Sunday, May 25, 2014

The Knife of Never Letting Go

Hello there. As promised, I'm back with a review for The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness.

The Knife of Never Letting Go
by Patrick Ness

Prentisstown isn't like other towns. Everyone can hear everyone else's thoughts in an overwhelming, never-ending stream of Noise. Just a month away from the birthday that will make him a man, Todd and his dog, Manchee -- whose thoughts Todd can hear too, whether he wants to or not -- stumble upon an area of complete silence. They find that in a town where privacy is impossible, something terrible has been hidden -- a secret so awful that Todd and Manchee must run for their lives.

But how do you escape when your pursuers can hear your every thought?

This book was totally different from what I expected. It's a very original story and I think Patrick Ness has an interesting opinion on what it would be like to hear everyone's thoughts. But even though it's all very interesting and intriguing, I only gave this book two stars. I just didn't really warm up to it. The language takes a lot of getting used to and I never did completely. Since our narrator, Todd, doesn't know how to read and write properly, the story is written in his very strong accent and there are a lot of misspellings etc. This might make sense to some people but to me it was simply annoying.

Another thing I disliked was that we had to wait very very long to get some answers. At the beginning of the book, all these questions are brought up and we realize that Todd doesn't know half the truth about the town he lives in and the people he lives with, but we only find out about anything towards the end of the book. And at some points, Todd actually knew more than us, seeing some things in other people's noise that then were not explained to the reader. Which, to me, made the story kind of slow moving. Even though a lot is happening, nothing actually important to the story was going on, or at least that was my impression. I've read in other reviews how action packed the story is, but I really didn't feel the same way.

Even though this all sounds very negative, I didn't really hate the book. I quite enjoyed it while I was reading it. But I often find myself looking back after I finish a book and then discovering quite a lot of things I disliked. And it wasn't different with this one. So I can't really recommend it.

If you have read the book and now think I'm out of my mind for talking so badly about it, don't worry, there are also some parts I liked. And I will talk about them now, but won't be able to without spoiling part of the story. 

So, one thing I really liked about the book was Viola. I really enjoyed watching her develop from not-speaking to taking-over-at-important-parts. Like when they were travelling with Milf. I loved how she surprised me again and again and I really liked learning more about how she got there and what happened to her and her family.

I also really liked the friendship between Todd and Viola. You could really see it grow throughout the book and I loved reading about that. They fought and then made up again and it all seemed really honest and real to me. I also really enjoyed Todd's relationship with Manchee. At the beginning he was just this annoying dog but then he and Todd grew closer and closer, too, until I kind of forgot he was a dog. And then his death was really sad but somehow also necessary. That was when we really realized how much he meant to Todd.

And that brings me to my most hated character of the book. Aaron. I still can't make sense of what exactly he was and what he was doing. Why did he not die at any point throughout the book. Surely, his insuries would have killed any normal human being. And I can't make sense of the explanation he gave to Todd as to why he was chasing him. And we never really got an answer to why he decided to kill Todd at some point and take Viola instead. Nothing made sense to me, and I really didn't like how it was all "explained" in the end.

Which brings me on to my least favourite part of the book. The ending. I did not like it at all. And it didn't make me want to read the next book either. I mean, there really is no hope left, is there? Somehow, everyone who could've helped Todd and Viola is dead and we still don't really know what exactly Mayor Prentiss wants with Todd.

I mean, usually I read the ending of a first book in a series and I want to read the second book immediately because there are so many possibilities as to what's going to happen. And here I feel there are none. And that's why I probably won't pick up the second book. I just don't feel like getting back into that world again.

So, that was definitely not my favorite book. I gave it three stars on goodreads, but now I really don't feel like it even deserves that. And I feel bad talking like this about a book. But I really just did not enjoy this one.

Thank you anyway for reading!

Friday, May 23, 2014

Book Haul Excitement

Hi there. I got some exciting stuff in the mail today (and yesterday), so I thought I'd show them to you. It's mostly books which makes it even more exciting (or at least I think so).

I have ordered from Amazon for the first time ever because I've always been rather sceptical until now because I live in Switzerland and had to order from Amazon Germany, but everything worked out great and the shipping was still free and it's definitely cheaper than ordering from local bookstores. And considering how many books I've been buying lately, it might be a good idea to start trying to get them as cheap as possible. The delivery was surprisingly fast and even though I love going to the book store, they never have all the books I want and, well, Amazon does. And I'm just really happy and excited right now.

