Winter wonderland romance

Hey you all! A few weeks ago I announced that I would place a review of the book Wonderland online on 14 November. Guess what date it is 😉 This review will be a little different than usual. I’m going to write it in English as well as Dutch. For every story in this short story collection I will first give a description and opinion in English and after that in Dutch. I promised to make a pictureguide too this time, so every story has a small picture gallery 🙂 This blogpost is part of the Wonderland-blogtour and underneath my review I will place links to the previous stop and the next stop in the blogtour 🙂

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This book contains ten short romantic YA Christmas stories. Some of them are contemporary and some are paranormal. So, let’s start reviewing!

It’s a match – Chinouk Thijssen

In this story we get to know Gaia who is looking for a date to bring to the Christmasparty her sister organizes every year. Via Tinder she comes in contact with the gorgeous Milan and life seems wonderful all of a sudden. But, then Grazia, Gaia’s sister, tells Gaia that someone is blackmailing her fiancé. Will this Christmas be the happiest Gaia has ever had or will the blackmailer make good on his promise to hurt Grazia…

I don’t really know what to think of this story. I liked the main character and the suspense in it, but the pace was incredibly rushed and the romance felt too insta-love for me. I think this story would have been better if it had been longer, because in its current length there wasn’t enough room for the plot and plottwist to be reveilend naturally and gradually, and the romance couldn’t develop in a nice pace either. So, I liked the story and saw its potential, but it was just too short.

In dit verhaal leren we Gaia kennen die op zoek is naar een date. Ieder jaar organiseert haar zus Grazia namelijk een groot kerstfeest en dit jaar wil Gaia niet alleen op komen dagen. Op Tinder ontmoet Gaia de knappe Milan en de twee kunnen het super goed met elkaar vinden. Gaia is gelukkiger dan ze ooit is geweest, maar dan vertelt Grazia dat iemand haar verloofde chanteert. Wordt dit de gelukkigste kerst die Gaia ooit heeft meegemaakt of zal de chanteerder zijn dreigement uitvoeren en Grazia te grazen nemen…

Ik weet nog steeds niet helemaal wat ik van dit verhaal vind. Ik vond de hoofdpersoon leuk en de spanning zat er ook lekker in, maar het verhaal was te gehaast en de romance kwam nogal uit de lucht vallen. Ik denk dat het verhaal beter uit de verf was gekomen als het langer was geweest, zodat de plot en plottwist de ruimte hadden gehad om goed te ontvouwen en opgebouwd te worden. Bovendien had in een langer verhaal de romantiek beter uitgewerkt kunnen worden, zodat ik als lezer ook iets voor Milan had gevoeld waardoor het einde spectaculairder was geweest. Kortom, ik vond het verhaal best aardig en zag wat het had kunnen worden, maar het was gewoonweg te kort om alles eruit te halen wat erin zat.

Een wonder (a miracle) – Anne Nicolai

In this story Lynn and Will are the main characters. Lynn finds Will in the church where she and her brother a practicing for a play. She assumes Will is there as a substitute for one of the players, but soon she finds out the weird truth. Will came from the year 1897 and is looking for his sister that went missing. Somehow he’s ended up in the year 2017. Can Will and Lynn work together to save Will’s sister and will Will be able to get back home in time…

I love stories about time travelling and I also loved this story. The beginning was a little bit messy, but the rest of the story was written really well. I particularly loved the romance in this story ❤ I never heard of this author before, but I’m certainly going to check if she has written any other stories because I really like her writingstyle.

In dit verhaal leren we Lynn en Will kennen. Lynn zit samen met haar broer bij een toneelgezelschap en hun oefenruimte is in een kerk. Op een avond vind Lynn Will op een van de kerkbankjes en ze neemt aan dat hij de vervanger is voor een van de uitgevallen spelers. Al snel komt ze er echter achter dat de waarheid veel vreemder is. Will komt namelijk niet uit onze tijd, maar uit 1897 en hij is op zoek naar zijn vermiste zusje. Zal het Lynn en Will lukken om zijn zusje te vinden en zal Will terug kunnen naar zijn eigen tijd…

Ik hou van tijdreisverhalen en dit verhaal was geen uitzondering op die liefde. Hoewel het begin wat verwarrend en rommelig was, zat de rest super goed in elkaar. Ik vond vooral de romance in dit verhaal erg goed! Ik had nog nooit van deze auteur gehoord, maar ga zeker op zoek naar meer van haar werken want ik vond haar schrijfstijl erg goed.

Maria’s kerstengel (Maria’s Christmasangel) – Rianne Werring

In this story we get to know Maria, a hardworking high school student who loves to bake. Maria’s life seems simple and not particularly exciting, but secretly she’s struggling with the fact that she’s head over heels in love with Daan, or rather Danielle. She has no idea what to do with her feelings, but she knows what she feels is real and true. Maybe the Christmas dance will be the perfect time to start a new life…

I really liked this story. I loved the main character and how ordinary she was. I like reading stories about normal people and everyday struggles that have a happy ending and an upbeat feel.

In dit verhaal speelt Maria, een hardwerkende scholiere die van bakken houdt, de hoofdrol. Maria’s leven lijkt simpel en niet zo spannend, maar van binnen worstelt ze met het feit dat ze smoorverliefd is op Daan, eigenlijk Danielle. Ze heeft geen idee wat ze met deze gevoelens aanmoet, maar ze weet wel dat de liefde die ze voelt echt is. Misschien is het kerstgala de perfecte gelegenheid om een nieuw leven te beginnen…

Ik vond dit verhaal erg leuk. De hoofdpersoon kroop onder mijn huid en ik vond het erg tof dat ze zo normaal was. Ik hou wel van een verhaal waar gewone mensen met alledaagse zorgen de hoofdrol spelen maar de toon van het verhaal opgewekt blijft en het einde goed is 🙂

Alf – Eva Moraal

Sigrid is struggling with her parents divorce and decides to hide out in the empty apartment above the cafe she works in, so she doesn’t have to pretend to have a good time this Christmas. Her plans are derailed, however, when she discovers that her hide-out is used by a boy who also ran away from home. But why is Alf so special…

I don’t really know what to think of this story. It was nice, but not really memorable. I don’t know what it was, but the story seemed to drag a bit and I didn’t really feel the romance. The writingstyle was good, but somehow I just didn’t feel anything.

Sigrid heeft het moeilijk met de scheiding van haar ouders en besluit de kerst niet thuis door te brengen, maar zich te verstoppen in het appartement boven het café waar ze werkt. Haar plan om de kerst lekker in haar eentje te vieren worden echter in het honderd gestuurd als blijkt dat iemand haar verstop plek al gebruikt. De jongen, Alf, is ook van huis weggelopen. Maar wat maakt hem zo speciaal…

Ik weet niet zo goed wat ik van dit verhaal moet vinden. Het was best aardig, maar bleef niet echt hangen. Ik kan mijn vinger er niet echt op leggen wat het was, maar het verhaal kabbelde nogal en de romance kwam voor mij niet echt goed over. De schrijfstijl was goed, maar desondanks voelde ik er niet echt wat bij.

