Saturday, 31 October 2015

October 2015 Wrap Up

I only read five books this month. I started reading two more, which I almost finished but you will see them in my next wrap up. I had to read quite a lot for my university classes, which I do not mind all that much, however, those books put me into a little reading slump.

The first book I read this month was End of Days by Susan Ee, the third book in the Penryn and the End of Days trilogy. I really enjoyed, I think it was a right book at the right time kind of thing. I ultimately gave it 4 stars. Check out my review of the trilogy here.

Una Muchacha Muy Bella by Julian López was the second book I read this month. I had to read it in Spanish and it was horrible, I just couldn't get through it, so ultimately I decided to read the second half of the book in Dutch, and it was still horrible. I didn't like it all, especially the way the book was structured, the long sentences, and the fact that nothing really happens in the book. Not to mention the weird relationship the protagonist has with his mother. 2 stars. And I still think that's much.

The third book I read, was one I was required to read for my Canadian Literature class. So it shouldn't come as much of a surprise that it was a Margaret Atwood book. The Blind Assassin was my very first Atwood book, and it will definitely not be the last one either. I loved it! It took me the first hundred pages or so to get into the book, but after that I couldn't put it down (which was good because I finished it just in time for my class). 5 stars! I can highly recommend The Blind Assassin and Atwood won the 2000 Booker Prize for it, so what more do you need to be convinced to read it? If you want me to write a full review on The Blind Assassin, leave a comment down below!

Then I read Carrie by Stephen King, the perfect Halloween read! 4 stars! I really enjoyed it and I wrote a review on the book and a comparison of the two movies. You can check out the review here, and the comparison here!

The last book I read this month was for my literature class on Latin American contemporary authors. I needed to read this book in Spanish, but I did not have time to finish it in time, so I decided to read it in Dutch so I could at least follow the lecture. It really does feel like cheating to me. In the end I really liked the book, The Sound of Things Falling by Juan Gabriel Vásquez, and I gave it 4 stars. It was the best book I've read for this course so far!

Which books did you read this month? Have you read any of the books in my wrap up? Let me know down below!

Stacking the Shelves: October Book Haul

Stacking The Shelves is a meme hosted by Tynga’s Reviews where we show the books we bought during the week.

I purchased five books this month and I'm finally going to show them to you, sorry that it took me so long! (I kind of have to say that I'm really glad with how the picture above worked out, usually my pictures don't look that awesome!)

1. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
2. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo

3. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

4. Clean Sweep by Ilona Andrews
5. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

So that was it for my October book haul! Let me know down below which books you purchased recently!

All the books mentioned on this list I bought at

Tuesday, 27 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Halloween themed freebie

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme has to be related to Halloween. Now, I used to love scaring people on Halloween but I don't like to be scared. The only movies I don't watch are of the horror kind. I don't mind some creepiness in books but I don't like horror. It is needless to say that I don't read horror books either. However, I do have a few recommendations that are creepy but too much. And I have some books that I want to read, which might be creepy as well. Therefore I will divide this list into books I recommend and books on my tbr.

Books I recommend to read on Halloween

1. Carrie by Stephen King

I actually just finished reading Carrie last week. It was a loan from a friend, and I had to read it soon anyway so I decided it would make a good Halloween read. And I was right!

2. The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

I read this one quite a long time ago, I recently purchased it in English and I'm excited to reread this one! I absolutely love the musical but Leroux's original story is a bit different. Anyway, if you're not sure about this watch the movie first, or better yet watch the 25th anniversary version, which is absolutely the best!

3. Balefire by Cate Tiernan

There are four books in this series and they centre around witches. I loved this series as a young teenager and I actually want to reread these quite soon as well!

Creepy books on my tbr

I don't actually know if any of these books are actually creepy, but they sound creepy to me, so let's roll with it!

4. Dracula by Bram Stoker

I read many vampire books over the years but I still haven't read Dracula, therefore, I thought I couldn't really put any of the others on the list. 

5. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

6. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin

7. Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

8. A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

9. In the Shadow of Blackbirds by Cat Winters

10. Mort by Terry Pratchett

11. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley

Because no Halloween list is complete without it!

Have you read any of these books? Let me know your thoughts on them down below! Which books are on your Halloween list?

