31 March 2015

Monthly wrap up for March

Even though March is my birthday-month it didn't start out that well; I was hospitalized on my birthday and had to stay in the hospital for a week. 
I haven't been that lucky with my reading choices this month either; I only read a single five star book and I was disappointed by the majority of the books I read this month - hopefully April will be better. Nevertheless I read a total of 14 books which adds up to 4626 pages. 
  1. Tiger Lily by Jodi Lynn Anderson ★★★★☆
  2. As Red As Blood (Lumikki Andersson #1) by Salla Simukka ★☆☆☆☆
  3. The Beloved by Allison Rattle ★★☆☆☆
  4. Crown of Midnight (Throne of Glass #2) by Sarah J. Maas ★★★★☆
  5. Hand Drawn Jokes for Smart Attractive People by Matthew Diffee ★★★☆☆
  6. This is Water by David Foster Wallace ★★★☆☆
  7. Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass
    #3) by Sarah J. Maas
  8. This Shattered World (Starboard #2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner ★★★★☆
  9. Miss Blackpool (aka. Funny Girl) by Nick Hornby ★★☆☆☆
  10. How We Deal With Gravity by Ginger Scott ★★★★★
  11. Beastly (Beastly #1) by Alex Flinn ★★★☆☆
  12. Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn ★★★☆☆
  13. Kill Me Softly (Beau Rivage) by Sarah Cross ★★★★☆
  14. Towering by Alex Flinn ★★☆☆☆
I also discovered a new love for short stories and novellas. I only found out about short stories and novellas last year or maybe the year before and I've always had a love-hate relationship with them.. I read a total of 7 short stories and novellas which adds up to 360 pages
  1. After the Ball (Beau Rivage #1.5) by Sarah Cross ★★★★☆ 
  2. Twin Roses (Beau Rivage #1.6) by Sarah Cross ★★★★☆
  3. The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★☆☆
  4. The Traitor (The Grisha #1.5) by Leigh Bardugo ★★★☆☆
  5. Love is a Choice (Across the Universe #0.5) by Beth Revis ★★★☆☆
  6. This Night so Dark (Starbound #1.5) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner ★★★☆☆
  7. Lindy's Diary (Beastly #1.5) by Alex Flinn ★★★☆☆
This month I read a total of 14 books and 7 short stories and novellas, which means I read 4986 pages in total - not that bad since I didn't read anything the first week of March! 

I also acquired a ton of books this month - I haven't really bought any books since Summer and since I received some birthday money I figured I would buy some books.. I might have bought a bit too many but I've already read a couple...

One of the first books I got this month was The Carrie Diaries (The Carrie Diaries #1) by Candace Brushell. I found it at this market we go to once in a while and I got it for about 4$ - for a basically new hardcover, that's a steal!

I placed an order with Amazon with the majority of my birthday money and the two hardbacks I got in that order was This Shattered World (Starboard #2) by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner and Us by David Nichols - I mainly bought Us because it was cheaper than any of the other books I got.

I've already read This Shattered World and I was a bit disappointed to be honest, I enjoyed the first book but this wasn't as good.

As you can see from the picture I bought an insane amount of paperbacks this month; I read Gone Girl this weekend and even though it surprised me quite a lot it also disappointed me..

The two white books at the bottom is Rush and Fever by Maya Banks in Danish.. I paid 2$ for Rush - I couldn't pass a deal like that up!

I actually read The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin back in 2013 and I've been wanting to reread it ever since and I can now that I have my very own copy!

