Sonntag, 28. Mai 2017

"All The Light We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr


Hi there lovelies!
I got this book for my birthday and finally got around to reading it :)




Summary:
This story is about Marie-Laure, a blind girl living with her father in Paris and Werner, a young boy who loves radios and technology and is sent to a German school for the Hitler Youth. Their stories start of separate but because of the war, they somehow intertwine. 

Facts:
Published on May 6th in 2014
531 Pages



My Opinion:
My preferred genre is YA fantasy or contemporary - you may notice this book is neither of those. I did want to broaden my reading-horizon a little and so this book went on my TBR. For my birthday in December I then got this book from a lovely friend. And now I finally decided to pick it up - I do not regret it.

For me as a German, I feel like I may perceive some parts of this book differently than others simply because of the German history that this book is about. In school I have learned a lot about World War II and how we need to avoid that ever happening again. This book depicted again those things that I learned and that were real. I even went on a study field trip to Auschwitz, the biggest concentration camp, so I do have some experience with the German history.

But let's get to the story itself. It took me about 150 pages to really get into because the chapters are short and the perspective changes with every chapter. Therefore it took quite some time to really get to know Marie-Laure and Werner - partially, because Werner somehow stays distanced to the reader throughout the whole book. Marie-Laure, on the other hand, is so lovely and I grew to really like her. Werner, I'm indifferent to. And maybe that is the point - to not sympathize with the German boy because he is on the bad side of war. 

I loved how there was a slight air of fantasy to it because of the legend of the 'Sea of Flames', a diamond that is supposedly haunted: it's owner is to live forever while the people they love die tragically. This little diamond plays quite a big role in the happenings of this story, if I think more closely about it...

What I also like is that this book is still on my mind, there are still things I think about. Even while not reading it my mind kept going back to the book, wondering what was going to happen or how those kids would have turned out if everything had been different. It just was constantly on my mind somehow and I think if a book can do that, it's definitely worth reading.

The writing was eerie and somehow haunting. There were sentences and phrases that shocked me even though I knew what was said was completely real.

All in all I give it a solid 7 out of 10 hearts.


-xoxo Lisa

Sonntag, 21. Mai 2017

"Illuminae" by Amie Kaufmann and Jay Kristoff

Hi there lovelies ♥

You might have noticed that I'm reading all of those books which are very hyped in the YA-bookscene... and you might also have noticed that I'm very freaking late to the party. Everybody hasy already read all these popular books and I'm trying to catch up.
One of these very hyped and much talked about books is "Illuminae", written by two known YA-authors. It is known for being very special and unusual because of it's use of uncommon media instead of straight P.O.V. telling. That's probably why it becomes interesting to read in the first place, the experience is very different from a 'normal' book.

My boyfriend got me both "Illuminae" and "Gemina" in the beautiful hardcover edition (they're so stunning, I'm shook) as Easter presents, so shoutout to my boyfriend ;)




Summary:
It's the year 2575 and Kerenza, a small planet, is being attacked. Kady and Ezra, to teenagers living on Kerenza manage to save themselves onto an evacuating fleet. The attackers are then after these evacuation fleets. That's not the end of their problems because strange things start happening on the fleet. Kady is determined to find out the reasons, though she needs Ezra's help.


"BRIEFING NOTE: 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." - Goodreads

Facts
Published October 20th in 2015

599 pages 
(and they are indicated at the bottom so you always know how many are left....get's you sweating at some point, believe me!)


My Opinon:
Books that are hyped a lot on any kind of media are always a bit intimidating to me because I am scared that I will not like them. Illuminae was one of those, yet I was still excited to get into it.

What stands out the most in this series is the style, the usage of different kinds of media (diary entries, chats, reports, very impressive pictures, even a Wikipedia-like entry) that make up this book. At first, it was hard to get into the characters because you never really get into their heads in the traditional way. Only when the diary entries start it gets easier to sympathize with them. Still, the first 200 pages were a bit slower than my usual reading. Suddenly I was very into the story though and devoured the book quite quickly and basically fell in love. So if those first hundred pages trouble you: keep on going, its gonna be worth it!
I went from not being too invested into nearly crying (I couldn't though, I read the end while sitting in the train on my way to Uni...) because of how deeply my feelings were intertwined with these characters. It makes me a bit sad that 'Gemina' is not gonna be directly about Kady and Ezra, though I hope to get a bit of them through the new characters.

