Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#2)

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted here, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating."

For more information, click here

Landline by Rainbow Rowell
Expected Publication: July 8th 2014 by St. Martin's Press


Georgie McCool knows her marriage is in trouble. That it’s been in trouble for a long time. She still loves her husband, Neal, and Neal still loves her, deeply — but that almost seems besides the point now.

Maybe that was always besides the point.

Two days before they’re supposed to visit Neal’s family in Omaha for Christmas, Georgie tells Neal that she can’t go. She’s a TV writer, and something’s come up on her show; she has to stay in Los Angeles. She knows that Neal will be upset with her — Neal is always a little upset with Georgie — but she doesn’t expect to him to pack up the kids and go home without her.

When her husband and the kids leave for the airport, Georgie wonders if she’s finally done it. If she’s ruined everything.

That night, Georgie discovers a way to communicate with Neal in the past. It’s not time travel, not exactly, but she feels like she’s been given an opportunity to fix her marriage before it starts . . .

Is that what she’s supposed to do?

Or would Georgie and Neal be better off if their marriage never happened?

I just finished with Attachments by Rainbow Rowell, and I LOVED IT! So I am obviously super excited for this one as well. I've also loved both Eleanor and Park and Fangirl, so the release of this couldn't come earlier.

Seriously, is there someone I can sell my soul to just to get this book RIGHT NOW?

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (#7)

For more information, click here.

Top Ten Bookish Things (That Aren’t Books) That I’d Like To Own (new bookshelves, bookends, bookish accessories etc.)

1. A bookish poster

Every single time I go to Waterstone’s/Blackwell’s here in Edinburgh, I end up making a quick stop at the shelf where they have these awesome bookish posters. They at least have a Great Gatsby one which I would really like to have. I’ll probably buy one just before I go back to Finland after graduating (2015) so I can frame the poster and put it to the wall of my new place (which is still non-existent, but which I’ll hopefully be able to afford to rent after living with my parents for a couple of months….)

2. These Jane Austen typewriter earrings from The Literary Gift Company

These are super cool, right? I don’t usually like hanging earrings that much, but I would totally pull my hair back once in a while and wear these babies proudly.

3. Harry Potter bookend

I found this from here and seriously like, how cool is this? I really would like to own something Harry Potter related other than books (I’m probably going to the HP studios at London in May and I’ll totally beg my mom to buy me a wand) and this would just look so good on my bookshelf.

4. Bookshelf with ladder

I think this is the dream of pretty much every booklover out there. This is probably not one of those things I will acquire in the near future, but hopefully one day.

5. Jane Austen Perfume

You can find these from here.

This is definitely one of those things I necessarily don’t need, but one that would be cool to have. It’s small and would be good for just carrying around in my purse/bag and such. I would probably get the Longbourn one.

6. Alternative bookcase

I don’t think I even need to explain how cool this is.

7. This amazing clock

That is how I wish my schedule would look. Maybe when I retire.

You can find this awesomeness from here.

8. Harry Potter necklace

I love this one because it’s delicate and not so obvious (by obvious I mean that to get what it means you kind of have to know Harry Potter). I always like things like that because this would probably look pretty even to a non-HP fan, but a fan would totally get the deeper meaning of it.

You can find this from here.

9. Book charms

So basically you can put these to a necklace, bracelet etc. I found them from Etsy and the seller (you can find them here) has a really cool collection of different charms. I would probably buy one of the Harry Potter ones, The Great Gatsby One and the Hunger Games one. I believe you can also ask for custom ones if you want – these would make an awesome gift for a book lover.

10. TFIOS t-shirt

I am so not ready for the film, but when it comes out, I’m going to be there and I would much rather cry in a TFIOS t-shirt than in an ordinary shirt. So I need to find a cool one before that.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Prisoner of Night and Fog (Prisoner of Night and Fog #1) by Anne Blankman

Release Date: April 22, 2014 (Review copy from NetGalley)

Info about author: TwitterGoodreadsWebsite

Publisher: Balzer + Bray

Age Group: YA

Pages: 416 (hardcover)

Buy the book: AmazonBook Depository

Rating: 4/5

 

Description (from Goodreads):

