Hiatus Time!

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I can’t believe the day has almost arrived! Tomorrow is August 14th, which means I will be boarding a plane with the final destination Schiphol Airport, The Netherlands. It also means It’s All About Books and me will be going on a hiatus… I will be doing visa-related paperwork mostly; I’m keeping my fingers crossed there won’t be too much hassle so I can return home quickly. I sure will be missing my hubby and my furry friends in the mean time… And all of you of course! ❤

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I leave you all with a picture of my cat Jasmin and my dog Paco… I hope everyone will have a great month and happy reading!

❤ ❤ ❤

ARC REVIEW: All Fall Down – by Tom Bale

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Title: All Fall Down
Author: Tom Bale

Genre: Mystery, Thriller
First published: September 1st 2016
Publisher: Bookouture
Finished reading: August 11th 2016
Pages: 398
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“And Wendy understood. They all understood. There were no limits.”

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

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I know I was trying to stop requesting new Netgalley thrillers for a while, but this title was just too hard to resist. I have seen various raving reviews about Tom Bale‘s other thriller See How They Run, so as soon as I saw All Fall Down I knew I had to give it a try. And boy, this was one dark, twisted and gripping thriller! The plot might have a few minor holes, but the story itself is so intense that it personally didn’t bother me. In fact, All Fall Down managed to grab my attention from the start and the many plot twist kept me on the edge of my seat for most of the ride. The story has quite a few surprises in store, although the ending is kind of an anti-climax. The descriptions and prose are excellent and set the right atmosphere for this dark thriller. I’m not sure I actually like the main characters, but I can’t deny the character development is well done and it was interesting to see the different reactions to the psychological (and physical) torture they had to indure. In short, if you are looking for a fast-paced and properly dark thriller, All Fall Down is an excellent choice.

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What started out as a quiet Sunday bbq for the Turner family, soon turned into a nightmare when a dying man shows up at their gate. He is beaten beyond all recognition and barely able to utter his last words: HELP ME. Rob, Wendy and their children are shocked by what happened, but try to explain it all away by calling it an unfortunate coincidence and the fact that the man picked their house completely random. But in the days that follow their lives are threatened in ways they could never imagine, and none of them knows exactly why… They are unaware of the fact that they are watched and that their lives will soon be in the hands of someone with a very twisted sense of right and wrong. Are the Turners a victim of circumstance, or is something else to blame? And will they be able to save themselves before it’s too late?

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If you like dark and twisted thrillers with a healthy dose of graphic and violent scenes, you will most likely love All Fall Down. It’s a fast-paced and gripping thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat partly because of the many plot twists and ‘hidden secrets’. I personally didn’t really like the Turners, but their characters are well developed; Gabriel and his followers are seriously creepy and twisted and the perfect ‘bad guys’. I can’t wait to read more of Tom Bale‘s work!

ARC REVIEW: Razzle Dazzle Unicorn – by Dana Simpson

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Title: Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe And Her Unicorn Adventure
(Heavenly Nostrils #4)
Author: Dana Simpson

Genre: Graphic Novel, Children, Humor
First published: September 20th 2016
Publisher: Andrew McMeel Publishing
Finished reading: August 10th 2016
Pages: 184
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“”My dad speaks ‘nerd’.”

“It’s good to be bilingual.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Andrew McMeel Publishing in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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I have been wanting to explore the graphic novel/comic genre for a while now, but with so many options out there it’s really hard to decide where to start. Netgalley and Andrew McMeel Publishing offered the great opportunity to try my hand at my very first graphic novel this year with Razzle Dazzle Unicorn: Another Phoebe And Her Unicorn Adventure. I admit that I was sold as soon as I saw the cover. It’s just so colorful, fun and I simple love the artwork! This graphic novel is perfect for young girls from the age of 8 to 12 years, both because of the graphics and the simple, but funny and relatable stories. Dana Simpson has found the perfect formula in the friendship between little Phoebe and her best friend Marigold the unicorn. The interaction between both characters is great even at those pages where there isn’t happening much plotwise, and I love that it shows young readers that it isn’t necessarily bad to be different. Razzle Dazzle Unicorn shows a range of typical childhood events like the holidays, school assignments, summer camp, frenemies and chores. Phoebe’s childhood is quite typical except for the fact that her best friend happens to be an extravagant unicorn and she frequently runs into other magical creatures. Contemporary with a dash of fantasy,  and so much fun to read! I can definitely recommend this graphic novel for younger (female) readers.

