Monday, 10 July 2017

The Crowns of Croswald - D.E. Night

General Info
Rating: ★★★★

Where I got it: I received this book from JKS communications along with an amazing box in exchange for an honest review. This, however, does not affect my opinion in any way.

Short reaction: It was a really fun and interesting read! I’m definitely excited for the sequel.

Fav Quote: “She loved his books and stories more than anything, tales of deep magic that were so far from her reality.”

Synopsis
In Croswald, the only thing more powerful than dark magic is one secret…

For sixteen years Ivy Lovely has been hidden behind an enchanted boundary that separates the mundane from the magical. When Ivy crosses the border, her powers awaken. Curiosity leads her crashing through a series of adventures at the Halls of Ivy, a school where students learn to master their magical blood and the power of Croswald’s mysterious gems. When Ivy’s magic––and her life––is threatened by the Dark Queen, she scrambles to unearth her history and save Croswald before the truth is swept away forever.

Review
The Crowns of Croswald was such a fun and magical read! I definitely want to know where the story is going! It is similar to Harry Potter but also very different at the same time. The author gave her own unique twist to the idea of a magic school and I really loved her take on it! And the cover is absolutely stunning like OMG look at it!!

First, I’d like to talk about the writing. I really loved D.E. Night’s writing style. It was very descriptive which gives the reader a beautiful and clear image of the world of Croswald but it wasn’t too much! In my opinion, there was a perfect balance which gave the story a very magical feeling. It even felt like I was in the world with the main character! I always love it when writing manages to pull me in like that!

The story itself was really interesting! You might think: ‘ah a magic school, this will just be exactly the same as Harry Potter.’ But like I mentioned before that’s really not the case with this story! D.E. Night really created a unique and amazing story! And apart from the somewhat slow beginning, it really kept me hooked and I couldn’t stop reading! I just had to know what would happen next every time a chapter ended. And the further you get into the story the more it pulls you in!

Ahh the world of Croswald and its magic was so interesting!! I was really intrigued by the magical system, especially the part about scrivenists and their quills. It was just such a different take on magic! I certainly hadn’t seen it before! By far my favourite thing about the book and the story were all the magical creatures mentioned in it. From hairies to scaldrons to shorehorses, all of the creatures were so fun and unique! I liked the hairies the most! They are some sort of fairy like creatures with glowing hair, they are also pictured on the cover of the book.

The characters were also amazingly written! There is Ivy, the main character of the book, I really loved her! She is such a likeable character! The same goes for a lot of other characters though I won’t really mention them I my review because I don’t want to give any spoilers. They’re all amazing, trust me! :)

So, if you are a fan of Harry Potter and really enjoy fun and magical reads then this is the book for you! It has an intriguing magical system, amazing characters and it is set in a beautiful world! I’d definitely recommend it to all YA fantasy lovers!

Friday, 23 June 2017

Cute Contemporary Reads for on a Hot Summer Day!

Unfortunately for me, It’s officially summer again…. I am one of those persons who absolutely can’t stand heat… please don’t hate me ;) I like a little sun, don’t get me wrong but I’m more a fan of the shy kind of sun that sometimes shows itself on a cold winter day. I’m not really into the bright, stifling-hot summer sun we have been getting here in the Netherlands for the past few days… No, I’m definitely a winter and autumn kind of person. These past days I have seriously been considering to just move to north pole :) There is one thing I do like about summer though (aside from summer vacation of course ;) ) and that is reading contemporaries! I hardly ever read contemporaries because I’m more into fantasy but for some reason the summer is the perfect time to read contemporaries! At least, in my opinion. So here are some perfect and cute contemporary reads for on a hot summer day.

The Unexpected Everything – Morgan Matson
I read this book during the summer last year and I loved it so much! The story in this book also takes place during the summer break so isn’t that perfect! It’s about Andie who has to spend the summer with her dad with whom she doesn’t have the best relationship. Instead of doing the internship she really wanted, she finds herself getting a job as a dog walker. This book is just such a fun and light read! It’s about friendship, family, romance and dogs. What else can you wish for! It’s so cute and all the characters are extremely well written! I’d definitely recommend this book if you are looking for a great summer read with a cute romance! 



