October 31, 2013

Review: Just One Day by Gayle Forman

Just One Day (Just One Day, #1)

A breathtaking journey toward self-discovery and true love, from the author of If I Stay

When sheltered American good girl Allyson "LuLu" Healey first meets laid-back Dutch actor Willem De Ruiter at an underground performance of Twelfth Night in England, there’s an undeniable spark. After just one day together, that spark bursts into a flame, or so it seems to Allyson, until the following morning, when she wakes up after a whirlwind day in Paris to discover that Willem has left. Over the next year, Allyson embarks on a journey to come to terms with the narrow confines of her life, and through Shakespeare, travel, and a quest for her almost-true-love, to break free of those confines.

If you asked me at page 250 (a bit more than halfway through) if I was enjoying my read, I probably would have let said read collide with your head. That's how frustrated I was from page 10 to around page 300. 
By which I want to say: the last half was good, the ending was horrible from one viewpoint and okay from another one.
To confuse you even more, I won't begin at page 1, but with the end of the book, because that's the part I liked the most.
In this part, Forman let my heart squeal of joy about the idea of travelling Europe. She was responsible for my wanting to go to Paris and Amsterdam and Nice and all those wonderful places she described. I wanted to live Allyson's life and meet the people she met and just let loose and travel for a summer.
This last part was the inspiring one. It was also, in my opinion, the most well-written part. 
I could talk to you about the ending and judge it in some kind of way, but I won't. Just that much: it ends on a major cliffhanger that I expected but found completely inappropriate (oops. judgement.)
So, the third half of the book was really nice, everything before that was dreadful and the ending cheesy and uneventful.
Now, you might remember (or, probably not. It was one of my first reviews ever) how I fell in love with Forman's writing in If I Stay. That story was so heartbreaking and beautifully written that it made me cry. It is, to this day, the only book that ever made me cry.
Just One Day only made me very angry.
It had none of that atmosphere, that strong connection with the characters, that nerve racking hoping and wishing that went along with the drama of the book.
I know you're not supposed to compare books like that, but I just don't understand how one book can amaze me so much and the other is just plain boring???
A lot of my criticism probably roots from the main character, Allyson. She was a lot like me in that she had absolutely no idea who she was , she wasn't very risky and let adventures pass her by, because she was too afraid to try something new. I got that she needed to be that way for the story. Some of her other traits, though, just really annoyed me. She was so whiny all the time! She had no confidence at all! She made really stupid decisions and said very mean things.
Apart from Allyson, whom I couldn't really connect with, the story itself lacked reality, in my opinion. I get the message behind it, but I think to make such a statement about real life believable - the plot itself has to be a bit realistic, too.
I found that it really wasn't realistic, everything just seemed to go the way the author wanted it to go. Also, I found the different parts of the book very irritating. I might have gone into it with the wrong expectations, but what I wanted was "Just One Day" in Paris. Not a couple of days in Paris, a year of college, more Paris etc.
It just hopped all over the place and I didn't even know what the story behind everything was.
Finally, what really bothered me was the idea that you can fall in love with someone in one day (Hey there, insta-love!). And THEN (this is the real problem, hence the capital letters) think about nothing but that boy for a whole year!!!! I mean, what is wrong with that girl????

Okay, enough ranting. This just needed to be said.
So, I guess you got the point where I tried to say that I didn't like this book at all and was super disappointed with it, right?

Tell me what you thought about this book in the comments, yeah? And especially if you liked it, what it was that you liked about it! I'd really, honestly like to know :)

Also: if you want to read a positive review of this book, just head over to Goodreads, because everyone else loved it!

October 29, 2013

A Top Ten Tuesday That is Somehow Halloween - Schemed

I have a confession to make: I am not big on Halloween.
Before you stomp me to the ground with your superhero-strength in costume-form, let me explain, k?
I'm German. There's basically no Halloween in Germany aside from fake American Halloween that results in not much more than funnily dressed up candy to horrific prices.
Also, some teenagers think it's the perfect opportunity to drink. But then again...