De wensster (The wishingstar) – Jen Minkman

Imre and Jonas have been college friends a long time, but today is the first day they are going somewhere alone. They agreed to go to national park Dwingelderveld to go stargazing. When they see a falling star something magical happens…

I really, really loved this story! It had a nice slow pace, realistic characters and I loved the ending. I liked how the story went from normal to paranormal and how the main characters discovered their heart’s desire 🙂

Imre en Jonas zijn al tijden vrienden op de PABO maar ze hebben nog nooit iets samen gedaan. Aangezien ze beiden van astronomie houden, besluiten ze samen naar nationaal park Dwingelderveld te gaan om sterren te kijken. Wanneer ze een vallende ster zien, gebeurt er iets magisch…

Dit verhaal was echt ontzettend gaaf! Het had een mooie, langzame opbouw, realistische personages en het einde was erg mooi. Ik vond het erg tof hoe het verhaal van normaal naar paranormaal ging en hoe de personages hun hartenwens ontdekten 🙂

Mijn allerliefste (My sweetheart) – Debora Elisabeth

In this story we get to know Annabelle and Collin. Collin is fighting in a war and Annabelle is left behind at home. The two struggle with not being together and not being able to communicate. Will they ever get back together again…

This was the only story in the collection that had a whole different world in it. I loved the dystopian feel of it. I also loved the main characters and their struggle. This was such a cool story and I hated the fact that it was so short because I wanted to continue reading haha.

In dit verhaal leren we Annabelle en Collin kennen. Collin vecht aan het front terwijl Annabelle thuis achterblijft. De twee hebben het zwaar nu ze uit elkaar gerukt zijn en omdat ze nauwelijks kunnen communiceren met elkaar. Zullen ze ooit weer bij elkaar komen…

Dit was het enige verhaal in de bundel dat een hele andere wereld had. Het dystopische element was echt super gaaf. De hoofdpersonen en hun problemen waren ook erg tof. Dit was een van mijn lievelingsverhalen en ik baalde best wel toen het uit was omdat ik graag verder had willen lezen haha.

Kerst’mis (Christ’mas) – Jennefer Mellink

Lotte has never known her birth parents and every Christmas she struggles with the not knowing. This year her boyfriend Jochem wants to give her a happy Christmas but will she be able to set aside her sorrow and concentrate on all the positive things in her life…

Somehow in every short story collection there is a story that you don’t like and I’m sad to say that this was that story for me. I found this one a little bit messy, not very believable and the main characters didn’t really feel rounded to me. Maybe others will love this one, but this was not the one for me.

Lotte weet niet wie haar biologische ouders zijn en iedere kerst heeft ze het er moeilijk mee. Dit jaar probeert haar vriendje Jochem haar een fijne kerstmis te bezorgen, maar kan ze haar verdriet opzij zetten en zich concentreren op de positieve dingen in haar leven…

Tot nu toe heb ik altijd in elke bundel één verhaal gehad dat ik niet zo denderend vond en helaas was dit in deze bundel dit verhaal. Ik vond het verhaal een beetje rommelig, bij tijd en wijle ongeloofwaardig en de personages voelden niet echt goed uitgewerkt aan. Misschien dat andere lezers dit verhaal wel erg leuk vinden, maar dit was gewoon niet mijn ding.

Helse Heenreis (One hellish journey) – Marijke F. Jansen

Killian has had enough of his life. That’s why he’s sitting on this beach in the dark and cold on Christmas eve. At his darkest moment, however, a girl comes tumbling from the sky and falls on top of him. Maybe life isn’t so dark after all…

I loved this one!!! It was so emotional and Killian was so realistic and sad. I loved how the author managed to make him so life like in so few words. The paranormal element was really fun and surprising and that ending was beautiful ❤

Killian heeft genoeg van zijn ellendige leven. Daarom zit hij in het donker op het koude strand op kerstavond. Op zijn meest duistere moment valt er echter een meisje uit de lucht recht bovenop hem. Misschien is het leven toch niet zo duister als hij denkt…

Dit was mijn favoriete verhaal in deze bundel! Het was zo ontzettend emotioneel en Killian was zo realistisch en triest. Zo knap hoe de schrijfster in zo weinig woorden zo’n levensecht personage heeft weten neer te zetten. Het paranormale element in dit verhaal was erg leuk en verrassend en het einde was prachtig ❤

Droomband (Dream connection) – Patty van Delft

Julia is head over heels in love with Jonathan but he doesn’t seem to know she exists. To make matters worse he is dating Natalja. When Julia is hiding from a storm in a bookshop Jonathan and Natalja come inside and she runs outside stumbling into a store she never saw before. There she finds a special bracelet that will show her her soulmate according to the old lady running the store. Julia doesn’t believe in magic, but the dreams she has because of the bracelet seem so real and the boy in it steals her heart. Is there a possibility that the bracelet is truly magical and that the boy in her dreams is her soulmate…

I love Patty’s writingstyle. Somehow she knows how to perfectly blend magic with reality and how to infuse her stories with emotions and realistic romances. I loved everything about this story ❤

Julia is smoorverliefd op Jonathan, maar die schijnt niet eens te weten dat ze bestaat. Om alles nog erger te maken, heeft hij nu ook nog eens verkering met Natalja. Wanneer Julia in een boekwinkel aan het schuilen is voor een storm komen Jonathan en Natalja ineens samen binnen. In plaats van binnen te blijven, besluit Julia weer naar buiten te gaan waar ze op een winkel stuit die ze nog nooit heeft gezien. In dit winkeltje vindt ze een speciale armband die haar zielsverwant aan haar zal onthullen volgens de stokoude verkoopster. Julia gelooft niet in magie, maar de dromen die ze ineens heeft dankzij de armband zijn zo realistisch en de jongen die er in voorkomt steelt moeiteloos haar hart. Is het mogelijk dat de armband echt magisch is en dat de jongen in haar dromen haar zielsverwant is…

Ik hou van Patty’s schrijfstijl. Op de een of andere manier weet ze magie en werkelijkheid perfect te combineren en zijn haar verhalen gevuld met emotie en realistische romances. Ik vond alles aan dit verhaal prachtig ❤

Suikersneeuw (Sugarsnow) – Vanessa Gerrits

In this story we get to know Sien who has recently lost her father. She escapes from her sorrow through her favorite bookseries Heirs of Light and through helping in her parents marketstall. Then one day she meets San and life seems a little brighter…

This was kind of the odd one out in this collection. Somehow this story didn’t really fit in with the others. I still don’t really know what I thought of it. Funny thing was that I became really curious about the story mentioned in the story and I really want to read that one haha. Hopefully the author will write that story 😉

In dit verhaal leren we Sien kennen die haar vader is verloren. De enige manier waarop ze haar verdriet een beetje kan vergeten is door middel van het lezen van haar favoriete boekenserie Erfgenamen van het Licht en door het helpen in de oliebollenkraam van haar ouders. Op een dag ontmoet ze San en het leven lijkt ineens een beetje beter…

Op de een of andere manier leek dit verhaal niet helemaal in de bundel te passen. Ik weet nog steeds niet echt wat ik ervan vond. Het grappige was dat ik na het lezen van dit verhaal vooral nieuwsgierig was naar het verhaal dat in het verhaal genoemd wordt en dat wil ik echt super graag lezen haha. Hopelijk schrijft de auteur dat verhaal ook nog eens 😉

This collection of stories has something for everybody: contemporary, paranormal, dystopia, love, death, hope and happy endings all around. This is a lovely collection to read beneath a blanket, with a hot cup of cocoa in your hand and the sparkling Christmastree next to you ❤ The only thing missing was Rudolph… Where’s my favorite reindeer!

