Showing posts with label arc. Show all posts
Showing posts with label arc. Show all posts

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

What Book Blogging Really Is Like | #BloggerConfessions





Today I'll be letting you guys in on a couple of secrets about blogging. 

I think we all know blogging isn't as easy as it looks, but what is it really like? 

~ Well, come in and find out ~





  • #1: Obsessing over self-imposed deadlines
90% of the time you won't have a deadline for reviewing a book. Sure, with ARCs sometimes people will say "review before or close to the release date", but in real life any and every review whenever helps. 
The only deadlines I've ever had were those that I invented myself; the more review copies you accept, the more stressed out you get - the more you obsess. Ugh

  • #2: Side-eyeing other bloggers' follower counts and trying to keep up
It's not necessarily a matter of getting jealous, it's more about feeling left behind. Feeling like people surpass you. I definitely do try to keep up with my friends, to look at people's follower counts who have been blogging as long as I have, and it's really not a good habit. Adds unnecessary stress.

  • #3: Cringing at old posts
All day, every day! Sometimes I click through my old posts and cirnge at every single one. I don't think this will ever stop.

  • #4: Having slight breakdowns when all ARCs come at once
Again, this goes hand in hand with #1

  • #5: Refreshing the page 100 times after a new post went online
Do people like it? Did I make an annoying mistake that will make me cringe for 10 hours? Will this post do well? Will people hate it? You bet I'm refreshing my site 3829829 times every time a new post goes online.

  • #6: Really not reading that much
Yes, we're book bloggers, but reading is really not even half of what this gig is about. Maintaining a blog site is so much work from formatting, to designing, to brainstorming, to writing posts, to commenting, to replying to comments and so many more things! 

IT'S REALLY SO MUCH WORK, and in addition to that, many bloggers have day jobs and/or go to school, and there really isn't that much time left for actual reading. Sometimes I go months without reading a single book, but you guys would never know from looking at my blog because all the reviews are queued up as if nothing happened. Muhaa #trickery

  • #7: Wrestling emails
Review requests from authors, requesting books yourself, dealing with regular inquiries - I spend a good hour daily just replying to emails. Book blogging is really a surprising amount of office work.

  • #8: Crossposting until you want to throw out your computer
Crossposting is a must if you want your blog to grow and the bane of my existence. You must crosspost every single post to every social media platform you have, sometimes even a couple of times to give it the maximum exposure. 

Some sites can do this automatically for you and you can cheat a bit with Wordpress widgets, Google+, and Bloglovin, but you'll always always still have some outlets left to crosspost manually to. Sigh.

  • #9: Theme customization until somebody cries (it's probably me)
Just when you think you've reached that point in your blogging career where you're confident with your old posts, your theme, everything about your blog - oh boy, you'll have another crisis incoming.

I don't believe that blog themes are ever complete, I actually just changed something about it yesterday. Who knows, maybe I'll completely redo the entire site next month and then spend another year completely customizing it to my likings! Wow, just the thought of that makes me want to quit blogging!


What are some of your #BloggerConfessions? 

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Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Unsolicited Review Copies: Reviewing Them, Ignoring Them, What To Do With Them | Book Blogging Tips (#51)




If you're receiving unsolicited review copies, you're probably already an established blogger and at least know somewhat what you're doing.

While it's a fantastic thing to receive the newest releases in the mail, it can get pretty overwhelming very easily.






Do you have to review them?

There are bloggers who get unsolicited copies sent to them every month, from many different publishers. If you're one of those people, it's virtually impossible to read all these books, even if you don't have a day job.

Personally, I think every single review copy you receive, whether unsolicited or not, is a privilege.

You have to consider that these copies cost more money to print than regular copies and are sent out to publishing professionals. If you've made it to that circle of people, you better act like a professional!

Meaning
  1. no selling
  2. no hoarding
  3. no requesting more ARCs when you're already drowning in them. 
Disagree if you want, but also know that misbehavior does not go unnoticed. Again, these books are a privilege that not every blogger has.

I don't believe that unsolicited copies all have to be reviewed. If you didn't request it, you don't have to review it in my opinion, though giving even just a little back in terms of maybe posting a picture of it or talking about it on social media is simply common courtesy.

