuffed toy that changed into a real lion? You've got me! I so recognized the being teased about the faded, loved, old toy. And really, I just loved Celie, our main character. She was fabulous and such a caring, intelligent girl. I love smart girls!

I had never read a book by Jessica Day George before, but after this, I'll be sure to again. And you should all as well!

My rating: 5+ stars

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Maid by Kimberly Cutter

Title/Author: The Maid by Kimberly Cutter
Publisher/Date published: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, October 18th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "It is the fifteenth century and the tumultuous Hundred Years War rages on. France is under siege, English soldiers tear through the countryside destroying all who cross their path, and Charles VII, the uncrowned king, has neither the strength nor the will to rally his army. And in the quiet of her parents’ garden in Lorraine, a peasant girl sees a spangle of light and hears a powerful voice speak her name. Jehanne.
The story of Jehanne d'Arc, the visionary and saint who believed she had been chosen by God, who led an army and saved her country, has captivated our imagination for centuries. But the story of Jeanne - the girl - whose sister was murdered by the English, who sought an escape from a violent father and a forced marriage, who taught herself to ride and fight, and who somehow found the courage and tenacity to convince first one, then two, then thousands to follow her, is at once thrilling, unexpected and heart-breaking. Rich with unspoken love and battlefield valor, The Maid is a novel about the power and uncertainty of faith, and the exhilarating and devastating consequences of fame."

I REALLY wanted to love this book. Really, I did. Because I am fascinated by the tragic story of Joan of Arc and had learned a little about her in another historical romance novel I read (The Lady of the Rivers, which was awesome by the way!). But something was missing for me.

I think it was the fact that I never connected with Jehanne. I felt so disconnected that I didn't feel her joy or her fear or really anything. I didn't really get why everyone was so impressed with her either based on this book. I mean, if someone where to come up to me and tell me she was send by voices to take back France, I'd say 'U-huh, forgot to take your cray-cray pills?'. But I know one person can convince a LOT of people even if you go 'wait, what?' at what they're saying, I mean we've seen it often enough in history. But I just didn't believe from this novel Jehanne was the person to do this. The only thing the author mentioned what happened that made people follow her was that she put her 'godvoice' on. This was not convincing to me.

I did think that we followed Jehanne through it all and I think that the added bit of her telling it when she is in prison gave it a little extra something. I also liked that Cutter gave Jehanne feeling I would expect from a girl her age, especially about boys. I mean, sure divine coaching is amazing, but how about the earthly needs?

I did like learning more about this amazing historical figure and wondering if she indeed actually heard the voice of god and his angels or if she was what we nowadays would lable as schizofrenic. I do believe that Jehanne is a tragic figure and a great crime has been done against her.

My rating: 2,5 stars

Sunday, December 18, 2011

IMM Vlog (5)

As always, IMM is hosted by the wonderful Kristi from The Story Siren!

The Queen's Mistake by Diane Haeger
THANK YOU to Diane Haeger and the hosts of Dewey's Readathon!

This Is Not Forgiveness by Celia Rees
Thank you Vickie @ Coma Calm's Corner!

Hunted by Cheryl Rainfield
Dark Lake by Louise Gaylord

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand
Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins
A Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness
Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi

I don't have a lot of time, so I know I said I would list all my NetGalley books, but I'm just gonna highlight a few:

Incarnate by Jodi Meadows
Sisters of Glass by Stephanie Hemphill
Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi
New Girl by Paige Harbison
Slide by Jill Hathaway
Shadows on the Moon by Zoë Marriott
A Rogue by Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean (Her Love By Numbers series is FABULOUS! If you like historical romance at all, you should read her books!)

This is about 3-4 weeks worth of books :) I'm excited to read all and excited to re-read Unearthly, cause it's wonderful!

What did you get in your mailbox? Happy reading!

Friday, December 16, 2011

Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore

Title/Author: Between the Sea and Sky by Jaclyn Dolamore
Publisher/Date published: Bloomsbury Children's Books, October 25th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "For as long as Esmerine can remember, she has longed to join her older sister, Dosinia, as a siren - the highest calling a mermaid can have. When Dosinia runs away to the mainland, Esmerine is sent to retrieve her. Using magic to transform her tail into legs, she makes her way unsteadily to the capital city. There she comes upon a friend she hasn't seen since childhood - a dashing young man named Alander, who belongs to a winged race of people. As Esmerine and Alander band together to search for Dosinia, they rekindle a friendship... and ignite the emotions for a love so great, it cannot be bound by sea, land, or air."

