Archive | January 2014

Book haul #1

So, I’ve never done a book haul before and not sure this is going to be a recurring thing on the blog but finally went book shopping today after what feels like forever, and just had to share. I’m not this sophisticated all the time in my reading (I wish) but classics are ridiculously cheap in English (if you can actually find them) in Budapest and you can usually buy 4-5 for the price of one contemporary title so I got some long overdue ones I haven’t read in any language yet.  I know people usually do book hauls with pictures of the actual copies they bought but my phone doesn’t feel like cooperating at the moment so I hunted down the covers online and here they are:

The merchant of Venice by William Shakespeare:

merchantofvenice

This one is crazy famous and way overdue for me, also not completely tragic so hoping to get to it soon.

Timon of Athens by William Shakespeare:

timon

Have to admit, I have never heard of this particular Shakespeare play until today when I spotted it in the 50% off pile in the store but I just couldn’t leave it there. I mean, it was practically free and I’m weak. Can you blame me? Probably should have read the synopsis first though? The introduction starts like this: “Timon of Athens is the bitterest and most negative of all Shakespeare’s tragedies.” Sounds like fun, right? Anyone read this? Just how tragic is it? Should I save it for an already depressing day?

To the lighthouse by Virginia Woolf:

lighthouse

I know all about Virginia Woolf’s tragic life and death but her writing is completely uncharted territory for me so I have no expectations here. Will read more, if I like this one.

The Karamazov brothers by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Wordsworth classics):

karamazov

Saved the best for last! 🙂 Can’t speak for anyone else but I was the one science nerd in high school who loved Russian literature and actually wanted more instead of less, so it’s past time I read this one. Also, most of my classic reading was done in Hungarian so far and I’m very curious how translating a non-English book into English works. I know for a fact a sloppy translation can pretty much ruin a book (don’t get me started on the awfulness of today’s fantasy book translations) but I doubt that will be the case here.

Side note: can I just swoon over these covers for a second? They aren’t as flashy as YA book covers are these days (no need to draw you in with a pretty cover I guess) but they are just so pretty and old-fashioned and did I mention pretty? I LOVE them.

P.S.: Does anyone want to ‘listen’ to me rant about fantasy book translations, like ever? Not a discussion post, just me ranting. No? Probably a good idea. I could go on all day. Seriously, there’s a reason I read them in English.
P.P.S.: Does anyone want a review of any of these books? I was planning on reviewing the occasional classic/non-fiction title but not necessarily these. Does anyone want to read any of these books? Would a review be helpful?

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What’s next? #7

what's next

Hosted by: IceyBooks
Description: Can’t decide what to read next? Make a post with 3-5 books you want to (or have to!) read soon and link up every Thursday at IceyBooks, so your readers can help you decide by casting votes!

129864921. Death and the girl next door by Darynda Jones

Sophomore Year Was Never Supposed to be This Complicated

Ten years ago, Lorelei McAlister’s parents disappeared without a trace, ans she is finally beginning to accept the fact that they’re never coming back. Life must go on. She’s got her grandparents and the support of her best friends, and high school is not quite as painful as she thought it would be.

But This is What Happens When You Fall for the Angel of Death.

Until the day the school’s designated loner, Cameron Lusk, begins to stalk her, turning up where she least expects it, standing outside her house in the dark, tough, sexy Jared Kovach – comes to school. Cameron and Jared instantly despise each other, and Lorelei seems to be the reason for their animosity.

Life as She Knows it is About to Change Forever.

What does Jared know about her parents? Why does Cameron tell Jared he can’t have Lorelei? And what will any of them do when Death comes knocking for real? Thrilling, sassy, sexy, and inventive, Death and the Girl Next Door proves Darynda Jones is a force to be reckoned with.

 2. Until I die by Amy Plum12908877

Kate and Vincent have overcome the odds and at last they are together in Paris, the city of lights and love.

As their romance deepens there’s one question they can’t ignore: How are they supposed to be together if Vincent can’t resist sacrificing himself to save others? Although Vincent promises that he’ll do whatever it takes to lead a normal life with Kate, will that mean letting innocent people die? When a new and surprising enemy reveals itself, Kate realizes that even more may be at stake—and that Vincent’s immortality is in jeopardy.

