June 02, 2015

May Wrap Up and June TBR

Hello, Hello! 
Long time no see. I hope you are all well - and reading! 
For this first post, I thought I'd share with you what I read in the month of May and what I plan on reading during June. Some of these books are German (my first language), but I linked all of them to Goodreads, so if you want to go see if there's an English translation - there you go! 


The German Ones (none of them translated into English, sadly, but if you can read German and have read them, let me know what you thought of them!) 

Mir fehlt ein Tag zwischen Sonntag und MontagDas Känguru-ManifestDie juristische Unschärfe einer Ehe

The English Ones: 

How to Read a Book: The Classic Guide to Intelligent ReadingHard ChoicesUnspeakable Things: Sex, Lies and RevolutionRunning and Being: The Total Experience

Just realized pretty much all the books I finished this month were non - fiction books. Thankfully, these were all really good. How to Read a Book will probably change my University experience forever, Laurie Penny may not have changed my views on feminism radically, but definitely everything I ever knew about youth culture and protests of the (young) masses. Finally, Hard Choices took an incredibly long time to finish and got a bit repetitive at the end and I had my biggest (though not very big) problems with Running & Being. 


JUNE TBR 

June! The link from spring to summer, my birthday month, endless days without school or work to worry about! 

To begin with, these are the books I have already read in June: 

Pivot Point (Pivot Point, #1)Saga, Volume 1 (Saga #1-6)Zur Verfassung Europas: Ein EssayWe Were LiarsUs

And now the books I'm still planning to read: 

We Are Not OurselvesGeschichte des Westens: Vom Kalten Krieg zum Mauerfall5 to 1The Thing Around Your NeckJust One Year (Just One Day, #2)Saving June

The Author I want to read this month: Zadie Smith! 

White TeethOn BeautyNWThe Autograph ManChanging My Mind: Occasional EssaysMartha and Hanwell (Pocket Penguin 70s #45)

I should probably add that this is a selection. I would really like to get through all of these books and I should have the time for it, too, but I might have to make compromises here and there. 


So, what are you reading this month? Do you ever set focus on a single author and try to read all their works? This is a completely new experience for me, but I would like to try!

January 28, 2014

Top Ten Worlds I'd Never Want To Live In


I would honestly consider this topic a bit longer, but I've already spent 30 minutes staring at a blinking cursor, so I will just switch things up a bit to make it easier: 

Top Ten Worlds No One But Me Would Ever Want To Live In 

1) Divergent 

Actually, I wouldn't even care in which fraction I'd live. I think that's what mostly draws me to it...knowing where I'd most belong (although I have a slight feeling it'd be Erudite...). The war and stuff is, of course, unfortunate, but the world itself seems so much more interesting! 

2) The Shadowhunter World 

Okay, I'm pretty sure everyone would be perfectly happy in a Shadowhunter New York or London or Alicante or wherever it is you'd live - just for the Shadowhunter powers and the cool missions you and your friends get on. 

3) The Born Wicked Trilogy 

Everyone already knows that I love these books, but I thought I'd mention it again. And, wow, their world is terrifying!! These people are all evil!! But I'd still love to live there :) 

4) The Wonderland in Splintered 

I'm probably not alone with this one, either, but it is quite terrifying from what I've read so far! However, I love everything magical, so this had to be on the list! 

5)1950s New Orleans from Out of the Easy by Ruta Sepetys

Just love. Just love. If you told me I could switch times right now, I would. I wouldn't even put shoes on. 

6) Ravka from Shadow and Bones

This is actually the first world that I maybe don't want to live in after all. I never realized that until now,  but it's the only fictional world I know that doesn't make everything better through its magical elements. It's dark, cold and terrifying and ...no, not even I would want to live there. 

7) The Caster World from Beautiful Creature 

But I demand that I can be a caster. Being human in a paranormal world like that just sucks. Sorry, Ethan. 

8) The Dystopian World from the Birthright Trilogy 

But only if I can be part of the mafia and still have chocolate from time to time!! 

9) The Dystopian World in Ilsa J. Bick's novels 

No. Just no. I wouldn't set foot in there. Ever. And neither should  you. 

10) Of course I can't think of a number ten. I NEVER HAVE A NUMBER TEN!!!

PS: Guys! I have been terrible at replying to comments this past week! I am sorry! You should know, though, that I always follow them up! I do look at all your blogs and comment on most of them. But because of Uni and applications for summer, I'm a bit stressed out and it might take a day or two :( 



January 27, 2014

Review: This Song Will Save Your Life by Leila Sales

This Song Will Save Your Life


Hardcover, 288 pages

Published September 17th 2013 by Farrar, Straus and Giroux (BYR)

Making friends has never been Elise Dembowski’s strong suit. All throughout her life, she’s been the butt of every joke and the outsider in every conversation. When a final attempt at popularity fails, Elise nearly gives up. Then she stumbles upon a warehouse party where she meets Vicky, a girl in a band who accepts her; Char, a cute, yet mysterious disc jockey; Pippa, a carefree spirit from England; and most importantly, a love for DJing.Told in a refreshingly genuine and laugh-out-loud funny voice, THIS SONG WILL SAVE YOUR LIFE is an exuberant novel about identity, friendship, and the power of music to bring people together.


