Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#35) - Top Ten Books I've Read So Far In 2015


For more information on Top Ten Tuesday click here


Here are the top ten books I've read so far in this year, in no particular order. Putting this list together was so incredibly hard because I have read so many great books already in this year. I am already now stressed about making a top ten list at the end of this year....

These are in no particular order because that would just be impossible!











Monday, June 29, 2015

A Game of Thrones (A Song of Ice and Fire #1) by George R.R. Martin

Release Date: August 6, 1996
Info about the author: Goodreads - Website
Publisher: Bantam Spectra
Age group: Adult
Pages: 835 (Mass Market Paperback)
Buy the Book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

Summers span decades. Winter can last a lifetime. And the struggle for the Iron Throne has begun.

As Warden of the north, Lord Eddard Stark counts it a curse when King Robert bestows on him the office of the Hand. His honour weighs him down at court where a true man does what he will, not what he must … and a dead enemy is a thing of beauty.

The old gods have no power in the south, Stark’s family is split and there is treachery at court. Worse, the vengeance-mad heir of the deposed Dragon King has grown to maturity in exile in the Free Cities. He claims the Iron Throne.



I don't know can I call this a review, because it will probably be just a general rambling of my thoughts about the book. I feel like due to the extent of the novel as well as the fact that everyone is pretty much familiar with it, there is no point for me to write the type of review I usually do... And I don't think I would be able to do it because the story was so extensive to begin with. 

Probably everyone has heard about Game of Thrones one way or another. Some have probably heard about the books themselves, but I would predict that the more people are familiar with the HBO series based on the book series. I had seen stuff about Game of Thrones from Tumblr, so I watched the first season of the series and liked it alright. It is extremely well made and it is clear that the budget for the show is probably enormous. It did not change my life or anything, but I found it entertaining. After seeing the first season of the show, I went and bought the book. I started to read it, but after 150 pages or so, I got stuck. 

After finishing with all of my writing tasks for university, I picked up the book again and after reading probably 50 more pages I really got into it. The beginning was a bit slow, mostly due to the fact that the world and the characters had to be introduced with a lot of detail and at points this got a bit boring. But once the story started to develop, it got more and more interesting and eventually I ended up reading the rest 500 pages or so in just a couple of days. 

The novel is narrated by several different characters and eventually I started to like some more than others. Arya is brilliant, as well as Jon Snow and Tyrion. Sansa annoyed me. Due to the fact that I had seen the first season of the show, I kept thinking that the characters look exactly like they look in the show... This was definitely delightful while reading about Robb Stark. 

After finishing with the book, I decided that I would not continue with the HBO series until I've read the second book. I felt like knowing what is going to happen did not help while reading this book because I kept waiting for different events and then got frustrated when it took so much time to get to them. The television show of course is much faster than the book itself, and especially during the times the book was narrated by characters I did not particularly care for, I kept just hoping that the story would speed up. I am definitely curious to see how the story develops (I've seen spoilers for the show, so I kind of know who is going to die etc. but I feel like those are really difficult to avoid and I don't really mind the awfully, just as long as I don't get to know every single thing that happens). This series is definitely not what I would normally pick up, but I am happy I did so because it really is unique in so many different ways, at least when compared to other books I've read. 


Saturday, June 27, 2015

Across the Universe (Across the Universe #1) by Beth Revis

Release Date: January 11, 2011
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Razorbill
Age group: YA
Pages: 398
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

A love out of time. A spaceship built of secrets and murder. 

Seventeen-year-old Amy joins her parents as frozen cargo aboard the vast spaceship Godspeed and expects to awaken on a new planet, three hundred years in the future. Never could she have known that her frozen slumber would come to an end fifty years too soon and that she would be thrust into the brave new world of a spaceship that lives by its own rules.

Amy quickly realizes that her awakening was no mere computer malfunction. Someone - one of the few thousand inhabitants of the spaceship - tried to kill her. And if Amy doesn't do something soon, her parents will be next.

Now Amy must race to unlock Godspeed's hidden secrets. But out of her list of murder suspects, there's only one who matters: Elder, the future leader of the ship and the love she could never have seen coming.




This book was so good! I have no idea why I had not read it before despite the fact that I had seen it hyped all over the book blogs/booktube videos etc. 

Amy and her parents are frozen with a hope of waking up 300 later on a new planet. Amy's parents want to be frozen in order to help in building the new planet for its new inhabitants. Amy is frozen because she does not see any other option - she does not want to stay alive without her parents and by being frozen, she has a promise of a future with them in the distant future.


"He sounds like a regular Hitler to me", Amy mutters. I wonder what she means by that. Eldest has always taught me that Hitler was a wise, cultured leader for his people. Maybe that's what she means: Eldest is a strong leader, like Hitler was."

