Time for… SPAIN!

Tonight I’m flying to Calella, Spain! It’s my first vacation abroad without my parents and I’m really excited! Three of my best friends are joining me! The next eight days will be: sleep, beach, eating, drinking, partying and… SOME READING!

I made a list of the four books I’m taking to Spain! Usually I take a whole saga with me, one I just bought, but this vacation, I’m not. First of all, because I’m going with my friends, so I won’t have a lot of time to read. And second, because I hadn’t been able to finish “The Soul Seekers” by Alyson Noël (I’ve been sick). So I decided to take three books with me, plus a book I just bought an hour ago 😀

Here’s the list!

1. “Mystic (The Soul Seekers #3)” by Alyson Noël – I don’t think this book needs a lot of introduction because I’ve been writing about Alyson Noël a lot lately 🙂 Here’s the synopsis:
Since arriving in the dusty desert town of Enchantment, everything in Daire Santos life has changed…and not always for the better. While she’s come to accept and embrace her new powers as a Soul Seeker, Daire struggles with the responsibility she holds navigating between the worlds of the living and the dead–and her mission to defeat the evil Cade Richter.  But Cade’s soul is inextricably entwined with that of her boyfriend Dace, putting their love to the ultimate test.  How can she defeat Cade if it means destroying Dace too?  And is their love strong enough to survive death—and what lies beyond?
MYSTIC is the third book in The Soul Seekers, a magnificent new series about a girl who can navigate between the worlds of the living and the dead, by #1 New York Times bestselling author Alyson Noël.

2. “Memoirs of a geisha” by Arthur Golden – Ever since I’ve seen the movie, I wanted to read the book so badly! I went to a thrift shop a few weeks ago and bought the book there for only €2,50! I mean: what’s money? Here’s the synopsis:
Sayuri, one of Japan’s most celebrated geisha, is both performer and courtesan, slave and goddess. At nine, in a 1929 poor fishing village, she is sold to a geisha house, the buyer attracted by the child’s unusual blue-grey eyes. In Gion, the pleasure district of Kyoto, she works to pay back the price of her purchase, while learning music, dance, elaborate costumes and cosmetics, and maintaining a fragile coiffure with a special pillow. With a magnanimous tutor and a venomous rival she survives the intrigues of her trade and the upheavals of war.

3. Wuthering Heigths by Emily Brönte – Yes, classic English literature! I LOVE it 🙂 I bought a 50 year old copy at the same place as “Memoirs of a Geisha” and was glad to finally own this book (I borrowed it from the library about 8 times but always forgot to return it). It wasn’t easy to find a synopsis but here’s one:
Wuthering Heights is a wild, passionate story of the intense and almost demonic love between Catherine Earnshaw and Heathcliff, a foundling adopted by Catherine’s father. After Mr Earnshaw’s death, Heathcliff is bullied and humiliated by Catherine’s brother Hindley and wrongly believing that his love for Catherine is not reciprocated, leaves Wuthering Heights, only to return years later as a wealthy and polished man. He proceeds to exact a terrible revenge for his former miseries. The action of the story is chaotic and unremittingly violent, but the accomplished handling of a complex structure, the evocative descriptions of the lonely moorland setting and the poetic grandeur of vision combine to make this unique novel a masterpiece of English literature.

