Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday #2

Publication date: February 24th 2015 by Greenwillow Books
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Realistic Fiction
Abigail’s parents have made mistake after mistake, and now they've lost everything. She’s left to decide: Does she still believe in them? Or is it time to believe in herself? Fans of Sara Zarr, David Levithan, and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this moving debut.

Abigail doesn't know how her dad found Brother John. Maybe it was the billboards. Or the radio. What she does know is that he never should have made that first donation. Or the next, or the next. Her parents shouldn't have sold their house. Or packed Abigail and her twin brother, Aaron, into their old van to drive across the country to San Francisco, to be there with Brother John for the "end of the world." Because of course the end didn't come. And now they're living in their van. And Aaron’s disappearing to who-knows-where every night. Their family is falling apart. All Abigail wants is to hold them together, to get them back to the place where things were right. But maybe it’s too big a task for one teenage girl. Bryan Bliss’s thoughtful, literary debut novel is about losing everything—and about what you will do for the people you love.
(content: Goodreads)

Well, here's a list: 
  1. It's contemporary --> I'll probably like it.
  2. It says fans of David Levithan and Rainbow Rowell will connect with this --> Ummm, yup, sounds good to me.
  3. Nothing can compete with Vans and Road trips, the combination is invincible.
What are you waiting for? Tell me in the comments below.

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

ARC Review: When You Leave by Monica Ropal

My rating: 4 / 5 stars
Original language:  English
Series: -
Genre: Young Adult, Mystery, Crime, Romance
Published: April 7th 2015 by Running Press Kids
Pages: 336 (paperback)
Source: I received this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review

Cass is positive that the people she cares about most will eventually leave her. Her father is gone, her mother doesn’t notice Cass exists, and her best friend’s battle with cancer was too close of a call. So when she begins her year at a wealthy new private school, Cass’s plan is to suffer through it in anonymity.

However, when her cute locker neighbor, Cooper, shows an undeniable attraction toward Cass, keeping him at a safe distance isn’t easy. Even though her Frogtown skater world and his do-gooder preppy one are so different, Cass and Cooper somehow mesh. And once Cass lets her guard down, Cooper is mysteriously murdered—thus proving her original theory.

When Cass’s close friend is suspected as the killer, she isn’t sure who she can trust anymore. Between investigating Cooper’s murder and trying to understand what she really meant to him, will Cass even find what she is looking for?
(source: Goodreads)
My Thoughts

This is the first ARC I have ever received so therefore I was pretty excited (That might be the understatement of the year). I immediately started reading it and the excitement was kind of gone. The beginning annoyed me - It was like skaters were Martians. I can assure you, they're not. I'm a skater myself (Even though no one will ever get me to do flips or any other tricks) and my whole class accepts it (Well, they kind of ignore it) because it's just a hobby. Not a lifestyle or a mentality. 
But the writing style was really good, a bit halting, but that improves throughout the book, so I continued reading. I read a few reviews of this book and some people said that the writing style was too direct for them but I can't agree with the 'too direct'. I love direct writing and this was very direct but in a good way. It felt like someone telling you their story, like a real person's point of view. The main character / author thought of a lot of great words, for example the "incognito escape route".

And ignoring the skater aspect the book got really great. Her relationship with Cooper was a bit sudden and out of nowhere but the way they behaved was realistic (excluding Cass's need to sneek around, I don't really get that). Something I also couldn't understand was the whole thing with the private school. We don't have many private schools in Germany and I only know one Person going to a private school. We have two types of public schools, but to get to the one that's more difficult, you just have to have good grades, not a lot of money. There are rich and poor people on both schools. 

But the book wasn't what I expected: I expected it to be more about Cass's insecurities, mostly because of the blurb. I sure did not expect it to be a mystery story or to be about murder. Before you label me stupid: I did not read the whole blurb. Only the first sentence. So everything that other people read in the blurb was a complete surprise to me, which I think is really good, because that were kind of big points in the plot.

The characters in this book were original, especially Mattie and Brady. Mattie was definitely my favorite character, not only of this book but in general. I haven't read a book with a character like him in a long time and I have never read a book with a mute person. And Brady... Well, I definitely didn't like him, he's scary and annoying but he was... unusual.

Should you read this book? Hell, yeah, you should! I already recommended it to some of my friends, babbling on and on about how awesome Mattie is (Let's call it a bookish crush, okay?) and I will buy it in a paperback edition when it's out myself. To rerererereread it. You can never have enough cute, compelling mystery stories.

Sunday, December 28, 2014

Top 14 of 2014

These are the top 14 books I've read in 2014. I have to admit, I didn't read a lot in the beginning of the year. I started reading more than two-three books a month in March and started blogging about books in September (I think I was in a reading slump for.... uuuuh.... 1 1/2 years.... Maybe? I only rerererereread)
1. The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbovski                                                               I could take out every page, mark it 'til it's dripping wet and glue it on my wall. This is so beautiful
*review to come*
2. Cinder by Marissa Meyer                                                                                                                       I haven't read Cress yet, but I'm going to, especially since Winter and Fairest are coming out 2015.

3. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo                                                                    I love this take on Russian culture and all the characters, but I still don't understand why people put the Darkling in the villains-we-can't-but-love-category...

4. The Fault in Our Stars by John Green                                                          I don't think I have to say much, since nearly everyone watched the movie and /or read the book, but it's only on number four of this list because I might have taken an overdose of The Fault In Our Stars... Too much is not good for you.

5. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins                                               Also one of the best contemporary novels. Isla and the Happily Ever After and Lola and the Boy Next Door were also really good, but St. Clair was just way cooler than Josh and Cricket.
6. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak                                                                                        It probably didn't make me cry as much as The Fault in Our Stars but it's close.
7. The Darkest Minds by Alexandra Bracken                                                      I found this in another bookstore in Montreal and asked people about it the next day in school and nobody knew it so I thought I was reading one of these super unknown indie-novels. Um, wrong?
8. Unravel Me by Tahereh Mafi                                                              Well, now I understand why everybody likes Warner.
9. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver                                                  A really bad case of hated-it-then-loved-it. It was horrible and then wonderful. I hope someone who's good at making movies recognizes this and makes it a movie. 

*review to come*

10. Tiger's Curse by Colleen Houck                                                            I still hope to go back to Montreal sometime so I can go to Indigo (the McGill-station one) and find the lady who recommended Tiger's Curse to me and hug her to death. 

*review to come)
11.The One by Kiera Cass                                                       It took this book quite long to persuade me to take it from the TBR-pile and read it because I was so scared of this trilogy coming to an end. So thank you, thank you, thank you Kiera Cass! The Heir is going to be so good! 

 12. Slammed by Colleen Hoover
I read this in one day, even though I shouldn't have done anything but packing for my vacation.
*review to come*

13. Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones
I love the movie to this book - Hayao Miyazaki is the best!
*review to come*
14. Alles, was ich sage ist wahr by Lisa Bjärbö
Another case of first-hate-then-love. The main character can be very... direct.
*review to come*
 This post is linked up to The Sunday Post
What are your top 14 books of 2014? Or - to keep it comment-size - top three?
(pictures from: Goodreads)

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Review: A Million Miles by Amy Fleisher Madden

(source: Goodreads)
My rating: 4/5 stars
German title: -
Series: -
Genre: Young Adult, Music, Contemporary, Romance
Published: November 22nd 2014 by Animal Manufacturing Co.
Pages: 215 (ebook)
Source: Received from Animal Manufacturing Co. via Storycartel

Want to buy? Amazon 

Maddy has a pretty normal life: Her brother recently moved out for college but not without showing her a few cool bands. She starts going to concerts and writing her own magazine about indie-bands. Soon a woman named Gay, who is the owner of a gay-club, hires her to plan concerts. When one of her favourite bands ask her to come on tour with them she doesn’t hesitate long. But while they are on tour two members of the band, Crimson & Clover, develop romantic feelings for her. And there’s also Kieran, her best friend at home, whom she’s loved for a long time.

My Thoughts

When I started reading this book I was really sure I wasn’t going to like it. It was so far from the usual “show, don’t tell” rule that I was kind of confused. Because that was what the author did: She told the reader about her characters, about their relationships with their families and what they were like. And I discovered that despite the non-popularity of this style I do actually like it. That first chapter even made me laugh and read a few passages out to friends and family, for example this one: “Nate Silver is a rail thin, shaggy brown-haired, brown-eyed, 22-year-old Labrador puppy of a man.” (p. 7) I could imagine him being as excited and happy as my dog, with a friendly heart and the kind of personality no one could be angry with for a long time.  As far as I’m concerned though, the beginning of the book lacked of dialogue. It was mostly just the main-character’s thoughts on everyone and everything. Throughout the book it got more and more dialogue and it was like mist cleared up and the characters changed from silhouettes to people.

Mostly the book introduced the reader to the daily life on tour and the intimacy created by living on the road (or in a mini-van). The book makes you feel that you are on a road-trip yourself and it got under my skin like no other contemporary novel did in a long time. I suppose that is because Amy Fleisher Madden was on tour herself once so she has her own experiences. Also the story uses real language. They say “fuck” and “shit” and everything like people would in real life. It always irritates me when characters in books say these weird “cursing alternatives”, e.g. feck. I’ve never ever heard someone say feck. It kind of makes the dialogue seem fake. The story had no no-go-subjects. In one scene Maddy talked about how she was getting used to “parallel-pooping” with the other guys. Hilarious.

