Monday, 31 October 2016

October Wrap Up

I can't believe October is already over! I read four books and a fantastic comic this month, despite my reading slump!

1. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

I actually borrowed this book from my friend and loved it so much I had to buy the entire trilogy immediately so I could read the next book asap! Unfortunately, I haven't been able to read the second book yet due to required university reading. Will remedy that soon!

5 out of 5 stars, obviously!

2. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake

I thought, as October is the month of Halloween, I should try to pick up at least one Halloween related book. I chose Anna Dressed in Blood as I had the duology on my e-reader. However, I didn't think it was creepy and the story itself I found lacking as well. 3 stars.

3. Death of a Hero by Richard Aldington

Required university reading. Also the book I'm writing my thesis on.

4. Adulthood Is a Myth by Sarah Andersen

Absolutely LOVED this comic! It's soooo relatable, at least to me it is! Awesome comic and some really nice bookworm related panels! 5 stars!!!

5. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 

Gemina is illustrated by Marie Lu! I had no idea! Some really cool illustrations in here! I loved the first book but sadly the main characters did not pull me into the story as much as Ezra and Kady did. The characters from the first book are still the ones I'm worrying about. A little bit disappointed by Gemina, although it's still an enjoyable read. The plot twists were absolutely amazing! 4 out of 5 stars. Review to come!

Which books did you read this month? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? Leave a comment down below!

Saturday, 29 October 2016

Stacking the Shelves: October Book Haul

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week bloggers post the books they purchased or received. These are the books I got in the month of October:

1. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

I borrowed this book from my friend and after finishing it, I need to read the rest of the series asap and decided to buy the trilogy after all. Sadly required university reading got in the way of reading the second book, but I hope to get to it soon! Love these covers, by the way!

2. Never Fade by Alexandra Bracken

3. In The Afterlight by Alexandra Bracken

4. A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess 

Even though I heard some mixed reviews, I decided to get this one, mainly because someone told me there is Mr. Darcy-like character. I really hope that turns out to be true because otherwise I'll definitely be disappointed.

5. Adulthood Is a Myth (Sarah's Scribbles) by Sarah Andersen

I've been wanting to buy this comic for some time and finally decided to get it. I've already read it, and it's amazing! So relatable!

6. Gemina by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff 
and illustrated by Marie Lu

Currently reading this one, as it is one of my most anticipated books this year! Marie Lu's illustrations are incredible!

Which books did you get recently? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? Let me know down below!

Thursday, 13 October 2016

Movie Review: Bridget Jones's Baby

In Bridget Jones's Baby, our beloved Bridget has split up with Mark Darcy for some years now. She has a career she's proud of but once again she's single. The movie starts with a nod to Bridget Jones's Diary, as the opening scene is a shot of Bridget celebrating her birthday alone whilst playing the song "All By Myself". A classic which I immediately associate with Bridget Jones, even after all this time. If I for some reason need to remind you which scene it is, or if you just want to see it again because, let's face it, it's a great scene, you can watch it here.

Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason was released in 2004, so now, twelve years later we get the new instalment in the series. I have to admit, I'm a huge Bridget Jones fan. The first film remains my favourite because blue soup, the "it's raining men" fight and the line "I like you very much, just as you are" in combination with the social commentary are what made that movie perfect to me. And of course the fact that it's a modern retelling of Pride and Prejudice doesn't hurt. Bridget is not your typical romantic heroine, she actually feels real and relatable. It is one of my favourite movies of all time and it forever will remain so. As a teenager I used to watch Bridget Jones's Diary obsessively over and over again (I did that with all my favourite films, by the way, I'm crazy like that :p ). It's thus fair to say that I'm emotionally attached to the characters and get nostalgia feeling to the movies and books by even just listening to "It's Raining Men", "All By Myself", "I Believe in a Thing Called Love", "I'm Every Woman" and so many more!

