Sunday, August 31, 2014

August Wrap-Up

Hello there. As August is coming to an end, it's time for my monthly wrap-up. I read 9 books in August and even though I read almost twice that many books in July, I'm really happy with my August reading month. 

So here are the books I read this month:
  • Walking Disaster by Jamie McGuire | ★★★★
  •  Beautfiul Oblivion by Jamie McGuire | ★★★★
  •  A Beautiful Wedding by Jamie McGuire | ★★★★
  • Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater | ★★★
  • Landline by Rainbow Rowell | ★★★★
  • Ready Player One by Ernest Cline | ★★★★★
  • Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levithan | ★★★★
  • Four: A Divergent Collection by Veronica Roth | ★★★★
  • Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins | ★★★★

I don't really know what and how much I'm going to read in September since University is starting this month and everything is probably going to be a little crazy here. I do have two books that I've ordered from Amazon and that should be arriving soon that I can't wait to read. The first one is Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas, the third book in the Throne of Glass series. You may know how much I love this series and I can't wait to read Heir of Fire. I have also ordered the first bind up in the Lux Series and I will hopefully read Obsidian in September as part of the Little Book Club. Also, The Infinite Sea is coming on September 16 and I am beyond excited for this and have already preordered it on Amazon. If I receive it early enough, I'll certainly also try to finish this one in September.

Thank you for reading!

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Top 5 Book Spines

Hello there. It's time for another Top 5 Wednesday (T5W) post and this week's topic is Top 5 Book Spines. I haven't put the books in the right order for the picture, I hope you can forgive me and still know which book title belongs to which spine.

5. Love Letters to the Dead by Ava Dellaira
I really love the colors for this book and the font is beautiful. It just looks really lovely on my shelf and I'm in love with the whole design.

4. Paper Towns by John Green
The little details like the pin and the cloud that are included in this book spine made me choose this for fourth place. Also the font matches the design perfectly and I love the somewhat haphazardly designed spine.

3. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
I love this cover of Eleanor & Park and the spine is one of the best bits of the book design. I think the color arrangements are beautiful, and again the font is amazing and perfect for the book. The door also adds some special effect to the spine, I always enjoy when there is not only the book title displayed on the spine.

2. My Life Next Door by Huntley Fitzpatrick
When I first read the topic for this T5W, I immediatly thought of this spine. I love how different it is from the book cover and the simple design and the beautiful pastel colors of the spine made me think this was going to be number one easily. But even though it turned out I like one other spine even more than this, I still think this is an amazing design.

1. Paper Swans by Jessica Thompson
I haven't read this book yet and bought it solely for it's beauty. Not only the cover is super pretty, but the spine too. Look at that absolutely cool font they used and then there's the paper swan at the bottom and I just love it so much. If this book turns out to be not as good as the cover promises, I'm going to be super disappointed. I love the green-yellowish colors of the whole thing and it is just so beautiful.

So these are my Top 5 Book Spines. Let me know if you agree with my choices and sorry these are all contemporaries but I couldn't find any books from other genres with outstanding spines.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Liebster Award #2

Hello there. I've been nominated for another Liebster Award by the lovely Jess over at My Reading Dress. Even though I've already postet a Liebster Award, I decided to go ahead and answer her questions anyway because they're all book related and I'm really excited.

1. Do you fall for the "pretty cover", and if so, which has been your favourite?
I certainly enjoy a pretty cover. They just look nice on my shelves and isn't that kind of also the point of books? When I go to a book store, I'm usually looking for like one or two books that I want to buy because I've heard good things about them and I always try to only buy those but then end up leaving with five more books because they were so beautiful I couldn't leave them. Sometimes I don't even read what they're about so they end up sitting on my TBR-shelf for ever and I'll admit that that's not ideal, but I just can't resist.

2. What is a hyped book that you've read, but just not agreed on?

The Knife of Never Letting Go. I keep hearing great things about the Chaos Walking series but I just didn't like the first book at all so I have absolutely no desire to continue with the other books. I don't know why so many people like this book so much and I was really disappointed when I read it.

3. Do you have a fictional love interest "type"?
No, I really don't think so. It always depends on the book and usually I just like the main character's love interest because that's who we get to know best.

4. Do you have a guilty pleasure read? If so, then care to share?
Hmm.. This is hard. I would say Twilight because I absolutely loved the series when I first read it but I really can't remember much anymore.

