Monthly recap | March '14.Sushi.

I always enjoy watching recaps from other bloggers, so that’s why I’ll be posting my own recaps. This wrap up is also my new ‘Showcase Sunday’ since I don’t have the time to do weekly hauls. Instead, I hope to capture it in vlogs every now and then.
Life: the weather has been pretty good lately! I went to a park nearby with my boyfriend and I fell asleep while reading, haha. I also had a nice day of shopping with my mother and sister. I went  to the beach for a delicious dinner with family & boyfriend, I had the first Game of Thrones series day with friends and a lovely evening over at my boyfriend’s brother where I kicked their butts with darts. I also had another bookclub meeting tonight, where we discussed Emma from Jane Austen and ate sushi.

School: we had to give a presentation ever week and I had one this month. It makes me feel sick for days, but in the end I got a 7. We talked about different topics these past weeks: Antibiotic resistance, hospital diseases, zoonosis and other upcoming hospital diseases. It’s unbelievable how many outbreaks there actually are! I have a lot of ‘free’ time now to prepare for my upcoming test about all the subjects, a review about a self-picked topic and preparations for my intern for 3 months. My intern will be a research on biofilms on swimming pool toys, like those noodles. Not something I’m very interested in, but I had to do something.. My review will be about prevention from biofilms on medical equipment, but I’m still not sure what specifics I’m going to choose. I’m stressing out!

Review 246. Katherine Ewell – Dear killer.

16179216Title: Dear Killer.
Author: Katherine Ewell.
Pages: 368.
Publication date: April 1st 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books
Sort: Stand-alone (BETTER)
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Rule One—Nothing is right, nothing is wrong. Rule Two—Be careful.
Rule Three—Fight using your legs whenever possible, because they’re the strongest part of your body. Your arms are the weakest.
Rule Four—Hit to kill. The first blow should be the last, if at all possible. Rule Five—The letters are the law. Kit takes her role as London’s notorious “Perfect Killer” seriously. The letters and cash that come to her via a secret mailbox are not a game; choosing who to kill is not an impulse decision. Every letter she receives begins with “Dear Killer,” and every time Kit murders, she leaves a letter with the dead body. Her moral nihilism and thus her murders are a way of life—the only way of life she has ever known. But when a letter appears in the mailbox that will have the power to topple Kit’s convictions as perfectly as she commits her murders, she must make a decision: follow the only rules she has ever known, or challenge Rule One, and go from there.

You guys.. Sometimes I read books that make me wonder how they get published. I hate being mean, but this book was just plain horrible. Let me tell you that I went back four times to take certain sentences away and this is the best curse-free, less snarky review I could come up with. There is no way to enlighten it with some positivism, because there was not a single thing I enjoyed. If you don’t like rants, you better skip this. 

Review 245. Danielle L. Jensen - Stolen Songbird.

: Stolen Songbird.
Author: Danielle L. Jensen.
Pages: 463.
Expected publication: April 1st 2014 by Strange Chemistry.
Sort: Part 1 of ‘The Malediction Trilogy.’
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher. I'm also part of the blog tour.
Author spotlight: interview with Danielle L. Jensen.
For five centuries, a witch’s curse has bound the trolls to their city beneath the ruins of Forsaken Mountain. Time enough for their dark and nefarious magic to fade from human memory and into myth. But a prophesy has been spoken of a union with the power to set the trolls free, and when Cécile de Troyes is kidnapped and taken beneath the mountain, she learns there is far more to the myth of the trolls than she could have imagined. Cécile has only one thing on her mind after she is brought to Trollus: escape. Only the trolls are clever, fast, and inhumanly strong. She will have to bide her time, wait for the perfect opportunity. But something unexpected happens while she’s waiting – she begins to fall for the enigmatic troll prince to whom she has been bonded and married. She begins to make friends. And she begins to see that she may be the only hope for the half-bloods – part troll, part human creatures who are slaves to the full-blooded trolls. There is a rebellion brewing. And her prince, Tristan, the future king, is its secret leader. As Cécile becomes involved in the intricate political games of Trollus, she becomes more than a farmer’s daughter. She becomes a princess, the hope of a people, and a witch with magic powerful enough to change Trollus forever.

I was captured by the fantastic story and characters. The story takes some time to really kick in, so some might call it slow paced, but I think it was just right. This is my first troll book and Danielle assured that it won’t be my last one - and if you like magic, a sweet romance and a rebellion, I think you'll say the same.