I also loved the role the Artificial Intelligence plays in this book since it is a topic widely discussed and also a topic creating a lot of worry. The fear that AIs are gonna take over the world someday is present and this book perfectly plays with these fears.

I might mention that I have not read anything by Jay Kristoff or Amie Kaufmann yet, so I am not sure which parts are accredited to which author but I really, really loved the humor and style and in my head I was chuckling a lot. I definitely am going to read more by these two to figure out which role they played in writing 'Illuminae'....I really want to know!

My previous experience with YA books taking place in space were not so successful so I am happy that I gave 'Illuminae' a try. I loved it a lot and therefor I'm giving it a rating of 10 out of 10 hearts.




-xoxo Lisa

Sonntag, 7. Mai 2017

"Strange the Dreamer" by Laini Taylor

Hi there!
LONG TIME NO SEE! - I moved and university started again. Thus I had no time for nothing, basically. But I'm back in the reading business :)


I have a lot to say about this book before getting into the real review. Let me take you back to the beginning of me and the book:
I pre-ordered the March Fairy Loot Box since it had been the anniversary box and was said to be special. The book for the month was said to be an upcoming release from a bestseller-author and I suspected it to be "Strange the Dreamer" but just hoped I'd be wrong. Why, you ask? Because I read "Daughter of Smoke & Bone" and somehow disliked it. In addition to that, I had read reviews for the book that put me off.
The box arrived and I pulled the book out....and it looked absolutely gorgeous. I was a bit disappointed at first because I had hoped for another book but it looked gorgeous. I read the interview Laini Taylor gave for FairyLoot and it somehow got me...excited! Excited to start the book. I knew that excitement would die out if I didn't act fast so I immediately started reading it. Of course I went into it with a lot of prejudices but I was pleasantly surprised.



Summary:
Young Lazlo Strange is an orphan, raised by monks and he somehow ended up as a librarian. The mystery of the forgotten city 'Weep' has been in his mind since he had been young. Lazlo collects stories and loves to read - all the other librarians think he is weird but they let him be.
The library and enclosed university are then visited by the 'Godslayer' who came straight from Weep and he wants the best people to come with him and solve the great problem of Weep.


"What happened in Weep two hundred years ago to cut it off from the rest of the world? What exactly did the Godslayer slay that went by the name of god? And what is the mysterious problem he now seeks help in solving?" (- Goodreads)

Facts:
Published May 28th 2017
544 pages



My Opinion:


My prejudices caused me to go into this with low expectations - they were all exceeded by far. This book is probably one of my favorite reads for this year and I am so surprised because I didn't expect that at all.
I needed some time to get into the story because it starts a bit like a fairytale showing us the beginning of Lazlo's life and how Weep became a part of it. For me the story really only begins when he is part of the library and is then chosen to actually visit Weep. Before that, the it feels more like an introduction to Lazlo's character and the importance of Weep to him.

I liked the pacing. It was quite slow without getting boring or tiring. Because the point of view changed almost regularly from Lazlo to Sarai, the pacing worked perfectly. The reader had the chance to experience both worlds and slowly we learned what happened, how it happened and what may be happening in the future.
I loved how the whole situation stayed mysterious for so long. It took quite some time until we actually knew what happened in Weep and why. That, of course, helped to keep the suspense up.

Another positive point this book got going on is Laini Taylor's marvelous writing. Every word, every sentence somehow feels deep, poetic and meaningful because that's how she writes. It doesn't feel pretentious or blown up, it just works, especially for this story of old mysteries and gods.

That being said: I'm very excited for the next book. I read this one right when it was released so I'll probably have to wait a loooong time for the next one.... why did I do this to myself?

Anyway, my personal rating would have to be 10 out of 10 hearts. It's one of my favorite reads so far this year.


- xoxo Lisa

Mittwoch, 29. März 2017

"Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo

Hi there lovelies!
Everybody knows this book - you cannot not know it if you have ever seen a booktube video, a bookstagram or went to any YA book section. I feel very late on this train but I just jumped on and boy, let me tell you - it was a wild ride. But it was amazing.
Of course one always questions the hype around any book, if it's justified and why. That's the way it was with this book.


