Holding on and letting go

Hey you all! It’s time for another Dutch Venture Publishing blogtour!!! This time in English as this book was originally written in English. Today I will be reviewing Push Me, Pull Me (Houd me vast, duw me weg in Dutch) by Vanessa Garden. Before I start my review can I just say that this book is a total rollercoaster that hit me in the guts several times ❤

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I love this cover ❤ !!! I’m so sad that I have this book in e-version instead of paperback haha because I would totally showcase this cover. But enough about that. What’s this book about?

Since Ruby Milton’s mother committed suicide, she’s forgotten what it’s like to be seventeen.
Saddled with taking care of her toddler brother and alcoholic father, Ruby has no time for fun. She also can’t shake the growing resentment she feels for her mother’s decision, which left her unable to grieve without anger and regret.
Then she meets blue-eyed musician Byron Black, who challenges everything she believes.
Byron refuses to let anyone control his life—or his death. When he left the city behind, he was in search of somewhere where nobody knew his secret. What he didn’t expect was to meet a beautiful redhead whose views conflict so completely with his own. But as their romance deepens, he begins to doubt his choices and decides to return to the city…for one last chance.
When Byron disappears, Ruby will stop at nothing to track him down.
Upon finding Byron, Ruby discovers his devastating secret, and a battle of wills begins. Byron doesn’t want her to know this part of him. He has to deal with it by himself, even though the idea of losing her tears him apart.
Will they be able to see each other through the darkness?
Or should they save their hearts and just let go?
 

So, what did I think about it?

I was expecting to find a nice summery read with a happy ending but I got a book full of feelings, heartbreak and a heroine that’s totally realistic and relatable ❤ And I’m not afraid to admit that I cried like a baby at the end haha. Let’s start with main character Ruby.

Ruby was one of those characters who crawled under my skin and pulled me into her story without effort. Her story begins when her mother’s ends. Her mother commited suicide and now Ruby has to deal with the fall out. She’s sad, but on top of that sadness is anger and bitterness because her mother had a choice, a choice to stay or leave, and in the end she didn’t want to stay. And that simple, yet oh so complicated, choice has Ruby all twisted up inside. Why didn’t her mother want to stay? Why was Ruby’s love, and the love from her brother and father, not enough for her mother? Why couldn’t Ruby have been more understanding, more sympathetic? Why couldn’t her mother just be happy with the life she had? All these questions, all these doubts and resentment are haunting Ruby and make it impossible for her to let her sadness take over. Her life gets complicated even further when her dad starts drinking. Ruby feels like she is the only one holding it together for her little brother Jay. So, she skips school and stays home to take care of Jay and make sure her dad doesn’t do something stupid. The only light left in her world are her best friend Martin and the mysterious Byron. But when Ruby starts to get feelings for Byron, who is determined to leave, and Martin confessess something that jeopardizes their friendship even that light seems to dim and Ruby is left alone with all the warring feelings inside her and the mess her life turned into.

I whole heartedly felt Ruby’s pain and struggle. It was just so real! I loved how the author managed to capture all these hard topics and the way someone reacts to them in such a beautiful way ❤ I especially liked the way the author wrote Ruby’s struggle with her anger and grief, which was so tragically realistic.

Byron was more mysterious and closed. He doesn’t like talking about himself and the things he is going through. He just wants to make music. Falling for a girl that’s struggling with her own demons and feelings wasn’t part of his plan, but Ruby just gets to him and pulls him towards her. However, Byron knows he can’t stay with her. That their feelings can’t stop the things he is struggling with and running away from. He knows it’s not fair to keep going back to Ruby and making her feel things for him, but he just can’t keep away from her. Because as much as he is a light to her, she is the same to him. A sun in a universe that’s dark and grim.

I read some reviews that said Byron was written a little flat and shallow, but I don’t agree with that. I think the author did a really good job writing a character that doesn’t like to open up. Just like Ruby the reader has to slowly discover what Byron is hiding and what is going on with him and what he is feeling. In my opinion this character isn’t flat or two-dimensional, but written really well, in a manner that suits his closed personality.

Something I liked a little less was the way in which the romance developed. Ruby meets Byron at the start of the book and likes him because of his good looks. Throughout the story this fact is emphasized again and again, until the two suddenly feel deeply for each other. This all went a little bit too fast for me and the emphasis on good looks was a bit annoying. This doesn’t mean that I didn’t feel the love between the two characters, especially towards the ending, but it just went too fast and I would have liked some more development in the romance.

Ruby’s friend Martin did feel a little flat to me. On the one hand you do feel the friendship between the two characters, but on the other hand you don’t really get to know Martin. At times he seems a bit nerdy and nice, but other times he came across as someone who will do anything to be popular and fit in. For the rest the reader doesn’t really get to know him that much which was kind of a pitty as the friendship between Ruby and Martin really intrigued me and I would have liked to get to know him better.

The relationship between Ruby and her brother and father was written so incredibly well! I loved how the writer managed to make me feel Ruby’s fear for and anger and resentment towards her dad. At certain points I really wanted to shake some sense into the man. As a reader you see the world through Ruby’s eyes and don’t doubt the truth and accuracy of what she sees. Not until the last parts of the book when you get to see Ruby’s world through her father’s eyes (or rather words) and realize that not everything Ruby feels is the absolute truth. It’s just her truth, her view. And maybe, just maybe, she doesn’t have to carry the whole weight of her world. Maybe she can let go of some responsibilities and feelings and hold on to the things and people that are important.