The story is set in America in 1999. I am not from America so I would have preferred if this came with a map, just to understand the distances etc. . Sadly, you barely notice the 90s aspect of the story – It’s not much of a difference from now.

I am kind of sad that the book was so short – It was only 162 pages on my kobo! But I have to admit I understand why it was so short. Making it a longer story would seem weird, like stretching it or something. Because the content was perfectly fine – nothing to add, nothing to cut. 

Friday, December 26, 2014

Review: Ein M.O.R.D.s Team - Der lautlose Schrei by Andreas Suchanek

cover: Goodreads
This book was co-written with Nicole Böhm and Ute Bareiss
My rating: 2.5 / 5 stars
Original language:  German
Series: Ein M.O.R.D.s Team #1
Genre: Children's literature, Middle Grade, Mystery
Published: August 19th 2014 by Greenlight Press
Pages: 116 (ebook)
Source: received from Greenlight Press via Blogg Dein Buch
Want to buy: Amazon

1984: Five teenagers break into their school to steal the results for their exam. When they leave the school there are only four of them left, all of them shocked about their friend's murder.
2014: Mason, Olivia, Randy and Danielle have went to the same school for years and yet they don't know each other. That is, until someone puts 2.5 kg 'Blacks', new, dangerous drugs, in Mason's locker. And they discover, that this is somehow linked to the incident thirty years ago.

My Thoughts

I'm not quite sure what to think of this yet. The idea of the story was quite good actually but as I am a person who love language I couldn't enjoy it as much. The story is set in Barrington Cove (A place that doesn't exist by the way, I spent a whole evening looking for it in the internet ((Couldn't believe it really wasn't there)) ), which is somewhere in the U.S.A. at the seaside. But the thing is: The story is written in German, but the author keeps using English phrases and terms which tends to be an annoying mix of English and German. The characters spoke a very colloquial kind of German, which is usually okay, but in this case it was just a bit much. It seemed to be a very anxious way to emphasize that they are teenagers. I mean, they are supposed to be 16-17 and they speak like children in primary school. Another thing that bothered me, was that most of the time people talked about their "eastpack" instead of their backpack or bag or whatever. Sometimes you could also easily tell that the author is from South Germany because he used phrases like "Er schaut aus" instead of "Er sieht aus".
I'm still not sure about this, but in one scene the punctuation was very strange: "Meinem Sohn Drogen in den Spind zu schmuggeln, war eine widerliche Idee." I don't think there is supposed to be a comma.
Mason, who was the main character in my eyes, was really dislikable. His friend tried to cheer him up and all he did was being mean and hateful. He was also selfish and immature and never thought twice about something. The character were quite stereotypical in general: Randy was the nice, cute nerd, Olivia was the engaged, smart girl with a poor background, Danielle was the kind of rich, spoilt blonde with a kind heart and Mason was the sporty guy who once was popular but then the big something happened, getting him away from scholarship. Surprisingly even the dumbest of them could do almost everything and had connections everywhere, not even speaking of Electro-superman Randy. In my opinion these character like each other way too fast. They just met and before that they couldn't stand each other and suddenly they are BFFs.
This is a series with a new ebook every month and a bind-up of two stories every two months where the story of the murder slowly gets unraveled.
I would honestly recommend children like I was (the ones who like the three investigators) to try this series out, even though I won't be reading any of the following stories.

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Review: Isla and the Happily Ever After by Stephanie Perkins

My rating: 4.5/5 stars
Original language:  English
Series: Anna and the French Kiss #3
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance
Published: August 14th 2014 by Usborne Publishing
Pages: 375 (paperback)
Source: purchased

Content: The café is boiling. The atmosphere is clouded with bittersweet coffee. 
Three years of desire rip through my body and burst from my lips: “Josh!”
His head jolts up. For a long time, a very long time, he just stares at me. 
And then…he blinks. “Isla?”

Hopeless romantic Isla has had a crush on brooding artist Josh since their first year at the School of America in Paris. And, after a chance encounter in Manhattan over the summer break, romance might be closer than Isla imagined. But as they begin their senior year back in France, Isla and Josh are forced to face uncertainty about their futures, and the very real possibility of being apart.

Set against the stunning backdrops of New York, Paris and Barcelona, this is a gorgeous, heart-wrenching and irresistible story of true love, and the perfect conclusion to Stephanie Perkins’s beloved series.

(source: Goodreads)

My Thoughts
Isla and the Happily Ever After might have been one of the best finales to a trilogy I've ever read. Let's just ignore the fact that there are only very few series and trilogies I’ve actually finished.