Fairytale News | When bullying isn’t bullying.

'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.

Today I want to tackle a difficult and important matter. I must admit that it’s hard for me to write this, but I have a feeling it’s necessarily. Lately I’ve been noticing that a lot of people like to stamp things as bullying. I hate when this happens. It makes me sad, angry and disappointed.

I don’t like to see myself as a ‘victim of bullying’ but being someone who has been bullied in the past, it’s hard to see this term spreading around. It makes the real case look trifle, because if your unhappy feelings are compared to honesty.. do people then really know what bullying means? It's also hurtful if you call an innocent person a bully. The word seems to lose it’s power and true meaning, so today I want to clarify the meaning of the word to me.

Review 244. J. Nelle Patrick – Tsarina.

17382389Title: Tsarina.
Author: J. Nelle Patrick (Jackson Pearce)
Pages:  331.
Published: February 27th 2014 by Razorbill.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
Natalya knows a secret. A magical Faberge egg glows within the walls of Russia's Winter Palace. It holds a power rooted in the land and stolen from the mystics. A power that promises a life of love for her and Alexei Romanov. Power, that, in the right hands, can save her way of life. But it's not in the right hands. 

This story has a beautiful setting and interesting concept. I know from her previous work like Sister Red and Sweetly that the author knows how to write an engaging story. But despite the well crafted world-building, I wasn’t fully invested in the story and the problem lies with the main character Natalya.

Review 243. Colleen Oakes – Queen of Hearts.

20410977Title: Queen of Hearts.
Author: Colleen Oakes.
Pages: 205.
Published: February 14th 2014 by SparkPress.
Sort: Unnamed #1.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
Link: Goodreads.
Not every fairytale has a happy ending. This is the story of a princess who became a villain. A Father’s Betrayal. A Kingdom with a Black Secret. A Princess Slowly Unraveling.As Princess of Wonderland Palace and the future Queen of Hearts, Dinah’s days are an endless monotony of tea, tarts, and a stream of vicious humiliations at the hands of her father, the King of Hearts. The only highlight of her days is visiting Wardley, her childhood best friend, the future Knave of Hearts — and the love of her life. When an enchanting stranger arrives at the Palace, Dinah watches as everything she’s ever wanted threatens to crumble. As her coronation date approaches, a series of suspicious and bloody events suggests that something sinister stirs in the whimsical halls of Wonderland. It’s up to Dinah to unravel the mysteries that lurk both inside and under the Palace before she loses her own head to a clever and faceless foe. Part epic fantasy, part twisted fairy tale, this dazzling saga will have readers shivering as Dinahs furious nature sweeps Wonderland up in the maelstrom of her wrath.

This book proves to me that it’s not always bad to base an opinion on the cover. When I scrolled through Netgalley I was captured by the cover and after reading the blurb, I knew I had to request it. Luckily, I was shown that pretty cover and a good story can go hand in hand. Be ready to unravel the story behind the Queen of Hearts.

Review 242. Gabel & Klam – Elusion.

12369550Title: Elusion.
Author: Claudia Gabel & Cheryl Klam.
Pages:  400.
Published: March 18th 2014 by Katherine Tegen Books.
Sort: I think Unnamed #1.
Source: I received an ARC copy from the publisher for an honest review.
Link: Goodreads.
Soon, Elusion® will change the world and life as we know it.
A new technology called Elusion is sweeping the country. An app, visor and wristband will virtually transport you to an exotic destination where adventure can be pursued without the complications—or consequences—of real life. Regan is an Elusion insider. Or at least she used to be. Her father invented the program, and her best friend, Patrick, heir to the tech giant Orexis, is about to release it nationwide. But ever since her father’s unexpected death, Regan can’t bear to Escape, especially since waking up from the dream means crashing back to her grim reality. Still, when there are rumors of trouble in Elusion—accusations that it’s addictive and dangerous— Regan is determined to defend it. But the critics of Elusion come from surprising sources, including Josh, the handsome skeptic with his own personal stakes. As Regan investigates the claims, she discovers a disturbing web of secrets. She will soon have to choose between love and loyalty…a decision that will affect the lives of millions.

I think I enjoyed this book more because of the negative buzz. After seeing ratings varying from 1 to 2 stars, my expectations went down very quickly. I’m glad that I was able to enjoy it a little more. I was thinking about 2.5 flowers, but in the end I still settled down with 3 flowers despite the flaws.

