Sunday, 29 December 2013

Brush of Shade

I was granted a giveaway copy of this book in exchange for a honest review. So once again that is exactly what I will do. 

Brush of Shade, part one of the Whisperer's Chronicles, written by Jan Harman, is a story about Olivia Pepperdine. She has had a rather though year. She was in a car accident not to long ago. The same car accident in which both her parents died. This is not all that has happened in Olivia her life though. Not to long before her accident, her brother also died in a (different) car accident. She and her brother were very close. But at least then she had her parents support. Now she was alone. The only family she had left is her aunt Claire, who she only saw every once in a while and bought their love for her with expensive gifts.

Her aunt is trying the best she can to take care of Olivia. Which is rather hard since she just lost her brother. Olivia has been traumatized and is stuck in a state of loss. She feels broken and crazy.

That is when her aunt decides it's time for a good change. Away from DC, with all the torn memories of their family members, who died. So Claire takes Olivia back to their home. The place where Olivia her dad grew up and moved away from. Spring Valley, Colorado. Though once they arrive their they soon realize it was a big mistake. Weird things starts to happen to Olivia. People are avoiding her, looking weirdly at her and talking about her like they know her. Why? What are they on about? 

Then she meets Trent, who seems nice enough. He takes her too school and is a good friend. Trying to get her to feel at home. But he talks about her in the same way too. Like he knows her. And what does Trent mean about the money and her being rich?

Read the book and find out! I was quite surprised by the characters and a few events. I didn't see it coming. Though I like Olivia, I would have liked her a little better if she was stronger and stood up for herself. I don't understand most of her decisions but I respect them.

I don't like the people in Spring Valley that much. I understand what they are doing and why but I think it's disrespectful. They expect to much of Olivia. They want her to be part of them. Part of something she knows nothing about. I do not like Trent and his family and sometimes I don't even like Claire. Though to be fair, she is just trying to do the right thing for Olivia, which Olivia doesn't notice.

I'm very much looking forward to the next part of this story!

For the original review click here.

Thursday, 19 December 2013

The Vanguard

It might be a bit much to post this review already. I only just finished this book, only a few days after I finished the first book. You know how it is with series. Once you start you don't stop until you have to (because the next book is not out yet or the series is finished). So here it is, my review of The Vanguard (Allison's Story #2) by Elle Todd. If you haven't read The Elect (Allison's Story #1) yet, I recommend not to read this review since it might spoil the first book for you.

Everything you thought you knew about the Elect and the Vanguard, will change during this book.

A lot has changed since Allison's 16th birthday, everything is different now. She has no clue what's wrong and what's right anymore. Her mom is gone, forever. There is noway back. In the beginning of the book she is completely lost. It doesn't really matter to her what happens. She lost the one person that was always there for her. She has no one left, at least that is how she feels. I can not imagine how she feels. It must be awful. The darkness (and numbness) of her pain is all consuming. It took me down with her.

She needs to get out and run. Look for the man who is supposed to be her father. She needs answers, since her mother could not give her those. Now she is lost, without any clue where to go. Stuck in between the Vanguard and the Elders, who also have no clue what to do with her or what she is and how. Ally has to make a lot of difficult decisions. Will she have help making them or does she have to do everything on her own?

I was very angry and frustrated while reading this book (I might have yelled at my boyfriend and told him to get lost because the book was just too thrilling..). The feeling I had was similar to the feeling I had while reading The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin. Locked away from the people you know like you are some kind of dangerous animal that will hurt everyone that comes in its way. Though while reading this part of Allison's story made me so much angrier. Ally never asked for any of this and now they are treating her like a criminal while she is the victim.

The fact that I felt that angry means that I was very much into the story. It doesn't happen that often. But when it happens, it has me under its spell for days or even weeks. Like it's predecessor, The Vanguard is exciting from the first to the last letter of the book. I was not able to put it back down before I was finished, which is one of the best qualities a book can have.

I was a little disappointed by the ending. I was expecting a huge cliffhanger (but maybe that is why it didn't have one, since I was expecting it), like the first one had. But to my surprise this book ended quite peacefully. Even though I'm anxious to read the next part. I'm not out of my mind because of the ending (which in a way is nice), like I was after the first part. Nevertheless, I liked The Vanguard better than The Elect. You know more about the gifts, the characters, the events, the story line, everything. And because of that I felt more connected to Ally.

I am very much looking forward to the third part of Allison's story, I can't wait for it to come out. I hope you like the story as much as I do!

