My March

march1Hello! How is it the end of March already? What happened? o_O Anyway, this is my recap post for March – you can see the February edition here.

Spring is finally here! If you’re following me on Instagram, there are a few photos from my walks and such. I try to go for a walk every day because I want our baby to be outside as much as possible, and I did go out in winter as well, but some of those walks were really miserable for me (the baby was fine, he was all bundled up and protected in his stroller, while my extremities nearly froze).

In baby news: He will be seven months old tomorrow. I think we are currently waiting for some more teeth to make their appearance because of all the finger-chewing, fussing, and drooling. Yay for teeth, boo for fussing, poor thing doesn’t know what’s happening to him, of course. Pears are currently a huge favourite. He’s slowly figuring out how to crawl on his hands and knees. Stackable cups are wonderful. We also managed a few dates (sans baby) so that’s great!

In personal news: I had a neurological exam last week because I’ve been having some really bad headaches – turns out they’re migraines. YAY. Ugh. I’m supposed to keep a migraine diary now, writing down stuff about the headaches I get. On the up side: I had a CT scan of my head done and I received the images: SO COOL. Apparently, my nose is slightly crooked, who knew?! :D And I saw pics of my brain – the swirly parts and all. I’ve never had this done before (excepting an x-ray for my dentist) so I was pretty amazed.

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The best read of the month was undoubtedly A Darker Shade of MagicI’ll write the review as soon as I get my thoughts in order. Other memorable books I read this month were Shadow Scale (review) and The DUFF (review), so not a bad reading month all in all. I tried to organize my TBR pile and I hope to read more of the books I already own in the months to come.

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On the blog:

Reviews

Tough Travels

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The books I got:

  • darker-shade-magic-schwabA Darker Shade of Magic by V. E. Schwab. Amazing, I tell you. Go read it now. (purchased, paperback – so pretty).
  • Driving Mr. Dead by Molly Harper – this is a novella in the Half Moon Hollow series and it’s classic Harper – funny and entertaining (purchased for Kindle).
  • Animal MagnetismAnimal Attraction and Rescue My Heart by Jill Shalvis. Have I mentioned that her books are my catnip? Yeah… I still have some more to read but I’m saving them for later (purchased for Kindle).
  • The Abduction of Julia by Karen Hawkins – this is an old favourite; I read it ages ago but decided to buy the Kindle edition because it was on sale. (purchased for Kindle).
  • hidden-huntress-danielle-jensenHidden Huntress by Danielle L. Jensen – I read Stolen Songbird but never got around to reviewing it! I liked it a lot so I was really excited to find that I was approved for the sequel on Netgalley! Thank you, Angry Robot! Also, the cover is gorgeous, don’t you think? I love all the details.

 

 

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Link love:

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This is all from me. Now tell me, how was your March?

What was the best book you read? Did you watch anything interesting?

I love hearing from you! :)

To Pin a Book

pinterest-books2I love Pinterest. I always search for the “P” button whenever I visit new blogs and I use it to collect images of beautiful things and search for inspiration. I know it’s not really a social network in the sense of meeting new people (at least I’m not adept at using it that way), but I’ve found some pretty amazing blogs and people through the photos they pin. You can check out my account if you want.

pinterest-books1But today, I want to talk about Pinterest boards for book lovers! The following are eleven of my favourite book-related boards. I follow many more but these are beautifully curated and are a great place to start if you want to dive into the (admittedly time-consuming!) world of books on Pinterest. My bookish board is here. Happy pinning! :)

Me Time // diagon alley // Books etc. // don’t be late // Read and write // Books

Typewriters // Write // Books // books & tea // Literary Cats

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Do you use Pinterest? For books as well?

I’d love to see your boards and any recommendations you might have! :)

Mini Reviews #3: The Romance Edition

Here’s another batch of my mini reviews. They’re dead useful for whittling down my massive pile of books to review and I love them for the books that I didn’t love – those mediocre books are always the hardest to review. But there are a couple of jewels in here as well, so take a look! Check out my NA romance mini reviews!

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entice-enchantress-karen-hawkinsHow to Entice an Enchantress (The Duchess Diaries #3) by Karen Hawkins, published in 2013 by Pocket Books. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased (paperback).

My rating: 4.5/5.

My mini opinion: This was actually a re-read. I lovelovelove Karen Hawkins’s books, she’s one of my auto-buy authors, and How to Entice an Enchantress is one of her best. It’s a Beauty and the Beast retelling (though in a very loose sense), and is the quintessential comfort read. It has fluff, it has banter, it has a grumpy-but-swoony hero and a smart heroine. What more can you ask for in a romance? :)

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viscount-lived-down-lane-elizabeth-boyleThe Viscount Who Lived Down the Lane (Rhymes with Love #4) by Elizabeth Boyle, published in 2014 by Avon. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

My rating: 3/5.

