Friday, July 21, 2017

July Wrap up - Book Haul & What to Expect Next Month

 Hi there!
Yep, I'm totally writing my wrap-up for July!
I'll be packing my suitcase for a 2 week camping trip somewhere in Germany/Switzerland!
So ready to relax :)



Thanks for stopping by, I'll see you in two weeks.

Enjoy 💛

   

 


PHYSICAL BOOKS
(either from Celebrate Books, friends, authors, giveaways or self-bought)

   
   

   
   

Did you read any of the books above?!
Let me know!

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Review: Everything is Normal: Life and Times of a Soviet Kid

Author: Sergey Grechishkin
Started reading: July 2nd 2017
Finished the book: July 17th 2017
Pages: 305
Genres: Autobiography, Memoir
Published: 2017
Source: Got a digital copy from the author
Goodreads score: Not enough ratings
My score:
Synopsis
This book is both a memoir and a social history. On one hand, it is a light-hearted worm’s-eye-view of the USSR through one middle-class Soviet childhood in the 1970s - 1980s. On the other hand, it is a reflection on the mundane deprivations and existential terrors of day-to-day life in Leningrad in the decades preceding the collapse of the USSR.

The author occupies a peculiar place in the Soviet world. He is the son of a dissident father and also the step-son of a politically favored Leningrad University professor and Party member. He also occupies a peculiar place in the literal geographic sense- both his home and school are only a few blocks away from the city’s KGB headquarters, where a yet-unknown officer called Vladimir Putin is learning his trade..

My thoughts
I've never really known much about Russia, despite all the negativity from the press and the media. I was very curious what a little kid could tell me and teach me about his childhood in the Soviet Union. I was surprised by this book! Although it felt long at some point, I was enjoying the things I read most of the time.

Pros
  • Kid's point of view: The strong part about this book, is that it's told from a kid's point of view. The way a kid is experiencing things is always very different from an adult's point of view. The fact that Sergey was pretty happy in his childhood and actually has some great memories is a nice way to experience the Soviet Union.
  • Nice telling voice: The telling voice is awesome. I have no idea how I can explain this any further to you, but I enjoyed "listening" to Sergey; telling me about his childhood. It felt like listening to somebody instead of reading it yourself.
  • Educational: Like I just pointed out; I hear a lot of negative stories about Russia and have seen some documentaries that aren't always that positive. The fact that this kid is happy with the things he has and the way things are described are different than what you always hear from the media and the press. I like to hear the stories from somebody that has been there, instead of others who form their own conclusions. And don't forget; Learning about the communism and the way things were on the other side of Europe during WWII and after, was highly educational!
  • Sparkle of humor: I like the way Sergey start's his chapters, actually with some sarcasm or a little inside joke. But during the story you can always expect a little spark of sarcasm around the corner. It made the story light and enjoyable to read!
Cons
  • Feels long: The story feels like a long read. It didn't feel like 305 pages at all to me. At some point I felt like the story could've been maybe 50/100 pages shorter. And somewhere around 70% in the book this feeling started working against me.
Overall
 This book was something I don't read very often and I liked it! I'm actually pretty curious what Sergey did after school, where he met his wife, what he did for a living and when/how he made the decision to move to Londen.
Educational and lighthearted with a great telling voice. The Soviet Union from a kid's point of view is a lot different than hearing adults talking about it!

Other opinions about this book
"This is one extraordinary book. If you don't read this, then you are so not in the cool posse. If you read true stories a ton like me, or regardless of the possibility that you don't, begin now, with this one. Honestly, do it. I cracking cherished this."
- Antonio Mailer @ Inkshares

"A rare, first-hand glimpse into the lives of our Soviet brothers and sisters before the collapse of the USSR. I anticipate this to be a historical treasure!"
- Ferd Crôtte @ Inkshares

Memorable quotes from this book
"But as history teaches us, the only thing predictable about life is its unpredictability."

"Adults like to say that childhood passes quickly, that it's over in the blink of an eye. I can't agree. When you become an adult, that's when life starts roaring by."

"in the Soviet Union there is freedom of speech. But it's not written anywhere that one should be free after his speech."

Do you read a lot of autobiography books? Why or why not?


Monday, July 17, 2017

Review: Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3)


Author: Marissa Meyer
Started reading: July 8th 2017
Finished the book: July 16th 2017
Pages: 552
Genres: Fantasy, Science Fiction, YA
Published: February 4th 2014
Source: Bought the book
Goodreads score: 4.46
My score:
Synopsis
In this third book in the Lunar Chronicles, Cinder and Captain Thorne are fugitives on the run, now with Scarlet and Wolf in tow. Together, they're plotting to overthrow Queen Levana and her army.

Their best hope lies with Cress, a girl imprisoned on a satellite since childhood who's only ever had her netscreens as company. All that screen time has made Cress an excellent hacker. Unfortunately, she's just received orders from Levana to track down Cinder and her handsome accomplice.

When a daring rescue of Cress goes awry, the group is separated. Cress finally has her freedom, but it comes at a higher price. Meanwhile, Queen Levana will let nothing prevent her marriage to Emperor Kai. Cress, Scarlet, and Cinder may not have signed up to save the world, but they may be the only hope the world has.



