Monday, June 30, 2014

0.4 (Point 4, #1) by Mike A. Lancaster

Release date: January 3rd 2011
Info about author: Goodreads - Twitter
Publisher: Egmont
Age group: YA
Pages: 272
Buy the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

It's a brave new world. 'My name is Kyle Straker. And I don't exist anymore.' So begins the story of Kyle Straker, recorded on to old audio tapes. You might think these tapes are a hoax. But perhaps they contain the history of a past world...If what the tapes say are true, it means that everything we think we know is a lie. And if everything we know is a lie does that mean that we are, too?


Starting with this book, I wasn't completely sure what to expect. The description from Goodreads is extremely vague and the only thing I kind of got out of it was the fact that the book focuses on some sort of change that takes place and affects the humanity. Things got much clearer as I started to read (duhh) and here's what's up: tapes explaining the events that took place in a very ordinary day in an English village recorded by Kyle Straker are found. On that day, a talent show in a town fair featuring hypnosis turns into something extremely unexpected when Kylen, Lilly, Kate and Mr. Peterson notice that they are the only "normal" ones left in the village while the others are first frozen and then suddenly become almost hostile and dangerous.

This is one of those books that is EXTREMELY hard to review without giving up any spoilers, but I'll attempt to somehow do it without ruining it for you in case you want to pick it up. The novel is structured as an edited account of the three tapes found in which Kyle explains what happened and what he was feeling at the moment etc. The writing is good and the story is extremely fast-paced, occasionally to an extent that you actually wish there were more details about the events and the happenings. The narration is very subjective and only through the point of view of Kyle, and it will be interesting to see whether we at some point in the following novels get to see things through the eyes of the other characters.

One of my favorite things about this novel were the annotations in the text added by the "editor" explaining some of the things discussed to the readers in the "future" - it is a history book for the people who were not there to witness the humanity as we see it today. 

Due to the fact that this book is quite short, occasionally the character rush to certain conclusions without much doubt - I think if the story would have been extended just a bit, this issue could have been solved. I feel like as an adult sci-fi book this novel would have worked maybe even better, because that way the author probably would have included more details about the world he has created. There are sequels to this one though, so maybe those include more world building.

All in all, I really quite enjoyed this book and would love to pick up the sequel at some point. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Sunday Post (#13)

For more information, click here

Weekly recap:
Top Ten Tuesday - Cover Trends I Dislike
Waiting on Wednesday (I was Here by Gayle Forman)

Coming up:
Review for 0.4 by Mike A. Lancaster
Top Ten Tuesday - Top Ten Favorite Classics
Waiting on Wednesday
Review for Epic Fail by Claire LaZebnic
Friday Favorites: My Favorite YA Contemporary Reads

What I read this week:
Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor
Alienated by Melissa Landers

What I watched this week:
More Storage Wars - yes, I've become a sucker for this show.

Singin' In The Rain - My favorite musical EVER and a film that definitely has my place on my top ten films of all time list. This film is just so wonderful.

Hiroshima Mon Amour - so touching, so beautiful, so poetic.

Around the Internet:

In other news:

To be honest, not much happened this week. I, once again, spent the week alone at home, watched some soccer and storage wars and read. 

I babysat on Tuesday and we ended up watching Frozen twice. It was interesting to watch the film dubbed into Finnish since I'd only seen the original version before. The songs were actually pretty alright in Finnish as well, but of course I prefer the original version. In Finland they only dub children's movies, so some of the Disney classics that I've seen as a kid I prefer in Finnish (The Lion King, Aladdin etc). Thank god only kid's movies are dubbed because I know in countries like Germany they pretty much dub everything. We just have subtitles.

I saw one of my friends both on Thursday and Saturday - we went to the city on both days and then on Saturday we also came to my place and I made some American pancakes.

My mom and her husband are coming back home later today and I think they're actually staying here for two nights now before going to our summerhouse.

I am gonna have a photography exhibition at my local library starting next Friday for a month or so - I have selected my photos but now I just need to organize them and put them into a PowerPoint presentation so they can put that to the screens at the library.