4. “Fuse (Pure #2)” by Julianna Baggot – I never planned on taking (or even buying) this book, but I did. I went to the mall to get some food for today when I saw this book in the bookshop. My mom doesn’t like it I spend my money on books, so she told me: don’t buy it! (That was two days ago). But hey, she wasn’t with me today! In fact, she’s already on her way with my father and sisters to France. This is the second book in a stunning post-apocalyptic trilogie and I read the first book months ago. FINALLY! I bought the second part! (Unfortunately the third part will be released in 2014 😦 Hear my crying?) Here’s the synopsis! (Wanna read the synopsis of “Pure” first? Click here.)
We know you are here, our brothers and sisters . . .
Pressia barely remembers the Detonations or much about life during the Before. In her sleeping cabinet behind the rubble of an old barbershop where she lives with her grandfather, she thinks about what is lost-how the world went from amusement parks, movie theaters, birthday parties, fathers and mothers . . . to ash and dust, scars, permanent burns, and fused, damaged bodies. And now, at an age when everyone is required to turn themselves over to the militia to either be trained as a soldier or, if they are too damaged and weak, to be used as live targets, Pressia can no longer pretend to be small. Pressia is on the run.
Burn a Pure and Breathe the Ash . . .
There are those who escaped the apocalypse unmarked. Pures. They are tucked safely inside the Dome that protects their healthy, superior bodies. Yet Partridge, whose father is one of the most influential men in the Dome, feels isolated and lonely. Different. He thinks about loss-maybe just because his family is broken; his father is emotionally distant; his brother killed himself; and his mother never made it inside their shelter. Or maybe it’s his claustrophobia: his feeling that this Dome has become a swaddling of intensely rigid order. So when a slipped phrase suggests his mother might still be alive, Partridge risks his life to leave the Dome to find her.
When Pressia meets Partridge, their worlds shatter all over again.

‘Whoops, this post became much longer than I planned it to be. Anyways, what book are you guys reading this vacation? I really want to know! 🙂

Enjoy the sun! Adiós!

Review: “Echo” (The Soul Seekers #2) by Alyson Noël

Wow. Just wow.

I just finished Echo 5 minutes ago, and all I can think is: wow. The ending is one big shocker. The book was so good!

[Only read this review if you have read Fated]

Lets start with a small synopsis about “Fated”. Daire en Dace have saved Paloma’s (Daire’s grandmother) soul but weren’t able to stop Cade, Dace’s dark twin brother. He and his brother are both different parts of one soul: Dace is the good part, Cade is the bad part. Dace and Daire found out they are Fated BUT one of them is going to die. At least, that is what the prophecy says.

Fated left me a bit restless: it was well written, romantic and super interesting. But the action was nowhere to be found. Only the last few chapters were really exciting. I was eager to read Echo, and all of my hopes came true.

Echo kicks of with some action and bad news. The story starts right away, no introduction needed. Echo gives us some answers about Cade and Dace, about Daire but also about the Lowerworld and the way they are all connected. Also; the relationship between Dace and Daire deepens, which makes Cade in some weird way stronger.

No, I’m not going to spill anymore.

Echo was a moving forward book, with new and old obstacles. Daire is less naive in this book and finds out that anger is not the only way to overcome her fears. She must learn how to connect with the dead Santoses and nature. The elements are making her stronger everyday and Paloma (together with Chay) make a great team to get Daire in good shape.

Cade somehow manages to get stronger every chapter in the book. Everytime, he almost gets defeated by Daire or Dace, but always gets away. When Daire and Dace are growing stronger, Cade is always one step ahead of them.

It’s frustrating.

The end of the book left me without breath. Everything was one big mess: lots of questions, a new person, Phyre, who has a lot of history, just bust into the storyline as if Daire and Dace don’t have enough problems. They love eachother and maybe that’s a problem. Phyre knows things they don’t know, but she keeps the secrets all to herself, causing even more problems.

At the end of the book, one thing was clearer to me: I think I know what a Soul Seeker is. My description last time lacked a lot of information, but I think I know the answer now. A soul seeker is a person who must keep balance between the different worlds, sace souls from the Richters and take care of nature. A soul seeker has strong bounds with her ancestors and gets help by his or hers spiritual animal.

That’s as far is I can get.

I think this book has a lot more action than Fated, which makes the book way more fun to read. Daire and Dace face some relation ship troubles, but they never give up on eachother. The book is fast pacing, moving forward but also a bit vague. But vague in a way you just want to keep reading; find out everything there is to know.

Just to warn you: the end of Echo is one BIG CLIFFHANGER.

I think Echo has all the good things Fated has, plus some more excitement, love and action. Good job Alyson! I can’t wait to read Mystic (The Soul Seekers #3)!

