It’s All About Books

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IT’S ALL ABOUT BOOKS… Well, at least books have an important role of my life. They form a way to escape reality; for me to enter a different world. A place where everything is possible, only limited by the imagination of its writer. Like someone famous once said: ‘Reading is to the mind what exercise is to the body‘.

I’ve been reading ever since I was three years old, devouring books by dozens at my hometown library. I continued reading all the way through high school, and later decided to study Spanish Language And Culture and read some more. A few years ago I started travelling, and that’s when the idea came up to start keeping track of the books I’ve read… Hence this blog It’s All About Books was born, with reviews of all the books I’ve been reading since November 2012.

Before I leave I would like to say that I’m always looking for new books to add to my TBR list, and I would love any recommendations you might think of. I’m trying to broaden my literary horizon, so I’m open to practically any literary genre…:)

Listing The Reading

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listingthereading Below you can find a complete list of the books I’ve been reading since November 2012 in reading order…  Please note that I’m in the process of improving my blog and reviews, and only reviews with link and rating are to be considered up-to-standard. I’m hoping to finish the improvements as soon as possible…

>>>For easy browsing, also check out the lists of reviews by AUTHOR, RATINGTITLE and SERIES.<<<

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Friday Finds #88 – May 27th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Babs Book Bistro and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Below a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page! 😀

My finds:

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BOOK REVIEW: Dumplin’ – by Julie Murphy

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Title: Dumplin’
Author: Julie Murphy
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
First published: December 22nd 2015
Finished reading: May 15th 2016
Pages: 375
Rating 2qqq

“I hate seeing fat girls on TV or in movies, because the only way the world seems to be okay with putting a fat person on camera is if they’re miserable with themselves or if they’re the jolly best friend. Well, I’m neither of those things.”

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This novel by Julie Murphy has been recommended numerous times to me in the past and I was excited to finally read it. But while I really wanted to like this story, Dumplin’ has turned out to be yet another ‘unpopular opinion’ book. And it’s not like I shouldn’t be able to connect with the main character, because basically I have been struggling with my weight myself during most of my life (especially during high school)… But I don’t think this story actually portrays the image body positivity it seems to be wanting to promote. First of all, the main character Willowdean is actually quite a bitch. It is one thing to accept your body and try to be immune what others might say to you, but that doesn’t mean she has to treat the people close to her the way she does. Also, the fact that her own mother consistantly calls her Dumplin was quite annoying; how disrespectful can you be towards your own kid?! Dumplin’ was also packed with stereotypes, I wasn’t sure what to think of the whole cliche Miss Clover City beauty pageant in the first place and like I said before: there was a lot of unnecessarily bullying and negative comments involved that didn’t exactly show that teenagers should just accept their bodies. To make things even worse: there was even an completely unnecessary love triangle included in this story. The horror! Having two boys pining over Willowdean doesn’t make her seem more popular or shows she is ‘ready’ to accept who she is. And I’m not even talking about they way she treats them. So as you might have guessed, even though Dumplin’ was quite a fast read and had an interesting premise, I can’t exactly say I enjoyed it. This seems to be one of those books you either love or hate though, so don’t give up on it if you think you might enjoy it.

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Willowdean Dickson has always accepted her body as it is, even though not even her own mother and former beauty queen mom might not feel the same. Dumplin had inspiration closeby: her own aunt always tried to show her that she shouldn’t let other people stop her from doing the things she wants just because of her weight. Together with her best friend Ellen things have always seemed fine, but things change when Will takes a job at the local fast-food joint Harpy’s. One of her new collegues is the attractive Bo, and to Will’s surprise he seems to be interested in her as well. She doesn’t know what to make of his intentions and starts doubting herself… And to make things worse: she and Ellen seem to be slowly growing apart. What happens next might change Will’s life forever: she decides to enter the same Miss Clover City beauty pageant her own mother won in the past to show that she deserves to participate as much as those other girls. But is it really worth it?

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I really wanted to enjoy Dumplin’, but now I’ve read it I don’t think it is actually worth the hype. The main character isn’t exactly likeable and I don’t like the way Willowdean treated the others OR the way the ‘unlikely’ contestants were treated. Add the many stereotypes, unnecessary bullying, negative comments and annoying love triangle to the mix and there just wasn’t any other conclusion possible than that I wasn’t convinced by this story. I know many people love this book, but unfortunately I wasn’t one of them.

BOOK REVIEW: See How They Run – by Ally Carter

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Title: See How They Run
(Embassy Row #2)
Author: Ally Carter
Genre: YA, Mystery. Thriller
First published: December 22nd 2015
Finished reading: May 14th 2016
Pages: 336
Rating 4qqq

“I’ve been wrong, and I’ve been crazy. But this is the first time I’ve ever truly felt like a fool.”