This Week on Instagram:

Trying out a new ice-cream flavor and reading Daughter of Smoke and Bone - a pretty good Monday I would say

I decided to participate on Camp NaNoWriMo which starts on July 1st. This meant that I did some work on my Ready. Set. Novel! book this week and actually finished the tasks and the outline for what I want to write. I did not set myself any overly difficult goals but just decided that I want to write at least a little bit every day, if possible, and hopefully I reach about 30,000 words after a month of writing. I've been thinking about writing this idea into a story for a while, but because it feels somewhat personal, I've kind of kept it under covers. But hopefully now I get some writing done. 

Very nervous audience watching Frozen

I had a movie night on Thursday and ended up watching one of my favorite films of all time, Gene Kelly and Stanley Donen's Singin' in the Rain, a placeholder in my top ten films of all time list. 

These are some of the books I want to attempt to reread during this summer.

I got a couple of comments asking about my Instagram account. You can find it from here in case you're interested. :)

Saturday, June 28, 2014

Stacking the Shelves (#14)

"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 information, click here

Five strangers. Countless adventures.One epic way to get lost. 

Four teens across the country have only one thing in common: a girl named LEILA. She crashes into their lives in her absurdly red car at the moment they need someone the most. 

There's HUDSON, a small-town mechanic who is willing to throw away his dreams for true love. And BREE, a runaway who seizes every Tuesday—and a few stolen goods along the way. ELLIOT believes in happy endings…until his own life goes off-script. And SONIA worries that when she lost her boyfriend, she also lost the ability to love. 
Hudson, Bree, Elliot and Sonia find a friend in Leila. And when Leila leaves them, their lives are forever changed. But it is during Leila's own 4,268-mile journey that she discovers the most important truth— sometimes, what you need most is right where you started. And maybe the only way to find what you're looking for is to get lost along the way.

When her son Max was diagnosed with autism, Avery Abbot’s life changed forever. Her husband left, and her own dreams became a distant fantasy—always second to fighting never-ending battles to make sure Max was given opportunity, love and respect. Finding someone to fight along her side wasn’t even on her list, and she’d come to terms with the fact that she could never be her own priority again. 

But a familiar face walking into her life in the form of 25-year-old Mason Street had Avery’s heart waging a war within. Mason was a failure. When he left his hometown five years ago, he was never coming back—it was only a matter of time before his records hit the billboard charts. Women, booze and rock-n-roll—that was it for him. But it seemed fate had a different plan in mind, and with a dropped record contract, little money and nowhere to go, Mason turned to the only family that ever made him feel home—the Abbots. 

Avery loved Mason silently for years—until he broke her heart…completely. But time and life have a funny way of changing people, and sometimes second chances are there for a reason. Could this one save them both?

These both titles are from Netgalley!

I must say I am super excited for both of these. Let's Get Lost (expected publication July 29th by Harlequin Teen) sounds like a perfect summer read. It has also a pretty banging rating on Goodreads, so my expectations are pretty high.

How We Deal With Gravity (expected publication July 7th) is a new adult title - you've probably noticed from my previous hauls that I've been in a mood for new adult recently. This sounds heartbreaking and honest and kind of romantic - so pretty much everything I want from a new adult novel. 

Friday, June 27, 2014

Book Review: Just Listen by Sarah Dessen

Release Date: April 6, 2006
Info about the author: Goodreads - Twitter - Website
Publisher: Viking Juvenile
Age group: YA
Pages: 383
Buy the book: Amazon - The Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

Annabel Green is "the girl who has everything" — at least that's what she portrays in her modeling shoots. But Annabel's life is far from perfect. Her friendship with Sophie ended bitterly,and her older sister's eating disorder is weighing down the entire family. Isolated and ostracized at school and at home, Annabel retreats into silent acceptance. Then she meets Owen -- intense, music obsessed, and determined to always tell the truth. And with his guidance, Annabel learns to just listen to herself and gains the courage to speak honestly. But will she be able to tell everyone what really happened the night she and Sophie stopped being friends?


