Friday Finds #20 – January 9th

fridayfinds

FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during, in this case, the last two weeks and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Somehow I never seem to be able to blog or read too much during summer, so there are not a lot of new titles on my TBR for now. I’m also trying not to buy any new books until I’ve managed to downsize my TBR pile… (Yes, the infamous book buying ban!) We’ll see how long that will last; for now here are the newest additions to my wishlist:

My finds:

ffjan9

BOOK REVIEW: Clockwork Prince – by Cassandra Clare

brclockworkprince

Title: Clockwork Prince
(The Infernal Devices Trilogy #2)
Author: Cassandra Clare
Genre: YA, Steampunk, Fantasy, Paranormal
First published: December 1st 2011
Finished reading: January 2nd 2015
Pages: 528
Rating 4,5

“We live and breathe words. It was books that kept me from taking my own life after I thought I could never love anyone, never be loved again. It was books that made me feel that perhaps I was not completely alone. They could be honest with me, and I with them.”

myrambles1review

After a very disappointing last read of 2014, I needed a book that would guarantee at least a few hours of reading pleasure to make up for it. One of my goals for 2015 is to finally finish some of the series I’ve already started, so I decided to start the year trying to make a dent into the very long list of unfinished series. I really enjoyed the first book of The Infernal Devices trilogy, and since I had book two and three already waiting for my on my TBR pile, I decided to read Clockwork Prince next. The steampunk Victorian world Cassandra Clare sets her story in is without doubt interesting and I love the main characters. Tess, Will, Jem, Sophie, Magnus Bane… It’s hard to pick just one favorite character. The only thing I couldn’t really appreciate is the love triangle between Tess, Will and Jem; I don’t like cheesy romance and their relationship is on the border of becoming just that. But I will forgive Clare because the rest of the sequel is awesome… With some mayor twists in the last few pages that makes you want to read the third and final book straight away. Without doubt recommended to those who enjoy YA fantasy!

shortsummary1review

I don’t want to spoil the fun for those who haven’t read the trilogy yet… So I strongly suggest not reading this summary unless you did, since it’s almost impossible to write a spoiler free summary of this sequel.

Tessa Gray is still living with the Shadowhunters in the London Institute, but her safety is in the line when some key members are plotting against Charlotte (the head of the Institute). If they succeed in replacing her, Tessa will be homeless again and an easy prey for the Magister. The Magister is desperate to get Tessa in order to use her powers to finish his dark plans; his powers are increasing and various important characters are following his orders. The clockwork army he is building is becoming stronger by the day and soon will be almost impossible to destroy…

Charlotte is set with an ultimatum in order to keep the Institute; find the exact location of the Magister and she can keep her post. It seems like the Magister started the war with the Shadowhunters seeking revenge, and slowly the members of the London Institute gather more information about his past. But not only information about the Magister is revealed; Tessa and Will also learn more about their past… And Jem is still fighting the disease that will kill him one day. They all have to make some difficult decisions during the search for Mortmain; decisions that will affect and endanger others. Will they find the Magister on time?

finalthoughtsreview

I’ve said it before with Clockwork Angel, but I’m enjoying the prequel trilogy way better than the actual The Mortal Instruments series. I’m not sure if it is because of the setting, the steampunk elements, the book quotes or the characters, but The Infernal Devices trilogy just works. The amount of romance is on the border of being too much for my taste, but the rest of the story makes up for it. Warning: Clockwork Prince ends with some mayor announcements that will make you want to pick up the last book Clockwork Princess straight away. I know I did! I’m glad I didn’t start reading this series when it was first published… Because if I would have had to wait for more than a year to know what would happen next, it would have driven me crazy for sure.

WWW Wednesdays #23 – January 7th

wwwwednesdays

Originally featured at Should Be Reading, WWW WEDNESDAYS is all about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

14064My TBR jar this time gave me a better result with I Am Legend. This classic horror/SF story is more my cup of tea and I’m enjoying this novel by Richard Matheson so far. If I can find some free time today, I will probably finish it since it’s quite a short story!

 

 

  • What did you recently finish reading?

clockworkprinceclockworkprincessAfter first having read Clockwork Prince, I just HAD to read the final book in The Infernal Devices trilogy straight away. I mean, after the bombs Cassandra Clare drops on us in the last pages of book two, I just HAD to know what was going to happen next. Clockwork Princess did have too much romance in it for my taste, but I’m still glad to have finished my first series (trilogy) this year!

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

gonegirlgardensofthemoonI will probably either read Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn or Gardens Of The Moon by Steven Erikson. I’ve been wanting to read both titles for ages now, and I think it is about time I finally pick them up.

Teaser Tuesdays #26 – January 6th: I Am Legend

teasertuesdays

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Should Be Reading. 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’m trying to keep my promise to start using my TBR jar again, and this time I Am Legend by Richard Matheson was the result. I’ve only started it today so I’m not too far into the story yet… I’m curious to see if the book is better than the movie, because I’m having the feeling that it will be that way. This novel is also conveniently the first book for The Official 2015 TBR Pile Challenge and The Dusting Off The Shelf 2015 Challenge. 😀

14064“His unkept hair rustled on the pillow as he looked toward the clock. Two in the morning. Two days since he’d buried her. Two eyes looking at the clock, two ears picking up the hum of its electric chronology, two lips pressed together, two hands lying on the bed.”

 

What are you reading right now?

