July Wrap-Up & August TBR

Hello everybody and welcome back to my blog!

Another month has gone by and it’s time for another wrap-up and a new TBR. July was actually a great month. I did not only read 6 books but I also graduated school. I can’t believe how fast time went by, for 12 years I’ve been complaining about not wanting to go to school anymore and now that I’ve graduated, I feel like time has gone by way too fast.

I’m only eighteen and I already feel old. In my defense, I’m turning nineteen tomorrow, so maybe that’s the reason I’m feeling old. But anyway, most people are saying that the time of my life is going to begin now, so let’s see how things are going to go now that I’m not going to school anymore. I hope I’m going to have lots of fun and am going to experience lots of things I can later tell my kids and grandkids about.

August is one of my favorite months of the year, not only because I was born on August 1st, but also because I usually always go on vacation during August. This year I’m going to Sweden with a friend for a few days and then my family and I are going to visit some friends up in Norway. I also plan on reading six books this month because I feel like I might have some free time to read while travelling to Norway and Sweden and I also won’t have to go to college until September or October and so I’ll still have lots of free time during this month.

But I’m just going to stop talking now and will start telling you about the books I read this month and plan on reading next month.

July Wrap-Up

Processed with VSCO with c1 preset

 

Like I’ve said before, I managed to read six books this month which is actually a lot for me. The first five books I read, were books that I had put on this month’s TBR and the sixth one was the autobiography of a German celebrity called Daniela Katzenberger which I got for 2€ at a book store about 4 years ago. But that’s a book which is only available in German, so I’m only going to talk about five of the books I read in July.

 

Unbenannt

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell – 4 out of 5 stars

Click here to read the synopsis.

Eleanor and Park was the first book I read this month. I was really excited for it and had high expectations for it which unfortunately weren’t fully met. But I still liked the book and did enjoy it even though it didn’t blow me away.

I wrote a full review about this book earlier this month which you can find here.

Zenith by Sasha Alsberg and Lindsay Cummings – 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

Zenith was a book I usually would’ve never picked up because Science-Fiction is a genre I actually don’t like. But I love Sasha’s BookTube (@abookutopia) and knew that I just had to read her very first book. It was only 62 pages long and if I have understood it correctly, it was actually just the first part of the first book of an entire series.

Anyway, now that I’ve read the book I have to say that I actually really liked it. The story was interesting and made me want to read more. I’m definitely going to read the second part of the series as soon as it is released.

You can find a longer review of the book here.

Unbenannt2

The Boyfriend Thief by Shana Norris – 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

The Boyfriend Thief was a very quick and enjoyable read and there’s actually not much I can say about it. It was one of these books that just make you happy and make you feel good about yourself.

Unbenannt3.JPG

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard – 5 out of 5 stars

Synopsis

This book was AWESOME!!! I loved it so much and it was definitely my highlight of the month. I was so glad I had already bought Glass Sword before I began reading this book because I had already fallen in love with this series after having read the first hundred pages of Red Queen.

You can find my review of this little gem here.

Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard – 4 out of 5 stars

Glass Sword was the fifth book I read this month and I basically started reading it like five minutes after having finished Red Queen. I already love this series even though Glass Sword wasn’t as awesome as Red Queen. But I still loved it a lot and I can’t wait for King’s Cage, the third part of the series, because that ending was just crazy and unexpected.

I only just posted my review of Glass Sword yesterday and you can find it here.

That’s it for July, now it’s time for my August TBR.

 

August TBR

DSC02608

Liebesfluch by Beatrix Gurian

Synopsis (for those of you who speak German)

Liebesfluch is the first book I plan on reading this month. It’s a German thriller that has already been standing on my bookshelf for a couple of years. It only has an average rating of 3.63 on goodreads so I’m curious to see if I’ll like it more than most others. I don’t know why I bought the book in the first place but it was probably because I liked the synopsis when I saw it at the book store. I’ve never read anything by this author before, so I’ll just see how I’ll feel about this book.

November 9 by Colleen Hoover

Synopsis

I’m so excited for this book! I’ve been wanting to read it for months but for some reason I always decided to read other books first. But now it’s time to finally read my first ever book written by Colleen Hoover. I’ve heard so many good things about this book and it has an awesome rating on goodreads (4.48). I can’t wait to see if I’ll like it as much as most others.

