Tuesday, 23 June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#28): Favourite Past TTT topics

Top Ten Tuesday this week is about 

 Favourite Past TTT topics 
(In no particular order)

It appears that Top Ten Tuesday has been running for FIVE amazing years! That's a pretty long time when you think about it. Even though I've been participating in this great and fun meme for about two years on and off, I have to say that I'm glad that I've had the chance. TTT has to be the weekly meme for me as it I always discover new cool blogs, but also can make my own lists which I always enjoy SO MUCH. Thank you The Broke and the Bookish for creating TTT, and I really hope that this meme will be going for another 5 years!

So that's why this week's topic is: favourite past TTT topics. When I started putting together this post, I didn't think I'd have so much fun doing it (even though it took me ages to assemble it)! I really loved going through my old TTT posts and see how I had done by posts two years back and how my reading taste has evolved since then. 

If I could've added "Favourite Past TTT Topics" to this list, I would have!

1. Series with more than 3 books (March 10, 2015)

Seven Realms by Cinda Williams China // Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas // Lunar Chronicles by Marissa Meyer 

2. All time favourites from the past 3 years (March 3, 2015)


Ready Player One by Ernest Cline // The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey // The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender

3. Favourite Heroines (February 24, 2015)


Celaena Sardothien //  Hermione Granger // Katniss Everdeen //

4. Covers I'd frame as a piece of art (May 6, 2014)


Ink by Amanda Sun // Requiem by Lauren Oliver // The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald

5. Fictional Characters I wish I knew (April 22, 2014)


Carswell Thorne // Petyr "Littlefinger" Baelish // Locke Lamora

6. Gateway books (April 1, 2014)


Harry Potter and the Philosopher's [Sorcerer's] Stone by J.K Rowling // The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins // Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 

7. Favourite secondary characters (August 27, 2013)


Severus Snape, Patrick Grogan, Marvin the Paranoid Android

8. Favourite Beginnings and Endings  (July 30, 2013)


Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling // Across the Universe by Beth Revis // The Fault in Our Stars by John Green

9. Bookish Turn-Offs (July 23, 2013)

Some of the things that I had included were high school drama, love interest is a jerk, emo kid as a protagonist.

10. Bucket List (March 25, 2014)

I remember having so many bookish bucket list items that I was really struggling to keep the items under ten. Somehow I managed it nevertheless and listed book conventions, visit library more often, and buy more e-books for instance.

Monday, 22 June 2015

The Liebster Award Vol. 2

Thank you Sunny at Stardust and Words for the nomination! I always love doing something at bit different every now and then than just writing reviews and doing the weekly memes. 


  •  Thank the person who nominated you and link to their blog.
  • Answer the 10 questions given by the nominator.
  • Nominate and link 10 bloggers (with less than 200 followers).
  • Notify all the bloggers you've nominated.
  • Create 10 new questions for your nominees to answer.

1. What is one book or series that you think changed your life?

Well, actually I have three, and I just really can't not mention all of them.

Of course, the first one is Harry Potter series - the magical series that made me fall in love with reading and taught us that there is a bit of magic in every single one of us. But then, my angsty teenager years came and I didn't read for many years. But thank god for the The Hunger Games, because when the book was published, it was able to resuscitate my love for the written word. And ever since I've been an avid reader again. The third one is A Song of Ice and Fire series. I will never look at epic fantasy genre with the same eyes again after reading those books. 

2. If you were a writer, what kind of books would you want to write?

Definitely fantasy. Most likely high fantasy laced with adventures and danger and even a bit of romance on the side. 

3. Do you have a preference of time period to read about in Historical Fiction?

I'm not the biggest fan of historical fiction, but I do enjoy reading it from time to time, but I really need to be in the right mood for it. 19th century and the roaming 20s have to be my favourite though. 