Summary:
As it is said on the cover: six dangerous outcasts in a city loosely similar to Amsterdam in the Netherlands. They don't have anything so of course they say yes to a seemingly impossible heist that promises a lot of money.

Facts: 

Pages: 465 pages 
Published in: 29th of September 2017



My Opinion:
There was so much hype around this book so I absolutely had to read it. The book moved to the top of my TBR and how I have finally read it. I decided to read this duology before reading the Grisha-trilogy. I heard this duology was supposed to be better so I wanted to enjoy it first. I'm now really determined to read the Grisha-trilogy as well because I fell in love with the Grishaverse.

There were a lot of things I loved:
  •  I loved the atmosphere: I live in Germany quite close to the border to the Netherlands and every word about Ketterdam reminded me so much of Amsterdam and it felt so right! I think it was mentioned in the acknowledgments that Leigh Bardugo used books about Amsterdam as a reference, so I'm pretty sure Ketterdam is based on Amsterdam. I recognized a lot of words as sounding either Dutch or Norwegian (I'm not sure if they actually are, but they did sound like that). The atmosphere was dark, grungy and just perfect for the characters. That gets us to the next point.


  • The characters were so well-developed and I fell in love with them so quickly. I loved how their group dynamic developed throughout the 450 pages. Each of them were so unique and so flawed, but lovable in every way. Their place of origin or upbringing played a big role for many of them and I loved how that was incorporated into their characters.

  • The plot was amazing and it somehow never got boring. I was always on the edge and so eager to know what is coming next. It was so gripping and the cliff hanger at the end... I'm so glad I bought both books at once! 


I have to admit it took me the first 30 pages to really get into it and understand the concept of the Grisha and how society works in this book, but after that I was flying through the pages. I'm ultra in love with this series so it's no wonder I'm giving this book 10 out of 10 hearts.


- xoxo Lisa

Donnerstag, 23. März 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: "Favorite Angsty Romances"

Hi there!

Top 5 Wednesday is a tag created by Lainey over at Goodreads. This weeks topic is "Favorite Angsty Romances" and since those are my favorite kind of romances, I have a strong opinion for this topic. Get yourself ready for some angsty romances, maybe you'll discover some you haven't heard of yet.



"Sempre" by J.M. Darhower

This one is my favorite romance and it is seriously amazing. It's about Carmine, born into a Mafia family and Haven, a young slave who was bought by Carmine's father.
That one sentence already shows how angsty this story gets and oh my god, it's just so good. If you have never heard of this or haven't read it yet, you should do it immediately. It'll break your heart and you will cry. Probably.








"Me before you" by Jojo Moyes

Everybody knows this book or it's movie. Will Traynor had an accident and is now bound to a wheelchair and is not able to move. Young Louise is in desperate need for a job and ends up working as Wills caretaker for a while.
The angst for me is in the way Will feels and the way I felt when reading it. I'm not sure if it's typically considered as an angsty romance, but I would consider it as one. Would you consider it as one or can somehow understand my reasoning?





"Rome" by Jay Crownover

Any of the "Marked Men"-books are good angsty romances but I like Rome's story the most. Both Rome and Cora have lived through a lot and finding to each other is not an easy way. It's angsty, it's sad but lovely as well.
You don't necessarily need to have read any other "Marked Men"-book but I would recommend, because the books which were released before would be spoiled then. I'd recommend reading them all!








*TRIGGER WARNING*
"Suicide Watch" by Kelly York

This book is really angsty, deep and sad. Vincent has been living in foster homes and has never felt at home until Maggie took him in. When Maggie dies, Vincent has nothing left. In a pro-suicide forum he meets other people who feel like him.
It's a lgbtq-love story as well which I thought is really neat, they are rare after all.



"Ten Tiny Breaths" by K.A. Tucker

It's the classic "He's broken and she is broken too"- kind of story but it was well executed and has just the right amount of angst. It also contains enough romance and also humor to make it absolutely enjoyable.
I remember feeling very much with the main protagonist Kacey and her life. The author was able to connect me to Kacey's emotions so it's a really good read.








