Thursday, December 31, 2015

My Most Anticipated Books of 2016

I'm already in love with the new year of 2016! Can you imagine why? I'm so excited for all the new releases 2016 promises to bring to my shelves. So here's a list of my most anticipated books of 2016. What do you think?


The Unexpected Everything by Morgan Matson

Andie had it all planned out. When you are a politician’s daughter who’s pretty much raised yourself, you learn everything can be planned or spun, or both. Especially your future.
Important internship? Check. Amazing friends? Check.Guys? Check (as long as we’re talking no more than three weeks)
But that was before the scandal. Before having to be in the same house with her dad. Before walking an insane number of dogs. That was before Clark and those few months that might change her whole life. Because here’s the thing - if everything's planned out, you can never find the unexpected. And where’s the fun in that?
Doesn't Morgan Matson's new 2016 release sound like a fabulous summer read? Love the cover!


Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories by Stephanie Perkins

Maybe it's the long, lazy days, or maybe it's the heat making everyone a little bit crazy. Whatever the reason, summer is the perfect time for love to bloom. Summer Days & Summer Nights: Twelve Love Stories, written by twelve bestselling young adult writers and edited by the international bestselling author Stephanie Perkins, will have you dreaming of sunset strolls by the lake. So set out your beach chair and grab your sunglasses. You have twelve reasons this summer to soak up the sun and fall in love.
Featuring stories by Leigh Bardugo, Francesca Lia Block, Libba Bray, Cassandra Clare, Brandy Colbert, Tim Federle, Lev Grossman, Nina LaCour, Stephanie Perkins, Veronica Roth, Jon Skovron, and Jennifer E. Smith.
I'm really not a fan of short stories but I can't wait to read these twelve summery love stories. Just have a look at the list of authors contributing to SUMMER DAYS AND SUMMER NIGHTS.


Gemina (The Illuminae Files # 2) by Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff

The first ILLUMINAE FILES book was a real adventure. I'm very curious if the second book in Amie and Jay's series is just as creative and imaginative as the first.


P.S. I Like You by Kasie West

What if the person you were falling for was a total mystery?
While Lily is spacing out in Chemistry one day, she picks up her pencil and scribbles a line from one of her favorite songs on the desk. The next day, someone else has written back to her on the desk! Soon enough Lily and the mystery student are exchanging notes, and lyrics, and even sharing secrets. When Lily finds out that her anonymous pen pal is a guy, she's flustered -- and kind of feels like she's falling for him. She and her best friend set out to unravel the identity of the letter writer -- but when the truth is revealed, the guy is the LAST person Lily could have ever imagined it to be. Now that Lily knows the truth, can she untangle her feelings and gather the courage to listen to her heart?

P.S. I LIKE YOU sounds like another cute YA contemporary romance by Kasie West. Love her books!


Defending Taylor (Hundred Oaks #7) by Miranda Kenneally

Taylor’s always felt pressure to be perfect. That’s what happens when you are a senator’s daughter. So when she’s kicked out of private school for covering for her boyfriend’s not-so-legal behavior, she is devastated.
Things go from bad to worse as she joins what used to be her rival soccer team at Hundred Oaks High. The only person who seems to understand all that she’s going through is her older brother’s best friend, Ezra. But Ezra has secrets of his own. Will Taylor repeat past mistakes, or can she score a fresh start?
Miranda Kenneally writes the most wonderful YA contemporary romances. So far I've fallen in love with all of her charming and funny characters and am a great fan of Miranda's sports-themed books!


Frost Like Night (Snow Like Ashes #3) by Sara Raasch

This is the last book in Sara Raasch's SNOW LIKE ASHES trilogy and how couldn't I be excited to find out how Meira and Mather can defeat evil and find peace together.


The Crown's Game (The Crown's Game #1) by Evelyn Skye

Vika Andreyeva can summon the snow and turn ash into gold. Nikolai Karimov can see through walls and conjure bridges out of thin air. They are enchanters—the only two in Russia—and with the Ottoman Empire and the Kazakhs threatening, the Tsar needs a powerful enchanter by his side.
And so he initiates the Crown’s Game, an ancient duel of magical skill—the greatest test an enchanter will ever know. The victor becomes the Imperial Enchanter and the Tsar’s most respected adviser. The defeated is sentenced to death.
Raised on tiny Ovchinin Island her whole life, Vika is eager for the chance to show off her talent in the grand capital of Saint Petersburg. But can she kill another enchanter—even when his magic calls to her like nothing else ever has?
For Nikolai, an orphan, the Crown’s Game is the chance of a lifetime. But his deadly opponent is a force to be reckoned with—beautiful, whip smart, imaginative—and he can’t stop thinking about her.
And when Pasha, Nikolai’s best friend and heir to the throne, also starts to fall for the mysterious enchantress, Nikolai must defeat the girl they both love . . . or be killed himself.
As long-buried secrets emerge, threatening the future of the empire, it becomes dangerously clear . . . the Crown’s Game is not one to lose.