Therefore this movie had big shoes to fill. One of the biggest differences in relation to the previous movies is the absence of Hugh Grant's Daniel Cleaver. I didn't particularly mind that because I never liked that character much anyway but it did change the dynamics of the movie though. Patrick Dempsey and Colin Firth fight for Bridget's heart and baby in this one, but Dempsey's Jack is never as awful to Bridget as Daniel used to be. The only thing I missed about Daniel were his epic fights with Mark! :p

A fantastic addition is Emma Thompson, amazing (as always) as Dr. Rawlings, Bridget's doctor. Every time Thompson is on screen, she steals the scene. Dr. Rawlings is absolutely hilarious! Ed Sheeran makes an appearance as himself which was entertaining as Bridget didn't recognize him at all. She still has clueless moments, though not as frequently as in the previous films.

Bridget gets pregnant after spending a night with Jack and a week later a night with Mark Darcy. She does not know who the father is and the entire plot of the movie is about how those three characters deal with that. At first, I didn't think this cliché plot would work. They could have chosen something much more original for Bridget to deal with. The social commentary of the first movie is absent here. However I still really enjoyed Bridget Jones's Baby

In its own right it's one of the best romantic comedies of recent years. It's funny, romantic, charming and a pleasure to return to some of my favourite characters. I immensely enjoyed myself despite the cliché plot. This movie actually made me cry with laughter, not once, but multiple times, which is a rare occurrence for me.

Is it as good as the first one? No. But sequels rarely are, in my opinion. As I said before, Bridget Jones's Baby is still better than so many other rom-coms out there and I highly recommend you go see it if you haven't already! You will surely be entertained!

Note: I do recommend to watch the previous films as you will be more familiar with the characters and their history but you don't need to. It is possible to watch this film without prior knowledge of the previous ones, although you will be missing out on those!

Are you a Bridget Jones fan? Are you planning to go see this film or have you already done so? Leave your thoughts down below!

Sunday, 9 October 2016

The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken

When Ruby woke up on her tenth birthday, something about her had changed. Something frightening enough to make her parents lock her in the garage and call the police. Something that got her sent to Thurmond, a brutal government “rehabilitation camp.” She might have survived the mysterious disease that had killed most of America’s children, but she and the others emerged with something far worse: frightening abilities they could not control.

Now sixteen, Ruby is one of the dangerous ones. When the truth comes out, Ruby barely escapes Thurmond with her life. She is on the run, desperate to find the only safe haven left for kids like her—East River. She joins a group of kids who have escaped their own camp. Liam, their brave leader, is falling hard for Ruby. But no matter how much she aches for him, Ruby can’t risk getting close. Not after what happened to her parents. When they arrive at East River, nothing is as it seems, least of all its mysterious leader. But there are other forces at work, people who will stop at nothing to use Ruby in their fight against the government. Ruby will be faced with a terrible choice, one that may mean giving up her only chance at having a life worth living.' 

-- description --

I was pleasantly surprised by The Darkest Minds! Especially because I had a lot of problems with Passenger, it was a huge relief to like this one. 
The beginning of the story really draws you in, it's mysterious and even scary, the reader does not get an overload of information about the world or the new abilities because the protagonist knows as much as we do. That alone was enough to get me hooked!

Secondly, the characters are amazing! Liam, Chubs and especially Zu stole my heart from the start. The scene were Ruby and Zu bond over some necessary girl time, is my favourite of the entire book.

The villains of the story are also very interesting and it is hard to figure out which ones will be the worst. The book ends on somewhat of a cliff-hanger which made me order the rest of the series without even giving it a real thought. I just needed the sequel!

I did hear that The Darkest Minds will be adapted into a movie and now I can honestly say I'm excited about it! Amandla Stenberg will be playing the lead, Ruby. If her name does not ring any bells, you might know her as Rue from The Hunger Games!

I gave The Darkest Minds 5 out of 5 stars! The main problems I had with Passenger regarding the writing style, were surprising absent while reading The Darkest Minds. Also, I adore the covers of this trilogy! They're even more stunning in person!