So, I always feel a bit lost in October, when everyone starts reading scary books. That might also have something to do with the fact that I usually don't read scary books. Because I don't like horror or crime or thriller or whatever else might be scary. Not because it's scary, but because I don't like horror, thriller or crime novels...

You see where this post is going, right? I'm just bending and twisting the rules so much that you think I'd write a Top Ten List on the actual topic, while I actually don't. Whatever, let's get started.

1) Pretty Little Liars by Sarah Shepard
...is a fantastic mystery read that I cannot get enough of (although I could never read those books back to back). They are refreshing, juicy, a bit scary and a very, very girly version of everything thriller, mystery and....Halloween?

2) Born Wicked by Jessica Shirvington
This is probably my most favorite trilogy ever. It is about witches in New England in what I think the 19th century and it is the most amazing story ever. Gripping, fast paced, passionate, funny, heartbreaking. You have to read it!! Oh, and witches...halloween???....

3) Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
I still haven't finished this series, but I've gotten through book four which was a massive 500 pages. If you still haven't read the series I highly recommend it. One of the best out there. DON'T shy away from the vampire thing! These are the kinds of vampires you have never seen before! They're like Harry Potter. No, reallly.

4) Admittedly, I am running out of ideas here.Oh, wait. The Name of the Star by Maureen Johnsson
Really good crime novel, in my opinion. I recommend the audiobook.

5) Ashes Trilogy by Ilsa J. Bick
Have only read the first two books but seeing as how they are so amazingly disturbing, you'd do good getting them ASAP. Because you honestly can't go as a zombie for Halloween if you haven't read these books...
Oh, and I really, really want this to be a movie...

6) Okay, I'm out. Can't think of anything...

Really. I've got to find a costume until Thursday and literally have no time or money to get one. Any ideas? The creative - or not - people amongst you? I need something cool, cheap and quick ...? By any chance? I'd sure love you guys forever!!!

Kidding, I love you anyway!
Happy Tuesday!

October 26, 2013

I ran some unexpected miles today...

Just pretend & get outside. #nikeNormally, I get pretty excited about running. I mean, I do it because I love it, right? It makes me happy. Sometimes it takes a bit of motivational gummy bears to get me out in the cold, but I will go, because I enjoy the feeling of speeding past people (errr, and people speeding past me) and the wind and even the rain around me. It makes me feel free and happy and - with the right song in my ear - even giggly.

Today, though, I didn't feel the vibe at. all.
I've been struggling all week. First, I was battling a cold that is still not completely gone, then the stress at Uni really gets me down sometimes, but I'm not going to lie, I wasn't feeling the runner's high this week.

So, when I actually set out for my run this afternoon, I surprised myself. And then, after I was over the first couple of steps, I was even more surprised because it turned out running is actually not that stupid waste of time that turned into an even more stupid addiction I can't get rid of.
No, no, it was fine. Great, even!
Not to be a hypocrite here, my last couple of runs did suck. Heck, they were awful! And to top it all up I even moved yesterday's run to the gym treadmill and it was really just a matter of time if I would have killed myself or the treadmill first.

But back to my run. I warmed up 3 miles around our park here and then went to the track to do mile repeats and then trotted home for 3 miles as a cool down. I am not super - professional with my running gear since I always forget to charge my Garmin, but I thought I'd tell you that my goal pace for every mile was 7:16 - and I was faster every time!!!! (7:00, 7:06, 7: 11)

Okay, not wayyyy faster, but I was still proud of myself. Also, this was the first time I've ever done mile repeats and I was so horrified by them, but I realized they're not that bad. I HATE 800s. I even hate 400s. With a passion. Running that fast just kills me.
But mile repeats are nice. My new best friends.


Okay, my dears, I'll see you tomorrow!

