Review 179. Juliet Marillier – Wildwood dancing.

13929Title: Wildwood dancing.
Author: Juliet Marillier.
Pages: 407.
Published: January 23rd 2007.
Publisher: Knopf
Sort: Part one of ‘Wildwood.’
High in the Transylvanian woods, at the castle Piscul Draculi, live five daughters and their doting father. It's an idyllic life for Jena, the second eldest, who spends her time exploring the mysterious forest with her constant companion, a most unusual frog. But best by far is the castle's hidden portal, known only to the sisters. Every Full Moon, they alone can pass through it into the enchanted world of the Other Kingdom. There they dance through the night with the fey creatures of this magical realm. But their peace is shattered when Father falls ill and must go to the southern parts to recover, for that is when cousin Cezar arrives. Though he's there to help the girls survive the brutal winter, Jena suspects he has darker motives in store. Meanwhile, Jena's sister has fallen in love with a dangerous creature of the Other Kingdom--an impossible union it's up to Jena to stop. When Cezar's grip of power begins to tighten, at stake is everything Jena loves: her home, her family, and the Other Kingdom she has come to cherish. To save her world, Jena will be tested in ways she can't imagine--tests of trust, strength, and true love.

It's no secret that I'm a huge fan of Juliet Marillier. Books you love are always the hardest to review. How can I describe the magical writing-style, the great fairytale feeling and the amazing characters in just a few words? This is something you have to explore yourself. If someone asks me who my favorite author is, Juliet Marillier is definitely a name I would think of. I’ve read most of her books and I absolutely adore this one, Heart’s blood (will re-read this one soon) and The seven waters series (which I hope to review once) This is the third time I return to this book and it was, again, a great experience. That is why I love re-reading so much. It’s like wrapping yourself in your favorite blanket.

Recap Italy.

I have far too many pictures to show everything (two weeks is hard to recap in a short blog post) but here are the highlights of my vacation. I’m even going to drop the secret veil of anonymity and show you a picture of me. I’ll delete it after a while though. Pictures are removed.

First of all, we had such a good weather. It only rained two times in the night, but I don’t think we had temperatures below 30 degrees. I got a nice tan, woe hoe. Prove:
Second, the country! It was a beautiful location. I went to Lago Maggiore around two years ago and this was just as pretty. We had a great house with a pool nearby where I swam almost every day (with a cap on my head. Never felt more stupid in my life, haha)The exhausting 14-hour car trip was definitely worth it.

Review 178. Soman Chainani - The school for good and evil.

Title: The school for good and evil.16248113
Author: Soman Chainani.
Pages: 488.
Published: May 14th 2013.
Publisher: HarperCollins
Sort: Part one of ‘The school for good and evil’
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

This year, best friends Sophie and Agatha are about to discover where all the lost children go: the fabled School for Good & Evil, where ordinary boys and girls are trained to be fairy tale heroes and villains. As the most beautiful girl in Gavaldon, Sophie has dreamed of being kidnapped into an enchanted world her whole life. With her pink dresses, glass slippers, and devotion to good deeds, she knows she’ll earn top marks at the School for Good and graduate a storybook princess. Meanwhile Agatha, with her shapeless black frocks, wicked pet cat, and dislike of nearly everyone, seems a natural fit for the School for Evil. But when the two girls are swept into the Endless Woods, they find their fortunes reversed—Sophie’s dumped in the School for Evil to take Uglification, Death Curses, and Henchmen Training, while Agatha finds herself in the School For Good, thrust amongst handsome princes and fair maidens for classes in Princess Etiquette and Animal Communication.. But what if the mistake is actually the first clue to discovering who Sophie and Agatha really are…?

The school for good and evil and me clicked. From the moment I saw the cover and the blurb, I knew I was going to love this book. It has everything I look for and it just screamed my name. While it didn’t blow me away as much as I wanted, I thought it was extremely enjoyable and fun. I’m looking forward to other books from Chainani. Plus, this book has one of the most gorgeous maps I’ve ever seen! And I love the drawings at the beginning of every chapter. Take a look inside on: HarperCollins.

Review 177. Emily Murdoch – If you find me.

