BOOK REVIEW: Vampire Academy – by Richelle Mead

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Title: Vampire Academy
(Vampire Academy #1)
Author: Richelle Mead
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: August 16th 2007
Finished reading: April 28th 2015
Pages: 332
Rating 2

“The greatest and most powerful revolutions often start very quietly, hidden in the shadows. Remember that.”

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I already knew I probably wasn’t going to enjoy reading Vampire Academy before I actually started reading it. I’m normally not a fan of vampire novels, especially when they include teenage vampires and cheesy romance scenes. But since I needed a Forgotten Fridays Pick for my Bookish Bingo Spring challenge and I already had a copy of this novel by Richelle Mead on my shelf, I decided to give it a go anyway. I must admit I nearly ended up DNFing Vampire Academy. The main character Rose is such an annoying, arrogant and despicable pain in the *** that I had a really hard time concentrating on the story itself. The idea of having different types of vampires itself is interesting and I like the idea of the teenagers having to go to an academy to train. Lissa being different from the other Moroi (living vampires) didn’t bother me and the bond between Rose and Lissa could have been something special. But the fact that I absolutely despised the main character completely destroyed this story for me. I was frustated up to the point that I almost threw my kindle against the wall… And that would have been painful. As you might have guessed, I would definitely not recommend reading this one.

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The Strigoi, very dangerous undead vampires, are always looking to kill the still living Moroi vampires. Moroi have control over magic, and they learn more about how to control and use that magic at St. Vladimir’s Academy. This school is hidden away from normal humans and it’s the place where vampires and half-humans are trained to protect and fight the Strigoi… The half-humans or Dhampirs will be future bodyguards for the Moroi vampires.

Rose is a dhampir and has a special bond with her best friend Lissa. Lissa is a Moroi princess who hasn’t specialized her magic power yet, but she and Rose are connected in a way dhampirs and moroi haven’t been for a long time. When something dreadful happened two years ago, Rose and Lissa decided to escape the academy to protect the princess from harm. But they are discovered in the end and brought back to the academy. Soon the two friends find out that someone in the academy knows Lissa’s secret… Will Rose be able to protect her this time?

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I already saw it coming before actually reading Vampire Academy, but I just couldn’t enjoy this novel. It wasn’t even because of the vampires, because I actually liked the idea of having different types of vampires and the magic the Moroi vampires have. But the main character Rose… I. Just. Couldn’t. Stand. Her! The sappy romance scenes didn’t help either, but Rose alone made me almost DNF this novel. The rest of the story might just be a case of not-for-me, but the main character is a different matter. Not recommended unless you enjoy teenage vampire stories and don’t mind a despicable main character…

WWW Wednesdays #37 – April 29th

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?

harrypotterandthedeathlyhallowsdorothymustdieI have been reading Dorothy Must Die by Danielle Paige since yesterday and I’m absolutely loving it so far. I’m definitely going to try and finish it before the end of this month! Same goes for Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows; I’m about 70% into the story and it’s incredible how many new details I’m discovering while I’m rereading this last book in the HP series!

  • What did you recently finish reading?

themetamorphosisIvampireacademy finished Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead the other day and I cannot say I enjoyed reading it. I guess cheesy vampire stories are just not for me, especially if the main character is such an arrogant pain in the ***… I also finished The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka for my TBR Pile challenge, a novel that was ok in general but not the influential classic I thought it would be. Luckily my current reads are better!

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

atwistinthetalemrpenumbras24hourbookstoreUsing my TBR jar a while back got me A Twist In The Tale by Jeffrey Archer, a book I can conveniently use for my Bookish Bingo Girly Geek challenge… It was written in 1988, the year I was born. 😀 I’m also looking forward to be finally reading Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore by Robin Sloan… I’ve heard mixed things about it, but it sounds like an interesting read.

Teaser Tuesdays #40 – April 28th: Dorothy Must Die

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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 finally started reading Dorothy Must Die today, a novel by Danielle Paige that has been on my must-read list for way too long now… I’m having one of those feelings this will an awesome read, so hopefully it will end up living up to expectations! The cover and blurb sure look promising…

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My teaser (13%):

“How could I come all the way to Oz and pass up a chance to meet the one and only sorceress herself? It was like going to Disney World and not getting your picture taken with Cinderella. ”

What are you reading right now?

