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 :)

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. 

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 ;)

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

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.

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)

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.

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.


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!

"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?

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.


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.

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.

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

Montag, 13. März 2017

February Wrap-Up and March TBR

Hey there!
Just a quick summary of what I read. And then the ones I would like to read in March. In March I have loads of time so I'm trying to be ambitious.

February Wrap Up:
"City of Lost Souls" by Cassandra Clare (started in January, finished in February)
"City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare
"99 Days" by Katie Cotugno
"Das Paket" by Sebastian Fitzek (a German thriller)
"Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon

I'm impressed to have read five books even though I spent more than half the month with exams. Those are finished now and I have some time to read and relax now!

Now onto what I would like to be reading in March. I probably will chose others while going through the month because that's how I roll but anyway, I still want to make plans.

March TBR:
"Empress of a Thousand Skies" by Rhoda Belleza (already started, halfway through)
"Nevernight" by Jay Kristoff
"Six of Crows" by Leigh Bardugo
"On the Other Side" by Carrie Hope Fletcher
"This Savage Song" by V.E. Schwab
"All The Lights We Cannot See" by Anthony Doerr

This seems ambitious to me because, even though I have no university going on in March, I am going to move out at the end of March and therefore have a lot of planning, buying and packing to do. And I have other hobbies I want to go after now that I finally have some time!

Anyway, that's a little summary for my reading months!

-xoxo Lisa

Sonntag, 5. März 2017

"Everything, Everything" by Nicola Yoon

Hi there!
After seeing the trailer for 'Everything, Everything' I immediately felt the need to see the movie or read the book. Since the movie will come out in May and that's a few months away, I had to get the book. I do not own it, I got it from the library because the need to read was just THAT urgent.
Anyway, I'll tell you a bit about the book and how I liked it.


Maddie is sick and can't leave the house. She hasn't for the seventeen years she's been alive. Her sickness can be triggered from anything in the world so she has to stay in her home, where the air is filtered and no foreign bacteria can come in.
And she has been happy, until Ollie moves in next door and they both start to communicate. Suddenly Maddie knows there is more to the world than just being inside and staying healthy.

The Facts

Pages: 306
Published in: September 1st of 2015

My Opinion:
Since I had seen the trailer for the movie, I already knew quite a bit about the story and I was excited. I expected something different but I was not disappointed. It was a very, very quick and cute read. The quickness came because of the pages that were filled with pictures, diagrams, diary entries or just one sentence and so those 306 (that's not much!) pages were actually even less. I disliked that because I wanted more - it felt a bit too rushed and I wish there had been more little moments to enjoy and to find more love for the characters. So even though these different media used for presentation brought the story closer, they also took more plot/story from us and the book would only have benefited from that.
I feel like the characters were missing some depth and personal scenes portraying who they really are. I was missing some little quirks, flaws or personal habits. It was still very enjoyable and a cute and different twist on the Romeo/Juliet principle (forbidden love). And I still liked both Maddy and Ollie, they were cute characters.

The writing style was very enjoyable and it felt 'young' in the sense that it can be read from 12 years and up. The writing was fluent, easy to get into and just felt like a lot of fun, even though I think at many points the narrator told more than it showed. Showing is usually a preferred method because it brings in more depth - which I felt the book lacked.

Considering all of these points, I would give the book a solid rating of 7 of 10 hearts - it was just so cute and enjoyable, any hearts less would not be fair. Now I'll wait excitedly for the movie and I hope you do. Maybe it is enough to just wait for the movie, but we'll see when it comes out!

- xoxo Lisa

Mittwoch, 1. März 2017

"City of Heavenly Fire" by Cassandra Clare

 Hi there lovelies!
This is the end of an epic saga - not really though, since Cassandra Clare keeps on writing and showing us our favorite lil' babies ♥
Anyway, around all of the studying I had to do for my final exams at university, I managed to read this big baby. I'm able to say that I loved it (again) and that I really really love this series. I may have annoyed by bestie by talking about The Mortal instruments (a lot). So, let me tell you what I liked or maybe disliked about this book.

