Friday Finds #24 – February 20th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads. Before I continue with my newest finds, first some kitty news! They are a little over three weeks old and growing fast… I wish I could keep them all! ❤

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On to my finds this week:

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WWW Wednesdays #27 – February 18th

wwwwednesdaysOriginally featured at Should Be Reading and now hosted by Sam at Taking On A World Of Words, WWW WEDNESDAYS is still about answering the following three questions:

  • What are you currently reading?

theoceanattheendofthelanethesecretgardenI’m about to finish The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman, and I must say I’m absolutely loving this adult fantasy story with magical realism elements. I have a feeling this one will have a high rating! And since I’m going to start The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett today, I’m counting this classic as one of my current reads as well. This one is part of my TBR pile challenge and I’m looking forward finally reading it.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

beautifulruinsI finished Beautiful Ruins by Jess Walter the other day, and I cannot say I’m impressed much. I enjoyed the chapters set in Italy; the descriptions just made me want to travel to Italy straight away. The other chapters: a lot of cliches, too much romance involved… Not that good. A full review will be posted later this week.

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

gardensofthemoonI will probably finally give in and read Gardens Of The Moon by Steven Erikson. I have been wanting to read this one for ages now, and I guess it is about time I read it. Although I might end up reading a mystery/thriller/crime novel instead…

Teaser Tuesdays #30 – February 17th: The Ocean At The End Of The Lane

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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’ve just started reading The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman. This book has been on my TBR pile for ages after having read and loved other books by the same author. I’m so glad I’m finally reading this one! 😀

theoceanattheendofthelane“Ursula Monkton smiled, and the lightnings wreathed and writhed about her. She was power incarnate, standing in the crackling air. She was the storm, she was the lightning, she was the adult world with all its power and it’s secrets and all its foolish casual cruelty.”

 

What are you reading right now?

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix – by J.K. Rowling

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Title: Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix
(Harry Potter Series #5)
Author: J.K. Rowling
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: June 21st 2003
Finished reading: February 14th 2015
Pages: 796
Rating 4

“Youth can not know how age thinks and feels. But old men are guilty if they forget what it was to be young.”

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Harry Potter And The Order Of The Phoenix has always been my least favorite Harry Potter book of the bunch. Don’t get me wrong; I still love the series, but I guess the main problem I have with this fifth book is that I absolutely despise Umbridge. Her character isn’t supposed to be likeable, but still… Both the last chapters of the fourth book and fifth book mark a turning point in the life of Harry, where he is forced to deal with death and the fact that Lord Voldemort has returned. Harry is growing up, and the books get only darker as the story continues. The initial innocence is gone, and the last few books of the series are definitely not suited for the youngest audience. I remember crying the first time I read the ending… Sirius has always been one of my favorite characters and sometimes I wish J.K. Rowling would have mentioned him and the other Animagi characters more frequently. Who knows, maybe one day?

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WARNING: Spoilers! Please don’t read this summary if you haven’t read the previous books yet...

After Harry Potter’s fourth year at Hogwarts ended terribly with the death of Cedric and return of Voldemort, he still had to go back to his aunt and uncle during summer. His friends and godfather Sirius seem to have forgotten him as they are busy with the order of the phoenix; a group of witches and Wizards working together to fight Voldemort. Things change when two Dementors show up and attack both Harry and his cousin, forcing the young wizard to protect both of them and use magic in front of a Muggle. The Ministry Of Magic tried to expell him, but Dumbledore interfered and Harry has to go to a hearing instead deciding his fate. The problem is that Harry is the only one who actually saw Voldemort’s return, and The Ministry Of Magic doesn’t want people to believe Harry and let the panic of his return spread. All summer long they have been running an anti-Harry and Dumbledore campaign, but it hasn’t been completely succesful… For now.

Things are about to change at Hogwarts as the Ministry decides to interfere. They have appointed Umbridge as the new Defense Against The Dark Arts teacher, and soon it shows that the Ministry doesn’t want the students to know how to defend themselves. Paranoid that Dumbledore is trying to create an army to fight against the Ministry, Umbridge has the task to slowly take control of the school and make sure everything is up to standard… And she turns out to be a true dictator in pink disguise. Harry now has to fight both against the numerous decrees of Umbridge and the all too real dreams he has been having… How long will it be before Voldemort shows himself again?

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The prose is as good as ever even though the story gets darker as Harry ages. The parts with Umbridge read slower and I found them annoying in general, but that is probably mostly because of my dislike for this character. While this is my least favorite Harry Potter book, I still enjoyed reading it and even discovered a few facts I didn’t remember. All in all this reread was another magical journey to the world of Harry Potter; one I cannot get enough of.  Recommended as it’s part of the series and necessary to understand the rest of the books!

Book Review Policy

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Authors and publishers have contacted me in the past with the request of reviewing their book, and I’m grateful for them to consider It’s All About Books. I always enjoy discovering new authors and books and I tend to read books from a wide variety of genres. If you are a publisher or an author looking for someone to write an honest review of your book, you can contact me through my Contact Info page; I will get back to you as soon as possible.