Let me just start of by saying this was such a lovely read! I mean, really, I just flew through it and got lost in this amazing world! I love the mermaid trend going around in YA, as I was a fan of Ariel's at a young age and the author's voice was so fresh and lovely it just made me want to keep on reading!

Esmerine is a wonderful main character! She loves her family and has always been the odd one out in their village because she played with the boy with wings when she was younger. Upon meeting said boy, now a man, again, she has to deal with some disappointment, but she doesn't simper in the corner, instead she confronts him about it. And she loved books, which is always an endearing quality to me :)

And I LOVED Alander! Seriously, he was awesome! All troubled boyness of him! I was so rooting for him and Esmerine! And seriously, he had WINGS! How awesome is that?

The only I though was odd was Dosia, Esmerine's sister. She just up and leaves without telling anybody where she's going or why and then she acts surprised when Esmerine comes looking for her cause her family is worried. Gee, I wonder why that could possibly be. So the sister annoyed me, but otherwise this book was amazing!

And the ending was just perfect! I just wished it didn't have to end there. I could have gladly spent more time with Esmerine and Alander and the whole world and different kinds of paranormal beings in it! This was such a fun read and read like a fairytale, which I loved!

My rating: 5 stars

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

The Blacksmith's Daughter by Arley Cole

Title/Author: The Blacksmith's Daughter by Arley Cole
Publisher/Date published: Musa Publishing, October 21st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher as an egalley

Goodreads summary: "She believes she is only a blacksmith's daughter, but he must discover the truth or risk losing his land - and his life.
Acwellen Lex'Magen rules as liege lord of a small country bounded by forbidding mountains and powerful neighbors. When the neighboring baron, allied with a powerful wizard, attempts to take over his land, first by political, then by covert means, Acwellen finds an ally of his own in Enith Roweson, an unassuming blacksmith who possesses powers he's only known of in legends. As he attempts to unravel both the plots against him - including the nature of the monsters sent to assassinate him - and the mysterious powers Enith is only beginning to understand she has, he also finds himself falling in love with the blacksmith's daughter."

Be honest with me, when you read the summary and you know this is a YA publishing imprint, would you think the main characters would be 28 and 32?
I sure didn't.

And I really don't mind them to be a bit older, it was just unexpected and I didn't really feel their actions fit their age. I mean, you're 28 and you've never known you had strange powers before? Seriously? This put me a bit off, as did the quick mastering of said powers. I like my characters to struggle and fainting cause you're using them wrong but still accomplishing everything you want doesn't count.

And another thing: at one point they're wondering which wizard is behind the attacks and they have not even the slightest clue as to who it could be. Even though Acwellen and his right hand managed to royally piss off one wizard together some years ago when they infiltrated his castle and defeat him. Really? I mean, seriously? Why does his name not come up instantly?

So I sound negative, but I'm really not! I really enjoyed this book! I just felt that it didn't know if it wanted to be YA or adult and was both and neither at times as a result. BUT: the magic is really intriguing and I really liked Acwellen, even if I don't like his name. Acwellen seemed like a charming, handsome, smart man and I like those things in my men ;) I'm also curious about his right hand, who is so sceptic towards Enith's powers, I'm wondering what made him so.

I thought the romance was sweet, though it was a bit weird that they married two seconds after meeting and though she never acted like it, Enith admitted to having had a crush on him since she was 12. But they were really cute together and I liked that Enith wasn't some helpless maiden, but knew how to fight and has kickass powers! I'm thinking this is part of a series, but I can't find information about this anywhere. If you know more about it, let me know!

My rating: 3 stars

Monday, December 12, 2011

Jane Austen Made Me Do It by Laurel Ann Nattress

Title/Author: Jane Austen Made Me Do It by Laurel Ann Nattress
Publisher/Date published: Ballantine Books, October 11th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Stories by: Lauren Willig • Adriana Trigiani • Jo Beverley • Alexandra Potter • Laurie Viera Rigler • Frank Delaney & Diane Meier • Syrie James • Stephanie Barron • Amanda Grange • Pamela Aidan • Elizabeth Aston • Carrie Bebris • Diana Birchall • Monica Fairview • Janet Mullany • Jane Odiwe • Beth Pattillo • Myretta Robens • Jane Rubino and Caitlen Rubino-Bradway • Maya Slater • Margaret C. Sullivan • and Brenna Aubrey, the winner of a story contest hosted by the Republic of Pemberley
“My feelings will not be repressed. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” If you just heaved a contented sigh at Mr. Darcy’s heartfelt words, then you, dear reader, are in good company. Here is a delightful collection of never-before-published stories inspired by Jane Austen — her novels, her life, her wit, her world."