Girl Online by Zoe Sugg

Synopsis

I heard so many mixed things about this book and many people were also saying really negative things about it. I’ve always refused to buy this book but then I got it for 3€ earlier this month and decided that it was finally time to give this book a go. Let’s see what I’ll think about it, I’ll definitely put up a proper review of this book as soon as I’ve read it.

Lucy in the Sky by Paige Toon

Synopsis

This is one of the many second-hand books I own by now and I got it earlier this month. I just really liked the synopsis and thought that it might be a perfect read for summer. Maybe it’s another one of these books that just make you feel good about yourself.

Last Night at Chateau Marmont by Lauren Weisberger

Synopsis

The Devil wears Prada is a book I really loved and have already reread a few times. I really hope that I’ll like this book as much as I liked TDWP even though I already doubt that that’ll actually be the case. But this is one of the many books that have been standing on my bookshelf for years and I remember that I have already begun reading it some years ago but never actually finished it.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Synopsis

Like I’ve said before, I really like Sasha Alsberg’s BookTube and she’s constantly talking about Outlander. As far as I know, it’s her all-time favorite book and I just want to find out if it’s actually as good as she always says. Also, my mom absolutely loves Diana Gabaldon and is currently obsessed with the Outlander tv show, so I just have to finally read my first Diana Gabaldon book.

And that’s it for this post. What are the books you read in July and which books do you plan on reading in August?

xoxo, Nina 

Review: Glass Sword by Victoria Aveyard

 

51791fac06ad83b1f20c93afe76b15dbe0df3b81Book: Glass Sword

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Pages: 444

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Book 2

Published by: Harper Teen (Harper Collins)

Rating: 4/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

If there’s one thing Mare Barrow knows, it’s that she’s different.

Mare Barrow’s blood is red—the color of common folk—but her Silver ability, the power to control lightning, has turned her into a weapon that the royal court tries to control.

The crown calls her an impossibility, a fake, but as she makes her escape from Maven, the prince—the friend—who betrayed her, Mare uncovers something startling: she is not the only one of her kind.

Pursued by Maven, now a vindictive king, Mare sets out to find and recruit other Red-and-Silver fighters to join in the struggle against her oppressors.

But Mare finds herself on a deadly path, at risk of becoming exactly the kind of monster she is trying to defeat.

Will she shatter under the weight of the lives that are the cost of rebellion? Or have treachery and betrayal hardened her forever?

The electrifying next installment in the Red Queen series escalates the struggle between the growing rebel army and the blood-segregated world they’ve always known—and pits Mare against the darkness that has grown in her soul.

 

My review:

“Anyone, anything, can betray anyone. Even your own heart.”

One thing this series has taught me by now is that anyone can betray anyone. It’s a statement that I’ll forever associate with these books. Victoria Aveyard teaches you that by making you trust characters that then betray not only Mare, but also the reader. And there have been lots of times at which I trusted characters that then turned out to be evil. But I’d already gotten used to that after having read “Red Queen” and this time I was slower at trusting newly introduced characters. But I still wasn’t slow enough; so next time I just won’t trust anyone anymore.

Anyway, Glass Sword was a really good book and almost as good as Red Queen which is why I’m giving it four out of five stars. Many said it’s kind of a boring book but I actually didn’t think it was boring at all. It mainly revolves around Mare’s search for other newbloods, so it mainly describes what she’s experiencing while traveling around. Until around page 350, it was a little slower than the first book. Since she was traveling around there wasn’t as much action as there was in the first book of the series. But I have to say that I still didn’t think that it was boring because I found it really interesting to learn about the abilities of the other newbloods. Since they weren’t part of one of the big silver families, they all had abilities that had never been heard of before and I loved finding out what they were capable of doing.

Another interesting thing was the development of Mare, the protagonist of this series. During the first book of the series, I could still really identify myself with her but while reading Glass Sword, there were more and more points at which I couldn’t really see myself in her anymore. You could actually see how much the events of the two books have changed her and towards the end of Glass Sword she made lots of decisions that she would’ve never made at the beginning of Red Queen. But even though I couldn’t really identify myself with her anymore, I actually liked that you could see that everything she’s experienced has changed her. Because what she had to go through would change anyone, me included.