The ending of this book is so bittersweet and really made me cry! But it totally fit the story and if it ended differently I think it wouldn’t have been this realistic. So my heart is broken, but I wouldn’t have it any other way haha.

If you’re looking for a story with a lot of emotions, a realistic main character and a beautifully sad ending, this is the one for you!

 

 

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The wonderous magic of a cursed life

Hey you all! I promised you guys and girls some reviews of all the lovely books I read, so, here I am to share one of them. The book I will be reviewing today is called Morrigan Crow: The Trials of Morrigan Crow written by Jessica Townsend. And let me tell you this book is AWESOME!!! What’s it about?

Morrigan Crow is cursed. Having been born on Eventide, the unluckiest day for any child to be born, she’s blamed for all local misfortunes, from hailstorms to heart attacks–and, worst of all, the curse means that Morrigan is doomed to die at midnight on her eleventh birthday.

But as Morrigan awaits her fate, a strange and remarkable man named Jupiter North appears. Chased by black-smoke hounds and shadowy hunters on horseback, he whisks her away into the safety of a secret, magical city called Nevermoor.

It’s then that Morrigan discovers Jupiter has chosen her to contend for a place in the city’s most prestigious organization: the Wundrous Society. In order to join, she must compete in four difficult and dangerous trials against hundreds of other children, each boasting an extraordinary talent that sets them apart – an extraordinary talent that Morrigan insists she does not have. To stay in the safety of Nevermoor for good, Morrigan will need to find a way to pass the tests – or she’ll have to leave the city to confront her deadly fate.

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I love this cover ❤ ❤ ❤

What did I think of this book?

Let’s start with main character Morrigan. There are two things you need to know about her. First, she just turned eleven. Second, she’s cursed and because of this she will probably never get older than twelve. Everybody around her either treats her like she’s invisible or like she’s the cause of every single thing that goes wrong. Bad weather? Failed crops? A bad fall? Yeah, that has to be that cursed child Morrigan Crow. From the very first page you will empathize with Morrigan and hope her life will get better. This book is marketed as perfect for Harry Potter fans/ the next Harry Potter and I have to say that this once I can see the resemblance. Just like Harry Morrigan is a lonely, mistreated child who possesses magic. The ages of both characters are the same and both live in worlds that are more than they seem.

A glorious adventure starts when Morrigan is saved by Jupiter North and taken to Nevermoor. As reader you are completely swept of your feet by all the wondrous events and the suspenseful trials Morrigan has to face and overcome. Morrigan’s slightly gloomy character in combination with her sense of adventure, her knack for mischief and her delicious sarcasm turn Morrigan into a lovely and fun character who will steal your heart ❤ I absolutely loved the way in which she discovered friendship, love, courage and a sense of selfworth. And that plottwist at the end where Jupiter finally revealed what Morrigan’s ability was, is so cool and sad at the same time!

Aside from a wonderful main character this book is filled with a cast of fun and bizar side characters. Take Morrigan’s mentor Jupiter North who is like a funny combination of Hagrid and Dumbledore and on more than one occasion is so vague that you can’t help but try to solve the riddle of what the heck he is talking about along with Morrigan, or the head of housekeeping Fenestra who is a giant talking cat with a mean streak and a knack for violence, or the vampiredwarf Frank, the opera singer Dame Chanda, and the janitor Kedgeree. All these crazy characters are part of the staff of the amazing hotel Deucalion, Morrigan’s new home. Aside from the Deucalion staff you also have Hawthorn, a dragonrider who participates in the same trials as Morrigan and shows her the meaning of friendship and Jupiters’ nephew Jack who loves to argue with Morrigan which provides a lot of funny and snarky dialogues. Of course there are a few evil characters too. Like the arrogant and insufferable Noelle, the sneaky Carlijn (this name was changed to suit a Dutch public better and I can’t find her original name anywhere online so correct me if you know how she’s called in English) and the illustrous Wundersmith who seems to scare the crap out of everyone. In short a wonderfully whacky cast who will keep you entertained from start to finish.

I loved the worldbuilding in this book. It’s really well-developed and truly fantastical. The story takes place in a world divided into sections that are united under the rule of the Republic. What people don’t know, however, is that there is also a free sector for which Nevermoor is the capital. In the Republic everything is controlled and regulated strictly, even the magical beasts. In Nevermoor nothing and no one seems to follow rules, magical beasts roam freely, witches, vampires, zombies, and you name it live amongst ordinary people and there are even some people who possess a magical ability (or knack). The description of this world and everything in it is gorgously detailed and effertlessly transports you inside the story. The suspense is written just as masterfully and will have you turning pages well into the night. I just flew right through the story and couldn’t stop reading.

Jessica’s writing style is fast-paced, full of fantasy, humorous and descriptive in a way that’s not boring or longwinded but well-balanced and lively. I really fell in love with her writing and I’m putting her on my authors-to-follow list! I don’t know when the second book will be translated to Dutch, but I hope it won’t take too long because I need to know what happens next haha.