4. What is your favorite place that you've ever been?

Well, I don't know if this is super lame, but I have to say that my childhood home. I love that place so much, and the love only grows the older I get. BUT, if I had to give a bit more exciting answer I would go with Budapest, Hungary - such a beautiful place. 

5. What book do you think is perfect for a rainy day?

A very tragic, cry-worthy novel, so that you know, you can decide whether to wallow in the rain or in your own tears. 

6. What genre have you just not been able to get into?

Christian literature. 

7. What are the books you recommend to people who aren't that into reading?

I sincerely believe that those people who say that they don't enjoy reading haven't read the right novels, because there is something for everyone. That being said, I'm going to list books that are very different from each other but at least for me, they all had that something special in them that reinforced my love for reading: 

  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline
  • A Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
  • A Fault in Our Stars by John Green
  • A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
  • Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
  • Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
  • Harry Potter and the Prison of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  • Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas
  • The Lies of Locke Lamora by Scott Lynch
  • The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Lesley Walton
  • Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman

8. Best book of 2015 so far?

Yikes, I've read so many good ones this year! I'd have to say either Uprooted by Naomi Novik or Challenger Deep by Neal Shusterman. 

9. Last book that made you laugh? Last one that made you cry?

The last book that made me laugh was The Dumplin' by Julie Murphy and the last one to make me cry was Evertrue by Brodi Ashton. 

10. What is the number one thing on your bucket list?

Visit all the continents!!


That was fun! I wish there was more of these things going around because I think these are pretty fun way to get to know the bloggers as well as find knew interesting blogs to read. :) 

Here are my ten questions:
  1. Top 10 books that you would take to a deserted island?
  2. Would you rather read only the first or the last page of a book? 
  3. Why do you read?
  4. What's your favourite place to read at?
  5. Who are your favourite authors?
  6. Which one do you like better: happy or tragic endings, and why?
  7. What is your favourite read of 2015?
  8. Is there a book that you've been meaning to read for ever, but for some reason never get around to it (because e.g. intimidated by the size, mixed reviews, etc.)?
  9. What else do you like to do during your free time than read?
  10. Have you ever thought about writing your own novel, or perhaps already started/done so? 
Here are the wonderful nominees:

The Leveller (The Leveller #1) by Julia Durango

Description from Goodreads

Nixy Bauer is a self-made Leveller. Her job? Dragging kids out of virtual reality and back to their parents in the real world. It’s normally easy cash, but Nixy’s latest mission is fraught with real danger, intrigue, and romance.

Nixy Bauer is used to her classmates being very, very unhappy to see her. After all, she’s a bounty hunter in a virtual reality gaming world. Kids in the MEEP, as they call it, play entirely with their minds, while their bodies languish in a sleeplike state on the couch. Irritated parents, looking to wrench their kids back to reality, hire Nixy to jump into the game and retrieve them. 

But when the game’s billionaire developer loses track of his own son in the MEEP, Nixy is in for the biggest challenge of her bounty-hunting career. 

Gamers and action fans of all types will dive straight into the MEEP, thanks to Julia Durango’s cinematic storytelling. A touch of romance adds some heart to Nixy’s vivid, multidimensional journey through Wyn’s tricked-out virtual city, and constant twists keep readers flying through to the breathtaking end.

I intentionally removed some of the Goodreads description from up there, because why do they want to spoil half of the book nowadays? Especially with YA novels in which a surprising plot is one of the key elements?? Okay, that being said (mini-rant over), The Leveller was a surprisingly quick and fun to read. The small gamer in me was just ecstatic when I started reading this, not even mentioning that I hadn't read a sci-fi novel for ages before The Leveller. And even though I went in with high expectations, I was positively surprised with the execution of the concept, even though I wouldn't have minded if there was even more about the MEEP, the virtual gaming reality.