15793231Title: If you find me.
Author: Emily Murdoch.
Pages: 256.
Published: March 26th 2013.
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Sort: Stand-alone.
There are some things you can’t leave behind…A broken-down camper hidden deep in a national forest is the only home fifteen year-old Carey can remember. The trees keep guard over her threadbare existence, with the one bright spot being Carey’s younger sister, Jenessa, who depends on Carey for her very survival. All they have is each other, as their mentally ill mother comes and goes with greater frequency. Until that one fateful day their mother disappears for good, and two strangers arrive. Suddenly, the girls are taken from the woods and thrust into a bright and perplexing new world of high school, clothes and boys. Now, Carey must face the truth of why her mother abducted her ten years ago, while haunted by a past that won’t let her go… a dark past that hides many a secret, including the reason Jenessa hasn’t spoken a word in over a year. Carey knows she must keep her sister close, and her secrets even closer, or risk watching her new life come crashing down.

This book felt similar to Liz Coley – Pretty girl thirteen, another book I really liked. This one is just as dark, gritty and gripping and you can’t help yourself – you have to fall in love with the main characters. It was hard to put down and I didn’t finish is because I had to sleep.

Fairytale News | All about e-readers.

'Mel on reading' is a little feature I created as part of my Fairytale news. It's my way to show my thoughts on topics that go from pet peeves in reading to my favorite things in books.

Review 176. Cassandra Rose Clarke – The assassin’s curse.

13533650Title: The assassin’s curse.
Author: Cassandra Rose Clarke.
Pages: 320.
Published: October 2nd 2012
Publisher: Strange Chemistry
Sort: Part one of ‘The assassin’s curse’

Ananna of the Tanarau abandons ship when her parents try to marry her off to an allying pirate clan: she wants to captain her own boat, not serve as second-in-command to her handsome yet clueless fiancé. But her escape has dire consequences when she learns the scorned clan has sent an assassin after her. And when the assassin, Naji, finally catches up with her, things get even worse. Ananna inadvertently triggers a nasty curse — with a life-altering result. Now Ananna and Naji are forced to become uneasy allies as they work together to break the curse and return their lives back to normal. Or at least as normal as the lives of a pirate and an assassin can be.

What a fun story! A curse, magic, assassins, pirates and two interesting characters. I was swept away in this story and it’s almost impossible to imagine that this book is a debut!

WoW 41. Most wanted.

                                                     Hosted by: Breaking the spine

I have many, many, many books I want to read, but this one is definitely in the top 3 of books I can't wait to read. I love Cinder, I even loved Scarlet more, so I'm very excited for part 3 of the Lunar Chronicles: Cress. by Marissa Meyer. There is no cover, but I had to share the blurb:

Rapunzel's tower is a satellite. She can't let down her hair - or her guard.
In this third book in the bestselling Lunar Chronicles series, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they’re plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.  Their best hope lies with Cress, who has been trapped on a satellite since childhood with only her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker – unfortunately, she’s just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.  When a daring rescue goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a high price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing stop her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only ones who can.

Review 175. C.J Redwine – Defiance.

11410430Title: Defiance.
Author: C.J Redwine.
Pages: 403.
Published: August 28th 2012.
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Sort: Part one of ‘Defiance.’
Source: I received a copy from the publisher in exchange for a honest review.

While the other girls in the walled city-state of Baalboden learn to sew and dance, Rachel Adams learns to track and hunt. While they bend like reeds to the will of their male Protectors, she uses hers for sparring practice. When Rachel's father fails to return from a courier mission and is declared dead, the city's brutal Commander assigns Rachel a new Protector: her father's apprentice, Logan—the boy she declared her love to and who turned her down two years before. Left with nothing but fierce belief in her father's survival, Rachel decides to escape and find him herself. As Rachel and Logan battle their way through the Wasteland, stalked by a monster that can't be killed and an army of assassins out for blood, they discover romance, heartbreak, and a truth that will incite a war decades in the making.

I think I expected too much from this book, so I was a bit disappointed. This book has a lot of elements I normally like, but it never managed to ‘wow’ me. That might be because of Rachel, but I liked it enough to continue the series some time.