In 1930s Munich, danger lurks behind dark corners, and secrets are buried deep within the city. But Gretchen Müller, who grew up in the National Socialist Party under the wing of her "uncle" Dolf, has been shielded from that side of society ever since her father traded his life for Dolf's, and Gretchen is his favorite, his pet.
Uncle Dolf is none other than Adolf Hitler.
And Gretchen follows his every command.
Until she meets a fearless and handsome young Jewish reporter named Daniel Cohen. Gretchen should despise Daniel, yet she can't stop herself from listening to his story: that her father, the adored Nazi martyr, was actually murdered by an unknown comrade. She also can't help the fierce attraction brewing between them, despite everything she's been taught to believe about Jews.
As Gretchen investigates the very people she's always considered friends, she must decide where her loyalties lie. Will she choose the safety of her former life as a Nazi darling, or will she dare to dig up the truth—even if it could get her and Daniel killed?
From debut author Anne Blankman comes this harrowing and evocative story about an ordinary girl faced with the extraordinary decision to give up everything she's ever believed . . . and to trust her own heart instead.

MY THOUGHTS (the quotes are either by Hitler or by the author):


Since I first learned about The Second World War in history class, I’ve been interested about it and the people who had a role within it. Hitler, of course, is one of the main figures of that period of history, and back in the day I used to be quite interested about everything that was somehow related to him – much like Gretchen in Prisoner of Night and Fog, I had a desire to find out what made him so evil and what circumstances brought him into power. I’ve read a couple of books about Anne Frank, and seen some films about that historical period (I think The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas will haunt me ‘til the day I die – I did not sleep for two nights after reading that book), and when I saw this in the NetGalley catalogue, I knew that I have to read it.

Gretchen is 17 years old and a member of Hitler’s inner circle. It’s the early 1930s in Munich, and though Hitler hasn’t yet officially risen to power, he is gaining more and more momentum and the conditions for those who do not share his beliefs are getting worse. Hitler’s number 1 target – the Jews. Since Gretchen was child, she has been taught to hate the Jews – Hitler has taught her to see them as “subhumans, determined to destroy her and other pure-blooded Germans” (Blankman). She had been taught to see the Jews as “her eternal enemy” (Blankman), as a group of people she has a “pure blooded”, perfect Aryan specimen should avoid. Then, after a random collection of events she meets Daniel, a journalism for a communist newspaper in the city, who also happens to be a Jew.

Though Gretchen is extremely hesitant to make any connection with Daniel, the moment he tells her that he knows something about Gretchen’s father’s death, she knows that she must listen to him, even though her mind tells that everything he is saying and doing is somehow wrong, somehow bad and that he is somehow using her – she knows how Hitler would react, and the way she has been raised is telling her that she cannot trust a Jew. But as the evidence starts to pile up, and she she spends more time with Daniel, she starts to realize that everything she has been taught, everything she has believed in, and everything Hitler has told her is right might be wrong. She realizes that she is not much different from the Daniel, and with that comes the horrible realization that what Hitler is doing might actually be based on a lie, on something that he has created just to rise to the power. In Mein Kampf Hitler says “The great masses of the people will more easily fall victims to a big lie than to a small one” – Gretchen realizes that she has been living a lie, and the man that she saw as a father figure is a monster, not Daniel, a representative of group of people she had been told to see as monster.

The amount of historical research the author has done for the novel, evident from the selected bibliography at the end of the book, is astounding. Gretchen, her family, Daniel and a couple of other characters are fictional, but otherwise the novel is filled with names we all know, even if we would like not to – Hitler, Hess, Eva Braun- and events that eventually led to Hitler’s rise to leadership. The way Blankman uses the historical details is brilliantly executed and while the book is extremely exciting and action packed, it also manages to be educating. I cannot stress the importance for books like this – as we are moving further and further from those events in the history, we still need to look to the past and show, especially to young readers, what has happened just to make sure things like that don’t happen again.