A lot of heartbreaking things happened in this book but there were also a few things that just made me say: “Finally!”

There was actually one specific thing that happened in Glass Sword that almost made me celebrate along with the Scarlet Guard. Those of you who have already read the book probably know what I’m talking about.

All in all, this was a really good book and I can’t wait for the third part of the series. Victoria Aveyard is still the queen of plot twists and cliff hangers for me (along with Cassandra Clare). The ending of Glass Sword was probably the best, and also the worst part of this book. I already did expect this book to end with another cliff hanger but I didn’t think the book would actually end the way it did end. I still can’t really believe what happened in the end and I also can’t believe that I have to wait till February 2017 to finally read King’s cage which will probably end with another cliff hanger.

I love Victoria Aveyard’s writing style and I’m so glad that this series is not over yet!

Four stars for this awesome book!

*

Have you already read Glass Sword? And if you have, did you like it?

 

 

 

 

 

Review: Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

22328546Book: Red Queen

Author: Victoria Aveyard

Pages: 383

Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult

Series: Book 1

Published by: Harper Teen (Harper Collins)

Rating: 5/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

 

This is a world divided by blood – red or silver.

The Reds are commoners, ruled by a Silver elite in possession of god-like superpowers. And to Mare Barrow, a seventeen-year-old Red girl from the poverty-stricken Stilts, it seems like nothing will ever change.

That is, until she finds herself working in the Silver Palace. Here, surrounded by the people she hates the most, Mare discovers that, despite her red blood, she possesses a deadly power of her own. One that threatens to destroy the balance of power.

Fearful of Mare’s potential, the Silvers hide her in plain view, declaring her a long-lost Silver princess, now engaged to a Silver prince. Despite knowing that one misstep would mean her death, Mare works silently to help the Red Guard, a militant resistance group, and bring down the Silver regime.

But this is a world of betrayal and lies, and Mare has entered a dangerous dance – Reds against Silvers, prince against prince, and Mare against her own heart.

 

My review:

 

„Anyone can betray anyone.”

Red Queen is a book I’ve been meaning to read for a long time and I was really excited to finally start reading it. I had heard lots of great things about the book and I was really hoping I’d love it as much as everyone else and was almost scared that I would hate it.

One of the reviews I read before starting Red Queen was saying that it is a little like a mixture of The Hunger Games, The Selection and Divergent. I personally loved The Hunger Games and The Selection and also really liked Divergent which made me be even more excited for this book.

Now that I finished devouring Red Queen (yes I’m saying devouring because you cannot say that I simply read it), I have to say that I agree with the review and I loved how there were some things in the book that were similar to these other stories. But even though there were similarities, Red Queen was still something new and completely different and I absolutely loved it.

It took me about fifty pages to really get into this book. Those first pages weren’t boring and I was really interested in learning about this new world that Victoria Aveyard has created. But at around the fiftieth or sixtieth page the story began to pick up and from one page to the other I was glued to this book. I just always wanted to know what would happen next and on every page you learned new things about this world or something unexpected happened, Red Queen just wasn’t boring at any part of it.

Mare (the female protagonist) is a character I really liked and since the story is a first-person narrative written from her point of view, I quickly felt as if I were inside of the book and lived her life. I already feel very attached to her.

I also liked some of the other characters but what I liked the most about the characters from this book is how you could never know what kind of a person they really are.

It wasn’t only because all of the silvers have their special powers and my first impression of them usually completely changed as soon as their powers (and their real characters) were revealed. It was also because of the ending of this book and all the plot twists I never would have expected. Suddenly characters I actually liked became characters I deeply despise and characters I hated became characters I feel sorry for.

The end was definitely the most interesting and the best part of this book. The last fifty pages were extremely gripping and almost made me snap at some people because they wanted to talk to me instead of letting me finish this book and find out if everything would be fine in the end.

I always thought Cassandra Clare is the queen of plot twists and cliff hangers but after having read Red Queen I have to say that she now has to share her throne with Victoria Aveyard. Not only were there like a hundred plot twists in this book but it also ended with a freaking cliff hanger and I just can’t wait to read Glass Sword.

I’m so glad someone told me to get the second book of the series before starting to read Red Queen because if I didn’t own it, I’d probably go crazy right now!

