maandag 11 augustus 2014

July Book Haul

It has been a while since I wrote something on my blog other than a review. It's time for a Book Haul. I know I'm a little late with my haul for July, but I'm gonna do it anyhow.

Like so many people I'm on sort of a book buying ban. "Sort of" because I know I'm not able to stop buying books completely. It's just... I have so many unread books... I don't even have place for them anymore. I hope I'll have my own home soon so I can buy a huge bookcase! 

Here is my haul:

1. Hippy Chick by Louise Harwood

Ibiza: paradise for the clubbers, hedonists and sun-seekers, but for Honey Ballantyne it is the only home she has ever known. With the responsibility of running a hotel on her shoulders, and two hippy-dippy parents whose idea of a hard day's work is a yoga class without their clothes on, Honey feels trapped. When her first love, Edouard, returns to the island from London and truths about her parents start to unravel, Honey is forced to realize that before she can make decisions about her future she must reconcile herself with the past . . .

Hahaaaaa even if I would've been on a BBB (Book Buying Ban), it's not forbidden to swap a book, is it? I found this book in our hotel while we were in Greece this summer and you could just take it. They had an entire shelf with books left by tourists and you could just grab one and take it with you. Yay! I liked it! I'm not sure this book will be completely my style, but I'm planning on finding that out as soon as possible.

2. How to fall in love by Cecelia Ahern

She has just two weeks. Two weeks to teach him how to fall in love – with his own life.

Adam Basil and Christine Rose are thrown together late one night, when Christine is crossing the Halfpenny Bridge in Dublin. Adam is there, poised, threatening to jump. Adam is desperate – but Christine makes a crazy deal with him. His 35th birthday is looming and she bets him she can show him that life is worth living before then. 

Despite her determination, Christine knows what a dangerous promise she’s made. Against the ticking of the clock, the two of them embark on wild escapades, grand romantic gestures and some unlikely late-night outings. Slowly, Christine thinks Adam is starting to fall back in love with his life. 

But has she done enough to change his mind for good? And is that all that’s starting to happen?

I read the blurb of this book in a little folder our local bookstore always gives when you buy something and I liked it straight away! It looks like the kind of book I won't be able to put down. I'm really looking forward to read it, but the last month I let fait decide wich book I read next. I made a TBR jar (To Be Read jar) and pick a new paper out of it every time I finish a book. Hopefully I'll pick this one soon!

3. Take a chance on me by Jill Mansell

Cleo Quinn doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to men, but now Will's come along. Handsome and attentive, he could be her Mr Right. Things are definitely looking up for Cleo... apart from one small problem with a rather large ego. Johnny LaVenture, sculptor extraordinaire and her personal childhood nemesis, is back in Channing's Hill and tormenting her as if he'd never been away.

Meanwhile Cleo's sister Abbie has a problem of her own-husband Tom has become distant and withdrawn, and she's determined to find out why. But will the shocking truth mean the end of their idyllically happy marriage?

The sisters are about to discover that the past can come back to haunt you, and that love can flourish in the unlikeliest of places...

A deal where you buy 3 Jill Mansell books and only pay for 2 of them... I could NOT let this pass. Mansell was the author who introduced me to chick lit and I will be grateful for ever! Though I already have a lot of her books, I could find three more of them without a problem...

4. To the moon and back by Jill Mansell

The gorgeously indulgent, funny and touching new novel from the bestselling author

When Ellie Kendall tragically loses her husband she feels her life is over. But eventually she’s ready for a new start – at work, that is. She doesn’t need a new man when she has a certain secret visitor to keep her company...

Zack McLaren seems to have it all, but the girl he can’t stop thinking about won’t give him a second glance. If only she’d pay him the same attention she lavishes on his dog.

Moving to North London, Ellie meets neighbour Roo who has a secret of her own. Can the girls sort out their lives? Guilt is a powerful emotion, but a lot can happen in a year in Primrose Hill...