If you don't want to read a review copy for what reason ever or don't have the time to read it-

Here are some alternatives:

  • Give the book to another blogger. Some review copies that I have received actually say on them that they are meant to be given to other bloggers. That way the publisher still gets "something" in return, even if it's only the exposure from being featured on another blog.
  • Contact the publicist. If you're receiving an overwhelming amount of books that's absolutely impossible to review, the smartest way to go about this is to contact the publicist responsible and just tell them you appreciate it, but don't have the time to review these books.
  • Host giveaways. While review copies are NEVER under no circumstances allowed to be sold (you can actually get sued for this), giveaways are a-okay. Check back with the publisher if you're unsure, some publishers don't want any ARCs circulating before the release date. 
  • Post pictures. If you're not able to post a review, just featuring the review copies you've received in a meme, (In My Mailbox, Stacking the Shelves etc.), or posting pictures on instagram or tumblr does the job. You'd still aim for managing to read them, since that's the reason why you got them in the first place.

What do you do with your unsolicited review copies?


More on review copies in my Book Blogging Tips Series



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Wednesday, June 1, 2016

[ARC Review] The Neverland Wars - Audrey Greathouse: Peter Pan and Storytelling





In THE NEVERLAND WARS, Gwen realizes magic is real when her little sister gets abducted by the infamous Peter Pan and taken to Neverland.

What intrigued me: I have never read a Peter Pan retelling!

Yes to all the magic!

THE NEVERLAND WARS isn't your average Peter Pan retelling. There are lots of retellings that paint him as the bad guy, but here it's sort of not a matter of black and white - I love that about this novel. In THE NEVERLAND WARS, magic is real and an important part of modern-day society, for example technology works through magic instead of engineering, which I found quite neat and interesting to read about. 

Generally, there is a very magical feel about this, not because it's a fairy tale retelling, but because Greathouse has such an interesting writing style. I'd say this is definitely the biggest strength of THE NEVERLAND WARS. The writing instantly transports you into a world where magic is real and I 100% believed this and thought it fits nicely. However, I have to say that the writing probably won't be for everyone. It's very lyrical and flowery. It reads like a work of literary fiction with a younger target audience. Interesting though!

Off-pace and too little "Wars"

I think THE NEVERLAND WARS has a nice idea, but I don't think the execution of the story necessarily compliments that.
The blurb suggests that this is a typical YA love story with a dash of magic, while the title suggests that this is a straight up showdown in which the adults take revenge on Peter Pan. And boy would I have loved it if THE NEVERLAND WARS was just that. I think this novel isn't daring enough. It's too much retelling and exploring and too little fight, fight, fight. The pacing is off, the structure barely there - it's a pity because I really loved the idea!

A thing that I struggled a lot with is the pace. THE NEVERLAND WARS takes an insane amount of time until it actually takes off. Instead of starting with the abduction of Gwen's sister, we get a whopping 50-ish pages of backstory, mundane everyday high school life, that bored me so much that I thought about DNF-ing this if I wouldn't give every book 100 pages before doing so.


Rating:

★★☆☆

 



Overall: Do I Recommend?

THE NEVERLAND WARS wasn't my thing, I was hoping for more action. But this doesn't mean that you won't maybe like it, the writing is so nice that it's definitely worth a try.



Additional Info

Published: May 9th 2016
Pages: 302
Publisher: Clean Teen Publishing
Genre: YA / Magical Realism
ISBN: 9781634221719

Synopsis:
"Magic can do a lot—give you flight, show you mermaids, help you taste the stars, and… solve the budget crisis? That's what the grown-ups will do with it if they ever make it to Neverland to steal its magic and bring their children home.

However, Gwen doesn't know this. She's just a sixteen-year-old girl with a place on the debate team and a powerful crush on Jay, the soon-to-be homecoming king. She doesn't know her little sister could actually run away with Peter Pan, or that she might have to chase after her to bring her home safe. Gwen will find out though—and when she does, she'll discover she's in the middle of a looming war between Neverland and reality.

She'll be out of place as a teenager in Neverland, but she won't be the only one. Peter Pan's constant treks back to the mainland have slowly aged him into adolescence as well. Soon, Gwen will have to decide whether she's going to join impish, playful Peter in his fight for eternal youth… or if she's going to scramble back to reality in time for the homecoming dance."(Source: Goodreads)


Have you read Peter Pan retellings?