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Phoebe and her unicorn are back with more adventures and more sparkly than ever! In this fourth volume, Phoebe and Marigold talk about the holidays and NY resolutions, confront trouble at school, frenemies and messy rooms. Marigold also has a nasty case of ‘sparkle fever’, and they both go to music summer camp to meet up with Phoebe’s friend Sue and her friend Ringo the lake monster… And they are reminded that being weird is WAY more fun than being normal.

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I fell in love with this graphic novel as soon as I saw the cover art. The graphics in Razzle Dazzle Unicorn are just too cute, colorful and adorable in general! They will lure in even those children that might need a little push to start reading, and Phoebe and Marigold the unicorn will put them under their spell from the first page. The stories themselves are simple, but quite entertaining and funny. It will be easy for the younger readers to relate to Phoebe and it has an interesting underlying message that will encourage kids to use their imagination and not be afraid of being different. The glossary in the back and the final section are a nice touch as well!

Friday Finds #99 – August 12th

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FRIDAY FINDS is originally featured at Babs Book Bistro 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

ARC REVIEW: The Last Girl – by Joe Hart

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Title: The Last Girl
(The Dominion Trilogy #1)
Author: Joe Hart

Genre: YA, Dystopia, Science Fiction
First published: March 1st 2016
Publisher: Thomas & Mercer
Finished reading: August 9th 2016
Pages: 386
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“There are prisons of all kinds, Zoey, they take every shape imaginable. They aren’t just concrete, and steel, and stone. They’re everywhere. And even when you’ve escaped one, there’s always another waiting. But you must remember that the first step to freedom doesn’t always start with picking a lock.” He reaches out and touches her temple. “It begins here.”

*** A copy of this book was kindly provided to me by Netgalley and Thomas & Mercer in exchange for an honest review. Thank you! ***

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When I first heard about this book, I thought the blurb sounded really promising and I immediately decided to add it to my wishlist. And while I still think it was quite an interesting read, unfortunately The Last Girl by Joe Hart didn’t turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. I can’t exactly put my finger on the why, but it probably has to do with the fact that it was quite a slow read and the prose didn’t seem to grab my attention. It’s not like the story wasn’t well written or anything and I liked the worldbuilding and dystopian elements, but it kind of missed that little something that would turn it into something extraordinary. The same goes for the main character. Zoey is without doubt a very powerful female character with strong survival skills, but her character just sounded all too similar to other main characters of your typical YA dystopian story. Her character development in this first book is interesting, but the story in general doesn’t really add anything new to the genre or stands out from other books of the genre. The Last Girl is still an enjoyable story to read though… Especially since it’s one of the few YA dystopian books with almost no romance and not a sign of a love triangle. Definitely a miracle when it comes to the genre!

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After a mysterious worldwide epidemic, the birthrate of female infants is almost down to zero. Nobody seems to know why this happened and how to solve this problem; medical science and goverments are at a loss to control the chaos as they try to figure out what to do. Twenty-five years later there is still no cure, and an entire generation grows up with fewer than a thousand women left on earth. Zoey and some of the surviving young women are housed in a scientific research compound and protected from the chaos and rebellion. They have been isolated from their families, treated as a test subjects and locked away. They don’t resist, since they have been told that the virus has wiped out the rest of the world’s population anyway. But Zoey suspects something is wrong. And even though captivity is the only thing she has ever known, she secretly dreams of being free… And that dream just might come true one day, although she probably doesn’t realize what consequences that freedom will bring.

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I was really looking forward to The Last Girl, but unfortunately it didn’t turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. The story had a lot of potential and is still a pretty good read, but it showed a lot of similarities with other typical YA dystopian stories and didn’t quite stand out. I did really appreciate this story has almost no romance and NO love triangle, which was really refreshing after reading one too many YA series with this annoying trope.