In Die for Me, Amy Plum created a captivating paranormal mythology with immortal revenants and a lush Paris setting. Until I Die is poised to thrill readers with more heart-pounding suspense, spellbinding romance, and a cliff-hanger ending that will leave them desperate for the third and final novel in the series.

74023933. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer

Calla is the alpha female of a shape-shifting wolf pack. She is destined to marry Ren Laroche, the pack’s alpha male. Together, they would rule their pack together, guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But then, Calla saves a beautiful human boy, who captures her heart. Calla begins to question everything – her fate, her existence, and her world and the orders the Keepers have asked her to follow. She will have to make a choice. But will she follow her heart if it means losing everything, including her own life?

Review: These broken stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner – Out of hyperspace

13138635Title: These broken stars

Author: Meagan Spooner & Amie Kaufman

Series: Starbound #1

Genres: young adult, sci-fi, romance

Format: audiobook

Length: 11 hrs 15 min

Narrator: Cynthia Halloway, Johnathan McClain, Sarge Anton

My rating: 4.5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

REVIEW:

This book wasn’t originally on my radar, and I was a little annoyed about all the hype (overhyped books rarely work out for me unless we’re talking Harry Potter), but I seem to have developed a fondness for sci-fi lately, courtesy of Beth Revis’s Across the universe trilogy, so I gave in and it payed off big time.
To be honest, this book is categorized as sci-fi, and it is, considering it takes place in outer space, but first and foremost it’s a story of survival. It could just as easily take place in a desert or on the North Pole.
Tarver and Lilac are both flawed but very likable characters from the beginning. Tarver is sarcastic and often unintentionally hilarious (the interrogation scenes cracked me up a lot), but he’s also loyal, caring and way too honorable for his own good. Lilac is very capable and pretty tough for someone who’s supposed to be a spoiled rich girl (see: her skills with wires and her general endurance after landing, which includes traipsing around in an evening dress and high heels) and I appreciated that the authors portrayed her like that from the very beginning. She doesn’t sit around waiting to be rescued like some helpless damsel in distress. I was cheering her on right to end (especially at the end)! But she’s not perfect and can be quite bitchy sometimes, in the best possible way if that makes any sense. Her banter with Tarver was so much fun, they both give as good as they get.
This book had several of my bonus points:

  • NO LOVE TRIANGLE!!! Seriously, YA without an angsty love triangle! How often does that happen these days? I already ranted about the evil that is the love triangle in my Splintered review, and it will probably happen again in the future, so imagine my relief when I read the blurb and there was no sign of it. Sign me up immediately. This book would have sucked if Lilac had been stuck on a planet with 2 idiots guys vying for her attention and acting like a couple of idiots  immature teenagers. Huge bonus point as far as I’m concerned.
  • Dual POV. I always love it when I get to see more than one person’s POV, whether it’s in first or third person, and it doesn’t get repetitive here. Also, the authors nailed the ‘ sarcastic teenage boy voice’ which is definitely not easy to do.
  • NO INSTA LOVE!!! If there’s one thing I hate even more than love triangles, that’s insta love. Lilac and Tarver do share a mutual attraction from the beginning, but the relationship develops slowly and realistically and I very much appreciated that. It reminded me a little of Under the never sky which is never a bad thing. They both grow and change so much throughout the book while working together to survive and unravel the truth.

If I have a pet peeve (and I pretty much always do), that’s the occasional craziness of the plot. There were a few times I just had to suspend my disbelief and roll with, but I guess this is subjective. The ending wraps things up nicely romance-wise (no excruciating cliffhanger for once, yay!), but leaves us with plenty of questions. If I understand correctly, the 3 books in the series are companion novels, which means the next one will focus on a new couple, so I don’t know if Tarver and Lilac will even be in it, but can’t wait to find out!  Bring on the sequel!

Narration:

The audiobook version of this book is amazing, complete with sound effects, that at times make you feel like you’re actually floating in space, and the narration is flawless.