ONLY CONTINUE READING if you have read books one to five! Seriously, enjoy them first!

Quick summary:
The Shadowhunters are in a war against Sebastian and his Endarkened. The only safe place is Idris, but with all the Shadowhunters in hiding, there is no one to protect the world from demons. Clary and her friends are the only ones who can save the world and so they go after Sebastian.

The Facts

Pages: 725 pages
Published: 27th of May 2014

My Opinion:
This ending of an amazing series is full of heartbreak, action and humor - it is quite epic and with over 700 pages the longest as well. I think it's a good ending for this series. 
The plot is better than it was in "City of Lost Souls" and it was very interesting. It stretched well over the 700 pages and didn't feel too long. Of course it mirrors the first ending a bit (in "City of Glass") since both show the end of war, but that felt like a nice full circle.
The best part was, of course, the characters and how their relationships turned out. It's also where the heartbreak comes in. CoHF is the only one of the six books that made me cry, and not only a little. No spoilers to be told, but it's really sad. Of course Cassie doesn't let our hearts be broken, she gives us a little glimmer of hope which folds out in "Tales from Shadowhunter Academy"... maybe a trick to get us to buy more of her books? Doesn't she know that we would do so anyway? ^^

Anyway, I don't have to say much more than this being a well thought-out ending for the main series, which pulls together most of the strings and leaves some to be explored in further books (as she always does, our Cassie). Based on that I give it a solid rating of 9 out of 10 hearts!

- xoxo Lisa

Freitag, 24. Februar 2017

"City of Lost Souls" by Cassandra Clare

Hi there ♥

Continuing on my series of reviewing The Mortal Instruments. Even though I love re-reading them I'm also so excited to get into some new book but because of my exams I do not have much time to read the moment [insert big sigh here]. Anyway, let's get on with talking about "City of Lost Souls".

The Facts:
Pages: 535
Published in: May 8th 2012

My Opinion:

First off: It's my least favorite out of all the six books. I just don't like the plot in this one because it frustrates me. I somehow get why it was done this way but I didn't find it enjoyable to read and it made me want Sebastian to turn good since I started to like him. And then that was, of course, shattered again.
Apart from that there are lots of things I did enjoy, simply because I love all of these characters. It was lovely to see them grow some more and there were so many hilarious scenes, which is one of my favorite things about Cassandra Clare's books: she has great humor!
I basically live for the interaction between the characters, especially the three main couples (Sizzy, Malec, Clace). They share so many amazing moments and that's the best thing about all of Clare's books: the characters feel so real, so human and you're dying to become their best friend.

Somehow this book felt like a fill-in to get to the epic end that is 'City of Heavenly Fire' so we'll leave it at that. :)

Based on all of that, I give it a solid 7 out of 10 hearts because I still loved it ( aka. Clary, Simon, Jace, Izzy, Magnus, Alec....)

- xoxo Lisa

Samstag, 18. Februar 2017

"City of Fallen Angels" by Cassandra Clare

Hi lovelies! ♥

Today we'll be talking a little about "City of Fallen Angels" which is the fourth book in Cassandra Clare's 'The Mortal Instruments' series. 

SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven't read the first three books, do not read this post.

dat mango though

The story continues right where 'City of Glass' left it: Jace died and came back from the dead because Clare wished so. They try to get back to normal: Clary is training to become a Shadowhunter while Jace has to come to terms with what happened. Not enough, though, because someone is murdering Shadowhunters and clearly, somebody has to do something about that.