Since I don't have that many Netgalley books left and I won't be receiving any books from Hot Key Books this month so I have extra time to read my own books for once! I'll probably be reading;

  • The Last Letter From Your Lover by Jojo Moyes
  • Fifty Shades Freed (Fifty Shades #3) by E.L. James
  • The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson
  • and The Complete Chronicles of Narnia (Narnia #1-7) by C.S. Lewis

22 March 2015

The Beginner's Guide to the Birds and the Bees by Sophie Hart

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: September 19, 2014
Publisher: Bookouture
Genres: Women's Fiction, Chick-lit
Format: eArc
Source: The publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 384

Goodreads ⎜AmazonBook Depository

What happens in the bedroom doesn’t have to stay in the bedroom
A refreshingly open and uplifting romantic comedy about friendship, love and sex. Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone in order to give a relationship a good dose of TLC…

Sex therapist Annie Hall helps couples put the fizz back into their relationships. It’s a shame her own love life is non-existent. When Jamie who works next door catches her eye, she can’t ignore the spark of chemistry.

While Annie begins to work her magic with three couples, she soon discovers that she’ll need to take some of her own advice if she’s going to let a new man into her life.

If you’re a fan of Tracy Bloom’s No one Ever Has Sex on a Tuesday and Lindsey Kelk, kick your feet up, turn off your phone, and sink into Sophie’s novel.

I got into this book very quickly, I actually started it late at night and managed to finish it the next morning - that is how much I enjoyed it, I didn't want to put it down the slightest!

What really intrigued me and made me want to read this book was probably the cover - it's gorgeous! I also loved the idea of a fluffy book where people talks about sex. Even though I don't really read books with sex or about sex I try to step out of my comfort zone and this really intrigued me.

We have quite a few characters to focus on in this book; Annie - the therapist. Ray and Linda - and an old couple with problems. Nick and Julia - a young couple with problems and lastly Zoe and Simon - a newly engaged couple who's taken a vow of celibacy until the wedding. There's also Jamie - Annie's friend.

I really liked Annie. She's a fun, quirky character and people's reactions to her job always made me laugh - "are you going to watch us (having sex)?". Annie's character also has some depth; she's actually been married before and she has problems of her own. I liked Annie because she genuinely wanted to help and actually had the means and powers to. She's a sweetheart!
Jamie! I wish I could talk about Jamie all day. Jamie has an office in the same building as Annie so they meet each other all the time. Jamie develops apps and he definitely likes Annie. I loved the two of them together and my cheeks ached from smiling after their conversations.
I liked the couples, all of them were different and quite easy to know who's who. I wanted much more focus on Annie and Jamie though!

The storyline is quite funny and the point of view is definitely interesting. It's not just Annie's point of view we hear the story from, it's also the 3 couple's point of views and at times I enjoyed it but it would have been better if the story focused more on the relationship between Annie and Jamie.

It's quite 'sexy' at times and goes into some details that I'm really not comfortable discussing. Sometimes it adds something to the book and I know it's just Zoe being Zoe when she talks about sex but at times it put me off. The book could have been without. I can deal with people talking about sex in books but there's boundaries!

18 March 2015

The Beloved by Allison Rattle

Series: N/A, Standalone
Publication date: March 5, 2015
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: YA, Historical Fiction
Format: Paperback - review copy
Source: The publisher in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 286

Goodreads ⎜AmazonBook Depository

I am Alice Angel. I am sixteen years old. I am not mad. But I am a bad person.

It is 1848, and Alice is trapped in an unloving home with a vicious mother. She longs for escape, and then a chance encounter with an enigmatic stranger gives her the blessed opportunity.

Henry Prince - or The Beloved to his followers - promises Alice a life of love, devotion and freedom. A respite from Victorian conformity and cruelty. He is Alice's savior... Until he becomes her jailer.

Suddenly Alice must decide what freedom really means to her - and what price she is willing to pay for it

I don't really have a reason for reading this book; I don't enjoy historical fiction and I don't find the summary intriguing - but I must have requested it for a reason. I think it had something to do with the word lunatic asylum - but The Beloved has absolutely nothing to do with a lunatic asylum.