5. Are you a one track mind reader or do you like to balance a large amount of books on your "currently reading"?
I really can't read more than one book at once and I don't understand how other people do it. Isn't the best part about reading to get lost in the world of the book? I can't do that if I'm always switching between worlds. That's also why I always read sequels etc. to books I liked right away because I usually just need more of the world and the characters whenever I finish a good book.

6. Who is your favourite authors(s)?
For contemporaries this is a little easier than other genres in my opinion. I can't really say someone is my favorite author if I only ever read one of their series. Even if that series is one of my favorites. And with contemporaries, you get more stand alones. So I'm going to say Rainbow Rowell (for sure, I love all her books) and John Green. Probably also Sophie Kinsella but I haven't read all of her books and I really need to be in the mood for a Sophie Kinsella book.

7. What is your favourite genre under the YA delineation?
I'm really bad with genres, like really bad. I never know what genre which book belongs to. But I'm just going to say contemporary, fantasy and dystopian.

8. What are some of your most hated YA tropes, and most loved? (think insta!love, love triangle, TSTL protagonists)

Another hard question. I usually don't like love triangles but then sometimes they're really okay and I kind of enjoy them. The same goes for instalove. I've never really minded it but now I also can't think of a case of instalove in a book I read recently. I had to look up TSTL protagonist and then laughed out loud. Yes, I hate that. But they appear so often in the books I read and I can usually still enjoy the story if the rest is okay and just scream at the main character in my head from time to time. I always enjoy a funny and outspoken best friend and sidekick; they make any story a thousand times better. I also really enjoy reading about close families and main characters that love their parents and siblings.

9. Do you have a favourite book(s) read, so far, this year?

I have read so many fantastic books this year. But my absolute favorites would have to be The 5th Wave by Rick Yancey and Fangirl by Rainbow Rowell.

10. Why did you decide to join the blogging community and what do you love most about it?
I've always loved writing and I started a blog when I went to Vancouver for three months to let my friends and family know what I was up to over there. When I got back, I stopped blogging for a year and then decided to start a new one just for fun. And that's what I'm still doing and it's what I love most about it. I can just do this for myself because I liket to do it and without any obligations. I'm still sometimes struggling to find my way around the blogging world because I have a hard time discovering new (book) blogs that I like.

11. Do you have any quirky reading habits? 
I don't really have any special ones. I like to read in bed but I do most of my reading on my way to work. And I always read the last sentence of a book when starting it (even though I've cursed myself multiple times for doing that).

Since this is my second time doing this, I'm not going to tag anyone (I hope that's okay). But a huge thank you again to Jess for nominating me and asking some really toguh questions. Thank you for reading.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Top 5 Worlds

Hello there. It's Wednesday again and this week's topic for Top 5 Wednesday is Top 5 Worlds. This was quite hard for me because there are so many that I liked but I tried my best and decided on five. 

5. The Mortal Instruments / The Infernal Devices
The Shadow World is so fascinating and versatile, I had to include it in this list. It took me a while to warm up to it but at the latest once I got to the Infernal Devices, I was in love with it. I also really enjoy that Cassandra Clare is writing different stories all taking place in the same world so that we can explore different aspects of it and learn about all the different sides of the Shadow World.

4. Throne of Glass
As you may know, I absolutely love the Throne of Glass series so it shouldn't come as a surprise that I'm including it in my Top 5 (again). But I didn't just choose this because I love the books but because I think the world building is really well done in this series and I especially loved it in The Assassin's Blade, where we got to discover different locations on the map of Erilea.

3. Ready Player One
I just finished this book today and it was fantastic. Ernest Cline describes everything in so much detail, I could almost see it. Plus, there isn't just description of one world (which is the earth in the year 2045) but he also created a second, digital one. In the book, the people find refuge from the ugly real world in an online one called OASIS, where the possibilities are endless. You could be who you wanted to be, go where you wanted to go and do what you wanted to do. This online world has become such a huge part of the people's lives and is wonderfully described to the reader so that at some points I honestly forgot that I was reading about the main character's online avatar and that the actual person is sitting somewhere logged into a computer. It was so easy to lose myself in the world inside the world of my book together with the main character.