Same deal: book 2

5. Good at Games by Jill Mansell

Suzy fell for Harry the moment she showed him her husband's sperm sample. It didn't really belong to her husband though because she wasn't married, and the sperm sample was really just the dregs from her milk carton, but when you're trying to get off a speeding charge, you have to improvise, right?

Same deal: book 3

6. Porcia, wife of Brutus by Adelheid van Beuningen

It's 43 B.C., Porcia is dying. Marcus Junius Brutus's wife has cancer and she considers suicide. But first she'll put her life on paper and writes everything down. She takes the reader to her happy marriage where everything has something to do with the struggle between Brutus and his biggest political rival Julius Caesar. Porcia bluntly reports the murder on this powerful ruler and the evolution afterwards.

In "Porcia, wife of Brutus" Van Beuningen shows her facination for the ancient times: with her typical historical precesion she makes ancient Rome accessible through a political love story.

Since I'm a teacher in Latin and Ancient Greek, it's normal I always look out for books about these languages, cultures, countries,... I saw this book by accident in a cheap book store. It's a store with second hand books and new books that didn't sell too good. If I wanted this book, I had to act than and there because next time it would'nt be there anymore. I know, this sounds like an excuse... Maybe because it is one :p Hehe!

To be honest I don't know a lot about Porcia or Brutus. Maybe that's the reason why I wanted to read this book. It's always nice to discover new things!

7. The war that killed Achilles: The true story of Homer's Iliad and the Trojan War by Caroline Alexander

The dramatic events of the Trojan War are legend?but Homer's epic poem, Iliad, is devoted entirely to a few mundane weeks at the end of a debilitating, waning ten-year campaign. The story's focus is not on drama but on a bitter truth: both armies want nothing more than to stop fighting and go home. Achilles?the electrifying hero who is Homer's brilliant creation?quarrels with his commander, Agamemnon, but eventually returns to the field to avenge a comrade's death. Few warriors, in life or literature, have challenged their commanding officer and the rationale of the war they fought as fiercely as did Homer's Achilles. Homer's Iliad addresses the central questions defining the war experience of every age. Is a warrior ever justified in challenging his commander? Must he sacrifice his life for someone else's cause? Giving his life for his country, does a man betray his family? Can death ever be compensated by glory? How is a catastrophic war ever allowed to start?and why, if all parties wish it over, can it not be ended? As she did in The Endurance and The Bounty, Caroline Alexander has taken apart a story we think we know and put it back together in a way that reveals what Homer really meant us to glean from his masterpiece. Written with the authority of a scholar and the vigor of a bestselling narrative historian, The War That Killed Achilles is a superb and utterly timely presentation of one of the timeless stories of our civilization.

Same reason as book number 6. I'm just interested in all these subjects. I adored the IIiad at University. We had to read it entirely and scant every sentence. It was great to find hidden meanings and links with other stories. I loved the mythical creatures and the great loves in this book. The hatred int it was less "loveable", but it made the book so you can't really hate the hatred... If you understand what I'm trying to say :p

8. The England of Jane Austen by Karin Quint

Since this book is Dutch, I couldn't find an English blurb. It's one of my favorites of this month as I'm a Janeite in heart and soul. This book is like a travel guide and takes you along the house of Jane Austen, the places where she stayed in her life (or where her family lived), the Jane Austen Centre, houses that served as film locations in the many adaptations... It's soooooo cool to have this book and I can't wait to visit all these places. I also hope I'll be able to visit the Jane Austen festival in Bath once in my life (or more) :p. 