October 24, 2013

Review: The Mediator - Ninth Key by Meg Cabot

Ninth Key (The Mediator, #2)Everything is going great for Suze. Her new life in California is a whirlwind of parties and excellent hair days. Tad Beaumont, the hottest boy in town, has even asked Suze out on her very first date. Suze is so excited that she's willing to ignore her misgivings about Tad... particularly the fact that he's not Jesse, whose ghostly status--not to mention apparent disinterest in her--make him unattainable.
What Suze can't ignore, however, is the ghost of a murdered woman whose death seems directly connected to dark secrets hidden in none other than Tad Beaumont's past.
When I read the first book in the Mediator Series, I remember being happy about it, but not too excited. I'd tried to move on from the Princess Diaries after years of fandom and, of course, went into it with very high expectations, then never continued the series.
Now, though, with a couple of years apart and the disappointment over All American Girl and the Abandon trilogy, I was up for some good Meg Cabot magic and she did swing her magic wand with these books.
It's humor and confidence at its best, the whole girl power pack in one book. Sam is sarcastic, strong, funny, and yes, at times very reckless. So reckless even, that you could call her immature. And I do. But not in the annoying way. I am willing to pay the price of immaturity if I get a kick-ass heroine in an awesomely plotted story for that. Those incredible showdowns were made possible by Sam's way of going on missions on her own, so I could stand her sometimes silly behaviour.
Also, while I had no interest in Jessy during the first book, I am now slightly obsessed with him. No, seriously. I know he's a ghost and stuff, but Sam's obsession with him is addicting!
All in all, Ninth Key was a feel-good novel in a feel-good series that you should read no matter where you are in your life right now. It'll make you happy or happier and get you in such a giddy, freakishly funny mood ;D

October 23, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday. The Most Anticipated Book of the Year

..and I don't have it.
Really, Waterstones? Allegiant came out yesterday - and where are your copies??? Where is MY copy??? I. Do. Not. Understand. 
This is a desaster. 
I really wish I was a really important person so that I could send my five assistants to hunt down that book, but since I am not and I only have one Waterstones in walking distance, I am currently depressed. And very, very aggressive.

Allegiant (Divergent, #3)

October 22, 2013

Top Ten Grand Character Names

Wow, I had a hard time coming up with these! I'm generally pretty good at remembering the storyline of a book, but I suck at endings - and character names! I will admit most of these I found by looking around other blogs, so let's just call this list my Top Ten Favorite Unusual Names in YA Books, shall we? Awesome!

1) Echo from Pushing the Limits (I will totally name my future daughter after her!)
2) Emerson from Meg Cabot's Airhead Trilogy and Myra McEntire's Hourglass - I even named my old Netbook Emerson!
3) Maura from Jessica Shirvington's Cahill Witches Trilogy (Okay, no, this is my future daughter's name! Sorry, Echo)
4) Willem from Gayle Forman's Just One Day
5) Emaline from Sarah Dessen's The Moon and More
6) Cinder from Marissa Meyer's Lunar Chronicles
7) Ever from Alyson Noel's The Immortals Series
8) Fia from Kiersten White's Mind Games
9) Aria from Sara Shepard's Pretty Little Liars Series
10) Roar from Veronika Rossi's Under the Never Sky Series

I personally hate my name, Laura, because at least in Germany, that name is so popular that everyone is called Laura. In my highschool year we had 12 Lauras. It was awful. I think I love the name Maura the most. It has something really special and warm about it, don't you think?
Do you guys like your names? If not, what would you like to be called if you had a choice?

October 21, 2013

The End Is Near...

The end of what, you ask?
2013, silly! Not the end of the world!
Although, can you believe it's been almost a year since everyone expected that to happen? Crazy, right?
What I wanted to discuss today are my reading goals until 2014 (feels weird even typing this).
Believe it or not, it's almost November and that means, we will be bombarded by Best Book of the year Surveys and 2014 anticipations soon!

