Sunday, November 30, 2014

Review: The Woman Who Stole My Life by Marian Keyes

(picture)
My rating: 2/5 stars
Original language:  English
Series: -
Genre: Adult, Contemporary
Published: November 6th by Michael Joseph
Pages: 531 (Paperback)
Source: received from Penguin Random House UK via Blogg dein Buch

Stella Sweeney is thinking about karma when she gets in a car crash. The man whose Range Rover she's hit asks for her number, but it's only for the insurance. Anyway, she already has a family, her husband Ryan, a bathroom "artist", and her two children Jeffrey and Betsy. But her whole life changes when she gets the Guillain-Barré-syndrome and all she can is blink. She writes the book "One Blink at a Time" and suddenly she is famous.


My Thoughts
I didn't like this book. Maybe because I didn't think it would be so huge - I've never read a contemporary novel with more than 500 pages before this one. And basically it would have been a short one, if it were up to me. It’s switching between present and past, the good thing being that font also changes, so it’s really easy to notice. There were so many scenes that were really foreseeable and not exactly necessary for the story line - I mean, how often do you have to write about Stella's problems with her belly??? I get it, it bothers her, but if it bothers you so much, dear Stella, then f*cking do something about it! Complaining probably won't help! And then there are pages (remember, pages, not paragraphs) about her eating Jaffacakes (What on earth are Jaffacakes?! Never heard of them, but fortunately Google is my best friend. And these Jaffacakes look kind of disgusting) and being guilty afterwards. This is annoying me so much I might repeat what I just wrote. But this also makes Stella seem more like real person, the language did the rest: It was like you were talking to a real person. And in this case, unfortunately, it is everything but positive. I was expecting serious language, but the language was so simple! Betsy was one of those 'totally'-girls. (I made this up, but it's what it was like for me to read the things Betsy said): 'So they were totally breaking up and she says she’s happy about it but she was totally sad!’
But it wasn’t only the writing style  that didn’t meet my expectations: The back of the book said one thing I’d agree with.
  1.       “engaging characters”– I really don’t think so. Mannix Taylor is the stereotypical ‘hot’, narcissistic guy, who was suddenly extremely nice and not half as arrogant as he seemed. She’s the kind of woman who was non-stop complaining about herself, her life and her belly and always tried to do everything right. None of these characters are actually new or unknown, still I couldn’t imagine them. No faces in front of my inner eye, if you know what I mean.
  2.       “Fabulous plotting”– Well, as I said above, it was foreseeable and boring. That’s not what I would call fabulous…
  3.       “poignant” – Surprisingly this was not poignant at all (at least not to me). Sure, they talked about emotions a lot and everything was full of emotions, but there was a lack of that certain something. I didn’t smile or laugh or cry once while reading this. And, admittedly, I’m a really sentimental person while reading.

There were also other things that were contradictory, for example that everyone talked about Stella being proud. I never noticed that.
Then there is the last weird thing:(spoiler) Her best friend and her ex-husband are together suddenly and no one acts like it’s a big deal or something. I still think that it’s really strange that there so many changes in the last year and everyone accepted it without a word.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Review: Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout


My rating: 4/5 stars
Original language: English 
Series: Lux #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal, Romance, Science-Fiction
Published: November 2011 by Entangled Teen
Pages: 335 (paperback)
Source: ibooks

When Katy and her mum moved to West Virginia she expected thick accents and a lot of boredom. She never thought she would have good-looking aliens as her neighbours and is positively surprised. Until Daemon opens his mouth. But then his Sister and Katy  become best friends and they cannot prevent from running into each other. One evening a stranger attacks Katy and Daemon saves her by freezing the time. Now she is marked and lit up like the Vegas Strip, so Daemon has to protect her from the people who want to steal their powers until the mark fades.

Jennifer L. Armentrout spent most of her algebra classes writing short stories. She lives in Martinsburg, West Virginia and is also writes Adult and New Adult books under the pen name J. Lynn.