Quite many have compared The Leveller to Ready Player One, and I can't really argue there - they definitely share some similarities. But I have to say though, that The Leveller wasn't RPO, either. Durango's novel was more relationship-orientated, making it less the MEEP-focused, and efficiently a soft-core version of Ready Player One. A non-gamer friendly, I guess you could say? The Leveller wasn't as packed with the details of how the MEEP worked and not as obsessed with references to different pop culture elements, even though one "Beam me up, Scotty" was integrated among other references. I wish Durango had gone that one extra mile for The Leveller, to really dig into the virtual reality which is a playground with no limits. 

I was really surprised how funny the novel was. The humour was just spot on, and I occasionally caught myself grinning at the banter or the witty remarks, Nixy for one, threw. Most of the humour was generated by the characters, and the characters themselves were pretty awesome too. The parents, who I rarely get attached to in YA novels, were so nice and warm, that I kind of wished there was more of them in the novel (hopefully in the sequel??). Nixy's friends Chang and Moose weren't boring themselves either, and I really could've done well with an extra dose with Changatang and Chocholate Moose (their usernames, which are awesome and that's why I'm smiling like a fool here).

There was also a romance element included in there, a bit too insta-love for me, even though I could also see the attraction and undeniable chemistry that the couple shared. The romantic relationship was perhaps at fault why the MEEP couldn't really demonstrate its full potential, but I'm not saying that the romance was bad either. I, for example, thought it was pretty cute and heart-warming relationship that they formed. 

The Leveller was a really fun and exciting to read, and a pretty quick at that which even reinforces my thoughts about how I would've loved to read more about the origins of the MEEP, how it actually works, and just general exploration of the gaming in a sense. I know for sure that if I hadn't read Ready Player One before The Leveller, I would have probably given it 4 stars, maybe even 5. But... My standards are pretty high after RPO, so I have to settle with a solid 3.5. stars. BUT. I'm waiting on the sequel! I have high hopes for the next instalment, and I most definitely want to read it. 

Friday, 19 June 2015

Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa

Description from Goodreads

Long ago, dragons were hunted to near extinction by the Order of St. George, a legendary society of dragon slayers. Hiding in human form and growing their numbers in secret, the dragons of Talon have become strong and cunning, and they're positioned to take over the world with humans none the wiser.

Ember and Dante Hill are the only sister and brother known to dragonkind. Trained to infiltrate society, Ember wants to live the teen experience and enjoy a summer of freedom before taking her destined place in Talon. But destiny is a matter of perspective, and a rogue dragon will soon challenge everything Ember has been taught. As Ember struggles to accept her future, she and her brother are hunted by the Order of St. George.

Soldier Garret Xavier Sebastian has a mission to seek and destroy all dragons, and Talon's newest recruits in particular. But he cannot kill unless he is certain he has found his prey: and nothing is certain about Ember Hill. Faced with Ember's bravery, confidence and all-too-human desires, Garret begins to question everything that the Order has ingrained in him: and what he might be willing to give up to find the truth about dragons.

I absolutely loved Kagawa's the Iron Fey series (but I still have to read the Iron Fey: the Call of the Forgotten), so when I heard that she was publishing a new series, Talon,  it was pretty obvious that I was going to read at least the first book. It took a bit longer than I first assumed to get the book, because my initial excitement was some what lamed after I read some bloggers' reviews of Talon and it had been a bit of disappointment for them. However. I really wanted to give it a shot myself, knowing how Kagawa can engage the readers with her stories.

I was admittedly having difficulties getting into the storyline, as I was expecting this very epic, kick-ass tale of a dragon-shapeshifter girl, like apparently some other readers had expected. Instead, what we ended up getting was this cute summer romance book laced with a bit of fantasy. Even though this was a bummer, I quickly overcame my disappointment when I realised that the book was actually pretty entertaining. The characters were surprising, the plot was quite fast-paced, and the romance was tingling too. If Julie Kagawa is something, she is a really talented storyteller, even though at times I wished for a bit more polished prose. 