If you want to read other people’s opinions of this book you can look at the previous blogstop on https://www.linda-linea-recta.nl/wonderland/ and tomorrow at the next blog stop on http://selinablogt.nl

Happy reading you all!

 

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Deep inside the woods ancient evil stirs

Hey you all! I don’t know what it is this month, but I’ve only read extraordinary books. Today I’m going to discuss Katherine Arden’s debut novel The Bear and the Nightingale, a truly mesmerizing and awesomely written book. I have to confess that I bought this one purely because of the cover and because the book was compared to Naomi Novik’s Uprooted. Since I absolutely fell in love with Uprooted I decided to just go ahead and buy this book and, boy, did I struck gold!!! The Bear and the Nightingale is a work of writing art ❤ Let me tell you what the book is about and why I fell in love with it.

the bear and the nightingale

At the edge of the Russian wilderness, winter lasts most of the year and the snowdrifts grow taller than houses. But Vasilisa doesn’t mind—she spends the winter nights huddled around the embers of a fire with her beloved siblings, listening to her nurse’s fairy tales. Above all, she loves the chilling story of Frost, the blue-eyed winter demon, who appears in the frigid night to claim unwary souls. Wise Russians fear him, her nurse says, and honor the spirits of house and yard and forest that protect their homes from evil.

After Vasilisa’s mother dies, her father goes to Moscow and brings home a new wife. Fiercely devout, city-bred, Vasilisa’s new stepmother forbids her family from honoring the household spirits. The family acquiesces, but Vasilisa is frightened, sensing that more hinges upon their rituals than anyone knows.

And indeed, crops begin to fail, evil creatures of the forest creep nearer, and misfortune stalks the village. All the while, Vasilisa’s stepmother grows ever harsher in her determination to groom her rebellious stepdaughter for either marriage or confinement in a convent.

As danger circles, Vasilisa must defy even the people she loves and call on dangerous gifts she has long concealed—this, in order to protect her family from a threat that seems to have stepped from her nurse’s most frightening tales.

For the first time I don’t really know where to start my review. This book was just all around awesome! I loved Katherine’s writing style. It’s lyrical, dark, and slow burning. The way in which she describes life in the cold stretches of the countryside in Russia in the 16th century is truly amazing. With her lush and elaborate descriptions she manages to transport her readers backwards in time towards an age full of superstition, inequality and hardships. Everything I loved in Tolkien’s The Lord of the Rings and Novik’s Uprooted is combined in this novel: a slow pace, descriptive writing, magic, small minded villagers, an unlikely hero who refuses to let circumstances and the way people perceive him or her get him or her down, an ancient evil, and a grumpy mentor.

Another thing I loved is the theme of religion versus folklore and the supernatural. It has always been a personal fascination of mine how Christianity managed to suppress peoples believe in supernatural beings as deities, house spirits etc. In this book Arden explores this theme majestically. When Father Konstantin comes to the village where Vasya/ Vasilisa and her family live much is changed. Konstantin doesn’t want people to honor the old gods and house spirits and forces them to put all their faith in God. Vasya, however, is one of the few people who possesses the second sight and she sees what the consequences of not honoring the ancient beings are. Because the less people believe in their house spirits, the more they weaken and the flimsier the barriers of protection against evil become. Worse, still, is the fact that with the weakening of the protective barriers comes the rising of an ancient evil that hungers for death and destruction. Another thing I loved was the fact that Arden portrays Konstantin as a man of many flaws, but with a strong conviction in the rightness of what he does and believes. Even though Konstantin is at times very unlikeable I was fascinated by this character.

And then Vasilisa herself … Vasya was such a realistic and cool main character. All her life she has been told that she is not as pretty as her sisters, that she is weird and that the only options she has in life are marriage or joining a convent. But, Vasya knows that those two options are not for her. She doesn’t want to be a slave to a man and she doesn’t want to be locked up in a cold building honoring a distant God. So, she plays in the woods, gets to know all the spirits and supernatural creatures no one else seems to see and is taught skills that no girl should possess, including riding bareback on a horse. When she gets older people start calling her witch and evil. And when darkness stirs and demons gather around the village Vasya becomes a scapegoat for all that befalls the villagers.

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Vasya’s struggles were so realistic and at times heartbreaking that I couldn’t help but root for her and hope that she would manage to get free of her circumstances. I loved the way in which Vasya refused to adhere to what she should do and how she should act as a woman and just forged her own path ❤

The pace of this book starts out slow. As a reader you get sucked into Vasya’s world and get to know her and her family. You begin to love her brothers Kolya, Sacha and Alyosha, and her sisters Olga and Irina. Her father Pyotr sometimes seems strong and a loveable man and other times he’s weak and you start to hate him a bit. Her stepmom Anna is a harder character to love because she can be cruel and mean, but other times you feel sorry for her. I loved how human all the characters were; just ordinary people with good and bad qualities. The supernatural characters were portrayed just as well. I loved how these ‘demons’ balanced between good and evil and how they interacted with Vasya. I really liked Morozko’s character and hope that he plays an even bigger role in the sequel. He’s wonderfully mysterious. Once you get to know all these characters and the world is set firmly in place the pace kicks up and races towards an incredible climax that was beautifully written and composed.

I don’t want to betray too much of what happens in the book, so, you can experience the epic writing and story all for yourself ❤ I will suffice with saying that this is an astonishing book with an awesome and realistic main character, elaborate and gorgeous worldbuilding based on historical research, which explores several interesting themes, is extremely suspenseful and is written in such a realistic and magical way that you will keep turning pages. This is definitely a must read!

 

Fairytales the Grisha way

Hey you all! Today I’m going to share a new kind of review with you. Instead of discussing the book and giving a summary, I’m going to share some pictures with you guys and girls to show you how awesome The Language of Thorns by Leigh Bardugo is. If you would rather not see some of the stunningly beautiful art in this book and want to be surprised if you buy the book than don’t read and look any further!!!