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I remember loving the first book All Fall Down last year and the wait for the sequel was a long one. But somehow, when See How They Run was finally published, I never ended up reading it straight away. Why is still a mystery, but I’m glad I finally did manage to read the sequel. See How They Run might not be as good as the first book in my opinion, but it was still a very quick and entertaining read. I think the wait for the third book is going to be even more painful after that cliffhanger ending… Without doubt a huge surprise! I liked the conspiracy plot in the sequel, and the prose was just as good as ever. Embassy Row is my first Ally Carter series, but I’m definitely going to pick up more of her work in the future. The story itself is fast-paced and I like the international feel and the history behind the country where the story is set (Adria). What made me like See How They Run slightly less than the first book is that the main character Grace is starting to sound more and more self-absorbed and it is getting annoying. I understand she has had some pretty bad experiences in the past, but it tiring to constantly read how broken and messed up she is and that people should stay away… And I’m not sure about Alexei either. Still, I will be waiting impatiently until the next book is published next year.

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WARNING: Possible spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the first book yet. I’ll keep the summary super short but it’s impossible to keep it completely spoiler-free…

Grace still isn’t over whatever happened that day her mom died, and it seems like her past has come back to haunt her. She might be in danger yet again, and this time she won’t be the only one who will get hurt if she doesn’t stop it on time. Embassy Row is a complicated place, and one wrong move can completely destroy the fragile balance… Especially between countries with a history like the US and Russia. That one night at a party turns into something a whole lot darker, and soon Grace and her friends will have to work together to find out what really happened before people draw the wrong conclusions and others get hurt. But who can be trusted?

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Like I said before, See How They Run is not as good as the first book, but only by little and mostly because of Grace. The prose itself is easy to read and as good as ever, and together with a solid plot and many plot twists it is without doubt an entertaining read. The cliffhanger ending can be taken both ways, especially since the third book will recently be published in 2017, but it definitely leaves room for another very intriguing story. If you like a good YA spy thriller, make sure to pick up this series.

WWW Wednesdays #92 – May 25th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is a weekly meme hosted by Sam @ Taking On A World Of Words and is all about answering the three questions below.

Note: I’m actually out of town right now, but will be back before the weekend… Gotta love the post scheduling option!😉

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have been seriously neglecting one of my favorite genres lately, so I decided to put all my planned books on hold and pick up a proper whodunit: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain. I’m not far into it yet, but I hope to finish it before I come back! Also, I will try to read The Little Prince by Antoine De Saint-Exupéry during my trip. I’m ashamed to admit I have never read this classic, but better late than never right?

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I managed to finish is Binge by Tyler Oakley, which turned out to be a really entertaining memoir even though I hadn’t heard from the author before.
* I’ve also finished Hero by Belinda Crawford, a very enjoyable ARC with an interesting worldbuilding, no romance and a fast pace. Definitely recommended!
* I also finally picked up my Spanish copy of the first Harry Potter book again. I have been wanting to read more books in Spanish and it was the perfect excuse to reread this series… Because no matter what language the story is told in, it always stays magical (Although I prefer the original version). I found out while reading Harry Potter Y La Piedra Filosofal that I’m still able to read Spanish with a ‘fast’ pace, so I’m quite a happy camper right now.😀

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Once again I haven’t been able to start any of the books I wanted to read last week…Whcih is partly to blame to the lack of time and I was in the mood for different genres as well. But I’m going to try and read them this week though! First up is another ARC: Housebroken by The Behrg. I haven’t read a good horror story in too long, so I’m really looking forward to it. I also want to read Out Of The Easy by Ruta Sepetys, but I’m probably going to read A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas first since I’m not sure how much longer I am going to be able to resist the temptation.😉 My newest TBR jar pick is still The Opposite Of Loneliness by Marina Keegan.

BOOK REVIEW: Stars Above – by Marissa Meyer

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Title: Stars Above
(The Lunar Chronicles #4.5)
Author: Marissa Meyer
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Retelling
First published: February 2nd 2016
Finished reading: May 13th 2016
Pages: 369
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“The first time, he had wondered why she liked books so much, and if it had anything to do with why he liked spaceships. Because they could take you somewhere far, far away.”

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As I’ve done with previous short story collections, I will write a short summary with my opinion on each of these nine stories rather than write a conventional review. The Lunar Chronicles has been one of my favorite series I’ve read last year and it is always great to revisit this world. Marissa Meyer is probably one of my favorite authors, although I did enjoy the actual series better than most of these short stories. Two of these are an exception though: The Princess And The Guard and Something Old, Something New. I loved these two, especially the epilogue! If you have enjoyed reading the series, I would definitely recommend Stars Above, although some stories are better than others.

WARNING: SPOILERS! Make sure to only continue reading if you have already read the series… I’ve tried to keep it spoiler free, but it’s kind of hard with some of the stories.

The Keeper (4/5)  This story is a prequel to the series and shows how Princess Selene first arrived at the house of Michelle Benoit and Scarlet. A really enjoyable story and I loved little Scarlet!

