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 🙂

 

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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!

 

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.

quote vasya

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!

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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 😉

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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/?