I definitely had a love/hate relationship with the main character Alice. At times I found her strong and  admirable but then the tables turned and I found her annoying. She sees her mother for who she really is; why not use that to her advantage instead of aggravating her? I wanted a stronger main character and I really thought Alice might be one but then she becomes weak again - every time she begins to seem strong she falls back - and I was tired of that dance in the end.
I feel quite bad saying that I didn't really like any of the characters when it comes down to it.. I hated the mother, the father was weak, the brother blind and ignorant and Alice stupid.
Henry Prince, the leader of the sect, is too manipulating and I was creeped out by him.

I have never understood why people join sects - I hoped this book would enlighten me; and it did a bit, but why people stay in sects is a whole other question. Alice joins the sect to et away from her mother and because she is drawn to Henry - why she doesn't see the warning signs until it's too late is beyond me.

I usually enjoy books that have a Victorian setting but this didn't do it for me. I liked the descriptions and I could picture most of it; but it wasn't that exciting.

The Beloved reminded me of Vivian versus the Apocalypse on many levels; the difference is that I liked Vivian versus the Apocalypse and I didn't actually like this one. Both have some form of religion that will set you free, both are actually a sect and the main characters escape. Vivian versus the Apocalypse was quite funny and I enjoyed reading is - The Beloved wasn't funny or enjoyable. I actually found it quite dull and I put it down loads of times.

To summarize; I found The Beloved quite dull, I didn't like the characters or the setting and I practically only finished it because it's so short.

15 March 2015

Fragile Bones: Harrison & Anna by Lorna Schultz Nicholson

Series: One-2-One, companion series
Publication date: March 15, 2015
Publisher: Clockwise Press
Genres: YA, Contemporary
Format: eArc
Source: The publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 254


Meet Harrison and Anna.

One is a fifteen-year-old boy with an uncanny ability to recite every bone in the skeletal system whenever he gets anxious ― and that happens a lot. The meaning of “appropriate behaviour” mystifies him: he doesn’t understand most people and they certainly don’t understand him.

The other is a graduating senior with the world at her feet. Joining the Best Buddies club at her school and pairing up with a boy with high-functioning autism is the perfect addition to her med school applications. Plus, the president of the club is a rather attractive, if mysterious, added attraction.

Told in the alternating voices of Harrison and Anna, Fragile Bones is the story of two teens whose lives intertwine in unexpected ways.

I've been looking for a book like this for a while, I think autism/Aspergers is really interesting and I somehow love that extra quirk it gives a character. That said; I absolutely loved Harrison.
I expected to enjoy it but I did not expect to fly through it in a couple of hours! It definitely gripped me and kept me reading until I'd finished it in a single sitting.

Harrison, oh Harrison, I've already said I love him, but why do I love him? His quirks! He doesn't like when his food is touching, he doesn't like people touching him and he doesn't like germs. Even though I don't have Aspergers or autism I could definitely relate to him - when I was younger I had some of the same issues. Harrison made me laugh out loud through out the book - especially with all his repetitions and how he acted around Anna, it was so extremely cute that I couldn't help it.
Anna I liked, not as much as Harrison though. I could also relate to Anna since she tries to do well in school and sometimes it feels like she only get acknowledged by her mother if she do well in school - I've had that, not so much any more though. Anna is sweet, she's funny and she really see the best in others - she's also very patient with Harrison and I absolutely loved their relationship because of it.

I also loved the romance part of the story, and I loved that stereotypes aren't really a thing in this book - Joel (Harrison's brother) is a plays both hockey and girls but he's not stupid or annoying, he's sweet. Justin, helps with the Best Buddy club, is very quiet but he's actually not shy and there's something going on between him and Anna and I loved that part!
There is also a bit of bullying in the story, I'm quite surprised that there wasn't more, but I liked that there's only a single episode or so.

The story itself was great! I loved that it's told from dual perspective so we know exactly what each of them is thinking. My problem with the storyline is that I loved the first half better than the second half. I think the second half was too fast for me, it seemed like everything had to happen very quickly for the story to end sooner and I don't like to feel rushed when I read.

That said, I really enjoyed the story and getting to know both Harrison and Anna. I think this book is going to be a musthave when it comes to school libraries and I definitely recommend it.

