WWW Wednesdays #187 – September 12th

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?

I’m currently reading three more titles for the N.E.W.T. readathon… The first is a pending ARC due soon: The Girl Made Of Clay by Nicole Meier. It’s still early days, but it seems to be a fast read. I also started another physical copy and a Dutch translation of Half Bad by Sally Green. I’ve been meaning to read this series for years, so the N.E.W.T.s were a good excuse to finally do so. I have a feeling I would enjoy the story better reading it in English on my kindle, but I also know I really need the practise. 😉 I also started All These Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin before I realized I needed to read the ARC first.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Chaos Of Stars by Kiersten White (2/5 stars) REVIEW 17/09
It doesn’t happen often that I have such an instant dislike of a character, but Isadora pretty much does the trick. What a whiny, annoying, self-centered, arrogant and disrespectful brat! Basically, she managed to enrage me on every single page, and I had to work hard on my breathing techniques to prevent myself from throwing my kindle against the wall. And no, sadly I’m not exaggerating here. Add a case of insta-love and a couple of other YA cliches and you have the gist of what happens in The Chaos Of Stars… I’m adding an extra star just for the occasional appearance of the Egyptian mythology elements the story promised.

2. Toxic by Lydia Kang (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 
Even though science fiction isn’t really my genre, it was actually those elements that stood out for me. Especially Cyclo was fascinating, since the ship was almost like another character with its own development, ’emotions’ and flaws. I could have done without the more cliche romance scenes, and I wasn’t a fan of Hana, but overall I really enjoyed my time with Toxic.

3. Gone To Ground by Rachel Amphlett (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 16/09
If you are looking for a detective thriller series that keeps delivering, a plot that will keep you guessing until the very end or simply a very engaging and absorbing read, you will find all those things are covered in every single Detective Kay Hunter book. Gone To Ground is no exception and has exactly the same high quality I have become used to. I liked spending more time with my favorite team and while the case they investigate took some time to start rolling, the ending left me completely shocked. I definitely didn’t see that coming! Yet another detective thriller winner and without doubt worth the read.

4. Bang by Barry Lyga (3/5 stars) REVIEW 17/09
I have been meaning to pick up another of Barry Lyga‘s books for ages. The Jasper Dent series is one of my absolute favorites and I had high hopes for Bang, but sadly it wasn’t as good as I hoped. The topic itself is really important, but I felt it was pushed mostly into the background as there was more focus on the whole pizza baking and contemporary romance in general. Not that this is necessarily a bad thing, since I’m a huge foodie myself, but the story fell rather flat for me.

5. Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton (3/5 stars) REVIEW 20/09
This was one of my most anticipated releases, as I loved the first two books and was dying to find out how things would end. It might have been that it has been too long since I read the first two books and didn’t remember all the details, but the fact is that I can’t say I actually enjoyed Hero At The Fall. Amani really annoyed me, with her whole ‘I’m not worthy’ and negative attitude in general. I admire the author for not being afraid to kill of characters George R.R. Martin style, but I do feel some of the deaths were unnecessary and didn’t add anything to the plot. The plot and pace itself were rather slow, and overall I had a hard time keeping myself invested into the story. Such a shame the series had to end this way for me!

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

I’m going to pick up The Ballroom by Anna Hope next as I’m trying to pass all Hogwarts subjects with at least an Acceptable grade… Afterwards I’ll probably read The Shattered Mountain by Rae Carson first since it’s a novella. Then comes Lies Between Us by Ronnie Turner, which I have been really excited about. I also plan to read Norse Mythology by Neil Gaiman soon.


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ARC REVIEW: Toxic – by Lydia Kang

Title: Toxic
Author: Lydia Kang
Genre: YA, Science Fiction, Romance
First published: November 6th 2018
Publisher: Entangled: Teen
Finished reading: September 7th 2018
Pages: 320

“Funny how, with everything available to us, we still want to learn how to do things the old ways.”

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

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Toxic easily has one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen so far this year. This was the perfect definition of cover love: I knew I HAD to read this one even before I actually read the blurb. I know science fiction isn’t really my genre, but I like branching out every once and a while to mix things up. It’s been a while since I read a story set in space, and Lydia Kang was able to make it into a very interesting experience. I loved the idea behind Toxic with the biological ship Cyclo, the detailed descriptions of the ship, the use of colors to communicate… Cyclo was basically another character and I loved to see how the ship ‘evolved’ over time. As for the other characters: there are a few cliches involved, and I’m not sure I like Hana, but overall their development is interesting enough to follow. I do think Cyclo overshadows the other characters in its uniqueness though. That said, it was an entertaining enough ride with plenty of action as Cyclo becomes less and less predictable and more dangerous. I wish there would have been less romance scenes involves, especially since most of it is quite cliche and takes away attention from the more interesting sci-fi elements. I’m sure romance fans will take those scenes differently though. The writing is solid and makes this ride very enjoyable. Fans of more romantic YA sci-fi books will have a blast reading Toxic.

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Cyclo is the first biological ship out there and has been working fine for a long time, but time seems to have run out and the ship is dying. Everyone has been evacuated, and now a small crew is on their way to board the abandoned ship to record and analyze Cyclo’s final days. They have signed a contract, giving up their lives to document the death of Cyclo in exchange for a healthy sum of money to be awarded to the person they indicate, but only if they fulfill their mission. When they arrive, they find out the ship isn’t completely abandoned… A girl has been left behind, and she might just be the reason they won’t be able to finish everything on time. Especially since Cyclo seems to be more instable than originally indicated.

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Even though science fiction isn’t really my genre, it was actually those elements that stood out for me. Especially Cyclo was fascinating, since the ship was almost like another character with its own development, ’emotions’ and flaws. I could have done without the more cliche romance scenes, and I wasn’t a fan of Hana, but overall I really enjoyed my time with Toxic.