That's all for this topic. See you next time, lovelies!


- xoxo Lisa






Samstag, 18. März 2017

"Empress of a Thousand Skies" by Rhoda Belleza

Hi there lovelies!
This book was in my FairyLoot subscription box and I was so excited for it. It looks pretty and the genre is something new (at least for me) since it's supposed to be some kind of space opera. The cover is gorgeous, right?



Summary:
Young Rihannon Ta'an is the crown princess of the galaxy and all she wants is revenge for the death of her family. On her 16th birthday she will ascent and become empress of the galaxy. Alyosha is a Wraetan star in a reality TV-Show.
Both need to go in hiding when Rhee is attacked and Aly is claimed to be her murderer. Both try to save their galaxy from the wrong people.

Facts:

Pages: 314 pages
Published in: February 7th 2017



My Opinion: 
There was quite some hype around this book after it was released. That got me excited as well and so I had some hopes for this. Sadly, it was incredibly hard for me to get into the story and even at 150 pages I couldn't really find myself caring for the characters or the plot. I forced myself to finish the book and only the last 100 pages were somewhat interesting.
I think my problem was that there was just plot but no characters: for me that means the characters had nothing to make them unique or interesting - the only thing they have is the plot. I don't really care for a plot when the I don't feel anything for the characters. 
Another problem I had were all the words that were invented for this universe and were used right from the beginning without any explanation inside of the story. It confused me so much and made the reading process so annoyingly hard. It didn't feel right somehow and I didn't like it.
I did think the plot in itself was interesting and was nicely thought out - I just couldn't find myself caring for it. 

I did like how the chapters were separated into the point of view of both Rhiannon and Alyosha and how they stories start to intertwine. It was well thought out but sadly not well executed, at least in my opinion. I won't be reading the next book. Based on my thoughts I give the book 3 out of 10 hearts. I just didn't like it and I'm sorry for that, because I was really hyped for it.



- xoxo Lisa

Dienstag, 14. März 2017

"99 Days" by Katie Cotugno

Hey there!
This book I picked up after I enjoyed "How to love" by Katie Cotugno so much. Afterwards I decided I wanted to read her other novel as well and it sounded interesting. It was one of the books sitting on my TBR for quite a while so I decided to finally pick it up, and boy I do not regret it.



Summary:
Molly has 99 days left to spend in her hometown before leaving for college. It may seem like nothing but, since most people her age hate her, it's not that easy. They hate her, because she broke Patrick's heart and they're on his side.

Facts
Published in: April 21st 2015
Pages: 384 pages




My Opinion
I really liked this contemporary novel and I think Miss Cotugno writes fantastic teen romances. Her writing style is so fluid, easy to read and enjoyable. It felt authentic as if I was inside the head of a teenager.
The characters were well developed, they had flaws and quirks and things that made them unique (like it is in real life) and I loved that. All of the teens were very round and dynamic, far away from perfect which made them so real and loveable. They developed in front of your eyes, made you feel things and be proud of their little achievements.
The novel allowed a lot of emotions to be felt, especially sadness about Molly's treatment and anger towards the other people who are so hateful. There are a lot of funny and cute moments as well, it has all of the emotions and aspects one needs in the perfect contemporary novels. It dealt with a certain problem many young girls have to deal with and I think it dealt with that quite well, at least at the end.
I also liked the division of chapters into the 99 days Molly lives through. It felt like I was with her everyday and it felt like I was living these 99 days. The feeling of summer came through so well and since it's winter here, it was such a nice change. Warm fuzzy feelings, camping, summer jobs, getting iced coffee with friends... summer ♥
Especially the ending felt realistic. It wasn't picture perfect and the happiest, but it also didn't make me feel frustrated and unhappy. It wrapped up so nicely, I'm really proud of Cotugno for not falling back into clichés.
There is only one thing I disliked was the fact that Molly kept on making the same damn mistake and after a while I became so frustrated with her. On the other hand I think that made her more realistic as well, but while reading it really was frustrating.

Anyway, based on all of these facts I give the book a rating of 9 from 10 hearts. I enjoyed it a lot and can only recommend it!



xoxo Lisa