When I first had a look around the Amazon website, I just put every book I could possibly want to read in my shopping cart, but then I managed (barely, but still) to narrow it down to these six. Which is good because my TBR-shelf has been growing quite a bit lately and I don't want to become one of those people who just buy books and then never read them. But I'm so excited about these I'm sure I'll read them as soon as possible.

And then yesterday's mail also delivered a real surprise. I have donated some money to the Trever Project a while back when Tyler Oakley was doing his birthday fund raiser. And I knew that I would receive this t-shirt at some point, but of course I totally forgot about it and so I had a little freak-out session when I opened up the mystery package yesterday. Because what's better than receiving a cool surprise gift? It's like christmas, only I didn't even know I was getting anything. Even if I probably won't be wearing the t-shirt too often, I'm still really happy to have received something, even though donating is supposed to be without getting anything in return.
of course I had to take a selfie right away

So yes, I just wanted to write a little update because I haven't been posting too much lately. Oh, and as a goodbye note, you should really check out the Divergent soundtrack. I've been listening to it all the time lately and I really enjoy it, even if not all the songs are exactly my type of music. And, in case you're interested, a review of The Knife of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness should be up soon as I've just finished it two days ago.

Thank you so much for reading!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Panic by Lauren Oliver

Hello there. I'm back with another book review. I know I haven't been posting much else lately but that's mainly because nothing exciting has been happening in my life and I've spent most of the time, well, reading.

Panic by Lauren Oliver 

"What will you do if you win?" Heather shook her head. She wanted to say:

Run until I burst. 
Build miles and miles 
between me and Carp. 
Leave the old Heather behind; 
burn her to dust. 

Instead she shrugged. 
"Go somewhere, I guess. Sixty-seven grand buys a lot of gas." 

I gave this three out of five stars because I did like the book but it definitely wasn't one of my favorites. It takes place in a small town called Carp. The teenagers don't really have much to do there so they organize a game called Panic every year, where, as the name suggests, everyone who enters has to take part in a series of crazy, scary challenges. There are judges who decide who did worst after each challenge and those players are then eliminated. The winner in the end wins 67 thousand dollars. Which is of course a crazy amount of money and is why most of the players decide to enter.

The story is told from Heather and Dodge's point of view. Heather entered at the very last second, at first only because she was upset but then it becomes about saving and supporting her sister with the money. Dodge has a different reason from the start. He wants revenge for what happened to his sister. So we follow these two through every challenge and I could hardly read it at times because I got scared just imagining myself in the players' position. But of course those were also the strongest parts of the story and that's why I enjoyed them a lot.

Overall, I think this was a good book. A lot of stuff happens and you won't have to wait for the story to start, you literally jump right in. I do recommend this for when you're feeling like reading an action packed story, but don't expect there to be any deeper meaning behind it, because I you might be disappointed on that end. I still really enjoyed reading it and am definitely glad I picked it up.


Okay, so I need to talk about the not-so-great parts in the spoiler section, because what I need to talk about is the ending. First of all, I didn't really like how we just got to that last scene without any explanation. I wanted to see what happened right after the race. It stopped with Heather petting a tiger. Just casual stuff like that. I mean, what happened then? What happened to Heather? What happened to Dodge? He blew up the car! Heather could've died! And yet, there they are, all happy and enjoying themselves. I want to know how he explained that tiny incident where he tried to kill someone to the others. "Oh, you know, it wasn't supposed to be you driving that car" isn't going to be enough, is it?

What Dodge did really bothered me. I mean that's crazy. And not just in a fun way that was meant to scare some people. Like the completely insane kind of crazy. He'd actually planned to seriously hurt, if not kill someone. How does everyone just ignore that? As far as we know, there were zero consequences to his actions. And to anyone's for that matter. They broke into someone's house, burned down another one (where, by the way, someone was killed) and then set some tigers free! Are you kidding me?

I mean, don't get me wrong, I'm glad everyone's happy in the end. I liked Heather and Dodge and the others and I didn't really want them to get into serious trouble or anything. But it just makes everything seem so unrealistic. I can't imagine anyone getting away with all that.