 

Anyways, I’m off reading Glass Sword now and if you love Fantasy and Young Adult novels and enjoyed The Hunger Games, The Selection or Divergent, you should definitely read Red Queen.

Definitely five out of five stars for this book!

 

Have you read Red Queen? And if you have, did you like it?

 

 

Review: Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell

71lklmxqgjl

Book: Eleanor & Park

Author: Rainbow Rowell

Pages: 328

Genre: Young Adult, Romance

Published by: St. Martin’s Press

Rating: 4/5 Stars

 

Synopsis:

Eleanor… Red hair, wrong clothes. Standing behind him until he turns his head. Lying beside him until he wakes up. Making everyone else seem drabber and flatter and never good enough…Eleanor.

Park… He knows she’ll love a song before he plays it for her. He laughs at her jokes before she ever gets to the punch line. There’s a place on his chest, just below his throat, that makes her want to keep promises…Park.

Set over the course of one school year, this is the story of two star-crossed sixteen-year-olds—smart enough to know that first love almost never lasts, but brave and desperate enough to try.
 

My review:

“Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”

 

I’ve heard lots of great things about this book before I finally decided to read it. Because of the synopsis and all the good reviews, I was really excited for this book and was hoping that I would love it as much as almost everyone else.

Now, after having read it, I can say that “Eleanor & Park” didn’t completely blow me away but I still really liked it.

 

Right at the beginning of the book you find out that both Eleanor and Park are what we would refer to as “outsiders” today. Park is the “Asian kid” that never really fit in. And Eleanor is the new kid that is struggling with her weight, her bright red, curly hair and her clothes that never really fit together because she doesn’t have money to buy something new.

They’re not like the protagonists of the majority of the books I’ve read in my life and that’s why I was so excited to read this book.

Eleanor and Park have problems that most of us “ordinary mortals” are struggling with as well and I was interested in seeing how their “problems” would affect their everyday life and their relationship.

 

Their relationship is basically what the book revolves around. Slowly but surely the two fall for each other and it was killing me that they didn’t get together faster than they did. But on the other hand, I also loved that it took them longer to become a couple because I loved how small gestures made them grow closer and closer from page to page.

 

I loved the background of Eleanor and Park and how they managed to make their relationship work even though anyone would’ve said that their relationship is a hopeless case. And I also loved that the book was very easy to read. I’m not a fan of changing POVs and I usually always stop reading as soon as I realize that an author is changing the POV. But Rainbow Rowell just made it work for me even though the POV probably changed up to ten times per chapter. Changing the POVs just kind of fit the story and something would’ve been missing if it had been written only from either Eleanor’s or Park’s point of view.

 

But unfortunately I have to admit that there were also some things that really bothered me while reading this book.

Eleanor is a very self-conscious character and has trust issues which is completely understandable, considering her story. But even after having known Park for months and having gone through so much with him, she still freaked out because of unnecessary things like the girl he kissed in sixth grade.

Even Park was frustrated at some points of the story but he loved her and so he managed to deal with it. But I don’t love her and can’t see her through his eyes which is why she really annoyed me at some times. Maybe I’m being ignorant right now and just can’t put myself in her place, but I just felt like she could’ve trusted him more, especially towards the end of the book.

Next to that I also didn’t like how she was dealing with her siblings. She complained about their behavior quite a few times but instead of helping them with the situation at home, she spent most of her time with Park at his place. Now she didn’t have to be home all day anymore but her siblings were still stuck in that hell hole.

 

***SPOILER***

 

After having returned home at the beginning of the book, she has often said how sorry she was for not having been there for her siblings while she was gone. But after having fled to her Uncle in Minnesota, she didn’t ask them to get her siblings when they were talking about helping the rest of her family. She should’ve stood up for them in that moment and should’ve helped them get away from Richie. Who knows what happened to her siblings after she had left them again? Who knows how angry he was about her disappearance?

 

***SPOILER***

 

Because of all these things, I just didn’t really like Eleanor and didn’t feel a “connection” to her. But I loved Park which is why I could still enjoy the book even though I didn’t like one of the main characters.

Especially, at the end of the book I felt sorry for him and he seems to be just the kind of person everyone should have in their life.