Dreamology – Lucy Keating
If you are looking for a cute and fluffy contemporary then this is the one for you! This story is about Alice who has been dreaming about the same boy for as long as she can remember. Together they travelled the world in her dreams and fell in love. But when she walks into class on her first day at a new school she finds out that the boy, Max, is very real and nothing like the Max in her dreams. Of course this changes everything. Lucy Keating really managed to perfectly combine the realistic and dream elements of the story! The dreams were described to vividly and wonderful! I’d definitely recommend this to all contemporary readers! :)



Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
And last but not least, one of my all-time favourite books: Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. I know, it is a mouthful but this book is so so good!! It’s about two boys, Aristotle and Dante, when they meet in the swimming pool they seem to have nothing in common but they start spending time with each other and start sharing a special friendship. The story is so cute and witty and perfect! It sure had me crying a couple of times! So please read this book! Even if you’re not into contemporary. You’ll loved it, trust me! :)

Sunday, 11 June 2017

Flame in the Mist - Renée Ahdieh

General Info
Rating: ★★★★★

Where I got it: got it in the may Fairloot box

Short reaction: ASDFGHJKL I need the second book!!!

Fav Quote: “I believe the stars align so souls can find one another. Whether they are meant to be souls in love or souls in life remains to be seen.”

Synopsis
The only daughter of a prominent samurai, Mariko has always known she’d been raised for one purpose and one purpose only: to marry. Never mind her cunning, which rivals that of her twin brother, Kenshin, or her skills as an accomplished alchemist. Since Mariko was not born a boy, her fate was sealed the moment she drew her first breath.

So, at just seventeen years old, Mariko is sent to the imperial palace to meet her betrothed, a man she did not choose, for the very first time. But the journey is cut short when Mariko’s convoy is viciously attacked by the Black Clan, a dangerous group of bandits who’ve been hired to kill Mariko before she reaches the palace.

The lone survivor, Mariko narrowly escapes to the woods, where she plots her revenge. Dressed as a peasant boy, she sets out to infiltrate the Black Clan and hunt down those responsible for the target on her back. Once she’s within their ranks, though, Mariko finds for the first time she’s appreciated for her intellect and abilities. She even finds herself falling in love—a love that will force her to question everything she’s ever known about her family, her purpose, and her deepest desires.

Review
First of all, I would like to mention the absolutely STUNNING cover!! I mean, look at it!! It’s gorgeous!! In my opinion, that alone is enough reason to pick up this book. But not only the cover is truly amazing, the story is just as incredible! I enjoyed reading this book so so much! I simply cannot wait for the sequel, the end left me craving for more!

“Be as swift as the wind. As silent as the forest. As fierce as the fire. As unshakable as the mountain. And you can do anything...”

The writing is one of the most important aspects of a book, if the writing doesn’t draw you in you can’t really enjoy the story, right? But that was definitely not a problem with this book! I already knew that Renée Ahdieh is a phenomenal writer as I have read het the Wrath and the Dawn duology but she truly outdid herself with this book! The writing was just so beautiful! The way she puts words together to create touching and beautiful sentence or a meaningful and powerful one. I fell in love with the writing from the first page and that didn’t change throughout the entire book.

Another thing in this book that is extremely well done is the story itself, the plot. Some people say that the start of this book is a bit slow, I didn’t experience that at all! To me, there never was a dull moment in this book. I mean bloodsucking trees, magic, secrets, betrayal, samurai warriors, thieves and so much more! There was nothing slow about it! The pace was perfect, not too fast, not too slow but just right. So, naturally it kept me hooked! This book is described as being a loose Mulan retelling and I’d like to put an emphasis on ‘loose’ because this story is so different! The only aspect that is the same is the girl dressing as boy part, the rest of the story is all Renée Ahdieh. And she managed to create such an original and intriguing story! And OMG that ending… I did not see that one coming! Looking back now I can see the signs but she hid them so cleverly! Like I mentioned before, this book and its story, they left me craving for more!

The setting of this book was also so perfectly captured! It is set in feudal Japan and you get to learn so much about Japanese mythology. Renée Ahdieh really knows how to create an amazing atmosphere for her story. To me it felt like I was dropped in the world she created, she just wrote it in such a beautiful and realistic way!