2. A Song of Ice and Fire
This is another extremely well developped fictional world, where I wouldn't necessarily want to live myself but that I enjoyed reading about a lot. George R. R. Martin has a brilliant way of describing this fantasy world in a way that seems more realistic than most contemporaries taking place in the real one. He doesn't sugar coat anything and includes ugly and nasty details along with fantastic magical aspects. His world is brutal where our favorite characters don't stand a better chance than the evil villains. I loved reading about a hard and unforgiving world, it was refreshing in a strange way.

1. Harry Potter
Do I even need to explain this? I don't think so and I couldn't. I don't have any justification for why this is number one but the fact that I'm still waiting for my Hogwarts letter should be enough of an explanation.

So there you are, my Top 5 Worlds. Thank you for reading.

Monday, August 18, 2014

My Gap Year(s) Experience

Hello there. I wanted to post something a little different today because a big change is waiting for me. As of September 2014, I will be a law student at University of Zurich and I'm really nervous and excited at the same time. I wanted to make this post to talk about the two years I've spent travelling and working since I finished high school in 2012.

My original plan was to get a job after graduation for about half a year and then spend three months abroad to improve my English and then start University in September 2014. Of course, nothing happened according to plan. The first problem I encountered was that at the age of 17, it was quite hard to find a job for just half a year, having no work experience whatsoever. So after a month or so of unsuccessfully trying to find somewhere to work (preferably in a hotel), I changed my plans a little. I decided to earn money later and travel first. Fortunately, my parents were able to lend me the money to pay for my three month trip to Vancouver in the fall of 2013. I had wanted to wait with traveling until the handball season ended in spring 2014 so that I wouldn't miss any games that season. But unfortunately I had injured my shoulder in our last pre-season match and would miss a great part of the season anyway, so I thought, why not let my shoulder heal abroad?

So that's what I did. I (rather spontaneously) booked a three month stay in beautiful Vancouver from September to December 2013. I really liked Vancouver and had the loveliest host family. Even so, I was glad to see my family, friends and most especially my boyfriend again after the twelve weeks were over. So after that it got a little more serious: I needed a job! Somehow, I had to pay off my stay in Vancouver but at the time I didn't know what I wanted to do with my life at all. The registration deadline for University (April) wasn't far off at all and I had no idea what I wanted to study. So I decided to take my time with that decision and focus on finding a job to maybe get some inspiration as to what I wanted to do later. Thanks to my Vancouver experience and the English certificate I got there, I was able to get a job at an international law firm as an assistant.

So, since April 2013, I've been working in my first real job. While I never thought this was the most interesting job that I wanted to carry on doing for the rest of my life or where I could realize my full potential, I absolutely loved working there. I learned so much and experienced for the first time what it meant to have a full-time job. Overall, it was the perfect opportunity for me. I can't think of anything better that I could've done; after all I was only a high school student with no work experience. I found some amazing friends in the office which has made me love my job even more. I really can't believe how lucky I was in getting this job: I met amazing people, got a whole deal more independent by earning my own money, learned so much in general and, most of all, I got an inspiration for what I wanted to study.

Because it really was the only thing I could imagine myself doing, I decided to go for it and study law. Now, after one and a half years as a full-time lawyer's assistant, I'm going to be a student again. Luckily, I can still work at the firm part-time and do not have to give up my financial independence completely. I'm really excited for this new chapter in my life and can't wait to see what the future holds.

I hope you enjoyed this a little different type of post. I definitely enjoyed writing about my two gap years and thinking back now, I realize again what a great time I had and how quickly time has passed. I feel like graduation was only a few days ago and now I'm already starting University in a few weeks!

Sunday, August 17, 2014

Everything Leads To You

Everything Leads To You by Nina LaCour
After being entrusted with her brother's Los Angeles apartment for the summer as a graduation gift, Emi Price isn't sure how to fulfill his one condition: that something great take place there while he's gone. Emi may be a talented young production designer, already beginning to thrive in the competitive film industry, but she still feels like an average teen, floundering when it comes to romance.

But when she and her best friend, Charlotte, discover a mysterious letter at the estate sale of a Hollywood film legend, Emi must move beyond the walls of her carefully crafted world to chase down the loose ends of a movie icon's hidden life, leading her to uncover a decades' old secret ant the potential for something epic: love.