My mini opinion: Ahh, romance covers… Always with the improbable abdominal and pectoral muscles… He looks like he’s in pain. This was a fun read with the usual “dark and damaged hero doesn’t want to be saved by quirky and unpopular herione” twist. It also features a rather bleak view of the London society at the time (what with the vicious rumors of Louisa’s mother’s behaviour marring her debut) – but I imagine the people were quite cruel in this regard. Especially since the upper classes didn’t do much beside dancing and gossiping. But yeah, this is a good one-evening entertainment if you run out of light stuff to read!

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secrets-sir-richard-kenworthy-julia-quinnThe Secrets of Sir Richard Kenworthy (Smythe-Smith Quartet #4) by Julia Quinn, published in 2015 by Avon. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

My rating: 3.5/5.

My mini opinion: Well, Julia Quinn is one of my favourite historical romance authors but this one fell short of my expectations. I mean, it’s ok and all, but not the witty, funny prose I usually encounter when I read her novels. Let me just say: I would murder Sir Richard in his bed if I was Iris and he kept a secret like that from me (now you all have to read it to see if you agree with me, HA!). But I loved returning to the known characters (the scene with the play that the kids put on is hilarious) and I understood Iris’s actions. She’s one of those quiet heroines that’s not quite a wallflower but likes to listen more than she likes to talk if that makes sense. See Quinn’s and Lark’s reviews if you want more info on the book!

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talk-of-the-town-karen-hawkinsTalk of the Town (Glory NC #1) by Karen Hawkins, published in 2008 by Pocket Books. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

My rating: 3/5. 

My mini opinion: This is the first contemporary novel by Karen Hawkins that I read and I have to say I prefer her historicals. I do like a good small-town romance (Jill Shalvis owns my heart), but this one just didn’t speak to me. Maybe it’s because I didn’t connect with the heroine, Roxie, who is on a sort of a bender to revolutionise herself after a nasty divorce caused by her finding her husband in bed with his cross-dressing lover. She returns to her home town (with her older brother in tow – hello book #2) to take care of her ailing mother and meets “the one that got away”, Nick, the town sheriff. She takes on her mother’s charity work, which throws her into a murder investigation, helped by a bunch of geriatric busy-bodies. Maybe it was all a bit much for me (there’s a really silly scene with the mayor’s girlfriend that involves showing off their boobs). Hawkins is the queen of historicals for me and that’s that.

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master-kresley-coleThe Master (The Game Maker #2) by Kresley Cole, published in 2015 by Gallery Books. Goodreads. Author.

Source: purchased for Kindle.

My rating: 2.5/5.

My mini opinion: This is straight-up erotica, no doubt about that. This book doesn’t even pretend it’s anything else, because the heroine takes her first job as a prostitute in chapter one and meets the hero, a Russian mobster who likes to play rough. She doesn’t follow his script, which is, of course, hugely entertaining for him, so he wants her back. And then things spiral a bit because he thinks she wants to entrap him by having a baby, becomes a controlling freak, and basically imprisons her (but leaves her the use of his credit card, naturally). Eh. I really liked Cole’s If You Dare and her Immortals After Dark series, but this is just a bit too much (not the sex parts, the story that goes with it).

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Have you read any of these romances? What did you think?

Do you have any good recommendations for me? I’m always looking for new stories! :)

Tough Travels: Beloved Mounts

tough travelsSo I’m participating in this week’s Tough Travels meme again – hosted by Nathan of Fantasy Review Barn, this is one great way to explore Fantasyland and create lists, YAY! Don’t forget to go and check out what other participating bloggers have put on their lists – my tbr expands every week because of them! :)

This week, we join forces in our search for BELOVED MOUNTS. These are a must in Fantasyland. With the exception of steampunkish elements, most everybody travels by means of living creatures that are sometimes even capable of speech. Though if you ask me, I’d probably fall off that horse if it spoke to me. Honestly.

I thought about going the equine way today and list all the pretty horses, but then I decided to pick one example of every species I could come up with. Here they are:

  1. Shadowfax the horse from The Lord of the RingsOk I’m going all psychic on you now and predicting this will be the most popular choice of the week. Yes? But have you heard of Shadowfacts, his smarter cousin?
  2. Iorek Byrnison the polar bear from His Dark Materials trilogy. A polar bear with an iron armour. Pretty badass if you ask me, but he’s a great companion to Lyra and a very noble bear indeed.
  3. Saphira the dragon from Eragon (The Inheritance Cycle). It would be seriously weird if I didn’t list at least one dragon this week. Saphira is one of the very few dragons still in existence and hatches for Eragon, a simple farm boy. Their relationship is very deep and they’re much more connected than your usual rider + animal.
  4. abraxosBuckbeak the hippogriff from Harry Potter. Saved from the executioner! He’s one scary creature to tell you the truth but I wouldn’t mind flying him around for a bit. But I’d let someone else feed him ferrets… Ugh.
  5. Abraxos the wyvern from Heir of Fire (Throne of Glass series). Ok he’s probably my favourite pick this week. He was meant to be killed by other wyverns for training purposes but Manon chooses him because he’s a survivor. I expect we’ll see them accomplish great things together! All the other books from today’s list have been made into movies so I could have picked a picture of one of the previous picks, but I really wanted to have one of Abraxos and Manon. Image credit.