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Monday, February 15, 2016

[Review] The Wrath and the Dawn (#1) - Renée Ahdieh



In THE WRATH AND THE DAWN, Caliph Khalid takes a new bride every day and the next morning, they turn up dead. Shahrzad has lost her best friend to the caliph and is now determined to avenge her by becoming a bride herself - and killing the king.
What intrigued me: An evil king killing his wives. A kickass lady coming to avenge their deaths. Yes. All the yes.


Just Another Retelling

If you are familiar with the original tale of Scheherazade, THE WRATH AND THE DAWN won't surprise you for a minute. I was hoping for this to be focused on revenge and intrigues, but sadly, the protagonist Shahrzad is quickly distracted from her mission to avenge when she falls in love with the king.

Instead of a revenge-filled, sizzling reimagination of the original tale, it's more of a washed down version that doesn't manage to surprise or enthrall for a mere second. Ahdieh disregards the original meaning and purpose of the story and neglects it to tell a love story.
This retelling doesn't feel like it was meant to be about emancipation and standing up for other women like the original - at least not until the pretty love interest walks in. Shahrzad doesn't come across as sincere about truly killing the king for a second, which quickly made me lose interest in the story. 

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN borrows from the successful examples of many other similar novels before - love triangles, instant love, the protagonist smitten between the good guy and the bad guy - it's nothing I haven't read a thousand times before.


Superficial World Building

But what definitely makes this novel stand out is the setting. Ahdieh really manages to sweep you up in the Persian-myth-inspired world and it works. Her writing is very lyrical, almost too much so for me.

However, Ahdieh uses the fact that this is a foreign world too much, but merely scratches the surface. So many foreign words, mainly words that simply describe clothing, who even remain unexplained, just for the sake of half-hearted world building. I would have wished to be truly immersed in the culture of that time. Taking this as a retelling of the Arabian/Persian myth, this version of the story doesn't feel true to the customs of that age. Again, her spin on the folk story remains absolutely superficial. It reads like a Western love story set in the desert.


Rating:

★★

  


Overall: Do I Recommend?

I would have liked more variation and own spin to the tale. You can try it out, especially if you are not familiar with Scheherazade. I just wasn't very fond to this novel's tendency to borrow from things we've all read about before.

THE WRATH AND THE DAWN disappoints as a retelling of the famous story from ONE THOUSAND AND ONE NIGHTS, and simply borrows where it's convenient to fuel the love story.


Additional Info

Original Title: The Wrath and the Dawn
Author: Renée Ahdieh
Published: February 12th 2016
Publisher: Bastei Lübbe (one by Lübbe)

Synopsis:
"One Life to One Dawn.

In a land ruled by a murderous boy-king, each dawn brings heartache to a new family. Khalid, the eighteen-year-old Caliph of Khorasan, is a monster. Each night he takes a new bride only to have a silk cord wrapped around her throat come morning. When sixteen-year-old Shahrzad's dearest friend falls victim to Khalid, Shahrzad vows vengeance and volunteers to be his next bride. Shahrzad is determined not only to stay alive, but to end the caliph's reign of terror once and for all.

Night after night, Shahrzad beguiles Khalid, weaving stories that enchant, ensuring her survival, though she knows each dawn could be her last. But something she never expected begins to happen: Khalid is nothing like what she'd imagined him to be. This monster is a boy with a tormented heart. Incredibly, Shahrzad finds herself falling in love. How is this possible? It's an unforgivable betrayal. Still, Shahrzad has come to understand all is not as it seems in this palace of marble and stone. She resolves to uncover whatever secrets lurk and, despite her love, be ready to take Khalid's life as retribution for the many lives he's stolen. Can their love survive this world of stories and secrets?"(Source: Goodreads)

Have you read THE WRATH AND THE DAWN?

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Thursday, February 11, 2016

Do You Actually Review Unsolicited ARCs? | Book Blogging Tips (#38)


When I first started out, being sent ARCs by publishers seemed to be the holy grail of blogging. I mean, if you look at all those pictures on the instagram pages of the big name book bloggers and booktubers, you can't help but think like this.

What always struck me as weird is the fact that some bloggers get sent DOZENS of books every month. 

As a fairly quick reader, I read about 8 books per month (that's a good month for me!). I can hardly imagine how anyone could possibly read more than 20 books a month EVERY month. If you do, I salute you.


Let's be honest: Who even reads all those ARCs?!