Published in 2011

Pages: 424

My opinion

I did a combined review of books one to three from this series, but I plan on doing the other three individually. You may be asking yourself why: it's because to me they have a different feeling to them. I feel like books one to three really belong together. The newer three feel different to me, comparable to Star Wars Episodes 1 - 3 being different than Episodes 4 - 6. The difference though, is the fact they're still the same characters and the story continues chronologically throughout all 6 books.
With that being said, the story continues where City of Glass left off. In 'City of Glass' it kind of became clear that Sebastian/Jonathan didn't die since they didn't find a body. And we know, if there is no body to be found, the evil hasn't died yet. So even though Valentine is dead, his legacy is continued by his son. There is a change in the villain here, but not completely because the same plans are followed. 
This book has a very different feel to it than the first few books, because the characters grew throughout their journey in the first three books. 'City of Fallen Angels' feels darker and more mature. I feel like the story has also lost a bit of its magic because through Clary's eyes, the world and happenings aren't as new anymore. It is missing a bit of that naive innocent world view that she used to have. The characters all have endured so much that they all have lost their...young perspectives, I guess. 
What I really love is that the book shift their view: it is not only about Clary anymore but a lot more about Simon in this one. Simon went through so much since he became a vampire and the book really explores that. We also get more Sizzy and who doesn't want that? 
Of course Clary and Jace's relationship is one of the main focuses but not as much anymore, so for anyone who found them annoying and liked Simon + Izzy or Magnus + Alex more - you will enjoy this a lot.
And that is what I find this book to be more about - how the characters and their relationships develop more than the plot itself - and I have to admit that I don't like the plot and how the story unfolds as much as I liked it in the first three books. I still like the twists it had and they shocked me or came as a surprise, but the book is more worth a read because of the characters than the plot.

With that being said, I give the book a solid rating: 8 out of 10 hearts. Only 8 because I didn't enjoy it as much as the first three books.

Dienstag, 14. Februar 2017

Recommendation: 'Riverdale' on Netflix

Hi there!

Today we'll strive away from books, because I want to recommend a TV show to you: 'Riverdale'! It's currently on Netflix and is updated weekly with a new episode (I know, can't even binge it... I would have looooved to binge it with some ice cream).

Yeah, strong women and a cute redhead, basically.

I'll try to tell you as much as I can.
The show is based on the characters of the same names created by 'Archie Comics'. Cheryl Blossom has just lost her twin brother Jason and the show starts of with the search for his murderer. The redhead above is Archie, who is caught between wanting to make music and playing football. The blonde girl is Betty, whose mother wants her to be a good girl which Betty begins to fight against. Then there is Veronica Lodge, the new girl who used to be a not so nice girl but tries to change. Jughead Jones (played by Cole Sprouse!!!) is an aspiring author and tries to find out what really happened to Jason.

Anyway, that's just a very, very brief summary. And there are only three episodes so far, so it's easy to catch up at this point.

Lemme tell you why I think it's amazing:
I'm a sucker for teenage dramas and mysteries and it's got all that. But instead of being just dramatic, the show focuses on important problems that young people face quite often (Racism, homophobia, slut-shaming). on the other hand it's got these fictional mystery-moments because nobody knows who actually killed Jason. This aspect reflects in the colors and the atmosphere as well, which is so cool.
I also love the vibe of the show: totally 'retro'. The diner, the clothing in many parts, the music and the way it is shot and edited. It's really cool and you should watch it.

So, get your asses on Netflix and catch up. And then be there every Friday, on the edge of your seat either laughing or screaming because it's so good!

-xoxo Lisa

Montag, 6. Februar 2017

January Haul & Wrap-Up

Hi there!
I wanted to show you which books I bought in January and also which ones I actually read in January! I'm very excited to read all of the books I bought! They are very beautiful and I got three hardcovers, which is rare for me because they're so expensive... 

So, as you can see I got:

  • A Walk to Remember by Nicholas Sparks
  • The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
  • Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  • This Savage Song by V.E. Schwab
  • Vampire Academy 10th Anniversary Edition by Richelle Mead
  • Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
  • On The Other Side by Carrie Hope Fletcher
  • Nevernight by Jay Kristoff
  • Die Verschworenen by Ursula Poznanski (one of the best German series, sadly it's not available in English and I wish I could change that)
Which one do you think I should read first? 

Also, I have finished this month: (some have reviews up on this blog and if you click on them, you can read them ^^)
That means I've read a total of six books this months. That's a lot for me since I started studying, because I don't have much time and I need to study a lot. But I really got back into reading and it's been so nice!