9. And here are the books I received to review. A big thank you to the authors! I will read your book soon :)

9a: Nowhere to Goa by Doug E. Jones
9b: The Memory Closet by Ninie Hammon
9c: The secret of flying by Margaret Buckhanon

Thank you for visiting my blog and I hope you have a great book haul too for July! If you have read one of the books above, it would be great to know what you thought of it. :)

zaterdag 9 augustus 2014

Review "Pride/Prejudice: a novel of mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennett, and their forbidden lovers"

Some information

Title: Pride/Prejudice: a novel of mr. Darcy, Elizabeth Bennett, and their forbidden lovers
Author: Ann Herendeen
Pages: 432
Published: January 2010
Publisher: Haper Paperbacks
My source: Boekenfestijn
My score on Goodreads: 3 stars


For readers who've loved Jane Austen's most popular novel—the inestimable Pride and Prejudice—questions have always remained. What is the real nature of Darcy's intense friendship with Charles Bingley, to explain why he would prevent Bingley's marriage to Elizabeth's beautiful and virtuous sister Jane? How can Darcy reconcile his own desire for Elizabeth with his determination to save his friend from a similar entanglement? What is the disturbing history behind Darcy's tortured relationship with his foster brother, George Wickham? And what other intimacies, besides their cherished friendship, are exchanged between Elizabeth and Charlotte Lucas?

Ann Herendeen, acclaimed author of Phyllida and the Brotherhood of Philander, reimagines this classic love story, focusing on the untold aspects of Jane Austen's timeless novel. Pride/Prejudice brings to light all the buried secrets, potential scandals, and unspoken, forbidden loves of Austen's story, weaving a tale of intertwined passions, pride humbled, and ultimately, freedom from prejudice.

My review

Ok... this book was... strange... ?!... 

I hope it won't affect the way I see Pride and Prejudice, mr. Darcy and all the others. In Pride/Prejudice Ann Herendeen shows us a totally different interpretation of Austens book. She finds something more than friendship between Darcy and Bingley. The two men love each other in a totally different way and in the beginning I had the feeling they just wanted to marry a woman because society wanted/ expected them to. After reading a while though, I discovered I was wrong. I also discovered Ann Herendeen did a good job in describing the scenes we "miss" in Pride and Prejudice. Her descriptions weren't always my cup of tea, but she at least sought a declaration for some events in the real work. She tried to read between the lines and ended up with a story that made sense completely. I doubt I would read the same story between the lines of Pride and Prejudice, but I'm sure I wouldn't be able to fit my ideas that good in the real story. Sometimes I really thought "Oh my God, what if she's right? What if she interpreted this correct and I was wrong all the time?" It was scary... I don't want another idea of the original story. I don't want to see Darcy and Bingley in another way than I did before. 

I gave this book 3 stars because I think Ann Herendeen did a very good job, but I couldn't find myself in her version of the story. I had mixed feelings all the time, but I'm glad I read the book.

dinsdag 29 juli 2014

Review "The Gatekeeper's Sons"

Some information

Title: The Gatekeeper's Sons
Author: Eva Pohler
Pages: 384
Published: August 2012
Publisher: Green Press/Eva Pohler
My source: the author (thank you!)
My score on Goodreads: 4 stars


Fifteen-year-old Therese watches her parents die. While in a coma, she meets the twin sons of Hades—Hypnos, the god of sleep, and Thanatos, the god of death. She thinks she's manipulating a dream, not kissing the god of death and totally rocking his world. 

Than makes a deal with Hades and goes as a mortal to the Upperworld to try and win Therese's heart, but not all the gods are happy. Some give her gifts. Others try to kill her. 

The deal requires Therese to avenge the death of her parents. With the help of Than’s fierce and exotic sisters, the Furies, she finds herself in an arena face to face with the murderer, and only one will survive.

My review

Good book! This was my first audio book and I have to say I don't like audio books as much as I hoped I'd do. That's the reason why it took me so long to finish this book. The story was very good so that's not why I had to plough through it for months. 

In "The Gatekeeper's Sons" we meet Therese, 15 y.o., who just lost her parents in a terrible accident. The only problem is: the accident wasn't just an accident. It was a brutal murder and the person who pulled the trigger, wanted Therese to be dead too. In a way Therese would've liked this outcome better too, but the gods didn't believe she was ready to stop her life. 
The gods... in this story we are confronted with the Greek gods in all their glory. As a teacher in Greek and Latin I couldn't be thrilled more. I was frightened there would be lots of incorrect details, but I was happy to see Eva Pohler did a lot of research. Everything made sense and the whole story was poured in a beautiful whole. The gods were presented in a very good and complete way and the characters in the book were tangible, understandable, real,... The mix between gods and human beings was lovely.
After the accident Therese meets these gods very often. She even falls in love with one of the darkest gods in Greek mythology... Hades' son: Thanatos. His name means "Death", his job is to guide dead people to the underworld, the empire where his father is king. Why couldn't Therese fall for the cute boy next door? Why did she fall in love with an almost untangable god? Why is she risking her life to spend the rest of it with him in a world she doesn't know?