BOOK REVIEW: The Metamorphosis – by Franz Kafka

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Title: The Metamorphosis
Author: Franz Kafka
Genre: Classics, Fantasy, Fiction
First published: 1915
Finished reading: April 26th 2015
Pages: 201
(Originally written in German: Die Verwandlung)
Rating 3

“Was he an animal, that music could move him so? He felt as if the way to the unknown nourishment he longed for were coming to light.”

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The other day I realized I completely forgot to read a book for the 2015 TBR pile challenge this month, so I decided to pick up my copy of The Metamorphosis. To be honest, I wasn’t completely sure what to expect when I started reading this classic. It definitely wasn’t a story about a man who turns into an enormous bug! I don’t say it was a bad story, but I wasn’t blown away by it either. This novel by Franz Kafka is without doubt a quick read and I understand he was trying to make a philosophical study of how people react to a situation that changes everything… Still, I wasn’t completely convinced by it and I definitely don’t understand why The Metamorphosis is supposed to be one of the ‘most influential works of twentieth-century fiction’. I agree that a man who turns into an insect overnight is something that you don’t read every day, but ‘highly influential’? I’m not so sure about that.

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Gregor Samsa is a travelling saleman trying to provide for his parents and younger sister. Everything works out perfectly until he wakes up one day not feeling quite himself. It turns out he was transformed into a gigant bug in his sleep! He has difficulties controlling his new unfamiliar body and his family is becoming increasingly worried as he hasn’t left for work and doesn’t open the door… When Gregor finally manages to open the door, they are completely shocked and disgusted by the new Gregor. They lock him into his room and leave him in isolation, with only his sister coming in sparingly to give him some food. The family has to find a new way of supporting themselves, and Gregor is soon seen as a burden rather than a family member.

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The Metamorphosis was not a bad novel and it even had some funny moments, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it either. The prose is good, but I couldn’t really connect to the characters and I wasn’t convinced by the way the story ended. This novel by Franz Kafka is short and entertaining, but I’m not sure I would call it an influential classic. Still, I’m glad I’ve finally read it; at least I know now what all the fuss is about.

BOOK REVIEW: Fangirl – by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Fangirl
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: September 10th 2013
Finished reading: April 24th 2015
Pages: 445
Rating 4,5

“In new situations, all the trickiest rules are the ones nobody bothers to explain to you. (And the ones you can’t Google.)”

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I really enjoyed reading Eleanor & Park last year, so I already knew I was probably in for a treat when I started reading Fangirl… And it turned out to be exactly that. I was in the mood for a feel-good story after a ‘heavy’ read, and this novel by Rainbow Rowell is simply adorable! The main characters Cath and Levi are so cute together and I loved the Simon Snow fan fiction chapters… Although the prose is perfect in general. Rainbow Rowell makes you fall in love with her characters and the story itself is so relatable! A socially awkward girl who loves to read, write and prefers living in a fantasy world… Cath’s description sounds exactly like the teenage me. Fangirl is definitely recommended to those who enjoy reading YA contemporary!

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Cath and her twin sister Wren are both what you call mayor Simon Snow fans. When their mother left them when they were eight, the Simon Snow books helped them forget… And ten years later they are still huge Simon Snow fans. Cath has a talent for writing and has been working on a Simon Snow fan fiction story of her own for the last two years. Her twin sister is not as interested as before, but Cath would do anything to stay inside this fantasy world… Wren doesn’t agree and wants a fresh start; when they go to college, she leaves Cath alone with her fan fiction and a stranger as a roommate.

Cath doesn’t want to be social, but her roommate Reagan and always-smiling boyfriend Levi seem to be around all the time. Slowly Cath is getting used to her new college life and starts opening up. She even starts co-writing a story with her handsome classmate Nick, but he ends up not being who she thought he was… And even worse, her fiction-writing professor doesn’t approve of her fan fiction. Cath is not sure she can cope with all of this, especially since she knows her father doesn’t react well to the fact that he is now home alone… And her sister Wren seems to be getting in trouble all the time as well. Is Cath ready to move on and live her own life, or does she prefer to stay in her fantasy world?