If you have been reading this blog or knowing me for some time, you will perhaps already know this, but I LOVE Jane Austen. Pride and Prejudice is my all-time favourite novel and I try to reread it at least once a year. Which is in fact due around Christmas I think :)

So I was really excited to read this book, as it contains a collection of short stories based on Austen's novels. I must admit that I pretty much never read short stories and they are not really my cup of tea, because I like to stay with my characters for some time after meeting them. But how could I resist reading this?

And there were some stories that were wonderful! I really liked the one by Alexandra Potter, which is a continuation of Mr. Darcy and Me, a book by her I really enjoyed. Also special mentions to Laurie Vera Riegler's (in which Mr. Darcy brings the authors of continuations/adaptations of P&P up on charges) and Jo Beverley's (in which a widowed woman has a sweet encounter through some meddling by Miss Austen herself and there's mistletoe involved!)! Especially the last one was heartwarmingly sweet and made me want to read another historical romance, cause I love those!

There were also some stories that didn't really work for me, but well, I could either skip those or they ended soon enough for it not to bother me. And while this did not make me want to read more short stories, it did make me want to read and watch P&P again (both the BBC version and the one with Keira Knightley)! And my little Austen-loving hard was glad I read this :) It really featured every single one of her novels and made me appreciate her genius anew!

My rating: 3,5 stars

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Daisy Update

I am feeling kind of lazy today, so instead of recording the IMM I had planned, I am doing this again :)

So, I had a pretty good week! I had an unexpected extra day off from work, cause there wasn't enough to do, which on one hand sucks cause I need the money, on the other hand: it's cold and I don't really want to go outside when it's cold. So I got to sleep in a bit on Thursday and then stay snuggled up beneath my blanket with my tea and book. This made me ridiculously happy.

Another exciting thing: Tuesday I watched 2 of my best friends graduate and become doctors! It was amazing, one of them I've known since the very beginning of college, she was in my introductin group and the other I've known about a half year less. But we've done this whole thing together and it makes me proud to see them looking all pretty in their dresses, accepting their diplomas!

Friday I had a high tea at a restaurant with one of my best friends, who used to be my roommate, we lived together in the apartment I now live in with my boyfriend for 3 years and we don't see enough of each other now. So I was really glad we could do this and it was so much fun! We ate LOTS of delicious food and drank so much tea, it was wonderful :) I also discovered where they get their pina colada tea, which is SO GOOD! Am probably ordering it soon.

I have also officially started my Christmas shopping! I got my blog/Twitter buddy Alexa something, I'm not telling what cause she hasn't gotten it yet. And got my mom a bathrobe to wear when we go to the spa together and I also got myself a little something:

FLEECE PJ PANTS!!! I didn't get the jacket that matched it. But it was the last one and I was so happy when they had it in my size! And they are totally as comfortable as they look (am wearing them now) and very soft :)

The boyfriend and me went to a concert on Friday and a party near his parents' yesterday night, which explains the laziness today. You know what I hate? How they smoke in the bar we went to and then the next morning everything smells so bad! I really dislike smoking, especially in bars when they're not paying attention and accidentally stab you in the hand/arm with a cigarette. Yeah, that also happened yesterday night...

On bookish aspects: I have managed to read 4 books this week and will start another one later tonight, I only loved 1: Between the Sea and Sky, which is adorable! But the others were enjoyable as well.

That's all for me this week, hope you had a good week as well! :)

Friday, December 9, 2011

Variant by Robison Wells

Title/Author: Variant (Variant #1) by Robison Wells
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, October 4th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher thought NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Benson Fisher thought that a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life.
He was wrong.
Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surrounded by a razor-wire fence. A school where video cameras monitor his every move. Where there are no adults. Where the kids have split into groups in order to survive.
Where breaking the rules equals death.
But when Benson stumbles upon the school’s real secret, he realizes that playing by the rules could spell a fate worse than death, and that escape — his only real hope for survival — may be impossible."

This is gonna be a hard review to write, because I had such mixed feelings while reading this book! I almost pulled a DNF on this one, but slowly it got slightly better and the last part I really enjoyed. But I think it took about 250 pages before I started enjoying it and I'm kinda proud of myself I didn't stop before then.

The main problem I had was the narrator's voice. I didn't really like Benson and it took until the very end for me to warm up to him. He'd been to a lot of stuff, but I didn't feel the least bit inclined to feel sorry for him. And a huge part of it is that he kept complaining A LOT about being in the school.

I mean, I get it sucked when you had expected something completely different, BUT I felt all he did was complain about it and not really being constructive in his wanting out. And the whole thing with there being 3 different gangs at a sort of war with each other didn't really work for me either, though I'm not really sure why.