 

Before I start showing you the pictures I’d like to comment in short on the whole novella thing. It seems as though making novella’s is a new and lasting hype in the YA world. Almost every popular YA series has at least one, but often two or more novella’s which are put between the full length novels as extra’s or expansions of the main story. On the one hand this can be really fun and exciting because the story gets prolonged that way and some aspects of the world or characters can be elaborated on. On the other hand sometimes it becomes a cheap trick to get readers to buy even more books; books that were not absolutely necessary to understand the story. Most of the time I don’t buy these novella’s because of  this. What annoys me most, though, are people who warn readers that they absolutely have to buy these novella’s because otherwise the series won’t make sense. That’s just a load of rubbish. Up until this day I haven’t come across a novella that needs to be bought and read because it is essential to the main story. The Language of Thorns is also a novella that doesn’t absolutely have to be read. In fact, nothing in this book is directly linked to the Grisha trilogy or the Six of Crows duology except the locations in these six short stories. So, you don’t have to buy this book to better understand the two main series, but it is an awesome collector’s item that contains six truly beautiful short stories, or rather short folktales, that the characters in the main stories no doubt grew up with ❤

So, let’s start this alternative review!

When you remove the stunning dust cover (or rather cloth cover) you see this stunning cover:

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Those two covers are enough to get my fan heart beating a little faster, but wait until you see what’s inside!

First up:

20171023_122206[1] A gorgeous fairytale that reminded me a bit of the Minotaur-myth meshed with Beauty and the Beast elements ❤ On every page there are tiny drawings that expand further and further until it comes to a climax in the endpages of the story, where a full blown drawing is depicted.

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This first story was one of my favorites!

Second:

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This story was based on the Ugly Duckling and is written so well that I didn’t see that plottwist at the end coming! I loved the fox as a main character and the dark and twisted vibe was awesome. And the artwork at the end was again amazing. Sadly, with this story I can’t show you the artpiece because it contains a spoiler about the plottwist 😉

 

Third:

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Again an amazingly twisted and dark story with a plottwist I didn’t see coming. This one has a little bit of Hansel and Gretel in it, but in a whole new way. The final pages were truly stunning again.

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It’s so pretty ❤

Fourth:

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I loved the feministic touch in this story. That twist at the end had me grinning like the Cheshire Cat and chuckling like an evil witch 😉 I’m still trying to come up with what fairytale this story was based upon, because I’m sure I’ve read a fairytale or story where the hero needs to fulfill a couple of tasks to win the hand of the pretty princess, but I can’t remember which story it is… Anyway this was another one of my favorites (come to think of it, I think all of them are my favorites haha).

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Fifth:

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This story was based on The Nutcracker, but has a dark vibe the original story doesn’t have. I loved the sinister feeling of this one and that ending was so cool! I liked the artwork of this story the least, but it still is very nicely done.

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Sixth:

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The last story is the longest one and a variation on The Little Mermaid. I loved how round the main character in this short story was and I liked how the story built towards an explosive climax. I still can’t decide which story I liked best of all, but this one is certainly a contender. And the drawings are so, so beautiful ❤

If you’re looking for a novella that is worth your money and deserves a place on your bookshelves this is certainly the one to buy. Not because the stories in it are necessary to understand the Grishaverse, but because the book is stunning and the stories in it are written really well and all have a unique take on classical fairytales.

The road to revenge

Hey you all! You might have wondered why it took me so long to post a review of Crooked Kingdom as I posted my review of Six of Crows a week or two ago. It wasn’t because it took me so long to finish the second book … No, I’m still emotionally unstable haha. I don’t know how Bardugo does it, but she has me hooked to her stories with my heart and soul. This review will contain spoilers of the ending of Six of Crows so don’t continue reading if you don’t want to know how that book ends!

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I made a fanart-card again and I discovered that I love this handlettering thing (even though my normal writing is a mess haha) Ps. No crows and ravens were harmed in the making of this photo, I collected these feathers through the years in parks and woods without attacking any birds, I swear 😉

So what’s this second book about:

Kaz Brekker and his crew of deadly outcasts have just pulled off a heist so daring even they didn’t think they’d survive. But instead of divvying up a fat reward, they’re right back to fighting for their lives. Double-crossed and badly weakened, the crew is low on resources, allies, and hope.

As powerful forces from around the world descend on Ketterdam to root out the secrets of the dangerous drug known as jurda parem, old rivals and new enemies emerge to challenge Kaz’s cunning and test the team’s fragile loyalties. A war will be waged on the city’s dark and twisting streets – a battle for revenge and redemption that will decide the fate of the Grisha world. 

In Six of Crows we saw how Kaz and his crew pulled off the impossible: breaking into the Ice Court to retrieve a high-value-prisoner and delivering him to Ketterdam. But, Kaz never anticipated that their client, the presumed honorable merchant, Jan van Eck would double cross them and kidnap Inej. In Crooked Kingdom the reader sees what Kaz will do to get Inej back and take revenge on not only Van Eck but also his greatest enemy.

kaz and inej

Let’s start with Kaz. In this book you get to know him even better. He is reluctant to admit his feelings, but he can’t deny them any longer even though he knows that he will probably never be able to touch someone without breaking down and feeling horrified. I loved the way in which Kaz tried to fight his feelings, but ultimately embraced them. The discovery of his warmer feelings, however, doesn’t mean that Kaz isn’t cold and relentless any more. If anything the betrayal by Van Eck made him even more determined to take revenge and outsmart everyone. The plans and plots he comes up with are so cool and evil! I love how Kaz’ darkside and his goodness mash together in this book ❤

Inej was so incredibly well portrayed in this book!!! Her capture by Van Eck throws her back into her own past when she was helpless and couldn’t stop the things that were done to her. But, instead of breaking apart Inej learns that even though she’s scared she will never be helpless again. She would sooner die than let people use her again. I loved her vulnerability and her inner strength in this book and her determination to get what she deserves: be it love or revenge. She’s one kick-ass girl!

fear

Inej and Kaz weren’t the only ones that went through hell in this book. In Six of Crows we learnt that it was Jesper’s fault that the mission at the Ice Court went incredibly wrong. He tries his best to make up for his faults, but Kaz doesn’t forgive easily, especially not now that Inej has been taken. Jesper’s struggle is so real and sad that my heart broke for him, but I loved how he tried to correct his wrongs and how he grew closer to Wylan. Best of all was the fact that his humor was still there despite everything that went wrong.

And then Wylan … I loved the fact that he had a much larger role in this book and that the reader gets to know him better. His struggle with his horrible father, Jan van Eck, was so realistic and sad. But, it was beautiful how he proved his dad wrong in the end and took revenge on him for all that he did to Wylan and his mom ❤ The feelings between Jesper and Wylan were so sweet and cute that it made me smile the whole time when they were together in the same scenes. ❤ ❤ ❤

Nina and Matthias also had some obstacles on the way. Matthias struggles with the fact that he betrayed his fellow soldiers, his commander and his country by protecting Nina and staying with Kaz and his crew. Even though he’s torn apart inside he can’t help but feel that he did the right thing even when it feels so wrong. He struggles with accepting his new world and the possibility that Grisha are not abominations and unnatural, yet, he can’t deny his feelings for Nina. I loved the fact that Matthias didn’t simply change his mind about his world, but that he had a hard time with accepting everything, which made the book and his character that much more realistic.

