BOOK REVIEW: Kindred Spirits – by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Kindred Spirits
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA, Contemporary, Short Stories
First published: February 25th 2016
Finished reading: March 2nd 2016
Pages: 96
Rating 4qqq

“Everybody likes Star Wars,” he said. “Everybody likes everything these days. The whole world is a nerd.”

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I’ve read and enjoyed all Rainbow Rowell‘s YA novels, so when I found out she wrote a novella for World Book Day I knew I had to get a copy immediately. While I’m not really a Star Wars fan myself, I still really enjoyed reading Kindred Spirits. I maybe didn’t get all the Star Wars references, but the story itself is entertaining. The prose is easy to read and feels really ‘modern’ with hashtag and other social media references. The three people in the Star Wars waiting line are the perfect example of the fact that first impressions can be wrong… And that it can go both ways. If you like her YA novels and want another sample of her work, Kindred Spirits is definitely an interesting enough novella. Not my favorite story, but still really entertaining!

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Ever since her father introduced her to the world of Star Wars, Elena has been a fan. So when a new movie is about to come out, she decides to queue outside her local cinema so she will one of the first to enter. She was expecting to find tons of people all celebrating their love for everything Star Wars together, but when she arrives at the cinema it turns out that she is the last in a line of only three people. Elena decides to stay anyway and make the best of her ‘line’ experience… Although finding a short line isn’t the only thing that will surprise her during her days outside the cinema.

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Kindred Spirits is a short and entertaining read I’m sure Star Wars fans will love. And even if you are not really into Star Wars like myself, this novella is still interesting enough to read anyway. Rainbow Rowell is an excellent YA author and really knows how to develop her characters and write teenage dialogues. Recommendable!

WWW Wednesdays #81 – March 9th

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’m normally not a romance fan, but ever since reading and loving November 9 I have been wanting to pick up another Colleen Hoover book. It was between Ugly Love and Maybe Someday, but the first one won… I’m still not that far into the story yet, but hopefully I’ll find time to continue soon. I’m also still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton; I really like it so far, but I haven’t been in the mood for historical fiction lately and I don’t want to rush it. Fingers crossed I’ll feel like reading historical fiction again soon!

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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A lot of finished reads this week, but most of these are short and easy reads…
* The first novella I finished was Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell, a Star Wars-themed story she wrote for World Book Day and very entertaining!
* I then read both Red Queen novellas Queen Song and Steel Scars by Victoria Aveyard. I can’t say I was impressed… The second was slightly better than the first, but I don’t think they are actually worth reading.
* I then read One by Sarah Crossan, which turned out to be a superfast and interesting read. The prose reads almost like poetry and the story itself is intriguing.
* I decided to continue with Eve by Iris Johansen afterwards because I didn’t want to bring my kindle with me during my trip… I kind of wish I brought another book instead because it was almost a torture to have to read this story. I will have to work on my DNF skills…
* The last book I finished was a lot better: Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling. I already knew I liked her writing style after reading Why Not Me? and this one is without doubt entertaining as well (although a bit slow at points).

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I will probably try to finish my Red Queen series read and both reread Red Queen and read Glass Sword… Although I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen first depending of which genre I’m in the mood for. I have also been wanting to read Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch since I really enjoyed the first book; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.

WWW Wednesdays #80 – March 2nd

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’m still reading The Miniaturist by Jessie Burton and so far I’m really enjoying it. The only reason I haven’t finished it yet is that my reading slump is making it hard to concentrate for a long time and I have been reading ‘easy’ reads instead… So that’s why I decided to start reading Kindred Spirits by Rainbow Rowell as well. It’s a short read so I will probably finish it today.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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* The first book I finished was All The Light We Cannot See by Anthony Doerr. I always enjoy a good historical fiction WWII story and this one has to be one of my all time favorites. Such a beautifully written story!
* I then read Furiously Happy by Jenny Lawson, which ended up being a very interesting read with a lot of funny moments. Warning: make sure to read it when nobody is around because you will probably laugh out loud!
* I also finally picked up my first Spanish read in ages: Bestiario by Julio Cortázar. I really liked the combination of ordinary things with magical realism elements… But I have to be honest and say that some stories were a lot better than others.
* The last book I finished is The Secrets Of Lake Road by Karen Katchur, a book I picked up on a whim and turned out to be a really quick read.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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I might pick up Random by Tom Leveen depending of which genre I’m in the mood for… Although I will probably start my Red Queen series marathon by reading the first of two novellas Queen Song. In case I don’t want fantasy, I have Ugly Love by Colleen Hoover lined up as well; The Liar’s Chair by Rebecca Whitney is still my latest TBR jar pick.

BOOK REVIEW: My True Love Gave To Me – by Stephanie Perkins

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Title: My True Love Gave To Me
Author: Stephanie Perkins 
Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary
First published: October 14th 2014
Finished reading: December 29th 2015
Pages: 336
Rating 3,5qqq

“He says presents aren’t important, but I think they are – not because of how much they cost, but for the opportunity they provide to say I understand you.”