I did like the ending scenes, it got really tense there and exciting! I think this book was a bit too much build-up for me, because once we got to the part about what was really going on, I found myself eagerly turning the pages! It ended at a huge cliffhange rand I'm wondering how we'll go from there and what exactly is up with that school!

Rating this is kinda hard, but as it was an almost DNF and I didn't end up loving it in the end...
My rating: 2,5 stars

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley

Title/Author: The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley
Publisher/Date published: Sourcebooks Landmark, October 4th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "When Eva's film star sister Katrina dies, she leaves California and returns to Cornwall, where they spent their childhood summers, to scatter Katrina's ashes and in doing so return her to the place where she belongs. But Eva must also confront the ghosts from her own past, as well as those from a time long before her own. For the house where she so often stayed as a child is home not only to her old friends the Halletts, but also to the people who had lived there in the eighteenth century. When Eva finally accepts that she is able to slip between centuries and see and talk to the inhabitants from hundreds of years ago, she soon finds herself falling for Daniel Butler, a man who lived - and died - long before she herself was born. Eva begins to question her place in the present, and in laying her sister to rest, comes to realise that she too must decide where she really belongs, choosing between the life she knows and the past she feels so drawn towards."

This book went BEYOND my expectations! Seriously, on starting it, I thought I would enjoy this book. Instead, I ended up LOVING it! It was so amazing, so prepare for a gushing review :)

This is a time travel story and this makes it a historical romance mixed with a contemporary romance novel and I really enjoyed this part of it! I loved how there's such an emphasis on the importance of the house, to the point it almost felt like a character itself. I also loved that Eva had such a connection to it from her childhood!

Eva as a main character is wonderful! I'm all about the strong family bonds, mostly with close family (parents, siblings) and Eva genuinely loved her sister very much. Her sister was a famous actress and I didn't sensed only a little jealousy because of this, which I can totally understand. She is sensitive and strong and I loved how this balanced out for her.

And I loved the guy! Daniel is SO amazing! If I was transported back in time and met him, I would totally fall for him! Because really, who in their right mind wouldn't? He's understanding and generous, not to mention HANDSOME and charming! *sigh* I loved the chemistry between them and I was just going AAAH! KISS ALREADY! So yeah, good romance :)

I also loved some of the other characters, which is always a huge bonus! And I love how everytime tied together in the end and how I kept thinking 'OH, so THAT's why that detail was mentioned before!' I love it when that happens and seriously!

This story left me feeling a mix of happy and sad at the ending, happy because the ending was SO FREAKING GOOD and sad because it ended. I didn't want it to stop yet and this for me is the sign of a good book!

My rating: 5+ stars

Monday, December 5, 2011

Eve by Anna Carey

Title/Author: Eve (Eve #1) by Anna Carey
Publisher/Date published: HarperTeen, October 4th 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "The year is 2032, sixteen years after a deadly virus — and the vaccine intended to protect against it — wiped out most of the earth’s population. The night before eighteen-year-old Eve’s graduation from her all-girls school she discovers what really happens to new graduates, and the horrifying fate that awaits her.
Fleeing the only home she’s ever known, Eve sets off on a long, treacherous journey, searching for a place she can survive. Along the way she encounters Caleb, a rough, rebellious boy living in the wild. Separated from men her whole life, Eve has been taught to fear them, but Caleb slowly wins her trust... and her heart. He promises to protect her, but when soldiers begin hunting them, Eve must choose between true love and her life."

This was an amazingly fast-paced book! I just flew right through it and really enjoyed every minute of reading it!

I've mentioned it before, but I am obsessed with things like this: a virus or some other disease wiping out a big part of the population. Because I believe this is what will eventually happen. Hopefully not in 2016, as it did here, cause that's a little too close for comfort.

I really liked the way the author envisioned the impact of such a thing happening and was horrified by what people would quite believably be capable of doing to others! I mean, what they do to the girls is horrible, but so is what is happening to the boys! Gosh, it was awful!

I really liked Eve, I mean, she is obviously brainwashed, but you can't really blame her, because it's the way she was raised. And it provided some pretty funny moments, like when she tells Caleb when they meet that he 'wants to have intercourse with her', cause she's taught that's all guys want.

And let's talk about Caleb, because really, SWOON! I LOVED the boy! He was amazingly patient and such a good guy! I mean, that thing he does near the end? You know what I mean if you've read it, but it's just such a loving thing and so selfless!
And can I just say the two little boys at the cave where Caleb lived broke my heart? I just wanted to hug them!