Last, but not least: Nina. To save the crew she had to take some of the drug Jurda Parem which is extremely addictive. Even though she wants to clean her system of the drug she can’t help but be overcome by craving it every time she tries to use her heartrender gifts. It’s as if everything that makes her her is stripped away from her. She’s weakened by the drug and has to learn how to fight the normal way. The only things keeping her sane are Matthias and her will to find and free Inej. Along the way she discovers that her old talents have transformed into something new and that love can cure you even from a drug as addictive as Jurda Parem.

This book was genius. The plot was written extremely well and I loved how some of Kaz’ plans failed, but how he nevertheless thought of ways to set things right again. The tension was really high and well dosed. And the emotions … let’s just say I was a wreck when I finished this book! It was so intense and I’m still mad and sad about that ending! because not all of the crew came back from this mission … (crying in handkerchief) This book was a rollercoaster of feelings and suspense ❤

Oh, and I absolutely loved the way in which Kaz took revenge on his enemies. I think I’m going to hire him when somebody crosses me, so you are forewarned 😉

justice

I don’t think I have to mention that this is a definite must read 😉 It’s so, so good!!! Even though your heart will be blown to smithereens, you have to read this one. You won’t regret it.

The heist of a lifetime

Hey you all! I don’t know about you guys and girls, but I’ve got a lot of unread books in my bookcase waiting to be read. A couple of weeks ago I came across a blogpost by Melissa from http://www.melissasbookworld.com in which she talked about duologies and series she hadn’t read yet. A lot of the books in that post were just sitting around in my bookcase too. Among them were Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo. Since I loved the Shadow and Bone trilogy I decided to finally read Six of Crows and I can only say that I wish I read this one sooner because it’s friggin’ AWESOME!!!! (this book needs capitals and multiple exclamation marks trust me 😉 ) I’m not really one of those über fangirls although I can get really excited about books, but this book awoke the fangirl in me. I want to collect candles, throw pillows, artwork, quotecards and who knows what else to express my love for this book ❤ As usual let me try to convince you why you should pick this one up asap.

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This time I even made my own fanart haha

Criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker has been offered wealth beyond his wildest dreams. But to claim it, he’ll have to pull off a seemingly impossible heist:

Break into the notorious Ice Court
(a military stronghold that has never been breached)

Retrieve a hostage
(who could unleash magical havoc on the world)

Survive long enough to collect his reward
(and spend it)

Kaz needs a crew desperate enough to take on this suicide mission and dangerous enough to get the job done – and he knows exactly who: six of the deadliest outcasts the city has to offer. Together, they just might be unstoppable – if they don’t kill each other first.

That description alone ❤ ❤ ❤

If the description is not enough to convince you then let me try to write a review in between my squealing 😉

Let me start with the main characters. This book has not one, but six of them. Six equally awesome characters. And I will tell you a little bit about each and every one of them, because I loved them all!

Kaz – the criminal genius: How do I describe Kaz… Let’s just say that he loves to be bad. It has been his life’s mission to become someone who is feared. His criminal name isn’t Dirtyhands for nothing: everybody knows that crossing Kaz Brekker means certain death. Even though he is only 17, he’s done quite well for himself. He’s driven by two things: 1. money, 2. the need for revenge. When someone offers him a job, an impossible heist, he knows one of those two things will never be a problem again, for if he can pull off this job he will have the money he has always wanted. Only problem: he has to break into the most secure prison of the world to rescue a hostage and deliver him safely to his client in Ketterdam. So, Kaz concocts a dangerous plan and assembles a crew that is capable of pulling off the impossible… Along the way Kaz is confronted with his own past, the traumatic experiences that made him Dirtyhands, and with some lessons about the most important things in life. And, last but not least, he learns that even the best laid plans sometimes…

kaz quote

Inej – the acrobat: Inej is such a fun character. She has been through hell to get where she is now: Kaz’s right hand. Her skills as an acrobat come in quite handy on the streets and earned her the nickname The Wraith. She has a talent for sneaking and getting to places where no one else can get. However, she’s not like Kaz. She doesn’t long for wealth. She just wants to earn her freedom and find back the family that she lost when she was taken. She has a weak spot for Kaz, but she isn’t a pushover. I loved Inej’s inner strength and goodness.

Jesper – the sharpshooter: Jesper was so funny. He’s just as complicated as the other characters and certainly has some flaws, but you’ll forgive him anything because he’s the joker of the crew. The one that gets you laughing even when everything seems dark. I have a weak spot for trickster characters and Jesper is one of those. Lighthearted, flawed, sarcastic, but awsome. I loved how Bardugo used his character flaws to stir up some extra trouble.

Wylan – the runaway: In this book Wylan had only a minor role, but I’m hoping that we will see more of him in the next books. He’s the innocent, the one that hasn’t yet learned how dark everything can get sometimes. However, that doesn’t mean that he hasn’t experienced some hard times in his own life. I loved how Jesper teased Wylan and how they worked together. They are so cute together!

six of crows quote

Nina – the witch/ Grisha: Ah Nina. If I was a lesbian I would have fallen for her haha. She’s fantastic! She’s sarcastic, witty, loves to eat, loves her curves and isn’t afraid to use them and has a heart of gold. She joins the crew to right a wrong and get the boy she betrayed, but secretly loves, out of prison, even if he hates her. Her talent as a Heartrender, someone who can snatch the air from your lungs, slow your pulse until you drop into a coma, or literally crush your heart in your chest—all without ever laying a finger on you,  comes in quite handy on a mission that might require some muscle.

Matthias – the soldier: Matthias is one of those characters you would like to slap in one scene and hug in the next. His relationship with Nina is so complex, yet beautiful that I was rooting for them the whole time. Matthias is the perfect soldier: loyal, single minded, always wants to do the right thing, and hates to disappoint his superiors. He’s the reluctant one, the one that doesn’t want to join the crew but has no choice. However, somewhere along the way he will have to decide where and with whom his loyalties lie and what is more important: his heart or his training and orders…

The way in which all these characters get together and try to outsmart everything and everyone that comes at them is so brilliantly written! I loved the way in which everything went wrong multiple times. And that cliffhanger at the end…!!! Fantastic writing ❤

This book is full of feelings (sadness, happiness, hope, defeat, admiration) and tension and will keep you turning pages deep into the night. I love Bardugo’s writing, she’s a master storyteller who can keep you on the edge of your seat with every story she writes. Six of Crows is definitely one of my new favorites ❤

Okay, if you’re not convinced now, I don’t know what else to say except that this book is fantastic, awesome, brilliant, insanely good, etc, etc. Just pick up the book! You won’t regret it, I promise 😉

Love is in the air

Hey you all! It’s time for a new review 🙂 Two weeks ago I came across a giveaway post by HarperCollins Young Adult, naturally I took a chance to try and win one of the books they were giving away as HarperCollins is one of my favorite publishers ❤ And Lady Luck was with me, because I won Een fijne neus voor liefde (The Secret of a Heart Note) by Stacey Lee. When I first came across a description of this book I put it on my wish list right away as I love romantic stories that have supernatural elements in them. I especially love stories where the main character has an ability that has to do with one of the five senses. So, the description of this book really made me curious and very excited and I wasn’t disappointed because this story was awesome! Let me first give you a description and then I will tell you why you have to read this book 😉

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Sometimes love is right under your nose. As one of only two aromateurs left on the planet, sixteen-year-old Mimosa knows what her future holds: a lifetime of weeding, mixing love elixirs, and matchmaking—all while remaining incurably alone. For Mim, the rules are clear: falling in love would render her nose useless, taking away her one great talent. Still, Mimosa doesn’t want to spend her life elbow-deep in soil and begonias. She dreams of a normal high school experience with friends, sports practices, debate club, and even a boyfriend. But when she accidentally gives an elixir to the wrong woman and has to rely on the lovesick woman’s son, the school soccer star, to help fix the situation, Mim quickly begins to realize that falling in love isn’t always a choice you can make. 