Monday, 26 October 2015

Movie Adaptation Comparison: Carrie (1976) and Carrie (2013)

Carrie (1976)

Director: Brian De Palma
Stars: Sissy Spacek, Piper Laurie, Amy Irving, John Travolta

Nominated for two Oscars:

Best Actress in a Leading Role
Sissy Spacek 

Best Actress in a Supporting Role
Piper Laurie rating: 7,4

-- description --

Okay, let's start with the 1976 version of Carrie. I read that the more recent one, more accurately adapted the book. However, when I started the 1976 version, I didn't think there were so many changes. That is until the last 30 minutes or so. Still, there are a lot of movie adaptations that less accurately adapt to screen. From the moment Sue Snell shows up at the prom, things start to move away from the book. All the major plot points are in the movie however and I didn't have many problems with the changes they made, which is unusual for me.

I didn't consult prior to watching Carrie so I didn't know the movie had been nominated for two Oscars. I can definitely see why. Sissy Spacek was an incredible Carrie! I couldn't take my eyes off her! I thought her portrayal of Carrie was very accurate. And then there is Carrie's mother, of course. Played by Piper Laurie. She was absolutely frightening!

The whole movie portrayed Stephen King's dark atmosphere very well. At this point, I haven't watch the more recent adaptation yet, but I can already wholeheartedly recommend the 1976 version!

Carrie (2013)

Director: Kimberly Peirce

Stars: Chloë Grace Moretz, Julianne Moore, Gabriella Wilde, Ansel Elgort, Judy Greer rating: 6,0

-- description --

Okay, I've now watched both movies in a row. I'm now going to review both by comparing them to each other as well as to the original book by Stephen King. Read my review of the book here.

The first adaptation can feel dated to a young film lover. I too, felt that the special effects at times left to be desired. However, after seeing the recent adaptation, that version doesn't have the greatest special effects either (especially at the prom), true, these effects are more modern, so I would probably choose the second film for the special effects.

In Carrie (2013) more time was spend on exploring dialogues and motives of the other characters, like Sue Snell and Billy Nolan, which I enjoyed. Furthermore, what I really did like about the 2013 version is the fact that Carrie cares about what happened to Tommy. In both the 1976 version and the book this does not happen. This is actually what I disliked about the book, so I'm happy to see it in the movie after all.

Surprisingly, there were a lot of parallels between the two movies in the scenes that weren't in the book. It seems that the 2013 version used both the book and the 1976 movie as inspirations. Drawing elements from both of them. All the changes in the first film (which I didn't like) can be found in the second film as well, which was rather disappointing. Remember I mentioned Sue Snell showing up at prom while she didn't in the book? Well, suddenly she showed up in the second film as well, and it went in exactly the same way as the 1976 version. To be honest, after that, the whole ending was mostly the same as the first movie, even down to the details. Some elements from the book did make it there, but it was mixed with some new (and stupid) material. I don't really get why they would follow the first movie more than the actual book. If you're going to adapt a book why would you keep the same changes in the movie as the first one did? What is the point, then, of the remake?

All in all, the first movie is obviously the best, even though it might feel a bit dated. I feel the story works better in the 1976 version. The recent version is a modern update of the story but feels less real to me than the first one. The first movie portrayed the atmosphere of the story so well, the second one wasn't even half as good. And to be honest, nobody will ever best Sissy Spacek's performance as Carrie. She was so believable. Chloë Grace Moretz didn't even come close to be a competitor, even a minor one. I can really believe, Spacek's character is the victim of abuse and bullying, but I have a harder time believing that of Chloë Grace Moretz's portrayal. And to me, her Carrie looks too much like the movie star.

Carrie (2013) attempts to give Stephen King's story a modern update, however, it doesn't work for me. By giving it a modern update, it loses a lot of its believability and spookiness. I'm mean, it's hard to believe that Carrie would not have been educated at school about menstruation, I can understand that her mom would not have told her because she is a religious nut, but I fail to understand how things like would never have been discussed in school. Also, adding social media and cell phones didn't really work for me. I would have liked it better if the recent film was set in the same time period as the book and the 1976 film. But since the second film draws so much on the previous film, it probably would have ended up as the same movie entirely.