For the original review click here.

Tuesday, 17 December 2013

The Elect

I knew a few people that had received a copy of this book from the author, Elle Todd, in exchange for an honest review. I was interested in the book so I applied for this free copy as well (and I got it, yay!). So here is my honest review of this book.

The Elect is the first book of a series: Allison's story (which will consist of five books when the series is finished). I wasn't looking forward to reading yet another YA series. Those things take up way too much time and though they are pleasant and easy to read, most of them aren't very well written. Nevertheless, I was curious.

This story is about Allison Noble. A 'normal' 16 year old teenage girl who lives with her mom in a town called Stillwater. Her best and practically only friend, Delaney, is very different from her. Where Allison is average, paranoid, insecure and bright, Delaney is brave, confident, gorgeous and with that gets a lot of attention from guys, unwanted attention, but it's there nevertheless. The story starts by them taking revenge on one of Delaney her 'enemies', namely Rebecca. For this particular plan they have to sneak into their school, but once they are there, Allison sees something she was not supposed to see. There are other people in the school, in the basement, people she knows from her classes. Ryan, Nate and Jeremy. She never liked them much, especially since Ryan is Rebecca's boyfriend.

She sees one of them play with fire, but it didn't seem like they were using lighters or matches. They guy was just balancing fire in his hand. But how? They hear and chase after her when she runs away. Both her and Delaney hope the boys didn't see them. But they can't be sure.

Not to long after the incident in the basement, those boys start talking to both of them and spending time with them. Allison is doesn't trust them. They have know those boys forever and they never even so much as talked to them before, Allison didn't even think they would know her name. So why start spending time with them now?

This book was very exciting, I liked reading it, a lot. It was easy, clear and interesting. I enjoyed the main character a lot too. I get annoyed with most female characters form YA novels very easily. But I actually like Allison and her friend Delaney as well (though a little less). I didn't expect this book to be so exciting. But then the last few chapters throw you completely in an other direction. It has a major plot twist. One I did not saw coming. Elle Todd really surprised me. Finally something that I didn't predict or saw coming. I can not wait to read the next book.

Though amazing, it's not perfect. I got confused a few times while reading, not by the story line or the characters, but by the time setting. The writer likes to skip unimportant events. Like school time or work time. I get why (especially since I was eager to learn more about the interesting parts of the book), but sometimes it trows you off the story. Nevertheless, I would recommend this book to all the YA readers out there.

The sequel to this book is called The Vanguard and not to long from now the third part of this series will come out as well, The Core.

For my original review click here.

And before I forget to mention it. I love the cover of this book and it's sequel. Not only because it looks awesome, but I can actually see how it relates to the story.

Monday, 16 December 2013

The Final Empire: Mistborn #1

I wish someone would have warned me for this book.. for how it would go and how it would end. This particular part of the book makes me so sad. I wish I would have known before I started.
Vin, your original duty tonight was going to be assassinate the high noblemen remaining in the city. But, well, you convinced me that maybe they should live. I could never figure out how this blasted metal was supposed to work. It's safe to burn - it won't kill you - but it doesn't appear to do anything useful. If you're reading this, then I failed to figure out how to use it when I faced the Lord Ruler. I don't think it matters. They people needed something to believe in, and this was the only way to give it to them. Please don't be angry at me for abandoning you. I was given an extension on life. I should have died in Mare's place years ago. I was ready for this. The others will need you. You're their Mistborn now - you'll have to protect them in the months to come. The nobility will send assassins against our fledgling kingdom's rulers. Farewell. I'll tell Mare about you. She always wanted a daugther.
- Kelsier, The Final Empire, Brandon Sanderson.


Sunday, 15 December 2013

Origin

I'm going to do everything in my power to make sure nothing bad happens. I will do anything to make sure we have the time for everything we want, but I'm not stupid enough to disregard the fact that something may happen that I can't control. And, dammit, I don't want to look back and see that I didn't seize the chance to make you mind, to really prove that I want to spend the rest of my life with you. That I lost that opportunity.
- Daemon Black, Origin, Jennifer L. Armentrout 

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Mandela

Last night I went to what we call 'the sneak' (the sneak preview in the cinema close by, you never know what kind of movie you will end up watching). To my satisfaction it was a movie of which I didn't even know I wanted to see it. Mandela: Long walk to Freedom.

I could give you a short summary about this movie, but I'm pretty sure you get the point. After all, it's about Nelson Mandela.