Top 10 Tuesday 31. Spring list.

Spring 2014 reading list.

I'm going to list down 10 books I own that I hope to read this spring. I will look back at the end of spring to see how many books I’ve actually read.. It's going to be fun, because I'm not good with these lists.

1790641. Shannon Hale - The goose girl. I received a box set for this series for Christmas and I can’t wait to finally see what this is all about.

Becoming a goose girl for the king, Ani eventually uses her own special, nearly magical powers to find her way to her true destiny.

135388162. Jay Kristoff – Stormdancer. This book comes with high expectations and it’s going to be interesting to see if it lives up to them.

Yukiko is a child of the Fox clan, possessed of a talent that if discovered, would see her executed by the Lotus Guild. Accompanying her father on the Shōgun’s hunt, she finds herself stranded: a young woman alone in Shima’s last wilderness, with only a furious, crippled thunder tiger for company.

120842783. Miriam Forster – City of a thousand dolls. I must admit that I bought this book for the cover and the fact it’s High fantasy.

Before she becomes the next victim, Nisha decides to uncover the secrets that surround the girls’ deaths. But by getting involved, Nisha jeopardizes not only her own future in the City of a Thousand Dolls—but her own life.

77288894. Libba Bray – The diviners. This book sounds so ridiculous good!

Evie worries he’ll discover her darkest secret: a supernatural power that has only brought her trouble so far. But when the police find a murdered girl branded with a cryptic symbol and Will is called to the scene, Evie realizes her gift could help catch a serial killer.

133891825. Laini Taylor – Days of blood and starlight. I really liked Daughter of smoke and bone and I can’t wait to see how the story continues.

Once upon a time, an angel and a devil fell in love and dared to imagine a new way of living – one without massacres and torn throats and bonfires of the fallen, without revenants or bastard armies or children ripped from their mothers’ arms to take their turn in the killing and dying.

108903196. Sarra Manning – Adorkable. This is a ‘Debby’ book. Contemporary isn’t normally my thing, but it sounds like a cute book, excellent for spring weather!

They have nothing in common but a pair of cheating exes. So why can't they stop snogging?

116074467. Chris Colfer – The wishing spell. A middle grade fairy tale, yes please!

"The Land of Stories" tells the tale of twins Alex and Conner. Through the mysterious powers of a cherished book of stories, they leave their world behind and find themselves in a foreign land full of wonder and magic where they come face-to-face with the fairy tale characters they grew up reading about.

159458978. Phoebe North – Starglass. I haven’t heard much of this book, but the ratings on GR are promising.

Terra has never known anything but life aboard the Asherah, a city-within-a-spaceship that left Earth five hundred years ago in search of refuge. At sixteen, working a job that doesn't interest her, and living with a grieving father who only notices her when he's yelling, Terra is sure that there has to be more to life than what she's got.

129242889. Elizabeth Norris – Unravelling. I like the sound of the concept.

Leaving the beach, seventeen-year-old Janelle Tenner is hit head on by a pickup truck.
And killed. Then Ben Michaels, resident stoner, is leaning over her. And even though it isn’t possible, she knows Ben somehow brought her back to life…

634249110. Cinda Williams Chima – The demon king. High fantasy!

One day Han Alister catches three young wizards setting fire to the sacred mountain of Hanalea. Han takes an amulet away from Micah Bayar, son of the High Wizard, to ensure the boy won’t use it against him. The amulet once belonged to the Demon King, who nearly destroyed the world a millennium ago. With a magical piece so powerful at stake, Han knows that the Bayars will stop at nothing to get it back.

Let me know what you think guys. Any of these books you highly recommend?

Review 241. Julie Murphy – Side effects may vary.

15728577Title: Side effects may vary.
Author: Julie Murphy.
Pages: 336.
Expected publication date: March 18th 2014 by HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
What if you’d been living your life as if you were dying—only to find out that you had your whole future ahead of you? When sixteen-year-old Alice is diagnosed with leukaemia, her prognosis is grim. To maximize the time she does have, she vows to spend her final months righting wrongs—however she sees fit. She convinces her friend Harvey, whom she knows has always had feelings for her, to help her with a crazy bucket list that’s as much about revenge (humiliating her ex-boyfriend and getting back at her arch nemesis) as it is about hope (doing something unexpectedly kind for a stranger and reliving some childhood memories). But just when Alice’s scores are settled, she goes into remission. Now Alice is forced to face the consequences of all that she’s said and done, as well as her true feelings for Harvey. But has she done irreparable damage to the people around her, and to the one person who matters most?