So, if you're still reading this after all this rambling, here is my verdict: the book of course is the best, followed closely by Carrie (1976) and lastly, (far behind the others) is the 2013 version of Carrie. The ratings for both movies are correct. I will add though, that lately if I watch a movie adaptation of a book I've read, I don't enjoy the film as much. This was not true in this case. If you don't want to read the book, I recommend the 1976 version of Carrie! You won't regret it!

Carrie by Stephen King

Carrie knew she should not use the terrifying power she possessed... But one night at her senior prom, Carrie was scorned and humiliated just one time too many, and in a fit of uncontrollable fury she turned her clandestine game into a weapon of horror and destruction...

-- description --

This book was a loan from one of my friends and the perfect Halloween read. I actually never read something creepy just because it's Halloween and I actually liked the experience! I have some other books on my Halloween tbr, as you can see in my Halloween themed Top Ten Tuesday list, but since I need to return this book to my friend, I decided to pick this one. Another reason is the fact that it was a short and quick read.

Now, I knew quite a lot about the storyline already, although I never even watched either of the movies. However, I still found this book very enjoyable. I loved the various perspectives on Carrie's story and the various mediums through which it was told, like newspaper clippings, parts from a diary form a survivor, police interrogations, academic paper, etc. This was an unique way of storytelling which I absolutely enjoyed. This was my first Stephen King book, and although I've heard so much about this author and his books already, I still didn't really know what to expect.

I did know that Carrie would be bullied till her breaking point, but I didn't realize how hard it would be to read about the bullying and abuse from her fellow students and even her mother. I actually believe, that if she had had a different mother, things would have gone completely different. 

Still, I struggled to read about the horrible things done to Carrie. I do feel, that this book offers the ultimate revenge. Carrie takes revenge on everyone who bullied and abused her in quite an epic way. Of course, this is not the way you should resolve your problems but I can really empathize with Carrie, but also with the other characters. Even at some level with Carrie's mom.

Minor spoiler: What bothered me though, was that Tommy seemed to genuinely enjoy taking Carrie to the prom but when the bucket hit his head, Carrie didn't even check to see if he was ok. She took revenge on everyone but I do believe Tommy did not deserve it. She should have shown even the smallest concern towards him. But I guess she was in shock and in some way I can understand that.

I think this is a perfect book to start reading Stephen King's books. It is short and quite well known. I also believe this might have been the first book he published. 

All in all, I really liked this book and ultimately, I give Carrie 4 out of 5 stars. In the future I'm probably going to pick up more of his books but I'm not sure which ones yet. If you have any recommendations, let me know in the comments down below!

Tuesday, 20 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: 10 Wishes I'd Ask The Book Genie To Grant Me

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by the Broke and the Bookish. This week's topic is 10 bookish wishes you want the book genie to grant you. It's good a thing this is limited to 10 because I could go on forever.

1. More time to read

2. Get out of a reading slump faster

3. More money to buy books

4. More shelves to put my books on
Or have my own personal library inside my house, inspired by the library from the Disney movie Beauty and the Beast of course!

5. Let my local librarian reject less of my request books

This one really annoys me. Annoying is probably not a strong enough word to really describe how I'm feeling on this matter. I request books at my local library that I don't necessarily want to own, but I do really want to read. My problem is however that I love reading books in English instead of Dutch. Therefore I request these books in English but I don't really believe that's the reason for so many rejections. Let me give some examples: I requested Stolen by Lucy Christopher but it was rejected because and I quote: it was published in 2009. Okay, what the hell? I recently requested The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken and Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me? by Mindy Kaling, both were rejected because they didn't fit into the collection policy. However, I can't find a description of that policy anywhere. This frustrates me to no end. Also, this is why I need to buy so many books, because they're just not available in my library.

6. I would like Marissa Meyer to write more books in the Lunar Chronicles series

This is one of my favourite young adult series and I can't wait till Winter comes out. However, I have mixed feelings about it because it will be the end of the series.

7. I would like to travel back in time and meet Jane Austen and Shakespeare

It would be awesome to finally find out if Shakespeare really was the author of so many plays and poems. And it would also be amazing to meet Jane Austen and talk about her books and how she is still such a popular author 200 years later.