Anyway, please tell me which book I should read after I finished TMI again. :)

xoxo Lisa

Mittwoch, 1. Februar 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Current Favorites that aren't books

Hi there!
As always, I have a little post prepared for Top 5 Wednesday and I really like this week's topic: Current favorites that aren't necessarily book-related! That's such a cool topic! Let's just dive right in: 

1) Grey's Anatomy
I had heard so much about Grey's Anatomy that I decided to just take a look and see if it is for me. Since it was available on Amazon Prime I felt like it was a good opportunity to get into it. My boyfriend said he didn't like shows that aren't fun and so he didn't want to join me, at least at first. He found himself overhearing so much and asking me so much about what is happening that suddenly, he's been sitting beside me for all 8 seasons that we have finished so far - sometimes I feel like he loves it even more than I do.
So yeah, currently we're watching Grey's Anatomy and we're loving it!

2) Coffee from my university's Café
It just tastes so good and I find myself getting coffee 2-3 times per week while watching booktube videos (cause one can also get connected to the university's wifi there)! Coffee is life, coffee is love ♥

3) Staedtler fineliner in 36 different colors
I started bullet journaling recently and decided I needed some nice fineliners to properly organize my life - they're really nice and I paid about 15€ for 36 different fineliners!

4) Cookies
I love cookies, always have. And they go so well with coffee...

5) The "Moana" Soundtrack
Just listen to it and you'll know why! *Listen here*

Anyway, that's it for my Top 5 Wednesday. If some of my favorites correspond to yours, please let me know so we can gush about it together!

- xoxo Lisa

Samstag, 28. Januar 2017

"The Mortal Instruments (Book 1 to 3)" by Cassandra Clare

Hi, there!
Today, we'll be talking about one of my all-time favorite series. Since I got all six books for Christmas (got the best boyfriend in the world ♥), I'm currently re-reading them. I'm also trying to further define why I love them so much. Of course I have a nostalgic connection to them, I've loved these books since I read them when I was 12 (that's 7 years, my friends.) Today I'll tell you a little something 'bout my love for the Mortal Instruments!

Quick summary:
The Mortal Instruments are a 6-book series about Clary Fray, a young girl who finds out that she belongs to this magical and dangerous world of the Shadowhunters. Clary is accompanied by her best friend Simon and the Shadowhunters Jace, Alec and Izzy who help her on her quest all through New York to find her mother, who was kidnapped.

Published in: 2007
Pages: 485

I own the new paperbacks which come in a slipcase. The prequel-series ("The Infernal Devices") is also available in a similar slipcase, whose spines all create a picture together.
I really like these covers better than the old ones, they have a certain kind of magical feel to them. Each of the six books show a different character and I think the way they are presented, it really shows their power and the sorrow they go through. I also think they look less 'cheesy' than the old covers, they have a more adult-y feeling to them. Granted, there is a time difference of about 10 years between the first publication of the two different sets, so the style of YA-fantasy covers has changed a lot.
When read, the covers also tell about the story they contain: it shows a character from the book with a favorite weapon or other important pieces. Of course, the reader only understands after having read the books.