Tuesday, 4 October 2016

Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle #1) by Jay Kristoff

Destined to destroy empires, Mia Covere is only ten years old when she is given her first lesson in death.

Six years later, the child raised in shadows takes her first steps towards keeping the promise she made on the day that she lost everything.

But the chance to strike against such powerful enemies will be fleeting, so if she is to have her revenge, Mia must become a weapon without equal. She must prove herself against the deadliest of friends and enemies, and survive the tutelage of murderers, liars and demons at the heart of a murder cult.

The Red Church is no Hogwarts, but Mia is no ordinary student.

The shadows love her. And they drink her fear. description--

I loved this book! Assassin fantasy stories are my favourite! YA or adult is all the same to me but I would definitely classify this as adult as there are so many really explicit and sometimes shocking scenes.

While I really enjoyed Nevernight, this book might not be for everyone. The writing style is unique and at times hard to get through. I especially had some trouble with the huge footnotes as fantasy books do not often have them. I found that those footnotes, while at times incredibly funny, pulled me out of the story more often than not. Classics and required university reading already contain too much footnotes if you ask me, and encountering footnotes in a book that I read in my spare time was not such a pleasant surprise. Thankfully, the footnotes are mostly found in the beginning and as you progress in the story you don't mind them as much. The footnotes and this choice of writing style read quite slow, so keep that in mind.

I did fall in love with the story and the characters, especially Mia, Tric and Mr Kindly. Needless to say, the characters are amazing and well-developed. The setting was unique, "the school" where Mia receives her training is not to be confused with Hogwarts. It is so much darker and gruesome! The fantasy elements are refreshing as well. Mia pulls her power form Mr Kindly and is able to use her shadow to disappear and such. 

The story is unpredictable and contains some serious plot twists plus shocking and devastating events. Finally, I would recommend buying the hardcover because it is one of the most beautiful books I own. Beneath the dustjacket you will find a black bird spread over the entire cover. Truly stunning!

I gave this book 5 out of 5 stars! I look forward to read more of Jay Kristoff's books soon!

Have you read Nevernight or are you planning to? Leave your thoughts down below!

Monday, 3 October 2016

Passenger by Alexandra Bracken

Passage, n.
i. A brief section of music composed of a series of notes and flourishes.
ii. A journey by water; a voyage.
iii. The transition from one place to another, across space and time.

In one devastating night, violin prodigy Etta Spencer loses everything she knows and loves. Thrust into an unfamiliar world by a stranger with a dangerous agenda, Etta is certain of only one thing: she has traveled not just miles but years from home. And she’s inherited a legacy she knows nothing about from a family whose existence she’s never heard of. Until now.

Nicholas Carter is content with his life at sea, free from the Ironwoods—a powerful family in the colonies—and the servitude he’s known at their hands. But with the arrival of an unusual passenger on his ship comes the insistent pull of the past that he can’t escape and the family that won’t let him go so easily. Now the Ironwoods are searching for a stolen object of untold value, one they believe only Etta, Nicholas’ passenger, can find. In order to protect her, he must ensure she brings it back to them—whether she wants to or not.

Together, Etta and Nicholas embark on a perilous journey across centuries and continents, piecing together clues left behind by the traveler who will do anything to keep the object out of the Ironwoods’ grasp. But as they get closer to the truth of their search, and the deadly game the Ironwoods are playing, treacherous forces threaten to separate Etta not only from Nicholas but from her path home... forever.

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Passenger was one of my most anticipated 2016 releases and sadly it turned out to be a disappointment. Even though I really loved the time travel aspect of the book, I couldn't get over the writing style. To be honest, it is one of the worst writing styles I've ever read. I hated it. I would have dnf'ed this book if I were in the habit of doing that, but I rarely do. It does get better near the end, as the characters travel to different time periods but I never felt invested in reading it. I couldn't get attached to any of the characters at all, which is something I need in a young adult book.