My Thoughts
I often heard that this book was so similar to Twilight (Which didn't exactly put me off, because to be honest I did like Twilight.). Maybe these people are right and it is similar to Twilight (It is a bit) but I don't care. It's definitely not the most original thing on the planet(Although it does have aliens in it, which is not common. Or at least it’s not as common as vampires and werewolves) but perhaps it's not meant to be. It's entertaining, hilarious and super fast-paced.
Coming back to the aliens, I think I have to say that they aren’t small green creatures hobbling over a red planet – They are creatures made out of light and they can stop time and that kind of stuff. But like medicine stopping time has a side-effect on humans which is that they are marked. And there were a few explanations as to how it marks humans but as I said: few. I would have liked more explanations. And a better description of the setting. I’ve never been to West Virginia so could somebody describe me what it’s like?
The characters weren’t really unique: He was the first-rude-and-then-nice-and-rude-again boy next door (In my eyes he never really stopped being rude and offensive) and she was the nice, tough geek-girl who gets to him with her toughness or something and realizes he is actually really nice and sensitive and they kind of fall in love but they both deny it and their relationship is complicated because of whatever reason. And they are non-stop arguing and throwing insults at each other which starts out being funny but it gets repetitive and boring towards the end.

Talking about the ending, I have to admit it’s a nice one (Not thinking about the content, so this is not a spoiler). It’s not exactly a cliff-hanger but it does make you wonder what will happen next.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Croatia

During summer holiday we went to Croatia, on a small campground near this city called Rovinj. Quite nice. Quite touristic. Quite loud. Especially loud. One evening I thought I was on Mallorca (Also called Malle by the Germans) - Although I have to say I've never been to Mallorca. I don't regret it.
The sad thing about the whole vacation is that the whole time we've been there, the weather was way worse than it was in Germany. But the food was really nice (I love grilled calamari - can't stand them when they're fried though) and I actually like 'bad' weather, with lots of lightning and rain.

There's going to be another review in one or two days so stay tuned!

Constanze

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Review: Where She Went by Gayle Forman

My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Original language:  English
Series: If I Stay #2
Genre: Young Adult, Drama, Death, Contemporary
Published: January 2011 by Speak
Pages: 264 (paperback)
Source: purchased



It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.
Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future - and each other.
 (Content from Goodreads)


 My Thoughts
This book was amazing. Just to make that clear before I start writing the actual review. And I should also mention that I have never read If I Stay, I only saw the movie but I didn't feel as if I missed some points of this book. But I also wouldn't go into this book without knowing If I Stay at all. The bad point of watching the movie and then reading the book is, as always that you (me) stop imagining characters. I had the actors' faces in my mind all the time and I imagined them doing the stuff, not some characters I imagined. 
I really liked that it was out of Adam's point of view, although before reading it I was a bit pissed because of this. I didn't like Adam at all after watching the movie. Yes, he is kind of nice but their relationship was super frustrating - They liked each other a lot and kept arguing all the time. Argh! But after reading Where She Went I started understanding Adam more and more so I didn't mind the different point of view. 
What I did mind was the three year difference: I'm usually not a big fan of memories and flashbacks and Where She Went was no exception. More than once I caught myself thinking about skipping a chapter or two but then I told myself it's probably important for the main storyline which I clearly wanted to read and to know everything about. Still I did not enjoy whiny Adam and his annoying Bryn girlfriend. Their chapters appeared way more detailed than the other ones and there was a lot of information I didn't really care about.But towards the end of the book the flashback lessened and the focus was on what happened now.
When they meet again Adam and Mia are both shortly before starting a tour. Adam  is not happy with his life, the fans and his girlfriend. We don't know about Mia's life when the book begins. Then they meet, because Adam decided to go to Mia's concert that evening. It was really realistic in my opinion that they were kind of awkward with each other and didn't instantly fall into each others arms and started kissing. It was the opposite of If I Stay. I felt a bit bad for Adam and sympathized with him because Mia appeared kind of rude and mean. 
They start walking through New York together and I could imagine every step, every tree, the cabs - everything. And I've never been to New York, so a big big like for this. And then the misunderstandings began and I was constantly shaking my head and mumbling to myself (Now I'm happy that I mostly don't read in public transport). There were so many things that could have been cleared out easily and they just didn't tell each other. It was incredibly frustrating! 
I just love Gayle Forman's writing style, the words she uses etc. One of my favorite things in this book were the chapter beginnings with the lyrics of the songs Adam wrote. To me they explained his feelings way better than the flashback chapters.
There are a lot of lyrics in the back of the book and the ending is kind of left open and it's just wonderful! (By the way, is Gayle Forman some kind of master in open endings?)

