Monthly recap | April '14. Birthday!

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.

April tends to be one of the best months every year. I celebrated my birthday! My sister took me out for a delicious diner (Indonesian food <3) and I spend all evening with my boyfriend, sister and parents. I will be celebrating it with my family May 3rd. I spend Easter with my boyfriend's family and my own. I went shopping with my sister and one of the best things I got was a legging with Marvel print. When we had our ‘Koningsdag’ me and my boyfriend went to three different markets and I found one of the best bargains ever: a sealed GOT season 3 box for 5 euro! I had another bookclub meeting where we ate delicious pannenkoeken, talked about Eon (for the first time we talked longer than 5 minutes about the book, haha) and other (book related) things. Not so fun was my dentist who told me I had to make an appointment with the surgeon to get my wisdom tooth revoved.. May 16th. And I went for the weekend to my boyfriend's father & girlfriend with his brother. It wasn't so bad, seeing I don't have the best relationship with my parents in law.

School wise: I went on my birthday together with my partner in crime to the internship to talk with our supervisor. It’s a nice woman, so I have a good feeling about it. I also nailed my Infection disease test! It was very important. We got 75 questions about all the different topics (and you could only make 19 mistakes for a 5,5) and failing this one would mean a 6-months delay on my study. But I got it! I also finished writing my review and I’m currently waiting to hear if I passed it. I have a good feeling about it.

Review 255. Yvonne Ventresca – Pandemic.

18211018Title: Pandemic.
Author: Yvonne Ventresca.
Pages: 352.
Published: May 6th 2014 by Sky Pony Press
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Even under the most normal circumstances, high school can be a painful and confusing time. Unfortunately, Lilianna's circumstances are anything but normal. Only a few people know what caused her sudden change from model student to the withdrawn pessimist she has become, but her situation isn't about to get any better. When people begin coming down with a quick-spreading illness that doctors are unable to treat, Lil's worst fears are realized. With her parents called away on business before the contagious outbreak-her father in Delaware covering the early stages of the disease and her mother in Hong Kong and unable to get a flight back to New Jersey-Lil's town is hit by what soon becomes a widespread illness and fatal disaster. Now, she's more alone than she's been since the "incident" at her school months ago. With friends and neighbours dying all around her, Lil does everything she can just to survive. But as the disease rages on, so does an unexpected tension as Lil is torn between an old ex and a new romantic interest. Just when it all seems too much, the cause of her original trauma shows up at her door.

A romance in the time of Pandemic would have been a better and more complete title. This book is not about the Blue Flu Pandemic or the tragic events. It’s about a teenage girl who makes stupid mistakes, falls in love during chaos and who tries to deal with a trauma that has no actual place in the storyline. It was a bit too much of everything, instead of focusing on the thing that made me want to read this book: the illness.

Review 254. Catherynne M. Valente – The girl who circumnavigated fairyland.

9591398Title: The girl who circumnavigated fairyland in a ship of her own making.
Author: Catherynne M. Valente.
Pages: 247.
Published: May 10th 2011 by Feiwel & Friends.
Sort: Fairyland #1.
Source: Sinterklaas present from Judith!
Link: Goodreads.
Twelve-year-old September lives in Omaha, and used to have an ordinary life, until her father went to war and her mother went to work. One day, September is met at her kitchen window by a Green Wind (taking the form of a gentleman in a green jacket), who invites her on an adventure, implying that her help is needed in Fairyland. The new Marquess is unpredictable and fickle, and also not much older than September. Only September can retrieve a talisman the Marquess wants from the enchanted woods, and if she doesn’t . . . then the Marquess will make life impossible for the inhabitants of Fairyland. September is already making new friends, including a book-loving Wyvern and a mysterious boy named Saturday.

This was such an unique book! It has a whimsical writing-style; one I’ve never seen before. The cover is gorgeous and there are adorable illustrations at the beginning of every chapter. It’s a magical tale filled with adventure and interesting characters.

Review 253. Kimberly Derting – The taking.

17838475Title: The taking
Author: Kimberly Derting.
Pages: 368
Expected publication date: April 29th 2014 by HarperTeen.
Sort: The taking #1.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
A flash of white light.. and then.. nothing. When sixteen-year-old Kyra Agnew wakes up behind a Dumpster at the Gas ’n’ Sip, she has no memory of how she got there. With a terrible headache and a major case of déjà vu, she heads home only to discover that five years have passed . . . yet she hasn’t aged a day. Everything else about Kyra’s old life is different. Her parents are divorced, her boyfriend, Austin, is in college and dating her best friend, and her dad has changed from an uptight neat-freak to a drunken conspiracy theorist who blames her five-year disappearance on little green men. Confused and lost, Kyra isn’t sure how to move forward unless she uncovers the truth. With Austin gone, she turns to Tyler, Austin’s annoying kid brother, who is now seventeen and who she has a sudden undeniable attraction to. As Tyler and Kyra retrace her steps from the fateful night of her disappearance, they discover strange phenomena that no one can explain, and they begin to wonder if Kyra’s father is not as crazy as he seems. There are others like her who have been taken… and returned. Kyra races to find an explanation and reclaim the life she once had, but what if the life she wants back is not her own?