It was interesting to watch this movie only a few days after his death. Everybody is talking about it now, so seeing the movie now was both convenient and annoying. Since I was already talking about Mandela and his life (and death). This movie made my head spin. I always find everything they tell you hard to believe. Are they trying to make me like this person? Was everything he did good?

It was different this time around because for once I would be the 'bad guy' in this situation. I am white. I have no right to say or feel anything about what happened to Nelson Mandela and his 'people'. I can never begin to understand what they went through and how it felt for them. Neither can I say that I would treat them any different if I lived there during that time, I simply do not know what it would be like. Not even for the 'white' people in this story, I can not relate to either of the sides of this story. It is what he says, people are taught to hate they are not born into it. 

Nevertheless, I try to understand. I cried a lot while watching this movie. The horror, pain and loneliness, it was all very intense. I can imagine what it would be like, pulled away from you family for 27 years. I am not even 27 years old, that is a very long time! But I can imagine how much I would miss my family and all the people that I know. 

I really enjoyed watching this movie. It was a bit long but it was worth it. It was interesting to learn about his story and what had happened there, though the movie is confusing. They skip through time quite randomly. It might have been better if it hadn't been a drama movie. I would have liked to see a few more original pictures and videos. But above else this movie taught me something I always knew but realize over and over again. No body is perfect. Not Nelson Mandela, not me and not you. He tried to do and did a lot of good things for his 'people' and I respect what he accomplished. But above else, he was still just one person. A human, who also made mistakes and chose his 'people' over his family. I can never begin to understand the sacrifices he had to make.

In a way this movie made me think of another movie, namely: The Bang Bang Club. Maybe I will write a review about that movie one day too, but in that movie you also see a lot of violence towards and from 'black' people. You see a lot of death and pain in both movies. 

Thursday, 5 December 2013

The Wishing Spell

Normally I would not read a children's fiction novel so soon. Plus this book is written by an actor which made me even more wary about the whole thing. The Wishing Spell: The Land of Stories is written by Chris Colfer. The guy who plays Kurt Hummel in Glee (awesome TV-show by the way, always makes me happy). I try not to be influenced by the writers if they are famous for something else (that is why I am not going to read Hilary Duff her books).

I came across this book in my favorite bookshop in Amsterdam, namely Waterstones bookshop. It looked amazing and then I started to look into the story line, which fascinated me. I decided it was time to get out of my YA comfort zone and read this book.

As soon as I had decided this, I was very excited about reading this book. I grew up reading about Red Riding Hood, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty and most of the other characters. I loved the movies (the once I have seen) made about those fairy tales. I read Fairy tales from the Efteling a few times and read it to kids. I bought that book with my boyfriend, in case we ever have kids (which won't happen any time soon), so that I could read them the stories I grew up with. For me this book felt like a sequel to all those stories.

Map of Land of Stories
The story is about Alex and Connor, the Bailey twins. They just lost their father and are having a hard time dealing with his death. Alex is a good hard working student while Connor is better at sports and less good at school. When they turn 11 their grandmother visits them and gives them the Land of Stories book. They loved that book. Their grandmother and father used to read them stories from this book. But then weird stuff starts to happen when Alex takes the book to her room. Soon she finds out that the book is a portal. She falls into the book and Connor, obviously, follows her. That is where they meet Froggy, a frog the size of a man. He tells them where they are, the are in the actual Land of Stories. They can't believe what they are hearing. They try to find a way to get back to their own world and figure out that they can do this with The Wishing Spell. All they have to do is collect several objects, put them together and make a wish. But easier said then done. How will they be able to collect all those items safely, without getting caught?

While reading it I fell in love with most of the characters, all over again. I never thought I could hate Red Riding Hood, but after reading this book, I do. It was refreshing to read about them again in a different matter. Though I have to admit that the story line was on some points a bit lacking. It made me think of the book The Forests of Silence. I read all the books from Deltora's Quest (didn't read the other series about Deltora). But this made me think of that a little bit. Though The Wishing Spell has familiar characters and is more reader-friendly.

I love Alex and Connor and most of the 'people' they meet throughout the story. Though I was a little bit disappointed by how little time it took them to collect all the items. I expected them to take a little more time, meet more awesome 'people' and for it to be a big deal. On the other hand maybe it's good because now it kept me interesting since it didn't go on for too long.

Like I said before, I loved the characters. Even the Evil Queen. Though I liked her better when she was the actual Evil Queen. In the end it was a little predictable and maybe a little bit too friendly, but then again, it's a children's book. What did I expect?

