BOOK REVIEW: Magonia – by Maria Dahvana Headley

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Title: Magonia
(Magonia #1)
Author: Maria Dahvana Headley
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: April 28th 2015
Finished reading: July 22nd 2015
Pages: 320
Rating 2,5

“Death is the Santa Claus of the adult world. Except Santa Claus in reverse. The guy who takes all the presents away.”

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I’ve read this book together with The Book Club of the Opinionated Hufflepuffs. I remember the first time I saw this book mentioned and immediately falling in love with the cover. It’s so gorgeous! I was really looking forward to Magonia… But unfortunately I didn’t end up enjoying it as much as I thought I would. I had a hard time getting into the story. Part of the problem was the fact that I was expecting a fantasy story from the start, and the first few chapters are more of a YA contemporary novel. I wasn’t convinced by the characters and the prose really bothered me. I know a lot of people actually love Maria Dahvana Headley‘s writing style, but to me it felt somewhat forced and annoying to read. What’s with all the ( ) [ ] anyway? As far as the worldbuilding goes: I do admit it is very creative and it shows she spent a lot of time creating Magonia. Unfortunately, I was mostly weirded out by the whole descriptions. I mean, a bird flying down the main character’s throat and then nestling inside her lung? Flying ships and half-birds singing to get things done? Not really my cup of tea. I guess Magonia might be one of those books you either love or hate… And I don’t think I belong to the first group.

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Ever since she was little Aza Ray has suffered from a mysterious lung disease that makes it very hard to even breathe properly. They didn’t expect her to live that long, but now she is almost sixteen years old and still holding on. When she thinks she sees a ship in the sky, people believe it’s just a side effect of her medication. But Aza doesn’t think it’s a hallucination; she actually heard someone calling out for her from the ship. Only her best friend Jason seems to believe her, but it seems to be too late… As her lungs doesn’t seem to want to breathe no longer. Can she still be saved? And what about that flying ship? And the myths about Magonia?

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Magonia sounded so good when I first learned about it, but unfortunately I ended up not enjoying it that much. The only reason I haven’t given it a lower rating is because of the quite impressive worldbuilding. Maria Dahvana Headley spent a serious amount of time creating the world of Magonia and it shows in the details. It doesn’t take away the fact that I was mostly weirded out by the whole bird and flying ship situation and the fact that I didn’t like the main characters doesn’t really help either. And the prose… Some people might like it, but I was mostly just annoyed by it. I really wanted to like this one! But I guess you can’t always get what you wish for…

The Ultimate Book Tag

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I hope everybody had a great weekend! About two weeks ago I was tagged by Dancing Through The Pages to do The Ultimate Book Tag and it sounded like a fun one to do. Thanks again for the tag! 😀 So here we go…


1. Do you get sick while reading in the car?

Fortunately enough no. I might get a headache when I read too long, but that mostly doesn’t have anything to do with me being in a car and more with me forgetting to use my reading glasses. 😀

2. Which author’s writing style is completely unique to you and why?

Mmm difficult question! Is it bad that I cannot think of a really good example right now? Most authors have their own unique writing style and I can’t pick any favorites.

3. Harry Potter Series or the Twilight Saga? Give 3 points to defend your answer.

Do you even have to ask? Harry Potter, OBVIOUSLY! I’m a Harry Potter fan all the way… Because 1. It was such a struggle to even read Twilight in the first place and I still don’t know how I’ve managed to even finish it. 2. I grew up reading Harry Potter and it’s probably one of my favorite childhood series. 3. The worldbuilding, characters, prose… J.K. Rowling really knows how to write a story that will stay for you for a long time and that you never get tired of rereading.

4. Do you carry a book bag? If so, what is in it (besides books)?

I used to when I was in high school and attending uni… Now I mostly read at home or take my kindle with me when I go out.

5. Do you smell your books?

I love smelling books, especially when they are secondhand! Nothing smells better than a secondhand bookstore… Although I love the smell of new books as well. 😀

6. Books with or without little illustrations.

It depends on the story I guess. I like them as long as they add something to the story, but if they are unnecessary they only end up distracting me.

7. What book did you love while reading but discovered later it wasn’t quality writing?

I remember I enjoyed reading Dan Brown’s books in high school, but I’ve reread them later on I wasn’t really impressed. Quality writing is really hard to define though; those who normally read adult literature will probably not appreciate YA novels, but I wouldn’t exactly call them without quality. Really hard question!