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WWW Wednesdays #186 – September 5th

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?

I’m currently reading The Chaos Of Stars by Kiersten White, which doesn’t only have a gorgeous cover, but is also written by an author I’ve been really excited about to read more of. I’m also starting Toxic by Lydia Kang soon, which has to be one of the most gorgeous covers I’ve seen so far this year. It’s a new sci-fi story coming out in November and not my typical genre, but I’m keeping fingers and toes crossed I’ll enjoy it.

  • WHAT DID YOU RECENTLY FINISH READING?

1. The Girl Who Saved The King Of Sweden by Jonas Jonasson (3/5 stars) REVIEW 09/09
I personally wasn’t a fan of the Swedish POV especially in the first half of the book, although I did grow to like Holger Two. Things also improved in the second half as the different storylines merged and the story started to flow better. Still, it was hard to connect to some of the characters and the story did drag considerably at points. It was nice to see how everything did fit together and how small their worlds ended up being, although I don’t think it was exactly credible.

2. I Let You Go by Clare Mackintosh (3/5 stars) REVIEW 13/09
I’m not sure if it was the original hype around I Let You Go making me set my expectations too high or this being unpopular opinion time again, but sadly I didn’t end up having the reading experience I was expecting. The biggest obstacle was the fact that I guessed the big reveal really early on… It was just too easy to figure out the key information after the initial surprise was revealed, and this was quite a let down for me. I also had problems with the two leading detectives of the case; I couldn’t warm up to them and I always hate cheating main characters.

3. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins (4/5 stars) REVIEW 13/09
I still can’t believe how much I enjoyed this story despite a love triangle and the presence of a vampire! There is just something about the writing style that draws you right in and makes you fly through the pages. I literally finished this story in one sitting. Highly entertaining, addictive and just enough magic and supernatural atmosphere to keep that delicate balance with the romance elements.

4. Claw The System by Francesco Marciuliano (4/5 stars) REVIEW 10/09
Poems From The Cat Uprising is divided in parts, each related to a different step of the ‘uprising’. There are many many cat photos to enjoy, most of them related to the text or poems, some funny and others simply beautiful. I would have liked to see more ‘cat’ perspective in the poems, but I still had a blast reading this title. There are definitely a few very funny moments included inClaw The System, a dry and sarcastic kind of humor I personally really appreciate.

5. The Lying King by Alex Beard (2,5/5 stars) REVIEW 10/09
While I like the simplicity of the cover, I don’t think the same style works as well for the picture book itself. I personally found the illustrations too simple and bare; there is a lot of white on some of the pages and I don’t think it will be all that attractive for children. As for the story: the idea behind The Lying King is clever and it has a strong moral message. Still, I don’t think that children will actually be able to pick up on that message from reading this story. I felt that it was told in a too ‘adult’ way to be able to actually work as a way to teach children not to lie.

6. The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo by Taylor Jenkins Reid (5/5 stars) REVIEW 14/09
The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo had me hook, line and sinker. Not only was I impressed by the writing style right from the very first page, it was the story itself that fascinated me as well. The idea of the biography, the aged actress finally revealing all about her past… Everything just clicked for me. The character development in The Seven Husbands Of Evelyn Hugo is simply sublime. I never imagined enjoying this book so much, but this is one of those books that you just HAVE to try even if you aren’t sure the genre would be for you. Trust me, you will regret it if you don’t.

7. Orange Is The New Black by Piper Kerman (2/5 stars) REVIEW 14/09
I never got used to the writing style or tone, which of course made it harder to connect to the story. Secondly, I had a huge problem with Piper Kerman herself. She comes over as someone mostly self-centered, who sees herself as someone above the rest and doesn’t seem to want to admit what she did back in 1993 was wrong. Reading about her views on the prison world made me cringe at points, and while it was interesting to learn more about some of the inmates, I felt it lacked coherence and the story just didn’t flow for me.

8. The Birthday by Carol Wyer (3,5/5 stars) REVIEW 08/09
I have really enjoyed Carol Wyer’s books so far, so of course I had to try out her new detective series so far. The writing is just as strong as ever and the case is both intriguing and chills you to the bone… But sadly I wasn’t able to connect to the new detective or most of her team as all. Instead of refreshing, I found her mostly cliche and I really hate cheating characters. I am willing to give her a second chance though, mostly because the writing, plot development and suspense is spot on.

9. Father Christmas And Me by Matt Haig (4,5/5 stars) REVIEW 15/09
I know Christmas is still far away, but I just HAD to request a copy of this one when I saw it on NG a while back. There was something about the illustrations that caught my eye, and I’m definitely glad my request was granted. What a delightful Christmas-themed story! This is perfect for the middle grade target group, with an interesting plot, a relatable main character they can see themselves in and just enough action to keep them invested in the story. I didn’t realize before this was the third book of a series, but I was still able to enjoy this story to the fullest.

  • WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU’LL READ NEXT?

Of course all my next reads are N.E.W.T. titles as well… Basically, I’m only reading books that fit the readathon prompts this month. These next four are all an attempt of getting all those Acceptable grades in and basically passing all Hogwarts subjects like a true Ravenclaw and with my inner Hermione speaking. 😉 First up is Gone To Ground by Rachel Amphlett, which I’m sure will be yet another winner to what has been a fantastic series so far. I also want to read both All The Things I’ve Done by Gabrielle Zevin and The Ballroom by Anna Hope, which have don’t seem all that known. And of course, I’m dying to finally pick up the third book of a new favorite series of mine: Hero At The Fall by Alwyn Hamilton.


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