About the series: Each One-to-One novel tells the story of a different pair of teens participating in the Best Buddies program at Sir Winston Churchill Secondary School. Follow the lives of this group of friends who come together with different expectations and problems, seeing the world from their own unique perspectives and facing it head on together.

14 March 2015

Books I want to read in 2015

I love lists, which is why I loved Top Ten Tuesday when I first started blogging. The problem is that most of the lists we have to make is some I have a hard time putting together and I just end up putting random books on there to get reach 10 - so I've come up with an idea. I want to make my own lists, they can be inspired by Top Ten Tuesday, something I come up with or something entirely different. I just want to make some more lists!

Aside from my 20 before 20 list I have some books that I really want to get to this year;

The Well of Ascension (Mistborn #2) and The Hero of Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson
I read the first book in the series last year and I absolutely loved it, I've tried to pick up The Well of Ascension two times since then but I never continue reading it. I really want to finish the Mistborn series this year!

Kill Me Softly (Beau Rivage) by Sarah Cross
There's actually a bit of back story to this one; I received a copy of Tear You Apart by Sarah Cross for review last year - which turns out to be a sort of sequel to this one, only I didn't know it at the time. When I found out it was part of a series I wanted to read the rest of the books - the problem was that I couldn't find Kill Me Softly anywhere. I found it a couple of months after but I've not gotten around to reading it yet... Shame on me.
I've already read the two short stories; After the Ball and Twin Roses, which are also a part of the series. 

Queen of Shadows (Throne of Glass #4) and The Assassin's Blade (Throne of Glass (#0.1-0.5) by Sarah J. Maas
Last year I kept telling myself that the Throne of Glass series wasn't worth it - I tend to be very disapponted in series so I wanted to spare myself. I gave in this year and started reading it - and I really enjoyed it. I just finished Crown of Midnight yesterday and right now I'm currently reading Heir of Fire so I'm in desperate need of the 4th book. I intend to read The Assasin's Blade while waiting for the release of Queen of Shadows. 

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike #1) and The Silkworm (Cormoran Strike #2) by Robert Galbraith
I love J.K. Rowling and I really enjoy crime, mystery and thrillers so this is a great mix! My mom bought me The Cuckoo's Calling back in 2013 and I tried reading it but there was so much going on at the time so I couldn't get into it. The problem is that it's still just collecting dust on my shelves and I intend to chance that this year. 

Stitching Snow by R.C. Lewis 
I love fairytale retellings and this might be based on both the retelling bit and the stunning cover. I requested Stitching Snow for review last year but I, unfortunately, didn't receive it. I have read a bunch of Snow White retellings and I can't wait to read another!

The entire Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer
As I mentioned before I love fairytale retellings and what's better than an entire series of them mixed with sci-fi? I tried reading Cinder back in 2013 but I couldn't get into it. I have been wanting to try again since and 2015 is the year! I can read - or hopefully devour - the entire series. 

Siege and Storm (The Grisha #2) and Ruin and Rising (The Grisha #3) by Leigh Bardugo
I read Shadow and Bone last year, I was a bit disappointed but hopefully the sequel is better. I've also read The Witch of Duva (The Grisha #0.5) and The Tailor (The Grisha #1.5) so I'm definitely in the mood for the series! 

Towering by Alex Flinn - and her other books
Again, fairytale retellings. I borrowed a copy of Beastly from the library a couple of years ago but I never got around to reading it. Towering is probably the one that piques my interest the most - I have yet to read a Rapunzel retelling! I'm also looking forward to Mirrored, when it's eventually released I'll probably check it out. 

Cold Spell (Fairytale retellings #4) by Jackson Pearce
I read the first 3 books in Pearce's fairytale retellings series but Cold Spell wasn't released back then. I couldn't find it anywhere when it was released and my library still don't have it. I'll figure out a way though. What really intrigues me about Cold Spell is that it is a retelling of The Snow Queen by H.C. Andersen, a Danish author. 

