Monday, 18 June 2018

My So-Called Bollywood Life - Book Review

My So-Called Bollywood Life
by Nisha Sharma

What is it about:
Winnie Mehta was never really convinced that Raj was her soulmate, but their love was written in the stars. Literally, a pandit predicted Winnie would find the love of her life before her 18th birthday, and Raj meets all of the qualifications. Which is why Winnie is shocked to return from her summer at film camp to find her boyfriend of three years hooking up with Jenny Dickens. Worse, Raj is crowned chair of the student film festival, a spot Winnie was counting on for her film school applications. As a self-proclaimed Bollywood expert, Winnie knows this is not how her perfect ending is scripted.

Then there’s Dev, a fellow film geek, and one of the few people Winnie can count on to help her reclaim control of her story. Dev is smart charming, and challenges Winnie to look beyond her horoscope to find someone she’d pick for herself. But does falling for Dev mean giving up on her prophecy, and her chance to live happily ever after? To get her Bollywood-like life on track, Winnie will need a little bit of help from fate, family, and of course, a Bollywood movie star.

What did I think of it:
This is such a fun read.

It's fluffy and sweet and everything you want from a contemporary YA romance.

Winnie is stubborn and on a mission: after a relationship of three years with the boy she thought was destined for her, she is done with prophecies and wants to prove that her destiny is in her own hands. But forging her own path is more difficult than it seems, and it looks like destiny and her favorite Bollywood star are set on intruding on her plans.

I love Winnie. She is quirky, and almost as stubborn as I am. She is full of hopes and dreams for her future and is fighting for them, even if it means she won't get her soulmate. I loved how she isn't easily defeated, but finds new ways to succeed when obstacles are placed on her path.

And then there's Dev. He is the perfect, fluffy and dreamy hero in Winnie's So-Called Bollywood Life. He might not seem to be her fated soulmate, but could they make their own Happily Ever After anyway? I very much enjoyed seeing them get to know each other better and fall for each other.

I also loved Winnie's family. They supported her, and were there for her when she needed, but also told her when she was doing things wrong.

It wouldn't be a YA romance if there wasn't any drama, so of course Raj and other people make sure there are tons of obstacles on the way to Winnie's Happy End. This is a romance, so you know all will be well that ends well, but I had a great time on my way to that ending.

All in all this is a very enjoyable and entertaining read. I will keep an eye out for other books by Sharma.

Why should you read it:
It's a fun and fluffy YA romance.

Buy from bookdepository

Friday, 15 June 2018

Blackbird - Book Review

Blackbird: An Ash & Ruin Companion Novel
by Shauna Granger

What is it about:
What if YouTube warned of the end of the world? Would we even take it seriously? Or just assume it was some lame, internet hoax?

Maggie has her first college finals to prepare for; she doesn’t have time for pranks and conspiracy theories. But a super flu has broken out on campus and her dorm mate keeps coughing, threatening to get her sick before she can get through the tests and get home for Christmas.

More and more people are coming down with the super flu and the vaccines aren’t working for everyone and when one of her professors is dragged out of the classroom by cops and doctors, Maggie realizes she’s waited too long to leave campus.

Finals are the last thing she should be worrying about—she needs to get home, but can she make it in time?

What did I think of it:
I love the Ash & Ruin trilogy and the first companion novel, so you bet I got my trotters on this one.

And this is yet again a great read.

The story is set at the start of the outbreak and I loved how Maggie acts like most people would: waving her mother's worry aside she continues to go to her classes so she won't miss her finals. Failing seems a worse fate than catching the flu. When she finally realizes things are bad it may be too late to get out.

Maggie's reaction to everything feels believable. Once she is aware of the situation her common sense kicks in and she and her traveling companions try to make it home. I love how this story is not about heroes doing heroic things, but shows ordinary people trying to make the right decisions in a bad situation.

I was hooked from the start and was rooting for Maggie to survive and succeed. I loved both her and the people she hooks up with. Together they face lots of danger and peril on the way to safety. I was on the edge of my seat to discover how they would manage to survive.

And the ending!

I need a sequel! You can bet I'll be stalking Granger's social media for news.

Why should you read it:
It's an awesome story set at the start of an apocalypse.

Buy from Amazon

Thursday, 14 June 2018

Teasing on a Thursday - The Queen's Rising

"If you offend a Valenian, you lose your reputation," Sibylle chirped, picking dirt from beneath her nails. "But if you offend a Maevan... then you lose your head."