Mariko, Ranmaru, Okami, Kenshin and all the other characters were all so interesting and realistic. I love all of them so much! Even the side characters like Yumi and the emperor are all so fantastic and well developed! Imperfect, Realistic characters are really important in a story, at least in my opinion, and Renée Ahdieh managed to write them perfectly. I mean, yes, some characters make some stupid decisions but they are realistic, you can see where they come from. It shows that they’re not perfect, but nobody is. Their imperfections are what make them such perfect characters!

“To me, you are magic.”

Ahhh the romance part of this book was so swoon worthy! Renée Ahdieh has already shown us that she can write beautiful and epic romance stories through her the Wrath and the Dawn duology. The romance in this book was a lot quieter and subtler and that’s precisely the thing that made it so perfect!

So, in case you haven’t noticed, I truly absolutely loved this book! I loved every part of it! It was pure perfection, from the writing and story to its setting and its characters. Everything was so well done! Naturally, I’d recommend this book to everyone! Just read it! You’ll love it, trust me! :)

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Snow Like Ashes - Sara Raasch

General Info
Rating: ★★★★.25

Where I got it: Bought it online

Short reaction: Aahhhh Sooo Goood!!

Fav Quote: “That's why literature is so fascinating. It's always up for interpretation, and could be a hundred different things to a hundred different people. It's never the same thing twice.”

Synopsis
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.

Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since.

Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again.

So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own. 

Review
This is one of those books you decide to pick up because everything about is just seems perfect. The cover is STUNNING, the synopsis sounds amazing and it has a high rating on Goodreads. And oh man, it did not disappoint! It was so so good!! I can’t wait to start reading the second book to see where the story goes!

“Even the strongest blizzards start with a single snowflake.”

Let’s talk about the writing first. The writing of this book was perfect, Sara Raasch has a really wonderful writing style which is easy to read, it just sucks you into the story and doesn’t let you go. The book also has tons of beautiful and inspirational lines like the one above. I don’t highlight my books but if I did I definitely would have highlighted a lot in this one! :)

“Someday we will be more than words in the dark.”

Ahhh and the story was so interesting and amazing!! It’s about hope and fighting for your freedom, fighting for what you believe in. It was beautifully written and the pace of the story was exactly right. Not too slow and not too fast either. It was full of all kinds of twists and turn which I did not see coming at all! It was mind-blowing! Every chapter left me craving for more!

The world the story takes place in is really interesting! I love the idea of the 8 kingdoms, 4 rhythms and 4 seasons. And its history is fascinating! The magic is explained really well and I can’t wait to see some more of the world in the sequel. In this book we only really got to know three of the 8 kingdoms and I’m really curious about the other ones as well! Sara Raasch did an amazing job at world-building which, in my opinion, is a really important aspect of a fantasy novel.

The main character of this book is Meira, an orphan, refugee and fierce warrior. She is such a strong and badass female lead! What I really loved about her was that her weapon of choice is a chakram. That’s a weapon you don’t see very often in books as everyone always has swords or bow and arrow. It was a nice change from the usual and it really made her unique. Other characters I really love are Mather, Theron and Sir ( or William). Especially Sir is a really interesting character!

There’s one thing I didn’t really like about this book… it has a love-triangle… I won’t say that it wasn’t good but those love-triangles are just so predictive and cliché. Sara Raasch did a good job on it don’t get me wrong… I’m just not a fan of love triangles…

So, all in all, this book was amazing, beautiful and just magical! It has a stunning cover, wonderful writing, strong characters and a really interesting world! The plot is really good and well done! The only thing I didn’t like about it was the romance part… I’m just not too keen on love triangles. But other than that it was definitely worth the read and I’d recommend it to anyone who loves fantasy and YA! 

Thursday, 18 May 2017

I'm back! Or trying to be... XD

I started this blog in the beginning of last year. I was very active for a few months and then I stopped... Why? I don't know. Maybe because I am lazy, or because I was too scared of other people’s opinion to post mine, even though nobody even read my blog. Maybe because I thought I didn't have enough time or because I just forgot about it.

Whatever the reason was, I do know that I loved blogging and reviewing even though I knew nobody was actually reading what I posted here. Did that matter? Yes it kind of did to me, maybe that's why I stopped before I even started... but I can see now that it shouldn't have mattered. I started my blog for fun, to keep track of what I was reading, to write down my thoughts on the books I loved or didn't love. I really miss doing that. So I've decided to start blogging again. Just for the fun of it, to spend my free time, besides reading, on something else instead of only watching weird YouTube videos (not that there is anything wrong with that) or constantly checking my instagram account.