It is hard to imagine this is Blankman’s debut, because her writing, world building, the use of historical details and the confidence behind her work seem like she is not doing this for the first time. The character development is excellent – especially the difficult relationships between Gretchen and her brother is intriguing one. Also the relationship between Gretchen and Daniel is well developed – though the synopsis quite clearly indicates that something will happen between these characters, it’s no instalove so often seen in young adult novels. Time is given for Gretchen to see who Daniel truly is – and while she needs time to trust him, he also needs time to trust her. The connection between Gretchen and Hitler is interesting and well developed – we see glimpses of Hitler as Gretchen’s loving, caring “uncle” and reading those moments is extremely difficult and uncomfortable, knowing what he did and with what results. The element of psychoanalysis and Hitler’s mental health are extremely well woven to the narrative of the novel and it will be interesting to see how the sequel further discusses this.
"The man she had loved as a father was a fraud. He kissed the backs of her hands and advocated war; he ruffled her hair and preached death; he had played with her on the carpet with toy soldiers, and all along he had been planning the extinction of an entire people." (Blankman)
One of the most nerving things while reading this novel was the fact that YOU KNOW that things will get much, much worse. The novel is set in the early 1930s, when things were still comparatively “easy” for the Jews (yes, easy is not maybe the right word to use here, but when you compare it to what happened when Hitler rose to power, I think you know what I mean). Throughout the novel there’s an undercurrent of tension rising, and I can’t wait to see how that will be explored in the upcoming sequel.
Throughout, Prisoner of Night and Fog is intriguing, entertaining, fast-paced and extremely exciting historical novel. It is an instant pick for history fans, but I hope that it also catches the interest of readers who usually are not big on historical fiction. I found the ending weird at first (that’s why I give it four stars instead of five), but then realized that there’s a sequel coming up, so that explained it. Make sure you have time at hand when you start to read this one, because at least I wasn’t able to put it down.

Are you a fan of historical novels? Are there some historical YA titles you could recommend for me?


My 23rd birthday & 23 years of New York Times Best Sellers


I am 23 today! WOOHOO. 

Since I don't really have any fun birthday plans I could post about  because I'm doing my b-day celebrations in London in May with my mom and my aunt, I thought I would look into the New York Times Best Sellers from the past 23 years to see what type of books were selling well each year at the time of my birthday. 

So my birthday is April 14th, but since the best sellers list is not published every single day, I'll post the book from the date closest to my birthday.



April 14, 1991 -Heartbeat by Danielle Steel (A chance meeting of a man and a woman, both with successful careers in television, enables them to solve their marital and romantic problems.)

April 12, 1992 - The Pelican Brief by John Grisham (A woman law student seeks to discover the truth about the murder of two Supreme Court justices.)

April 11, 1993 - The Client by John Grisham (A deadly secret, revealed by a lawyer just before he commits suicide, presents serious problems for an 11-year-old boy.)

April 17, 1994 - The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield (An ancient manuscript, found in Peru, provides insights into achieving a fulfilling life.)

April 16, 1995 - The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield (DAMN, by this point the book has been 59 weeks on the list....)

April 14, 1996 - Primary Colors by Anonymous (The progress of a certain Southern governor and his wife on their way to the White House.)

April 13, 1997 - The Partner by John Grisham (The pursuit of $90 million stolen by a Mississippi lawyer who has apparently died and been cremated - but is actually hiding in Brazil.)

April 12, 1998 - The Street Lawyer by John Grisham (A young lawyer comes to terms with himself after discovering his prestigious firm's dirty secret.)

April 11, 1999 - The Testament by John Grisham (A reclusive billionaire, a burned-out lawyer and a missionary are brought together by a startling secret.)

April 16, 2000 - The Brethren by John Grisham (Three former judges, doing time at a federal prison in Florida, concoct a mail scam that goes awry.)

April 15, 2001 - Dreamcatcher by Stephen King (In the woods of Maine, four hunters who have been friends since boyhood encounter a disorientated stranger and a dangerous creature from another world.)

April 14, 2002 - Everything's Eventual by Stephen King (A collection of 14 "dark tales" about the strange and the supernatural.)

April 13, 2003 - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (The murder of a curator at the Louvre leads to a trail of clues found in the work of Leonardo and to the discovery of a centuries-old secret society.)

April 11, 2004 - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (by this point, this has been on the list for 54 weeks)

April 17, 2005 - The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown (by this point, this has been on the list for 107 weeks)

April 16, 2006 - Gone by Jonathan Kellerman (Two acting students stage their own disappearance - but then one of them is murdered. The psychologist-detective Alex Delaware investigates.)

April 15, 2007 - Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult (The aftermath of a high school shooting reveals the fault lines in a small New Hampshire town.)

April 13, 2008 - Compulsion by Jonathan Kellerman (Several Los Angeles women are murdered, and the psychologist-detective Alex Delaware investigates.)

April 12, 2009 - True Detectives by Jonathan Kellerman (In the 24th Alex Delaware novel, the interracial half-brothers from "Bones" investigate a young woman's death.)

April 11, 2010 - Caught by Harlan Coben (A suburban girl goes missing.)