Review: “Fated” (The Soul Seekers #1) by Alyson Noël

Totally mesmerized by its cover, and the great “synopsis” at the back, I decided to buy the book (accidentally bought the second book first) and read it! I read some mixed reviews online, but was determined not to be influenced by it 🙂

The story takes place in Enchantement, where Daire is sent to by her mom – who is a Hollywood make-up artist – because Daire was having strange dreams and seeing things nobody else could see. Her mom, Jennika, sends her to Paloma, her long lost grandmother (her dead fathers mom). First, Daire thinks they’re all crazy. But after a while, she finds out there’s more than just a beautiful view in Enchantment.

Paloma tells Daire about her legacy: she is a Soul Seeker. She has powers and can mix herself with the spirits of nature. Also, she can travel to different worlds and  connect with the death. She meets new people, and finally, falls in love.

I think, Alyson Noël, is first of all, an amazing author! Before reading Fated, I read a James Patterson book. He is not really into describing surroundings, so I needed to get used to Alyson’s writing: took me 10 pages. That was the moment I saw the beauty of it: all the things Daire experienced, are put on paper so well! Alyson Noël created a magical and mythical world, I started to admire more and more every page.

The fact that I was looking forward to Dace, was because Diare did too. Not so much, it wasn’t obsessed like, but it was enough for me to wanting to read about those two. I hope the romance between the two of them will get more to the foreground of the story in the second book, ’cause that would make it an even more fantastic story.

If you are really into action books, with lots of things that make your heart beat faster, this book isn’t something for you. It took a while before the book got ‘exciting’. But after that happened, I was hooked until the last page!

I think Chay is one of those persons that stays on the background, but who actually is one of the moste reliable persons in the whole book! I’m really looking forward to learning more about Xotichl, I just adored her! Just like her boyfriend, Auden.

The coolest part about the book, was the fact that Daire had a special bond with animals. Not only normal animals, but also Spirit Animals. This was one of the special touches that only Alyson could have thought of 🙂

With that in mind, I’m still not sure what a Soul Seeker is. Basically, they can travel between worlds, connect with animals and get powers from nature. And there’s something with saving and seeking for souls, but I have a feeling Alyson is saving all of this for her next three books?!

I think the ending of the book was epic! I’m going to read Echo (The Soul Seekers #2) today and hope to get a dazzling story like Fated, but also a bit more action 🙂

Alyson, thumbs up! I loved this story and will read all your the books, that’s for sure!

Review: “Alex Cross” by “James Patterson”

I never expected myself to read a book like this: non YA and non fantasy or sci-fi. But I must admit it was really refreshing. James Patterson IS one of the best authors at the moment. He is ‘The World’s No. 1 Bestselling Writer’ so I guess that’s well enough.

This book, Alex Cross, was first published as “Cross” is the Cross series it’s actually #12 but I didn’t know that until I was halfway through the book. So you can say you can just read every book within the series at any given moment. I won this book at bol.com and it’s fair to say I was kinda excited to read this book.

[Includes some small spoilers, but non that are very BIG so no cliffhanger/end/plot-twist spoilers!]

I don’t want to spoil anything, because this book has the craziest twists and turns I’ve ever seen. Patterson created a bad guy, a rapist and a killer, who is so crazy I couldn’t ever wrap my mind around it. He’s full of dark humor but at the same time full of honesty. He hates the world but somehow also loves the world. He needs (wants) to kill people to earn his family’s living. But he also wants to kill because he LIKES it.

The second story line, is, of course, about Alex Cross, the man himself. He’s a sensitive man, job addict and loves his family. One night, when he’s out with his wife, she gets shot and dies in his arms. Determined to catch the killer, he goes on a journey with a dead end.

Years later, he finds a trail and together with his not so honest colleague he chases the bad guys and tries to kill the son of a bitch that killed his wife. He gets in a lot of trouble and he didn’t see the end coming – neither did I.

The whole story is exciting and twisting and mind-fucking, to call it like that. The chapters were short, all with some kind of a cliffhanger. They were all fast – some a bit slower, which was nice – and the story just kept coming at me as a reader. I was ‘Team Cross’ for sure, tho I got some compassion for “Micheal rapist and killer Sullivan”. Just a snitch. And that’s only because his kids and wife didn’t know about his job and I just kept wishing they could be a happy family some day.