8. I would like to get my favourite books signed by Sophie Kinsella

I have one book signed by Sophie Kinsella, called Twenties Girl. I went to the book fair in Antwerp to buy Twenties Girl in English and have it signed. However, it was only available in Dutch so I snatched it up and had it signed. Now I regret not having bought one of her other books in English so this means I will have to go to another signing, which I actually don't mind at all!

9. I would like to go to an American or British book fair
I only know of two book fairs in my area and one of them is quite big, but usually hosts mainly Flemish authors. Not too many famous authors visit that book fair but sometimes we get lucky. I wasn't able to go but last year, I believe, Sophie Kinsella and Cassandra Clare attended the book fair. I don't think anyone famous will attend this year, though. But if I'm wrong please let me know down below!

So this is why I would love to attend a book fair in an Britain or America because I've heard so many great things about them! And of course a lot more authors are present and there is more than 1 stall which sells books in English!

10. Books ordered online should have the cover that was mentioned on the site

Okay, I'm still pissed off about this one. I ordered Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell online in the blue cover version. However, I received it in pink. At the time, I had exams and I wasn't able to return it in time so I'm stuck with it. This is also part of the reason why I haven't read it yet.
This was not the last time this happened with that particular site.

What are your bookish wishes? Let me know down below!

Sunday, 18 October 2015

Penryn and the End of Days Trilogy by Susan Ee

It's been six weeks since angels of the apocalypse descended to demolish the modern world. Street gangs rule the day while fear and superstition rule the night. When warrior angels fly away with a helpless little girl, her seventeen-year-old sister Penryn will do anything to get her back.

Anything, including making a deal with an enemy angel.

Raffe is a warrior who lies broken and wingless on the street. After eons of fighting his own battles, he finds himself being rescued from a desperate situation by a half-starved teenage girl.

Traveling through a dark and twisted Northern California, they have only each other to rely on for survival. Together, they journey toward the angels' stronghold in San Francisco where she'll risk everything to rescue her sister and he'll put himself at the mercy of his greatest enemies for the chance to be made whole again.

-- description of Angelfall --

I read the first two books in this trilogy in July and I just finished End of Days in the beginning of October. First of all, I have to say that this series is so hyped up, I couldn't be but disappointed when I actually read it, and I was. Don't get me wrong, I liked it but I didn't love it as so many other people seem to. 

Angelfall -- 4 stars
World After -- 3 stars
End of Days -- 4 stars

Okay, since it has been a few months since I read the first two books I'm not going to write an in depth review on them. I just want to talk about the trilogy as a whole, so that's what I'm going to do. 
To sum up, this trilogy is about an angel apocalypse and an unlikely alliance between a girl looking out for her family and an angel who lost his wings. The trilogy is about life in this new world and the fight to survive. I thought it was quite an original story and apart from expecting way more, I really did like the first book, I liked World After a bit less and therefore I decided to wait with End of Days.

Now I had read some mixed reviews on the last book in the trilogy and since I enjoyed World After less than the first book, I did not expect much from End of Days. That's probably why, in the end, I did enjoy it more, since my expectations were lower. 

Now what is it that makes this trilogy so unique? Well, there are a lot of horror elements present in the story which made it more unpredictable for me. The creatures that appear in this book were unknown to me, in short, there were some new characters and species and I didn't know how it all would work out in the end.

I'm still doubting on what rating to give the trilogy in its entirety. It's either 3,5 or 4 stars, I'll let you decide. I can definitely see how people might find the trilogy lacking, my rating is definitely not a high 4 stars but I do feel like it wrapped up nicely. It could have been way worse. I do feel it might have been done better, it felt kind of rushed at times.

All in all, if you are interested in this series because of the description, I recommend you pick it up. If you are interested in the trilogy because of all the hype, I would recommend some other series or at least don't waste your money on it.

Have you read any books by Susan Ee? Let me know down below!

Friday, 9 October 2015

September 2015 Wrap Up

I've read 7 books and 3 novellas last month. I'm quite pleased with that number, in fact I actually read a few extra texts for my Hispano American literature class but I'm not going to discuss those, so I'm not adding them to my wrap up.

I've been in quite the urban fantasy mood lately and as you will find out from this wrap up, I mostly read books by Ilona Andrews and I loved them! I'm hoping to write a series review of the Kate Daniels series by Ilona Andrews very soon!