Even though the story might not be the personification of originality, the author knows how to captivate the readers and write her books so that reading almost becomes compulsive. There's constantly something happening in Talon, and the alternating point of views don't make the readers bored. Especially when the different perspectives make you want to squirm in your chair or just sigh out loud. "Just get together already!!" "Oh no no no no, get out get out!!" Like already mentioned, I was having a bit rough start with Talon and didn't really like it at first that much, but after a while I really started to enjoy the book and ended up reading it just in two sits. 

While Ember was a fun and cool main character, all my love went for Dante and Garret. Those two just had something in them that made me instantaneously like them. Maybe it was Dante and his playfulness and  wit, while Garret was the brooding, misunderstood yet incredibly kind guy, but I just wanted the whole novel to be about those two - they knew which heartstrings to pull!

But, I didn't really appreciate the fact there was a really strong love-triangle going on. Sometimes I do like triangles (when my team is obviously going to win or when I like both contenders a lot), but this one just. No. No No NO. I was team Garret right from the beginning, and when the second guy came around I was just pissed off and dreaded the moment when he would show up again. It's not like the other guy was horrible per se, but I just didn't like him at all. Which is actually kind of weird because I often tend to like the tall, dark bad boys a lot. But didn't do the trick this time. 

Talon is a bit of a question mark for me. While I liked the fast-paced plot and the characters (well, the majority of the characters), I was also a bit let down that Talon wasn't as fantasy-saturated as I hoped it to be. I was expecting a kickass, epic dragon tale, but it was more of a relationship-orientated with some action. I would like to think that the second book is better, considering that I now what to expect, and I think I will buy the second book at some point. But, not the best of Kagawa, in my opinion. Actual rating 3.5. 

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Paperweight by Meg Haston

Description from Goodreads

Seventeen-year-old Stevie is trapped. In her life. In her body. And now in an eating-disorder treatment center on the dusty outskirts of the New Mexico desert.

Life in the center is regimented and intrusive, a nightmare come true. Nurses and therapists watch Stevie at mealtime, accompany her to the bathroom, and challenge her to eat the foods she’s worked so hard to avoid.

Her dad has signed her up for sixty days of treatment. But what no one knows is that Stevie doesn't plan to stay that long. There are only twenty-seven days until the anniversary of her brother Josh’s death—the death she caused. And if Stevie gets her way, there are only twenty-seven days until she too will end her life.

In this emotionally haunting and beautifully written young adult debut, Meg Haston delves into the devastating impact of trauma and loss, while posing the question: Why are some consumed by their illness while others embark on a path toward recovery?

Paperweight was most definitely an emotional read. When I was 17-18, I did have a somewhat rough patch with my own self-image. I never had an eating disorder, but I most definitely was uncomfortable in my own skin - I didn't feel like my mirror reflection equaled to what I really was. I guess you could say that I tried dieting and exercising, never excessively, but just enough to lose a couple of pounds. It was a weird feeling of having control over your physique and being successful in it. And that felt really good, taking into consideration that I've always been a perfectionist. However, (luckily) over time I steadily accumulated a better sense of self-esteem and self-worth, and I'm today I can say that I don't perceive my weight to be a defining element of who I am as a person. As a contrast, in Paperweight, the main character Stevie feels like her weight is everything that she is. 

The novel isn't the easiest one to read, not only because of the topic, but also because of the raw emotions of guilt and anger Stevie felt. I have a tendency to binge-read (no pun intended) but I couldn't do it with Paperweight simply because it was so loaded with emotions. I became consumed with Stevie in her roller coaster of painful memories and self-destructive goals. The novel is told in flashbacks to a year before she was admitted to the treatment centre and in the present, so the readers get a real sense what are the causes and motives behind Stevie's self-destructive behaviour. Stevie isn't always likeable - she lashes at people, is unwilling to cooperate, and judges people. But it's important to keep in mind that she is sick. Very sick. Her models of thinking are completely contorted with her unhealthy fixations on Anorexia Nervosa and obsession of redeeming herself through a suicide. 