I'm going to Italy :)!

Hello guys, just wanted to let you know that I'll be leaving for Italy this evening. I will stay at Lake Iseo for two weeks and I can't wait! I'm not sure if there is internet in the house we rented, but I've scheduled some posts to be sure. This is also a little blogging break, because I won't have many time to blog anyway :) There are a lot of things we want to do and I'll take many pictures - I might do a recap when I'm back. See you in two weeks and be prepared: I'll stalk your blogs and leave many comments to make up for my inactivity. 

Take care!


Review 174. Megan Shepherd – The madman’s daughter.

12291438Title: The madman’s daughter.
Author: Megan Shepherd.
Pages: 420.
Published: January 29th 2013
Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Sort: Part one of ‘The madman’s daughter.’
Source: I received this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.
In the darkest places, even love is deadly. Sixteen-year-old Juliet Moreau has built a life for herself in London—working as a maid, attending church on Sundays, and trying not to think about the scandal that ruined her life. After all, no one ever proved the rumours about her father's gruesome experiments. But when she learns he is alive and continuing his work on a remote tropical island, she is determined to find out if the accusations are true. Accompanied by her father's handsome young assistant, Montgomery, and an enigmatic castaway, Edward—both of whom she is deeply drawn to—Juliet travels to the island, only to discover the depths of her father's madness: He has experimented on animals so that they resemble, speak, and behave as humans. And worse, one of the creatures has turned violent and is killing the island's inhabitants. Torn between horror and scientific curiosity, Juliet knows she must end her father's dangerous experiments and escape her jungle prison before it's too late. Yet as the island falls into chaos, she discovers the extent of her father's genius—and madness—in her own blood.

What an interesting book. It’s slightly disturbing and creepy, but also refreshing. It’s different from anything I’ve read this year and I really liked it. Be aware that there is violence against animal in the form of experiments. I can’t imagine why someone is against this in books – it’s a story after all – but at least I’ve warned you. I haven’t read the original story, but it might be fun to give it a shot now. I can’t wait to see the similarity between these books.

”Maybe we weren’t wicked, but there was something stained, something torn, in the fabric of our being.”

Review 173. Anna Carey – Rise.

14811943Title: Rise.
Author: Anna Carey.
Pages: 310.
Published: April 2nd 2013 by HarperCollins
Sort: Conclusion for ‘Eve.’
Part 1: Eve.
Part 2: Once.

How far will you go when you have nothing left to lose?
When she lost her soul mate, Caleb, Eve felt like her world had ended. Trapped in the palace, forced to play the part of the happy, patriotic princess of The New America—and the blushing bride of her father's top adviser—Eve's whole life is a lie. The only thing that keeps her going is Caleb's memory, and the revolution he started. Now, Eve is taking over where Caleb left off. With the help of Moss, an undercover subversive in the King's court, she plots to take down The New America, beginning with the capital, the City of Sand. Will Eve be able to bring about a new, free world when she's called upon to perform the ultimate act of rebellion—killing her father?

This book.. I don’t even know where to get started. There are two types of reviews I find hard to write: books I absolutely love and books I find so terrible I hate them with a fierce passion. This book falls in the last category. It’s almost unworthy of the 1.5-rating, but despite the truly horrible ending, the middle part isn’t that bad – hence the 1.5 flowers. This book is the perfect example of: How to destroy a complete series? I will never recommend this series because of this ending.

Review 172. Maria Snyder – Poison study.

Title: Poison Study.
Author: Maria Snyder.
Pages: 409.
Published: September 21st 2007.
Publisher: Mira Books
Sort: Part one of ‘Poison Study’

A quick death
Or slow poison...

Yelena has a choice – be executed for murder, or become food taster to the Commander of Ixia. She leaps at the chance for survival, but her relief may be short-lived. Life in the palace is full of hazards and secrets. Wily and smart, Yelena must learn to identify poisons before they kill her, recognise whom she can trust and how to spy on those she can’t. And who is the mysterious Southern sorceress who can reach into her head? When Yelena realises she has extraordinary powers of her own, she faces a whole new problem, for using magic in Ixia is punishable by death...