And I have also decided that it doesn't matter to me if anyone reads this or not. I'll just post what I want to post when I want to post it :) I'd be immensely happy if even one person read it but it shouldn't be a necessity for me anymore, if you get what I mean. So I’m really excited to start blogging again. To share my love and passion for books even though hardly anyone will see or read it ;) Maybe I will even try to pick up writing, something I have always wanted to do but am still too scared to try because I’m afraid of failure. But everyone has to start somewhere right? I can only improve… I think… :)

To anyone who is reading this: Hello, how are you? I hope you’re having a wonderful day! If not, then I hope it will get better soon! Thank you for reading this and I hope you stick around for a while, to see where this blog is going, to see if I am even able to keep up with it :) Honestly, I would be surprised if I did keep up with it. I am going to try though.

 

Kato @stolenbybooks

Wednesday, 22 March 2017

Melody's Key - Dallas Coryell

General Info
Rating: ★★★★.5

Where I got it: An ebook version was given to me by the author himself in exchange for an honest review. This has no effect on my opinion however. (I’ll leave his links at the end of the review)

Short reaction: OMG I love it so much!!! <3

Fav Quote: “Hope is the only thing that can’t be taken away from you unless you allow it. Hope needs no evidence, just a decision. The decision is the hard part though.”

Synopsis
“His eyes settled on her…piercing green embers of flame that revealed the ferocity of his pain and passion, yet still shrouded him under veils of ever deepening mystery that made every ounce of her ache to unravel him.”
Tegan Lockwood’s dreams were dead, sacrificed on the noble altar of duty before they ever had a chance to live. Her entire existence was disappearing into the abyss of apathy as she labored her days away keeping her family’s struggling business alive. There would be no emotion, no color, no beauty in her life. That is, until a mysterious visitor begins to draw her out of the darkness of her past towards something that will challenge the boundaries of her world, and unlock the most deeply held secrets of her heart.

Review
From reading the synopsis you might think “oh here we have another cliché book about a famous popstar falling in love with someone who is not a fan” I can understand that, I thought the same thing if I’m completely honest. But trust me it’s not! It’s so much more than your typical love story! I can honestly say that I truly loved reading this book! I didn’t want it to end so I tried to read it at a slower pace than usual… I didn’t succeed though, this book just pulled me into the story so I couldn’t stop reading it once I started!

“The fireflies were out in the warm air, signalling their lightning poetry to one another like little beacons preparing for the coming darkness.”

First, I would like to talk about the writing. This book was so beautifully written! It’s full of wonderful lines like the one above. The author, Dallas Coryell, has such a nice and unique way of writing! That’s one of the things that really pulled me in! His writing is very imagery and magical which makes it so easy to just lose yourself into the story. In my opinion that’s one of the best things about reading! Here is another beautiful line that I just have to share with you:

“The night began to wrap around her like a passionate lover and soon she was lost in within its seductive embrace.”

As I mentioned before the plot line seems really cliché at first glance, it really isn’t though! What you see a lot with romance book is that everything is so focused on the romance that the plot is often a bit lacking. This book didn’t have that problem at all! The story was really well-written and balanced! There was never a point where I felt like the story was going too slow or too fast, everything was exactly right! The story also wasn’t predictable, which only made me read it faster because I wanted to know what would happen. Another thing about the plot that I really enjoyed where the Letters from the soldier in the war, Jonathan, to his love Violet. I thought they really added to the story and made it even more beautiful! The ending was really different than I thought it would be as well! There was one thing though that really bothers me and that is the fact that Simons mystery guy is never revealed… I’m really curious to know who he is! I have my theories but I don’t think I’ll ever find out :)

All the characters were so detailed as well!! I really felt like I knew each and every character from the story personally because they were so well-written and developed. From the main characters, Tegan and Mason, to Tegan’s family and her best friend Simon. They all felt so real! It really made me feel like I experienced everything with them!

I also have to say that the romance part of this book was perfect! Tegan and Mason are so great together! Their romance wasn’t rushed or forced which you sometimes see in romance novels. It was really sweet and it felt natural. One of my favourite things about them was the way the always joked with each other. Their conversations really made me laugh! Also, their ‘subtle’ seduction battles were hilarious!  