I have loved Sarah Dessen's books since I read The Truth About Forever back in 2007/08. So, when I get a Sarah Dessen book I have not yet read into my hands, I am doing the happy dance. I found Just Listen from a charity shop for a pound, and now that I am finished the book, I can say safely that the pound was not wasted.

We are introduced to Annabel Green. She is beautiful, intelligent and funny. She used to have it all - place in the popular group, a modeling career, a group of friends. But after her best friend Sophie witnesses something Annabel is not ready to talk about, Sophie starts to spread rumors about her, and their friendship is broken. After a lonely, quiet summer, Annabel goes back to school - now she is a "slut", "a whore" and several other things in the eyes of people who previously doted on her. She also has problems at home - her sister Whitney is suffering from eating disorder and her older sister Kirsten has not been home for while. Her mother is super-protective over Whitney (the sister with the eating disorder) and it seems that the only thing she takes pleasure from is the modeling Annabel does. 

Annabel has been modeling since she was a child. She has mostly done commercials and fashion shows at the local mall, but her mother is hoping that she will get larger projects in the future. Both Kirsten and Whitney used to model as well, but now only Annabel is left in the modeling business. But Annabel wants to stop. Since the events at the beginning of the summer, she has not felt comfortable and she just wants to give it up. But because she is worried her mother will not be able to take it, she says nothing.

"Look, film is personal. There's no right or wrong message. It's all what you take from it". 
(This was one of my favorite quotes from the book because I completely agree!!!!!)

When Annabel forms a friendship with Owen, things start to change. Owen is nothing like Annabel expected - he is passionate, friendly, and most importantly, frankly honest. He is obsessed with music and sucks Annabel into the world of music as well. Annabel notices a change in herself, but there are some things he cannot talk about, not even to Owen. Or can she?

"There was something in these last words that made my heart just break. I waited for you. Of course he had. And of course he would tell me this, because, unlike me, Owen didn't keep secrets. With him, what you saw was really what you got". 

I love Sarah Dessen's characters. They are so realistic, human and faced with real problems. Annabel is seen as the girl who has it all, but once you read more and more about her, you realize that her life is not perfect. I loved differences between the three sisters and the change they all go through during the novel. Owen, of course, is completely dreamy and amazing, but he also has his issues he has to deal with. It was amazing to read about his obsession of music (though I kept hoping he would be obsessed with films rather than music, because I want to read a book with a guy that is obsessed with films!!). Dessen's books focus on everyday problems, problems within families and groups of friends, which is very refreshing after reading a lot of paranormal/dystopian fiction. 

"All my life, I realized, I'd only seen my parents one way, as if it was the only way they could be. One weak, one strong. One scared, one bold. I was beginning to understand, though, that there were no such things as absolutes, not in life or in people. Like Owen said, it was day by day, if not moment by moment. All you could do was take on as much weight as you can bear. And if you're lucky, there's someone close enough by to shoulder the rest."

I am completely in love with Dessen's writing. She is extremely descriptive and the way she is able to employ the feelings of the characters is just breathtaking. While I read the book I kept adding little notes to the pages just to mark my favorite parts for future reference.

I am happy to recommend Just Listen to every single person who asks for a recommendation of a good book. It is the perfect summer read - it has romance, but it is not one of those fluffy books you just skim through. It has a deeper meaning, at least it did to me.

Are you a fan of Sarah Dessen? If yes, which one is your favorite novel? Can you recommend me a book with a male character who is obsessed with films?

ps. if you want to find the playlist Sarah Dessen put together for the novel, go here!