(page 45, The Queen's Rising by Rebecca Ross)

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Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following: - Grab your current read - Open to a random page - Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!) - Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

Wednesday, 13 June 2018

Ruby Red - Book Review

Ruby Red (Precious Stone #1)
by Kerstin Gier, translated by Anthea Bell

What is it about:
Gwyneth Shepherd's sophisticated, beautiful cousin Charlotte has been prepared her entire life for traveling through time. But unexpectedly, it is Gwyneth, who in the middle of class takes a sudden spin to a different era!

Gwyneth must now unearth the mystery of why her mother would lie about her birth date to ward off suspicion about her ability, brush up on her history, and work with Gideon--the time traveler from a similarly gifted family that passes the gene through its male line, and whose presence becomes, in time, less insufferable and more essential. Together, Gwyneth and Gideon journey through time to discover who, in the 18th century and in contemporary London, they can trust.

What did I think of it:
I'm a sucker for time travel stories even though most get the time traveling wrong and end up annoying me.

This trilogy however is of to a good start.

I liked Gwyneth from the start. I could understand her impatience with her weird family, especially as everything is about Charlotte and her imminent first travel through time. Then Gwyneth suddenly finds herself in the past and it turns out that she is the one with the time travel gene.

I loved discovering how the time traveling worked and was eager to find out why it's such a big deal and what the society formed around the time travelers wants to accomplish. It's clear lots of secrets are being kept from Gwyneth, and some may be very important. I was frustrated by how secretive people were and I could understand why Gwyneth decided not to listen to some of them.

Gwyneth has a best friend and I liked how they share everything. No bitchy drama or secrets: even though Leslie can't travel with Gwyneth, they talk about what's happening to Gwyneth, and Leslie Googles the shit out of everything and everyone to help her friend.

Gideon is a bit of an ass at first, but he slowly grew on both me and Gwyneth. We will see how this relationship develops.

As reader you get a bit more information than Gwyneth, so you know some things that Gwyneth still has to figure out. This makes it fun to see if you can spot additional information that Gwyneth might pick up on.

All in all this was a fun read. I will most certainly get the next book to see what happens next.

Why should you read it:
It's an enjoyable YA time travel story

Buy from bookdepository

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

Release Day alert - Prisoner of the Crown

It's release day for Prisoner of the Crown.
I can tell you that this first book in a Fantasy trilogy is totally awesome even though it's not a romance like Jeffe's other Fantasy books.

Prisoner of the Crown (The Chronicles of Dasnaria #1)
by Jeffe Kennedy

She was raised to be beautiful, nothing more. And then the rules changed…

In icy Dasnaria, rival realm to the Twelve Kingdoms, a woman’s roleis to give pleasure, produce heirs, and question nothing. But a plot to overthrow the emperor depends on the fate of his eldest daughter. And the treachery at its heart will change more than one carefully limited life…


Princess Jenna has been raised in supreme luxury—and ignorance. Within the sweet-scented, golden confines of the palace seraglio, she’s never seen the sun, or a man, or even learned her numbers. But she’s been schooled enough in the paths to a woman’s power. When her betrothal is announced, she’s ready to begin the machinations that her mother promises will take Jenna from ornament to queen.

But the man named as Jenna’s husband is no innocent to be cozened or prince to charm. He’s a monster in human form, and the horrors of life under his thumb are clear within moments of her wedding vows. If Jenna is to live, she must somehow break free—and for one born to a soft prison, the way to cold, hard freedom will be a dangerous path indeed…

Find buy links here

Monday, 11 June 2018

Quarantaine - Book Review

by Erik Betten

What is it about:
Quarantaine is the thrilling debut of Erik Betten. A thriller with current themes about a deadly bacteria - and a government taking unthinkable measures.

Groningen, October. A deadly bacteria surfaces through a gas extraction point. In just a few days halfdead, infected victims swarm mindlessly across the North-Netherlands. Afraid it will spread further the government decides to lock down the affected provinces.

Gonings-Friese politician Homme Olivier, who has been campaigning for the locals for years when it came to the gas extraction in the area, gets pushed to the front as spokesperson. It's his job to try to keep people calm during the search for a solution.

But when the government uses the army to contain the refugees in the affected provinces Homme might turn into a scapegoat.

When he receives a message from his wife that she is staying in the infected area, Homme decides to abandon his job in Den Haag to search for her. Risking his life he braves the bacteria invested North, searching for something that might have already been lost...

What did I think of it:
I don't often read in Dutch anymore, but when I saw this book it drew my attention. When I read it is set in the north of the Netherlands - where I live - and it had some sort of zombies I knew I had to get my trotters on it.