But yes, these are just my thoughts now that I've finished the book. I did very much enjoy reading it and I still think it's a good book and an entertaining story, just not a very deep one.

Thank you for reading!

Sunday, May 11, 2014

The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey

Hello there. I've just finished an absolutely fantastic book. And I need to talk about it. Like, right now. I can't talk about it without spoilers but if you're interested and have not read the book, I'll warn you before ruining the story.

 The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey
After the 1st Wave, only darkness remains. After the 2nd, only the lucky escape. And after the 3rd, only the unlucky survive. After the 4th Wave, just one rule appliesi: TRUST NO ONE.

Now it's the dawn of the 5th Wave, and on a lonely stretch of highway, Cassie runs from them. The beings who only look human, who roam the countryside killing anyone they see. Who have scattered Earth's last survivors. To stay alone is to stay alive, Cassie believes, until she meets Evan Walker. Beguiling and mysterious, Evan Walker may be Cassie's only hope for rescuing her brother - or even saving herself. But Cassie must choose: between trust and despair, between defiance and surrender, between life and death. To give up or to get up.

Okay, so I don't even know where to start. And I can't say much in the non-spoiler section other than go read the book. It absolutely blew my mind. It's told from two people's points of view, one being Cassie. She's a seventeen (I believe) year old kick-ass girl. Both her parents are dead and her little brother has been taken away. So she wants to rescue him, even though she has trouble staying alive herself. She has this wonderfully sarcastic way of telling the story that made me laugh out loud in situations that weren't funny at all. And then she meets Evan Walker and everything gets more confusing. The second protagonist is Private Zombie, who is being trained to be a soldier at Camp Haven, this military base that Cassie's brother has been taken to as well.

What I loved about both Cassie's and Zombie's story was that not only they didn't know who to trust, but you reading it have no clue either. It always went the same way for me: I thought something was completely obvious and was sure I knew exactly what's going on but then suddenly you start second guessing that and you're not quite so sure anymore until you're convinced it's the other way around after all. And it just made me crazy and you only find out what's really going on towards the end which I thought was amazing. It's overall just an amazingly intriguing story and I highly highly recommend it.


Okay, so I need to talk about two things. Like I've said above, it was all ups and downs for me with being sure someone's the bad guy and then not.

Evan Walker
At first I was like 'yeah, that guy is clearly the one who shot Cassie'. I mean we even got to see some of it from the Silencer's point of view and he said he couldn't kill her. Like in a way she meant something to him. So it wasn't all that impossible that he would save her life, right? And then he lived in this house and wasn't scared of staying in the same place even though the bad guys could walk in any day. And he always sneaks out at night to do some mysterious stuff. So, yeah, he's obviously an alien.

But then there were the family pictures. And the way he acted and had some sort of explanation for everything, I started to doubt the alien-thing. It was still very clear he was hiding something but I didn't really believe in what I thought at the beginning anymore. And then, just when I was sure he was just an innocent young man, it turns out he's one of the Others after all. Just one who happens to be in love with Cassie. Somehow I liked him a lot more after we found out. And I loved their fight and how she wants to kill him but then can't really. And I loved what happened afterwards even more, with him coming to help her rescue Sammy, even though he promised he'd stay away. That just leaves one thing I didn't love at all. The ending. He isn't dead, right? I mean, yes, there was this huge explosion that he had no chance to escape. But he isn't dead, right? RIGHT? Seriously, this is the question I've been asking myself constantly since I've finished the book about an hour ago. He isn't dead. He can't be. He'll come back. He will. I'm sure.

Camp Haven
Okay, so this was the second rollercoaster of thoughts. When Cassie tells us how Sammy had been taken away and how the soldiers killed everyone else afterwards, I was like 'yes, these are clearly aliens.' And after that they constantly tell Sammy how he's perfectly safe. Yeah, perfectly safe, of course. Clearly, they couldn't possibly be perfectly safe. They're aliens, I knew it. But then we switch to Ben's point of view and his experience with the 'perfectly safe' and all Vosch's talking about how they're going to kill all the aliens convinced me that, yes, these are just some hardcore soldiers who are going to kill all the aliens. And of course the thing with how they're the only ones with electricity threw me off. Of course I thought it was a little conspicious that they were just building a military camp out there in the open and nobody would ever care. And the Wonderland thing was definitely a sign that something was awefully wrong here. And thinking about it now, I have no clue how I could've ever been convinced that those are not aliens. But I was. You really can't trust anyone. And Rick Yancey has made a fool of me again.