Waiting On Wednesday #7

waiting on wednesday

Hosted by: Breaking the Spine
Description: “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s selection: Salvage by Alexandra Duncan

13518102Release date: April 1st 2014

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Ava, a teenage girl living aboard the male-dominated deep space merchant ship Parastrata, faces betrayal, banishment, and death. Taking her fate into her own hands, she flees to the Gyre, a floating continent of garbage and scrap in the Pacific Ocean, in this thrilling, surprising, and thought-provoking debut novel that will appeal to fans of Across the Universe by Beth Revis, and The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood.

Why did I choose this?

I loved the Across the universe series (not familiar with The handmaid’s tale), and I need more sci-fi in my life, so this sounds right up my alley. And I heard good things about it, let’s hope it lives up to expectations.

Review: The impossible knife of memory by Laurie Halse Anderson – Zombies and freaks

18079527Title: The impossible knife of memory

Authors Laurie Halse Anderson

Series: standalone

Genres: young adult, romance, contemporary

Format: audiobook

Length: 9 hrs 12 min

Narrator: Julia Whelan, Luke Daniels

My rating: 5 stars

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

For the past five years, Hayley Kincaid and her father, Andy, have been on the road, never staying long in one place as he struggles to escape the demons that have tortured him since his return from Iraq. Now they are back in the town where he grew up so Hayley can attend school. Perhaps, for the first time, Hayley can have a normal life, put aside her own painful memories, even have a relationship with Finn, the hot guy who obviously likes her but is hiding secrets of his own.

Will being back home help Andy’s PTSD, or will his terrible memories drag him to the edge of hell, and drugs push him over? The Impossible Knife of Memory is Laurie Halse Anderson at her finest: compelling, surprising, and impossible to put down.

REVIEW:

Laurie Halse Anderson books are an absolute must read for me, so I couldn’t wait to get my hands on this one, and I wasn’t disappointed.
The book opens with Hayley and her dad moving back to her dad’s childhood home, and after years of ‘homeschooling’ (I use the term loosely, you’ll see why) she finally goes to a public school for the first time. Here’s the thing about Hayley: she’s NOT for everyone. Anyone who’s read previous books from this author already knows that her main characters aren’t exactly on the ‘sunny side’ (see Speak, Twisted or The catalyst) and this book is no exception. Hayley starts off with the following ‘lovely’ statement:

A quick lesson.
There are two kinds of people in this world:
1. zombies
2. freaks.
Only two. Anyone who tells you different is lying. That person is a lying zombie. Do not listen to zombies. Run for your freaking life.
Another lesson: everyone is born a freak.

She’s rude, judgemental and distrusting. She’s stubborn, cynical and jaded. She sees the world in a way only broken people do. Her inner voice is something like this:

“Maybe that was why I want to slap so many of the zombies; they had no idea how freaking lucky they were. Lucky and ignorant, happy little rich kids who believed in Santa Claus and the tooth fairy and thought that life was supposed to be fair.”
“Looking out the window, I wondered how many of those kids had parents who were losing it, or parents who were gone, taken off without a forwarding address, or parents who had buried themselves alive, who could argue and chop wood and make asses of themselves without being fully conscious.”

If this doesn’t sound like something you can relate to or at least empathize with, then this book isn’t for you. I feel the need to say this, because the few bad reviews I did read about this book, all centered around the same thing: how awful Hayley is. And I don’t think that’s true at all. But you need to understand how much a person’s, especially a child’s behaviour and general outlook on life changes when they have to be the grown up in the family. She had an awful lot to deal with pretty much her whole life, and she’s doing her best. I dare you to be perfect and not have a few hangups of your own in a situation like this. That’s not to say I didn’t feel the need to shake her at times, and scream at her to accept help already, but I could definitely empathize.  And then there’s Finn. He’s pushy and at times annoying (sounds dreamy, right?) but I liked him. You have to be pushy and annoying to get through to Hayley. He’s also kind of a nerd, but no complaints here. 🙂
If I have any pet peeves about this book, that would be the ending. I don’t want to spoil anything, but it felt just a tiny bit rushed for me. Things wrapped up a little too fast. But maybe that’s just me.
Overall, I loved this book and eagerly anticipate the next Laurie Halse Anderson. In the meantime, working up the courage to finally read Wintergirls so I can cry some more.

Narration:

The audiobook version of this book is amazing,  Julia Whelan is a personal favourite of mine, and Luke Daniels is a nice addition, voicing Hayley’s dad’s flashbacks about the war.