And the ending! OMG! The ending killed me and I am sort of glad I read the summary for Once (the sequel) already and I am really looking forward to reading it! Fair warning: this is not a bloodless book, as most dystopians aren't, it's not overly graphic or something, but it's not for the faint of heart I think.

My rating: 4,5 stars

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Daisy Update

I finally took the leap and decided to make this blog a little more personal. Cause, you know, I'm so interesting and all ;)

You may know I'm a med student and now I can officially say I'm in the final stages of this part of my education. I am having a little break right now from interning, because the scientific research internship I had ended 4 weeks ago and I won't start the next one until January. Which means that right now I'm working 20 hours a week as an administrative assistant (which is a fancy name for typing out letters the doctors record on a tape ;) ), cause I need to somehow pay for important things like food, clothes and books!

I am kind of enjoying working part time! But, as of January I will again be interning 50-60 hours a week for another 3 months and then I'm DONE! Which is very exciting, cause then I get to WORK and be all grown-up and all that. Basically I'm tired of having to constantly ask someone else to prescribe the meds for my patients and fun things like that.

Some Dutch culture added in: in Holland we celebrate 'Sinterklaas', which is basically like Santa Claus, but with politically incorrect helpers/minions (whichever you prefer) as pictured above. We always have a sort of Secret Santa for this with my boyfriend's family and that will be this afternoon. I already got the presents, now all I need to do is write the poem to go with it. And then there'll be lots of food :D

While shopping for the presents for this, I bought WAY too much stuff for myself: 3 dvds, A Discovery of Witches, 2 necklaces (cause I can really wear them at the same time..), new black boots, jeans, grey pumps and two belts. That is on top of the four dresses, cardigan and sparkly grey top I bought in the last two weeks. And ALL the books I bought.

As for a bookish update: I read and loved Hallowed by Cynthia Hand, it was full of sadness, but amazing. And if you're into clean romance/historical romance, you should DEFINITELY read The Rose Garden by Susanna Kearsley, it was AMAZING! I think my review will be up somewhere this or next week.
Right now, I'm reading Jane Austen Made Me Do It, which is a collection of short stories and I'm loving some and not so loving others, but it makes my romantic little heart happy :)

I hope you all have a great week!

Friday, December 2, 2011

In Pursuit of Miss Eliza Cynster by Stephanie Laurens

Title/Author: In Pursuit of Miss Eliza Cynster (The Cynster Sisters Trilogy #2) by Stephanie Laurens
Publisher/Date published: Avon Books, October 1st 2011
How I got this book: received it from the publisher through NetGalley

Goodreads summary: "Three heroes, three rescues, three weddings.
The pleasure of your company is requested
at the wedding of Miss Eliza Cynster
...but not until she's rescued from a daring abduction by the most unexpected of heros!
Brazenly kidnapped from her sister Heather's engagement ball, Eliza Cynster is spirited north to Edinburgh. Desperate and determined to escape, she seizes upon the first possible champion who happens along - gentleman scholar Jeremy Carling.
Villains and rescues are a far cry from Jeremy's expertise, yet he cannot abandon a damsel in distress. But danger lurks and hurdles abound in their race to escape the mysterious laird, until a final confrontation on a windswept cliff reveals what their future life could hold - if both are bold enough to seize and own the unexpected love they now share."

I remember reading at least one of the previous books in the Cynster series, as I recognized a lot of names while reading this one, I just can't remember which one I read... Because, let's be honest, a lot of titles of romance novels resemble each other and I read it before I kept track of my books on Goodreads (I can barely remember such a time...).

I am sad to say I struggled a bit with this book. And for once I know exactly why that is: there was no tension. None. I LIVE for the tension in romance novels and I KNOW Stephanie Laurens can do this, because I remember really enjoying one of her other novels, but there was just nothing in this one. I did think Eliza and Jeremy suited each other, but it lacked the stomach clenchiness that makes me such a fan of this genre!

Also, I took a bit of offense at the constant mention of how unexpected it was that Jeremy pulled the rescue off, because he was a SCHOLAR. I mean, seriously? My boyfriend goes to university and I am telling you he is very strong and could have pulled it off as well. Being smart does not make you less manly! I get that things were different back then, but still.

Anyway, I am one of those girls who lives for the moments in historical romance when there are things that drive the two lovers apart of when they believe the other one doesn't love them and such, because: DRAMA! TENSION! And in this one they just sort of mutually fell in love and were chased around and I didn't really feel it.

But, there is some major foreshadowing for the third book in the series and as I am anticipating the two main characters in that one will clash some more in their personalities, I am really looking forward to reading it! Also, of course knowing there's a third book, I guessed who the mysterious captor was and he sounds really interesting! :)

My rating: 2 stars