Just wow! THE CROWN'S GAME sounds like a powerful debut novel with all its magic, deadly games and romantic twists.


Glass Sword (Red Queen #2) by Victoria Aveyard

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?

♥ I read RED QUEEN early in 2015 and was impressed by Victoria Aveyard's stunning debut novel. I met Victoria in Frankfurt this year and she was so lovely. Hope GLASS SWORD will be just as good as RED QUEEN.


Untitled (Firebird #3) by Claudia Gray

The first two books in the FIREBIRD series, A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU and TEN THOUSAND SKIES ABOVE YOU, were my favourite books of 2014 and 2015. So it's a given that book number three, which has yet to be titled, is on my list of most anticipated books for the year of 2016. I really need to find out how Marguerite and Paul's story finds its happy end.


Lady Midnight (The Dark Artifices #1) by Cassandra Clare

Los Angeles. It’s been five years since the events of the Mortal Instruments when Nephilim stood poised on the brink of oblivion and Shadowhunter Emma Carstairs lost her parents. After the blood and violence she witnessed as a child, Emma has dedicated her life to to discovering exactly what it was that killed her parents and getting her revenge.
Raised in the Los Angeles Institute with the Blackthorn family, Emma is paired as a parabatai with her best friend, Julian Blackthorn. A series of murders in the city catch her attention — they seem to have the same characteristics as the deaths of her parents. Could the murderer be the same person? And her attention isn’t the only one caught: someone has been murdering Downworlders as well. The Fair Folk make a deal with the Institute: if the Blackthorns and Emma will investigate the killings, they’ll return Mark Blackthorn to his home. The catch: they have only two weeks to find the killers. Otherwise it’s open war between faeries and Nephilim.
The Shadowhunters of the Institute must race against time to catch the killers, even as they begin to suspect the involvement of those closest to them. At the same time, Emma is falling in love with the one person in the world she’s absolutely forbidden by Shadowhunter Law to love. Set against the glittering backdrop of present-day Los Angeles, Emma must learn to trust her head and her heart as she investigates a demonic plot that stretches from the warlock-run nightclubs of the Sunset Strip to the enchanted sea that pounds the beaches of Santa Monica.
The Shadowhunter books by Cassandra Clare belong to my favourites and the love story of Emma and Julian sounds so good! Can't wait to finally read LADY MIDNIGHT!

Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Best Reads of 2015

As we've got only one day left in 2015, I thought it was a good time to share my favourite books of 2015 with you. This past year I read many books that got only average ratings. Of course there were a few books that really impressed me, too. In January I shared my most anticipated books of 2015 and when I checked that list again now I found three matches with my top ten list here. My number one most anticipated book of 2015 became my favourite read of 2015, too. I love this! So here are my top ten reads of 2015. Feel free to share your favourite reads in the comments!


Burning Glass by Kathryn Purdie

Sonya was born with the rare gift to feel what those around her feel—both physically and emotionally—a gift she’s kept hidden from the empire for seventeen long years. After a reckless mistake wipes out all the other girls with similar abilities, Sonya is hauled off to the palace and forced to serve the emperor as his sovereign Auraseer.
Tasked with sensing the intentions of would-be assassins, Sonya is under constant pressure to protect the emperor. One mistake, one small failure, will cost her own life and the lives of the few people left in the world who still trust her.
But Sonya’s power is untamed and reckless, her feelings easily usurped, and she sometimes can’t decipher when other people’s impulses end and her own begin. In a palace full of warring emotions and looming darkness, Sonya fears that the biggest danger to the empire may be herself.
As she struggles to wrangle her abilities, Sonya seeks refuge in her tenuous alliances with the volatile Emperor Valko and his idealistic younger brother, Anton, the crown prince. But when threats of revolution pit the two brothers against each other, Sonya must choose which brother to trust—and which to betray.