Unmarked (The Legion #2) by Kami Garcia
I read Unbreakable (The Legion #1) when it first came out and I loved it. It scared the crap out of me and I wanted the sequel right away. I never got to the sequel though.. The Legion is a mix up of some of my favorite things and I just want to savor every word. 

This year I also have quite a few unreleased books on my high priority list;

Crimson Bound by Rosamund Hodge
I read Cruel Beauty in February and I absolutely loved it. I loved the writing style, I loved the story and I just wanted another book by her right away. At first I thought Crimson Bound was a sequel to Cruel Beauty - it isn't, but I still desperately want to read it.

Things We Know by Heart by Jessi Kirby
I discovered this in the beginning of the year and the synopsis really intrigued me - it doesn't hurt that the cover is stunning though.

A Court of Thorns and Roses (A Court of Thorns and Roses #1) by Sarah J. Maas 
As mentioned before I am really enjoying her Throne of Glass series and this one is actually a retelling of Beauty and the Beast mixed with some faerie lore - could it be better?

99 days by Katie Cotugno
I read How to Love last year and I loved it. I discovered 99 days by accident and since one of her books is already on my 'favorite books of all time' list I figured this one will be lovely as well. I have quite high hopes for this one and I fear that I'm going to be disappointed.

Never Never, part two (Never Never #2) by Colleen Hoover and Tarryn Fisher
They killed me with the ending in the first book and I just want the sequel in my hands like yesterday. It is wonderfully intriguing and a bit scary as well. Can't you just release it now?

Carry On by Rainbow Rowell
Unfortunately Carry On doesn't have a cover yet but I'm still going to preorder it and wait impatiently for the release date! Rainbow Rowell has not let me down even once and I can't wait to read Carry On and understand Cath from Fangirl better!

So, that was my high priority list. Which books are on your list?

12 March 2015

As Red As Blood by Salla Simukka

Series: Lumikki Andersson #1
Publication date: August 7, 2014
Publisher: Hot Key Books
Genres: YA Mystery, Thriller
Format: Paperback - review copy
Source: The publisher in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 236

Goodreads ⎜AmazonBook Depository

Seventeen-year-old Lumikki Andersson is hardly your average teenager. She lives by herself in the city of Tampere, Finland, and has a firm rule to mind nobody's business but her own. But that rule is put to the test when she happens upon five hundred washed euro notes hanging up to dry in her school's darkroom, and it is shattered once Lumikki realises who owns them.

Caught in an increasingly tangled web of deception, corruption and danger, Lumikki finds herself navigating the Tampere's dark underbelly in the search to expose its shocking connection to the international drugs trade. Lumikki is smart, but is she smarter than a master criminal? Can she bring down the infamous 'Polar Bear' - or will she become another one of his victims?

The first part of a thrilling new Nordic crime series, AS RED AS BLOOD will have you on the edge of your seat until the last page is turned... and then some.

I've actually been offered this book for review a couple of times but I've declined every time, and I probably should have declined this time as well.
At first I requested both this and the sequel As White As Snow, I only received this one though and I'm quite happy that this is the case, to be honest.

The theme for this review is; I expected more.

I love fairytales and everything that has something to do with fairytales - fairytale retellings are probably my favorite thing ever, but this was just weird. It's not a retelling but it has a lot of references to fairytales - especially Snow White. Lumikki, the main characters name, is actually Finnish for Snow White. Even though I understood the references I was quite disappointed in that department - the title is perfect for a Snow White retelling.

I don't really know if I like the fact that it feels so 'global', there's Russian, Swedish, Finnish etc. For me it didn't really do anything; except that I have a thing for Russian, but I liked that it wasn't just English.

Now, to Lumikki. I'm sorry, but I don't like her. I figure the author want Lumikki to be mysterious - so we don't really know anything about her until we get a few facts towards the end. I didn't like the fact that I know next to nothing about the main character - she can be mysterious to other people in the book but not to the reader!
I've just realized that there aren't really any characters that I actually like in this book. I liked that we got to know Elisa, Lumikki's friend-to-be, better than anyone else but all the characters felt quite 'flat' because we don't know anything about them.