Other Books By the Author:

Past PerfectMostly Good Girls

Long Story Short:

While this book was not the most entertaining I've read, it certainly contains a strong message that is worth waiting for. Leila Sales crawls into the skin of a desperate teenage girl and her dealings with bullying and feeling left out. At the same time she shows what lies beyond the more dreadful parts of life. At some points, I found the plot rather dragging, the never-changing routine of school lunch tables and homework didn't keep me at the edge of my seat. However, if you want a book that will make you think and that delivers an important lesson everyone has to learn in life, this novel is for you.

Review:

What turns This Song Will Save Your Life from good to great is the aspect of identification. Everyone has felt left out at some point, especially in Highschool it seems obligatory.
With that in mind, it is still so easy for authors to mess it up. Way too often have I put down a book, feeling laughed at or misunderstood by authors who tried to picture how life really is for those who don't belong to the group. Leila Sales does not tap into that trap once - she displays Elise's situation realistically, with an outlook that was surprisingly honest.

Sales did not focus too much on what other people do to Elise, there are no incidents of stolen journals, or mean gossip or physical violence. This Song Will Save Your Life is about what this feeling out of place does to Elise, how she questions everything she's ever done, how she tries so hard to learn the "rules" of fitting in. How she knows what others do is "not her thing", but still tries to mirror them because she thinks something is wrong with her. This Song Will Save Your Life, frankly, shows what it means to lose all confidence in youself, because everything that makes you you, apparently, is what puts other people off from liking you.

As the story progresses, Elise does something that will change her life. It might be the song, although I am not so sure about that. What she finds is a group of people she clicks with. And that message, in my opinion, is a very important one. It doesn't matter how hard you try to change yourself - if the people you change for don't click with you naturally, they never, ever will.

The message in the novel is a strong one, and an important one and this alone is why I would recommend the book to as many people as possible. Additionally, Sales goes out of her way to picture the life and emotions of a teenage girl, some heartbreaking moments and thoughts included just like sarcastic commentary that chimes along with her environment and all those people who just don't get her.

So, all in all, This Song Will Save Your Life is worth a read for the story and the message that it carries.

January 25, 2014

Stacking the Shelves #3 - The Audiobook Edition


Stacking the Shelves

I'm really bad at listening to audiobooks - it takes me forever! I really like them, though, which is why I pay my monthly Audible fee :)
In today's Stacking the Shelves, I thought I'd show you all the audiobooks I accumulated in the past couple of months!


Splintered (Splintered, #1)Of Poseidon (The Syrena Legacy, #1)Enchanted (Woodcutter Sisters #1)The Scorpio Races

January 23, 2014

Review: The Testing by Joelle Charbonneau

The Testing (The Testing, #1)

Keep your friends close and your enemies closer. Isn’t that what they say? But how close is too close when they may be one in the same? 

The Seven Stages War left much of the planet a charred wasteland. The future belongs to the next generation’s chosen few who must rebuild it. But to enter this elite group, candidates must first pass The Testing—their one chance at a college education and a rewarding career. 

Cia Vale is honored to be chosen as a Testing candidate; eager to prove her worthiness as a University student and future leader of the United Commonwealth. But on the eve of her departure, her father’s advice hints at a darker side to her upcoming studies--trust no one. 

But surely she can trust Tomas, her handsome childhood friend who offers an alliance? Tomas, who seems to care more about her with the passing of every grueling (and deadly) day of the Testing. To survive, Cia must choose: love without truth or life without trust.

Hardcover, 336 pages
Published June 4th 2013 by Houghton Mifflin Books for Children (first published 2013)

Other books in the series 

Independent Study (The Testing, #2)Graduation Day (The Testing, #3)

Other books by the author

Skating Around the Law (Rebecca Robbins Mystery, #1)


Review: 

I shall warn you beforehand. It is almost impossible for me to review this book, because I have no idea how to feel about it. Some voices inside of me scream a big huge FAKE, and, along with that a big huge FAIL and then I remind myself that there's nothing new on the book market anyway and there never will be and as long as you enjoy the story, does it really matter that you've read it before?

But writing just that and leaving you with it is too easy. 
I'm pretty sure that you've heard about the discussion around The Testing. About how it doesn't just look and sound like The Hunger Games, but actually IS the Hunger Games. Just. Different. 

I don't really understand why people would be this idiotic: 

The Hunger Games (The Hunger Games, #1)The Testing (The Testing, #1)


But apparently, they are. 
Also, The Testing is a book where a female heroine is one of the few people who enter a Testing, a series of tests (duh!) that are supposed to qualify only a handful of students to go to the University. 
During those tests, things get dangerous. 
Replace tests with games and you have a huuuge identity problem! 
Anyway, apart from the whole it sounds and looks like The Hunger Games thing - The Testing wasn't a bad story. At all. 
It created a MUCH higher level of suspense throughout - at least in my opinion - and the different tests people had to go through certainly were creative. The world building was lacking a bit, in my opinion. It was all very easy, a big war, a new governmental system, you know the gist. 
But the story had potential. The romance developed at a really nice pace. Not endlessly slow, not insta-love. 
And the ending certainly had me on the edge of my seat, turning every page, hungry for more and to see who would make it and who wouldn't. 