8. Do you have any funny stories involving books from your childhood? Please share!

My mind is drawing a blank here… No funny stories as far as I remember. I guess I was a true Matilda when I was younger, going to the library and checking out way to many books at the time. I’ve probably read most of the children section back when I was little! I loved books written by Roald Dahl and Astrid Lindgren, and also Dutch authors like Annie M.G. Schmidt, Paul Van Loon and Jan Terlouw. I actually wrote a letter to Paul Van Loon at some point and got a letter back with autograph and everything! 😀

9. What is the tinniest book on your shelf?

Probably one of the many novellas that are part of a series…

10. What is the thickest book on your shelf?

That will most likely be one of George R.R. Martin’s books; A Storm Of Swords. With over 1.100 pages, it sure is a thick book. 😉

11. Do you write as well as read? Do you see yourself in the future as being an author?

I used to write poems and started a story at my other blog Ponderings On Life, but I haven’t written anything in over three years. During my high school school I was in the process of creating my own children series… But I ended up abandoning it when I moved abroad.

12. When did you get into reading?

I have been reading ever since I was little and never stopped loving it… Although I have been reading a lot more during the last few years.

13. What is your favourite classic book?

It’s hard to pick only one favorite, so I’ve decided to cheat and divide my favorites into different genres: My favorite dystopian classics would be Fahrenheit 451 and 1984, my favorite mystery classic And Then There Were None and my favorite historical fiction classic To Kill A Mockingbird. The Diary Of Anne Frank is one of my favorite memoirs…

14. In school what was your best subject?

I admit I was a true nerd in high school! My best subjects were Spanish, Chemistry and Management & Organization… A mix of language, science and numbers. My favorite subject was Spanish though, because I love the language and I was able to read and watch movies during class! 😀

15. If you were given a book as a present that you had read before and hated, what would you do?

I guess it depends on who gave it to me in the first place, but I will most likely say that I’ve already read it and when they ask my opinion I will say something vage to not hurt their feelings.

16. (No clue what happened to this question but apparently it disappeared)

17. What is a bad habit you always do (besides rambling) while blogging?

I’m what you call a professional procrastinator and I’m almost always behind with my reviews and other posts… Especially tags tend to get lost between all my other drafts. I have been trying to keep up with at least my reviews lately though! 😉

18. What is your favorite word?

Mmm dificult… I don’t think I have a favorite word in English. My favorite Spanish one is ‘ovni’ though. (UFO) 😀

19. Are you a nerd, dork, or dweeb? Or all of the above?

Is there a big difference between the three? I feel dumb for not knowing haha. I normally call myself a nerd when I refer to my high school period…

20. Vampires or Fairies? Why?

I’m really sick of all those poorly done vampire stories with not-scary vampires, so I pick fairies. They are interesting characters and I loved the last book with fairies (A Court Of Thorns And Roses!)

21. Shapeshifters or Angels? Why?

A tricky one, but I think I prefer angels. Especially after reading the first two books of the Penryn & The End Of Days series; I love that series!

22. Spirits or Werewolves? Why?

Definitely spìrits! Ghost stories are scary, and I still have to read a good werewolves story.

23. Zombies or Vampires? Why?

I’m not a fan of either, but it is easier to find a story where the zombies at least are somewhat credible (read scary).

24. Love Triangle or Forbidden Love?

Neither! I’m really not a romance fan and both are a mayor turn off for any book I read. If I HAVE to pick one, I guess I prefer forbidden love. I’m suffering from a YA love triangle overdose already!

25. And finally: Full on romance books or action-packed with a few love scenes mixed in?

Can it also be action without romance? For me the less romance a story has, the better… Although I don’t mind a romance scene or two as long as they add to the story.

 


Feel free to join the fun if you liked this tag! Have a great last five days of July everyone! ❤

BOOK REVIEW: 314 – by A.R. Wise

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Title: 314
(Widowsfield Trilogy #1)
Author: A.R. Wise
Genre: Horror, Paranormal, Fiction
First published: December 24th 2012
Finished reading: July 20th
Pages: 280
Rating 4

“People turn things into conspiracies because they have some deep-seated notion that the world is more mystical than it really is.”