If you haven't guessed it by now, I seriously loved the book. I can't wait for the next one to come out. I need to know what's going to happen. I'm so glad that I picked this book up because at first I wasn't too sure about it. Aliens were never really my thing, after all. But this book was just so original and fantastic that you can't possibly not like it.

Thank you so much for reading! And I can't stress enough how badly I want you to read this book.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's Review Time!

Hello you. I have a lot to talk about today and I'm trying to keep it as short as possible. But as I've mentioned in my April Wrap-Up, I've already read four books in May and I want to talk about all of them. But I guess it's save to say that I'm reading faster than I can blog. So I'm just gonna talk about all of them in this post.

Love Letters To The Dead by Ava Dellaira
Sometimes the best letters go unanswered
It begins as an assignment for English class: write a letter to a dead person. Laurel chooses Kurt Cobain - he died young, and so did Laurel's sister May - so maybe he'll understand what Laurel is going throug.
Soon Laurel is writing letters to lots of dead people - Janis Joplin, Heath Ledger, River Phoenix, Amelia Earhart, Amy Winehouse... It's like she can't stop. She writes about her new high school, her new friends, her first love - and her shattered life.
But the ghosts of Laurel's past can't pe contained between the lines of a page forever. She must face up to them - before they consume her.

I started May with an amazing book. I bought this because it's all told in letter form, which I love, and because I thought the cover was pretty. And of course because I heard it was good. It did not let me down. At all. Laurel's story really really touched me. Not only did she watch her sister and best friend die, she also had to deal with her family falling apart and starting high school all at the same time. And somehow she handles it all. Maybe not always in the best way but she does manage to build a new life for herself with new friends and a new boy and somehow manages to slowly put the past behind her. It was just incredibly impressive to read about how she gets through it all. And I have nothing but respect for her. I was crying all the time reading this book even when nothing particularly sad was happening; thinking about how terrible it must be to lose your sister was enough.

Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins
Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theatre, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year. But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Etienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken - and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's been waiting for?

Anna and the French Kiss turned out to be exactly the book I expected it to be. I really really enjoyed reading about how Anna manages Paris and all the new people she meets. And it was the perfect read, girly and romantic, exactly what I needed. Even though there's a happy ending in the end, not everything went perfectly right throughout the story. And we saw Anna happy and then frustrated and then happy and then frustrated again. I really liked that not everything fell into place right away.  It didn't hurt that I got to learn some stuff about Paris along the way, either. This was just a really refreshing book and I gave this a four star rating on goodreads but now I feel like it would deserve at least 4.5 stars. Because I really liked it and I found myself rereading some parts again afterwards which is always a good sign.

To All The Boys I've Loved Before by Jenny Han
 To All the Boys I’ve Loved Before is the story of Lara Jean, who has never openly admitted her crushes, but instead wrote each boy a letter about how she felt, sealed it, and hid it in a box under her bed. But one day Lara Jean discovers that somehow her secret box of letters has been mailed, causing all her crushes from her past to confront her about the letters: her first kiss, the boy from summer camp, even her sister's ex-boyfriend, Josh. As she learns to deal with her past loves face to face, Lara Jean discovers that something good may come out of these letters after all.

At the beginning, I really really disliked this book. Maybe not the story but the writing was absolutely annoying. I hated the "Mommy" and "Daddy" thing. Maybe I was somewhat prejudiced because I read The Summer I Turned Pretty by Jenny Han and did not like it at all. That didn't keep me from giving this one a try, though, because the description sounded like a fun story and everyone deserves a second chance, right? So at the beginning I thought "Well, you're an idiot, Karin, of course you weren't going to like it". But then I got into the story more and got more and more used to the writing style (by the end it didn't bother me anymore at all) and I actually started to enjoy it. I really liked Peter's character and how his relationship with Lara Jean developped. And then at the end I was just like What??? There were so many unanswered questions and I was so disappointed. And for a second I was back at I'm never going to like Jenny Han's books. But turns out there's going to be a second book. So, sorry Jenny Han for getting angry there for a second. And now I'm really looking forward to the second book.

Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins
Budding designer Lola Nolan doesn’t believe in fashion...she believes in costume. The more expressive the outfit--more sparkly, more fun, more wild--the better. But even though Lola’s style is outrageous, she’s a devoted daughter and friend with some big plans for the future. And everything is pretty perfect (right down to her hot rocker boyfriend) until the dreaded Bell twins, Calliope and Cricket, return to the neighborhood.

When Cricket--a gifted inventor--steps out from his twin sister’s shadow and back into Lola’s life, she must finally reconcile a lifetime of feelings for the boy next door.

I wanted more Anna and St. Clair, so of course I had to read this book. And by reading the description, I didn't expect to actually get more Anna and St. Clair and I was kind of disappointed. Turns out I'm wrong again. I loved seeing them happily together. And of course I also liked reading about Lola's path to love. I will say, though, that I didn't like it as much as Anna and the French Kiss. And I also felt like it was kind of the same story just told from St. Clair's view and then turn him into a girl and tadaah. And maybe the story was kind of like that but the characters were definitely totally different. And I love that about Stephanie Perkin's book. Her characters feel so original and in this book more than ever. Usually I prefer stories with protagonists that I can identify myself with, but this one was just fine as it is. Even though I probably have absolutely nothing in common with Lola, I still liked getting to know her and reading about all the troubles she has to face.

Soo, that's it. For now. Thank you so much for reading and let me know your thoughts on any of the books.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

April Wrap-Up

Hi there. I've decided to start a new thing at the end of each month where I talk about what books I've read in the past month and write a very short review. So here I am with my April Wrap-Up. (and yes, I do realize it's already a week into May) I've read 7 books this past month which I'm really happy about.

City of Lost Souls by Cassandra Clare
The first book I've finished in April is City of Lost Souls. I guess I read most of it at the end of March, but I've decided that it counts anyway. I really enjoyed this book and I've written a full post about it, which you can go have a look at here if your interested. I gave this five out of five stars on goodreads as it was my favourite of the series so far.

Clockwork Angel, Clockwork Prince and Clockwork Princess by Cassandra Clare
After finishing The Mortal Instruments series, I just needed more. So I went and picked these three books up that take place in the same Shadowhunter World. These books were brilliant. I liked them so much better than The Mortal Instruments and they just blew me away completely. I loved the fact that the series got better with each book and then by the time I got to the end of Clockwork Princess, I was so attached to the characters that I couldn't believe this was the actual end.

Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell
So after The Infernal Devices, I didn't feel like starting a new series and decided to read Fangirl, a book I had intended to read for quite a while. And I couldn't believe how good it was. Trust me, if you haven't already, you need to read this book. The characters are all absolutely amazing and I want each and everyone of them to be my friend. I talk a little more about how much I love this book here, but it would definitely be best if you just read book yourself.

The Sense Of An Ending by Julian Barnes
I didn't have any more books at home that I wanted to really really read but I decided to still read this one before buying new ones. My mom got this for me quite a while ago and I never felt like reading it. And that's probably because I don't think I'm the type of person this book was meant for. I just didn't like it very much even though I can imagine other people really loving this. I've been into YA books so much, I just couldn't thoroughly enjoy this one. Still gave it a three out of five star rating on goodreads because, you know, it wasn't really bad, just not for me.

Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
So after that I went book shopping. And of course I had to get this one and immediately start reading it. I had such high hopes after Fangirl and it almost almost lived up to them. At the beginning, it was absolutely amazing. Such a cute story and I absolutely fell in love with it. But then towards the end it wasn't all that great anymore for me. And  I didn't like the ending either. I just couldn't understand it. So it was kind of disappointing, having this fabulous book with a not-so-great ending. But overall definitely a wonderful story that I enjoyed very much.

So those are all the books I've read in April and even though at this point I've already finished four more books, those will be included in my May Wrap-Up. And you may be thinking "is she crazy, she is reading a lot of books!" now and I've had the same thought so I changed my 2014 Reading Challenge on Goodreads from 30 to 50 books. Which is a lot. But maybe I'll make it anyway. Thank you so much for reading!