The Fill-In Boyfriend by Kasie West

When Gia Montgomery's boyfriend, Bradley, dumps her in the parking lot of her high school prom, she has to think fast. After all, she'd been telling her friends about him for months now. This was supposed to be the night she proved he existed. So when she sees a cute guy waiting to pick up his sister, she enlists his help. The task is simple: be her fill-in boyfriend—two hours, zero commitment, a few white lies. After that, she can win back the real Bradley.
The problem is that days after prom, it's not the real Bradley she's thinking about, but the stand-in. The one whose name she doesn't even know. But tracking him down doesn't mean they're done faking a relationship. Gia owes him a favor and his sister intends to see that he collects: his ex-girlfriend's graduation party—three hours, zero commitment, a few white lies.
Just when Gia begins to wonder if she could turn her fake boyfriend into a real one, Bradley comes waltzing back into her life, exposing her lie, and threatening to destroy her friendships and her new-found relationship.


Silver Shadows by Richelle Mead
Sydney Sage is an Alchemist, one of a group of humans who dabble in magic and serve to bridge the worlds of humans and vampires. They protect vampire secrets—and human lives.
In The Fiery Heart, Sydney risked everything to follow her gut, walking a dangerous line to keep her feelings hidden from the Alchemists.
Now in the aftermath of an event that ripped their world apart, Sydney and Adrian struggle to pick up the pieces and find their way back to each other. But first, they have to survive.
For Sydney, trapped and surrounded by adversaries, life becomes a daily struggle to hold on to her identity and the memories of those she loves. Meanwhile, Adrian clings to hope in the face of those who tell him Sydney is a lost cause, but the battle proves daunting as old demons and new temptations begin to seize hold of him. . . .
Their worst fears now a chilling reality, Sydney and Adrian face their darkest hour in this heart-pounding fifth installment in the New York Times bestselling Bloodlines series, where all bets are off.


Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.This afternoon, her planet was invaded.
The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.
But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

It’s been three months since the Winterians were freed and Spring’s king, Angra, disappeared—thanks largely to the help of Cordell.
Meira just wants her people to be safe. When Cordellan debt forces the Winterians to dig their mines for payment, they unearth something powerful and possibly dangerous: Primoria’s lost chasm of magic. Theron sees this find as an opportunity—with this much magic, the world can finally stand against threats like Angra. But Meira fears the danger the chasm poses—the last time the world had access to so much magic, it spawned the Decay. So when the king of Cordell orders the two on a mission across the kingdoms of Primoria to discover the chasm’s secrets, Meira plans to use the trip to garner support to keep the chasm shut and Winter safe—even if it means clashing with Theron. But can she do so without endangering the people she loves?
Mather just wants to be free. The horrors inflicted on the Winterians hang fresh and raw in Januari—leaving Winter vulnerable to Cordell’s growing oppression. When Meira leaves to search for allies, he decides to take Winter’s security into his own hands. Can he rebuild his broken kingdom and protect them from new threats?
As the web of power and deception weaves tighter, Theron fights for magic, Mather fights for freedom—and Meira starts to wonder if she should be fighting not just for Winter, but for the world.


Everything That Makes You by Moriah McStay

One girl. Two stories. Meet Fiona Doyle. The thick ridges of scar tissue on her face are from an accident twelve years ago. Fiona has notebooks full of songs she’s written about her frustrations, her dreams, and about her massive crush on beautiful uber-jock Trent McKinnon. If she can’t even find the courage to look Trent straight in his beautiful blue eyes, she sure isn’t brave enough to play or sing any of her songs in public. But something’s changing in Fiona. She can’t be defined by her scars anymore.
And what if there hadn’t been an accident? Meet Fi Doyle. Fi is the top-rated female high school lacrosse player in the state, heading straight to Northwestern on a full ride. She’s got more important things to deal with than her best friend Trent McKinnon, who’s been different ever since the kiss. When her luck goes south, even lacrosse can’t define her anymore. When you’ve always been the best at something, one dumb move can screw everything up. Can Fi fight back?

Sweet Temptation by Wendy Higgins

Bad boy Kaidan Rowe has never wanted for anything—money, popularity, musical talent…hot girls—but seducing them is part of his duty as a Nephilim, slave to the demon Dukes. As the son of the Duke of Lust, Kaidan has learned his father’s ways, becoming a master of passion, a manipulator of chemistry. Disobeying his father would mean certain death. Thankfully for Kaidan, he’s good at his job. And he enjoys it.
Until he meets Anna Whitt—sweet, smart, feisty, and inexplicably good—the one girl seemingly immune to his charms. The daughter of a guardian angel and a fallen one, she has a certain power over him, one that makes him wish for more than he could ever deserve.
Determined to save all the Neph from their dark lives as the influencers of sin, Anna joins forces with Kaidan to overcome the demons’ oppressive ways. In the light of her affections, Kaidan must undergo his toughest test of all, a battle of the heart.


Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

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 ...


Their Fractured Light by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

A year ago, Flynn Cormac and Jubilee Chase made the now infamous Avon Broadcast, calling on the galaxy to witness for their planet, and protect them from destruction. Some say Flynn’s a madman, others whisper about conspiracies. Nobody knows the truth. A year before that, Tarver Merendsen and Lilac LaRoux were rescued from a terrible shipwreck—now, they live a public life in front of the cameras, and a secret life away from the world’s gaze.
Now, in the center of the universe on the planet of Corinth, all four are about to collide with two new players, who will bring the fight against LaRoux Industries to a head. Gideon Marchant is an eighteen-year-old computer hacker—a whiz kid and an urban warrior. He’ll climb, abseil and worm his way past the best security measures to pull off onsite hacks that others don’t dare touch.
Sofia Quinn has a killer smile, and by the time you’re done noticing it, she’s got you offering up your wallet, your car, and anything else she desires. She holds LaRoux Industries responsible for the mysterious death of her father and is out for revenge at any cost.
When a LaRoux Industries security breach interrupts Gideon and Sofia’s separate attempts to infiltrate their headquarters, they’re forced to work together to escape. Each of them has their own reason for wanting to take down LaRoux Industries, and neither trusts the other. But working together might be the best chance they have to expose the secrets LRI is so desperate to hide.


Ten Thousand Skies Above You by Claudia Gray

Ten thousand worlds. Ten thousand enemies. One love.

Marguerite Caine has done the impossible, traveling to alternate dimensions with the Firebird—the brilliant invention of her parents, her boyfriend, Paul, and their friend Theo. But she has also caught the attention of enemies willing to kidnap, blackmail, and even kill to use the Firebird for themselves.
When Paul’s soul is splintered into four pieces—pieces that are trapped within Pauls in other dimensions—Marguerite will do anything, and travel anywhere, to save him. But the price of his safe return is steep. If she doesn’t sabotage her parents in multiple universes, Paul will be lost forever.
Unwilling to sacrifice her family, Marguerite enlists the brilliant Theo to help. The two forge a plan to save Paul and the Firebird, but succeeding means outsmarting a genius and risking not only their lives but also the lives of their counterparts in every other dimension.
Their mission takes them to the most dangerous universes yet: a war-torn San Francisco, the criminal underworld of New York City, and a glittering Paris where another Marguerite hides a shocking secret. Each leap brings Marguerite closer to saving Paul—but her journey reveals dark truths that lead her to doubt the one constant she’s found between worlds: their love for each other.

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Book Review: Illuminae by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff

Title: Illuminae (The Illuminae Files #1)
Author: Amie Kaufman, Jay Kristoff
Publisher: Oneworld Publications
Publishing Date: October 22nd 2015
Length: 608 pages
Keywords: YA, sci-fi, thriller, conspiracy, space travel, romance
Source: Publisher

This morning, Kady thought breaking up with Ezra was the hardest thing she’d have to do.

This afternoon, her planet was invaded.

The year is 2575, and two rival megacorporations are at war over a planet that’s little more than an ice-covered speck at the edge of the universe. Too bad nobody thought to warn the people living on it. With enemy fire raining down on them, Kady and Ezra—who are barely even talking to each other—are forced to fight their way onto an evacuating fleet, with an enemy warship in hot pursuit.

But their problems are just getting started. A deadly plague has broken out and is mutating, with terrifying results; the fleet's AI, which should be protecting them, may actually be their enemy; and nobody in charge will say what’s really going on. As Kady hacks into a tangled web of data to find the truth, it's clear only one person can help her bring it all to light: the ex-boyfriend she swore she'd never speak to again.

Summary by Goodreads

In the beginning there is destruction. Kady and Ezra are on the run while their planet is bombed and invaded by two duelling mega-corporations. They need to evacuate and make it on one of the space ships that are fleeing their enemies. But will they make it out alive in the end? That's what you'll have to find out by reading the Illuminae files, all analysed and supplied by the Illuminae Group. They share about six hundred pages of visual, audio and written data collected from battle carrier Alexander and science vessel Hypathia where the action of ILLUMINAE takes place.