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Another Christmas read I end up reviewing in January… Although I’m finally starting to catch up with my reviews! Since My True Love Gave To Me is actually a collection of twelve Holiday themed short stories, I’ve decided to to this review slightly different from my normal format and discuss every story separately. As a whole this bundle edited by Stephanie Perkins is without doubt an entertaining read and perfect for the Holiday season, although I did like some stories better than others. If you haven’t read this one yet and like themed reads, put this one on your December 2016 TBR! On to the separate stories…

Midnights by Rainbow Rowell. (4,5/5)
This is such an adorable little story to start the collection with, and also very Rainbow Rowell! Without doubt one of my favorites… Midnights is basically story about what happens between two teenagers on various New Years Eves.  It’s funny, it’s awkward, it’s adorable and very well written as well.

The Lady And The Fox by Kelly Link. (2,5/5)
Meh I didn’t particularly like this one. It was without doubt an original story with a touch of magical realism, but I can’t say I was put under its spell. This is one of those stories that might have worked better as a longer novella… Because I felt it lacked proper explanation and character development.

Angels In The Snow by Matt De La Peña. (3/5)
This one was better than the second story, but I can’t say I was a fan of the prose. The story itself is quite funny where the main character is cat sitting and doesn’t have money for food, and the only other person in the building is a girl his age with a broken shower… You get the idea. The story itself sounds interesting, but like I said, I didn’t particularly like how it was told.

Polaris Is Where You’ll Find Me by Jenny Han. (4/5)
Such a cute little story! I love the idea of a human being ‘rescued’ by Santa and living with the elves. I also like the fact that this story was different from the others and the fact that it took place on the North Pole. Original, interesting and adorable!

It’s A Yuletide Miracle, Charlie Brown by Stephanie Perkins. (4/5)
I enjoyed this story! It was sweet but not too sugary, and that is just how I like my Holiday themed reads. It’s about a girl who wants to ask a favor of a guy who sells Christmas trees and ends up buying a tree she doesn’t have room for… And he offers to help her organize her home.

Your Temporary Santa by David Levithan. (3,5/5)
This story was quite entertaining and I liked the glbt angle. I wasn’t 100% convinced by the prose, but I have had problems with his work in th epast. It’s a cute story though and perfect for the Holiday season; a boy who dresses up as Santa so he can convince his boyfriend’s sister that Santa is real.

Krampuslauf by Holly Black. (3,5/5)
This one was interesting enough, although not amazing. I liked the fantasy element in the story and the prose and descriptions… I have a feeling it would have worked even better as a longer story, because the characters sound interesting.

What The Hell Have You Done, Sophie Roth? By Gayle Forman. (4/5)
Quite an entertaining story! Not the best of the lot, but definitely one of the better stories. I’m seeing a lot of race/religion/sexuality diversity in these short stories and I like it! I wasn’t completely convinced by the main characters, but it did made me crave winter food.

Beer Buckets And Baby Jesus by Myra McEntire. (3/5)
I can’t say this was a great story, but it was not that terrible either. I just wasn’t convinced by the general plot or actions… Although I know others loved this one. Somehow a boy who is in love with the pastor’s daughter and accidentally burns down the church just before Christmas is just a little too cheesy to my taste.

Welcome To Christmas, CA by Kiersten White. (4,5/5)
YESSS! Food AND Spanish?! I’m sold. If this isn’t my favorite story it would come a close second, because I really loved this one. A girl lives in a town called Christmas and works at a diner when a new chef arrives… And he is not only a great chef, but attractive as well. Cute, well written and the perfect Holiday read!

Star Of Bethlehem by Ally Carter. (3,5/5)
This was such a sad story! Well written like I would expect of Ally Carter (I loved reading All Fall Down last year) and definitely worth reading, even though it’s not one of my favorites of the bunch.

The Girl Who Woke The Dreamer by Laini Taylor (4/5)
This story confirmed to me that I really have to start the Daughter Of Smoke And Bone series soon, because I loved the prose. Very beautiful and such a creative worldbuilding for a short story. It was a little confusing and strange, but without doubt very interesting.

BOOK REVIEW: Carry On – by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Carry On
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Romance
First published: October 6th 2015
Finished reading: November 6th 2015
Pages: 522
Rating 5qqq

“What you are is a fucking tragedy, Simon Snow. You literally couldn’t be a bigger mess.”
He tries to kiss me, but I pull back- “And you like that?”
“I love it.” He says
“Why?”
“Because we match.”

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I have been looking forward to Carry On ever since finishing Fangirl back in April, so when I finally got my copy I just had to read it straight away. And now I’ve finished it, I can say this novel by Rainbow Rowell is everything I’ve hoped for and more. I already know it will appear on my 2015 favorites list and it’s my new Rowell favorite as well. When I was reading Carry On I was having the same feelings as the first time I read the Harry Potter series when I was younger, and I can guarantee that is a huge compliment! Somehow this story is just magical and I fell in love with its main characters… The prose, the plot, the characters: it just works perfectly together. I know this sounds a lot like fangirling and I admit it’s really hard to properly describe my feelings for this novel, but I guess it’s just THAT good. If you like the genre and enjoy the way Rainbow Rowell writes, I’m sure you will love this one as well. Baz and Simon will win over your heart!