I really appreciated the fact that Haston wasn't any where near at glorifying what Stevie was going through. To have an eating disorder, a dysfunctional family, a dead brother, feeling like no one really accept you as you are, having virtually no friends, experiencing abandonment, all of these equalled must create a very difficult environment for someone to live in. Haston described all the unglamorous binge events and the euphoria following them, the guilt which torn Stevie apart for lacking control over her eating, and the constant burden of feeling responsible for her brother's death. I rarely cry-cry while reading (I might get teary eyed), but I did shed quite many tears towards the end of this novel. All the emotions and their release was a so powerful that I just sobbed like a little child towards the end. Haston mentions in the author's note, that she has gone through something similar ('a survivor' she called herself), and I think the readers can really see it - there was just something really personal about in the writing and it just shone through.   

Even though I acknowledge that the society in which we live in has a lot to do with developing an eating disorder, I thought it was interesting that the author hadn't decided directly to focus on media and its portrayal of women, but instead how an eating disorder for Stevie was a mean to obtain control and power over herself, as well as a way to gain approval from her mother. Haston decided to take a different kind of angle at the topic and it paid off - Stevie's story felt authentic, believable, and I never got the impression that having an eating disorder is something trivial. 

The novel stirred something in me, mostly bringing memories back when I was worried about my own body and how its appearance reflected me as a person. I still occasionally have thoughts such as "oh, look at  my thighs, they're huge", but Paperweight  gave me a very poignant reminder that anxiety over your weight isn't worth it. Paperweight was also able to explore the devastating loss of a loved one as well as poisonous relationships driving one to desperate actions. A really memorable, yet difficult read. 

Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Waiting on Wednesday (#30): We'll Never Be Apart by Emiko Jean

Waiting on Wednesday is about sharing a book every week you cannot wait to be published. 
This week, I'm waiting on

We'll Never Be Apart
by Emiko Jean

Description from Goodreads




That’s all seventeen-year-old Alice Monroe thinks about. Committed to a mental ward at Savage Isle, Alice is haunted by memories of the fire that killed her boyfriend, Jason. A blaze her twin sister Cellie set. But when Chase, a mysterious, charismatic patient, agrees to help her seek vengeance, Alice begins to rethink everything. Writing out the story of her troubled past in a journal, she must confront hidden truths.

Is the one person she trusts only telling her half the story? Nothing is as it seems in this edge-of-your-seat psychological thriller from the debut author Emiko Jean.

Genre: Young adult, Mystery, Psychological Thriller

Pages: 304

Expected Publication: October 6, 2015

Publisher: HMH Books For Young Readers

I've heard that We'll Never Be Apart  has a slight magical realism tint to it and that's what made me initially so interested in this one (not sure about this information though). I mean the blurb does sound really interesting (even though a slight We Were Liars vibe definitely is there), but the potential blurry line between reality and fantasy always makes me extra excited. 

Tuesday, 16 June 2015

Top Ten Tuesday (#27): My Summer TBR

Top Ten Tuesday this week is about 

 My Summer 2015 TBR 




It's going to be a wonderful summer.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

Sunday Post (#27): Weekly Recap

"The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted by Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received and share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead." 
 What I read this week 

The Burning Sky (The Elemental Trilogy #1) by Sherry Thomas

❄ Evertrue (Everneath #3) by Brodi Ashton 
❄ Talon (Talon #1) by Julie Kagawa 

✿ Reviews ✿

❄ Archivist Wasp by Nicole Cornher-Stace 
❄ The Stars Never Rise (Untitled Series #1) by Rachel Vincent 

✿ Memes ✿

❄ Top Ten Tuesday: Most Anticipated books for the rest of 2015
❄ Waiting on Wednesday: Our Lady of the Ice by Cassandra Rose Clarke
❄ Stacking the Shelves 

✿ Around the blogosphere and elsewhere ✿

❄ Where are all the average YA protagonists? 