WWW Wednesdays #103 – August 10th

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WWW 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 started my previous TBR jar pick Secret Letters by Leah Scheier a few days ago, but I’m really struggling to get into the story. I’m not sure if it’s because of the prose or the main character, but I cannot seem to manage to convince me to continue it. Maybe after I finish my last pending Netgalley ARC: All Fall Down by Tom Bale? That one is turning out to be yet another brilliant thriller! I’ve also finally FINALLY picked up my copy of A Dance With Dragons by George R.R. Martin. I’m hoping I will be able to make a dent into this monster during my 15 hours on a plane this Sunday…

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished since last WWW is The Summer I Became A Nerd by Leah Rae Miller. It was a fast read and I LOVED the comic/geeky references, but the many high school cliches and the fact that the main character was ashamed of liking comics and seemed to prefer being popular ruined the story slightly for me.
* I then gave in and read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne and John Tiffany. It was quite an entertaining read and brought back a lot of nostalgic memories, but it wasn’t as good as the first seven books. The fact that it’s a script makes it less pleasant to read as well…
* The Girl From The Sea by Shalini Boland is yet another psychological thriller to add to my list of favorites. SO good! It’s well written and the fact that the main character has amnesia and therefore is an unreliable narrator is a refreshing twist. Recommended!
* The last book I finished is The Last Girl by Joe Hart, which unfortunately didn’t turn out to be as good as I thought it would be. It’s not a bad read and the synopsis sounds interesting, but I felt it was missing that little something that would turn it into something special. In fact, it all sounded all too similar to the typical dystopian story with a strong female character… I did really appreciate this story has almost no romance and NO love triangle. Definitely a miracle when it comes to the YA dystopian genre.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I can’t wait to finally start Red Rising by Pierce Brown! If I like the first book I will probably read both sequels as well… I also want to read Vicious by V.E. Schwab (and This Savage Song as well, but I have decided to read this one first). The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson is also high on my list. A Court Of Mist And Fury by Sarah J. Maas is my newest TBR jar pick, which is really convenient since I wanted to read it soon anyway. I will probably reread ACOTAR first though…

Teaser Tuesdays #106 – August 9th: The Last Girl

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TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly book meme originally featured at Books And A Beat. 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 currently reading one of my last pending ARCs, The Last Girl by Joe Hart. The blurb of this dystopian story sounds promising, but so far the story is missing a ‘spark’ that would turn it into an excellent read. The part that I have already read is good enough, just not anything expectacular. Hopefully things will improve later on!

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My teaser (40%):

“They stare at one another, wide-eyed, trembling, and even though Meeka doesn’t resemble her at all, Zoey feels like she’s looking into a mirror. The same terror is etched into Meeka’s face, and there is something in her eyes that is beyond panic.”

What are you reading right now?

ARC REVIEW: The Girl From The Sea – by Shalini Boland

brthegirlfromtheseaTitle: The Girl From The Sea
Author: Shalini Boland

Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Thriller
First published: June 9th 2016
Publisher: Adrenalin Books
Finished reading: August 5th 2016
Pages: 306
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“It’s as though I’m riding a never-ending rollercoaster, my stomach constantly swooping and rising. There are too many things to think about, and I don’t know what to do about any of them.”

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

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I know I have been reading too many mystery/thrillers as it is lately, but when I came across this book I just couldn’t resist. The Girl From The Sea is a gripping psychological thriller with many many plot twists that will keep you guessing what really happened to the main character for a long time. And even though I kind of suspected part of what happened  to Mia a while before the big twist was revealed, it can’t be denied Shalini Boland used Mia’s amnesia to the fullest and she is the perfect unreliable character for this story. And that ending! I’m still not sure I actually like Mia, but her character development is well done; she feels real and it’s easy to feel sorry for her. I can’t even imagine what it would be like to wake up and not remember ANYTHING and not even recognizing yourself in the mirror… It’s without doubt a scary thought. The story itself is fast-paced and I enjoyed the prose and descriptions. In fact, I found myself flying through this book! If you are looking for a good psychological thriller with a refreshing twist, The Girl From The Sea is definitely a great choice.

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Mia doesn’t remember why or what happened to her, but somehow she ended up washed up on the beach only barely conscious. In fact, she can’t remember anything about her life and doesn’t even know who she is… In the hospital, she is diagnosed with amnesia because of the traumatic experience and told her memories will probably come back in due time. But what can Mia do in the mean time? Then, her boyfriend shows up and he seems to be as eager to fill in the blanks as her family. But can Mia really trust them? Why do people seem to be lying to her and why don’t they want her to remember her past?