I think, looking at all the different aspects of the novel, the suspense is the most remarkable one. I'm not too easy to scare, but I preferred not reading The Testing at night - because it was so mysterious and dangerous at times. 

So, I am still not sure if it is worth a read. If you haven't read The Hunger Games, it surely is. Because the story itself might not be the most amazing one of all times, but ...welll...entertaining. However, if you have read The Hunger Games, beware! Not only is the synopsis too similar to feel comfortable, there are also many elements that I personally felt were - if not copied -then at least too similar to feel unique. 

January 20, 2014

Top Ten Things On My Reading Wishlist


1) More New Adult

By this I mean more than just the average NA stories we have. More variety. I want New Adult to grow as big as Young Adult, because I see SO much potential there!!


2) Mental Illnesses 

I know there are some. Okay, many. But I find it super hard to find them. And to find books about these topics that do not get ruined by superficial and flat writing. Basically, I want more books about these serious topics. 

3) More Rainbow Rowell novels

Seriously. There are only three. How am I supposed to live when I finished all of them?

4) More Katie McGarry Novels

see above

5) More serious relationships

I am so sick of reading about people becoming a couple. I want to see people overcome struggles in their already existing relationships. No, insta-love, no 300 pages worth of tiptoeing around each other. 

6) More sturdy relationships

You know, books where the relationship is not the main focus. Where the relationship actually works and is the supporting, not the struggling point in a characters' life (see Allegiant). 

7) Boarding schools

And not just paranormal ones!!!

8) Books with City Flair

I know small towns are probably more relatable for the bored-to-death suburban teen. I know they are/wer for me. But I'd really like to read about Gossip Girl style books again, middle of New York, London, Paris, ...

9) More Asia

There is just no Asia in YA. I want China and Japan and Shanghai and Hong Kong and Singapour. Just please!

10) More family issues

Family is so important for most young adults! I want more big families, more family issues, more family stories. It's not always about boys!!

Review: Crash Into You by Katie McGarry

Crash into You (Pushing the Limits, #3)

From acclaimed author Katie McGarry comes an explosive new tale of a good girl with a reckless streak, a street-smart guy with nothing to lose, and a romance forged in the fast lane 

The girl with straight As, designer clothes and the perfect life-that's who people expect Rachel Young to be. So the private-school junior keeps secrets from her wealthy parents and overbearing brothers...and she's just added two more to the list. One involves racing strangers down dark country roads in her Mustang GT. The other? Seventeen-year-old Isaiah Walker-a guy she has no business even talking to. But when the foster kid with the tattoos and intense gray eyes comes to her rescue, she can't get him out of her mind. 

Isaiah has secrets, too. About where he lives, and how he really feels about Rachel. The last thing he needs is to get tangled up with a rich girl who wants to slum it on the south side for kicks-no matter how angelic she might look. 

But when their shared love of street racing puts both their lives in jeopardy, they have six weeks to come up with a way out. Six weeks to discover just how far they'll go to save each other.

Right from the start I realised that Crash Into You would be my favorite one of the three Katie McGarry novels I have read. And that's not even because all our old favorite characters have major reappearances in this one - although it was awesome to see Noah and Echo and how their relationship was going, and Beth and Ryan and their relationship with Isaiah. 

The most surprising thing about Crash Into You for me was that I thought I would hate it. Or, at least, Isaiah. 
Because I had hated him in not one, but two previous books. However, McGarry threw her magic wand and I started loving him from like...page 3? It was amazing. 
It didn't took much at all  to love Rachel. Even though she had major issues and insecurities she did not, for one second, come about as weak or whiny or annoying in any way. She was just really good company. 
So, here we go, two absolutely loveable main characters who, within the first couple of chapters, throw themselves not only into a hot mess of trouble, but also a fierce, heart wrenching relationship that I was rooting for from the first time there were sparks between them. 
The rest of the book was just a fast paced, crazy ride through the difficulties both Rachel and Isaiah faced on their own, with their families and friends and themselves - and the issues they had to go through together as a couple. 
The wonderful part about this book was also getting to know Rachel's family so well. I loved the dynamics between her brothers and her parents. It was a family portrait that left me wanting more, but also hoping for the best of all of them. 

The ending was SO action packed and suspenseful that I actually skipped a lecture to finish. I know. I'm so bad. But I couldn't stop. I, at least, was incredibly mislead by a plot twist that almost brought me to tears. 
Overall, this novel was better than I ever expected it to be. It was brilliant. It teared my heart out. It made me cry. The feels!!!
I strongly recommend you read all of Katie McGarry's books - but this one last!!! Because it is so good I would save it for a while...
Also: I absolutely cannot wait to read her next novel, which will apparently focus on one of Rachel's brothers :)

Have you read any of Katie McGarry's novels? What do you think? And did you like Isaiah in the first two books?

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