Glitches (4/5) REVIEW I actually read this one last year; feel free to read the full review. The story is a prequel to Cinder and tells us about how the results of the plague start to take a toll on Cinder.

The Queen’s Army (3/5) REVIEW I read this story last year as well; feel free to read the full review. This is a prequel to Scarlet and tells us more about the army Queen Levana is creating.

Carswell’s Guide To Being Lucky (3/5)  Thorne is probably one of my favorites, but I didn’t really like the arrogant thirteen-year-old version of him. Sure, it shows how determined he is to get his own ship, but I prefer the adult Thorne of the main series.

After Sunshine Passes By (4/5) This story is a prequel to Cress and tells us more about Cress ended up on a satellite in the first place. Poor Cress! A very interesting story.

The Princess And The Guard (4,5/5) This is one of the stories I have been looking forward most, because of the characters. It’s a prequel to Winter and I really loved this story. Winter and Jacin are simply made for each other.

The Little Android (3,5/5) REVIEW I already read this one last year; feel free to read the full review. It’s a retelling of The Little Mermaid, but set in the world of this series.

The Mechanic (3/5) This is another prequel to Cinder and tells us about Kai and Cinder’s first meeting from Kai’s POV. It was nice to read it from Kai’s perspective, but it didn’t add anything new to the story..

Something Old, Something New (5/5) This is by far the best story of the bunch and the one I was looking forward most. It’s an epilogue to Winter and tells us more about what happens to the main characters after the facts. It’s basically everything I wanted and more to end this excellent series!

Teaser Tuesdays #95 – May 24th: Heartsick

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. To participate, just open the book you are currently reading to a random page, and choose two ‘teaser’ sentences from somewhere on that page. (no spoilers!)

I’ve only just started reading Heartsick by Chelsie Cain, but I’m excited to be reading a proper whodunit again. I have been neglecting the mystery/thriller genre way too much lately! This series has been recommended to me a couple of times in the past, so hopefully this book will be just as good as I hope it is.

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My teaser (24%):

“What bothered Susan was a growing certainty that this profile was a bad idea for Archie Sheridan. That he had things to hide, and that she was going to find them out. He should not have agreed to any of this.”

What are you reading right now?

BOOK REVIEW: Leaving Time – by Jodi Picoult

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Title: Leaving Time
Author: Jodi Picoult
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Paranormal
First published: October 14th 2014
Finished reading: May 13th 2016
Pages: 416
Rating 3,5qqq

“I think grief is like a really ugly couch. It never goes away. You can decorate around it; you can slap a doily on top of it; you can push it to the corner of the room—but eventually, you learn to live with it.”

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I personally hadn’t heard of this title before it was chosen as this month’s The Revolving Shelf book club read, but I wasn’t too worried about it since I really enjoyed reading Jodi Picoult‘s other novel The Storyteller last year. And while the plot of Leaving Time is completely different from that novel, I still very much enjoyed reading this story. The plot is basically a missing person (cold) case mixed with a dash of paranormal and a healthy dose of elephant facts. I have admired this stately animals ever since I was little, so I was very pleasantly surprised with the role they played throughout the story. Jenna’s mother Alice goes missing when she is little, and her mother’s study on elephant grief is relevant to both the elephants and human characters in the story. The chapters switch between the POV of different characters and are set both in the past and present. It takes a while to get a proper idea of what is really going on and it might slow down the pace quite a bit, but the ending is without doubt a surprise. The paranormal elements as well as the initial clash between two unlikely allies Virgil and Serenity make typical missing murder case a lot more interesting as well… In short Leaving Time is without doubt an interesting read and worth reading if you like the genre, although I still prefer her other novel The Storyteller.

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Jenna Metcalf’s mother Alice vanished when she was only three years old, and she has been trying to find out where her mother went ever since. Her grandmother doesn’t exactly encourage her, but that doesn’t stop Jenna from searching online, rereading her journals on studying grief among elephants and leaving no stone unturned. She decides it’s about time to take more drastic measures, and calls in the help of two unlikely allies. The first is Serenity Jones, a psychic for missing people who seems to have lost her gift after a big case went wrong. Serenity doubts her gift, but Jenna is determined to get her help anyway. The other is Virgil Stanhope, a PI with a complicated background who originally investigated the case when Alice first went missing. Virgil isn’t sure how he can help the girl either, but the three slowly start putting together the pieces of the past anyway… With a very surprising outcome.

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While I didn’t love Leaving Time as much as I thought I would, I still quite enjoyed reading this story. Some of the plot might not be all that credible, but I liked the mix of paranormal elements and a typical mystery read. The elephant info was a huge bonus, although I can understand why some people might see the many facts as something potentially boring or even annoying. It is without doubt something that is an acquired taste… The story has quite a few plot twists though and it has an ending you definitely won’t see coming!