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Life of a Blogger (#1)

Life of a Blogger is a weekly feature hosted by Jessi from Novel Heartbeat. For each week, she has chosen a non-bookish topic which somehow related to the personal life of the blogger outside the world of reading and books. Life of a Blogger meme will take place every THURSDAY and there will be a link over at Jessi's blog for the entries. If you want to know more, please click here
If you frequently visit my blog and go through my Sunday Posts, you probably notice that I've been usually posting only on six days per week instead of seven. That is because I have found it work for me to post two reviews per week plus the meme posts I do weekly. And since I haven't really had a meme post for Thursday or Friday, I've just posted a review on one of those days and left the other day without a post. When I came across Life of A Blogger, which luckily is supposed to be posted every Thursday, I knew that I should give this a try - maybe I've finally found a good meme which will allow me to post something every day of the week.
So here is my first Life of a Blogger post - I hope you enjoy it and might also consider participating in this meme if you don't already do so.
June 26, 2014 - Favorite Sports Teams
This picture always brings a smile on my face. Crazy girls in love with the best sport out there. 
I think some of my excitement about finding this meme has something to do with this week's topic. Because oh my, if there is something I love equally as much as books, it is my sports teams. 
So I guess I should give you a some sort of background for my sports love. Well, first of all, I am from Finland and a lot of Finnish people LOVE ice-hockey. Like football for countries like Italy and Spain, ice-hockey seems to be the number 1 sport for us Finns. One of my earliest hockey memories is from 1995 when Finland won the hockey World Championship - I was banging on kettles and stuff, using them as drums, watching the game with my dad. Forward nine years later, and I am a hockey fanatic. I come from a city where there is a hockey team that plays in the national league. I went to a game once, and that was it. I had been to those games before, but it had always been with my family, and at that point I was in the age that I already wanted to do stuff without my parents. Soon enough, I found a group of amazing people from the games and we started to go to them together. I became a part of the fan community, one of the best fan communities I've ever been part of, and the team and the sport pretty much became my whole life for many years. We cried, we laughed, we sang and danced. We cheered for the team, for our friendships, for the experiences we gained there. That ice-hall will always be one of my favorite places in the world and I'm already counting for the first practice games that will take place in August so I can go and watch some hockey.
The name of my favorite team is Oulun Kärpät. It won it's first Finnish championship in 1981, after which the success of the team went kind of downhill. It was dropped away from the premiere league and it wasn't until 2000s that the team got back to the national league again and started to gain some success. It was year 2004 that it gained the Finnish Championship for the first time after 1981 (the 2004 championship is one of my best memories EVER). More success followed - the team won the championship in 2005, 2007, 2008 and once again earlier this year! 
Me (on the left) being an idiot with Jaakko Suomalainen (goaltender) and my friend. Suomalainen was really into heavy metal music, so for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to make the "heavy" sign with my hand. I love this photo because it is one of those perfect snap shots in which everyone's reaction is so authentic and real. I think we actually gave this photo to him - I wonder whether he still has it somewhere. 
For those who follow hockey, names like Reijo Ruotsalainen (two time Stanley Cup Winner), Lasse Kukkonen (world champion from 2011, three time olympic medalist) and Pekka Rinne (goaltender for Nashville Predators) might say something. Well, these guys, among many more talented hockey players, had their start in Kärpät. From these three, Pekka Rinne happens to be my favorite player of ALL TIME. I picked him as my favorite player pretty much the moment I started going to the games (which is kind of weird because he did not even play that often since he was the second goalie) and it has been amazing to follow his career and see how his status has risen. 

In this photo I'm with my favorite player of all time, Pekka Rinne. I remember really loving this photo because our outfits kind of match - he is wearing pink and grey, and so am I. The weirdest things used to make me happy. I was always so nervous around him and you can really see it from this photo as well. I haven't gotten any hotter in the last 9 years or so after the taking of this photo (I look completely hideous), but look what has happened to Pekka. 

Since following the games of Kärpät usually isn't enough hockey for me, I also follow NHL, my favorite teams being Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins. The reason I love Capitals is the fact that I used to live at D.C. area and I kind of feel like for a while, Capitals was my "home team". And yeah, Alex Ovechkin is pretty damn awesome! Pittsburgh I like because there are some pretty awesome players there (Jussi Jokinen started from Kärpät as well). Sidney Crosby is one of my biggest hockey crushes, firstly because he is an AWESOME player (seriously, I don't think there's anything hotter than a talented hockey player) and secondly because he is pretty hot. I guess I should just provide you with a picture so you can judge yourself. ;)

A part of me wants to yell at the computer to tell him to stop being so adorable while other part of me is just drooling to the keyboard.