That's all for now. I already read the next part of the adventure. The Enchantress Returns: The Land of Stories. Maybe I will post that review later, since I liked that part better. For the original review click here.

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Lovelace


There is only one reason why I wanted to watch this movie when it came out. Amanda Seyfried. To me, she is one of the most beautiful women out there. I watch practically every movie she's in. Though when I read that she was going to be in this movie, about a pornstar, I had my doubts.

I had never heard about Linda Lovelace. So I asked my parents about it. They gave me very strange looks. I figured the best way to learn about Linda Lovelace was by actually watching the movie. So I did.

**Spoilers**
Lovelace is more a documentary than a drama to me. I didn't see Amanda, I saw Linda. In the movie you see her get into the porno business. But it doesn't seem to be that bad. You see that Chuck (her first husband) has a temper but he doesn't treat her that bad. She is a total hit in her first porno movie Deep Throat and after that she's golden. They want her in a lot more porno movies. But she doesn't really want to, she wants to be a regular movie star. A few years later you see her taking a polygraph test. At some point they ask her about Chuck. Then the flashbacks start. You see everything you already saw in short fragments but then instead of the nice version, you see the actual version. You see how Chuck beats her. How he forced her into the porno business. How he abuses her. He even sold her as a 'sex doll' (to use) to get some cocaine for a couple of men.

When the flashbacks get up to speed with the actual story you see her in a normal family home with her new husband, Larry Marchiano, and her son. By then she is trying to set the record straight by selling her autobiography book: OrdealTell people what actually happened between her and Chuck and how she got into the business. People have a hard time with taking her story seriously, but she just wants to get it out there that some women are abused by there husbands and forced to do stuff that don't really want to do. She is trying to help them, she wants to tell them it's okay to try to escape. That it's possible.

I found the story very interesting. I was surprised by how it touched me. They did a great job by putting this movie. It was written by Andy Bellin and directed by Rob Epstein and Jeffrey Friedman. There were also a lot of good actors in this movies. Like James Franco, Peter Sarsgaard (who plays Chuck), Adam Brody and Chris Noth.

I hope this review helps. It's a very good movie. You should definitely check it out!

Divergent

When I first started reading this series, I was a little bit wary about the story. After a few pages of reading a few bells went off in my head. "Harry Potter, much! This is so The Hunger Games, come on! Just stop reading!". But the more I read, the more I got into the story line. I started to realize that it was nothing close to either of those stories. The process of choosing in the beginning is slightly similar to the choosing of your house in Harry Potter and the factions look like the districts, each has their own value. But it's very different still.

When I kept reading and reading I started to fall in love with the story, I will tell you why.

The main character is Beatrice 'Tris' Prior. She grew up in a faction called the Abnegation, also known as 'the selfless'. People in this faction practically live for other people. They are not allowed to care about themselves. Others come first. Beatrice is not comfortable with this way of living. She is not able to be that selfless. Nevertheless, she tries to fit in with her parents and her brother. Yet she cannot live this passively. She wants to care about herself, make decisions for herself and be able to speak up for herself. She wants to be allowed to look into a mirror without being judged. This is what I like about her. She feels like it's selfish, but I feel like it's only fair to want a life for yourself. The things she wants seem normal to me.

But this also means that she has to leave the Abnegation and along with it, her family. She is thinking about this a lot when she has to do her test, to see in which faction she belongs. But then something terrible happens. Her test is inconclusive. She is what they call Divergent. She doesn't fit in anywhere. She has no idea what Divergent means and if there are others like her. Soon she finds out why she doesn't know this, why nobody seems to know this. All the people who are Divergent seem to disappear. She can't tell anyone, not even her own parents, what she is. She has to choose a faction where she's safe, where 'they' won't find her. The question is, how is she supposed to do that?

I like this story. I like how, in the beginning, it's different from the stories I usually read. It's about one person. Not about two different persons who clearly belong together. Sure there is some romance later on and you do fall in love with the other characters. Though it's not the main factor. It's about Tris and Tris only. That's also why it reminded me a little bit of The Hunger Games. Since that story is also only about a girl and what she wants and needs to do. Sure Katniss is loved but she is still alone. Divergent is slightly less cruel, though.

I like how Veronica Roth, the writer of Divergent, is not scared of killing characters. She sees how it adds value to the story and to the characters. It's always sad and cruel when people die (or get killed) but it also makes it real. 

