Review 240. Libba Bray – Lair of dreams.

Lair of dreamsTitle: Lair of dreams.
Author: Libba Bray.
Pages: 624.
Published: August 25th 2015 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Sort: Part 2 of The Diviners.
Review part 1. The Diviners.
Source: Netgalley and publisher, thanks!
The longing of dreams draws the dead, and this city holds many dreams. After a supernatural showdown with a serial killer, Evie O’Neill has outed herself as a Diviner. With her uncanny ability to read people’s secrets, she’s become a media darling, earning the title “America’s Sweetheart Seer.” Everyone’s in love with the city’s newest It Girl…everyone except the other Diviners. Piano-playing Henry DuBois and Chinatown resident Ling Chan are two Diviners struggling to keep their powers a secret—for they can walk in dreams. And while Evie is living the high life, victims of a mysterious sleeping sickness are turning up across New York City. As Henry searches for a lost love and Ling strives to succeed in a world that shuns her, a malevolent force infects their dreams. And at the edges of it all lurks a man in a stovepipe hat who has plans that extend farther than anyone can guess…As the sickness spreads, can the Diviners descend into the dreamworld to save the city?
Dream with me..

Appendectomy-scar good (as Evie would say)! We had to wait a long time for the release of Lair of dreams, but it’s just as good as The Diviners. Libba Bray managed to create story with a subtle creepiness that seeps into the story of a diverse cast. Libba knows how to write and how to handle different point of views. The book never gets overwhelming and she choose the right moments to showcast another character.

TTT 43. Fall TBR pile.

I always love to make lists, even when I’m not good at completing them. Last time I made the Summer TBR pile. I managed to read 8 out of 10 books, I am impressed! I never thought I would read so many of them, so let's try it again.

8 TBR books.

The demon king sounds fantastic and colder weather makes me crave for even more fantasy. I liked Anna dressed in blood and I’ve been curious about Antigoddess. The fixer sounds like a good thriller and some of my trusted blogging friends loved it, so I can’t wait. To all the boys I’ve loved before is our book club pick for October. Many people rave about These broken stars, so it’s time to catch up. I tried Stormdancer before, but wasn’t in the mood for it. Perhaps this time.

4 review copies.
Sword and verse.
The great hunt, fairytale retelling!
Assassin’s heart.
The shadow queen, also fairytale retelling!

What do you recommend? What are you planning to read?

Review 239. Betsy Cornwell – Mechanica.

22749698Title: Mechanica.
Author: Betsy Cornwell.
Pages: 320.
Published: August 25th 2015 by Clarion books.
Sort: Stand-alone, fairytale retelling.
Source: Netgalley and publisher.
Nicolette’s awful stepsisters call her “Mechanica” to demean her, but the nickname fits: she learned to be an inventor at her mother’s knee. Her mom is gone now, though, and the Steps have turned her into a servant in her own home. But on her sixteenth birthday, Nicolette discovers a secret workshop in the cellar and begins to dare to imagine a new life for herself. Could the mysterious books and tools hidden there—and the mechanical menagerie, led by a tiny metal horse named Jules—be the key to escaping her dreary existence? With a technological exposition and royal ball on the horizon, the timing might just be perfect for Nicolette to earn her freedom at last.

LOOK AT THAT COVER. This has to be the most disappointed book I’ve read this year, because I was expecting so much. Even after some negative reviews I kept holding on to the hope that I might like it after all, because we all know how much I love my fairytales. And again, that cover is stunning, so I was hoping the story would live up to it. Now let me go sit in a corner and weep, while you read my review of this book with potential - and managed to blow it.

Queen of shadows blog tour. Dressing up the girls.

Today it's my stop in the Queen of Shadows blog tour, set up by the unofficial street team that goes by the name Maas Thirteen. I'm happy to be part of it for the second time. The first time we had the Thirteen days of ash and fire, where I made a chart, this time it's for QOS. I haven't read the book yet, so please stay away from any spoilers! This post is also free from spoilers for any of the books.

For my fairytale retelling challenge July I made a modern version of Belle. I decided to do the same thing for this blog tour, by dressing up the girls in some modern yet fitting outfits. I also tried to match their names to their handwriting (at least, what I have in mind)

September 7 – Judith (Paper Riot)
September 8 – Jaz (Fiction in Fiction in Fiction)
September 9 – Kelly (Belle of the Literati)
September 10 – Andi (Andi’s ABCs)
September 11 – Gillian (Writer of Wrongs)
September 14 – Kim & Wendy (The Midnight Garden)
September 15 – Mel (The Daily Prophecy)
September 16 – Gina (Behind the Pages)
September 17 – Nicole (The Quiet Concert)
September 18 – Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner)
September 21 – Katie (Polished Page-Turners)
September 22 – Rachel (Hello, Chelly)
September 23 – Alexa (Alexa Loves Books)

Fairytale News | Popularity.