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Fangirl is such an adorable little story! Cath and Levi are perfect together and I love how well they complement each other. The Simon Snow chapters are simply awesome; now I finally know what all the Simon Snow hype is all about! 😉 If you haven’t read Fangirl yet, I suggest you do; it’s definitely worth it. The characters, prose, fan fiction… Everything just works. This one goes straight to my rereads list! And I will definitely check out Carry On when it comes out this october…

Review-A-Thon April/May 2015

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I still have quite a few older reviews I have to either update to my new review format or finish writing. Since I’m what you call a professional procrastinator, my only hope is to put some pressure behind it and do another Review-A-Thon starting next Tuesday. I still have 10 older reviews I have to finish writing, and 23 reviews that need improvement… All books read in 2013 or before, but somehow not finishing them feels wrong.

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So these are my goals:

  • Complete at least 6 reviews that haven’t been published yet.
    1. The Pillars Of The Earth – Ken Follett
    2. A Game Of Thrones – by George R.R. Martin
    3. The Hobbit – by J.R.R. Tolkien
    4. One Hundred Years Of Solitude – by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
    5. Mockingjay – by Suzanne Collins
    6. Catching Fire – by Suzanne Collins
    7. The Kite Runner – by Khaled Hosseini
    8. Daughter Of Fortune – by Isabel Allende
    9. Shake Hands With The Devil – by Romeo Dallaire
    10. The Help – by Kathryn Stockett
  • Finish at least 12 reviews that still need improving
    1. To Kill A Mockingbird – by Harper Lee
    2. Brave New World – by Aldous Huxley
    3. A Storm Of Swords – by George R.R. Martin
    4. A Clash Of Kings – by George R.R. Martin
    5. Running the Amazon – by Joe Kane
    6. The Da Vinci Code – by Dan Brown
    7. Plunder Of The Sun – by David Dodge
    8. Death Of A Bore – by M.C. Beaton
    9. Hunting Badger – by Tony Hillerman
    10. Pop Goes The Weasel – by James Patterson
    11. Moth Smoke – by Mohsin Hamid
    12. Petals On The Wind – by V.C. Andrews
    13. Hothouse Orchid – by Stuart Woods
    14. Grant Comes East – by Newt Gingrich and William R. Forstchen
    15. Tragic Magic – by Laura Childs
    16. The Return – by Victoria Hislop
    17. Life Of Pi – by Yann Martel
    18. The Forgotten Garden – by Kate Morton
    19. The Pelican Brief – by John Grisham
    20. The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo – by Stieg Larsson
    21. The Abstinence Teacher – by Tom Perrotta
    22. The Broken Shore – by Peter Temple
    23. Cross – by James Patterson

Fingers crossed I will actually be able to complete these goals! 😀

Friday Finds #33 – April 24th

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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. I’m still trying not to add any new titles to my already exploding TBR pile, but I guess I’m hopelessly failing haha.  Below you can find a selection of my newest additions; click on the book descriptions to go to its Goodreads page.

My finds:

fridayfindsapril24th2015 Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: The Last Time We Say Goodbye – by Cynthia Hand

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Title: The Last Time We Say Goodbye
Author: Cynthia Hand
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Fiction
First published: February 10th 2015
Finished reading: April 22nd 2015
Pages: 400
Rating 5

“Time passes. That’s the rule. No matter what happens, no matter how much it might feel like everything in your life has been frozen around one particular moment, time marches on.”

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Wow, just wow. I do not cry easily when I’m reading a novel, but The Last Time We Say Goodbye left me with tears in my eyes. Cynthia Hand did an excellent job describing the different main characters and explaining how a suicide affects those who are close to the victim. This story is both sad and brilliant at the same time… The attempts of the main character Lex to cope with the loss of her brother simply heartbreaking and without doubt exceptionally well written. I loved the prose and the little journal entries at the beginning of some chapters; they give a great insight in what Lex is feeling at the moment. The Last Time We Say Goodbye is what you call a ‘heavy’ read that will end up affecting you more than you would have thought… It’s not an easy read, but a story that will definitely stay with you for quite some time.