Another really amazing thing about this book is the way that the music industry is explained really well. I found that to be really interesting! That is probably because the author himself is a singer as well, so I can imagine that he knows a lot about it! It can easily be seen from the way he writes about it. All the songs mentioned in the book are actually real songs that the author has written and sung himself! I think this is so cool! It really lets you experience the story even better. You can find them on his YouTube channel.

So, all in all, I’d really recommend this book if you’re looking for a well-written romance story with a lot of relatable and developed characters, beautifully written poetic lines and funny moments. I truly loved this book and I really hope that more of you will read it and love it as well! Trust me, it’s definitely worth your time! 

About the Author
Dallas Coryell is a musician and author residing deep in the untamed wilds of Michigan, USA, where he desperately attempts to assign meaning to his world through bouts of maniacal creative catharsis and pitifully doomed hopeless romantic fantasies. All of the songs written by the characters in this novel are real and can be viewed on the author’s fledgling YouTube channel. Selfies and other assorted randomness can be found on the author’s Instagram.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Unicorn Tracks - Julia Ember

General Info
Rating: ★★★★

Where I got it: This eBook was given to me by the author herself in exchange for an honest review. However, this does not affect my opinion in any way.

Short reaction: Very interesting and unique!!

Fav Quote: "The last wish of the dying gave special powers to the living that watched his soul depart."

Synopsis
After a savage attack drives her from her home, sixteen-year-old Mnemba finds a place in her cousin Tumelo’s successful safari business, where she quickly excels as a guide. Surrounding herself with nature and the mystical animals inhabiting the savannah not only allows Mnemba’s tracking skills to shine, it helps her to hide from the terrible memories that haunt her.

Mnemba is employed to guide Mr. Harving and his daughter, Kara, through the wilderness as they study unicorns. The young women are drawn to each other, despite that fact that Kara is betrothed. During their research, they discover a conspiracy by a group of poachers to capture the Unicorns and exploit their supernatural strength to build a railway. Together, they must find a way to protect the creatures Kara adores while resisting the love they know they can never indulge.

Review
Overall opinion: This was a really fun and interesting read!! Very unique! It’s a young adult fantasy with a lesbian romance in it which you don’t see very often. So when the author, Julia Ember, asked me to read and review her book I was really excited! I have never read anything like this before which made it a unique experience! And I really liked it! :)

Writing: First of all, I really loved the writing style of this book! I had many great and meaningful lines and it really kept you hooked to the story! I love how the author really described the nature and animals with so much detail! It really brought the story to life!

Plot: I really enjoyed the plot as well! I mean Unicorns, romance and poachers!? How can that not be amazing! The plot was really good! It was interesting and very fast-paced. In my opinion it was a little too fast-paced at times which made it a bit less mysterious than it could have been. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t good!

Characters: The characters were all amazing!! I really loved Mnemba! She is such a fierce and strong girl! Kara as well! I especially liked them together! My favourite character was Tumelo, Mnemba’s cousin! He was so funny! He could make everyone laugh, even in the most difficult situations! I always love those types of characters! Funny but really loving as well.

Relationships: ahhh the relationships! I absolutely loved the romance story of Mnemba and Kara! Everything was so sweet and genuine! Again, it was a little too fast-paced in my opinion but that’s because the book is so short. It would have been interesting to see how it would have turned out if the book was longer so that there was a little bit more time for the romance to slowly build up. I also really enjoyed the relationship between Mnemba and Tumelo! I loved their conversations! They were always so funny!

World: By far the best part of this book is the world it’s set in! It’s such a rich and interesting world with so many unique creatures. There are unicorns but also phoenixes, chimaeras, mermaids and so much more amazing creatures! The land of Nazwimbe was so mystical and magical! I would definitely travel there if it was real! :)

Layout: Look at that cover!! Isn’t it amazing!! And super unique as well! It is not often that you see a painted cover like that! (at least I have never seen it before :))

Sum-up: So in short, this was a really interesting and mystical read with an amazing and sweet romance between two wonderful characters! I do think it could have been even better if the book was longer but even though it was pretty short it was still really enjoyable and I absolutely loved it! Definitely worth your time! :)