Putting stock in reviews

This past month, studying for exams has kept me busy and limited my blogging time, but I’ve thought a lot about possible ideas for discussion posts (and got inspired by the strangest things) and this is my first attempt here. I’m not really sure how to write these, but I’ll get better, please bear with me.

So reviews. We all read them, right? My question is: how much stock do you actually put in them?

Whenever I find an interesting-sounding book, my first instinct is to look up at least a few reviews, see what other people thought about it. I’m honestly not brave enough to just buy a book without at least checking the general impression. The places I browse: Amazon, goodreads, and different book blogs. Although admittedly goodreads is my least favourite place for this kind of thing, couldn’t really explain why. I put the most stock in favourite bloggers reviews, and I suspect that’s going to be the case even more now that I interact with all of you personally.

What about you?

  • Which places do you visit for reliable reviews?
  • Do you have a preference?
  • Are there other review places you’d recommend?
  • Is there anyone who doesn’t read reviews before buying a book?
  • Can you afford to just buy any good-sounding book and risk hating it?
  • Are bad reviews enough to turn you off a book you really want to read? If so, how many? Is the opposite true? Are good reviews enough to make up your mind about a book you didn’t originally consider? If so, how many?
  • How much does a trusted blogger friend’s opinion matter?

Please feel free to sound off in the comments about any of the questions above or anything else you can think of on this topic.

P.S. Are these discussion posts a good idea? Or am I boring everyone? Should I stop? Should I come up with something more interesting next time? (My super confident self is wondering.)

What’s next? #6

what's next

Hosted by: IceyBooks
Description: Can’t decide what to read next? Make a post with 3-5 books you want to (or have to!) read soon and link up every Thursday at IceyBooks, so your readers can help you decide by casting votes!

158266481. Where the stars still shine by Trish Doller

Stolen as a child from her large and loving family, and on the run with her mom for more than ten years, Callie has only the barest idea of what normal life might be like. She’s never had a home, never gone to school, and has gotten most of her meals from laundromat vending machines. Her dreams are haunted by memories she’d like to forget completely. But when Callie’s mom is finally arrested for kidnapping her, and Callie’s real dad whisks her back to what would have been her life, in a small town in Florida, Callie must find a way to leave the past behind. She must learn to be part of a family. And she must believe that love–even with someone who seems an improbable choice–is more than just a possibility.

Trish Doller writes incredibly real teens, and this searing story of love, betrayal, and how not to lose your mind will resonate with readers who want their stories gritty and utterly true.

 2. The beginning of everything by Robyn Schneider13522285

Golden boy Ezra Faulkner believes everyone has a tragedy waiting for them—a single encounter after which everything that really matters will happen. His particular tragedy waited until he was primed to lose it all: in one spectacular night, a reckless driver shatters Ezra’s knee, his athletic career, and his social life.

No longer a front-runner for Homecoming King, Ezra finds himself at the table of misfits, where he encounters new girl Cassidy Thorpe. Cassidy is unlike anyone Ezra’s ever met, achingly effortless, fiercely intelligent, and determined to bring Ezra along on her endless adventures.

But as Ezra dives into his new studies, new friendships, and new love, he learns that some people, like books, are easy to misread. And now he must consider: if one’s singular tragedy has already hit and everything after it has mattered quite a bit, what happens when more misfortune strikes?

Robyn Schneider’s The Beginning of Everything is a lyrical, witty, and heart-wrenching novel about how difficult it is to play the part that people expect, and how new beginnings can stem from abrupt and tragic endings.

43744003. If I stay by Gayle Forman

In a single moment, everything changes. Seventeen-year-old Mia has no memory of the accident; she can only recall riding along the snow-wet Oregon road with her family. Then, in a blink, she finds herself watching as her own damaged body is taken from the wreck…

A sophisticated, layered, and heart-achingly beautiful story about the power of family and friends, the choices we all make, and the ultimate choice Mia commands.

Waiting On Wednesday #6

waiting on wednesday

Hosted by: Breaking the Spine
Description: “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s selection: Landry Park by Bethany Hagen

13479780Release date: February 4th 2014

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

Downton Abbey meets The Selection in this dystopian tale of love and betrayal.