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I got 314 as a Amazon Kindle freebie a while back, and to be honest at the time I didn’t realize that it was actually part of a series or that it had quite a low rating at Goodreads. Still, I was actually pleasantly surprised by this horror story written by A.R. Wise. I can agree that part of the story is pretty disturbing and even gross, but it is what you call a proper horror story and I didn’t mind the scary parts myself. Warning: this one isn’t for the weak hearted! The prose is quite easy to read and keeps you on the edge of your seat. The scenes switch back and forth between 1996 and 2012; those set in 1996 are the scary/horror ones, while the scenes in 2012 are a lot milder. I had the feeling the author wasn’t really that interested in focusing on the characters, and you can see a slight lack in dept in most of them. The beginning is a bit confusing as the connection between the two eras isn’t immediately clear, but I guess that’s part of the suspense. I guess the main goal of 314 is scaring the crap out of you and not delivering a complicated plot or characters… If you like horror and are not scared easily, this one is without doubt an entertaining read.

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16 years ago something terrible happened in Widowsfield, and Alma Harper was able to escape. She has been trying to forget what happened ever since, but the place will never truly leave her alone. When a reporter shows up and asks her about Widowsfield, she first doesn’t want to cooperate. But as her crazy father shows up to tell her not to go back, she suddenly is determined to face the ghosts of her past. Together with her (ex) boyfriend, his friend and the reporter couple they decide to go back to Widowsfield to find out what is really going on. What happened on March 14th, at 3:14, all those 16 years ago? And who is The Skeleton Man?

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314 might not be the next literary masterpiece, but it is definitely an entertaining read for those who enjoy the horror genre. It’s a quick read with a fast pace and a plot that’s not too complicated. The switching between the 1996 and 2012 scenes can be confusing in the beginning, but personally it didn’t bother me that much. Watching your alarm change to 3:14 will never be the same! As far as I know, you can still get the kindle version for free at Amazon in case you are interested…

ARC REVIEW: Americosis Vol. 1 – by Haydn Wilks

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Title: Americosis Vol. 1
Author: Haydn Wilks
Genre: Short Stories, Science Fiction, Thriller
First published: July 9th 2015
Finished reading: July 20th 2015
Pages: 60
Rating 3,5

“The world’s more globalized than ever before, but it’s also never been more precarious.”

*** A copy of this novella was kindly provided to me in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I have been trying to read more thriller/horror stories lately, so when I was approached to read Americosis I almost immediately said yes. This novella is actually the introduction of a series that it did exactly as the blurb promised: it left me wanting for more. Americosis is so messed up and weird at points that you just want to keep on reading to find out what happens next. It has some adult themes and swearwords that might not be for everyone, but I personally wasn’t bothered by it. The novella has a fast pace with a prose that reads even faster. It’s crazy, it’s madness, but it is without doubt an intriguing story. I will be looking out for the next installment of this new series by Haydn Wilks! If it’s just as interesting as the novella, we’re in for a ride.

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Things are about to get a whole lot crazier in the world… A strange sexually-transmitted infection is slowly starting to take control over people’s bodies and more and more people in New York are infected. A huge naked man shows up in New Mexico and claims he has traveled through time to save America as we know it… But he doesn’t really know yet what from. One of the presidential candiates claims he is conversing with angels and needs to change the world. Huge monsters start attacking innocent children on a farm. Is this madness? The apocalypse?

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Americosis is a thriller/horror/sci-fi short story that was both disturbing and left me wanting for more…It’s an almost dystopian world where bizarre sexually-transmitted infection takes control over people’s bodies and huge monsters attack children. This novella is not your typical read and is packed with a considerable dose of madness. It makes you want to keep reading while you wonder what will happen next… Without doubt an interesting novella for those who enjoy the whole thriller/horror/sci-fi genre.

BOOK REVIEW: Game – by Barry Lyga

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Title: Game
(Jasper Dent #2)
Author: Barry Lyga
Genre: YA, Thriller, Horror
First published: April 16th 2013
Finished reading: July 19th 2015
Pages: 520
Rating 5

“Well, of course it was Billy screwing with his mind. That’s what Billy did. Dear Old Dad had a PhD in mind screwing. The question was, was it just Billy screwing with his mind?”