My reading year has definitely not turned out the way it was supposed to, but maybe I will write about that in another post.
Today is only about stomping my two feet on the groud and committing to finish off strong!
I'm trying to be realistic and with my life right now and my awful reading in the summer, there is no way  I will come even close to my Goodreads goal of 120 books this year.
However, I want to read 2 books a week until the end of December. I know that I can do it - and I should be able to finish two with ease.
Now, you probably want to know which beauties are selected for my ambitious (ha!) goals.
Oh, I can tell you, only the best.
I really only brought books to Uni with me that I either

a) started and didn't finish, but want to finish or
b) am really, really excited for.

Books I need to finish:

Blood Promise by Richelle Mead
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Books I Want to Finish this year:

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Diviners by Libba Bray
Pantomime by Laura Lam
The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
Fragments by Dan Wells

However, if I do find the time to read more than these books, they will most likely be ebooks or - oh come on, you didn't think I would forget, did you? - ALLEGIANT!!!! - which comes out tomorrow!

What books do you want to get to before the year is over? Which new 2013 releases are you beyond excited to read???

October 19, 2013

More than a Twerking Queen

Growing up, idols and role models were utterly important to me.
They could be my mom, my aunt, my grandparents. When I got older, it was JK Rowling, then came the less socially acceptable ones like the Highschool Musical cast and - Miley Cyrus.
So, I know there's  a lot of hype going on and I'm pretty sure most people aren't up for any more Miley- talk, but I will talk about her anyway.
I was her biggest fan during Hannah Montana times. I'm pretty sure everything I believe about dreaming and achieving goals and being true to yourself is straight from that show and Miley's attitude in general.
After Hannah Montana, there was that weird period of nothing, her amazing album, then nothing, then a lot of drama and scandals.
But you guys know everything that happened already, right? So, I'll skip that part.
My admiration for Miley cooled down to almost nothing in the past couple of months and years. I grew up, I am  starting my own life, I feel like the time of role models has come to an end for me.
Or, that's what I thought until 20 minutes ago.
For whatever reason tonight I decided to look at an interview with Miley. I guess it's just because I didn't understand what she is doing at all and was - admittedly - very upset about what my childhood role model was up to.
I saw this video with her on the Ellen show, though and that changed my mind.
I like her again. I find her attitude interesting and I don't think listening to her is a waste of time.
I am in no way as intense as she is and I do believe there are different ways in which people are trying to get messages across but - and this is a big but, so listen up! - she again is a couple of steps ahead of me.
I am about 3 years younger than her. I think. I'm not even sure.
What she said in this interview really left an impression on me.
I am that kind of goody-two-shoes girl. You know, that super-nice, super-caring, annoyingly bland girl?
I have strong opinions on things, but I never say them out loud.
I disagree with people, but I always stay diplomatic.
I hate people, but I still try to be nice to them.
I get ignored and looked down on a lot, because I tend to be quiet and reserved.
Why do I keep acting like someone I'm not? Why do I try to please everyone I know and get to know instead of simply doing what I want?
I get why some people think Miley's craving for attention with her almost-naked dancing, her provocative songs and her uber-confident attitude.
But before you judge, think again.
I am one of those 18-year-old girls who grew up with her as a role model. I am insecure and scared of life and scared of failing and scared of not making friends and scared of saying the wrong thing.
And I have a role model again, now. Because I know I don't want to be scared and miserable. I want to be my own person. I want to be loud. I want to show people who I am.
And Miley, in my opinion, does an awesome job at encouraging people to be loud like that.
 Miley Cyrus Visits 'Late Night With Jimmy Fallon'
Okay, if this is not a post to comment on I don't know what is? I would be sooo happy about comments, because I'm just really interested in what you guys think about all this!
Different opinions are absolutely welcome!!!

October 15, 2013

Top Ten Books I NEVER wanted to read

School Books I Never Wanted to Read that Were Actually Good:

1) Brave New World by Aldous Huxley

Books From Friends/Family I Never Wanted to Read

2) The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini (the bomb.com)
3) Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (way better than I expected it to be - obviously)
4) Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (loved this one, but hated the rest of the trilogy)

Books I was Pressured Into by Society:

5) The Fault in Our Stars by John Green (a given)
6) Ashes & Shadows by Ilsa J. Bick (different from everything you've ever read!)
7) Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry (hearbreaking)
8) The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (brilliant)
9) Between Shades of Grey by Ruta Sepetys (maybe the most important book I ever read)
10) The Vampire Academy Series by Richelle Mead (Vampires, but JK Rowling style)

So, what books were you forced to read that you actually like? And by whom?