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I first decided to request a copy of The Girl From The Sea after I read a few positive reviews. And I’m glad I did, but it turned out to be one of my favorite psychological thrillers I’ve read so far this year! This story reads like a train and is full of plot twists that will mess with your mind. The fact that Mia isn’t just another unreliable character and is suffering from amnesia is actually refreshing, and I really enjoyed reading this story. Recommended for fans of the genre!

BOOK REVIEW: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child – by J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany

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Title: Harry Potter And The Cursed Child
(Harry Potter #8)
Authors: J.K. Rowling, Jack Thorne & John Tiffany
Genre: YA, Fantasy
First published: July 31st 2016
Publisher: Pottermore
Finished reading: August 4th 2016
Pages: 320

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“Those we love never truly leave us, Harry. There are things that death cannot touch.”

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I was lucky enough to be growing up along with the main characters as the books were first published, and it’s easy to say the Harry Potter series is one of my childhood favorites. I’m still a fan, so of course I was thrilled when I first heard about Harry Potter And The Cursed Child. But then I started thinking. The original series played such an important role in my life when I was younger; how will this new title ever live up to that? And I normally don’t like reading hyped books either… Plus, this eighth book is actually the script of a play I will probably never actually see. To be honest, I was going to resist temptation and not read Harry Potter And The Cursed Child for the time being. But then the publish date arrived and reviews started popping up everywhere. And as you might have guessed, I couldn’t resist temptation. I gave myself the excuse that I didn’t want to run into any spoilers, but to be honest I just wanted to revisit their world one last time and see what the future had in store for my favorite trio. And it sure was a journey full of nostalgic feelings! I can’t say this new story actually lives up to the original series and I can understand why so many people seem disappointed by it, but Harry Potter And The Cursed  Child scored bonus points simply for the nostalgia. I won’t go into details to avoid spoilers, but I can say this: I liked the time travel and alternative past, but I wasn’t convinced by all the characters and final acts. And the fact that it’s a script does make it less pleasant to read even though it’s a superfast read. I wish I could actually watch the play! Still, if you are a Harry Potter fan it will be hard to resist this new story. I know I couldn’t…

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WARNING: SPOILERS!! DON’T READ THE SUMMARY IF YOU HAVEN’T READ THE FIRST SEVEN BOOKS.

It still isn’t easy being Harry Potter even nineteen years after the final battle. It’s a different kind of difficult though as he is now the overworked employee of the Ministry Of Magic, a husband and father of three children. He still struggles with the past and memories still haunt him. And not all his children are happy with their famous dad… His youngest son Albus feels like he isn’t living up to the family legacy and hates being a Potter and above all resents feeling likea disappointment. He doesn’t really fit in at Hogwarts and has only one friend: Draco Malfoy’s son Scorpius and another misfit. Then one day the two take a decision that will threaten to change the past and present forever…

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I can’t say this new story lives up to the first seven books, but I still really enjoyed reading Harry Potter And The Cursed  Child for nostalgic reasons. It’s a script which makes it less comfortable to read, but it is a fast read and there are many references to the past. I didn’t love it, but I think it’s still worth reading if you are a Potter fan. I hope they will make a movie version one day though! Either that or a rewrite of the script to a novel.

Cover Characteristic #7 – August 7th

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I saw this meme popping up the other day and I thought it would be a fun way to take a closer look at all those beautiful covers out there. Cover Characteristic is hosted at Sugar & Snark and has a weekly theme.

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This week is all about covers with SMILEY FACES. I haven’t actually read any of these titles below besides More Happy Than Not, but they do all have a smiley face or two on the cover!😉

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# More Happy Than Not by Adam Silvera. (Read in June 2016: 3 stars REVIEW)

# The Haters by Jesse Andrews

# Graffiti Grandma by Jo Barney

# Read Between The Lines by Jo Knowles

Now on to my favorite cover of this week:

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>>> Sisters by Raina Telgemeier <<<

What is your personal favorite out of these 5 covers? And have you read any of these books yourself? Feel free to comment!:)