My Opinion:
As said before: I have a deep love for them. I first read the first three books when I was 12, so it was around 2011. Back then, I loved the books so much, I tried to make all my friends read them. In 6th grade we also had a little competition in class: everybody could present a book and the whole class was supposed to chose one for reading together. Of course I presented "City of Bones", but sadly I wasn't very popular and the whole class chose the book presented by a popular boy (it was a good book though, so kudos to him!). 
That means I have to admit one thing: I might be a little biased because of this nostalgic love for the books. Nevertheless I tried to read them with a critical eye as well and so I am able to recognize it's flaws whilst still loving them. 
The first three books of the series were also the first books Cassandra Clare published. That means her writing, her style and the plot are just not as 'perfect' as in the new books, for example 'The Infernal Devices' or the newly started series 'The Dark Artifices'. I still love her writing and I'm proud of how much better it got and how much more love and recognition Cassandra Clare is receiving these days. 
With that being said, I certainly think 'City of Bones' is a really good start into the series. Just like the characters themselves, the plot becomes more adult-like and more complex with each book and I think that progress concerning plot and writing fits to the development in the series. 
I think we all can agree when we say: the best aspect of these books are the characters. For me, Cassandra Clare is one of the few authors who can make me love secondary characters as much as the main characters. Alec, Magnus, Izzy, Simon....they all become so important to you and sometimes I think I love them more even than Clary and Jace - that's how good of a writer Clare is, concerning her characters. 
That doesn't mean the plot is bad or less interesting - definitely not! I just think the focus is on the characters, maybe not intentionally, but that's what stands out the most to the readers. 
About the plot: I just love these little connections from book one to three. There are so many little things that suddenly make sense when finishing the first three books (because first, the series was planned as a trilogy, but I do think the third book showed, that there is room for more). For me that means the plot is well thought out - like a big intertwined tree, where all the branches come back to the root. Of course, since it was a re-read for me, I kind of knew all of the big 'secrets' but that made it even better and heightened the suspense: I was screaming at the characters so they would finally realize what I already knew. The story has a lot of twists and turns, so I did a lot of screaming! ;)
The last thing to mention is that amazing atmosphere of New York City. I'm from Germany, I've never been to a city that big so to me, it feels amazing to read about that urban atmosphere and the seemingly endless possibilities. The books I own even contain a map with pictures of the most important settings - it's amazing!

I said before that I tried to read them with a critical eye, so I have to also mention something negative; or I'll try, at least. I can agree that a lot of typical YA-tropes were used in this book and when one has read a lot of YA-fantasy, the books may seem a bit cheesy and the romance a bit annoying. I do think that may be because of how old these first books actually are (10th anniversary is approaching!). 
I also must say that (and that only applies to the first book) the story was a bit worn out for me, because of the TV-Show and the movie and so on. The first book didn't grip me as much as the second one did and I was afraid that the books had lost their magic. They didn't - I just had read and heard of the first book too often. Starting with the second book, they had me turning page for page again. 

With all of these things said, I give my babies a probably biased rating: 10 out of 10. I love them. *mic dropped*

Next time I'll be talking about 'City of Fallen Angels', which is the fourth book in this series. I thought I would talk about the next three books in this series individually, because they're newer and I have only read each of them once when they came out. Hope to see you next time! ♥

-xoxo Lisa

Mittwoch, 25. Januar 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Underrated Books

Hi there!
Back again with a Top 5 Wednesday and this week's topic is 'Favorite Underrated Books' - my time to shine! I'm in love with a lot of books which don't get enough love from the public. So now I'm here to show you some of my favorite beautiful babies!

1. Starcrossed Series by Josephine Angelini

Seriously, why is nobody talking about this series? It's so amazing and to me it's one of the best YA fantasy trilogies. It contains round and dynamic characters, it is based on Greek mythology and contains lots of romance and fantasy - it has everything you need concerning YA Fantasy.
I'll give you a quick summary:
Helen is a not-so-usual 16-year old girl living in Nantucket and lately, she's been having strange dreams. Then suddenly, there is a new boy at school and her first instinct? To claw his eyes out. She doesn't know where this uncontrollable rage comes from and neither does Lucas, the new boy.
I won't give you more, because you have to find out for yourself what is going on. I'll be re-reading them soon since I bought them a few weeks ago. After that I'll give you guys a thorough review for each book. I hope you're as excited for that as I am.