April 17, 2011 - The Land of Painted Caves by Jean M. Auel (The latest volume in a series that began with "The Clan of the Cave Bear", set during the ice age.)

April 15, 2012 - Lover Reborn by J.R. Ward (Book 10 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.)

April 14, 2013 - Lover at Last by J.R. Ward (Book 11 of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.)

April 13, 2014 - NYPD Red 2 by James Patterson and Marshall Karp (Detective Zach Jordan and his partner are called when the body of a wealthy woman is discovered on the Central Park carousel; the second book in a new series.)

So there we go... I have only read one of these books featured on this list: The Da Vinci Code. James Patterson is a familiar author to me through couple of Alex Cross novels I've read. After seeing John Grisham so much, I thought that I should probably read something by him. 

Also that Jodi Picoult book sounds interesting. Has any of you read it? Is it any good?

Have you read any of these books? Are the any books on this list I should definitely check out?


Sunday, April 13, 2014

Sunday Post (#3)


For more information, click here

Weekly recap:
Top Ten Tuesday (#6) - Unique Books
This Is What Happy Looks Like by Jennifer E. Smith (Review)
The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith (Review)

Coming Up:
My birthday post
Top Ten Tuesday (Top Ten Bookish Things [that are not books] That I'd Like to Own)
Waiting on Wednesday
Review for Prisoner of Night and Fog by Anne Blankman
Review for Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs

What I read this week:
Cinder (The Lunar Chronicles #1) by Marissa Meyer
Double Love (Sweet Valley High #1) by Francine Pascal
Glitches (The Lunar Chronicles #0.5) by Marissa Meyer
The Queen's Army (The Lunar Chronicles #1.5) by Marissa Meyer
Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

What I watched this week:
Because of university assignments I haven't really been watching much of anything, because when I need to write about films, I don't want to confuse myself with other visual material. But I did watch The Mindy Project and Parks and Recreation. AND OH MY GOD BEN AND LESLIE <3 p="">

Around the blogosphere:
Reviews from a Bookworm posted a discussion post titled Why Do Books and Readers Glorify Abusive Relationships?
Giselle over at Bo-ok Nerd Canada posted about her thoughts on Adults who read YA/Teen Books

Around the Internet:
Which Austen Hero is Your Soulmate? (Mine is Mr. Tilney, btw. I usually get Darcy...)
The 5th Wave Casting News
Check out this awesome still from If I Stay (I CAN'T WAIT TO SEE THIS ONE)

In other news:
My hometown's ice-hockey team gained a place at the Finnish league finals on Wednesday and the first game will be on Tuesday! I AM SO BEYOND EXCITED.


I have my dissertation proposal presentation on Wednesday.... wish me luck.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (#5)

"Stacking The Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!"
For more info, click here

 

The Moment Collector by Jodi Lynn Anderson (expected publication by July 1st 2014 by HarperTeen – review copy from NetGalley)

A haunting mystery, romance in the vein of The Lovely Bones by New York Times bestselling author.
"The yard of this house is a graveyard of moments and everything left behind is a clue. And I am here to dig."
There's a ghost haunting 208 Water Street. She doesn't know who she was, or why she's still here. She does know that she is drawn to Maggie, the new girl in town, and her friends - beautiful, carefree Pauline and Liam, the boy who loves her.
But the ghost isn't all that's lurking in Gill Creek... Someone is killing young girls all across the county. Can the ghost keep these three friends safe? Or does she have another purpose?

 

Scarlet (The Lunar Chronicles #2) by Marissa Meyer

Cinder, the cyborg mechanic, returns in the second thrilling installment of the bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She's trying to break out of prison--even though if she succeeds, she'll be the Commonwealth's most wanted fugitive. Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit's grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn't know about her grandmother or the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother's whereabouts, she is loath to trust this stranger, but is inexplicably drawn to him, and he to her. As Scarlet and Wolf unravel one mystery, they encounter another when they meet Cinder. Now, all of them must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen Levana, who will do anything for the handsome Prince Kai to become her husband, her king, her prisoner.

Cress (The Lunar Chronicles #3) by Marissa Meyer

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 high 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.