So Kady and Ezra are the two protagonists whose story we get to follow in ILLUMINAE. We learn that Kady just broke up with Ezra and now they are thrown into this horrifying scenario where their entire planet is destroyed. No time to be vindictive. In order to survive Kady and Ezra have to find a way to beat the enemy together. You can imagine that this scenario was pretty intriguing. In the face of death, new hardships and more catastrophes on board almost constantly dare them to get back together and admit their true feelings for each other. Even though they never even narrate one chapter of the book themselves, we still learn more about the development of their relationship through the hacked files.

So what are those files? Videos by surveillance cameras, military documents, chat communications, interviews, emails, diary entries and other forms of data. The collection is splendid!
   When I first dove into the Illuminae files I didn't really know how to read them best. I'm used to personal narrations that bring a reader close to the character's thoughts and emotions. So I was concerned I wouldn't care about Kady and Ezra as much as maybe other characters. And actually it took me some time to get used to the documentary and informative narration of ILLUMINAE but after about one hundred pages I was deeply immersed in the story. Just give yourself a little time to acclimate to the new style of narration.

Never have I read a book where its page design was as important to the story as in ILLUMINAE. It keeps up the authentic character of storytelling and offers a completely new and riveting reading experience. A few basic page designs run throughout the entire story, like chats, military reports, audio files. But there are countless pages that got their very own special design with great love to detail. I bow to the art department for supplying ILLUMINAE with its own authentic style that makes up a huge part of the stunning reading experience Amie and Jay's novel offers to readers.

Part of the narrating scheme reminded me of chapters from THESE BROKEN STARS, where a military investigation is under way, too. I have never read anything like ILLUMINAE and now I'm more than curious about its sequel, if it's told in the same manner as the first book and if there will be more hints or parallels to Amie's THESE BROKEN STARS series. 

As to the story's course of action, that is one gigantic struggle for survival. Imagine bad things happening to Kady, Ezra and an entire planet's population. Then prepare again for the worst! There are epic space battles, explosions, conspiracies, hacking attacks and a dangerous artificial intelligence that overtakes an entire ship. Further you can add a deadly plague that turns humans into brutal zombies and ILLUMINAE into a slasher and horror story. That one was literally a killer move of Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff. This book is definitely not for the faint-hearted, but for the thrill seekers! Thought you booked a romantic cruise on a space liner? With ILLUMINAE you'll receive the gore galore adventure!
   Constant countdown alerts until "the end" and updated numbers on the current death toll (yep, these are totally justified) make the reading experience even more nerve-racking and dramatic.

With about 600 pages ILLUMINAE is a pretty big book. So I suggest you reserve a weekend to enjoy Kady and Ezra's unique space adventure to the fullest!

4/5 **** ILLUMINAE - Simply mind-blowing!  Best book design award 2015 goes to ILLUMINAE!

Conspiracies, space chases, gigantic explosions, terrifying enemies, sly artificial intelligence, emotional losses and a subtle yet sublime love story. Sci-fi, horror, thriller, romance, ILLUMINAE has it all. This book is the full package, a space adventure promising to blow your mind. I can guarantee you haven't read anything like it before!

"I only know one thing for sure. Whatever they don't want me to see, that's where I'm digging. I need to be where the secrets are.
 I'm more interested in ensuring I have a future than they think." – p. 124

ILLUMINAE you might enjoy THESE BROKEN STARS by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner, A THOUSAND OF YOU by Claudia Gray and ALL OUR YESTERDAYS by Cristin Terrill. Only the first title is set in space like ILLUMINAE but they all have one thing in common: thrilling adventures, mean conspiracies and stunning romances.

* Have you read THESE BROKEN STARS?

* Click here to read an excerpt of ILLUMINAE.

* For more information about Amie visit And here's Jay's website

* Thanks to Oneworld Publications for sending me a copy of ILLUMINAE for review!

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Mini Reviews #30

Today I'm reviewing three YA contemporaries that deal with growing up, finding your identity and learning to trust in yourself. FUTURE PERFECT by Jen Larsen, DUMPLIN' by Julie Murphy and INFINITE IN BETWEEN by Carolyn Mackler are all fall 2105 releases. Have you read any of them yet?