'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.

Sometimes I see people talking about the ‘big bloggers’ or ‘that popular blog’ and it always makes me curious; what makes you a big/popular blogger? Is it the amount of followers, the statistics, the comments you get or is it the value you add to the blogosphere? Is it the amount of ARC’s, the connections with publishers/authors or how many blogging friends you have?

I do understand the distinction some people make between a big/small blog. If you've been around for three years you are clearly 'bigger' than someone who just started. BUT, both are equally important to me. We are all valuable and we all add something special. To me, it’s about being part of this community, whether you have tons of followers or none. Therefore I don't think there is such a thing as ‘big’ or ‘popular.'

Blogging is also not a competition. We are all in this, because of our mutual love for books. I’m not busy comparing myself to other blogs and I don’t think it’s important to be obsessed with numbers. Numbers say nothing to me. It’s about the passion I feel for blogging and how much I enjoy talking about books. I'm not going to lie and say I don't care about the amount of followers or how many comments I get. It's always a good feeling to see more friends added you to their circle and it's even better if people show that they've read your post. But in the end, those two things will not keep you around if you don't enjoy your own content. 

It's the same with ARC's. People sometimes seem to believe that you have more influence if you review more early copies. I say we need to let go of the special value we have given to ARC's. They can be a fun perk of being a blogger, but they are not necessarily in order to maintain a blog.

So what do you think. Is there such a thing as a big/popular blogger to you?

Review 238. Maggie Stiefvater – Blue Lily, Lily Blue.

17378508Title: Blue Lily, Lily Blue.
Author: Maggie Stiefvater.
Pages: 391.
Published: October 21st 2014 by Scholastic Press.
Sort: The raven cycle #3.
Source: I received a copy from the wonderful Ellis.
There is danger in dreaming. But there is even more danger in waking up. Blue Sargent has found things. For the first time in her life, she has friends she can trust, a group to which she can belong. The Raven Boys have taken her in as one of their own. Their problems have become hers, and her problems have become theirs. The trick with found things though, is how easily they can be lost.
Friends can betray.
Mothers can disappear.
Visions can mislead.
Certainties can unravel.

Maggie shows again that she is a master. It’s not my favorite installment in the series, but she managed to put some twists and turns into the storyline that surprised me and I’m already scared for my feelings in the sequel. There are mild spoilers for The Raven Boys and The dream thieves.

Review 237. Heidi Schulz – The pirate code.

24397055Title: The pirate code.
Author: Heidi Schulz.
Pages: 352.
Published: September 15th 2015 by Disney-Hyperion
Sort: Part 2 of Hook’s revenge.
Part 1. Hook’s revenge.
Source: Netgalley, thanks publisher!
Fresh off a fearsome encounter with the Neverland crocodile, Jocelyn Hook decides the most practical plan is to hunt down her father's famous fortune. After all, she'll need the gold to fund her adventuring in the future. (And luckily, Hook left her the map.) But the map proves to be a bit harder to crack than Jocelyn had hoped, and she's convinced that the horrible Peter Pan might be the only one with the answers. Of course, he doesn't really feel like helping her, so Jocelyn takes the only reasonable course of action left to her: she kidnaps his mother. Evie, though, is absolutely thrilled to be taken prisoner, so Jocelyn's daring ploy doesn't have quite the effect she'd planned for. Along with the problem of her all-too-willing captive, Jocelyn must also contend with Captain Krueger, whose general policy is that no deed is too dastardly when it comes to stealing Hook's treasure. And with the ever-shifting Whens of the Neverland working against her as well, Jocelyn, Evie, Roger, and the rest of the Hook's Revenge crew have their work cut out for them. In this rambunctious showdown between characters new and old, Jocelyn puts her own brand of pirating to the test in a quest to save her future and those she loves.

This series quickly became one of my favorite Middle grade series. The sarcastic narrator, the adventures and the amazing characters make these books suitable for any age. I am sad that this is (for now) the last part in this series. Get it together Disney, we need more! This review is spoiler-free for the entire series.

Jocelyn Hook is ready to hunt down her father’s treasure, but first she needs to unlock all the secrets hidden in de map. She even has to ask help from Peter Pan, a boy she really dislikes, and during their meeting Jocelyn ends up with a new friend. She kidnaps Peter’s new mother and Jocelyn finds out that the two of them have something special in common. That’s not her only problem though, because Captain Krueger also wants Hook’s treasure.