I never like books with different point of views, but in this book, it was seriously better. I wouldn’t have read this book through the eyes of Alex Cross the whole time. Or ever Micheal Sullivan: I’d go crazy. So I actually liked all the different point of views very much.

So, to be honest, I liked the book more than I thought. If it wasn’t for the story line, it was for the strong and funny writing of Patterson. He’s one genius writer and if you asked me whether to read one of his book again, I’d say YES.

Review: “Legend” (Legend #1) by Marie Lu

If you have ever read my blog before, you’d know that I need more than 24 hours per day to do all the things I want to do. (See:https://dutchbookchick.wordpress.com/2013/05/16/update-on-my-to-read-list/) And that includes reading books. I was, and am, really busy with school. I wanted to take a break from my maths, bio and chemistry books, so I decided to start reading the book that was on top of my ‘To Read’ list.

And here’s the thing: I was planning on not reading this book within 24 hours. But I did it, accidentally. I started last night around 11 p.m. and 2 hours ago I already finished it. I know it is stupid, since I have two test coming up this Friday, but I did it anyway (don’t bother to tell me how wrong it is, people have tried to tell me that before, didn’t work).

My friend who works at a bookshop, had already read this book way before I did. She also read the sequel (Legend #2 is called Prodigy) and even though she’s not always enthusiastic about telling people she loves reading, she told me anyway. I got so excited and bought Legend and Prodigy.

So, last night, I started reading. The book is set in a future California. There’s been a flood and the Republic is in war with the Colonies. The Republic is corrupt and you are either very poor or very rich. At the age of 10, children must take a trial to determine whether they are worthy to the Replublic or not. The highest score you can get is 1500/1500. That’s very rare.

The story revolves around both Day (the most wanted criminal in the Republic) and June (the perfect rich girl with a score of 1500/1500). Things work out really strange and Day and June become enemies, without knowing each other. They meet but have never seen one another before so it takes a while to realize that Day actually is the criminal that June is looking for (to avenge her borther’s death) and that June works for the government that Day is trying so hard to avoid.

I don’t know what it is in these stories but I always find myself hoping that things doesn’t turn out the way they do. I keep hoping for a happy ending. But Marie Lu isn’t one for happy endings, that’s for sure. At the end of the first book, June en Day are a live, but they face an even bigger danger than they ever did. Will their love be strong enough?

I’m not gonna spoil anything more. I must admit that the characters are a bit superficial and everything is happening super fast, but the story is so exciting, emotional and overwhelming, I found myself reading every free (and non-free) second I had today. The book kept hunting me while I was at school and when I got home I had no other choice but to finish this thrilling book.

The book has twists and turns I didn’t see coming and I found myself crying at the last pages of the book. All the emotions coming out. (Yes, I cry over books. A lot). This book has it all: a future America, two teenagers falling in love and an impossible world to live in. The book contains things we can all recognize: love, fear and hope. Desperation, happiness and above all strength.

So, since I’m a good girl, I want curse or anything. But if you’re not jumping out of your chair to get your lazy ass over to the book store to buy Legend (and Prodigy): I WILL JUDGE YOU.

Since I’m an obsessive reader, you’ll see my next review about the sequel “Prodigy” online without a couple of days (I guess that’ll be Sunday). To tell you the truth: I’m afraid to read the second book, because the third (trilogy) book isn’t released yet. I can tell you guys by experience, the second book always has the BIGGEST CLIFFHANGER.

GO GO! Read this book!

Image

Review: “Beautiful Creatures” (Beautiful Creatures #1) by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

ATTENTION: This review might contain SPOILERS.

Saga: #1 of the ‘Caster Chronicles” (in total there are 4 parts)

Movie: Yes, released in February 2013.

Gatlin, a small town in the South of the USA. A boy, named Ethan Wate, has weird dreames. Every night he sees a girl slipping through his fingers. But he is never able to see the end of the dream adn wakes up sweaty and out of breath.