I’m not a huge fan of Aliens, but I always like to try new things and this sounded interesting. I really want to read the sequel to this book, because Derting managed to end it exactly how I like it: most of the story from this book is wrapped up and there is a big revealing that makes me anxious for more. That being said, this book wasn’t without flaws.

Fairytale News | Spoilers.

'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.

Spoilers, one of the things I hate with a fierce passion. A spoiler can ruin everything for me. A book (or a movie) is a journey for me. When I start the first page, I have no idea what I’m starting. The story builds up, the plot is thickening and finally I will reach the end and hopefully will be surprised when they reveal the conclusion. If I already know what is going to happen, I have the idea I’m reading the book for nothing. Why would I care about the story if it’s obvious that Y is going to die? Or if the killer is the MC’s best friend? It takes all the surprise, pleasure and fun out of the story.

Review 252. Anne Blankman – Prisoner of night and fog.

17668473Title: Prisoner of night and fog.
Author: Anne Blankman.
Pages: 416.
Expected publication: April 22nd 2014 by Balzer + Bray
Sort: Prisoner of night and fog #1.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet. Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler. And Gretchen follows his every command. Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews. As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?

What an impressive story! I was immediately blown away by the historical accuracy of the story (as far as I can tell) and I loved reading about the real people at the end of the book. It appears that Anne did a lot of research and it’s noticeable throughout the story. From the moment the book started I was hooked to Gretchen and the story didn’t let me go after that.

Review 251. Maggie Stiefvater – The raven boys.

13449693Title: The raven boys.
Author: Maggie Stiefvater.
Pages: 409.
Published: September 18th 2012 by Scholastic Press.
Sort: The raven cycle #1.
Source: My friend Christina, an early birthday present!
Link: Goodreads.

It is freezing in the churchyard, even before the dead arrive. Every year, Blue Sargent stands next to her clairvoyant mother as the soon-to-be dead walk past. Blue herself never sees them—not until this year, when a boy emerges from the dark and speaks directly to her. His name is Gansey, and Blue soon discovers that he is a rich student at Aglionby, the local private school. Blue has a policy of staying away from Aglionby boys. Known as Raven Boys, they can only mean trouble. But Blue is drawn to Gansey, in a way she can’t entirely explain. He has it all—family money, good looks, devoted friends—but he’s looking for much more than that. He is on a quest that has encompassed three other Raven Boys: Adam, the scholarship student who resents all the privilege around him; Ronan, the fierce soul who ranges from anger to despair; and Noah, the taciturn watcher of the four, who notices many things but says very little. For as long as she can remember, Blue has been warned that she will cause her true love to die. She never thought this would be a problem. But now, as her life becomes caught up in the strange and sinister world of the Raven Boys, she’s not so sure anymore.

It's my birthday today and I've been saving this review for it. THANK YOU Christina! She got me this book a while back and it was great. I’m hooked to Maggie Stiefvater now (and I'm very happy that I also received Dream Thieves today!) I read this one when I had a lot of 'meh' reads and this was exactly what I needed.

Mission impossible: Tackling series (update 2)

It’s time for an update (thanks to Siiri for reminding me!) If you don’t know about this mission, you can read all the details in my Tackling series introduction and my first update. With this mission I'm trying to cut down the huge amount of series I'm reading.

Let it go | Dragons and bullies.

Today I have two books for you. One dragon book gone wrong and a bully book I wish I could lit on fire. I don't think there has ever been a book that made me feel that way. There are books you don't like, there are books you can't connect with and this is a book I hated with a fierce passion.

Review 250. Abby Grahame - Wentworth hall.

12747188Title: Wentworth Hall.
Author: Abby Grahame.
Pages: 276.
Published: May 1st 2012 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers.
Sort: Stand-alone.
The prettiest people often have the ugliest secrets.
Eighteen-year-old Maggie Darlington has turned into an entirely different person. The once spirited teen is now passive and reserved. A change Lord and Lady Darlington can't help but be grateful for.
It's 1912, and the Darlingtons of Wentworth Hall have more than just the extensive grounds to maintain. As one of Britain's most elite families, they need to keep up appearances that things are as they have always been - even as their carefully constructed façade rapidly comes undone. Maggie has a secret. And she's not the only one - the handsome groom Michael, the beautiful new French nanny Therese, the Darlingtons' teenage houseguests Teddy and Jessica, and even Maggie's younger sister Lila are all hiding something. Passion, betrayal, heartache, and whispered declarations of love take place under the Darlingtons' massive roof. And one of these secrets has the power to ruin the Darlingtons forever. When scandalous satires start appearing in the newspaper with details that closely mirror the lives of the Darlingtons, everyone is looking over their shoulder, worrying their scandal will be next. Because at Wentworth Hall, nothing stays secret for long.