One of my favorite booktubers, Abookutopia publishes book hauls every month, showing about 10+ ARCs by publishers that have been sent to her unsolicitedly. 

I get that it's a business and they're already profiting from the fact that a big name blogger like her only mentions these books briefly in her videos or shows the covers quickly. I hardly believe she read even half of these books. It's just a business transaction, nothing more and I don't blame her for doing this. It's basically impossible to read all those books, especially because she states all the time that 90% of them are unsolicited. I would have a panic attack, because I'd feel like I actually had to read all of those to be honest.

Most people who get the same amount of ARCs hardly are able to read those unless they have some kind of super power. To me, it just defeats the purpose of ARCs to just hoard them and show them off. For the publishers this might be still a good way to advertise, to just have their books appear on instagrammers' pages and in booktuber's videos. Of course the exposure on a big name's page is much bigger than the exposure they'd get from my blog for example.

Technically, you're under no obligation to review them

You didn't agree to reviewing ARCs that were sent to you unsolicitedly, it's only a matter of politeness if you do. In Germany things works a little differently and you hardly ever get sent anything that you didn't request, so I didn't have to deal with that problem personally, but it seems very stressful.

Personally, I would never let a single book that is sent to me go without a review, but if you're getting sent dozens of books every month, it's pretty understandable that you can't review them all. Let alone read them all.


Do you get unsolicited ARCs? Do you write reviews for them/ have the time to read them?

Continue Reading...

Thursday, December 10, 2015

How to Deal With DNFs | Book Blogging Tips (#29)


We've all had it and we all dread it. DNF-ing a book is probably one of the worst things to happen to a book blogger. 

But sometimes you just don't want to finish a book and that's perfectly okay. 

What is a DNF?
A DNF is a book you did not finish for what reason ever.



Why It's Okay
Not all books are for everyone. 
You have to think like this: If you're forcing yourself to finish every single book you start, you'll miss out on a lot of great books while you're stuck reading the shitty ones. Life is too short to torture yourself with bad literature. Don't feel bad because your taste doesn't match with every single thing you read.

I've even DNF-ed books and afterwards went on to ask a friend who read it about what happened next. If you simply don't feel like the writing clicks with you - don't read it. You're under no obligation to finish any book.

When to DNF
  • You don't have any enthusiasm left for the book, you're dreading every page you have to read. When is it over again?
  • You dislike the characters so much that you've just stopped caring about their journey
  • The author pulls an unforgiveable faux-pas
  • The plot is too graphic, too emotional, too violent etc. for your taste
  • Poor langugae makes you have to guess what the author is trying to tell you
  • Copy cats: Haven't you seen this somewhere else? 

As you see, there are millions of reasons to DNF a book. If yours is not on this list I'm not even surprised. You can DNF for thousands of reasons and every single one is a justified and perfectly okay reason to.

What if it's an ARC?

Actually, most publishers I've worked with state in a the package leaflet that it's okay if you dislike a book. You don't even have to DNF it- if you flat out change your mind about wanting to read a review copy , you should send your contact an email. 

Most publishers are very considerate. You can even send the copy to another blogger for review and inform your industry contact. You don't even have to be specific as to why you didn't want to read the review copy after all. Just be respectful and state that the book wasn't for you.

With review copies though I have a minimum of 50 pages for every book to get me hooked. Don't DNF if you've only read ten pages, especially not with review copies, that's just disrespectful. 


How do you handle DNFs?

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Thursday, October 29, 2015

Mistakes All Newbie Bloggers Make | Book Blogging Tips (#23)


When I started my blog, I thought I knew everything. I thought my content was fine, my layout appealing and I wouldn't need any advice on anything. 

Two weeks later I overhauled my entire site and thought everything was a mess.

Seems familiar? Here are some mistakes that you probably also made. Don't sweat it, it's all normal.


8. Arrogance

You've just started a blog, but you know exactly what the people want, right? You have studied other blogs for quite some time (or you didn't) and you know what works and what doesn't. Yup, that Comic Sans font and the 32783728 release widgets are the bomb.

Solution: Don't ever think you're the blogger extraordinaire. Maybe you have a nice blog, but you shouldn't elevate yourself above others. Observe and always learn.

7. Not Replying

To anything. Comments, emails - eh. You have better things to do.

Solution: Goddamnit, you're not an unreachable A-List celebrity, just reply for Christ's Sake.