Without further ado, here is my September wrap up (in reading order):

1. Magic Burns by Ilona Andrews -- 4 stars
2. Magic Strikes by Ilona Andrews -- 5 stars
3. Magic Bleeds by Ilona Andrews -- 5 stars

4. Magic Mourns (Kate Daniels 3.5) by Ilona Andrews -- 3 stars
5. Magic Dreams (Kate Daniels 4.5 by Ilona Andrews -- 4 stars
These are two novella's in the Kate Daniels universe.

6. Magic Slays by Ilona Andrews -- 5 stars

7. Finding Audrey by Sophie Kinsella -- 5 stars
I wrote a review for this book and you can view it here.

8. Gunmetal Magic by Ilona Andrews -- 4 stars

This is a spin-off novel from the Kate Daniels series written in the point of view from Andrea. This book is set between the events of the fifth and sixth Kate Daniels novels.

9. Magic gifts (Kate Daniels 5.4) by Ilona Andrews -- 4 stars
My copy of Gunmetal Magic actually contained this novella as bonus content.

10. The Martian by Andy Weir -- 5 stars
If you want to know my thoughts on this book, here is my review.

In the first part of the month, I was really into the Kate Daniels series, I'm know going to take a little break from the series although I do own book six and seven. Ultimately, my favourite book of the month was The Martian, just because I didn't expect to like it so much. Maybe I should say it was the surprise of the month.

So this was my belated September wrap up! Let me know what you read in September down below! And if there are books on this list that you want to see a review of, just let me now!

Also, this is the first time I ever posted a wrap up and I would like some feedback on it. So if you have thoughts on my wrap up, don't hesitate to let me know!

Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Top Ten Tuesday: Ten Bookish Things I Want to Quit Or Have Quit

Top Ten Tuesday is hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week's theme is bookish things you want to quit. I have to be honest, I was struggling with this topic, so I only ended up with eight things.

1. Delirium Trilogy by Lauren Oliver

I rated the first book in the trilogy 3 stars, it was ok, but nothing more. Then I started Pandemonium and was accidentally spoiled and I really did not like the spoiler. So I decided to put it down for a few months. I did end up finishing it, but I don't feel the need to read Requiem, as I already know how it will end (and I'm not happy about it). And frankly, I don't really care about any of the characters.

2. I want to stop spoiling myself by flipping through the book I'm reading and catching spoilers

This is one of my most annoying bookish habits. When something really, really exciting happens in a book and I can't deal with all the emotions, I flip through the next few chapters. I don't necesarily want to know what happens before I get there, but I usually end up spoiling myself.
Need to quit this one! Soon!

I have to add, though, that I don't have this problem when I'm reading e-books, because it's not as easy to flip through. But really, I even annoy myself with this habit. The only thing I can say in my defence is that my mother does this as well, I suspect I picked this habit up from her.

3. I need to be able to quit a series or book if I'm not enjoying it

I usually feel the need to finish the books or series which I started even though I'm not enjoying them. I hope this will change in the future because there are so many more interesting books out there!

4. I wish I would stop putting off reading books I'm required to read for my classes

I usually have the time to read them a few weeks in advance, but I'm usually reading those books the day before class or even later (or not at all).

5. I should not let books interfere with my sleeping

Let's be honest, we all do that sometimes. However, I seem to catch myself doing it all of the time, which makes me tired and means I will have less time to read the next day. This will be one bad habit that will be difficult to break.

6. I should stop buying so many books when I still have so many unread books on my shelf

Let's face it, that one will probably never happen.

7. I should stop reading so many series at a time

Now it's not like I'm reading multiple series at the same day but I buy a lot of series and mostly just the first book. If I want to continue the series, I have to order it online and it can take a few weeks to get to me. In the meantime, I start a new series and I have the same problem over and over again. Of course, by the time the second book in the series arrives in the mail, I am reading a different book or just don't want to read it as much anymore.

8. I'm freakishly protective of my books

I mostly buy paperbacks and I don't want their spines to crack or even bend. They have to remain in perfect condition. This makes it really difficult for me to loan my books to my friends. This will never change, but I would like to be a little less obsessed with this.

Now what bookish things do you want to quit? Let me know down below!