If you like middlegrade fantasy stories with a well-developed main character, a cast of whacky side characters that’s fast-paced and brimming with action and humor you should definitely put this one on your reading list!!! And if you’re a Harry Potter fan like me and have been hesitant to read this one because of all the talk about how much this reminds people of HP, don’t hesitate any longer because this is not a cheap knock-off or copy, but a lovely story that possesses all the wonderful qualities HP does.

Happy reading you all!

Magic, mayhem and mischief – part 2

Hey you all! I told you I had some great reviews waiting for you guys and girls and today I will be posting one of those 🙂 For Kinderboeken (www.nienkekinderboekenblog.nl) I got to read the second part of Sebastien de Castell’s Spellslinger serie Shadowblack ❤ Whenever I love a first part in a series I get a little bit anxious for the next installment, because you never know if the second book will be just as good as the first. In this case I needn’t have worried haha. Shadowblack is freaking AWESOME!!! It was like coming home and taking a warm bath with my best friends and a cat and some butter cookies 😉

If you don’t like spoilers, don’t read this review because there can be some references to book one.

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It’s a few months since Kellen left his people behind. Now aged sixteen, Kellen is an outlaw, relying on his wits to keep him alive in the land of the Seven Sands. He misses home, he misses family and more than anything, he misses Nephenia, the girl he left behind.

Then he meets Seneira, a blindfolded girl who isn’t blind, and who carries a secret that’s all too familiar to Kellen. Kellen and Ferius resolve to help – but the stakes are far higher than they realise. A Shadowblack plague is taking hold – and Kellen can’t help but suspect his own people may even be behind it. 

In this book we follow Kellen, Reichis and Ferius once again on their adventures ❤ This time Kellen doesn’t have to pass some magical tests, but there are trials and tribulations waiting for him and he will learn the paths of the Argosi. Once again Sebastien de Castell excells in his writing and manages to walk his own paths without getting lost 😉

Let’s start with the first path: main character Kellen. In this book he is still the awesome anti-hero he was from the start. The cowardly, reluctant hero who gets beaten up and defeated a lot of times, and he’s still egotistical at times and pities himself a lot haha. I don’t know if he is worse at being a magician or at being an outlaw, but neither role seems to fit him. And, yet, he learns and grows in this book and slowly, but surely discovers that the ways and worldvisions of the Jan’Tep are not the only ones, and maybe not the best ones. As a reader you can see him grow up and become more mature and independent. Furthermore, he learns to trust in his friends and to not always take the easy way out.

The second path: the side characters. I have to salute the author on this point. De Castell, seemingly without effort, knows how to create a wonderful cast of intriguing characters. I can’t help but start with Reichis ❤ I love that squirrel cat!!! He’s just as sarcastic, devious, and mischievous as ever. The interaction between Kellen and Reichis in this book is even more funny than in the first book, and half of time I was reading with an idiotic grin on my face (full on Cheshire haha). Of course Ferius is back too as the inscrutable mentor. Once again she manages to get tangled up in all kinds of arguments and fights, and once again she seems to bluff and talk her way out of almost everything. Her wise lessons are just as vague and hard to decipher as ever for Kellen, which results in a lot of funny scenes.

“First thing you learn travelling the long roads, kid: language is as much in the way you speak as the words you choose.”

In this book we meet a few new characters too, including Seneira and her Argosi mentor Rosie. Seneira is a really fun character with a strong personality, who isn’t afraid to speak her mind and tell Kellen he’s an idiot. The interaction between Kellen and Seneira is very humorous and had me laughing out loud multiple times.

“I instinctively reached out to steady her. Unfortunately for both of us, at that precise moment she shifted her weight to catch her balance. Our foreheads collided with a painful thud, and worse – much, much worse – it’s entirely possible that my lips brushed against hers in the process.
‘Did he just try to kiss me?’ she demanded loudly.”

The complicated relationship between Ferius and Rosie adds another layer of humor and tension to the story (and a lot of delicious chaos). The two are constantly competing with each other or arguing with one another. All the dialogues in this book are really amazing and wonderful!

The third path: tension, worldbuilding and plot. This is another one of those things De Castell seems to excell at. The moment Kellen, Reichis and Ferius paths cross with Seneira and Rosie you are plunged into the action and you won’t be able to put the book down. The group will have to find a cure for the shadowblack that’s torturing Seneira and her younger brother. Along the way they discover that there might be something else going on with Seneira, her brother and some other kids attending the Academy, a prestigious school in the Seven Sands, a barren wasteland where various peoples live, that is ruled by no one and isn’t even acknowledged as a proper country. The shadowblack of these children could be something far more sinister, something connecting back to the Jan’Tep and their hunger for power. Throughout the whole book you will be wondering if Kellen and his companions will be in time to solve the mystery of the shadowblack, if they can find a cure, if such a thing exists, and if they will be able to find the one who is behind all of this. The tension remains high the whole story long and the plot is crafted masterfully.

And then the final, and fourth, path: the writing style. I don’t think you will be surprised to hear that the writing is still AMAZING. Even funnier than in the first book, fast-paced and filled with suspense! I just flew through the pages. Furthermore, there is enough emotion to keep you hooked to and sympathizing with Kellen.