6. Being Super Casual
"Lmao :D i totally liked this book omfg the protagonist is such a hottie I can't even!!!!!11111" 
If you don't like a book, you state that in your reviews the exact same way as you would in a conversation with your best friend. Emojis are your best friend

Solution: Whether it's in reviews or in business related emails, be professional! Of course you can let your opinion shine through, but please write like an intelligent human being. Emojis and gifs can be alright if it suits your style, but don't overdo it. And please, if you don't like something, give constructive criticism instead of just hating on things.

5. Going Crazy on ARCs and Review Copies

People want to give you books for free now, which is nice. So obviously, you're going to take every opportunity you get to snag those free copies.

Solution: Review copies ARE NOT free books. They aren't gifts, you're supposed to give something back in return. A timely and professional review is the least you can do to return the favor. Unless you're able to read ten books a week and keep up with all those copies, don't take every opportunity you get. It'll only lead to delayed reviews on frustration on both sides.

4. No Networking

Crossposting is exhausting. I mean, if people want to read your blog, they're going to find it, right? No need to spam everywhere.

Solution: Well, to a certain degree this is almost half right. Unless you have already established your platform you'll need to crosspost. People won't find you. People won't even try to get to know you if you don't reach out to them first. Sign up to all social media platforms you can find.

3. Becoming a Human Billboard

From one extreme to the next. You know that you're going nowhere if you don't network, so this time you're doing it right! Not a single post you wrote on the internet is written without the links to all your social media accounts. Yeah, might as well slap a few links to your individual posts in there.

Solution: Please don't. One link is fine, but don't just spam your stuff everywhere, people won't go on your blog on principle. Everything in moderation. Also, do you want to get flagged for spamming? Only add your link to comments that make sense and actually contribute to the conversation.

2. Meme City, Residents: 1

Memes are great, everybody loves them, right? There are so many out there that you just can't decide, so let's do ALL OF THEM.

Solution: While this may work for 10% of the blogger community, this isn't the way to establish a great and interesting blog. Unless you're able to put a twist to it all and make your meme posts super original, leave it. A meme for every day of the week is probably a very bad idea. People don't want to see the same content on every blog.

1. Not Improving Anything

Your posts are perfect. You got it all right the first time. Now that you've got the interesting content down and are networking perfectly on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, you're good to go.

Solution: Over time, your blog style WILL change. I guarantee it. Go back to your old posts and revise them one at a time. You don't need to do it all at once, but please try to improve your content as your blog grows. Your readers will thank you.


  • Always keep in mind: 

Even the big names in the blogger community all have been there. If you're doing one of these, or even all of these, it's not the end of the world. Just make sure to be aware that there's a better way to handle things.

Have you caught yourself making one of those mistakes?

Continue Reading...

Monday, August 31, 2015

[ARC Review] The Next Together - Lauren James

In "The Next Together" by Lauren James teenagers Katherine and Matthew are reborn again throughout different centuries. They always find each other and they always end up falling in love.

When the Katherine of 2039 stumbles upon a news article from 2019 which shows an exact doppelgänger couple of her and her lab partner Matthew who even have their exact names, she starts investigating. 

Three Love Stories .... -ish.

The story sucks you in within the first two hundred pages.

The story begins from the point of view of 2039 Katherine and I was really hoping to at least have an anchor for the story. There is no real main love story and to me, the story in 2039 feels simply poorly executed. Even though it all comes together in the end, it doesn't feel like one big love story. It feels like reading about several different couples. 2039!Matthew and Katherine hardly talk, but from one second to the next end up in bed together. I didn't feel the epicness of their love story, everything felt too forced and too constructed. 

I don't like crossover novels, but for "The Next Together" the concept of a romance/historical/sci-fi story works. It feel like three separate love stories . However, I'd rather have read three stand-alone romance books than one big time travel-ish one. The novel really needs a pair of main characters, each reincarnation of the two feels like two entirely different people.

Exceptionally funny- but a little too much lingo

I feel like there is too much in-depth knowledge needed to understand what is actually going on. I'm not particularly a fan of history and I have never studied the Crimean War at school. When writing about topics like this in novels that aren't just about that, you definitely have to make sure that even the uneducated reader will understand. Or as one of my writing professors once said: "Always write for the idiot reader".

The same applies to the science talk. Whenever 2019 Katherine started talking about bacteria, I was pretty much clueless. So it's a deadly fertilizer? For bacteria? I still don't get it after at least a dozen repetitions.