Elder is going to be the new leader, the new Eldest of the Godspeed, a spaceship carrying people towards the new planet. The ship is fashioned to look like earth with artificial rain, sunlight and farming lands. The ship is also divided into three levels, the Feeder level for agriculture and such, the Shipper level for technology and engineering and the Keeper level for Elder and the Elders, the future leader and the current leader. The people of Godspeed are monoethnic, meaning that they all look the same - because they are all the same, they do not fight and cause disturbances. The childbirth is controlled by mating seasons during which one of the generations of the ship mate and have children. It is normal for people not to live over 60 years of age. Elder was born out of the season, meaning that he is the youngest person on the ship... until Amy wakes up.

Amy has been frozen for over 200 years. Everything changes when someone wakes her up 50 years before the designed date. The life as Godspeed is nothing like she is used to, and due to looking and thinking different than the other people at the ship, Eldest wants to get rid of her. People are not used to difference and Eldest is afraid that because of her looks, she might cause disturbances. She definitely causes Elder to focus on other things than his learning. 

Elder is completely fascinated by Amy. He sees her difference as beautiful and he is eager to learn more about Sol-Earth, the Earth we know but which Elder has only read about. But when more and more of the frozen bodies appear outside, either death or almost death, Elder along with Amy and his friend Harley start to investigate the mystery and become faced with things they never would have expected to see. It seems that the ship holds more mysteries than no one could have expected. Who is behind the murders of the frozen people? Does Eldest know more than he is willing to tell Elder?

I did not expect the whole mystery solving element this novel had, but once I really got into the story, I was delighted by it. The story is told through both Amy and Elder, which made it really interesting because you were able to see how the new information affected someone who thought that he knew a lot about the ship, and someone who is completely new to the environment. The way this novel is written is so beautiful, and I especially enjoyed some of the passages from the sections of Amy's narration.

The way the fictional world is created is incredibly detailed, but at the same time there is something new left for the other novels in the series. The characters are extremely likable and the romance between them takes its time, which I really liked. The hierarchical structure of the ship is interesting and well planned, and the way the mysteries are solved is not too fast, but not too slow either. The novel takes its time to explain things to the reader, but at the same time keeps you at the edge for the whole duration of the novel.

I really cannot wait to read the next book in the series, which I have heard is even better than this one.


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#31) - The Lies About Truth by Courtney C. Stevens (November 3, 2015 by HarperTeen)


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill over at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating. 
For more information, click here



Sadie Kingston, is a girl living in the aftermath. A year after surviving a car accident that killed her friend Trent and left her body and face scarred, she can’t move forward. The only person who seems to understand her is Trent’s brother, Max.

As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him — even if Max is able to look at her scars and not shy away. But when the truth about the accident and subsequent events comes to light, Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past.

"A girl living in the aftermath"


"As Sadie begins to fall for Max, she's unsure if she is truly healed enough to be with him"



"Sadie has to decide if she can embrace the future or if she'll always be trapped in the past."


What are you waiting for this week?

Tuesday, June 23, 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#34) - My Ten Favorite Top Ten Tuesday Topics I've Ever Done


For more information on Top Ten Tuesday click here.


Happy 5th birthday Top Ten Tuesday!

In honor of five years of Top Ten Tuesday, here are my favorite Top Ten Tuesday posts I've participated in!

By clicking the pictures you can find yourself to the original posts.












Monday, June 22, 2015

Book Review: Daughter of Smoke and Bone (Daughter of Smoke and Bone #1) by Laini Taylor

Release Date: September 27, 2011
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers (the paperback in the picture published in UK by Hodder Paperbacks)
Age group: YA
Pages: 420
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

"Errand requiring immediate attention. Come.

The note was on vellum, pierced by the talons of the almost-crow that delivered it. Karou read the message. 'He never says please', she sighed, but she gathered up her things.
When Brimstone called, she always came."


In general, Karou has managed to keep her two lives in balance. On the one hand, she's a seventeen-year-old art student in Prague; on the other, errand-girl to a monstrous creature who is the closest thing she has to family. Raised half in our world, half in 'Elsewhere', she has never understood Brimstone's dark work - buying teeth from hunters and murderers - nor how she came into his keeping. She is a secret even to herself, plagued by the sensation that she isn't whole.

Now the doors to Elsewhere are closing, and Karou must choose between the safety of her human life and the dangers of a war-ravaged world that may hold the answers she has always sought.



MY THOUGHTS:

I was kind of wary about reading this one because I am not the biggest fan on angel books in general. I've never just found them very interesting and I feel like the ones I've have read have only been so-so (expect The Mortal Instruments series). But since everyone has been hyping about this on book blogs, goodreads and booktube, I decided to give it ago and see for myself whether I enjoy it or not.

To begin with, let's just say that yes, I quite liked this book. But I am still not a big fan of angel books either. Since she can remember, Karou has been leading a double life. For some, she is a 17-year-old art student living in Prague who tells stories about Chimaera in her art books. But for others, to her "family", she is a girl who has been raised by monsters, a girl they can trust to do their errands. She has spent half of her life in 'Elsewhere', a magical portal and now that she has gotten older she has become an errand girl for Brimstone who collects teeth. She has traveled around the world buying teeth from grave robbers and hunters without really knowing why Brimstone needs the teeth. But as events start to unfold, she starts to learn more and more about Brimstone, the world she has inhabited and the things war between the Chimaera and the Seraphim, the angels. 