Future Perfect by Jen Larsen

"Every year on her birthday, Ashley Perkins gets a card from her grandmother—a card that always contains a promise: lose enough weight, and I will buy your happiness." 
   Ashley has never accepted her grandmother's offer...until now. This year is different when her grandmother offers tuition to Harvard if Ashley only accepts to undergo weight loss surgery. Well, doesn't this sound nice? It really wasn't. Ashley's family story was prominently on the annoying side. It's no wonder Ashley doesn't really feel content with her situation when her family is falling apart. I never saw them as a unit, but more as a bunch of ignorant people living under the same roof. Unfortunately, I never liked any of them enough to fully engage in Ashely's story or really care about the outcome. 
   I hoped FUTURE PERFECT would be a book about personal development and defying social conventions. Does your weight really change your identity? Or does the shape of your body influence your happiness? Yet, Ashley's story doesn't really offer that much insight into the topic or even her opinion. She loses herself in crazy adventures rather than facing her true feelings and her strict grandmother.

2/5 ** FUTURE PERFECT - Lightweight YA contemporary!

When I picked up FUTURE PERFECT I was very curious about the story's concept and Ashley's emotional world. There's a lot of talking going on but dialogues or inner reflections never really went deep enough to present readers with the bigger meaning to FUTURE PERFECT they've been anticipating from the beginning.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: October 6th 2015
Length: 320 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, love, friendship, family, body image
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  

Dumplin' by Julie Murphy

Self-appointed fat girl Willowdean is confident about her body. Until her crush, popular beautiful Bo, surprisingly reciprocates her feelings and she starts to doubt everything. To prove herself and regain confidence she enters the local beauty pageant. 
   Willow is a strong protagonist who is very aware of her body and how people always tend to think she's nothing more than the fat girl. But she's happy and likes her body the way other people will never be able to accept themselves. I loved that about her! Will's romance with Bo wasn't my favourite part of DUMPLIN' but Will's relationship with her best friend and her passion for Dolly Parton and her music. I admired Willow for entering a beauty pageant together with a few other people to show off their less than beauty-queen-perfect bodies. In the end that's how DUMPLIN' conveys a very strong message!

3/5 *** DUMPLIN' - A smart, ironic and funny YA with a strong message regarding body image! 

If you ever feel insecure about yourself and need a push to be more confident, you should pick up a copy of DUMPLIN'. Willowdean with her hilarious and powerful character should definitely give you a feel-good reading experience!

Publisher: Balzer + Bray
Publishing Date: September 15th 2015
Length: 375 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, love, friendship, beauty pageant, body image
Source: Edelweiss
Goodreads Summary  

Infinite in Between by Carolyn Mackler

"Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor, and Whitney meet at freshman orientation. At the end of that first day, they make a promise to reunite after graduation. So much can happen in those in-between years….".
Carolyn Mackler's INFINITE IN BETWEEN offers a pretty great concept to readers who enjoy multiple narrators in a novel. Zoe, Jake, Mia, Gregor and Whitney are all very different characters and have their own voices who become very familiar after only a short reading time.
What I liked most about INFINITE IN BETWEEN is that a few key scenes resonated through all of our five teen's narration. Since the day they met their lives are intertwined. Every teen has something special about him or her. Identity, sexual orientation, love and friendship all play an important role at some point in their stories. Their stories of growing up.
   Since the story concentrates on these five teens from the beginning of freshman year til graduation every character gets to tell his story on  roughly about one hundred pages only. Therefore Carolyn Mackler had to be very considerate when choosing which character got to tell which part of their story. INFINITE IN BETWEEN is a collection of very short chapters of all five protagonists, making it a pretty quick read. We never really learn everything about them, but just dip into their lives for a short period of time. I prefer a story that focuses on one protagonist and allows a more intimate relationship between character and reader. Nevertheless INFINITE IN BETWEEN was still a quick read and a nice change from other YA contemporaries.  

3/5 *** INFINITE IN BETWEEN - A diverse tale of growing up!

Witness their most painful embarrassments and their greatest achievements. All their teen angst and their happiness. Carolyn Mackler's INFINITE IN BETWEEN is a story of growing up everyone can relate to.

Publisher: HarperTeen
Publishing Date: September 1st 2015
Length: 480 pages
Keywords: YA, contemporary, love, friendship, school, growing up
Source: Publisher
Goodreads Summary  

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Cover Costume Candy 2015

Happy Halloween! Are you having fun? I've got three pretty YA cover costumes for you on this very scary day. I haven't read SIX OF CROWS yet but thought it'd be fun to put together a dark and sexy costume for Leigh Bardugos latest book release. A THOUSAND PIECES OF YOU is one of my favourite books and I really loved creating a costume for Marguerite's artsy character. I would definitely wear this outfit myself! RED QUEEN by Victoria Aveyard was a stunning YA debut! I couldn't resist to create a costume based on its beautiful cover. Which of these costumes would you like to wear this year? 

Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo

Ketterdam: a bustling hub of international trade where anything can be had for the right price—and no one knows that better than criminal prodigy Kaz Brekker. Kaz is offered a chance at a deadly heist that could make him rich beyond his wildest dreams. But he can't pull it off alone... A convict with a thirst for revenge. A sharpshooter who can't walk away from a wager. A runaway with a privileged past. A spy known as the Wraith. A Heartrender using her magic to survive the slums. A thief with a gift for unlikely escapes. Six dangerous outcasts. One impossible heist. Kaz's crew is the only thing that might stand between the world and destruction—if they don't kill each other first.

A Thousand Pieces of You by Claudia Gray

Marguerite Caine’s physicist parents are known for their radical scientific achievements. Their most astonishing invention: the Firebird, which allows users to jump into parallel universes, some vastly altered from our own. But when Marguerite’s father is murdered, the killer—her parent’s handsome and enigmatic assistant Paul—escapes into another dimension before the law can touch him. 

Marguerite can’t let the man who destroyed her family go free, and she races after Paul through different universes, where their lives entangle in increasingly familiar ways. With each encounter she begins to question Paul’s guilt—and her own heart. Soon she discovers the truth behind her father’s death is more sinister than she ever could have imagined.

A Thousand Pieces of You explores a reality where we witness the countless other lives we might lead in an amazingly intricate multiverse, and ask whether, amid infinite possibilities, one love can endure.

Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard

Mare Barrow's world is divided by blood—those with common, Red blood serve the Silver- blooded elite, who are gifted with superhuman abilities. Mare is a Red, scraping by as a thief in a poor, rural village, until a twist of fate throws her in front of the Silver court. Before the king, princes, and all the nobles, she discovers she has an ability of her own.
To cover up this impossibility, the king forces her to play the role of a lost Silver princess and betroths her to one of his own sons. As Mare is drawn further into the Silver world, she risks everything and uses her new position to help the Scarlet Guard—a growing Red rebellion—even as her heart tugs her in an impossible direction. One wrong move can lead to her death, but in the dangerous game she plays, the only certainty is betrayal.By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teen

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

ARC Giveaway: Soundless by Richelle Mead

I got two ARCs of SOUNDLESS by Richelle Mead at Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 and want to give away one of these copies to one of my readers. This is your chance to read Richelle's newest book before its official publication date on November 10th 2015. The giveaway is open to international entrants and ends November 3rd 2015. Please enter the giveaway widget below. Good luck!

Soundless by Richelle Mead

From Richelle Mead, the #1 internationally bestselling author of Vampire Academy and Bloodlines, comes a breathtaking new fantasy steeped in Chinese folklore.

For as long as Fei can remember, there has been no sound in her village, where rocky terrain and frequent avalanches prevent residents from self-sustaining. Fei and her people are at the mercy of a zipline that carries food up the treacherous cliffs from Beiguo, a mysterious faraway kingdom.

When villagers begin to lose their sight, deliveries from the zipline shrink and many go hungry. Fei’s home, the people she loves, and her entire existence is plunged into crisis, under threat of darkness and starvation.

But soon Fei is awoken in the night by a searing noise, and sound becomes her weapon.

Richelle Mead takes readers on a triumphant journey from the peak of Fei’s jagged mountain village to the valley of Beiugo, where a startling truth and an unlikely romance will change her life forever...

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Monday, October 19, 2015

Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 - New Books On My Shelf

Frankfurt Book Fair 2015 was a blast! I met many wonderful people, lovely authors Kiera Cass and Victoria Aveyard and of course I got some great books, too. Here they are:

Some Kind of Normal by Juliana Stone
Boys Like You by Juliana StoneThe Summer After You and Me by Jennifer Salvato Doktorski
Jesse's Girl by Miranda Kenneally

Penguin Random House 
Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
Summerlost by Ally Condie
Soundless by Richelle Mead
Rebel of the Sands by Alwyn Hamilton

The Hunger Games Trilogy by Suzanne Collins
The Eternal City by Paula Morris

Beautiful Broken Things by Sara Barnard

Harper Collins
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
Ice Like Fire by Sara Raasch

It doesn't happen every year that YA US authors visit Frankfurt Book Fair, but this year I was lucky enough to meet two authors. Kiera Cass signed her THE SELECTION books on Saturday and Victoria Aveyard signed THE RED QUEEN on Sunday.  

Aaand luckily I've managed to grab a few copies for you, too! The copy of RED QUEEN is signed! So you can expect new giveaways over the next months. Which one of these books would you like to win most? 