The story itself also disappointed me, I knew it was supposed to involve some sort of crime but it didn't really intrigue me or kept me reading to see what happens next. I found the story quite dull and I'm really disappointed.

To summarize; I didn't like the characters, I didn't like the storyline and I had expected more in the fairytale department. This book really disappointed me and I didn't even expect an amazing book, I expected a 3 or 4 star read - but it's not even close.

10 March 2015

If You Find This Letter by Hannah Brencher

Publication date: March 10, 2015
Publisher: Howard Books
Genres: Nonfiction
Format: eArc
Source: The publisher through netgalley in exchange for an honest review
Pages: 272

A heartwarming memoir of love and faith from Hannah Brencher, founder of The World Needs More Love Letters, who has dedicated her life to showing total strangers that they are not alone in the world.

Fresh out of college, Hannah Brencher moved to New York, expecting her life to look like a scene from Sex and the City. Instead, she found a city full of people who knew where they were going and what they were doing and didn't have time for a girl still trying to figure it all out. Lonely and depressed, she noticed a woman who looked like she felt the same way on the subway. Hannah did something strange--she wrote the woman a letter. She folded it, scribbled If you find this letter, it's for you on the front and left it behind.

When she realized that it made her feel better, she started writing and leaving love notes all over the city--in doctor's offices, in coat pockets, in library books, in bathroom stalls. Feeling crushed within a culture that only felt like connecting on a screen, she poured her heart out to complete strangers. She found solace in the idea that her words might brighten someone's day.

I absolutely loved this one! I was a bit hesitant at first since it's nonfiction and a memoir and that's definitely out of my comfort zone but when I began reading I just knew I'd love it!

I thought it would be more about the letters, which was the part that intrigued me, but it's more about Hannah's journey - obviously. I didn't expect that I could relate to Hannah as much as I can, I felt much of it could be said about my own life. Hannah didn't really know what to do after college - I'm 18 and in a few months I've taken my exams and I don't really know where I'll end up. I love that, for once, I didn't feel so alone. I'm not the only one who has fears about the future and this book was just what I needed to realize that. It simply took away my fears and I'm much more relaxed when I think about the future now - anything can happen and you don't have to know exactly what you want.
Depression is another thing me and Hannah have, or had, in common. It's not really something I talk about but I have to mention it when it comes to this book. Hannah is an inspiration! I love her optimism and even when she was diagnosed with depression she kept going. It's awful to have but it didn't bring her down and I won't let it bring me down either!
I love how openly Hannah talks about her life, the ups and downs - not everything is good. One thing Hannah said will probably stick with me the rest of my life;
"Life is just hard sometimes. And people deserve more credit for even getting out of bed sometimes."

I smiled everytime Hannah talked about her mother; I love their relationship! It's loving, kind and they actually talk to each other. I also love how the idea with love letters was inspired by her mother's love for letters. It is a relationship like that I want with my daughter
(s) when the time comes.

This book is packed full of lessons for life! I kept highlighting all the parts I love and quotes that's inspiring and I have never ever highlighted this much in my life!
One of my favorite quotes is probably:
"This was the moment when I discovered I knew close to nothing about what would happen next at any given moment, and surprisingly, that was okay."

It's not like this book is depressing at all, I guess you can call it inspirational or uplifting. That's what it was for me at least. If you're looking for a book to make you happy or just something to read this is probably not for you, but if you're unsure about life; what you're doing and where you're going I definitely recommend it. It has made me cherish life a bit more since I feel like she understood; she understood that not everyday is good and you just have to go through life one day at a time.

Since I've already told my mom to go ahead and buy this for my birthday I have to give it 5 stars. I feel like I have to have my own physical copy so I can read certain passages when I feel down and want something to help me through it.