If you haven’t started reading this series yet you really should! These books are fantastic, filled with humor, suspense and emotion and they are incredibly fast-paced!!! I think I will be putting this series in my current top three with Harry Potter in first place, the Six of Crows duology in second place and the Spellslinger serie in third place <3<3<3

Happy reading you all!

A winged adventure – part 1

Hey you all! Last week I perused the Internet for new books to add to my to read list. Not that I have a lack of reading material haha, but hey, every once in a while you just have to put some new titles on your neverending list 😉 On my search I came across a series of  six books that sounded totally awesome: The Pegasus series by Kate O’Hearn! Most of you guys and girls can probably guess what happened next … Yeah, I totally caved and instead of putting the books on my to read list, I put them in my shopping cart and raced to the virtual checkout 🙂

I confess the covers helped persuade me, just look at the one of the first book ❤

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And as if that wasn’t enough this is the description

When Pegasus crashes onto a Manhattan roof during a terrible storm, Emily’s life changes forever. Suddenly allied with a winged horse she’d always thought was mythical, Emily is thrust into the center of a fierce battle between the Roman gods and a terrifying race of multiarmed stone warriors called the Nirads. Emily must team up with a thief named Paelen, the goddess Diana, and a boy named Joel in order to return Pegasus to Olympus and rescue the gods from a certain death.

Along the way, Emily and her companions will fight monsters, run from a government agency that is prepared to dissect Pegasus, and even fly above the Manhattan skyline—all as part of a quest to save Olympus before time runs out. 

But, did this book live up to the expectations the cover and description gave me?

Heck yeah! I loved this book!!! Let me try to explain what was so good about this story ❤ Main character Emily is one of those fun characters who instantly pull you into their story. She’s sweet, kind, loyal, independent and strong. The death of her mother hit her hard and she’s still trying to cope with it, while also caring for her dad who is a cop and works his ass off to protect the citizens of New York. Needless to say her life hasn’t been easy lately. Then one day a terrible storm hits the city and Emily hears a crash on the roof of her building. She decides to find out what the crash was and discovers something surrealistic: the mythological stallion Pegasus is lying wounded amidst the remnants of her mom’s rosegarden. And that’s where the adventure starts! Along the way Emily will find new friends and undiscovered powers within herself.

I also loved Paelen’s character. At the beginning he comes across as arrogant and selfish, but soon you find out that there’s so much more to him. I liked how he learned to trust people and that he too has worth and purpose within the pantheon of Roman deities and as a person. The way in which he found his courage and stepped up to save everyone was really cool.

Joel is another one of those characters who instantly win your heart. He’s really caring and nice. I loved his tender heart and really felt for him when I discovered what happened to his family and to him after losing them.

And Pegasus ❤ What’s not to love about him. If you’ve read more of my reviews you probably know I have a soft spot for animal characters and Pegasus was one of those animal characters who instantly steal your heart and make you want to read further.

But not only the heroes of this story are fantastic, the antagonists are really cool too. On the one hand you have the Nirads, beings with four arms and a skin as tough as stone which is seemingly impenetrable. On the other hand there is the CRU, a secret government organization tasked with researching the extraterrestrial and supernatural. In their quest for knowledge and answers they will stop at nothing, not even torture of children, to find what they are looking for.

Besides the cast of awesome characters and side characters this story has so much adventure and suspense. Once I started reading I couldn’t stop! From the battles on Olympus, to Pegasus crashing in Manhattan, to the Nirads infiltrating New York and the CRU capturing the heroes. Every scene is brimming with tension, emotion and fantasy. The combination of the fast pacing and the non-stop action ensures a thrilling read you won’t be able to put down!

If you’re looking for a fast-paced children’s fantasy adventure which uses Roman mythology, has awesome characters and lots of emotion and suspense look no further because this book has it all!

A magical love story

Hey you all! It’s time for a new review for Dutch Venture Publishing!!! The book I will be reviewing is Takla Makan: het blauwe licht (Takla Makan: the blue light in English) by German author Petra Nouns. This blogpost is part of a blogtour, so, I will give you the next stops on the tour beneath this review in case you want to read more opinions about the book (the other reviews are in Dutch). So, what was this book about and what did I think about it?

Ella is a fifteen-year-old girl living in Berlin. She’s learned to stick up for herself because the school where she goes to in Kreuzberg isn’t the best and things can get rather rough in class. Luckily, her best friend Sofia mostly follows the same classes as her. 

Just like last year Orkan is in her class too: a Turkish boy with a big mouth and ego to match. Ella can’t stand him. Moreover, she thinks he’s nuts because he insists that his aunt can do magic. Who believes that kind of crap?

But then something remarkable happens. Ella suddenly sees a mysterious, blue light – a glow that gives her visions of a future where Orkan and Ella are madly in love. Is she losing her mind or is someone trying to show her how her life could be one day … ?

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The description sounds totally awesome, and the cover is gorgeous ❤ A recipe for an epic read, I thought, but sadly this was not really my book. I will try to explain why this story didn’t really hook me, but first let me tell you what I did like about it.

I loved how different cultures came together in this book. Not only because of the multi-cultural school Ella goes to, but also because of the magic and folklore from Turkey and China that were pivotal in this story. I love reading about different cultures and learning about fairy- and folktales I didn’t know about. I also liked how the writer incorporated some of the struggles and troubles children in multi-cultural schools face every day. It’s no easy feat to write a story that handles these kind of issues and differences in a simple, yet representative way, but the author managed to do this quite well.