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Simon Snow is the chosen one, but he doesn’t exactly feel or act like one. He has a hard time keeping his magic under control and using his wand in general, something his roommate Baz keeps reminding him. Baz might actually be evil, possibly even a vampire and is probably both his worst enemy and might be alright at the same time… Needless to say things have become pretty tense between them over the years, until Baz doesn’t show up on the first day of their last year at the Watford School Of Magicks. Simon wonders what he’s planning next and on top of that he has his hands full with a magic-eating monster that wears Simon’s face. Not forgetting his girlfriend broke up with him and his mentor is avoiding him… In short: he is a complete mess. Will Simon be able to make things right like he is supposed to?

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I know not everyone will enjoy Carry On, but I cannot say enough how brilliant this story is. I fell in love with the characters (especially Baz and Simon), the prose is great and I really enjoyed the plot as well. Rainbow Rowell was able to make me feel all warm and fuzzy inside and I already know I will reread Carry On many times in the future. It’s one of those books that if it manages to put you under its spell you just cannot get enough of it. More than recommended if you like the genre!

WWW Wednesdays #63 – November 4th

wwwwednesdaysWWW WEDNESDAYS is hosted by Sam at 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’m about 60% into The Valentine Circle by Reinaldo DelValle and while it’s not a mindblowing read, the general plot is interesting enough for me to keep reading. I will probably end up finishing it later today… I still haven’t continued with Outlander by Diana Gabaldon; not because I’m not enjoying it, but there are a few other books I want to finish first before fully commiting to this giant.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

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Three books and a novella this week; not bad at all…
* The first is The Fear Trials by Lindsay Cummings; an excellent prequel novella that gives the perfect introduction to the story and will convince you to read the rest of the series.
* Next up is Vanishing Girls by Lauren Oliver, a novel that kept popping up at my TBR lists and finally decided to pick up. Not a bad read, but I wasn’t overwhelmed by it either…
* I then decided to read The Infinite Sea by Rick Yancey since it was the last title on my October TBR I hadn’t started yet. I know other people love this series, but I wasn’t convinced by the sequel either.
* After two mediocre reads, I wanted something good and decided to pick up the Anna sequel Girl Of Nightmares by Kendare Blake. While not as good as the first book, this one is still really good!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

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As soon as I finish The Valentine Circle, I will either start Six Of Crows by Leigh Bardugo or Carry On by Rainbow Rowell. Basically I’m superexcited to read both and I will be having a hard time deciding which one to pick up first. I also want to read Why Not Me? by Mindy Kaling since it’s nominated for the Goodreads Choice awards… And my new TBR jar pick is Where’d You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

BOOK REVIEW: Landline – by Rainbow Rowell

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Title: Landline
Author: Rainbow Rowell
Genre: Fiction, Contemporary, Romance
First published: July 3rd 2014
Finished reading: August 13th 2015
Pages: 308
Rating 2

“Nobody’s lives just fit together. Fitting together is something you work at. It’s something you make happen – because you love each other.”

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After enjoying Eleanor & Park last year and loving Fangirl a few months ago, I was really looking forward to this read. I still think Rainbow Rowell‘s YA fiction is more than excellent, but I’m sorry to say I didn’t end up enjoying Landline at all. I still can’t put my finger exactly on the why, but I do know there were a lot of things wrong with this story. The plot was pretty much non-existent and I really didn’t like the main characters and how they acted. And the magic phone? Not convincingly done at all and it just didn’t fit into the whole contemporary romance genre. Maybe if the idea would have been presented better and you would actually get an idea of how the whole timetravel-magic-phone-thing works, Landline would have made a lot more sense. Now I just felt it was a bunch of random events with a not so satisfying ending. I have to admit the prose was pretty good, as I would have expected from Rainbow Rowell, but the rest of this story definitely didn’t convince me.

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Georgie McCool has been having problems in her marriage for a long time, but she is too busy with her job as a TV writer do to anything about it. She still loves her husband Neal, but she doesn’t know how to save her marriage… When something’s come up on her show just before Christmas, Georgie is forced to cancel their trip to visit Neal’s family in Omaha. Neal does the unthinkable and decides to go home with their kids without her. Georgie wonders if she’s finally crossed the line and ruined her marriage forever… And even her best friend and coworker Seth can’t get her to concentrate on her job. Then Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past… But what is she supposed to do?

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If you haven’t read any of Rainbow Rowell‘s novels yet, I highly suggest to try the other titles first. Landline is simply disappointing, and I don’t think I would have tried her other novels if I would have read this one first. I liked the prose in general, but the lack of plot and annoying characters were a mayor turn off. And then I’m not even talking about the magic phone… I had such high expectations for this one, but it just didn’t work for me.