I have a lot of mixed feelings about this book. There were things I liked (realistic portrayal of the disease) and things I disliked (Harvey’s blind admiration and Alice’s unlikable personality) In the end, I think it’s just a good book, but not one I would re-read or highly recommend.

Fairytale News | Concept posts.

'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.

I’m always interested to see how everyone handles certain aspects of blogging. I already shared some of my tips in my blogging methods post, but today I would like to talk about how many reviews/posts you have as concept (or scheduled post) and how you manage them.

Review 240. Dan Wells – Ruins.

17607716Title: Ruins.
Author: Dan Wells.
Pages: 464.
Published: March 11th 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Sort: Partials sequence #3.
Part 1: Partials.
Part 2: Fragments.
Source: I received an ARC from the publisher.
Link: Goodreads.
Kira, Samm, and Marcus fight to prevent a final war between Partials and humans in the gripping final instalment in the Partials Sequence, a series that combines the thrilling action of The Hunger Games with the provocative themes of Blade Runner and The Stand. There is no avoiding it—the war to decide the fate of both humans and Partials is at hand. Both sides hold in their possession a weapon that could destroy the other, and Kira Walker has precious little time to prevent that from happening. She has one chance to save both species and the world with them, but it will only come at great personal cost.

*Applauds* Well done, Dan Wells, you did it. This book makes up for the disappointing Fragments. The world-building is better, the characters more developed and the story is exciting. There aren't many books out there with such a solid biological aspect and that was by far my favorite part of this series.

”Love is when you find something so great, so.. necessary, that it becomes more important to you than your own goals, than your own life – not because your life has no meaning without it, but because it gives your life a meaning it never had before.”

Small spoilers if you haven't read the previous books and you don't want to know a thing. Otherwise, you're good to go, I don't tell many details.

Review 239. Bree Despain – The shadow prince.

16150914Title: The shadow prince.
Author: Bree Despain.
Pages: 512.
Expected publication: March 11th 2014 by Egmont 
Sort: Part one of ‘Into the dark.’
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.

Haden Lord, the disgraced prince of the Underrealm, has been sent to the mortal world to entice a girl into returning with him to the land of the dead. Posing as a student at Olympus Hills High—a haven for children of the rich and famous—Haden must single out the one girl rumored to be able to restore immortality to his race. Daphne Raines has dreams much bigger than her tiny southern Utah town, so when her rock star dad suddenly reappears, offering her full tuition to Olympus Hills High’s prestigious music program, she sees an opportunity to catch the break she needs to make it as a singer. But upon moving into her estranged father’s mansion in California, and attending her glamorous new school, Daphne soon realizes she isn’t the only student in Olympus who doesn’t quite belong. Haden and Daphne—destined for each other—know nothing of the true stakes their fated courtship entails. As war between the gods brews, the teenagers’ lives collide. But Daphne won’t be wooed easily and when it seems their prophesied link could happen, Haden realizes something he never intended—he’s fallen in love. Now to save themselves, Haden and Daphne must rewrite their destinies. But as their destinies change, so do the fates of both their worlds.

I didn’t know much about this book when I downloaded it from Edelweiss. I saw the cover and I really liked it. When I read the blurb I just went for it and I’m happy I did! My first experience with this author – I’ve heard good things about her other series – was good.

This book is narrated from two POV’s and that works perfect. It gives us the opportunity to connect with both characters and it makes it easy to understand what’s going on. I think it was fundamental to see both of their stories and I’m happy it worked out.

Fairytale News | Changing older ratings?

'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.

Not so long ago, I decided to edit some things in my reviews and I took a look at my ratings. Some of them surprised me. Without second thoughts, I went ahead and changed them. This only happened for books I read a while ago, back when I started this blog. I think this has to do with the way I rated.

Feel-rating. I’m blown away by the book and I give it a high rating. Later, when I really think about the book I find out that I didn’t love it THAT much. I begin to notice things I first didn't see. This was the only way I rated the books when I started the blog. Now, I combine it with:

Think-rating. I look at the things I liked and disliked. Would I re-read it? Would I count it as a favorite? Would I recommend it to someone else? How are all the different aspects in the book? I combine with my feel-rating. If I don't feel it I still don't give it a high rating.