Welcome to Wentworth hall, where the Darlingtons have lived for generations. There is only one problem: they are completely broke and Lord Darlington knows one solution. He must marry his oldest daughter Maggie to a rich guy. Maggie just returned from a vacation in France, where she harbored a secret which can ruin her life. She is trying to ignore her feelings for Michael, the groom, in order to trick Teddy into a marriage. Teddy and his sister Jessica are recently orphaned and they must wait for their inheritance until they turn eighteen.

Review 249. Julie Kagawa – The forever song.

17883441Title: The forever song.
Author: Julie Kagawa.
Pages: 416.
Expected publication: April 15th 2014 by Harlequin Teen.
Sort: Blood of Eden #3.
Part 1. The immortal rules.
Part 2. The eternity cure.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
Link: Goodreads.
VENGEANCE WILL BE HERS. Allison Sekemoto once struggled with the question: human or monster? With the death of her love, Zeke, she has her answer. MONSTER. Allie will embrace her cold vampire side to hunt down and end Sarren, the psychopathic vampire who murdered Zeke. But the trail is bloody and long, and Sarren has left many surprises for Allie and her companions—her creator, Kanin, and her blood brother, Jackal. The trail is leading straight to the one place they must protect at any cost—the last vampire-free zone on Earth, Eden. And Sarren has one final, brutal shock in store for Allie. In a ruined world where no life is sacred and former allies can turn on you in one heartbeat, Allie will face her darkest days. And if she succeeds, triumph is short-lived in the face of surviving forever alone.

It was a rollercoaster of feelings. I was frightened, disgusted, terrified and happy all at the same time. I’m sad to say goodbye to this stories and the characters I’ve grown to love, but Kagawa did it again. A fantastic ending to one of the best vampire series I’ve ever read. It was hard finding the right words to do this story justice, but I hope I can convince you to read this series if you haven’t read the first book yet. This review is therefor completely spoiler-free.

Fairytale News | Early reviews.

'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.

There are two sides when it comes to review copies. It’s a privilege to read books early, but it can also be stressful to read them all in time. There are also all the books in our TBR piles. It’s very important for me to have a good balance. I’m a mood reader, so I need to be able to read whatever I want. The reason I don't get burned out on review copies is because I’ve found a system that works for me, so I thought I should share it with you.

Review 248. Karen Foxlee – Ophelia and the Marvelous boy.

17910570Title: Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy.
Author: Karen Foxlee.
Pages: 240.
Published: January 28th 2014 by Knopf Books for Young Readers.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Netgalley & Publisher.
Link: Goodreads.
Unlikely heroine Ophelia Jane Worthington-Whittard doesn't believe in anything that can't be proven by science. She and her sister Alice are still grieving for their dead mother when their father takes a job in a strange museum in a city where it always snows. On her very first day in the museum Ophelia discovers a boy locked away in a long forgotten room. He is a prisoner of Her Majesty the Snow Queen. And he has been waiting for Ophelia's help. As Ophelia embarks on an incredible journey to rescue the boy everything that she believes will be tested. Along the way she learns more and more about the boy's own remarkable journey to reach her and save the world. A story within a story, this a modern day fairytale is about the power of friendship, courage and love, and never ever giving up.

What a charming, cute story! This is definitely a book I see myself reading for my future child(ren). It’s adventurous, magical and exciting. I’ve settled with a 3.5 rating, but I would have adored this book when I was younger!

Review 247. Michelle Diener – The golden apple.

Pageflex Persona [document: PRS0000035_00030]Title: The Golden apple.
Author: Michelle Diener.
Pages: 298.
Published: March 24th 2014 by Michelle Diener.
Sort: Unnamed series #1.
Source: Netgalley & Michelle.
Kayla's world has been turned upside-down .. Her father has made her the prize in a deadly, impossible tournament, and Kayla has retaliated in the only way she knows how; by choosing her champion beforehand. But taking control of the outcome changes the game completely, and when the real reason behind the strange test becomes apparent, Kayla realizes not just her life, but her entire kingdom is at stake. Rane's honor is torn in two...  In order to save his brother, Rane will do whatever he has to--including deceive and betray a princess. He knew nothing about this tournament would be easy, but when it turns into a deeper, far more sinister game, Rane is forced to see it through to the end, or leave his brother at the mercy of their enemy. Now their fates are entwined, and they must venture into the deep, dark forest together.. Kayla and Rane are bound to one another by an enchantment and Kayla's actions. But the sorcerer forcing them to do his will may have miscalculated, because no-one comes out of the Great Forest unchanged. No-one.

I’ve worked with Michelle Diener before, so when she approached me with a pre-approval of her newest fairytale retelling for Netgalley, I couldn’t resist the offer. Her first retelling was good, but it seems she is getting more into her element. The romance between the characters was better and I like that this is a retelling of a Norwegian fairy tale – one I wasn’t familiar with before.