Please note the following information before sending me a review request:

Please note that since I’m living in Argentina, the easiest way for me to review your book is in e-book form. Any format compatible with kindle would be highly appreciated. I will try to read and review the book that has been sent to me as soon as time allows and post my review both on my blog, Twitter, Goodreads and Amazon US.

25/02/2017: IMPORTANT: due to the enormous backlog of books currently on my readinglist, it will most likely take me at least FOUR MONTHS before I will be able to start a new title. Until further notice, I’m afraid I can only accept a limited amount of requests and I will have to decline any requests where a fast review is required.

My reviews always follow this standard format:

  • The details of the book I’ve read (title/author/publish date/page count etc)
  • The rating which gives a general idea of my opinion according to my Rating System.
  • A quote to give those who read my reviews an initial feel of the story.
  • My Rambles, where I give my opinion of the book.

All my reviews are 100% my honest opinion and therefore I cannot garantuee a (completely) positive review OR a garantueed 4 to 5 star rating. To give an idea of the books I like and don’t like to read, I’ve listed both my top 5 favorite genres and the genres/elements I don’t read.

TOP 5 FAVORITE genres

  1. Mystery/Thriller/Crime
  2. Historical Fiction
  3. Fantasy
  4. YA
  5. Memoirs/True Crime

What I DON’T read:

# Anything with (cheesy) romance or (romantic) cliches. Tropes like insta-love and love triangle are likewise a huge turn off.
# Erotica, sexy scenes, adult content etc.
# Anything involving vampires. I’m sorry, but if your story is about vampires, there is a 99,9% chance I won’t like it. Therefore I’ve decided to not read any new stories that have the slightest hint of fanged characters.
# Religious/inspirational stories. Especially if they sound preachy.
# Business/Financial.
# Political.

Thank you for taking the time to read my review policy! If you have any further questions you can ask them through the contact page.


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BOOK REVIEW: Beautiful Creatures – by Kami Garcia

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Title: Beautiful Creatures
(Caster Chronicles #1)
Author: Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: 2009
Finished reading: February 10th 2015
Pages: 563
Rating 5

“Mortals. I envy you. You think you can change things. Stop the universe. Undo what was done long before you came along. You are such beautiful creatures.”

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I picked up a copy of Beautiful Creatures a few months ago without exactly knowing what it was about, and I’m glad I did. I absolutely LOVED this first book in the Caster Chronicles! I have been having problems finding good YA fantasy series lately since so many sound quite similar and are packed with (cheesy) romance scenes. I’m not a big fan of the romance genre so I tend to avoid books that are classified as romance, but I’m glad I did read this novel by Kami Garcia and Margareth Stohl anyway. The dose of romance is just right and doesn’t distract you from the plot; the relationship between the main characters Ethan and Lena plays a big role in the curse that affects the Duchannes family. The prose is easy to read with many interesting book references that actually make sense. Historical facts about the Civil War are brilliantly mixed with the magical elements and the fast pace and plot twists just make you want to keep on reading. The Casters are surely a bunch of interesting people and I love the idea of them having a hidden library with all kinds of interesting books and secret passages. Beautiful Creatures is without doubt a must read for those who enjoy reading YA fantasy!

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Lena Duchannes is new in town, but that is not her only problem. There is a curse that affects her family and the consequences will be known on her sixteenth birthday… Then, the Book will decide her fate and show her if she is Light or Dark. Lena and her family are Casters and have special powers that they have to hide from the Mortals. Even before Lena gets to know the people in the Southern town she moved to, they already judge her. She is different than others and the fact that she is now living with her strange uncle Macon Ravenwood doesn’t help her fit in either. But Ethan Wate doesn’t seem to matter. He has been having strange dreams lately and when it turns out that Lena is in them, he is dying to find out more about her.

The story is narrated by Ethan and we get to know the Caster world through an outsider. Slowly, Lena and Ethan become friends and they are aware there is a special bond between them. Mortals and Casters aren’t supposed to be together, but they soon find out they were not the first in their family to fall in love… Their ancestors were in love with each other during the Civil War, but fate decided to end their relationship brutally and the curse was born. It is now up to Ethan and Lena to find a way to fight the curse and prevent Lena from becoming a Dark Caster… But they do not know the full story and things are not as easy as it seems. Meanwhile the clock is ticking… Will they find a solution on time?

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The historical facts, the male POV and the magical elements made Beautiful Creatures into one of my favorite reads this year and one of my favorite YA fantasy series in general. The Casters are not exactly witches and they have some very interesting supernatural powers; the intriguing part is that not all of them know exactly what they can do and you see them slowly discovering their potential. The growing relationship between Ethan and Lena is crucial for the development of the story and therefore it didn’t bother me at all. The main characters are interesting, the plot is great and the different elements are mixed brilliantly. Do I have to say more? I LOVED this novel and I would definitely say it is a must read.

Friday Finds #23 – February 13th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Should Be Reading and showcases the most interesting books I’ve encountered during the last week and have added to my neverending TBR list on Goodreads.

My finds this week:

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