I am also a big fan of the Finnish National Team and will pretty much watch every single national game there is. We did pretty good this year with an Olympic Bronze and a World Championship Silver. 

Oh wow, this ended up being a really long post. I hope some of you got this far and actually enjoyed this. As you can probably sense, I am addicted, and I'm happy about it!
In case you are a hockey fan, please leave me a comment and we can become best friend. Seriously, finding someone who loves both books AND hockey is so difficult. 

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday (#10)

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

For more information, click here

I was Here by Gayle Forman (expected publication January 27th, 2015 by Viking Children's)

Since there's no cover for this one yet, here's a picture of Gayle Forman probably laughing right after she has written a heart wrenching seen, knowing that it will give all the FEELS to her readers.

Cody and Meg were inseparable.
Two peas in a pod.
Until . . . they weren’t anymore.

When her best friend Meg drinks a bottle of industrial-strength cleaner alone in a motel room, Cody is understandably shocked and devastated. She and Meg shared everything—so how was there no warning? But when Cody travels to Meg’s college town to pack up the belongings left behind, she discovers that there’s a lot that Meg never told her. About her old roommates, the sort of people Cody never would have met in her dead-end small town in Washington. About Ben McAllister, the boy with a guitar and a sneer, who broke Meg’s heart. And about an encrypted computer file that Cody can’t open—until she does, and suddenly everything Cody thought she knew about her best friend’s death gets thrown into question.

I Was Here is Gayle Forman at her finest, a taut, emotional, and ultimately redemptive story about redefining the meaning of family and finding a way to move forward even in the face of unspeakable loss.

If you have read Gayle Forman before (the author of If I Stay) you can probably guess how this book is going to be - emotional, well written, full of awesome characters and most importantly, feels. The synopsis sounds so good and intriguing. I can't wait!

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday (#14)

For more information, click here

This week's topic is Ten Book Cover Trends (or just elements of covers) I Dislike

These are all from my shelves on Goodreads - some I have read and some are on my TBR shelf. These are my opinions (highly exaggerated one, just for fun) and I don't mean to hurt or make any mad. 











Monday, June 23, 2014

Book Review: On the Fence by Kasie West

Expected publication: July 1st 2014 (review copy received from Netgalley)
Info about author: Twitter - Goodreads - Website
Publisher: HarperTeen
Age group: YA
Pages: 320
Pre-order the book: Amazon - Book Depository

Description (from Goodreads):

She's a tomboy. He's the boy next door…

Charlie Reynolds can outrun, outscore, and outwit every boy she knows. But when it comes to being a girl, Charlie doesn't know the first thing about anything. So when she starts working at a chichi boutique to pay off a speeding ticket, she finds herself in a strange new world. To cope with the stress of her new reality, Charlie takes to spending nights chatting with her neighbor Braden through the fence between their yards. As she grows to depend on their nightly Fence Chats, she realizes she's got a bigger problem than speeding tickets-she's falling for Braden. She knows what it means to go for the win, but if spilling her secret means losing him for good, the stakes just got too high.

Fun, original, and endearing, On the Fence is a romantic comedy about finding yourself and finding love where you least expect.

My thoughts:

This was quite cute, as I expected. I read Kasie West's The Distance Between Us last summer and quite enjoyed it, and I feel like my feelings after that were quite similar as the feelings I had after finishing with this one.