My thoughts
This series is awesome! I loved Cinder, that's one of my favorites of all time. I've already read it two times! Scarlet wasn't really a favorite, but still a good book in this series. Cress totally tipped the scale towards awesome again! I liked it better than Scarlet, and that's why I give it 5 apples! I can't even think of any cons, now that I try to think about it...

Pros
  • Ending: The ending left me with goosebumps! I totally felt pumped to read the next book and I already added that one to my list! Hope to read it very soon. The ending of this book was one of the strongest parts. It's the main reason I gave the book 5 apples. I was like; "Hell yeah! BRING IT ON!"
  • Diversity in characters: With Cress added to the bunch, I feel like there is a nice diversity in characters. She's very shy and soft and is trying to keep the nerves away by pretending to be someone else. I think she is so sweet and kind and lovely, very different from Scarlet and Cinder!
  • Doesn't feel long: This book has 552 pages! It didn't feel long AT ALL. You can rush through the pages in a nice fast pacing and there is a lot going on, this keeps you reading! It's so weird how a book of 200 pages can feel long and how a book of 552 pages doesn't feel that long at all....
  • Fast pacing: I think this is the reason that the book doesn't feel that long. The pacing is great. You switch between different settings and different main characters and every time something new is happening. It keeps you turning the pages and wanting to know what is going to happen after. It's never dull or hard to get through. 
  • Keeping the fairytale alive: SO STRONG. The way Marissa Meyer can keep the fairy tales alive in every book is great. Everytime I start a Lunar Chronicles book, I'm curious how Meyer is going to remind me of this one fairy tale! I need to point this out, because, of course the main focus is on the fairy tales in every book, but this is a GIFT, a TALENT if you can tell a totally different story but still remind people of that one fairy tale...
Cons
I really can't tell you.. I have nothing to complain about!

Overall
I was reminding myself that I was reading Cress while also reading ACOWAR. I was totally blown away by ACOWAR and I'm still having a book-hangover, but this is actually a great compliment towards Marissa Meyer. I just finished my favorite book of all times, and I still loved Cress. I was so scared that I would get into a reading slump, but this book totally pulled me through. At the end of the book I was like: "YEAAAHH GIVE ME MORE BABY!!"
So ready for Winter.

Other opinions about this book
"As always, Meyer excels at interweaving new characters that extend beyond the archetypes of their fairy tale into the main story. Readers will eagerly await the final installment of this highly appealing and well-constructed series."
- School Library Journal

"Once again, Meyer offers up a science fiction fantasy page-turner that salutes women's intelligence and empowerment... Old and new romances, unfinished story lines, and the prognostication of wartime horrors all pave the way for Meyer's much anticipated next installment, Winter."
- Booklist

"This multilayered, action-packed page-turner is sure to please series fans."
- The Horn Book

Memorable quotes from this book
"Maybe there isn't such a thing as fate. Maybe it's just the opportunities we're given, and what we do with them. I'm beginning to think that maybe great, epic romances don't just happen. We have to make them ourselves."

"Hello?" A girl again. "I know you can hear me. I'm sorry my friend is such a wing nut. You can just ignore him."
"That's usually what we do," said the other feminine voice."

What's your opinion on fairytale retellings? 
And did you read this series?!

  

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The Liebster Awards

Hi everyone! I'm so excited to tell you that I've been nominated for The Liebster Awards! Saowbia from Ever The Reader nominated me, thanks so much! Be sure to check out her blog as well!
If you didn't know; The Liebster Awards is a way for bloggers to discover other blogs and nominate blogs that have under 200 readers.
Here are the rules:

1. Thank the person who nominated you.
2. Answer the 11 questions given to you.
3. Nominate 11 other blogs and give them 11 questions to answer on their post.

Here we go!

What are your views on diversity in literature. Do you think it should be implemented in every story?
Well, I think it's important to read about diversity now and then. I usually pick a book that appeals to me and I won't discard it because there is no diversity in it. I don't think anything should be in a book, I totally leave it up to the authors as long as I enjoy the story.

Who are some of your favorite POC and/or LGBTQ+ characters?
I've not read a lot of books in this genre, it's not that I don't enjoy, I just read other books first. I did read Carry On and The Art of Being Normal, which I both enjoyed. I loved the characters in these books; Simon & Baz and David & Leo.
 
What are some of your favorite non-fiction books or memoirs?
This is a genre that I don't read very often. I remember reading Zoo Station by Christiane F. when I was around 15 years old, and I still remember the book, it made a great impact on me. It's about a girl addicted to heroin and working in prostitution. 