October 12, 2013

A Day in the Life

This post is inspired by that thought I had recently that book bloggers are probably the most hard working kinds of bloggers ever.
Every - really every - other kind of blogger just talks about what they DO in their lives and then occassionally reviews a running shoe or a CD or whatever. Only a book blogger sees the need, though, to read four books a week (at least) and type reviews of the length of exam papers.
If you ask me, that's honorable, but also a waste of potential. I personally LOVE to read about the blogger behind the review, so today - and from today on - I will blog a bit about my life in general and a bit about all the things I do besides reading and a bit about my life as a reader, too. I hope you're up for it :)

Despite uhh every single other student in my dorm, I actually wake up early. Like..wayy early. 
I'm up and running at 6 or 6:30 every morning and I love it!
There's just something so fresh and free about early mornings. Usually, I am literally running at that time, but since I was planning to meet up with my running group at 10, I decided to just be a bit productive.
Which I was, really. I planned all my workouts until Friday and then went on Facebook for a decade and Twitter for some time, and sat around doing nothing and...you get the picture.

If you know me, you also know that I love Peanut Butter. We are a thang, PB and I. Inseperable. So that's what my breakfast consists of (just in case you were wondering):  About 4 cups of oats, water, half the can of PB and a teaspoon of honey. For normal human beings, you can reduce those oats to a 1/2 cup of oats, but that robs the fun of life.
After breakfast I did a bit more of nothing and THEN finally headed out to run with my group which was amazing, because it was the first time we met up and there was a lot of chatting and laughing involved. 

(The view from the hill we ran up - it was so worth it!)

The only bad thing about chatting and laughing was that I didn't really get the required dose of 500000000 endorphins a day, so I went home, grabbed my gym bag, marched to the gym, realized I'd forgotten my ID, marched back home, took the ID and  then marched back to the gym.

I talked about running and fitness on the blog a while ago and a couple of people said they'd like to know what I do running and fitness wise, so I will tell you what I did today:

run: 5-mile-ish, but with a lot of stops and walking in between
elliptical: 30 minutes
rowing: 15 minutes
awkwardly sitting on a machine I don't know how to use: 5 minutes
strength training: 35m minutes

For strength I did:
10 lunges 
10 side lunges
10 backwards lunges
20 squats
20 plié squats
40 crunches
20 of those things where you sit up and lie down with the dumbbell over your head
30 sec bycicles
30 sec plank
20 back risers

and then I did 2 sets of that.

The workout is basically a mix of my favorite ab workouts (yes.I love crunches. yes. I know) and super efficient leg workouts that I really, really hate (those squats...)

And just because dinner was really good and really cheap I will tell you what I had:

- fried cauliflower
- peanuts

I spiced it up a bit with salt, pepper and mixed herbs and might have added a little butter for taste (shhh) and it was amazing! Also, as weird as it sounds, don't forget the peanuts - they're amazing!!

Right now I'm deciding how to spend my evening...

(You realize how HUGE that textbook is???)

October 10, 2013

Review: The Catastrophic History of You and Me by Jess Rothenberg

The Catastrophic History of You and Me

Dying of a broken heart is just the beginning.... Welcome to forever. 
BRIE'S LIFE ENDS AT SIXTEEN: Her boyfriend tells her he doesn't love her, and the news breaks her heart—literally. 
But now that she's D&G (dead and gone), Brie is about to discover that love is way more complicated than she ever imagined. Back in Half Moon Bay, her family has begun to unravel. Her best friend has been keeping a secret about Jacob, the boy she loved and lost—and the truth behind his shattering betrayal. And then there's Patrick, Brie's mysterious new guide and resident Lost Soul . . . who just might hold the key to her forever after. 
With Patrick's help, Brie will have to pass through the five stages of grief before she's ready to move on. But how do you begin again, when your heart is still in pieces

Absolutely not my cup of tea. NOT for me.
What I expected this book to be:

A heartbreaking romance with a lot of cheesy 80s songs to listen to.