❄ Burn, Rewrite, or Reread

✿ What else I've been up to this week ✿

1. Outdoors Cinema. There have been free viewings of classics, musicals, animations, adventure, and sci-fi films for the whole weekend in Edinburgh, so I've been there for everyday to watch a couple of movies. So nice, especially when the sun decided to come out and join us to watch the films.

2. Graduation dress. I'm going to have my graduation ceremony in a couple of weeks, so I thought it would be about time to finally buy a dress for the occasion. Even though I've been pretty aware for a long time now that my undergrad career is about to end, but buying the dress finally made it really sink in. Where did the four years go??

✿ Have a lovely Sunday! ✿

Friday, 12 June 2015

Stacking the Shelves (#24)

It's Saturday and so it's time for Stacking the Shelves!
Here is my haul from this week:

❄ Edelweiss 

by Mackenzi Lee

In 1818 Geneva, men built with clockwork parts live hidden away from society, cared for only by illegal mechanics called Shadow Boys. Two years ago, Shadow Boy Alasdair Finch’s life shattered to bits.

His brother, Oliver—dead.
His sweetheart, Mary—gone.
His chance to break free of Geneva—lost.

Heart-broken and desperate, Alasdair does the unthinkable: He brings Oliver back from the dead.

But putting back together a broken life is more difficult than mending bones and adding clockwork pieces. Oliver returns more monster than man, and Alasdair’s horror further damages the already troubled relationship.

Then comes the publication of Frankenstein and the city intensifies its search for Shadow Boys, aiming to discover the real life doctor and his monster. Alasdair finds refuge with his idol, the brilliant Dr. Geisler, who may offer him a way to escape the dangerous present and his guilt-ridden past, but at a horrible price only Oliver can pay…

by Julie Murphy

Self-proclaimed fat girl Willowdean Dickson (dubbed “Dumplin’” by her former beauty queen mom) has always been at home in her own skin. Her thoughts on having the ultimate bikini body? Put a bikini on your body. With her all-American beauty best friend, Ellen, by her side, things have always worked . . . until Will takes a job at Harpy’s, the local fast-food joint. There she meets Private School Bo, a hot former jock. Will isn’t surprised to find herself attracted to Bo. But she is surprised when he seems to like her back.

Instead of finding new heights of self-assurance in her relationship with Bo, Will starts to doubt herself. So she sets out to take back her confidence by doing the most horrifying thing she can imagine: entering the Miss Clover City beauty pageant—along with several other unlikely candidates—to show the world that she deserves to be up there as much as any twiggy girl does. Along the way, she’ll shock the hell out of Clover City—and maybe herself most of all.

With starry Texas nights, red candy suckers, Dolly Parton songs, and a wildly unforgettable heroine— Dumplin’ is guaranteed to steal your heart.

Walk on Earth a Stranger (The Gold Seer trilogy #1)
by Rae Carson

The first book in a new trilogy from acclaimed New York Times bestselling author Rae Carson. A young woman with the magical ability to sense the presence of gold must flee her home, taking her on a sweeping and dangerous journey across Gold Rush–era America.

Lee Westfall has a secret. She can sense the presence of gold in the world around her. Veins deep beneath the earth, pebbles in the river, nuggets dug up from the forest floor. The buzz of gold means warmth and life and home—until everything is ripped away by a man who wants to control her. Left with nothing, Lee disguises herself as a boy and takes to the trail across the country. Gold was discovered in California, and where else could such a magical girl find herself, find safety? Rae Carson, author of the acclaimed Girl of Fire and Thorns trilogy, dazzles with this new fantasy that subverts both our own history and familiar fantasy tropes.

Walk on Earth a Stranger, the first book in this new trilogy, introduces—as only Rae Carson can—a strong heroine, a perilous road, a fantastical twist, and a slow-burning romance. Includes a map and author’s note on historical research.