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Lex used to be happy. She used to be just another nerdy teenager with divorced parents, friends, a boyfriend she loved and dreams about college… But that was before her brother Ty decided to do the unthinkable. Feeling ‘below empty’, he decided to kill himself. Suddenly, Lex is the girl whose brother killed himself. And she doesn’t know how to cope with this loss. Lex tries to put her life back together, blocking out what happened and pushing away her friends and dad. He left them for another woman a few years back, and she still blames him for it… Trying to find a way to accept her brother’s dead, she goes to therapy. That’s when she starts a journal to write down her feelings… Although Lex doesn’t feel it will help; she prefers to forget. Soon forgetting seems impossible as she starts seeing the image of her brother everywhere. Lex knows he’s gone, but she has a feeling she has to help Ty with some unfinished business before she can really move on…

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I don’t think I will forget The Last Time We Say Goodbye any time soon. It’s a beautifully written and heartbreaking story that will leave its mark once you’ve read it. It’s a story full of love, loss and acceptance; something you can relate to if you have ever experienced the death of a loved one. Cynthia Hand did an excellent job with this novel, and I would definitely recommend it to those who don’t mind a contemporary read dealing with tough issues. Make sure you have some tissues nearby if you decide to read this one!

BOOK REVIEW: I’ll Give You The Sun – by Jandy Nelson

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Title: I’ll Give You The Sun
Author: Jandy Nelson
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Romance
First published: September 16th 2014
Finished reading: April 20th 2015
Pages: 371
Rating 4

“Or maybe a person is just made up of a lot of people,” I say. “Maybe we’re accumulating these new selves all the time.” Hauling them in as we make choices, good and bad, as we screw up, step up, lose our minds, find our minds, fall apart, fall in love, as we grieve, grow, retreat from the world, dive into the world, as we make things, as we break things.”

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I’ve seen this book around everywhere since it first got published last year… So when I finally bought myself a copy of I’ll Give You The Sun, I decided it was just about time I finally read it. The cover alone convinced me I needed to read this novel, and the fact that it belongs to the glbt genre is a bonus. I needed a *We Need Diverse Books title for my Bookish Bingo challenges, and this novel by Jandy Nelson turned out to be a great choice. The prose is so colorful and radiant and awesome in general! I loved the main characters; both twins have such interesting personalities and I loved the fact that Jandy Nelson included so many art references. Sure, the prose can take a while to get used to and I can definitely understand it’s not for everybody, but I personally found it brilliant. I have so many quotes highlighted! I’ll Give You The Sun gives you a littlebit of everything; drama, love, death… And quite a few funny moments as well. Definitely recommended for those who enjoy reading YA contemporary!

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Jude and her twin brother Noah used to be really close, but something happened when they were thirteen that changed both of them forever and drifted them apart. Noah used to be an artsy nerdy boy with an amazing drawing talent, while Jude was the daredevil of the two and way more outgoing. Then something changed… And at the age of sixteen, they seem to have switched places and personalities. Jude got accepted in the art school Noah didn’t get in, and Noah decided to ignore his intimate feelings and pretend he isn’t gay. They both tell us their story, but it shows that they have not interpreted all the facts the right way. Only when they decide to forgive each other and improve their relationship will they find out the complete truth about what happened three years ago…

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It took me a while to get used to the prose, but when I did I was blown away by it. It’s so colorful, artsy and creative at times that it almost seems Jandy Nelson is painting with words. I loved both Jude and Noah as a character… And the plot is interesting as well. This novel is without doubt worth reading and the prose is simply brilliant. I’ll Give You The Sun goes straight to my reread list, and I will try to check out her other novel as well!

WWW Wednesdays #36 – April 22nd

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?

thelasttimewesaygoodbyefangirlI started reading The Last Time We Say Goodbye by Cynthia Hand the other day and even though it is an interesting read, it’s so sad at the same time! I needed a break from all the sadness before actually finishing it, so I’ve started reading Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell last night as well. I’m not too far into the story yet, but so far it delivers.

  • What did you recently finish reading?

illgiveyouthesunIevensong finished reading I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson the other day, a novel that has been on my radar for a while now and I’m glad I’ve finally read it. The prose is really colorful to say the least, and the story itself interesting. A full review will follow shortly! I’ve also read Evensong by Krista Walsh, a novel that had a promising blurb but ended up being a huge disappointment…

  • What do you think you’ll read next?

vampireacademyharrypotterandthedeathlyhallowsAs I’m trying to complete my Ready For Spring Bingo chart as soon as possible, I’m probably going to read Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead next (Forgotten Fridays Pick). I’m not sure I will end up liking that one, but I will give it a go… Either that or I will read Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows first so I can finally finish my HP series reread. (Also part of the bingo chart… A reread.)