What this book really was:

An after-life experience with an awful lot of Paranormal mixed into it.

Did I hear someone on the backseat whisper mean things, hm?
Well, to that someone I can say - this was not my fault! 
I did not pick this book up despite knowing it was paranormal! I really honestly thought it was some kind of contemporary romance.
If someone had told me before that the book is really about a dead girl that wanders around in afterlife trying to fix the things she did wrong (not a spoiler, happens on the first page and in the synopsis) I wouldn't have bought it!
However, almost 1.5 years ago I read a review somewhere and loved it. And that person loved the book and I especially love book with song references in them , so I had to have it.
Then it sat on my shelf until now.
It started out...fine. Really, the first 50 pages or so were okay.
Then it bored me.
Then I hated it.
Then I had to motivate myself to turn the page every. single. time.
Don't get me wrong, this - like so often these days - is on a great part my own personal problem.
If you like paranormal books or the kinds that are set in some weird pathway between life and death - go for it. you will probably like it. If that's what you're looking for you're very likely to find it unique and love it.
If, however, you have a terrible time trying to imagine that you will end up in your favorite pizza shop post-death, you should probably head over to another section of YA, because this book will not cut it.
I found it too unrealistic at first, then too boring (nothing happened for like...200 pages) and then too long and then too cheesy and dramatic.
And that pizza shop really annoyed me.
So, all in all, not even the music references could save this book from my absolute disapproval!

October 09, 2013

Wishlist Wednesday

I reeeaaallyyy want to read this book! Not just because it's JK Rowling (but mainly because of that). Additionally, it is supposed to be SO good and I remember last year around exactly this time I read A Casual Vacancy, so that means it's kind of mandatory I spend 20 bucks on this one, right? No? Oh, then I've got another reason - this book could be November read for my Uni bookclub, so that's why I have to buy it no matter what :D
But honestly, have any of you guys read it already? Better than ACV? Worse? Equal?

The Cuckoo's Calling (Cormoran Strike, #1)

What are yo' thoughts?

Hehe, have a beautiful Wednesday, my dears!

October 07, 2013

The Top Ten Best and Worst Series Enders Ever!

I don't know about you guys, but I always get really excited about series enders. Like...so excited I preorder them months before release and then think about rereading the whole series and in some cases watching the movie and all that stuff.
Then, release day comes and I haven't done any of these things. Also, I usually read the book months/years later. I know I'm weird.

Anyway, these are my five worst series enders ever:

1) Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

There were a couple of tiny details I wasn't too happy with, but the book is so, so amazing that I simply forgot what they were (and I read the book 7 times, so that means something!)

2) Beautiful Redemption by Kami Garcia and Margeret Stohl
Mehh, I liked the third one best. But this one was okay. Pretty good. I personally enjoyed it, because you got to "say goodbye" to all of the characters, but I understand why people wouldn't like the overall setup, or the ending, or the lack of action.

...... (this gap is to indicate that I'm the master of finishing series and can actually come up with ten - which I absolutely can't. So let's just assume I'd be the dutiful reader I should be and move on, k?)

9) Reached by Ally Condie

A series ender should be mindblowing. Seriously, I don't care if book one was nice and book two average - the last book needs to rock my socks!! This one clearly didn't. It was boring.

10) Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
But this one doesn't have a lot to do with it being the last book. It was fine, but I'm not a huge fan of the series in the first place.

October 06, 2013

It's Back: A Peak Into My Pocket

You guys all know Pocket?? That beautiful app where you can save practically everything you see on the internet? Yeah, I use it religiously and every Sunday, I share my favorite links with all of you!

Okay, that's it for today. I hope you like some of the links - and share your own!
Which pages on the web have you been obsessed with lately?

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