Another thing I liked was the blending of a teenage lovestory with Oriental magic. This added some mystery and tension to the story. I thought the parts about Leila, Orkan’s aunt, and her nemesis Arda were pretty funny and interesting. I would have loved to get to know a bit more about the whole magical system in this storyworld.

Now, what I didn’t like. Somehow I couldn’t relate to main character Ella. At times she was rather immature for her age, and other times she seemed much older than fifteen. I couldn’t quite grasp what made her tick. On the one hand she’s bold, stands up for herself, doesn’t give a crap about what other people think and, yet, on the other hand she’s childish, treats her parents as if they are strangers or her servants (like, could someone smack that girl and show her what respecting your parents means?) and she’s kind of full of herself. There were times I really hated this character.

I also didn’t like the love story. Orkan is written like an arrogant ass who thinks he’s God’s gift to girls and thinks he’s really funny. Ugh! Throughout the story the reader is supposed to see him change into a nice and caring guy, and although the writer keeps telling you how much he’s changed, I NEVER saw it. For me Orkan stayed rather bland and arrogant. The only part that made me kind of like him was the last couple of pages. What I did like about the love story was the curse hanging above Orkan and Ella.

When you don’t like either of the main characters that much, a book has to have something else to keep you hooked and entertained. I was hoping the tension and mystery about the visions and the curse would do that, but somehow the tension fell flat. It takes too long for Ella and Orkan to become interested in each other and when they do it’s one of those instant loves where the characters suddenly become flawless and change almost instantly. Orkan becomes good (or so we are told) and Ella becomes pretty (because she changes her wardrobe from two identical sweaters to sexy tops and a bigger, lacy bra because her boobs suddenly grow two sizes), what the heck was that about?! I really don’t mind an instant love or fast love but it has to be written in a way that makes me believe it, makes me see why these two characters suddenly find each other irresistible, and in this story this was simply not the case. I was also kind of bummed when the whole curse thing was solved rather fast and unsuspensefull.

To end on a positive note. I thought the ending was pretty good. Here I finally saw why Ella and Orkan liked each other.  And I finally got a glimpse of Orkan’s changed personality. I also liked the humor throughout the story which made the book lighthearted and fun.

In short: I loved the setting, the storyworld and the magic, but I didn’t like the main characters and the love story. Maybe I’m just too old for this story and maybe younger readers will adore the love story and the main characters, but like I said this was not the story for me.

If you like folklore and magic inspired by the Orient, a young, first love story and some humor in your stories this is the book for you! If you like a little bit more maturity and complication in a love story and you’re looking for really well-developed characters this one is probably not for you.

To see what other people think about this book you can take a look at all the stops in the blogtour: http://dutchventurepublishing.com/takla-makan-blogtour/

Happy reading you all!

 

Magic, mayhem and mischief

Hey you all! A week ago I won a really nice surprise package containing three books on the Kinderboeken Facebookpage. One of those books was the Dutch version of Spellslinger (Vogelvrij) by Canadian author Sebastien de Castell. This book has been on my wishlist for quite some time, so I was really happy when I saw it was in my package. What was even more fun was the fact that Nienke from https://kinderboeken.blog asked me to write a guest review for their blog (so, if you want to read this blogpost in Dutch you can find it on their blog!) But here, on my own blog, I will share the English version of my review.

Let’s start with the description

There are three things that earn you a man’s name among the Jan’Tep. The first is to demonstrate the strength to defend your family. The second is to prove you can perform the high magic that defines our people. The third is simply to reach the age of sixteen. I was a few weeks shy of my birthday when I learned that I wouldn’t be doing any of those things.

Magic is a con game. 

Kellen is moments away from facing his first mage’s duel and the start of four trials that will make him a spellcaster. There’s just one problem: his magic is gone. As his sixteenth birthday approaches, Kellen falls back on his cunning in a bid to avoid total disgrace. But when a daring stranger arrives in town, she challenges Kellen to take a different path. Ferius Parfax is one of the mysterious Argosi – a traveller who lives by her wits and the three decks of cards she carries. She’s difficult and unpredictable, but she may be Kellen’s only hope…

How freaking awesome is that description! And the cover ❤

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I’ve got so much love for this cover!

This story could well be my favorite of 2018 (and yes the year just started) ❤ I just completely fell in love with this story! It’s such an original, suspensefull and emotional book and I couldn’t stop reading. I don’t know what to do with my life until I can finally read the next book and see what happens next haha.

So, what makes this story great? Let me tell you in four tests which the author passed 😉

Test one: the maincharacter: Kellen. He is not exactly what you would call a hero. When you first meet him he’s egotistical, cowardly, arrogant and full of self pity, yet at the same time smart and devious. I’ve got a weak spot for characters like this haha and it was awesome and refreshing to read the story of a character who isn’t some kind of action hero (quite the opposite). Of course Kellen learns and grows in this story because of all the things that happen to him. Slowly he finds his courage and his worth. His characterdevelopment was written so incredibly well and so emotional that I had to fight my tears on more than one occasion because you don’t wish on anybody the things Kellen has to suffer through.