This is a companion novel for Anna and the French Kiss (I’m going to review that one, too, but not really soon, because I will reread it, to take notes etc.), with Isla as the main character. I kind of was a fan of Isla the moment she showed up in the bathroom fight in Anna and the French Kiss. Isla is just an awesome character and she does and says all these things you would never expect from her. She can be really direct to people which completely shocked me, because I expected her to be tidy, shy, and nice to everyone and to be someone who never allows herself bad thoughts about others. She also swore a lot, which made me so happy. In some books people say “sorry” every time they swear. I’d never do that. I think it, I say it.
Her best friend is Kurt, who she has known forever. Kurt has autism and knows all about her crush on Josh. Throughout the book he develops a fascination for the underground tunnels of Paris and befriends Rashmi’s smaller brother Nikhil.

And there is Josh. I already liked him a lot as a side character in Anna and the French Kiss, so when I heard this third book would be about him to I was ready to do a flip (Strike that out, I can’t do a flip…). Josh is as shy as her and they both misunderstand a lot of things the other one does and in the beginning of the story their relationship is kind of awkward (He actually nearly broke her nose while kissing). Josh is this super talented artist and he’s drawing his own graphic novel called “boarding school boy” about his own life at SOAP. They both like reading comics and graphic novels and talked about Joann Sfar. Who? Yes, that’s what I thought, too. Then I researched him and realised that he’s the one who drew “Le Petit Prince” as a graphic novel. I once saw it in a library and thought “Ugh, I’ll never read that!” Well, maybe I was wrong...

Together they went to Barcelona and all the places there were described so beautifully that I felt as if I had just been there. That was the cute part of their relationship. The following part made me want to bang my head against something. Isla took every chance she could to break off a fight with him and they argued more and more and it made me really sad because they were both really in love with each other. But it was okay, because they argued in a well written way.

They meet St Clair and Anna, Lola and Cricket and Meredith again in the end and I think this is one of the reasons why this is such a great round up - because it actually did round the whole story up.

So all in all this was a very fresh, entertaining fast read with adorable characters.

PS: (This is kind of a spoiler.^^) There is going to be a Happily Ever After.

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Review: Trouble by Non Pratt

My rating: 4/5 stars
Original language:  English
Series: -
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Romance, Teen Pregnancy
Published: March 6th 2014 by Walkerbooks Ltd
Pages: 384 (Paperback)
Source: purchased
Want to buy: Amazon (German edition) - Amazon - Book Depository

Content: When the entire high school finds out that Hannah Shepard is pregnant via her ex-best friend, she has a full-on meltdown in her backyard. The one witness (besides the rest of the world): Aaron Tyler, a transfer student and the only boy who doesn’t seem to want to get into Hannah’s pants. Confused and scared, Hannah needs someone to be on her side. Wishing to make up for his own past mistakes, Aaron does the unthinkable and offers to pretend to be the father of Hannah’s unborn baby. Even more unbelievable, Hannah hears herself saying “yes.”
(source: Goodreads)

My Thoughts
I loved this book! It instantly became one of my favorite contemporary novels. Although it might actually be my least favorite to read in public space - The cover might suit the book perfectly, but I always tried to manage to sit in a way that hid both cover and title. 

The writing style of this book was okay to good. I can't really criticize it, but there's nothing really special about it - It was kind of funny, the descriptions were good and  the dialogue was great.
The book was from both Aaron’s and Hannah’s point of view, which was great, but sometimes so frustrating, because it switched when it just got really exciting, but I assume that’s what makes the reader so curious about their past (Even if the past is sometimes quite foreseeable).

In the beginning this book was a bit slow paced but then it got faster, up to the point where I thought it was too fast (When Katie and Hannah had that big fight). It was over so soon you couldn’t really get their emotions. But towards the ending it got a bit slower again (Not too slow) but there were little things that bothered me – For example that she named her child Tyler. No offense, I am sure I don’t know that much about these two people, but I don’t think relationships last forever when you’re 15. So I personally would have been more careful with name choosing…

Hannah, the main character (Well, one of two, but she felt more like a main character than Aaron), likes to party, drink and flirt. A lot. So it is quite shocking how much of a character development she went through. When the story began she was friends with Katie, who was actually really mean to her and made out with two boys at the same time. I assumed she would consider an abortion but she didn’t even think about it. The whole subject was just a bit left out. She didn’t want to and that’s it. I was a bit disappointed because of that, considering I had high hopes. A lot of reviews said this book was sharp which I’m not sure of. Yes, it was interesting and a bit critical. But sharp? Naah.

Coming back to the characters there also is Aaron, the other main character. He seemed a bit paper-like to me. He was sad and angry at himself and he was sort of nice to everyone, very polite and polished. It just seemed fake a lot of the time (Which it also was) and that annoyed me. I don’t like polished people. The rest of the characters were really real and fun to read about, some of them might have been a bit exaggerated but that’s completely fine.

All in all I would definitely recommend this book. It’s funny, it’s fast paced and the characters are lovable.