I loved everything about this story! Mim is one of those characters that crawls under your skin. She’s friendly, extremely loyal, quirky, funny and strong willed. In the beginning of the story the reader experiences how narrow Mim’s world is thanks to her talent and her overbearing mother. Eventhough Mim doesn’t like all the rules she has to abide she does it without much complaining or drama. She’s a good daughter who listens to her mother. Her mom rewards her for this by giving her even more tasks and responsibilities in the family business. So, when Mr. Frederics, Mim’s math teacher, comes to their house ordering a love elixir for the librarian Ms. DiCarlo it’s Mim’s job to ensure ms. DiCarlo gets the elixir. Mim does what she is told, but the cup of coffee she puts the elixir in turns out to belong to someone else than ms. DiCarlo and as a result Ms. Sawyer drinks the elixir. Mim is afraid of her mother’s reaction to her mistake and decides to keep it a secret. She has no choice to correct her mistake before Ms. Sawyer starts to get feelings for Mr. Frederics. Naturally, everything goes wrong after that. Mim has to tell someone her secret and decides to confess everything to Court, Ms. Sawyer’s son and the soccer star of Gaudalupe High. Together they go on a hunt for ingredients for a potion that will cure Ms. Sawyer of her feelings. But, some ingredients are hard to find. As a result Mim and Court spend so much time and experience so many adventures together that the unthinkable happens: Mim falls in love… The one thing she can never do according to the rules that are passed on from one aromateur to the next since the Middle Ages. However, Mim can’t help it, she can’t deny her feelings, although she tries her best to avoid skin contact with Court so she doesn’t loose her abilities. But, when Court is in danger and she’s the only one around to help him, can she turn her back on him and protect her abilities or will she risk everything to save him?

I really liked Court. He is sweet, nice, protective of the people he cares about and an all-around good guy. I loved how he saw Mim for who she really was and the way in which he kept her from harm. The love between Mim and Court moves slowly and is so sweet and cute that you can’t help but read this book with a big smile on your face.

The writer is really good at portraying emotions and the relationships between people. The bond between Mim and her mom was extremely realistic. Because of this realism you feel for Mim when her mom is hard on her and insensitive towards her feelings, but you never dislike her mother because you can see where she’s coming from. The relationship between Mim’s mom and her twinsister, Mim’s aunt, is also portrayed really well. Sisters don’t always get along and sometimes fights can result in distancing, but somehow, most of the time, these fights can be resolved and the sisterbond proves stronger than anything. That’s a powerful and beautiful message, I think ❤ The bond between Mim and her best friend Kali is written just as realistically. I loved how Kali and Mim tried to help each other, but eventually learned that sometimes you have to stand up for yourself and can’t rely on someone else’s help. I also really loved the fact that at the end of the book Mim learns that love has a way to happen all on its own and that sometimes magical abilities can’t change whom someone falls for. Sometimes love is meant to be 🙂

I loved the fact that this book revolved around smell and flowers, herbs and all living, growing things. In most books hearing and seeing are the most important senses, so, it was refreshing to read a story where smelling took centerstage. As a flowerlover myself I could smell most of the mentioned plants and flowers the whole time I was reading this book. Isn’t it amazing how written words have the power to do that?

The pace and tension in this book were really well dosed and I couldn’t stop reading once I started. The blending of magic (or Mim’s special ability) with a first love and a race against the clock worked perfectly. If you’re looking for a lighthearted love story with some magic in it and lots of obstacles along the way this is most definitely the book for you! This is without a doubt a must-read 🙂

To fall in love with an angel

Hey you all! Today I’m kicking off another blogtour!!! This time it’s the blogtour for Ster van Acht (Angel Star) by Jennifer Murgia. The whole of September and part of October people will post creative blogposts about this book for Dutch Venture Publishing. My own blogpost will also feature some creative elements. When I was preparing for this blogtour I got the idea to do something with music and pictures. While I was reading the book, however, I couldn’t think of a soundtrack of songs that would fit this book. But I did see clear pictures in my head, kind of like a movie, playing out every important scene in the story. So, I decided to drop the playlist and to only use a picture list that will illustrate what the story looked like to me. As always I will first give a short description of the book, next I will show the picture list and then I will give my opinion of the book. Underneath the review I will include a link to a special giveaway (for residents of The Netherlands and Belgium only) for swag and an exclusive novella (paper version) about the antagonist ❤

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Seventeen-year-old Teagan McNeel falls for captivating Garreth Adams and soon discovers that her crush has an eight-point star etched into the palm of his right hand-the mark of an angel. But where there is light, dark follows, and she and Garreth suddenly find themselves vulnerable to a dark angel’s malicious plan that could threaten not only her life, but the lives of everyone she knows. Divinely woven together, Angel Star takes readers on a reflective journey when one angel’s sacrifice collides with another angel’s vicious ambition in a way that is sure to have readers searching for their own willpower. 

The story in pictures:

 

My opinion:

For me this book had some good things and some bad things. I’m a bit ambivalent about main character Teagan. On the one hand she’s a nice character, a bit shy, friendly, introverted and lonely. Most of the time her feelings are written quite realistically and feel genuine. But, I missed a bit of a deeper connection with her because at some major scenes in the book Teagans feelings seem quite shallow. Especially when someone important to Teagan dies, it almost seems as though she doesn’t feel anything. What I did like about Teagan was her development from shy and lonely girl to a self-assured person who knows her worth and strengths.

The romance in this novel is sweet and innocent. I liked the fact that guardian angel Garreth fell for his charge Teagan and was willing to prove his love by breaking the rules and helping her. However, because the story only covers eight days the romance becomes incredibly rushed and feels a little bit too much like insta-love. I get that Garreth has been with Teagan a long time and fell for her through the years, that part doesn’t seem rushed, but the fact that Teagan falls in love with Garreth in just two or three days isn’t realistic to me. It would have helped if the story took longer than eight days.

I liked Garreth a lot. He’s a sweetheart and always puts Teagan first. His protectiveness was fun to read about and didn’t seem creepy stalker-like like in so many other YA novels about angels, vampires or other supernatural creatures that fall in love with humans.