Even though I didn't enjoy the writing style, I did like the fact that Nicolas was a diverse character and I enjoyed how people reacted to him in different time periods, that was an interesting part of the story and I believe we need more diverse characters like Nicolas in young adult fantasy books!

In the end I gave this book 3 out of 5 stars, but I'm being generous. I do realize not everyone might have the same problems as I do, so if you really want to read this book, I would recommend borrowing it instead of spending a lot of money on the hardback. (The hardback itself is quite beautiful, though).

Note: I read and reviewed Passenger in June but somehow forgot to post it. I would probably rate it less stars now.

Have you read Passenger? Or are you planning to? Leave your thoughts down below!

Sunday, 2 October 2016

September Wrap Up

I read five books this month, some of them were quite long, so I'm very pleased!

1. Nevernight (The Nevernight Chronicle, #1) by Jay Kristoff

Nevernight blew me away! It took things to another level. Shocking things happened to Mia, which you don't expect to happen in YA novels. I would definitely classify this as adult fantasy. Can't wait for the next book in the series! I have no idea what's going to happen in them! 5 stars! And also, this hardcover is stunning!

2. Fahrenheit 451 by Ray Bradbury

This is a classic that my parents got me as a birthday gift and I absolutely loved it! Every booklover should read it! 5 stars!

3. Days of Blood And Starlight by Laini Taylor 

It took me a while to actually pick this up, but from the first moment I did, I was hooked! This might be my favourite book of the series! Also, some amazing new secondary characters like Ziri! 5 stars!

4. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

This was my favourite book this month! I LOVE hate to love relationships and this was one of the best I ever read! The characters are great, the tension between is awesome and their relationship is so cute! 5 out of 5 stars, obviously!

5. Dreams of Gods And Monsters by Laini Taylor 

This is the final book in the Daughter of Smoke and Bone trilogy and I really enjoyed it. Some plot points came out of nowhere and were an important part of the ending. I did not particularly enjoy that and that's the reason why it got my into a slight reading slump. Therefore I gave it 4 stars. It's an amazing series and everyone needs to read it!

Which books did you read this month? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? Leave your thoughts down below!

Saturday, 1 October 2016

Stacking the Shelves: September Book Haul

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week bloggers post the books they purchased or received. These are the books I got in the month of September:

One new e-book:

1. The Hating Game by Sally Thorne

I've already read this one and it was amazing! Review to come soon! If you're looking for a cute love to hate romance story, this is the one for you!

Three new hardcovers:

2. Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, Camille Rose Garcia (illustrator)

This is one gorgeous edition of Alice's Adventures in Wonderland! I haven't read the story before, and I really want to! Especially since Heartless comes out soon!

3. The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum

I got this one this month because I'm borrowing the novel Wicked from my friend and I want to read the original story first!

4. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I saw the movies and completely fell in love with Anne and Gilbert. I hope enjoy the books as well!

The next three books I got in Waterstones in Brussels after going to the Harry Potter exhibition. It was a fantastic day!

5. Little Dorrit by Charles Dickens

I've seen the BBC mini-series a couple of times and I loved it every time! I hope I'll enjoy the book just as much! By the way, this edition still has the photo in front, so even though I know I won't read this anytime soon, I couldn't resist!

6. Homegoing by Yaa Gyasi

I've heard great things about this book and the cover is absolutely stunning! Can't wait to read it!

7. Prince of Thorns (The Broken Empire #1) by Mark Lawrence

A book about a real villain who doesn't seem to redeem himself? Yes, please! Give it to me, I need it! It sounds very unique, can't wait to read it!

My train was 30 minutes late, so I decided to go to a bookstore (Limerick in Ghent) and I got myself these two books:

8. Our Endless Numbered Days by Claire Fuller

I've heard some mixed things about this one but the synopsis and the cover convinced me to buy it! Seriously, that cover is stunning!

9. Ruby by Cynthia Bond

Which books did you get recently? Have you read any of the ones mentioned above? Leave your thoughts down below!