The Museum of Intangible Things by Wendy Wunder

Loyalty. Envy. Obligation. Dreams. Disappointment. Fear. Negligence. Coping. Elation. Lust. Nature. Freedom. Heartbreak. Insouciance. Audacity. Gluttony. Belief. God. Karma. Knowing what you want (there is probably a French word for it). Saying Yes. Destiny. Truth. Devotion. Forgiveness. Life. Happiness (ever after).
Hannah and Zoe haven’t had much in their lives, but they’ve always had each other. So when Zoe tells Hannah she needs to get out of their down-and-out New Jersey town, they pile into Hannah’s beat-up old Le Mans and head west, putting everything—their deadbeat parents, their disappointing love lives, their inevitable enrollment at community college—behind them.
As they chase storms and make new friends, Zoe tells Hannah she wants more for her. She wants her to live bigger, dream grander, aim higher. And so Zoe begins teaching Hannah all about life’s intangible things, concepts sadly missing from her existence—things like audacity,insouciance, karma, and even happiness.
An unforgettable read from the acclaimed author of The Probability of Miracles, The Museum of Intangible Things sparkles with the humor and heartbreak of true friendship and first love.

What did you add to your shelves this week?

Friday, April 11, 2014

The Geography of You and Me by Jennifer E. Smith

Release Date:  April 15th 2014 (review copy from Netgalley)

Info about author: TwitterGoodreadsWebsite

Publisher: Poppy

Age Group: YA

Pages: 352

Buy the book: AmazonBook Depository

Rating: 3/5

 

Description (from Goodreads):

Lucy and Owen meet somewhere between the tenth and eleventh floors of a New York City apartment building, on an elevator rendered useless by a citywide blackout. After they're rescued, they spend a single night together, wandering the darkened streets and marveling at the rare appearance of stars above Manhattan. But once the power is restored, so is reality. Lucy soon moves to Edinburgh with her parents, while Owen heads out west with his father.

Lucy and Owen's relationship plays out across the globe as they stay in touch through postcards, occasional e-mails, and -- finally -- a reunion in the city where they first met.

A carefully charted map of a long-distance relationship, Jennifer E. Smith's new novel shows that the center of the world isn't necessarily a place. It can be a person, too.

MY THOUGHTS:

After reading and really enjoying both A Statistical Probability of Love at First Sight and This is What Happy Looks Like, I knew that this new release by Jennifer E.Smith was a must-read for me. What added more excitement was the promise of Edinburgh setting – it’s always fun to read books set in places you know and have lived in.

Lucy is used to dreaming about foreign places she has received postcards from – her parents have always travelled a lot, and almost as a consolation price for not being taken with them to these awesome places, she has always received a postcard. Living in New York City, the city she loves, she dreams about Paris and other European cities, without realizing that soon all those dreams would come true.

Owen has gone through some difficult times and he is anything but happy in New York City. He feels that the city is too crowded and he feels like he does not belong to the apartment building he lives in – even when the apartment he shares with his father is in the basement. Owen dreams about driving around the country, like his father and mother did before he was born, without realizing that soon all of that traveling would become a reality for him.

Lucy and Owen meet in a East Coast wide electric blackout. They get stuck in an elevator and once they get out, wander around the dark streets of the city, eating melted ice-cream and watching stars, a sight very rare in New York City. They both feel like there’s some sort of connection there and get interested about further discovering it – both then life comes to the way. Lucy is whisked to Edinburgh and Owen’s father gets fired which takes them out of the city. They switch addresses and start exchanging postcards and letters in an attempt to see if they actually had a spark or whether it was just something that happened out of necessity and didn’t really mean anything.

I really liked how the novel followed these two characters on their journeys. I kind of hoped that the author would have decided to discover a fewer set of settings/locations, instead of taking these characters around so much. I loved the Edinburgh parts, and hoped that there would have been more of those – though it was interesting to read about these other places as well, I hoped that we would have gotten more information about her time in Edinburgh (I might be a bit biased here). It just occasionally felt like this book was too small/short for all of these big cities (New York, London, San Francisco etc.)

I also hoped there would be more about the problems Owen has faced. I feel like his dealing with them was very generic, and I especially hoped that he would talk about them more with Lucy, thus deepening the relationship. Owen seems like a super cute guy and all, but I never really felt a connection to him. I was rooting for him and Lucy, but I was never over the moon for him myself.

All in all, The Geography of You and Me is quick, cute and occasionally funny read for the fans of contemporary YA love stories. If you have enjoyed the previous novels of Smith, you’ll probably like this one as well.

(If you happen to live in the Edinburgh area, they already had copies of this on Nicholson Street Blackwell’s)