Antagonist Hadrian is very cool too. I’ve got a feeling that he’s more complex and his feelings run deeper than this first novel leads us to believe. He’s one of those mysterious characters that you want to find out more about. I like that whole dark, tortured thing he has going on, especially because there seems to be light and good left in him. I’m really curious to find out more about him.

I also liked the worldbuilding and suspense in this book. The story world was realistic and the whole angel lore was well developed. I loved everything about the guardian angels, octograms, bloodties and willpower. Hopefully the next book will explore some of these things in more detail 🙂 The suspense is well-dosed and the pace is moderate which ensures that the tension remains high while the story doesn’t develop too fast.

If you like sweet, romantic stories about love, angels and discovering your own strength, you will surely love this book! It has nice characters and a very cool antagonist, an original take to angels and lots of tension and drama.

The tour continues tomorrow on Ivette Amesz’ blog: http://ivettemeteeni.blogspot.nl/

Giveaway (only for The Netherlands and Belgium):

‘Wil jij leuke swag winnen? Ding mee naar ons geweldige prijzenpakket van STER VAN ACHT van Jennifer Murgia door dit bericht op je tijdlijn te delen. Niet alleen kun je diverse gesigneerde kaarten, boekenleggers en hangertjes winnen, maar dit swagpakket bevat ook nog eens de gedrukte versie van Rijk der Zielen (dat nergens los te koop is, alleen als eboek). Actie loopt tot en met 9 oktober en de winnaars krijgen na 16 oktober bericht of ze gewonnen hebben.
Prijzenpakket 1: 1 black angel hanger, 1 bedelarmband, 1 angel ring, 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 originele boekenlegger uit de VS, 1 book plate gesigneerd door Jennifer Murgia, 1 gedrukt exemplaar van Rijk der Zielen.
Prijzenpakket 2: 1 octagram-hanger, 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 originele boekenlegger uit de VS, 1 boekenlegger van de Nederlandse editie van Ster van Acht
Prijzenpakket 3: 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 originele boekenlegger uit de VS, 1 boekenlegger van de Nederlandse editie van Ster van Acht
Troostprijs 1: 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 boekenlegger van de NL editie
Troostprijs 2: 1 gesigneerde kaart, 1 boekenlegger van de NL editie

giveaway swag

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/30768de734/?

 

 

The key to unlock a heart

Hey you all! I’m a bit behind in posting reviews and updating my Goodreads reading challenge but the upcoming days I will be remedying that. Today I’m going to share a review with you guys and girls about Lock & Key by Sarah Dessen. Last year I bought my first book by Sarah (Saint Anything) and I kinda fell in love with her writing style and the way she builds her characters. Let me try to convince you why you should pick up a Sarah Dessen book too 😉

lock and key

What’s the story about?

Ruby Cooper likes to expect the worst. That way, she’s never disappointed. Abandoned by her mother and forced to leave the house she calls home, Ruby is facing too many changes. Her lonely world has been transformed into a life of luxury by her long lost sister, but all Ruby wants to do is leave – she can make it on her own. Even Nate, the gorgeous boy-next-door can’t seem to change her mind. Will Ruby realize first impressions don’t always count? And that sometimes, people can surprise you, so it’s ok to let the closest ones in …

Why should you read this story?

Let me start with the main character. I absolutely loved Ruby! She’s such a realistic character. At first she has a giant wall around her heart. She lets nobody close enough to touch her heart. All her relationships are shallow and people don’t really know her. She’s so good at keeping to herself and caring for herself that it takes a couple of months before people realize that she’s living alone in the rental home where she and her mom have lived for the past year or so. Ruby doesn’t mind fending for herself, she’s been doing it almost her entire life. She’s used to people abandoning her. But as she is not yet 18 she is required to live with an adult. That’s how Ruby ends up living with her sister Cora, who she hasn’t seen in ten years and her brother-in-law, whom she’s never met before. All Ruby wants is to be left alone. Especially by the sister who left her with their alcoholic mother. However, it’s hard to keep to yourself when the people around you want to give you everything and expect very little in return. And when the cute and friendly boy next door goes out of his way to make you feel welcome and loved it’s hard to keep your heart hardened. Along the way Ruby learns to forgive, love and live, but above all that people can surprise you and can love you unconditionally.

Love interest Nate was also very realistic and swoonworthy. He’s friendly, fun, caring and adorable, yet at the same time mysterious and closed off about his own personal life. The way Ruby and he fell for each other and helped each other to get the life they both deserved was so beautiful. I loved the way Nate helped everybody out, yet was unable to ask for help himself. Ruby and Nate were really perfect for each other.

This book was such an emotional read. I loved how Ruby and her sister Cora resolved the issues from their past and how their bond became strong again when all the misunderstanding and hard feelings got resolved. Cora’s husband Jamie was also a really great character and all around good guy. I loved the relationship between the two and how cute they were together. I also really liked the way Jamie went out of his way to give Ruby a better life and to stay positive and understanding towards her eventhough Ruby sometimes made this quite hard. Nate’s problems were also written really well and the way he tried to keep his personal life hidden for everybody was also very realistic, yet extremely sad and frustrating at times haha. All these different relationships and troubles made the book a rollercoaster of feelings. I think this is the best book by Sarah Dessen I’ve read so far ❤

If you’re looking for a romantic story with realistic characters and realistic problems you definitely need to pick this one up! It’s beautiful, sad, hopeful, and has a happy ending that will leave a smile on your face when you turn the last page. Lock & Key is a definite must-read!

In the fight for freedom no one can stand alone

Hey you guys and girls! Today I’m going to be doing something new. A little while ago I was asked if I wanted to participate in a blogtour. I had no clue what that was, but it is really fun! A couple of bloggers are asked to read the same book, then one by one, on a set date, the bloggers post reviews about that book on their personal blogs and as a result people can read lots of different opinions on one and the same book while at the same time taking a tour through many different blogs. I’m going to kick off this blogtour which revolves around N.22, a Dutch YA dystopia, written by Joyce Roele. Let me first give you a description (translated to English) and then I will tell you why you should read this book (because it was awesome!)

Kate has a healing ability and because of it she has been held captive by the government for two years and counting. Before she was taken away from home her mother gave her four basic rules which would keep her alive in the laboratories. However, now, after two years, these rules are the reason why her body is shutting down. Kate has given up all hope of freedom, especially now that she has been sent to laboratory Mentha. A chance encounter changes her monotonous life forever.

Alexander and Lena are searching for their best friend Kate. Alexander is convinced it is his fault that Kate’s gift got discovered and he will do anything to free her and fix his mistake. The search is full of danger and choices they never thought they would have to make.

Will Mentha be Kate’s end of the road? Or can she escape this nightmare with the help of her friends?N22_1

Well, if that description didn’t trigger you let me help you by making the choice to read this book much simpler 😉

Kate is a wonderful heroine. She’s lonely, almost completely broken and balances on the brink of death and yet she still hasn’t given up and still hasn’t lost her compassion. Whenever she sees someone who needs help she will rush in to make that person better, even if it will cost her the little reserve of energy she has left after two years of constant torture and famine. The two years she spent in researchfacilities she has kept to herself, never showing emotions, never talking, fading into the background, all in an effort to stay as much out of sight of the labtechs as possible. But when she meets young Zoë she can’t keep her distance. This sweet little girl can’t be left to fend for herself, so, Kate decides to break one of her mothers rules and befriends Zoë. This one decision turns her life upside down and sets into motion inevitable events that will lead to Kate’s freedom or her death.