This book is about humankind and how they can turn against each other. No matter what you try, evil will always be there. Waiting for the right moment to strike. People are not only good or only bad. Everyone has both qualities within them. Some just choose to listen to only one of those sides. Find out for yourself who in this story is the bad guy and why.

This book is part of a series. After Divergent you have Insurgent and Allegiant.

You can find the original review here.

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

The Dark Heroine



Before I start talking The Dark Heroine and how amazing this book is, I would like to tell you where and why I bought this book. I was on holiday in Australia last year when I came across this book. I had already bought eight other books that trip and was not really supposed to buy anything else, since you can only fit so much book into your suitcase. But the reason I bought this book is not because of the book itself but because I was so fascinated by the writer. Abigail Gibbs. So young and yet there it was. Her book. All the way in Australia (from England).

When I read this book I did not know it had anything to do with Twilight, whatsoever. I read Twilight, of course, but I didn't see the link until after I read it and was reading it for the second time. I was in love with Twilight years ago but when I read this book I forgot all about that.


It's dangerous, defiant, compelling and scary. But aside from that it's loving, emotional and funny. Some aspects made me laugh so hard. While most of the book made me really angry. I was furious with Kaspar at first. I hated him with all my heart and soul, especially because Violet didn't seem to hate him that much. I was angry because at some point she wasn't angry anymore.


Violet is an amazing character. She's supposed to be scared, she is in some ways, but man she's tough and spicy. I love her spontaneous reactions. Mostly because she's like that in situations in which I wouldn't be able to say anything, silent of shock and fear. Oh, but not her. I love that. She appears to be able to defend herself, not by force but by mind and words. Even though the 'people' around her could kill her easily, she's not going to let it seem like she's helpless or needs someone to protect her (although she does need someone to protect her).She's kidnapped by 'vampires' after she saw them slaughter a bunch of 'people' at Trafalgar square in London. At the time she doesn't know that they are in fact vampires. She has no clue what the hell is happening and why. After a while they realize who she is and she realizes who they are. Vampire royalty. They can do about anything and the government will cover it up. They can't let her go because then they would be exposed. So she has two options. She can either die or become a vampire.


At first some of the vampires are fascinated by her but the longer she's there the more they start to hate her and her human ways. Not all of them, but most of them anyway. Halfway through the story everything starts to change...


I could go on for hours about how I loved this book. Could spoil a lot. But that would only make it less fun to read. I really recommend this book. Even if you don't like the whole vampire-stuff. The story is different. It's not so sweet (like Twilight is). It's very nicely dangerous.


In January the sequel of this book will appear in the stores. Autumn Rose: The Dark Heroine #2. For the original review click here.

Water for Elephants

This is a book about an old man, Jacob Jankowski, who tells you all about his life in the circus. Everything happens after the deaths of his parents when he was just a teenager. Because of his fathers depths, he has nothing. No money and no house. He decides to drop out of college, run away from the place he used to call home and join the circus of the Benzini Brothers . There he becomes a 'professional' vet, even though he didn't finish his study (they don't know that). Terrible things happen and Jacob falls madly in love with the wrong person. This book is written by Sara Gruen.

I wrote a review on this book a while back and read the book months before that. But here it is!

''Unfortunately I had seen the movie long before I read the book. I hate it when this happens. But I like watching movies and sometimes it just happens. 



I wanted to be sure that I got a good impression of the book so left some time in between seeing the movie and actually reading the book. I hoped that I could forgot Robert Pattinsons face before reading it. I did not want to have the imagine of him as Jacob in my head while reading it this book.

When I finally got to it (when I was in Australia and didn't have internet), it was very very good. Better than the movie, but I expected that. It was more about the older version of Jacob and I really enjoyed that. He is a grumpy old man but I liked reading about him becase that was the person who had gone through all those experiences. The young Jacob you read about is still experiencing those experiences. It gave me a better impression of who Jacob had become and was. The book just makes more sense. It's better put into words than in the movie.

The book shows how tough the circus life was. That they never got paid. What the effects of ´Jake´ (Jamaican Ginger) did to people and what it was. How it went down and why. The ranks and the business. I learned a lot from this book! It was a great read. Very good.''

For the actual review click here.

General thought about books

Every time I try to be productive, there is a book I need to read. And when I say need, I really mean that I neeeeed to read that book. Every muscle in my body is unable to relax because I don't know how the story ends, yet. Every cell in my body is screaming for release from the endless wondering. I hate books because of this. How they take away my concentration. But I love travelling to other worlds. I will do it over and over again. This is what I want to do for the rest of my life.