WordPress Monkeys 2015 Review!

Since I won’t be having enough time to finish my own 2015 review before this evening, I am sharing the 2015 annual report The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared for me. 😀 Looks like I had a busy year both book and blog wise!

Here’s an excerpt:

The concert hall at the Sydney Opera House holds 2,700 people. This blog was viewed about 16,000 times in 2015. If it were a concert at Sydney Opera House, it would take about 6 sold-out performances for that many people to see it.

Click here to see the complete report.

I hope everyone is having/will have a wonderful evening and I wish you all the best for 2016! ❤

WWW Wednesdays #71 – December 30th

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

  • WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING?

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I have finally started reading my last TBR jar pick: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I’m still not too far into the story, but so far I’m really enjoying it… Hopefully I will magically find time to finish this read before the year is over!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Three books finished this week, and only because I managed to finish the last two yesterday…
* The first book is Let It Snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson and Lauren Myracle. I ended up quite enjoying the first story, but things went downhill from there…
* I then finished My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins and a bunch of other authors yesterday. I loved some stories while I didn’t really like others… But overall it was an entertaining bundle of short stories.
* Last up is The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson. I really like her prose and the story, although I could have done without the love triangle. It’s quite a sad read for the Holiday season though!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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Now I have a copy of Illuminae by Amie Kaufman, I want to start reading it ASAP! Although I might wait until after Bout Of Books 15.0 because it’s quite a long read… I also want to read The Death Code by Lindsay Cummings so I can cross of another series from my to-finish list. The Sin Eater’s Daughter by Melinda Salisbury looks like a quick read, so I might pick that one up for the read-a-thon… And Serafina And The Black Cloak by Robert Beatty is my new TBR jar pick.

Teaser Tuesdays #74 – December 29th: Neverwhere

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at A Daily Rhythm. 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!)

It’s time for the last Teaser Tuesdays of 2015! I’ve finally picked up my latest TBR jar pick: Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman. I’m not too far into the story yet because I haven’t been having a lot of spare time to read, but so far it looks really promising.

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My teaser (7%):

“She was well hidden, she knew, under a pile of newspapers and rags. And it was possible that the intruder meant her no harm. Can’t he hear my heartbeat? she thought. And then the footsteps came closer, and she knew what she had to do, and it scared her.”

What are you reading right now?

Sunday Post #9 – December 27th

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Today is Sunday, which means it’s time for the very last 2015 installment of my Sunday Post where I will share a summary of my blogging week and other random facts… Here we go!


# CURRENTLY READING

I’m still trying to finish My True Love Gave To Me by Stephanie Perkins and a bunch of other authors. I enjoyed some stories while others were mostly meh; I’m keeping my fingers crossed the unread stories will turn out to belong to the first group.

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# LATEST ADDITION TO MY SHELVES

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I have been wanting to get a copy of Snow Like Ashes for aaaaages!! I have seen so many raving about Sara Raasch books ever since it came out that I still can’t believe I have waited this long to get a copy. But then again, this is true for a lot of popular books…

# OTHER (BOOK) NEWS

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I’m SOOO excited! I found out Bout Of Books is going to host another read-a-thon in January! 😀 I loved their previous read-a-thons so I’m going to post my sign up tomorrow. What a great way to start 2016! 😀

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Also, I hope everyone who celebrated Christmas had a wonderful time! We personally ate waaay to much and this delicious homemade Argentinian sweet bread didn’t really help either. 😉 I need a detox to get ready for New Years haha.

# WHAT’S NEW ON IT’S ALL ABOUT BOOKS


That’s all for this Sunday Post… I hope everyone is having a great Sunday! ❤

BOOK REVIEW: Memories – by Lang Leav

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Title: Memories
Author: Lang Leav
Genre: Poetry, Romance, Contemporary
First published: October 6th 2015
Finished reading: December 19th 2015
Pages: 256
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“I have always thought of memories as fragments, like colored glass shards in a kaleidoscope. It is the source of great beauty in our lives, yet the cause of such heartache.”