So I would definitely recommend this book to everyone who has at least a little patience with whiny people (can't actually say this is always me, but I wasn't patient with Adam either so whatever) and likes drama and tragic love stories. 

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

OCTOBER WRAP UP

Well, it's already 5th of November but who cares? It's my October wrap up!


Read

Where She Went by Gayle Forman:

"It's been three years since the devastating accident . . . three years since Mia walked out of Adam's life forever.

Now living on opposite coasts, Mia is Juilliard's rising star and Adam is LA tabloid fodder, thanks to his new rock star status and celebrity girlfriend. When Adam gets stuck in New York by himself, chance brings the couple together again, for one last night. As they explore the city that has become Mia's home, Adam and Mia revisit the past and open their hearts to the future-and each other."

(summary from Goodreads)

Definitely 5/5 stars. This book is so awesome. Surprisingly didn't make me cry (Umm, I was a complete wreck after watching If I Stay with my best friend) but I kept mentally shouting at the characters, because... ugh! Spoilers! Damn it! Just go read it and come back and we can shout together.

Anna and the French Kiss by Gayle Forman:

"Can Anna find love in the City of Light?

Anna is happy in Atlanta. She has a loyal best friend and a crush on her coworker at the movie theater, who is just starting to return her affection. So she's less than thrilled when her father decides to send her to a boarding school in Paris for her senior year.

But despite not speaking a word of French, Anna meets some cool new people, including the handsome Étienne St. Clair, who quickly becomes her best friend. Unfortunately, he's taken —and Anna might be, too. Will a year of romantic near misses end with the French kiss she's waiting for?"
(summary from Goodreads)

I'm pretty sure you've heard about this one, because almost every book blogger I know is at least a bit in love with this. And like with Where She Went: Review to come. Not like Where She Went: I did cry. Just a little bit. But they are just so cute...

Obsidian by Jennifer L. Armentrout:

"Starting over sucks.
When we moved to West Virginia right before my senior year, I'd pretty much resigned myself to thick accents, dodgy internet access, and a whole lot of boring... until I spotted my hot neighbor, with his looming height and eerie green eyes. Things were looking up.
And then he opened his mouth.
Daemon is infuriating. Arrogant. Stab-worthy. We do not get along. At all. But when a stranger attacks me and Daemon literally freezes time with a wave of his hand, well, something... unexpected happens.
The hot alien living next door marks me.
You heard me. Alien. Turns out Daemon and his sister have a galaxy of enemies wanting to steal their abilities, and Daemon's touch has me lit up like the Vegas Strip. The only way I'm getting out of this alive is by sticking close to Daemon until my alien mojo fades.
If I don't kill him first, that is."
(summary from Goodreads)

Really funny book. And it's also an absolutely fast read - I stayed up until three in the morning to finish this on my father's iPad (I don't have a tablet or ereader on my own) because I found out in the evening that it was on ibooks for free. Maybe it still is. If you haven't read it yet you should check. It's good.


Lola and the Boy Next Door by Stephanie Perkins:

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

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

(summary from Goodreads)

I definitely didn't like this as much as Anna and the French Kiss but it's still really good. I just love Stephanie Perkins's writing style and her characters. Only good characters can be as annoying as Lola. Or Max for that matter.

Im Westen Nichts Neues/All Quiet In The West by Erich Maria Remarque:

"Paul Bäumer enlisted with his classmates in the German army of World War I. Youthful, enthusiastic, they become soldiers. But despite what they have learned, they break into pieces under the first bombardment in the trenches. And as horrible war plods on year after year, Paul holds fast to a single vow: to fight against the principles of hate that meaninglessly pits young men of the same generation but different uniforms against each other --- if only he can come out of the war alive."
(summary from Goodreads)

I know a lot of people love this and the Goodreads ratings are mainly positive but I seriously hated this book. Well, maybe that's not correct. I hated reading it. It was probably as disgusting as war in real life and as detailed. I managed to read till page 119 out of 220. And I kind of read the end after I decided not to finish it. So I might do a DNF-review for this one.