In a fragmented future United States ruled by the lavish gentry, seventeen-year-old Madeline Landry dreams of going to the university. Unfortunately, gentry decorum and her domineering father won’t allow that. Madeline must marry, like a good Landry woman, and run the family estate. But her world is turned upside down when she discovers the devastating consequences her lifestyle is having on those less fortunate. As Madeline begins to question everything she has ever learned, she finds herself increasingly drawn to handsome, beguiling David Dana. Soon, rumors of war and rebellion start to spread, and Madeline finds herself and David at the center of it all. Ultimately, she must make a choice between duty – her family and the estate she loves dearly – and desire.

Why did I choose this?

I didn’t like The selection as much as most people, but compare anything to Downton Abbey and I’m in. Plus I’ve been slacking off on dystopian reads lately for some reason and it’s time to get back to the genre.

What’s next? #5

what's next

Hosted by: IceyBooks
Description: Can’t decide what to read next? Make a post with 3-5 books you want to (or have to!) read soon and link up every Thursday at IceyBooks, so your readers can help you decide by casting votes!

131386351. These broken stars by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

It’s a night like any other on board the Icarus. Then, catastrophe strikes: the massive luxury spaceliner is yanked out of hyperspace and plummets into the nearest planet. Lilac LaRoux and Tarver Merendsen survive. And they seem to be alone.

Lilac is the daughter of the richest man in the universe. Tarver comes from nothing, a young war hero who learned long ago that girls like Lilac are more trouble than they’re worth. But with only each other to rely on, Lilac and Tarver must work together, making a tortuous journey across the eerie, deserted terrain to seek help.

Then, against all odds, Lilac and Tarver find a strange blessing in the tragedy that has thrown them into each other’s arms. Without the hope of a future together in their own world, they begin to wonder—would they be better off staying here forever?

Everything changes when they uncover the truth behind the chilling whispers that haunt their every step. Lilac and Tarver may find a way off this planet. But they won’t be the same people who landed on it.

A timeless love story, THESE BROKEN STARS sets into motion a sweeping science fiction series of companion novels. The Starbound Trilogy: Three worlds. Three love stories. One enemy.

 2. The darkest minds by Alexandra Bracken10576365

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something alarming enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that gets her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that’s killed most of America’s children, but she and the others have emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they cannot control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones.

When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. Now she’s on the run, desperate to find the one safe haven left for kids like her-East River. She joins a group of kids who escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents.

When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at a life worth living.

136427043. The mad scientist’s daughter by Cassandra Rose Clarke

“Cat, this is Finn. He’s going to be your tutor.”

Finn looks and acts human, though he has no desire to be. He was programmed to assist his owners, and performs his duties to perfection. A billion-dollar construct, his primary task is now to tutor Cat. As she grows into a beautiful young woman, Finn is her guardian, her constant companion…and more. But when the government grants rights to the ever-increasing robot population, however, Finn struggles to find his place in the world, and in Cat’s heart.

Waiting On Wednesday #5

waiting on wednesday

Hosted by: Breaking the Spine
Description: “Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.

This week’s selection: Dangerous creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

18478946Release date: May 20th 2014

Synopsis (from Goodreads):

A new series returns to the world of Beautiful Creatures. Some loves are cursed…others are dangerous.

Ridley Duchannes will be the first to tell you that she’s a bad girl. She’s Dark. She’s a Siren. You can never trust her, or even yourself when she’s around. Lucky for her, Wesley “Link” Lincoln can never seem to remember that; quarter Incubus or not, his heart is Mortal when it comes to Ridley. When Link heads to New York City to start a music career, Ridley goes along for the ride-and she has her own reasons. As if leaving small-town Gatlin for the big city, trying to form a band, and surviving life with a partially reformed Siren isn’t hard enough already, Link soon learns he has a price on his head that no Caster or Mortal can ever pay.

Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl, the #1 New York Times bestselling coauthors of Beautiful Creatures, are back and casting another magical spell. Their signature mixture of mystery, suspense, and romance, along with a dash of fun and danger, will pull fans in and leave them begging for more.

Why did I choose this?

Link was my favourite character in the Caster Chronicles (sorry Ethan & Lena) and his story was left very much unfinished so I can’t wait to read more about him! May can’t come soon enough!