This book kind of follows two stories, both centered around our main character, Emi. On the one side, she's trying to uncover the secret past of a Hollywood star who has recently passed away, a letter of whom she has found at his estate sale. On the journey of learning what is talked about in the letter, she meets Ava, a beautiful and struggling young girl she's immediately attracted to. On the other side, we learn about Emi's job as a production designer intern and the work she's doing for this one big movie. We can join in on the path to the perfect set for this film and the troubles Emi has to go through in the film industry.

I really enjoyed reading about Emi's work and the film industry. It gave me such an interesting insight into the making of a film and I've never read anything like this before. Emi has like the coolest job anyone could ever imagine and I loved reading about it. The love story was just as unique as the rest of the book. Our main character is gay but unlike in other books I've read, this wasn't the main point of the book. It just was what it was. There was no special emphasis on the fact that Emi likes girls, it was just part of the story and I thought that was great.

I will say, though, that the book never pulled me in completely and that's why I only gave it three stars. Because Emi's life is oh so different from mine, it was quite hard to identify with her. On top of that, I felt like not that much happened throughout the story. Yes, it was all very interesting and I really enjoyed reading the book but something was still missing for me.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Top 5 Love Triangles

Hello there. It's Wednesday again, which means it's time for another list of Top 5 from the goodreads group I joined last week T5W. This week's topic is Love Triangles and I'll admit I had a hard time picking these as I'm usually a very anti-love triangle person and tend to not enjoy reading stories with them. That's also why there aren't many of them in the books I own and (and I was very surprised at that) I only had 7 options to choose from. Here are the five I picked out of those 7.

5. Bella / Edward / Jacob in the Twilight Series
This, for me, is like the "classic" love triangle. It's probably the first time I've encountered a love triangle in books and definitely the first one that absolutely annoyed me. But of course it's such a huge part of the books and I did like the series very much, so I decided to award it fifth place on my list. I'm actually thinking of rereading the Twilight series because I used to absolutely love it but now I can't really remember anymore.

4. Celaena / Dorian / Chaol in the Throne of Glass Series
I'm not sure this is really a love triangle, more of a series with two love interests, but I decided to count it. I really appreciated that there is no dramatic love-triangleness going on in this series, which makes me like it even more. I love all these characters so I just had to include them. I'm definitely team Chaol on this one, he and Celaena are just the best while Dorian and Celaena never really had that spark, or at least it didn't seem like it to me.

3. Katniss / Peeta / Gale in the Hunger Games Trilogy
Oh, how I love and adore the Hunger Games. It's my favorite series but even though this isn't my favorite love triangle, they still deserve to be in the top 3. What makes me like a love triangles is when I can see the appeals of both love interests and why it's hard for the main character to choose one. Here, that was definitely what was going on for me. I loved both Gale and Peeta and even I couldn't choose one. In the beginning, I was definitely more Team Gale but then I changed (which usually just does not happen) to Team Peeta in like the second book or so. Overall I just adored these characters and I loved Katniss's relationship to both Peeta and Gale.

2. Juliette / Adam / Warner in the Shatter Me Trilogy
Now this is my second favorite not because I think it's the best love triangle but also because I could see the appeal of both Adam and Warner at the time. At first, I loved Adam and Juliette and I was so confused after the first book because I knew that Juliette and Warner would be together but he was such a disgusting person, I just didn't understand how that was supposed to happen. But then we started to get to know Warner and I liked him more and more and Adam less and less to the point where I hated Adam and loved Warner. (I'm Team Warner for sure!) I just think that the shift from Adam to Warner was really well done and that's why these three lovebirds deserve second place.

1. Tessa / Will / Jem in The Infernal Devices
I don't even want to know how many people's favorite this is going to be. I mean, if you've read the books, there really isn't any other possible choice. These books were heartbreaking because the love triangle was so unfair and both Will and Jem were such amazing people and fighting for the same girl even though they are best friends. And I couldn't handle it for one second. I cried all the time at the unfairness that Tessa should find the love of her life twice and had to make an impossible choice. And of course, if you've read it you'll know, the ending of Clockwork Princess left me an emotional wreck. And then the ending of City of Heavenly Fire kind of healed it again and kind of tore open a whole new wound. This love triangle is just ups and downs and I love all three people in it so much, it had to be number one.

So that's it already for today. Thank you for reading and let me knof if you agree with my picks.

Monday, August 11, 2014

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour

Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson
It wouldn't be a road trip without some detours...