Beside the gods and the other characters I also liked the story. It was exciting from the beginning on! Sometimes I did believe there were otiose parts, but the main reason why I didn't like these parts was the voice reading this story. The person who did this was very good, but when you stumble upon an insipid part in a book you just start to read a little faster. With an audio book this wasn't possible and I had to listen to all these little parts in a very slow tempo. Hated it! That's why I prefer a real book instead of these audio books...

zaterdag 19 juli 2014

Review "Next Time Lucky"

Some information

Title: Next Time Lucky (Lessons of a Matchmaker)
Author: Siggy Buckley
Pages: 252
Published: January 2013
Publisher: Createspace
My Source: author (thank you!)
My Score on Goodreads: 4 stars


Cherie, a professional matchmaker from Dublin, Ireland, faces the ultimate challenge when she tries to find a soul mate for herself. She surfs the risky waves of the Internet and flies around the world to adventures, disappointments and not a few surprises. Chat-rooms prove to be intoxicating, and Cherie feels like in a kid in a candystore. Among the Lotharios she encounters are recycled bachelors, breezy islands of ego, fly-by-nights, birds of paradise, commitment phobics, and the odd sex maniac. She learns the hard way that it's easy come, uneasy go at this smorgasboard of cyber-dreamboats.
Her story is an intriguing read, offering a revealing glimpse into the world of cyber romance for singles that are toying with the idea, for those who haven’t dared yet, or those who just want to compare notes. It also discloses practical advice for modern day’s mate selection through the eyes of a dating expert, both on the Internet and in the real world.
With insight and great humor, Siggy Buckley tells the sassy story of a modern woman's dilemma of being independent yet longing for coupledom.
If you are thinking about online dating or want to compare notes, this book is a must.

My review

Well, this was something different from what I normally read... But I liked it! 

In "Next Time Lucky" we meet Cherie, a German woman who lives in Ireland. She's at a point in her life where she's looking out for something more. She feels lonely after her divorce and a break-up. Her children are learning how to fly on their own and Cherie has the feeling she's left alone. This is extra hard when your job is to match couples and find "the one" for your clients. How is it possible Cherie can't find the man of her dreams while she's a professional matchmaker? 
Luckily Cherie isn't the kind of person who just sits there and waits for something to happen. She takes control of the situation and starts to fly around in the world of Internet Dating. Something new for her since she's only familiar with a good old dating agency. I have to say: this woman is a brave one. She starts making appointments and going on dates with total strangers. She even travels the world for them. 
Cherie gets to know nice men but she also meets creeps or very strange persons with serious problems. Even these experiences don't make her stop her quest for the man of her life. She always hopes that next time, she'll be lucky... And as a reader you hope with her!

Though this wasn't the kind of book I would normally pick up to read, I have to say I enjoyed it. It was the perfect holiday read for me but I assume it's a good book whenever you read it. Cherie is a character you can really connect with, even though she doesn't always do sensible things. Her courage to meet these unknown men is something I don't get at all. I wouldn't be able to meet another stranger after a bad experience with one. Cherie keeps hoping and in that way I envy her! 
This book was funny, confronting and warning at the same time. Sometimes Cherie tends to see things black and white, but this gave a funny touch to the book. 
I do think that people who wanted to join the internet dating community will think twice after reading this book. They'll see that a lot of people aren't honest on the internet and meeting with them could be dangerous. 