 

All in all, I’m giving the book four out of five stars because I loved the story and also most of the characters but I just have to deduct a star because I didn’t like Eleanor and also because I didn’t really feel like the story had a proper plot. The book started at some point of their lives and was over a few months later. There wasn’t some big event they were working towards to if you know what I mean. Like Harry Potter who knew that he would have to face Lord Voldemort one day, or Louisa Clark who knew that Will would have to make his decision on a certain day or Katniss who knew that she would have to survive the Hunger Games if she wanted to see her family again. Eleanor and Park were just living their lived and there were no plot twists or any other unexpected things that happened. I also wasn’t surprised about the ending of the book because I completely knew that it would probably end like that.

But even though I was a little disappointed about that, it’s not a reason to only give the book two or three stars because I still really enjoyed reading it.

So if you like Young Adult and Romance books, I would say that you should definitely give this book a try. But if you don’t really like Young Adult books and are looking for a book that will make you like the genre again, I would suggest reading a different book first.

 

What did you guys think about Eleanor & Park?

xoxo, Nina

 

 

Ilvermorny House Sorting

wizarding-school-map-ilvermorny

Ever since I’ve read the Harry Potter books for the very first time about 10 years ago, Harry Potter, Draco Malfoy and Co. have been an important part of my life.

I’m German and the Harry Potter books were the first books I ever read in English and reading them helped me learn the language a lot faster. I’ve reread the books about 6 to 7 times by now which might not be a lot for most of you but it’s a lot for me.

I was extremely excited when Pottermore was released a few years ago and I couldn’t wait to finally be sorted into my house. After having read all of the books, I knew that I wanted to be in Slytherin because it would be the perfect house for me and I was beyond happy when I was actually sorted into it.

A few weeks ago another “Sorting Ceremony” was added to Pottermore and now you can be sorted into your Ilvermorny house. Ilvermorny is one of the seven wizarding schools that exist next to Hogwarts. Its existence has only been revealed a few months ago and I have to admit that I don’t know anything about it except that it’s located in North America.

The great North American school of magic was founded in the seventeenth century. It stands at the highest peak of Mount Greylock, where it is concealed from non-magic gaze by a variety of powerful enchantments, which sometimes manifest in a wreath of misty cloud.

Next to graduating school I never really found time to actually read some of J.K. Rowling’s information she revealed about the schools. But now that there is another sorting ceremony on Pottermore, I decided to finally find out something more about Ilvermorny and to also find out which of the school’s houses I’m in.

Just like Hogarts, Ilvermorny has four different houses you can be sorted into. But instead of being named after their founders, they’re named after magical creatures.

Thunderbird – a bird that can create storms as it flies

Wampus – a magical panther-like creature that is fast, strong and almost impossible to kill

Horned Serpent – a dragon-like serpent with horns and long teeth

Pukwudgie –  two-to-three-feet tall and human-shaped, but with a larger nose, ears, and fingers and smooth, grey skin that sometimes glows

I don’t know which house would be the best house for me and I’m also not going to try to find out which house is most similar to Slytherin. J.K. Rowling specifically said that the Ilvermorny houses are not equivalent to the Hogwarts houses and that’s why it’s time for the sorting ceremony now.

The ceremony is very different from the ceremony at Hogwarts and if you don’t want to know anything about it yet, you shouldn’t read the next quote.

While the rest of the school watches from the circular balcony overhead, new students file into the round entrance hall. They stand around the walls and, one by one, are called to stand on the symbol of the Gordian Knot set into the middle of the stone floor. In silence the school then waits for the enchanted carvings to react. If the Horned Serpent wants the student, the crystal set into its forehead will light up. If the Wampus wants the student, it roars. The Thunderbird signifies its approval by beating its wings, and the Pukwudgie will raise its arrow into the air.

My result:

Taking the test took about 5 minutes and I was sorted into the following house:

horned-serpent

Even though J.K. Rowling said that I shouldn’t try to figure out which house I would fit in, I have to admit that I’ve been thinking about it before taking the test. And since one of Slytherin’s symbols is the serpent, I actually thought that the “Horned Serpent” would be the right house for me and I’m glad I was correct about that 🙂

If you want to be sorted into your house, just visit pottermore.com 🙂

And don’t forget to tell me which Hogwarts and which Ilvermorny house you are in!!!

Xoxo, Nina