Wednesday, October 14, 2015

My Ireland Road Trip

In September two of my best friends and I spent two weeks in heaven: IRELAND! I'd been dreaming about travelling to Ireland for about ten years and the country as its people were everything I'd imagined them to be. Wild, beautiful, warm-hearted, stunning, adventurous, peaceful, cosy, windy, miraculous, funny

After almost missing our plane to Dublin (almost...whew!) we set out to explore Ireland's capital. We stayed at a very central hostel and could easily walk the city centre. Dublin Castle, Trinity College and St. Patrick's Cathedral were our favourite sights. The sun was shining and we even got a glimpse at the filming of Penny Dreadful Season 3. At Costa Coffee we fell in love with their triple layered lemon cake and hot chocolate. They definitely need to open up stores in Germany, too!

Then it was time to pick up our rental car and drive cross-country to Lahinch. We stayed at the lovely bed and breakfast Craglea Lodge and had a cosy room with an amazing breakfast. Our host Edel recommended to drive about five miles to Liscannor and walk to the Cliffs of Moher from there instead of parking at the official visitor centre. It turned out to be an invaluable tip! We spent the entire day exploring the coastal walking route, about 10 km to the visitor centre and back to Liscannor. The Cliffs of Moher were one of the very special highlights of our Ireland trip!

After our stay in Lahinch we drove on to Galway, the radio playing "The Galway Girl" by Steve Earle. In Galway we shopped a lot, dined in atmospheric pubs and enjoyed some relaxing sightseeing.

While staying in Galway we decided to drive to Connemara Nationalpark (about 1 1/2 hours). And even the drive through winding roads, mountain landscapes and lakes was simply beautiful. Sheeps were scattered over the hills and merrily walked over the streets when they felt like it. Be ready to brake! In Connemara Nationalpark we hiked up Diamond Hill (1,450 ft). I'd never hiked before and it was a small challenge for us to climb the steep rocks. In the end we were rewarded with a breath-taking view! If you ever get the chance to go to Connemara, don't hestitate. This part of Ireland is stunning!
We also drove by Kylemore Abbey, saw many rainbows and visited Martin and his Atlantic Sheepdogs in Streedagh. Martin was very kind when we called him spontaneously on the day of our departure in Galway. He welcomed us to his sheep farm and showed us how his dogs worked and told us a lot about different sheep breeds, competitions and about life on a sheep farm in general. Martin with his pet sheep Molly was one of the most warm-hearted and friendliest people I've met so far on my travels. Thank you!

After about one week it was time to explore Northern Ireland as well. It was different from Ireland but just as beautiful. One day we just drove along the Northern Coast, visited Dunluce Castle, Whiterock Beach and the Giant's Causeway which is said to be the windiest place in Northern Ireland. I LOVED the Giant's Causeway and it's wild and rough beauty!
We also did a little Game of Thrones locations tour by ourselves. Part of it was Mussenden Temple, Castle Ward and The Dark Hedges. We even drove by The Wall (yes, THE wall!). Not as impressive as one might think though as there were fences and security all around it.

We also spent a few days in Belfast. It wasn't our favourite city but we still had a good time there. The Titanic Museum was on top of our sightseeing list. I can highly recommend this interactive and very informative experience! Sunday aftertoon we went to the Lyric Theatre and saw Dancing at Lughnasa. Great performance!
From Belfast it's only a short drive to the Gobbins Path, a coastal walking route that first opened to  tourists back in the Victorian era. Futhermore we went to see a stone circle we originally hadn't imagined to be that impressive. It was located on a field and you had to walk a narrow and overgrown path to get there. And when we saw the stone circle for the first time the sun was setting and we were the only people there. It was kind of magical and really special.

Brú na Bóinne was a stop on our way back to Dublin. It's a mysterious site of a very old culture and there are guided tours only. You can choose between three different sites or combine them. We started at Knowth and our guide was very smart and so funny. Newgrange was really nice, too! 
If you are staying in Dublin for a few days I can highly recommend driving into the Wicklow Mountains. I loved the Wicklow scenery just as much as Connemara. There's the small town of Glendalough with a monastery that's definitely worth seeing. Back in Dublin we did some more shopping and enjoyed a last very nice sunset over Dublin.

So that was the route we travelled through Ireland and Northern Ireland. It was a unique and very rewarding experience. I can't wait to come back and travel the South of Ireland, too, and definitely come back to many beloved places from our trip this year

Q! These are the books I got in Belfast. Which should I read first?