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It had been too long since I last read poetry anyway, so when I needed to read a book of poetry to help complete a challenge I didn’t mind picking up Memories at all. I have written my share of poetry in the past and I really enjoy reading it in general as well. The poems and thoughts written by Lang Leav are without doubt interesting and some even have the same feel about them as those poems I wrote myself a few years back… But somehow these sad broken relationship poems couldn’t keep my attention right now. It might be the fact that I have been happily in love for the last three years, but the poems and thoughts started to feel melancholic and repetitive as I advanced in the book. This collection might be perfect for those who feel a little heartsick or a hopeless romantic, but I almost felt like I was ruining my reading experience by disagreeing and feeling that true love does exist (even if it sounds corny). It’s a well written collection though, so if you like the genre you might enjoy it a lot better than I did!

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Memories is a collection that consists of a mix of the best of Lang Leav’s previous work Lullabies and Love & Misadventure and quite a few new poems. This collection is illustrated by the author and all poems and thoughts have the same general theme: love. Lang Leav explores love and broken relationships in poems and thoughts full of emotion that will sound familiar to most of us.

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Lang Leav is able to describe situations and emotions most of us have felt at some point in our lives (unless you’re lucky enough to have happily married your first love). Her prose is both simple, emotional and beautiful and the only reason I couldn’t really connect to them because it’s simply hard for me to identify myself with sad/broken relationship poems right now. Memories is a treat though for those who enjoy the genre and don’t mind reading about bad relationship experiences and negative feelings!

ARC REVIEW: Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers – by Lara Pass

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Title: Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers
Author: Lara Pass
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Mystery
First published: October 30th 2015
Finished reading: December 18th 2015
Pages: 132
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“The colours of the house were dreary and grey with harsh lightting and dark shadows. The house seemed to reflect Anna’s mood and how she felt about being exiled to live with a father she never saw.”

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

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When I was approached by Austin Macauley Publishers Ltd. with the question if I wanted to read and review Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers earlier this month, I immediately said yes because it sounded like an interesting short story. I really wanted to like this novel by Lara Pass. Unfortunately, I have to be honest and say I probably only finished this read so I could write a proper review about the problems I had with the story. First of all, Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers is supposedly a YA novel with teenagers fulfilling the roles as main characters. Nothing wrong with that, would you say, but the prose sounds painfully formal both for the target age and in the dialogue of the teenage characters themselves. And not only the tone is off, but the prose itself is quite annoying as well. I normally don’t add a lot of comments to my goodreads updates as I read, but in this case I had so many I decided to add them to my review:

goodreadsroughroadscomplaints  As for the bright/wide/big blue/green eyes: if I counted correctly, they were mentioned about 30! times in 132 pages. A bit of an overkill and seriously annoying, if you ask me. Another thing that bothered me is the slow pace and the fact that nothing really happens until you’re about 65% into the story. I honestly think I wouldn’t have made it to this point if Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers hadn’t been an ARC, because the first part is painfully boring and slow to read. The last part of the story has more potential, but the action feels rushed and the ending doesn’t make a lot of sense. I have the feeling this story could have been a lot more interesting if the focus and prose would have been different… Because as it is, neither the prose, plot nor the characters convinced me.

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After her parents separate Anna has been having trouble to settle down and make friends. Her mother doesn’t exactly have a stable life, and Anna decides to live with her dad for a time so she can focus on her school work. She doesn’t have a lot of contact with her dad because he is never around, so she feels quite lonely… But Anna convinced her mother she would be fine and promised to try and make friends at her new school. It’s not easy, but slowly Anna is starting to fit in and her new friend Holly helps to make her feel at home. Anna also meets a guy named Luke; annoying, but she cannot seem to get him out of her head. And when she decides to spend her Holidays at Holly’s place, things become really strange…

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I was looking forward to this read and I really wanted to like Rough Roads With Reckless Drivers. Unfortunately, I had a hard time finding something positive about this short story. I couldn’t really connect to the characters both because of the formal prose and unnatural dialogue. The pace was slow and the plot basically didn’t exist until the last part of the story. The last part had a lot of potential, if only it would have been introduced earlier and elaborated more… All in all a very unsatisfying read that I wouldn’t recommend.

Friday Finds #66 – December 25th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at A Daily Rhythm 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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Continue reading

BOOK REVIEW: The Happiness Project – by Gretchen Rubin

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Title: The Happiness Project
Author: Gretchen Rubin
Genre: Non Fiction, Self Help, Memoir
First published: December 29th 2009
Finished reading: December 16th 2015
Pages: 315
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“One of the best ways to make yourself happy is to make other people happy. One of the best ways to make other people happy is to be happy yourself.”