2. Georgina Kincaid Series by Richelle Mead

I think I haven't heard as much of these because they're not YA Fantasy but Adult Fantasy. It's a 6-book series about Georgina Kincaid, a succubus who actually doesn't want to be one - she just wants to be human, find love and live life to the fullest. She can't have that but then she meets Seth, a human man. With that, the story rolls into amazing-ness.
The most amazing parts are, and that is classic for Miss Mead, the characters. They're round, have their flaws and edges. They're dynamic and develop and grow and it's amazing to read that process.
I read all 6 books in one single night. Without knowing what I'm getting myself into, I started reading the first book at about 8pm in the evening. My journey ended the next day at 12am without a pause. My lightbulb blew up because it had been running that long. THAT'S HOW GOOD THE BOOKS WERE. I can only recommend it to everyone, even if you're not into Adult Fantasy, because it doesn't feel like that at all.

3. The Darkest Powers Series by Kelley Armstrong

This is a series I read around the same time that I've also read The Mortal Instruments and Vampire Academy. I would put it in the same category as those two.
The trilogy is about young Chloe Saunders who suddenly sees ghosts and is put into a group home for teenagers with mental illnesses. It turns out that this group home is not what it seems.
I love this series a lot and only a few months ago I re-read it. I still loved it as much as when I was younger. The best part about it are the characters and the romance (even though that is not the main focus, but I just love the romance plot). So if you're the romantic type and still love a good fantasy story, this one is for you!

4. The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison

The Hollows is a fantasy series consisting of thirteen novels. (13!!!) It tells about Rachel Morgan, a witch bounty hunter who tries to keep her city save from rogue vampires and other otherworldly creatures (Fairies, elfs, trolls, demons....).
This one is one of my favorites because it's so cool. Lots of sarcasm, interesting plot and Rachel Morgan is just the coolest witch ever. I would say the series cannot only be put into the genre of fantasy but it also contains elements of crime or detective novels, since Rachel is a bounty hunter/detective for otherworldly crimes.
It is considered as Adult Fantasy, but well, it's really cool, fun and very interesting.

5. Every Day by David Levithan

I think this was the first novel I read by Levithan and I really loved it. It was so different from what I usually read concerning contemporary, because it contains fantasy elements.
'A' wakes up in a different body and life every day. But 'A' is still in love with the same girl every day. And every day, 'A' wants to be with her. Since 'A' woke up in Justin's body and saw his girlfriend Rhiannon, 'A' has been in love.
That, to me, sounded so very intriguing and back then I had to read it (and I did). It is a beautiful love story and it's not just a boy+girl thing, since 'A' doesn't really have a gender. That is something the story explores really well and I encourage anyone who likes fantasy and contemporary to have a look at this book.

That's it from me. About some of these books I'll be talking a bit more in the future, because I want them to get more attention than they currently do. Anyway, I wish you all a very nice day and I thank you a lot for reading my thoughts ♥


Samstag, 21. Januar 2017

"How To Love" by Katie Cotugno

Hi there!
Today I want to talk about "How to Love" by Katie Cotugno. I found it in the book shop and had a quick read of the first few pages. The story sucked me right in which made me buy the book immediately. 

Let's get into a quick summary:

Serena gets pregnant - from Sawyer. She finds out right before he disappears. That's what happened in the past. In the present she has a little daughter that Sawyer knows nothing about and suddenly, he comes back.

I can't tell you anymore without spoiling it, but if you're interested in a story of progress and coming to terms with the past, this one might be for you. If you like drama, romance and contemporary love stories, this one is also for you.

Published in: 2013
Pages: 389

The cover is very simple and the version I have (a paperback) has a cool neon color which stands out a lot. Another thing that caught my eye was the calligraphy-like writing all over it. It looks very pretty to me, without telling anything about the story itself.

My Opinion:
I don't have a lot of negative things to say, except maybe that the plot in it's basics is predictable and made of the same principles like most contemporary novels. I don't mind that though, I always enjoy a good novel with these basics if it manifests in a unique way. "How to Love" did that for me and I will tell you why:
It switches between flashbacks from Serena's teenage-years (falling in love with Sawyer and experiencing teenage troubles) to the present in which Serena has a little daughter and is a young adult with different problems. With these two perspectives the reader has a better chance at learning to love the characters, because one simultaneously reads the reasons for their behavior while reading about their actual self in the present, which for me, leads to a better understanding of their choices.