BOOK REVIEW: The Next Best Thing – by Jennifer Weiner

brthenextbestthing

Title: The Next Best Thing
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Genre: Fiction, Romance, Contemporary
First published: July 1st 2012
Finished reading: December 29th 2014
Pages: 448
1

“You don’t get perfect-but I was going to grab this happiness and hold it as tightly as I could. I was going to enjoy it for as long as it lasted.”

myrambles1review

I had promised myself to start using my TBR jar again as soon as I finished the Bookish Bingo challenge. I guess that didn’t work out the way I planned… Instead of getting a nice surprise and a refreshing read, I got The Next Best Thing. Which ended up being closer to my next worst nightmare than anything else. Sure, a contemporary romance novel isn’t exactly my cup of tea in most cases and the problem with this book could have been me. Still I struggled and had to literally force myself to finish this book, crossing my fingers things would get better later on. Unfortunately, the tremendous amount of cliches, boring characters and bad storyline in general just make me think I’ve wasted my time reading this book. If you are into contemporary romance, you might like this novel by Jennifer Weiner, who knows? But if you don’t, it’s best to stay far away from The Next Best Thing.

shortsummary1review

Ruth Saunders was left without parents and with terrible scars on her face and body after an accident when she was a little girl. She was raised by her grandmother and now that she has grown up, she is determined to make it as a screenwriter in Hollywood. She moves to Los Angeles with her grandmother and soon discovers it is harder than she thought to get a job without the typical pretty face… And while she gets a job in the end writing for a different show, this is not what her dream is. She has written her own show, The Next Best Thing, and desperately tries to convince the big guys of approving her show. When she finally succeeds and she gets the green light to run her own show, she doesn’t realize things won’t go as she had planned initially. Soon enough the show she had originally written is being altered piece by piece, leaving it without its original message. And there is nothing Ruth can do about it. And not only that, certain men are causing her problems and try to break her heart…

finalthoughtsreview

Even writing the short summary made me realize how much I disliked The Next Best Thing and I wonder how I managed to finish this novel. I’ve heard Jennifer Weiner‘s earlier books are way better, but I don’t think I will give those a try after having read this one. The cliches, bad storytelling and boring characters just ruined it for me. It might have been a case of not-for-me, but unless you love contemporary romance and cliches, my advice would be to stay away from this one.

BOOK REVIEW: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story – by Ned Vizzini

britskindofafunnystory2

Title: It’s Kind Of A Funny Story
Author: Ned Vizzini
Genre: YA, Fiction, Contemporary
First published: 2006
Finished reading: December 27th 2014
Pages: 444
Rating 5

“People are screwed up in this world. I’d rather be with someone screwed up and open about it than somebody perfect and ready to explode.”

myrambles1review

This book has been on my TBR pile for quite some time now, and I’m glad I finally came around reading it. It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is without doubt a book with a powerful message about (teen) suicide, and it cannot be ignored that a little over a year ago Ned Vizzini unfortunately chose the same fate. His death does make you analyse this novel in a different way and it was hard to put a rating to his words. I have tried anyway. It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is well written, the characters feel real and Ned Vizzini was able to mix rather heavy subjects with humor. It’s a book that will leave its mark; It’s Kind Of A Funny is unique, in a good way. Definitely recommended and one of the best books I’ve read in 2014!

shortsummary1review

Teenage Craig is what you call overambitious and is determined to do everything to achieve the best possible results and future. He forgets about everything else as he studies practically day and night to get into Manhattan’s Executive Pre-Professional High School, and when he finally gets in, the pressure to continue on this high level becomes too much. His ‘friend’ Aaron gets him into drugs, and soon he is starting to feel down. He stops eating and sleeping, wondering what to do with life, and how to continue. Then one night, he nearly kills himself.

Craig was saved by nobody else than himself. He checks himself into a nearby hospital, and is soon transferred to the mental ward. At first he is not sure if he really wants to be there, but soon he realizes this is the best place to finally confront his current situation and possibly find a solution. He slowly improves and when he rediscovers his talent of drawing maps, he becomes ‘famous’ among the other patients. They are not just any maps, but maps that show what is going on inside different brains…

finalthoughtsreview

It’s Kind Of A Funny Story is not only a moving story about a teenager who is trying to recover from a serious depression; it is so much more. Ned Vizzini was able to create a very unique tale that is without doubt worth reading. The mix of serious themes with interesting prose and humor makes this book a must read for those who enjoy reading contemporary books and are interested in reading about mental health. I sincerly hope Ned Vizzini went to a better place, and I thank him for leaving behind his words and beliefs in the form of this powerful book. Again, a must read!

Reading Goals: 2015 Edition

2015readinggoals

With the new year already being two days old, it is time to sit down and think about my reading goals for 2015. Last December I managed to read 8 more books with a total of 2.617 pages, bringing the total number of books read in 2014 to 91 and the number of pages to 31.983. Way higher than I originally anticipated, and a number I probably won’t be able to reach this year. Then again, I won’t be looking for quantity this year; I will be trying to read slower, enjoy more and above all read books I have been wanting to read for ages. More concretely, these will be my goals:

READING:

  • I’ve set my Goodreads goal to read 60 books; 31 books less than my final number last year. Like I said before, I will be aiming for quality, not quantity.
  • weekend-reading1Read at least 5 classics (only those I haven’t read before count)
  • Finish rereading the Harry Potter series (last three books left)
  • Complete at least 5 series (can be trilogy as well; rereads don’t count)
  • Bring my physical TBR pile below 50 books and keep it that way (currently 85 books are waiting to be read…)
  • Read at least one book over 800 pages
  • Read at least 5 books in Spanish
  • Join at least 5 challenges during the year

 

bloggingBLOGGING:

  • Finish and improve all my older reviews
  • Update more frequently and try not to get too behind with reviews (example: I still have to write the last two reviews for last year… Oops!)
  • Be more active in the community and try to comment more. I always try to, but somehow it is hard to find enough time to read, blog AND comment on the blogs I follow…