Test two: worldbuilding and plot. De Castell takes you on an incredible fast-paced journey. This story is full of spectacular events mixed with emotional scenes that effotlessly pulled me in and had me empathizing with Kellen. The way in which the writer manages to bring his storyworld to life is so awesome, without becoming dull or longwinded he firmly roots his magical and political systems in the story so the reader knows exactly how and why things work the way they do. The cruel system of the Jan’Tep was just so realistic.

In the world of the Jan’Tep nothing is more important than magic. Those who possess it are regarded with high esteem, while those who lack it are treated as slaves. Worse is the fact that these slaves are familymembers but are treated like cattle and disposable waste instead. The Jan’Tep are so preoccupied with their magic that they don’t even shy away from torture and murder to protect their way of life. Against this background the reader follows Kellens development from a pampered boy into a young man who fights for justice and truth. Because if you are faced with the consequences of having no magic in a world where nothing is more important, you quikly learn who your friends are and which qualities are most important in the world at large.

Test three: the side characters. I love stories that have a whole cast of weird and interesting side characters. And this book is filled with them! One of them is the mysterious nomad Ferius Parfax who shows up in Kellens life just when his magic starts to disappear. Ferius is one of those characters you fall in love with instantly: she’s sarcastic, rowdy, doesn’t know when to shut up, doesn’t abide to any rules or etiquette, but possesses a strong sense of right and wrong and a strong moral compass. She is one of the most entertaining and fun mentors I ever came across in a book!

“First thing you learn wandering the long roads, kid. Everyone thinks they’re the hero of their own story.”

Another awesome character is Reichis the squirrel cat ❤ I’ve got a weak spot for animal characters, especially when they are sarcastic, full of mischief, don’t know when to fight and when not to haha. The interaction between Reichis and Kellen had me laughing out loud more than once.

“All right, you hairless skinbag sons of bitches. Which one of you wants it first?”

Kellens uncle Abydos is one of the most complex and fascinating characters in the entire story. Because he has no magic, he has become one of the Sha’Tep who work as servants for their family. In the beginning of the book it is hard to understand that Abydos is part of the family but is treated like he is no more than a slave. At first it seems as though Abydos is fine with the way he is treated and what his life looks like, but not all is as it seems 😉

Mer’esan was a character that intrigued me enormously. At first you wonder why the late wife of the clanleader has any interest in a boy that has little to no magic but slowly the writer unfolds his plot in a genius way and Kellen learns the horrible truth about his people’s past and the world he lives in, convincing him that the Jan’Tep way isn’t the right way.

“History is written by the victors,’ she said, ‘but the truth has a way of revealing itself.”

Kellens sister Shalla, his best friend Panahsi, his rival Tennat and his love interest Nephenia are written just as intruiging and well as all the other characters and add even more layers to the story and the plot.

Test four: writing style. I love Sebastiens writing style. It’s full of humor, emotional, suspensefull and deliciously fast-paced. He had me hooked from the very first sentence until the last. I was thoroughly engaged and entertained.

If you’re still not convinced if you want to read this book I will try one final time to convince you that this book is FANTASTIC! It’s got an original and cool magic system, great worldbuilding, an awesome cast of characters and a main character who is utterly unique in a YA story, and the story is just full of suspense and action ❤

The imperfection of perfection

Hey you all! I’m participating in another blogtour for Dutch Venture Publishing 🙂 This blogtour revolves around Onzuiver (The Blemished) by Sarah Dalton. When I read the description I knew I had to read this book because it sounded really awesome and intriguing. And, boy, did Sarah deliver on the promise that description made!!! First, let me give you the description and then I will proceed with my review. I promised to make a pictureguide for this book, but it was impossible to find the right pictures to express the important scenes in this story, so, instead I added some pictures that remind me of the characters in this book 🙂

onzuiver

A beautiful world comes at a price…

In the near future, genetics have advanced to the point where parents can design their ideal child. Perfect clones are the norm, and those born through natural conception are treated as their inferiors, living in poverty and servitude.

Fifteen-year-old Mina Hart has flawed genes. She’s part of the Blemished, forced to live in the slums, and taught only how to serve the GEMs, those who have been genetically engineered. When Mina is sixteen she’ll be coerced into suffering the Operation, a procedure that leaves girls infertile, and in most cases, insane. But Mina doesn’t want to have the Operation, and she’s willing to do everything she can to stop it happening. Because Mina has a secret power, and she’s about to start using it.

This book is written so well and with so much suspense that it kept me hooked from start to finish ❤ I loved the whole concept of a dystopian world where perfection is so important that people are willing to enslave and kill for it. The author did a really good job with her worldbuilding and manages to create a world that is not only scary and horrible, but also very recognizable. In this age of technological advancements it is not that hard to imagine that the balance between technological and genetical possibilities on the one hand and etchics and morality on the other will one day tip in the direction of unethical experimentation and influencing of the fabric of life itself. Who wouldn’t want a perfect child? A child that will never experience mental illness or hereditary diseases. A child that will be perfect in health as well as looks … But genetic perfection like that comes at a price, because to get rid off all undesirable genes the people who possess those genes will have to be sacrifices for the greater good. And that is what Sarah Dalton explores in this book (and series): a society where the genetically flawed are treated like disposable waste and slaves and where genetically altered humans rule with cruelty. This is one of those books that really get you thinking about the consequences of seemingly harmless medical advancements like gentherapy and genetic modification. Any book that manages to do that while still keeping the tension high and the pace fast deserves to be read by many people!