Talk about lingo - I love that James decided to base the 2019 couple on tumblr humor, and I loved it even more that she decided to keep that sense of humor in Katherine's character throughout the time lines. Some dialogues are flat-out hilarious and I had to pause for a minute to catch my breath.

Rating:

★★★

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

 I liked the overall idea and the concept and the writing is nice. It's always great to have a well-written time travel novel. It's most likely a book that I will reread in the future so I'll get all the little foreshadowing hints.

I'm definitely going to pick up the sequel when it comes out. 


Additional Info



Pages: 356
Publisher: Walker
Cover: Walker, 2015
Genre: YA / Sci-Fi / Time Travel
ISBN: 9781406358056

Synopsis:
"How many times can you lose the person you love? 

Katherine and Matthew are destined to be born again and again, century after century. Each time, their presence changes history for the better, and each time, they fall hopelessly in love, only to be tragically separated. 

Spanning the Crimean War, the Siege of Carlisle and the near-future of 2019 and 2039 they find themselves sacrificing their lives to save the world. But why do they keep coming back? What else must they achieve before they can be left to live and love in peace? 

Maybe the next together will be different...(Source: Goodreads)


Can you recommend nice time travel reads to me?

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

[Review] Currents - Eva Moraal

In CURRENTS, the country has been divided into two main sections after a great flood. On the one side we have the Dry, the privileged that are rich or influential enough to reside in safe, dry territory. On the other side we have the Wet, the working class that can only afford living in the more dangerous parts of the country. 

Underwhelming Language and Concepts

However, I couldn't really empathize with Nina because she's so oblivious to what happened during the Great Flood. I get that it's essential to the story that she slowly learns what happens. It's a typical feature in dystopian YA to have the protagonists slowly realize the truth, but in CURRENTS it just wasn't done well. I didn't, for one second think that there were dry lands that the Dry people managed to populate in. It's quite obvious instantly after we learn that Nina's the governor's daughter that the Dry's territory is only inhabited by rich and privleged people. Combined with Max' POV that shows the ugly side, what the Wet are going through, there is absolutely no tension. Nothing really gripped me and had me wanting to continue, the novel sort of just dabbles along. 

The story is inspired by an obviously very real problem in the Netherlands, if you're not dutch it's probably very hard to understand the concept of the story. Water is simultaneous with death in the story; I'm actually quite sad that Moraal didn't decide to include a map of the territories. It's very hard to imagine those sections when you're not familiar with the dutch landscape.

A Future That Isn't Futuristic

When establishing a dystopian future, you have to state what has happened, what everything looks like and what the poeple are going through. In CURRENTS, Moraal leaves the impressions oft he landscape completely out and just gives us the information that the country has been flooded. I would have wished for more world building, what changed in society after the flood, what new inventions there are, what things were left behind and all. We have the digital HCs, which are just a variation of an iPad, but that's it. The story is supposed to be set in the future - I want to see the future and have more detail in the descriptions.

Another main issue I had with the novel is the physical form. The copy that I was provided with had blue dyed pages to match the cover. In theory that's a very nice effect, if you're only interested in the visual aspect. Because the pages are dyed, they stuck to each other in the corners, so every time you turn a page you have to physically pull them from each other, which is absolutely annoying. I don't understand why the novel was printed with blue pages in the first place, I haven't seen that anywhere else before.


Rating:

★★★☆☆

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

I especially recommend this if you're looking to learn a new language or wanting to practice. The German translation that I read is very easy to understand, while not seeming like middle grade literature. 
I generally felt underwhelmed and for me easy, fluffy language and a cute side romance isn't necessarily what I'm looking for in YA, especially not in the dystopian genre. It's an okay read, but not more than that.


Synopsis:
"This dramatic love story is set after the Great Flood when the country is divided between the safe, dry areas and those vulnerable to further flooding. The country s population is similarly divided, with the Dry forming the wealthy elite, and the Wet the working class scratching a living in order to survive. A resistance movement arises from the Wet. Nina is a Dry, the daughter of the Governor. In the last flood, her school was inundated and her sister drowned, and she is now forced to go to another school in the Wet area, under a false name. There she meets Max, a Wet, and they become partners for a school project.  At first suspicious, they soon become fascinated by each other's worlds and start to become friends. Yet, their situation is complex- Max's father died during the last flood, and the Governor played a questionable role in this, and Max's brother is a member of the violent resistance movement. What will happen when Max finds out who Nina really is?"