Akiva is a Seraphim, a soldier for an army of angels. He has been bred and raised to fight and for most of his life his only purpose to live has been to participate in the never ending war between the Chimaera and the Seraphim. He once felt happiness and love, but all that disappeared a long time ago. Until he meets Karou, a human with curious powers that fell almost monstrous. 

I am used to reading books set in completely fantastical worlds or in English speaking places. So reading a novel set in somewhere else was actually quite interesting. I've wanted to visit Prague for years and this book definitely made me even more curious about the city. Taylor definitely has done her research well because while reading this book, it actually felt like I was walking on the streets of Prague, breathing in the history of the city. 

At first, I was very confused with this book. I had no idea what Karou was, what Brimstone was and what was happening in general. But once I got more into the story I started to connect things and see links between the characters and the events. I feel like for a fan for mythology and angels and all that, this book is a diamond. As I said, I am not a big fan of angels, but I still fairly enjoyed this one and definitely want to know more about the world these characters inhabit via the sequels.

I had been warned about this book including some instalove. And yeah, it kind of does. But the connection between the two characters falling in love is established quite well and it all makes sense in the end. I did enjoy the romantic aspect of the novel quite a bit and I really want to see how the relationship develops between these characters.

All in all, I found Daughter of Smoke and Bone to be an interesting, intriguing, well-written and established young adult novel with well-developed characters and world building. A definite pick for fans of angel novels!


Sunday, June 21, 2015

Sunday Post (#26-27)


For more information on Sunday Post click here

Books read in the past two weeks:


Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
A Million Miles Away by Lara Avery
Kissing in America by Margo Rabb
Saint Anything by Sarah Dessen

What I published at ReadReadRead in the past two weeks:


What I published at WinterHaven Books in the past two weeks:


A Little Note....:


On Wednesday, I will travel back to Edinburgh to graduate from University with FIRST CLASS HONORS! I will stay there for three weeks filled with friends and packing, so my blog might be a little less active during those three weeks. I have Top Ten Tuesday and Waiting on Wednesday posts scheduled in addition to reviews, so hopefully that means that there will be content on my blog at least 4 times per week during my short absence. 

What I've Been Watching:


Orange is the New Black season 3 - I fell in love with this show after seeing the first season the summer the show premiered. I wasn't the biggest fan of the first couple of episodes of season 2, but season 3 really managed to take me by surprise. SO GOOD! I NEED SEASON 4 RIGHT NOW!


Bloodline season 1 - the reason I wanted to watch this one was Kyle Chandler (Coach Taylor from FNL) but I ended up becoming obsessed with much more than just Kyle Chandler. The way this show is put together is so intriguing and definitely made for binge-watching! I need season 2 for this ASAP!


Full House - yeah, I started watching Full House all the way from the beginning and I LOVE IT! Bring on Fuller House in 2016!!

From my Instagram:





Saturday, June 20, 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#30)


"Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!"

For more information, click here


For Review:

Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1) by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Told through a fascinating dossier of hacked documents—including emails, schematics, military files, IMs, medical reports, interviews, and more—Illuminae is the first book in a heart-stopping, high-octane trilogy about lives interrupted, the price of truth, and the courage of everyday heroes.

Purchases:


The creative writing teacher, the delivery guy, the local Starbucks baristas, his best friend, her roommate, and the squirrel in the park all have one thing in common—they believe that Gabe and Lea should get together. Lea and Gabe are in the same creative writing class. They get the same pop culture references, order the same Chinese food, and hang out in the same places. Unfortunately, Lea is reserved, Gabe has issues, and despite their initial mutual crush, it looks like they are never going to work things out.  But somehow even when nothing is going on, something is happening between them, and everyone can see it. Their creative writing teacher pushes them together. The baristas at Starbucks watch their relationship like a TV show. Their bus driver tells his wife about them. The waitress at the diner automatically seats them together. Even the squirrel who lives on the college green believes in their relationship. 

Surely Gabe and Lea will figure out that they are meant to be together....

The Martian by Andy Weir

Six days ago, astronaut Mark Watney became one of the first people to walk on Mars. Now, he's sure he'll be the first person to die there. After a dust storm nearly kills him & forces his crew to evacuate while thinking him dead, Mark finds himself stranded & completely alone with no way to even signal Earth that he’s alive—& even if he could get word out, his supplies would be gone long before a rescue could arrive. Chances are, though, he won't have time to starve to death. The damaged machinery, unforgiving environment or plain-old "human error" are much more likely to kill him first. But Mark isn't ready to give up yet. Drawing on his ingenuity, his engineering skills—& a relentless, dogged refusal to quit—he steadfastly confronts one seemingly insurmountable obstacle after the next. Will his resourcefulness be enough to overcome the impossible odds against him?



What did you add to your shelves this week?