I loved main character Mina. She is strong, headstrong, loyal, kind, and not afraid to fight for her ideals and those she loves. I also really liked the fact that Mina had a special ability. The entire time I was reading the story I hoped Mina would find a way to escape the horrible reality of her life. The bond between her and Daniel was really interesting and I liked how well they fit together. I’m hoping they will get together in the following books in the series!

Daniel was also a really cool character. He’s so sweet and protective and I loved how he tried to care for Mina as well as Angela. Besides, just like Mina he has a special ability that is really intiguing.

Daniel

I also really liked Angela, Mina’s best friend. She’s sweet, funny and kind. I loved her positive attitude and the way in which she handled all the struggles and hardships in her life.

angela

I was a bit disappointed that this book had a love-triangle as I really hate those. However, I think that the triangle is resolved in this first book, so, keeping my fingers crossed that it won’t come back in the next books haha. I didn’t much like love interest Sebastian. I thought he was a bit of a douchebag because of the way he kept putting Mina in dangerous situations and especially later on when Mina finds out his ulterior motives. Maybe Sebastian will turn out to be a good guy later on, but in this book I really didn’t like him.

sebastian running

The pace of this book is really fast and really kept me hooked. I finished the book in one day because I couldn’t stop reading! I loved all the twists and turns and all the tension and (family and love) drama ❤ I hope the next book will be translated soon because I want to know how the story continues!!!

This book is definitely a must-read! It’s got intriguing and marvelous worldbuilding, a strong female lead, great tension and fast pacing that will keep you hooked from start to finish. If you love dystopia you should certainly put this one on your to read list, you won’t be disappointed 😉

If you want to know what other people in the blogtour thought about the book you can visit http://dutchventurepublishing.com/onzuiver-blogtour/ for all the stops in the tour 🙂

 

One raven for peril, one raven for true love

Hey you all! I don’t know about you, but I love to browse my favorite online bookshops for new reading material. Often when you buy a book or put a book on your wishlist you get a list of recommended books based on your own purchases and the purchases of other customers. Last time I was updating my wishlist I came across a few of those recommendations that sounded awesome. An enchantment of ravens by Margaret Rogerson was one of these recommended books and when I read the description I promptly put it on my wishlist. The description kept buzzing around in my head however, so, two days later I decided to just buy the book and I’m so glad I did! I loved this book!!!

Just read the description:

Isobel is a prodigy portrait artist with a dangerous set of clients: the sinister fair folk, immortal creatures who cannot bake bread, weave cloth, or put a pen to paper without crumbling to dust. They crave human Craft with a terrible thirst, and Isobel’s paintings are highly prized. But when she receives her first royal patron—Rook, the autumn prince—she makes a terrible mistake. She paints mortal sorrow in his eyes—a weakness that could cost him his life.

Furious and devastated, Rook spirits her away to the autumnlands to stand trial for her crime. Waylaid by the Wild Hunt’s ghostly hounds, the tainted influence of the Alder King, and hideous monsters risen from barrow mounds, Isobel and Rook depend on one another for survival. Their alliance blossoms into trust, then love—and that love violates the fair folks’ ruthless laws. Now both of their lives are forfeit, unless Isobel can use her skill as an artist to fight the fairy courts. Because secretly, her Craft represents a threat the fair folk have never faced in all the millennia of their unchanging lives: for the first time, her portraits have the power to make them feel.

How awesome is that?!

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And the coverart by Charlie Bowater is so pretty ❤

If the description and cover haven’t already convinced you to buy this book let me try to explain why you should absolutely buy this book, like right now 😉

Isobel is one of those main characters you instantly love. She’s smart, sassy, friendly, loyal and isn’t afraid to defend herself and those she loves from beings far more powerful than her. Because of her talent with paint and a brush she has dealt with the Fae from an early age and she knows how to request the payment for her work in precise wording, calculating every eventuality. She knows bargains with the Fae are dangerous and often, if not always, turn out to be really bad for the human willing to strike a deal. Never once does she forget how deadly her clients and their abilities are. When one of her best clients, a fae from the Springcourt named Gadfly, tells her that the autumnprince Rook is in town and wants his portrait painted she doesn’t panic although she knows that princes are more powerful and dangerous than ordinary fae. She plans on handling the prince with the same caution and smarts as she does all her clients. Not a problem. But, she didn’t count on the feelings that the prince stirs inside of her…

I totally fell in love with Rook ❤ I loved how he couldn’t contain his emotions and how human he was despite the power he holds. He had such a big heart. He was so strong and tough, yet willing to give everything up to save Isobel. The romance between Isobel and Rook was so sweet and felt so real that I couldn’t stop reading! They were just perfect for each other. I also loved how they pushed each other away and pulled towards each other without meaning to. The obstacles they had to overcome were so realistic and well written that I couldn’t put the book down.

There are not many books where I love the side characters just as much as the main characters, but in this story I loved all of the characters. Every weird and cunning one of them ❤

The worldbuilding and tension in this story were really well developed. The book starts slow giving readers a chance to get to know the characters and the world and then the action takes off and you are swept away on a glorious, beautiful ride through the Faeworld and Rook’s and Isobel’s emotions. It was just awesome all around. Romantic, suspensefull and written so incredibly good!