Aufzeichnungen aus Jerusalem/ Jerusalem: Chronicles of the Holy City by Guy Delisle (graphic novel):

"Guy Delisle expertly lays the groundwork for a cultural road map of contemporary Jerusalem, utilizing the classic stranger in a strange land point of view that made his other books, Pyongyang, Shenzhen, and Burma Chronicles required reading for understanding what daily life is like in cities few are able to travel to. In Jerusalem: Chronicles from the Holy City, Delisle explores the complexities of a city that represents so much to so many. He eloquently examines the impact of the conflict on the lives of people on both sides of the wall while drolly recounting the quotidian: checkpoints, traffic jams, and holidays.
 
When observing the Christian, Jewish, and Muslim populations that call Jerusalem home, Delisle’s drawn line is both sensitive and fair, assuming nothing and drawing everything. Jerusalem showcases once more Delisle’s mastery of the travelogue."

(summary from Goodreads)

I was surprised I liked it so much. Actually I was a bit sceptical before reading this but this was way better than I expected, although this had its lenght in the middle. It was also my first graphic novel ever (I decided to like graphic novels after this. ).
Zoff auf Zombie 7 by Jochen Till, Illustrated by Zapf: 3/5 stars


Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan:

"The two boys kissing are Craig and Harry. They're hoping to set the world record for the longest kiss. They're not a couple, but they used to be.

Peter and Neil are a couple. Their kisses are different. Avery and Ryan have only just met and are trying to figure out what happens next. Cooper is alone. He's not sure how he feels.

As the marathon progresses, these boys, their friends and families evaluate the changing nature of feelings, behaviour and this crazy thing called love."
(summary from Goodreads)

This was a really cute book, but the narrator's voice was a bit annoying and sometimes when it was about AIDS repetitive. I think Craig was my favorite character. He's not a morning person either (In the beginning of the book Harry wakes him up, and Craig makes a noise sounding like "muh".)

Zombicorns by John Green : 3/5 stars



Other reviews on this blog published in October:

Me and Earl and the Dying Girl by Jesse Andrews: 4/5 stars

Leander sieht Maud by Nadia Marfaing: 3.5/5 stars


Constanze

Sunday, November 2, 2014

The Sunday Post #2

Sunday Post
The Sunday Post is a weekly meme hosted here @ Caffeinated Book Reviewer. It’s a chance to share news~ A post to recap the past week on your blog, showcase books and things we have received. Share news about what is coming up on our blog for the week ahead. See rules here: Sunday Post Meme










Last Week On Taraxacum
( A lot of stuff happened and because it was the last week of our holiday I wasn't at home that much so two of the promised posts weren't published. Sorry.)

Halloween!
Guess which one's mine :D (<= that was a hint, haha)
Really weird picture.. Don't know how it happened. It's not edited and the three people on the left are actually just one person.


Read
Where She Went by Gayle Forman 
And I finally finished Im Westen Nichts Neues by Erich Maria Remarque! Wohoo!
And finally this awesome book: Two Boys Kissing by David Levithan
All of these books are going to be reviewed soon (Yes, you are allowed to wonder what 'soon' means in this case)

This Week On Taraxacum
You want the truth? I have no idea. School starts again tomorrow and I have a Spanish exam. Hopefully I can prepare some posts this afternoon.


Have you read any good books this week?

Saturday, November 1, 2014

Review: Zombicorns by John Green

So as I said, I'd even read John Green's grocery lists so here it is, an unusually long grocery list (Just kidding, it's way better than a grocery list, this is only some kind of weird introduction):

My rating: 3.5/5 stars
Original language:  English
Series: Zombicorns #1
Genre: dystopia, science-fiction, young adult, fantasy, post apocalyptic
Published: January 2011
Pages: 72 (ebook)
Source: This book has been made available under creative commons license, so it can be acquired legally here (for free):

Eff Yeah Nerdfighters - Goodreads


The apocalypse came different than everyone thought: It came with the corn. People turned into Zombies who only cared about the corn. Now Chicago is the city of the undead, there are very few humans left. Mia is one of these humans.