Honorable mentions go to Bill the pony from LOTR and also giant eagles from The Hobbit though they don’t really count because they’re not named – the same goes for the unicorn from Stardust.

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I think wyverns would make excellent substitutes for bycicles in the city: smaller than dragons, less likely to eat people… Though horses are pretty cool, too, since they’re the only vegetarians on my list.

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Which lovely creatures would you add to this week’s list? 

Which one would you choose for yourself? 

The Duff by Kody Keplinger

duff-kody-keplinger1The DUFF: Designated Ugly Fat Friend by Kody Keplinger, first published in 2010 py Poppy (Hachette).

Goodreads. Author. Amazon. Book Depository. Barnes & Noble.

Source: publisher via Netgalley (thank you, Hachette, for providing me with a free e-copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review).

Genre: YA contemporary.

Seventeen-year-old Bianca Piper may not be the prettiest girl in her high school, but she has a loyal group of friends, a biting wit, and a spot-on BS detector. She’s also way too smart to fall for the charms of man-slut and slimy school hottie Wesley Rush. But things aren’t so great at home and Bianca, desperate for a distraction, ends up kissing Wesley. Worse, she likes it. Eager for escape, Bianca throws herself into a closeted enemies-with-benefits relationship with him.Until it all goes horribly awry. It turns out Wesley isn’t such a bad listener, and his life is pretty screwed up, too. Suddenly Bianca realizes with absolute horror that she’s falling for the guy she thought she hated more than anyone. (Goodreads)

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My rating: 4/5.

Before I ever knew about the book, I saw the movie trailer for The Duff movie that’s out in cinemas now. It seemed like an interesting teenage comedy so I jumped at the chance to read the book first.

I was not disappointed. The Duff is a funny story to be sure, but I was very pleasantly surprised to find that it’s much more than that. Bianca is an average teenage girl with average teenage problems that take a turn for the worse when her mom files for divorce and her dad starts drinking again. In search of distraction, she kisses the one person she shouldn’t be kissing, the playboy Wesley. As much as she wants to keep things casual between them, her emotions keep getting in the way.

So you see, this could have been a cliché enemies-to-lovers story, but it isn’t. Bianca acts like a teenager but for once I wasn’t bothered by her often naive and silly expectations – she’s the real deal and actually learns from her mistakes, thinks about her options and emotions, and is a really well-rounded character. She’s sarcastic to the point of being rude, she’s sometimes prickly as a cactus, and is afraid to care too much. Wesley, who’s your typical manwhore/jock (which is one of the over-used romance tropes I usually dislike), is also a layered individual, against all expectations. And that’s what makes this seem so real: there are no one-aspect, cardbord people in the real world and Kody Keplinger seems to have gotten that right, unlike many other contemporary YA/NA writers.

Another thing I really liked was the casual attitude towards teenage sexuality. First of all, Bianca and Wesley have a lot of sex which is in no way bad – Bianca’s not a virgin (and neither is Wesley, of course), and as much as she feels “dirty” after having a no-strings-attached sex fling with someone she dislikes, it’s more due to the fact that she doesn’t like him than the sex. Bianca also thinks about slut-shaming a lot, and Keplinger managed to problematize this issue wonderfully in her novel.

But as much as Bianca and Wesley’s relationship is the main focus of the story, it comes about because of other issues in Bianca’s life, which was refreshing – what I want to say here is that I loved the fact that Bianca has a life beyond Wesley (she actually tries to keep him as far away from her personal things as possible). She has two amazing friends who not only have her back but fight with her and she has a dysfunctional family in which she might just be the only real adult. To be honest, I shouldn’t have to be surprised that a story about teenagers features these but so often the romantic aspect takes over the entire story, which is totally uncool, especially because teenage relationships very, very rarely last for a lifetime.

I’d recommend The Duff if you’re searching for a fun, light novel with a kernel of the real deal. It got me thinking about how we, the women in our society, think and talk about ourselves and each other (because slut-shaming and gossiping certainly doesn’t end with high school). I’ve been thinking about this a lot recently and I’ve really been trying to change my ways.

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Have you read The DUFF? What did you think? 

Would you recommend it to teenagers? Or to adults as well?