The writing in this book is what I liked the most. You just keep on reading without noticing how many pages you've read. The story sweeps you away and you start hoping Cherie will be "Next Time Lucky"!

vrijdag 18 juli 2014

Review "The Fault In Our Stars"

Some information

Title: The fault in our stars
Author: John Green
Pages: 313
Published: January 2012
Publisher: Dutton Books
My Source: Standaard Book Shop
My score on Goodreads: 3 stars


Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

My review

I don't like cancer stories. 

Maybe that's all there is to say... I've had a real cancer story in my life and that was more than enough.

Why did I read this book in spite of my aversion? Because EVERYBODY praised the book and almost gave me the feeling I HAD to like it. Everywhere on the Internet I saw people showing this book, saying "this is my favorite book". Everybody said you would need some Kleenex while reading this book because it's so beautiful. Of course I need Kleenex when people have cancer and die too soon. 

Though I didn't like the book in the way I hoped I would like it, it's not bad either. Of course not :). I want to praise John Green for writing in such a beautiful way. He's able to describe everything in a way you have the feeling you're there with the characters. You feel like you know Hazel and Augustus. I loved the characters! Party because they feel so real, but also because they just don't care what people think or say. They want to enjoy life (although they also have their bad moments) because they know their version of life is and will be a little different from other versions. 

What I also liked about this book is the fact I really couldn't predict how it would all go. We're dealing with two main characters who describe themselves as ticking time bombs. They're living on the edge all the time and this made me reading a little faster. I wanted to know how it would all end (hoping everything would be solved in a miraculous way).

Something about the story... The main characters, Hazel and Augustus, meet each other at Cancer Kidd Support Group. Hazel hates to go there, but when she sees the handsome Augustus Waters appear, she starts to like it a little more. When this boy also seems to be funny and smart, she falls for him little by little. Augustus shows Hazel a totally new way of living your life and he makes her time on this planet more worthwhile. Hazel in her turn seems to calm Augustus down somewhat and shows him what real love is.

In short I liked this book but not as much as I hoped. Maybe my expectations where set too high because of all the good comments I heard about it. I'm very happy I've read the book but I don't think I'm going to recommend it to somebody. I hope the movie will be good because I'm planning on giving it a try...

zondag 1 juni 2014

Review "Never had a dream come true"

Some information

Title: Never had a dream come true
Author: Jennifer Wenn
Pages: 300
Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
My source: author (thank you!)
My score on Goodreads: 5 stars


Lady Penelope de Vere has been in love with Rake for as long as she can remember, daydreaming over him constantly. But as her debut in the ton comes closer, she decides to finally let go of her silly childhood dream and accept someone else's wish to court her, someone who appreciates a quiet, book-filled life as she does. She wants marriage and, despite all the hints she throws his way, Rake only wants a mistress...she thinks. 

Lord Richard Darling has known Penny since she was a child and not once thought of her as anything but his niece's best friend and a very convenient scone-fetcher. That is, not until he happens upon her swimming in the lake at Chester Park dressed only in her thin chemise. A most eligible bachelor with a libertine reputation, he suddenly finds the girl he's always appreciated has turned into a woman he could love forever. So why won't she accept his proposal?

My review

I just couldn't put this book down. Instead I put my work down.

Though I had a lot to do this weekend, I claimed some time to read. I really needed to know what would happen in this story(even though I knew from the beginning on how it would all end). 

In "Never had a dream come true" Jennifer Wenn succeeds in delivering a beautiful story about two people who are desperately in love with each other without realising it. Richard and Penelope (Rake and Jenny) have known each other since Penny was born and had a familylike bond since. Penny's best friend, Francesca, is indeed Richards niece. As a child and teenager Penny couldn't keep her eyes of Rake and she always hoped he would notice her one day and confess her his love. When Penny turns eighteen this hope doens't seem so vain anymore, but as Rake is a proud libertine she's desperate he won't ever want to marry her. What follows are lots of misunderstandings, witty conversations, love, pain, sorrow, laughs, tears,... Just everything we need in a good romantic drama which turns out to be some kind of romantic comedy.