Alexander was a bit more elusive as a character. He struggles with survivors guilt because Kate used her gift to help him and as a result she got captured. He has put his life on hold so he can track Kate down and help her, but the search is slow and hard as there are multiple laboratories where the gifted are observed and ‘disected’ and all of them are guarded. Luckily, Alex has a gift of his own that enables him to create illusions. Except for his guilt and will to find Kate, Alexander is not really a rounded character. The reader gets only glimpses of his inner world and to me he wasn’t all that remarkable or likable. At times I found him a bit immature. Needless to say that Alexander wasn’t one of my favorite characters.

Branden, however, stole my heart. He’s annoying, loves to tease both Kate and Zoë, yet at the same time is really sweet and tender and cares more for others than he lets on. He’s a bit of a mystery and wildcard and therefore I loved him. Whenever Kate’s in pain or trouble he is by her side, while at the same time he keeps her on edge and in the present by teasing and antagonizing her. I’m really hoping Branden and Kate will end up together. So, keeping my fingers crossed for the next books!

I loved the pace in this book. It was gradual and yet really suspenseful. As reader you follow Kate in her horrible life that consists of cruel tests, eating and sleeping. Her only moments of solace are the ones she spends with Zoë and Branden and her daydreams about the beach and ocean. Because the pace is not too fast you get to know Kate really well and will hope that the future has something better in store for her. However, even though the pace is gradual the tension remains high. From the very first page I wondered how this story would end and I kept turning pages to find out what would happen next in Kate’s life and if Alexander and Lena would find their friend in time.

Another thing I loved was the writing style. Joyce has a fresh and easy writing style that reads very pleasant. At the same time her writing is poetic and there is more than one beautiful sentence in this book that will make a perfect quote!

The worldbuilding in this first book in the series was a bit rudimentary, but that is to be expected as most of the book takes place in the same setting. However there are a few hints as to the world outside the research facilities. It seems like people are born into their circumstances and can’t get out of them (so if you are born in a industrial town you will probably end up working in the factory for the government). Children are educated to perform certain professions, so this also seems to point to a society that is strictly ordered and where people have little or no choice in what they want to do. There is also mention of the world being torn apart by natural disasters and rebuild to its former grandeur, but this isn’t explained in detail. The government is, at this stage, a shadow in the background as the only thing you know as reader is that they imprison special people. I’m looking forward to the next books and to discovering more about this world.

The only thing I liked less was the fact that some parts of the book and the writing style reminded me very much of Tahereh Mafi’s Touching Juliette trilogy. I got the feeling that the writer was very much inspired by this serie and based at least part of her book on it. However, because there were enough differences with Tahereh’s trilogy and because N.22 is written so well it didn’t bother me that much. Hopefully the next books will be completely different than any other stories because this series has everything in it to become a bestseller and deserves to be an original!

If you’re looking for a suspenseful, emotional dystopia with a great heroine, fun side characters and a beautiful writingstyle, look no further because N.22 has got it all!

The light that has to shine through the darkness always shines brighter – part two.

Hey you guys and girls, a couple of days ago I promised to post reviews of book two and three of the Grisha trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, but my laptop decided it didn’t feel like working haha. So my posts are a bit delayed, but today I will be discussing Siege and Storm  the second book in the trilogy! Let me start with a description and then I will tell you why you have to read this one. If you don’t like spoilers, don’t read this post!

Hunted across the True Sea, haunted by the lives she took on the Fold, Alina must try to make a life with Mal in an unfamiliar land. She finds starting new is not easy while keeping her identity as the Sun Summoner a secret. She can’t outrun her past or her destiny for long.

The Darkling has emerged from the Shadow Fold with a terrifying new power and a dangerous plan that will test the very boundaries of the natural world. With the help of a notorious privateer, Alina returns to the country she abandoned, determined to fight the forces gathering against Ravka. But as her power grows, Alina slips deeper into the Darkling’s game of forbidden magic, and farther away from Mal. Somehow, she will have to choose between her country, her power, and the love she always thought would guide her–or risk losing everything to the oncoming storm.

storm and siege

In the first book we saw how Alina became the Sun Summoner and how she was betrayed by both the Darkling and Genya. The Darkling almost enslaved Alina by using Morozova’s first amplifier against her, but at the last minute Alina managed to break free from his hold and use her powers to rescue Mal and herself by sacrificing everyone on the Darkling’s skiff to the darkness and the Volcra in the Fold. Now, Alina and Mal are on the run from the Darkling’s men, taking them across the True Sea to Novyi Zem.

It doesn’t take long before Mal and Alina are found and captured. The Darkling not only survived the Shadow Fold, somehow he has gained new powers enabling him to create and summon the nichevo’ya, creatures of darkness and shadow. Mal and Alina are brought on board of the Volkvolny, the ship of a privateer called Sturmhond. The ship will take them back across the True Sea towards the Bone Road where the legendary Sea Whip called Rusalye, a sea serpent and Morozova’s second amplifier, is rumored to live. The Darkling forces Mal to track the serpent by threatening to torture Alina, and plans to use the second amplifier just like the first by binding Alina’s powers to him. However, the Darkling’s plans are thwarted by the enigmatic captain who turns out to be not just a privateer, but also the youngest son of the king of Ravka.

I LOVE sturmhond aka Nikolai Lantsov. This character has got to be one of my alltime favorites! Nikolai is witty, sarcastic, adventurous, charming, a little bit crazy and all around awesome. He has the best one-liners and adds so much humor and light-heartedness to the books. Moreover, Nikolai is not just a funny and pretty guy, he creates his own ships (both flying and sea faring) and weapons and stands up for what’s right and just. To give you a little sneak peek: here are some of his best lines 😉

 

In this book Mal and Alina’s love is put to the test as Mal is just a simple tracker, while Alina is the powerful Sun Summoner, Ravka’s only hope in the battle for their country, freedom and lives. Mal chooses to let Alina go in order to help her be all that she can be, but their love is not so easily extinguishable.

There’s a new love triangle in this second book between Alina and Nikolai, but it is pretty clear that Alina still has feelings for Mal and that Nikolai and her are more best friends than lovers, so I didn’t really mind this new triangle. Besides, Nikolai is just too fun a character to get annoyed haha.

The suspense in this book is turned up a notch as the Darkling not only plans to expand the Fold, but also wants to take over leadership of Ravka and the rest of the continent. Together with Nikolai and some of his crew members Alina and Mal form a plan to stop the Darkling and save the kingdom, but will their plan work… And more importantly will everybody survive this battle?

This book is full of action, love, friendship, adventure and magic! A must-read for all YA-fantasy fans.