Do you feel that you're represented in media? Is there a particular character you identify with? What would you like to see more of, in terms of representation?
Right now, teachers and their profession are discussed a lot in The Netherlands. Especially the salary but also the full classes and 25% burn-out rate in my profession. Discussions are going on and I don't always follow up, because I just love my job. I feel represented by a lot of people who stand up for the teachers and tell the "nitwits" that the job is hard! Yes, you do have a lot of vacations, but you do have a lot of overtime that you don't get payed. Those people then say: "Go home earlier", but I can't! I still need to do stuff. So I'm glad that a lot of people stand up for teachers!
I do agree on the full classes and the burnout rate is just way too high. I would participate in strikes, because it's also predicted that by 2020 there aren't enough teachers in The Netherlands so I hope to attract more people to this great field of work!

What are your views on mental health representation in literature. Name a few books that you think portray mental health in a respectful light.
I feel like a lot of people (including me) will never really understand how it feels like to deal with mental health issues. I can imagine that those people feel really lonely, and they also feel like no one can understand them. I wouldn't know how to help a person even if you want to so bad.. A book that portrays this in a beautiful way, for me is All the Bright Places.
 
What are some of your favorite Own Voice books?
I've recently read The Sun Is Also a Star and I really enjoyed that one! It's one of my favorites! A lot of Own Voice books are still on my to-read list...

What are your views on reading problematic books? Would you read a book that's been reviews as problematic and offensive? Imagine you were genuinely interested in the book but are hesitant to read it because of the controversy. Would you still read it?
What for some people feels like problematic or offensive, will feel different for the other person. I do believe that people will feel that way, if they say they do, but when I'm excited for a book, I will still pick it up and form my own opinion about it. I do think it's necessary to add a Trigger Warning to the book, in the case of self-harm, suicide, abuse, etc...

Besides diversity, what other things would you want literature and stories to improve on?
I feel like that, especially in YA, some people are outright rude to eachother. Especially towards parents. It seems like a trend to abreact all the feelings toward the people that have cared for you their whole life. There are some books that I didn't enjoy, just because of the rudeness of some characters. I feel like authors should questions whether this attitude is really necessary for the story... Youngsters pick up behavior from books, and to teach them how to act towards others, especially when you're upset, is pretty important...

Do you believe that authors have the right to write books about another person's experience? For example, do you think a straight author has the right to write about a gay character's experience or a transgender character's experience?
Of Course! If they have done the research and talked to people who have experienced those things, yes! To let, for example, a transgender person read the book and give their opinion and let them help in the process, why not?! Word needs to spread and books are a great way to lift some taboo's or change a person's view on things.

Do you read only for entertainment or do you read to educate yourself as well? What are some lessons or morals you've learned from reading?
I mainly read for entertainment, since in my profession you already read a lot to grow professionally and I really just want home to be home and leave my work at work. I do grow as a person by reading books. If you read about things you've never experienced you can still learn how it was for a person to go through those things. It made me understand other people a bit better and it opened my eyes to not have an opinion about others too fast.

List some of your favorite books so far this year and why you loved them so much.
A court of Wings and Ruin; Just the best series ever. Great characters, great plot twists, great feelings, great worldbuilding, great conversations, great romance... Want me to keep going?
Liar Liar; A lot of potential suspects made me guess for the real killer until the end, just how I like it.
Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; 1 reason; Harry Potter.
Falling for You; Very real characters, gave me summer vibes and had a lot of feelings while reading this.

   

Nominations:
1. Audrey from Audrey Caylin's Blog; This blog gives me positive vibes and it looks great!

2. Noelia from A Day In Bookland; Love the self made pictures on this Blog!

3. Ash from Fear Street Zombie Reviews; The way Ash writes is great. I can read a huge review and not be bored or skip parts.

4. Megan from Book Birds; We read the same books, so this is a Blog where I stop by very often and highly enjoy the reviews!

5. Henna from Howling for Books; I like the way she writes about books, it keeps me focused, next to that, she enjoys the same genres as me!

6. StacyRenee from Lazy Day Literature; I like the way she fills her Blog with different posts. The reviews are a blast to read!

7. Ann and Clare from Dual Reads; Always a great choice in books. Love how they work together to make this an awesome Blog!

8. Erika from Books & Stars; I like the way the reviews are build-up. They are nice to read and I have no trouble reading a whole review. Scores for books always make sense!

9. Elena from Book Lady's Reviews; This Blog looks awesome! I love the way the two font's totally work together. I also really like the discussion posts. 

10. Vivien from Pages Of Wonderland; The Blog looks awesome, the reviews are nice to read and usually in a genre that I highly enjoy.

11. Wendy and Tina from Tangled 'N' Books; This Blog reviews a great range of books. The pictures they take look very nice, as well as the Blog itself.

My Questions:

1. What's your favorite genre to read and why?

2. What's the best book you've read in 2017? (You can only pick one!)

3. Is there a writer that totally blew you away with a book? Who is it?

4. What's your opinion on e-readers? Some people prefer physical books and some people love their e-reader, what do you think?

5. Is there a genre that you don't enjoy and why?

6. What is the most positive experience for you because of being a Bookblogger?

7. Do you have bookshelves? How do you organize them? *insert picture*

8. Paperback or Hardcover?

9. Would you one day want to write a book? Why or why not?

10. What's your favorite book character of all times?

11. If you could visit a world from a book, where would you go?


Thanks for reading!! And Spread the Booklove!