Have You Ever Read a Novel By a Dutch Author?

Continue Reading...

Saturday, March 21, 2015

[Recommendation] For Once in my Life - Marianne Kavanagh




In FOR ONCE IN MY LIFE, Tess and George are destined to be with each other, but first have to find each other. If you listen to what their mutual friends say- they're soulmates.

Even though they've shared several paths in life, gone to the same school and live in the same city, they have never met. Their friends try to set them up multiple times over the years, but something always comes up.

When they do eventually meet, Tess' theory that everyone has a soulmate somewhere out there is put to the ultimate test.


A Sense of Calmness 

Some books just have a certain emotion or feeling tied to them.
In Maggie Stiefvater's SHIVER I felt like I was sitting in the cold snow the entire time without her actually doing anything to give the reader that sensation. In "For Once in My Life" Kavanagh gives the reader a feeling of calmness, almost one of comfort. Her writing is very, very pleasant and not intrusive or pushy.

It's perfect for that kind of story; a calm, sweet romance story that just makes you want to crawl inside the book and cuddle everyone in it.
I didn't like that Kavanagh decided not to structure the novel in too much detail and didn't put the happenings in chapters. Sometimes there are cuts that seem very random and I found myself wondering how much time had passed inbetween the paragraphs. I'm not a big fan of changing the point-of-view mid-chapter, but if you don't have chapters, it's inevitable.

Amazing Character Building  and Development

Tess is a vintage enthusiast that loves 40s style clothing and whose biggest dream is to open up a secondhand clothing business. She's a very smart, but nervous person and overall just a sweetheart. It's impossible not to like her. The group of friends she surrounds herself with are as diverse as they are entertaining and it's just pleasant to go through her everyday life.

George is an aspiring musician who dreams of his band making it big eventually. Things don't always go well for him, because in contrast to Tess, he knows exactly what he wants in life. I loved all his band mates, who are again diverse and interesting characters with all their own stories and motivations.
With all characters in the novel you can tell that there was a lot of work into developing them and making them as realistic as possible. I could tell you stories from the top of my head about every single character and what they would or wouldn't do, which just makes the novel overall very, very realistic, life-like and interesting.
...

The plot sometimes drags, but that's inevitable if you're telling someone's whole life in a contemporary novel. There isn't necessarily always something interesting happening and there is indeed some filler, but that just contributes to the realisticness. Never did I have the impression that the novel was boring me or stalling time. I would have hated the idea of Kavanagh deliberately putting unnecessary drama into the novel just so there's more action.

Despite the lack of actual happenings, I was very much entertained and I read the novel pretty quickly and enthusiastically.


Rating:

★★★½

 

Overall: Do I Recommend?

A wonderful novel. It's impressive for a debut and I'm stoked on reading more of Kavanagh's work. Love the writing voice, the story idea and the marvelous character development.

You won't want to put this novel down. A clear recommendation.


Additional Info



Published: February 16th 2015
Pages: 384
Cover: Blanvalet, 2015.
Genre: Adult / Romance
ISBN: 978-3-442-38389-4


  Synopsis:
"Everyone has a soul mate... but what if you never find each other?

Meet Tess. A vintage clothes–obsessive, she’s trapped in a frighteningly grown-up customer relations job she loathes. Still, she’s been dating the gorgeous accountant Dominic since university, and has a perfectly lovely flat, which she shares with her best friend, Kirsty. But if her life is so perfect, why does she tear up whenever anyone mentions her future?

Meet George. He’s a brilliant jazz musician who spends almost as much time breaking up fights between his bickering band mates as he does worrying about his ailing father and living up to his stockbroker girlfriend’s very high expectations. For a guy who has always believed in romance, the grim practicalities of twenty-something life have come as something of a shock. Seemingly always on the verge of a big break, he’s looking for something more...something special.

They just might be two halves of one perfect whole. Now, if only they could manage to cross paths...

Follow Tess and George through a decade of bad dates, chaotic dinner parties, magical birthdays, dead-end jobs, romantic misalliances, and lots of starting over. For Once in My Life is a charming and intelligent modern comedy of manners, friendship, and missed connections
"

Do you believe in soulmates and the like? 

Do you like reading about them?

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