This book is one thrilling ride. Adventures, puzzles, action-packed scenes and hilarious siutations. There are no boring moments when you are around Jocelyn, Roger and her crew. I’m in love with every character. They all have their unique and goofy character traits. Jocelyn is a perfect example for kids. She is clever and strong, but definitely not flawless. This makes her easy to connect with. She shows that you can do anything if you want it. Her relationship with Roger is the cutest thing in the world. Their struggles made it realistic, because sometimes you just annoy each other.

Captain Krueger addition to the story made this story action-packed and gave it a creepy-factor. He is a typical villain. A scary dude with his sharp, pointy teeth who is always one step behind them in the quest to find Hook's long lost treasure. It was fantastic to see Jocelyn and her ways to outrun him. She was always hopeful, even when the situation looked bad.

The puzzles at the end of the story were the best part. I had lots of fun figuring out the answer behind a question that reminded me of Harry Potter. You know, that part where they have to defeat Snape’s potion puzzle in The sorcerer’s stone. Hook was a pretty clever man, because he came up with some crafty ways to protect his treasure.

If you want a story with a brilliant voice (and you finally find out who is telling the story), adorable illustrations and fun characters who are on one big adventure, you definitely have to pick up this series.

September retelling link-up | In defense of Disney Princesses.

September has started. Are you still on schedule? It the end of this post you can put links to your challenge page/post and every review you post on your blog. Please make this easy to navigate by putting it like this:

UPDATE  @ your name/blog name.
REVIEW – book title @ your name/blog name.

Don't forget to tweet with the hashtag #fairytaleRC

I often hear people complain about Disney princesses and how they give ‘the wrong image and idea to younger children.’ I talked a little about it in my discussion posts whether fairytales and Disney are done. Today I want to go ahead and defend my beloved Disney princesses.

Belle suffers from Stockholm syndrome, where you fall in love with your kidnapper. I say bull shit. Let’s go back to the basic of this story: her father is lost and enters someone else’s castle. The Beast thinks he is only there to gloat at him, so he locks him away. In the original tale it’s because Maurice steals one of his precious roses. If someone comes into your house, would you accept that? I know that Maurice had no wrong intentions, but I can see where the Beast comes from. He doesn’t kidnap anyone and Belle only comes into his life because she trades her life for her father. He never truly mistreats her and over time they grow a friendship that blossoms into something more. I don’t think it’s unnatural of Belle to fall in love with him. I was applauding when I read this article about Why beauty and the beast isn’t about the Stockholm syndrome. This story is all about finding beauty inside. Yes, the beast was an unkind person in the beginning, but he developed into a likable person.

Cinderella is often portrayed as spineless and stupid, but I honestly understand where she comes from. I think we all want to feel accepted and loved by the people around us. I know I always look for that feeling of belonging, like I said in my I am socially awkward post and my bullying story. Imagine you have lost two of the most important people in your life and suddenly you have three new people left. You look for their appreciation and that makes you vulnerable. So yes, Cinderella is abused and horribly treated and she doesn’t do anything against it, but spineless? I see it as a way of her to TRY to be loved by them. She wants them to notice her and that does mean she accepts their treatment, but is it really that strange? She always try to maintain her kindness. I think that it’s a beautiful trait, even when it’s a little naive. To always try to see the good side of someone can be a strength too. In the end she does stand up for herself and realize how strong she was. She managed to survive and she was still able to see the beauty in others.

Ariel is portrayed as that stupid girl who fell in love with a guy after one glance and she traded everything to be together with him. The first thing we must remember is that she longed for a life on land even before she met her Prince Charming. I think meeting him, finally seeing a human up close, was just the last push she needed. I think she was struck by the fact he was the first one she met and that gave a special connection to her. I think it was brave of her to go through the transformation and to go after something she wanted. I would be terrified to leave everything I know behind. Even if that decision meant that her story ended unhappy in the real tale, I think Disney gave her a strength by showing that fighting for what you want pays off in the end. This story is NOT about a girl changing herself for the love of her life. She changed herself to become part of a world she ached for and Eric happened to be there too (not to mention the fact Eric never said he wouldn’t have loved her if she was a mermaid. This also shows in the sequel with their daughter Melody).

I think these Disney princesses shaped me and I am welcome I had them in my life while growing up. I still love them, because they all have their good features and flaws. I loved this article that explains, with some examples, why Disney princess are NO bad role model and also this second article does a good job at portraying why Disney princesses rock. I also applaud this article for showing why Disney princesses are great role models.

How do you feel about Disney princesses? Do you think they are good or bad role models and why?