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How do I even start describing my love for this series?! I almost feel I need to invent a 6 star rating just to express how much I have been enjoying the first two books of the Jasper Dent series. The mystery/thriller/horror genre is one of my favorites and Barry Lyga has moved straight to the list of my favorite authors of that genre. Game is, like I Hunt Killers, simply a masterpiece; disturbing, scary, brilliantly written and it keeps you on the edge of your seat the whole time. And that ending! I normally don’t like cliffhangers, but in this case the author is forgiven. What a plot twist and a way to end this sequel! The pace is fast and Barry Lyga does a more than excellent job of describing the main character Jazz and his inner conflicts. Growing up with his Dear Old Dad being an infamous serial killer definitely left its mark… But I love how determined he is to fight his destiny and hunt down both his dad and the newest serial killer in town. If you haven’t read this series yet and enjoy the genre: this one is a definite must-read!

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WARNING: do not read this summary if you haven’t read I Hunt Killers yet! It will most likely contain spoilers, even though I’ve made sure to keep it short.

Jazz thought he was finally free of his serial killer dad Billy back when he was sent to prison four years ago… But Dear Old Dad managed to escape and is haunting his boy yet again. Jazz is desperate to prove he will not follow in his father’s footsteps. When a NY detective asks for his help in the Hat-Dog Killer case, he decides it’s time to do as his new tattoo says and ‘hunt killers’. Not everybody agrees to his presence in New York and it looks like the Hat-Dog Killer wants to play with both him and his girlfriend Connie. And what has his father to do with all of this? Jazz doesn’t think his father can resist his urge to kill for to long…

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I know it looks a lot like I am fangirling all over the place, but this series is just SO good. Game was just as brilliant as the first book, I Hunt Killers, and definitely left me wanting for more. The prose, the setting, the characters, the suspense… Everything  justworks perfectly together. If you add that up with a dose of creepy and even a little humor, you have the ingredients for the perfect YA thriller/horror read. Seriously addicting and without doubt worth reading!

Friday Finds #46 – July 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.  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: The 5th Wave – by Rick Yancey

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Title: The 5th Wave
(The 5th Wave #1)
Author: Rick Yancey
Genre: YA, Dystopia, Fantasy
First published: May 7th 2013
Finished reading: July 16th 2015
Pages: 592
Rating 2,5

“You know how sometimes you tell yourself that you have a choice, but really you don’t have a choice? Just because there are alternatives doesn’t mean they apply to you.”

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I have been wanting to start The 5th Wave series ever since I first heard about it last year, but somehow something always held me back. I know many people love this series and it had all the signs I would be one of them. Unfortunately, now I’ve read the first book I cannot exactly say I’m a fan. Don’t get me wrong, the first part of The 5th Wave was pretty awesome and definitely lived up to expectations. But then Cassie had to meet Evan. Le sigh. Why o why does a book like this need cheesy romance scenes?! I was completely convinced I was going to love this book, but the scenes between Evan and Cassie made me want to bang my head against the wall. Cassie is supposed to be a survivor and not trust anyone; then she meets Evan, trusts him almost immediately and even falls in love with him? Yeah right. The part where she meets Ben Parish and tries to get her little brother back is not really credible either. I guess I did like the general plot idea and the Rick Yancey‘s prose was pretty good as well. I will also most likely end up reading the sequel at some point, but I think I will have to get over my initial disappointment first…

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The world as we knew it no longer exists. When the aliens first arrived nobody knew what they were planning… It turns out it was nothing good. After the 1st wave, the whole world went dark. The second wave killed a lot of people, and the third one even more. And now, after the 4th wave, only the true survivors are still alive. Their motto: trust no one. They are afraid there will be a 5th wave and the survivors are trying to find a place to hide. Cassie is one of them. She has also a different mission: find her little brother and save him from Them. She is not sure he is still alive; she is not even sure if there are other survivors out there. Beings that only look like humans have been hunting around the countryside killing off the last living humans for a while now… And Cassie feels she needs to stay alone to survive. But is that even possible?

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I really wanted to love this book. I thought I did when I started reading The 5th Wave. But the cheesy romance scenes and sometimes not so credible plot ruined it for me. Rick Yancey writes in a way that is easy to read and the story has a fast pace, but I almost stopped reading every time I reached the scenes with Cassie and Evan. That’s a bad sign for a book I was supposed to love, right? I know a lot of people really enjoyed this series; I’m just not one of them.