The flashbacks present a very classic love story of a naive young girl falling in love with the classic "bad boy" she is warned about. The present Serena is different and when her love from the past comes back, she show that she is strong woman who stands up for herself. She doesn't let the boy who disappeared on her treat her like that again. With that perspective, I started out with not liking Sawyer and throughout the story, he did change my mind.
Another thing I liked is that it's not just about the romance but also about family and friendship. Serena's family and the family of Sawyer have not fully processed what happened back then. In process of the story these issues unfold and leave a very interesting read about the development of a family and with that, a young mother.
Katie Cotugno's writing has not left any special impression on me. It was very enjoyable to read and she doesn't have a slow or rather boring style of writing, which adds to the fun. Since the story is very character-driven I can only really say that she did a good job of portraying the characters and their differences.

All I can say is that it was a really joyful and quick read, the story is fast-paced and doesn't lack suspense, which makes it easy to get trough quite quickly. I'd recommend it to anyone who likes a good contemporary novel. With that said, I give it a solid rating: 7 out of 10 hearts.

Thanks for reading, I hope to may having inspired you to pick this one up! If I did, please let me know in the comments ^^

- xoxo Lisa

Mittwoch, 18. Januar 2017

Top 5 Wednesday: Favorite Polarizing Books

Hi there!
I decided to join the current trend of making "Top 5 Wednesday" posts or videos: I think they're quite interesting. I'll try to stick to the dates and their assigned topics, but if there is nothing I can say about a certain topic, I might go back to a different topic that was previously talked about. ^^

This week's topic is "Favorite Polarizing Books: Books that you like and are either really loved or really hated". I had a hard time thinking about this, because I'm mostly on the other side of this spectrum: I don't like books that most people love a lot. I was still able to pick five books/series which polarize a lot of opinions.

1. The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer 
I know this one is hated by a lot of people. Seriously, a lot! But I read this series when I was about 13 and back then, I loved it. It got me more into romantic fantasy and it kind of got me to grow up a bit, at least reading-wise. For the first time I was reading about teenagers instead of middlegrade pupils. The Twilight series was also the first thing I've read fanfiction about, and for a long time I was in the fandom.
So for me, the Twilight series is kind of nostalgic and I always will have a special place for it in my heart.

2. The Vampire Academy series by Richelle Mead
Surprisingly, I have read and heard from a lot of people that they think this series is cheesy and just not really good - I cannot at all agree. I love this series and have been a fan from the moment I started the first book. I have also re-read the series a couple of times and will do so again this year. I love the characters, I think the plot and it's twist are so good and I just love how funny and dramatic and romantic it is. It's got a little of everything.

3. The Mara Dyer Trilogy by Michelle Hodkins
This one was also a surprise to me, when I noticed that many found this series to not be good. I loved it a lot. It had it's amazing thriller elements and was able to keep up the suspense until the end. The characters made me fall in love again and I don't have much negative to say. I know especially the last book is hated a lot and I can agree a little bit that it was not the most perfect ending this series could have gotten, but I still thought it was good.

4. The DUFF by Kody Keplinger
I have read this book a long time, before it was made in to a movie. Back then I really liked the story and my memory of it is still positive. Many people read the book after the movie announcement.  After that I saw a lot of hate for this book, which I do not really get. I know the aspect of judging somebody as a "DUFF" is very problematic, but that is what the book portrays. The love story is also a big point of criticism because it's s cliché and
I really liked the movie as well, so I cannot understand all the hate this book and the movie get.

And, the last one...
5. An Abundance of Katherines by John Green
Liking John Green is, in general, a very polarizing opinion. I do like John Green, I've read every single one of his books and enjoyed them all. The one book which I think gets the most hate is An Abundance of Katherines. The story itself has a rather weird concept and a lot of people think the representation of John Green's classic boy/girl configuration shows problematically in this book, but I don't really understand the stigmata that John Green's books are put under. They're all very enjoyable reads, some more and some less. They're not supposed to be the best thing you've ever read or a perfect representation of every teenager - his stories are just stories in the end.
But I guess that's it: opinions can vary so greatly and book opinions are perfect to show just that.