For pretty much her whole life Charlie Reynolds has been a tomboy and more like one of the guys than a girly girl. After the death of her mother Charlie has been solely raised by his cop father and being surrounded by older, sporty brother has made her also athletic and to be honest, a bit of a smartass. Getting into problems is not new for Charlie, but when using her father's job as an excuse to get away from them does not work, she has to take a job at a local boutique to pay her dues. The new work clothes and the world of make-up and hanging out with girlfriends come as totally new to Charlie, and it becomes more and more difficult for her to keep up with her two different identities - the one she has home with her brothers and her neighbor and the one she has at work. Soon it starts to seem like the only place she can truly be herself at is by the fence dividing the yards of Charlie's family and Braden's family. The conversations they have there in the middle of the night, not seeing each other but only hearing each other's voices make Charlie realize that Braden might be more to her than just a friend. But can he really be more when he has always been like a brother to her?

I really liked Charlie - she is sarcastic, athletic and fun to read about. Her brothers also seem hilarious and I was able to relate with her struggles about her identity to some extent. Braden seems like a really cute and desirable male interest, but I feel like to some extent I was not able to make a "connection" with him which was one of the reasons I gave this book 3 stars instead of 4.

I'm not going to deny that this wasn't predictable - already the synopsis kind of gives you an idea about the relationship dynamics of the story. But the predictability did not really bother me too much and West's writing is enjoyable and easy to read. 

All in all, this book probably won't change your life or anything, but it will offer you a couple of hours of fun and romance perfect for the beach or the pool. For fans of contemporary romances with strong and interesting female characters and cute boys next door, this is one of the must-reads for summer 2014.

Sunday, June 22, 2014

Sunday Post (#12)

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Weekly recap:
Ready Player One by Ernest Cline (Review) (*****)
The Selection (The Selection #1) by Kiera Cass (****)
The One (The Selection #3) by Kiera Cass (****)

Coming up:
Review for On The Fence by Kasie West
Top Ten Tuesday - Book Cover trends/elements of covers I like/dislike
Waiting on Wednesday
Review for Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
Stacking the Shelves

What I read this week:
Loving Mr. Daniels by Brittainy C. Cherry
Jane Eyre - Graphic Novel
Going Too Far by Jennifer Echols
Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson

What I watched this week:

I don't know whether I should be embarrassed by this, but I watched a whole season of Storage Wars this week. The idea of that show is so simple, but the different personalities of the buyers and the clearly scripted drama between them is just AMAZING. A perfect form of entertainment. When it comes to reality shows, this is the best I've seen in years (and I usually don't watch reality shows at all!)

I also finished watching Orange is the New Black season 2. Though it wasn't as good as the first season, it got better towards the end and all and all I really enjoyed it! 

I ended up re-watching a couple of films as well: Austenland and The 40 Year Old Virgin.

Around the Internet:

Check out this cool map from Epic Reads

In other news:
I've spent the whole week alone at home - it has been SO FUN! I've pretty much moved to the family room couch - I have my books and laptop here and I have an easy access to the television. I've been seeing some friends too, but mostly I've just been home since the weather has sucked. Finnish summer = a little bit of snow, a little bit of icy rain, crazy wind. This loner living will continue tomorrow when my parents leave for a holiday in the south of Finland.

Only about a month to the big summer music festival here in my city. I've been talking about it with several people this week and it seems a lot of my old friends are coming, which is SUPER cool. Surprisingly the schedule looks pretty good and I'm able to fit in all the artists that I want to see. The "biggest" bands out there are Volbeat and Megadeth but I think I'll skip both of those. My brother is super excited for Megadeth though. 

I made salmon for the first time this week on my own (my mom usually always makes it because I always think I'm gonna mess it up) and it actually was really good! I covered a piece of salmon with pesto, put it to the oven for about an hour and enjoyed it with some fried noodles. Yummy!

This week on Instagram (this is a new feature I'll add sometimes to my Sunday Post posts - this is not everything I posted this week, just some of the highlights)

My cousin's daughter and me. That girl is HILARIOUS.

This is pretty much what my nights have looked like this week. 

Of course I had to participate in the #bookthroughphone tag.

From Amy & Roger's Epic Detour by Morgan Matson. This book became one of my favorites of all time. So good!

Lazy Sunday outfit