Amy Curry is not looking forward to her summer. Her mother decided to move across the country and now it's Amy's responsibility to get their car from California to Connecticut. The only problem is, since her father died in a car accident, she isn't ready to get behind the wheel. Enter Roger. An old family friend, he also has to make the cross-country trip - and has plenty of baggage of his own. The road home may be unfamiliar - especially with their friendship venturing into uncharted territory - but together, Amy and Roger will figure out how to map their way.

Just like Since You've Been Gone, the story of Amy and Roger's roadtrip is the perfect summer read. But with Amy's past and family struggles, it was a little deeper and more serious. Even though the story is about a roadtrip that only lasts a couple of day, it was more enough time to have both characters open up and for the reader to learn about Roger's broken heart and Amy's messed up family. I loved to see the two of them help each other out and taking detours from the route Amy's mother has laid out for them to find closure in different places.

This was a fantastic read about family, friendship and love. Completed with pictures, maps and notes, it quickly became one of my favorite contemporaries ever. Even though I loved Since You've Been Gone, Amy & Roger's Epic Detour was even better and I'm excited to read more of Morgan Matson in the future. She has such a great way of writing that you just can't put her books down and her stories just make me happy without being shallow. Even though there were quite a few similarities between the books (the first kiss, description of the guy), they didn't bother me at all.

I recommend this book to absolutely everyone. It's about a roadtrip, what more information do you need? I loved every page of it and writing about it now makes me want to reread it immediately.

Sunday, August 10, 2014

My Trip to Norway

Hello there. As you may know, I got back from my holidays in Norway last Sunday. I finally manged to sort through all of the pictures and find a few that I want to show you, so here I am. 

My dad, his girlfriend, my sister and I spent a great week in Norway, driving around the south of the country. We stayed in Sogndal, Bergen, Stavanger, Arendal and Kjøvangen and saw a lot of the beautiful landscape Norway has to offer. Overall, I fell in love with Norway. It's a beautiful country, very green with lots of trees and forests and also so much water. If not a fjord, there's lakes everywhere and I think nothing could ever be better than living next to the water.

When we arrived at Oslo airport Saturday morning, we rented a car and drove for about 5 hours to our first stop, Sogndal. Sogndal is a lovely small town and our hotel there was absolutely beautiful. The view from our room was breathtaking as we could see directly onto the fjord in front of the hotel.

The next day it was already time to leave Sogndal and drive to Bergen, one of the biggest cities in Norway. The drive there was amazing as we drove through the countryside. That evening we went for dinner in beautiful Bergen but as we would spend the next day in the city too, we didn't do too much sightseeing anymore.

On our day in Bergen, we walked around the town a bit and then went up the Ulriken mountain where we got an amazing view of the whole city. Unfortunately it started raining soon and we had to hide inside for a few hours before we could continue with exploring the city. Bergen is such a beautiful city but with more than 300 rainy days a year, I can't imagine actually living there. Even though we didn't happen to visit the city on one of the rare sunny days, I didn't let that keep me from taking some pictures.

On Tuesday, we left Bergen and headed for Stavanger. The drive there was very different from what we've seen so far. We drove along the coast and there were houses scattered everywhere but hardly a town anywhere. I love the typical Norwegian style of buildings and we could see so many of these on our way to Stavanger. Another nice aspect of our journey was going from one small island to the next along the coast that are either connected by a bridge or a tunnel or by a ferry. Stavanger itself is so pretty too. It was probably my favorite town we've visited. The old town was so cute and I couldn't stop taking picture of every small house in this amazing style.

On Wednesday, we already left Stavanger behind again and drove to Arendal. We stopped in a few very small towns on the way there; I don't think I will ever get used to how beautiful these are. Arendal itself is another pretty but rather small town at the coast. As you can see, the weather was finally back to warm and sunny again.

On Thursday, we then headed to our last destination of our trip: Kjøvangen. On our way there, we stopped at a few places and took some beautiful pictures at the coast before arriving in Kjøvangen. This small village is about an hour from Oslo and we stayed with relatives of my dad's girlfriend in a beautiful holiday house with seaview. As the weather was back to sunny and very warm here, we also went swimming and just had a very relaxing few days there. On Friday and Saturday, we drove to Oslo to do some sightseeing in the capital before flying back home on Sunday.

Overall, I had an amazing trip and I fell in love with Norway. If you have never been there, it's definitely worth a visit and I'm sure I'll go back someday.