Everything in Gatlin is how it always was. And Ethan doesn’t like that. He lives with Amma, an old woman who can See things, though Ethan ofcourse doesn’t believe that in the beginning. While reading the book, you find out Amma actually is a Seer, and Ethan will believe her.

Back to the story. Ethan’s mom died a year ago and his dad locked himself up in his study ever since. He never comes out en barely talks. People in town always feel sorry for Ethan, because his mom died and his father became a lunatic. This is something Ethan really hates. This is worked out pretty funny in the book 🙂

But Ethan and his family aren’t the biggest talk in town anymore. The big gossip is about the niece of Old Man Ravenwood, who is compared with Boo Radley (“To Kill A Mockingbird”). He lives in a ‘hauted’ house and never comes out. But today his niece, Lena Duchannes, comes in town to live with him.

And this is where I think the author made the habitants of Gatlin overreact. The minute Lena steps into school, everybody hates her. Weird things happen and everybody turns against Lena. Except for Ethan. This is, ofcourse, totally obvious. He likes her the minute she walkes in and they get to know eachother. I think this part of the book takes a long time, but that’s good. They aren’t just friends in a blink of an eye. It takes a while.

Ethan and Lena fall in love and Lena tells Ethan about her secret: she is, in fact, a very strong Caster. And in a view days, her life will change radically.

And then the story starts to become a rollercoaster. The moment Lena turns 16, she will be Claimed to Dark or Light. Lena is afraid she’ll turn Dark like her niece Ridley. Ethan wants Lena to turn Light. The closer they get to the Claiming, the more complecated their story becomes. From old stories they learn that it’s impossible for a Mortal (Ethan) and a Caster (Lena) to be together.

This part of the story is really exciting to read. Lena reveals more and more of the Caster world to Ethan which is so much cooler than our Mortal world. Ethan is madly in love with Lena and from the things he thinks and says, it’s clear he will never give up on her.

Lena finds out her mom is not dead. As a Caster, you’re not raised by your parents, but by any other close family member, so she was told her parents were dad. Her uncle, Old Man Ravenwood, actually called Macon, had always lied to her. But the truth is much more complicated, since her mom is the Darkest Caster alive. Sarafine, Lena’s mom, wants Lena to turn Dark. This a really intresting turn. I never saw this coming. Just like the end.

BIGGEST SPOILER, DON’T READ THIS IF YOU HAVEN’T FINISHED THE BOOK!:

Hold your breath because the end of the story is one big explosion of happenings. Sarafine shows up, Ridley (a Sirene, she can persuade people to do anything) almost kills Ethan’s dad, Ethan almost get killed, Macon gets killed (holy shit, cried my eyes out) and in the end Lena stops the ‘Sixteenth Moon’. She’s not claimed.

End of story. BAM.

Take a deep breath, I told myself. Remember there are three more books, this is not the end of the story.

So, what did I think about the book? First of all: I loved it! It’s written in a way you will love Ethan and his love for Lena. Ethan is one of those persons who stays positive until the end. Second: the story is pretty original. I’ve never read a story about a girl turning Dark or Light on her sixteenth birthday. And third, what I found really refreshing, you see everything happen through the eyes of Ethan. Most of the YA stories are about girls. This one is about a boy.

There’s only one thing I didn’t like: Sometimes, things take so long. Ethan going to his old Aunts, Ethan doing this, Ethan doing that. I was looking forward to Lena so much, I couldn’t stand is if Ethan wasn’t busy with her (I think I was a bit obsessed).

I want to finish my review with a few questions:

– Will Lena be Claimed?
– What is this ‘Sixteenth Moon’-song about?
– Is Ridley really ‘bad’?

I think this book is in the first place, for people who love the read a book as some kind of a detective: while reading you find out things and if you put the pieces together, you’ll understand things faster than Ethan does. Also, this book contains a lot of flashbacks, which makes it all a little bit more historical. This book is not TOO romantic and doesn’t contain TOO much violence or gory details.

If you have any questions or comments, be my guest! (Since I’m Dutch, you can also react in Dutch!)