I don’t know if there will be more stories in this storyworld as the ending seemed pretty rounded, but if there are more books to come I will definitely buy them. For now I will just put Margaret Rogerson’s name on my favorite authors list and wait ‘patiently’ for her next book 😉

Just in case you’re still not convinced: you should definitely buy this book because it has great characters, a sweet romance, page-turning suspense and beautiful writing! This is without a doubt a mustread!!!

A cowboy to heal her broken heart

Hey you all! Today I’m kicking off another blogtour for Dutch Venture Publishing 🙂 This tour revolves around the cowboyromance Love in Twin Bridges – Abby and Blake (Liefde in Twin Bridges – Abby en Blake) written by Debra Eliza Mane and Lizzie van den Ham. When I heard about this book I got really excited because I have a weak spot for everything cowboy and country music (country pop and country rock), so, I knew I had to read this book. I prepared a review for you guys with another pictureguide and a country playlist ❤ Let me first give you guys and girls a description of the book, then I will proceed with the pictureguide and the playlist and last I will give a short review of the book.

So what’s this story about:

When Abby loses her job and her longtime boyfriend Rens on one and the same day, she decides to turn her life around. Together with her rottweiler Elvis she will fly to America, far away from Rens who has cheated on her. Because she loves Elvis (the man ;)) she decides to buy a ticket to Graceland.

But fate has other things in store for her. All the flights to Tennessee are booked and Abby has no choice but to go to Montana. There she meets two sexy cowboys. Womanizer Jacob who pursues her relentlessly and nice but mysterious Blake who was the first person she met on American soil. Abby can’t help but fall for Blake, who showed her kindness when she needed it the most and whose coat keeps her warm. But will she ever see Blake again?

The story in picture and song

  1. Miranda Lambert – Kerosene
  2. Sheryl Crow – A change would do you good
  3. Carrie Underwood – Before he cheats
  4. Carrie Underwood – Get out of this town
  5. LeAnn Rimes – One way ticket (because I can)
  6. Ward Thomas – Carry you home
  7. Dixie Chicks – Wide open spaces
  8. Faith Hill – Somewhere down the road
  9. Gloriana – Come and save me
  10. Faith Hill – This kiss
  11. Lady Antebellum – Falling for you
  12. Lady Antebellum – Singing me home

 

My opinion

There were a lot of things I loved about this story, but there were also a couple of things that I didn’t like. The beginning of the story was fast and dramatic and effortlessly pulled me in. But around chapter 9 up until chapter 19 the story dragged a bit and not much happened. Around chapter 20 the pace kicks up again and the story grapped me again. This increase in pace, for me, came much too late and the story is wrapped up too fast and too easily in my opinion. However, I did like the characters, the romance and the ending. Let me elaborate a little on this.

In the beginning of the story we see how Abby loses both her job and her boyfriend, who turns out to cheat on her. Abby decides to get away from her imploding life, picks up her dog at the sitter, drives to the airport and books a ticket to Montana. I loved this part of the story. It was emotional, suspensefull and fun to read.

When Abby sets foot on American soil she meets Blake. I loved Blake’s character ❤ He’s nice, loyal, a sweetheart and hard worker. Blake gives his coat to Abby and helps her get a car. The two promiss to see each other again, so Abby can give his coat back. The paper on which Blake scribbles his address and phonenumber, however, gets smudged and Abby isn’t able to contact him. At the same time Blake loses his job and has to search for another employment. The whole section of the story that describes what happens to Abby and Blake before they meet again is incredibly slow and there’s not much happening except for Abby meeting sexy Jacob and his sister Duke who becomes Abby’s new best friend. Blake, meanwhile, has to deal with his ex Lucy-Jane who doesn’t seem to get that he doesn’t love her anymore. This part of the book could have been much shorter and could have had much more tension and drama.

When Blake and Abby meet each other again the story unfolds much faster, but some of the obstacles and troubles standing in the way of their blossoming love are brushed aside too fast and too easy, which was really a shame because I was looking forward to some trouble on the way to happiness. The ending, however, was really romantic and swoonworthy, so that luckily made up for the fast wrap up.

Eventhough I didn’t much like the slow section and the too fast and easy wrap up towards the ending, I did like the book overall. I loved all the characters and the way they interacted with each other. Abby was so realistic and I really felt for her, Blake was just perfect <3, Jacob was wonderfully over-the-top alpha male material with his arrogance and sexiness (looking forward to his story haha), Lucy-Jane was incredibly annoying and dumb, but I loved Duke most of all, she’s funny, naughty, tough-as-nails and a true and loyal friend (can I get her story first?!). Oh, and don’t forget Chevy and Elvis ❤ they were so cute and fun to read about.

I also loved the humor and the romance in this book. And I certainly loved all the sexy cowboys in the book 😉

This book is perfect for people who like uncomplicated romance novels with great and funny characters and love some country in their reading material 😉

If you want to read other reviews (in Dutch) of this book you can take a look at the next stop of the tour tomorrow on http://www.facebook.com/dianesboekenhoekje

Happy reading you all!

 

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!