Sometimes I see people who don't read reviews for books they are reading/going to read soon, because they don't want to be influenced by other opinions. Is this only because you are afraid you might incidentally plagiarize something (that's why I avoid the reviews) or because you might change your rating because of it? (Influenced-rating)

Changing those ratings also depends on other books. The more I read, the more books I have to compare with each other. Sometimes I feel like a certain book doesn’t belong with the others in X rating or I just don't love it as much as I did. I noticed that these changes happened in the 2.5 - 4.5 ratings, most of them went down with 0.5 points.  I don't change my mind about books I hated or the 5 and 5+. My favorites always stay my favorites.

I like to have up-to-date and honest ratings. I’m not going to change the review (although I have many older ones that made me cringe) and I don't change the ratings on Goodreads. Too much work and they don't allow half stars anyway.

How about you? Do you ever go back to change your ratings? Are there books you hate/love more now than you did after finishing them?

Review 238. Lauren Oliver – Panic.

17565845Title: Panic.
Author: Lauren Oliver.
Pages: 416.
Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by HarperCollins
Sort: Stand-alone (luckily..)
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Panic began as so many things do in Carp, a dead-end town of 12,000 people in the middle of nowhere: because it was summer, and there was nothing else to do. Heather never thought she would compete in Panic, a legendary game played by graduating seniors, where the stakes are high and the payoff is even higher. She’d never thought of herself as fearless, the kind of person who would fight to stand out. But when she finds something, and someone, to fight for, she will discover that she is braver than she ever thought. Dodge has never been afraid of Panic. His secret will fuel him, and get him all the way through the game, he’s sure of it. But what he doesn't know is that he’s not the only one with a secret. Everyone has something to play for. For Heather and Dodge, the game will bring new alliances, unexpected revelations, and the possibility of first love for each of them—and the knowledge that sometimes the very things we fear are those we need the most.

I think it’s time for me to acknowledge that Lauren Oliver isn’t my type of author when it comes to YA books. This book was a failure for me and I had the same troubles with the Delirium series. This story suffered from another incredibly annoying character and I’ve spotted some inconsistencies. Her MG books are more captivating to me, with adventure like The Spindlers and heart-warming friendship in Liesl & Po.

Review 237. Leah Cypess – Death sworn.

13549218Title: Death Sworn.
Author: Leah Cypess.
Pages: 352.
Expected publication: March 4th 2014 by Greenwillow.
Sort: Part one ‘Death Sworn’
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
When Ileni lost her magic, she lost everything: her place in society, her purpose in life, and the man she had expected to spend her life with. So when the Elders sent her to be magic tutor to a secret sect of assassins, she went willingly, even though the last two tutors had died under mysterious circumstances. But beneath the assassins’ caves, Ileni will discover a new place and a new purpose… and a new and dangerous love. She will struggle to keep her lost magic a secret while teaching it to her deadly students, and to find out what happened to the two tutors who preceded her. But what she discovers will change not only her future, but the future of her people, the assassins… and possibly the entire world.

This book was hard to rate and in the end I based it on two different ratings. Entertainment level: 4, but the story itself deserves 1 stars. I thought it was a very quick and easy story to read, with assassins and magic. But, I had problem with the shallow plot and how the characters act. I didn't buy the romance and I was hoping for more action and depth.

Monthly recap | February '14. Fish spa.

I always enjoy watching recaps from other bloggers, so that’s why I’ll be posting my own recaps. This wrap up is also my new ‘Showcase Sunday’ since I don’t have the time to do weekly hauls. Instead, I hope to capture it in vlogs every now and then.
I started my minor Infection diseases and I really like it so far. We have a different topic every two weeks and we’re currently talking about epidemiology and statistics. The annoying thing is that the teacher randomly made the groups  and that never works out for me. So, I’m the only one from my old class that is in a group with exactly the 3 girls from other studies.. It’s going to be quite busy, with every week a presentation and a lot of articles I need to study. I’m also incredibly stressed out over the fact I need to find an internship for this year and 2 for next year.

My personal life was pretty good. I went to a scientific museum with my boyfriend for Valentine’s day, I had a Fish spa with my sister (tickles!), a great bookclub meeting (discussing A.C Gaughen – Scarlet) and I had another Prison Break Day with some friends.