So that's it from me this week, hope you enjoyed my thoughts on these books. Maybe you agree or totally disagree? Let me know in the comments! :)

- xoxo Lisa

Sonntag, 15. Januar 2017

"Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close" by Jonathan Safran Foer

So I had to read this for my university course about "Literary and Cultural Studies". That was the reason for me to chose this particular class (it's an 8am class, guys!!!); because I expected this book and the discussion about it to be good. Then my teacher turned out to be not so good but I still had this book to look forward to. I do not want to spoil anything for you, so we'll just get into a summary before anything else.

The story consists of two parts which are intertwined. On one hand it tells about little 9-year old Oskar Schell who has lost his father in 9/11. He finds an envelope with a key and the word "Black" written on it which sends him on a hunt through all of New York just to find the fitting lock for that key. The other part mentioned is about his grandparents, how they met and what they endured years before in the bombing of Dresden. 

Published: 2005
Pages: 368

The cover I own, I find very pretty. It's simple and has got nothing to do with the story, but the way the title is composed all over the page, it's interesting and pretty. It would have gotten me to buy it or get it from the library if I didn't have to buy it anyway.

This book has also been made into a movie of the same name, which is on Netflix (at least in Germany and the US). Tom Hanks, Sandra Bullock and more are to be seen in it. 

Which gets us to my review...

I absolutely hated it. Let's start with the good points though. What I liked were the pages with the pictures and other visual elements (pages just filled with numbers or the lines merging together). On one hand I liked them because they meant I had to read fewer pages and on the other they were interesting (more than the story itself). I think the thought behind them was to include a clever mix of different media to show how 'different' and 'special' Oskar's way of thinking was. 
The other thing I liked was the switch of perspective and the different kind of portraying those perspectives. Oskar's story was told like a report of events, like he is talking to the reader and telling him what he experienced. The grandparent's tell their stories in letters, which I liked better because it built up more of a personal connection, or at least proposed the opportunity for it. 
Sadly, there wasn't more I could possibly talk positively about this book. Let's get to the real talk.
The character of Oskar was absolutely pretentious. He is supposed to be a 9-year old kid and I accept that he is probably autistic and just has a different way of thinking (which is supposed to be really adult-y and extraordinary) but he didn't seem authentic at all. I hated him, I found him to be so annoying. I just couldn't stand it. On top of that, his mother allowed him to run around New York all on his own and she didn't seem to care at all. That just adds to this inauthentic feeling I got.
I did like the grandparents better, but just in comparison to Oskar. In general I found them kind of lacking that special something.
Next up would be the plot in general. It just didn't go anywhere. The author built up this beginning with the search for that lock but the conclusion of that was simply unsatisfying and stupid. There wasn't much more to the plot than that. No character development either. Just a very flat and non-suspenseful story. 
Maybe my opinion stems from my dislike for Foer's writing. It's really pretentious and tries so hard to be deep and meaningful, probably to grab all of those prizes that he got (which I can't understand at all, to be honest!). Some pages just recite encyclopedia entries, simply to fill the pages and probably to show how deep and smart Oskar is thinking. 
The last point I'm getting to is the fact that the book is advertised with being about the happenings of 9/11 or at least dealing with it. In truth, it doesn't really. Yes, Oskar's father died on 9/11 but Oskar does not really deal with his problems concerning his death, he only uses his father's tragic death as an excuse to be the way he is and to treat his mother badly.

All in all, one could say that I hated this book a lot, because of the writing, the boring plot and the inauthentic and badly composed characters. Since I want my ratings to be more precise I decided to do it from a scale from 1 to 10 and this book gets exactly 1 'heart' from me. I only finished it because I had to for university. 

So I didn't enjoy it at all and wouldn't recommend it. And if you ever have the decision between a class reading this book and another class, chose the other one!!!

With that I leave you to enjoy my first ever review on this blog. Here's to hopefully many more of them.

- xoxo Lisa