This book was actually an impulsive buy and I’m so happy I bought it. After seeing a lot of positive reviews I was pretty sure I would enjoy this book and I did. I couldn’t put it down! This book has everything I look for: an admirable MC, a great romance, mystery and action and magic. Add a good world-building and a flowing writing-style and I’m hooked.

WoW 40. 6 titles.

Hosted by: Breaking the spine.

I haven’t done a WoW in a while, so I will catch up by showcasing some books I can’t wait for. Clicking on the covers will take you go Goodreads.

1278812418051387The Lost

Rachel Caine – Prince of Shadows: February 4th 2014 by NAL. Retelling from Romeo & Juliet!
Janna Jennings – A Grimm Legacy: October 1st 2013 by Patchwork Press. One word: fairytales.
Sarah Beth Durst – The lost: October 29th 2013 by Harlequin Luna. Sounds very interesting. I haven’t read anything from this author yet, but I hope to change that soon.

Adam Gidwitz - The Grimm conclusion: October 8th 2013 by Dutton Juvenile. I love this series! This is part three, but they can be read as stand-alones.
Lauren DeStefano – Perfect ruin: October 1st 2013 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers. I liked Wither (still need to finish this series) and it looks interesting.
Sara B. Larson – Defy: January 7th 2014 by Scholastic Press. Sounds great, I love (high) fantasy.

That’s it for this week! Leave a link to your WoW pick(s).

Review 171. Barbara Kyle – Blood between queens.

15817011Title: Blood between queens.
Author: Barbara Kyle.
Pages: 400.
Published: April 30th 2013 by Kensington
Sort: Part 5 of ‘Thornleigh’
Source: Netgalley & publisher.
Following her perilous fall from a throne she’d scarcely owned to begin with, Mary, Queen of Scots, has fled to England, hoping her cousin, Queen Elizabeth, will grant her asylum. But now Mary has her sights on the English crown, and Elizabeth enlists her most trusted subjects to protect it. Justine Thornleigh is delighting in the thrill of Queen Elizabeth’s visit to her family’s estate when the festivities are cut short by Mary’s arrival. To Justine’s surprise, the Thornleighs appoint her to serve as a spy in Mary’s court. But bearing the guise of a lady-in-waiting is not Justine’s only secret. The weight of her task is doubled by fears of revealing to her fiancé that she is in truth the daughter of his family’s greatest rival. Duty-bound, Justine must sacrifice love as she navigates a deadly labyrinth of betrayal that could lead to the end of Elizabeth’s fledgling reign…

Most Tudors books are a success for me, but this one lacked of something. I missed the spark and I couldn’t connect with the story or the characters. This could be my own fault, because I didn’t know this was the 5th part in a series when I requested it on Netgalley. I decided to read it anyway and it’s definitely a stand-alone, but it might be the reason for my disconnection. This resulted in the fact that I wasn’t sucked into the story. I was aware of the fact that I was reading a story, instead of being part of it.

It was also far too long for my taste. It would have been much better with 100 pages less. There are a couple of characters and the story is split between their lives. The most important character is Justine, who is the daughter of a dead traitor. She grew up with the Thornleigh family as one of them. When she and Will fall in love, she is afraid to tell him the truth: Will hates her true family with a fierce passion. Justine is used as a spy when Mary (Queen of Scotland) flees to England to find help. Justine, naive as she is, starts to trust her. She doesn’t know that Mary conspires with Justine’s father to overthrow Elizabeth.

I wasn't only disconnected from the characters, some of they annoyed me incredibly. Justine *face palm* She believes everyone without thinking. I wish she had more brains instead of blind faith in the goodness of people. Then there is Will, who loves her but doesn't want to marry her because of her name: he has a blind hate for her family. I see why, but this girl is nothing like her father and she grew up in a different family. She is a Thornleigh, no matter where she came from. It's just strange that people are so easy with their love.

This story is stretched over 400 pages and the writing-style was just okay. The plot was good, but the story wasn't interesting enough to capture my attention. I kept waiting for the climax and that is never a good sign. Overall, just a ‘meh’ story. There isn't much I can say about it.