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I normally quite enjoy reading memoirs, but honestly I’m really not that into self help books. I decided to pick up The Happiness Project anyway since I got a free paperback copy at a book exchange earlier this month. I actually quite enjoyed the first part… The idea of investing time and start a project to bring more happiness to your life sounds interesting, but unfortunately reading about Gretchen Rubin‘s own experience started to turn into something annoying after a while. I mean, she pretty much already had a great life before the project: an according to her handsome and succesful husband, two healthy little girls, a job she loves and a great home in NY. I don’t mind her wanting to be happier, but she did come over as a bit hypocrite in some chapters. I know some people see her as a great example, but I personally would have preferred reading about someone with a bigger and more genuine challenge. As far as the prose: it shows that Gretchen Rubin did a lot of research for her project and I liked that she incorporated blog comments in her chapters. Do I agree with everything she said? No. But I do believe the right person might benefit from at least part of her message.

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Gretchen Rubin was taking the same city bus as she always did when she had the realization that “the days are long, but the years are short”. She also realized she wasn’t as happy as she could be and wasn’t focusing enough on the things that really matter. Hence the happiness project was born, where she wanted to try and focus on improving a different aspect of her life each month. Every chapter tells the story of her adventures during a specific month, giving advice and contemplating both the good and bad parts. Novelty and challenge turn out to be powerful sources of happiness, money can help buy happiness when spent wisely and small changes can truly make the biggest difference… All those conclusions and more can be found in the happiness project.

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Gretchen Rubin had some very interesting ideas in her book, but I can’t say I agree with all of them nor do I think her already almost perfect ‘before’ situation is the best example of a ‘proper’ happiness project. Everybody has the right to be happier and I’m not saying she was wrong doing the project OR writing about it, but I didn’t like her tone in some chapters. Would I recommend this read? Only if you like self help books and are interested in the theme.

BOOK REVIEW: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century – by Rachel Harris

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Title: My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century
(My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century #1)
Author: Rachel Harris
Genre: YA, Historical Fiction, Time Travel
First published: September 11th 2012
Finished reading: December 12th 2015
Pages: 264
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“I’m supposed to learn something. A lesson, like in some teenybopper show. I stare at the door and wait for Miley Cyrus to come barreling in, singing tunelessly about our pasts being the key to our futures.”

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I have to admit I only picked up a copy of My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century because I needed a book set in the sixteenth century to complete a challenge. I like time travel books in general, but this first novel of a series just sounded too much like a romance/chick lit story to my taste. While this novel by Rachel Harris turned out to be slightly better than expected, I still cannot say I have actually enjoyed reading it. The setting in sixteenth century Italy is without doubt interesting and I liked how the author tried to demostrate the clashes between two different eras in the prose. Still, I can’t say I actually liked the characters OR the way they behaved in general. A mayor part of the plot and characters was either cliche or not really original. Also, the prose felt almost forced-funny at points… It was quite a quick read and I suppose it will work perfectly as a beach read as long as you are not expecting too much. Personally, I wouldn’t actually continue this series though.

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Cat Crawford doesn’t enjoy being in the spotlights as her mother and her bubbly stepmother do, but somehow they are going to throw and extravagant gala for her sixteenth birthday. Cat is desperate to find a way to stop the gala, and even forced her father to go on a trip to Florence, Italy as a peace offering. Her mother is Italian, and Cat is excited to be discovering more about her past. But when she enters an unusual gypsy tent, she suddenly comes really close to her ancestors. When she exits the tent, she walks right into Renaissance Firenze. She still has her backpack full of future gadgets, but is forced to live the life of a sixteenth century teenager… Complete with new relatives and a gorgeous teenage artist to distract her. Will she be able to learn the lessons she needs to learn and find her way back to the future?

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The summary of this novel sounds quite interesting, but after seeing the cover and some of the reviews I was already expecting My Super Sweet Sixteenth Century wouldn’t be for me. Why did I pick it up, would you say? I had trouble finding another title set in the sixteenth century, so I was keeping my fingers crossed this one wouldn’t be that bad. All in all this novel isn’t horrible and I give it the benefit of the doubt, but it’s not exactly a great read either. The prose, characters and plot all lack that extra something that makes a story into something really good.