And this is a cool read!

Homme is not your typical hero. He is a politician who started out trying to do good, but along the way he lost his way and let himself get dragged into backroom deals and made concessions that might have gone to far. When he is asked to help keep people calm and support drastic measures he complies. Finally he has had enough and goes in search of his wife who is somewhere in the stricken north.

Meanwhile in the north it's chaos. The infected people turn into a sort of zombies (dodelingen they're called in this book) and people who aren't sick yet are trying to flee to unaffected areas only to be stopped by the army to prevent the bacteria from spreading further. This makes for some pretty grim and gruesome scenes.

And when Homme reaches the north he is thrown into chaos and danger as well. I can tell that the dodelingen are the least of his problems. There is lots of action and difficult decisions in his search for his wife.

Apart from Homme there are a few other viewpoint characters. I loved getting to read about the things they are involved in as well. AS the story unfolds I can say I was eager to see how everything would end.

There were only a few grumbles I had about this book. As the infection starts in Groningen I had hoped that more of the story would be set in Groningen as well. One storyline is set in Groningen, but most of the action is in Friesland.

My second grumble is that there seem to be a lot of blonde people in this book. Now there are indeed blonde people in the Netherlands and in the north of the Netherlands, but lots of people with other hair colors as well. Still almost every time a hair color was mentioned it was blonde. I think I counted only four mentions of other hair colors.

Those minor grumbles aside this is a very cool read. I loved how Betten included some current issues in this book without them interfering with the story. Both the gas extraction in the north and the divide between the north of the Netherlands and the west were used to their full advantage to make a thrilling zombie story.

All in all I had a great time with this book and I hope it gets translated to English so all my zombie loving friends who don't read Dutch can read it as well.

Why should you read it:
It's a cool zombie read.

Buy the book at van der Velde
Warning: it's only available in Dutch at the moment.

Friday, 8 June 2018

Ash Princess - Book Review

Ash Princess (Ash Princess Trilogy #1)
by Laura Sebastian

What is it about:
Theodosia was six when her country was invaded and her mother, the Queen of Flame and Fury, was murdered before her eyes. Ten years later, Theo has learned to survive under the relentless abuse of the Kaiser and his court as the ridiculed Ash Princess.

When the Kaiser forces her to execute her last hope of rescue, Theo can't ignore her feelings and memories any longer. She vows revenge, throwing herself into a plot to seduce and murder the Kaiser's warrior son with the help of a group of magically gifted and volatile rebels. But Theo doesn't expect to develop feelings for the Prinz.

Forced to make impossible choices and unable to trust even those who are on her side, Theo will have to decide how far she's willing to go to save her people and how much of herself she's willing to sacrifice to become Queen.

What did I think of it:
The plot of this book sounded cool enough to give it a try, although I will confess I expected it to be just another fluffy YA Fantasy that only hints at horrors and is actually all about the romance.

And I was pleasantly surprised.

Theodosia has been humiliated, whipped, and almost broken. She learned to keep her head down to survive. Then she is forced to execute a rebel and she has had enough. She starts to plot how to escape, and how to get revenge of what is done to her and her country.

I loved how Sebastian doesn't pull any punches: people die, Theo has to make truly difficult choices, and has to decide where she draws the line. How far will she go for herself and her people? And when she starts to get feelings for the Prinz that adds to her growing burden.

The story is suspenseful and I could really understand Theo and why she makes certain decisions. She is well aware what might happen to her when the Kaiser discovers she is plotting a rebellion, so when she at times wants to take the easy route instead of sticking to the plan she and her allies made I couldn't fault her for it. She has a great sense of self-preservation, and when she goes against that instinct it makes her all the more brave in my opinion. As the story develops she grows into her new found courage and I rooted for her to succeed in her plans.

It almost wouldn't be a YA without a love triangle, so of course there's another boy Theo falls for as well. I will admit that although I could understand this love interest in his feelings towards the empire, I didn't like him and Theo together. Where I could understand the attraction between Theo and the Prinz, the attraction between the other love interest and Theo felt... unequal. It felt like Thea had to conform to what he thought she was, instead of him liking her for who she really is. She might not be herself when with the Prinz either, but because of the game she is playing she is in control, where with her other beau she has to submit. Maybe it's just me, and I'm rooting for the wrong guy once again.

The end of the book brought some revelations that promise lots of action, more difficult decisions, and more heartache in the next book, so you bet i'll be getting my trotters on it as soon as it releases.

Why should you read it:
It's a YA Fantasy full of intrigue.

buy from bookdepository