What I appreciated a lot while reading this story, is the fact Jennifer Wenn jumps from interesting event to interesting event. All the unnecessary parts are left out and captured in a few sentences. For example: we see Penny while she orders her dress for a party. Instead of telling us about the months between the fitting and the actual party, we just go straight on to this party. All the uninteresting months can be captured in a sentence like "months have passed". I love this! Some readers like long descriptions and like it that the "big moment" is put off as long as possible (suspense!), but I simply don't. I hate long descpriptions (only when I read Austen I can appreciate them) and I want a story to move on. This way you keep the reader and romantic soul in me interested.

Maybe all the misunderstandings and the difficult main characters (sometimes even I did roll my eyes) would bother some other readers, but they didn't bother me so I just did what I thought I should do: give the book five stars out of five! In my opinion this book didn't deserve less. It got me hooked from the first chapter on (can't say "the first page" because that wasn't true) and I hope other readers will love it as much as I did.

zaterdag 31 mei 2014

Review "Of love, actors and acrobats"

Some information

Title: Of love, actors and acrobats
Author: Brie Bennett
Pages: 358
Published: August 2012
My source: author (thank you!)
My score on Goodreads: 4 stars


How does a smart woman who doesn’t own a strapless dress and hasn’t had a manicure since senior prom find love in New York City? By going out on a Saturday night in sweatpants and a faded unicorn t-shirt, of course. At least, this approach seems to work for Zoe Richards, queen of bad dates and a boring job, newly thirty, and determined to turn her life around without becoming a vapid dilettante in the process.

Haunted by The Dream (true love, familial bliss, and a kickass career), Zoe turns the big 3-0 facing its antithesis. Her career? Neverending document review on a toilet plunger patent case. Familial bliss? Try coming home alone every night to a studio that could hardly fit a Keebler elf. And as for true love, that fabled nemesis of many a single woman, Zoe is a walking advertisement for why sperm banks might not be such a bad idea.

When serendipity throws Zoe into the path of Huck Gentry, dreamy star of the hit TV show Justice, Baby!, she must face all of her insecurities. Can girls with big noses who are in no danger of falling prey to anorexia win the heart of a guy like Huck? Of Love, Actors, and Acrobats is a hilarious look at what happens when you dare to be yourself and take a chance on love. For any woman who has ever dreamed of changing her life or ever struggled with why things just don’t seem to come together, Zoe’s antics provide an opportunity to laugh about the crazy double standards women today face in pursuit of the perfect life.

My review

Sometimes it just takes me a (long) while to start reading a book I was given for a review. I'm always honest with the authors... If they send me an e-book, it may end up in my huge pile of books and I don't know when I will get to it. To be honest I wasn't sure I was glad to stumble upon this book. I didn't know what to expect "of love, actors and acrobats". What was this book about? I hadn't read the blurb and the title didn't give away a lot. Luckily I saw the word "love" and thought "Well yeah, I can use a romantic book..." and I'm glad I could. 

"Of love, actors and acrobats" is more than a simple love story. It's a funny and recognizable love story. The main character, Zoe, is witty and says the wrong things all the time but at the same time her timing is perfect and she manages to do everything good in a bad way. She personifies a lot of girls. All the girls who aren't sure about their looks, who think they're less, who have doubts, who don't know if they'll find true love. Zoe gives those girls hope. She shows them everything is possible... as long as you believe in yourself. 
This last part is a difficult stumbling block for Zoe. When she meets the man of her dreams, Huck, she's not sure whether this is all possible for her. Isn't she too normal? Too thick? Too "everything this perfect man doesn't need or want in his life"? It appears she's not, but the hard thing for Zoe is to believe this.

In this book you see Zoe in all her glory. You see her as happy as she can be. You see her crying. You see her making jokes about everything. You see her at times she doesn't know what to say. It's a very good way to get to know this character and to note the little or big things you have in common with her.

I enjoyed this book a lot but I didn't gave it 5 stars because there where parts I thought of as a little boring. Most of the time I loved the story and the characters though, so if you ever get the chance to read it: have fun!