Monday, 22 May 2017

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Review: A Shadow Bright and Burning by Jessica Cluess

I am Henrietta Howel. The first female sorcerer. The prophesied one. Or am I?

Henrietta Howel can burst into flames. When she is brought to London to train with Her Majesty's sorcerers, she meets her fellow sorcerer trainees, young men eager to test her powers and her heart. One will challenge her. One will fight for her. One will betray her. As Henrietta discovers the secrets hiding behind the glamour of sorcerer life, she begins to doubt that she's the true prophesied one. With battle looming, how much will she risk to save the city--and the one she loves?

-- description --

I read this book last year, and I had most of this review written back then but I forgot to post it. Since I now have the opportunity to read the sequel from Netgalley, I decided to post this review after all. I quite enjoyed A Shadow Bright and Burning, however I do have some remarks.

Things I liked:

I definitely need to mention the stunning cover! It's one of my favourite young adult covers of last year!

I really enjoyed how quick this book read, if I had the time I would have finished it in a day!

I thought the monsters in this book were original and quite fun to read about! R'hlem was my favourite!

My absolute favourite character, though, was Fenswick, I don't want to spoil anything so I'll just say I hope to see more of him in the next books!

Things I didn't like: 

First of all, there is nothing innovating about this book. In fact, I would say it draws too heavily on other books (like The Mortal Instruments) to be anything new. In other words, A Shadow Bright and Burning feels like a mix of different books instead of an original story. You can even find Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice in there, as Blackwood can be compared to Mr. Darcy quite well. Blackwood has a lovely younger sister, called Elizabeth, and he even mentions he does not have a talent to talk to people his own age. Strangely, though, this character based on Mr. Darcy, is not a real love interest for the main character (I suspect it he will in the second book, though).

Magnus on the other, is more difficult to pin down, but you wish, you could say he is Wickham in some ways. Because of this, I feel that the male characters are not in any way original. Henrietta, on the other hand, I could never compare to Elizabeth Bennet. Needless to say, I did not get attached to any of these characters as they heavily resemble characters from other books and barely get any character development at all.

Another thing I would like to mention is the lack of world building. This is a weakness is lots of other young adult novels which can annoy me to no end.
Furthermore, I thought the writing was very simplistic but this may be improved in the sequel.

All in all, I gave this book 3 stars! If I didn't read so many young adult books, I probably would have enjoyed it much more, but now it just felt flat and generic to me.

Have you read this book or are you planning to? Leave your thoughts down below!

Saturday, 20 May 2017

Review: Las Chicas del Cable

Set in the 1920s, this is the story of four women from different backgrounds newly hired as operators for a phone company.

-- description --

Las Chicas del Cable or Cable Girls is a Spanish TV show on Netflix. The series follows four women working as phone operators in Madrid in the 1920s. The main protagonist, Lidia, is forced to impersonate one of these operators in order to steal money of the firm. If she fails to do this, she will be accused of a murder she didn't commit and quite possible get the death sentence. She's a skilled thief but she may like to stay in the company as she quickly makes friends with three other female operators. 

The show focusses on Lidia's trials and the romantic relationships of the Lidia, Ángeles, Carlota and Marga. Four very different relationships are explored, some you will be rooting for and others will make you scream at the screen for it to end.

Lidia is torn between two men, one from her past and one from her present. Carlota is torn between a male and female lover, Ángeles is married to a cheating brute. Marga, the shy one, was robbed but a friendly young man was able to retrieve her bag. She connects his calls during the day but doesn't want to admit who she is and invents another name out of shyness.

The show has a lot of strengths and weakness, so let's start with the reasons why you should check out this show.

I really enjoyed the dramatic storyline, romance and plot twists. The show could be described as a telenovela without much trouble. To me, it feels like a comfort show, like Lark Rise to Candleford and Jane the Virgen are as well.

I absolutely loved that the series was actually in Spanish. As I am a English and Spanish linguistics and literature student, I really enjoyed the language aspect of this show and I would definitely consider the Spanish language a huge plus.

The actors are doing a great job keeping me on my toes and showing some real chemistry. I have a couple of ships I hope will survive the second season.

As the last episode ended on a cliff hanger, I'm very excited about the second season, which has already been ordered by Netflix. This might very well become one of my most anticipated Netflix seasons, although I already need more Sense8 episodes in my life.

I also really appreciated the setting. This period is one of my favourite ones to read about or seeing on screen. Since I love shows like Miss Fisher's Murder Mysteries, it didn't take much for me to really enjoy Las Chicas del Cable. The costumes are not as spectacular as the former show, but are still worth a mention.

Finally, I would like to mention that there are some great feminist moments and you can actually feel the friendship between these four women. It's refreshing to see a group of women as true friends instead of rivals.

Now on to the things I didn't like as much. One of the things that really annoyed me to no end is the music. You would expect a period drama to feature music of that time. Cable Girls, however, only uses modern music, like for example So Cold by Ben Cocks. I believe this is a missed opportunity because I would have liked it so much better if the show included Spanish music of the 1920s. 

It would have made the series a lot more authentic and it would have benefitted the setting and language immensely. In fact, I was annoyed by the music so often it really dragged me out of the story and I had to concentrate on watching the show a lot more.

I really hope Netflix will consider using authentic music in the second season, but I assume it will be hopeless.

A final thing I want to say, it that this first season, of 8 episode, very much feels like half a season. A lot of things have not been explained, a lot of questions have been raised in the last couple of episodes and I have encountered a couple of plot holes too. I think the last episode should probably be considered as a mid-season finale.

All in all, I recommend this show to people who like stories that focus on romance and intrigue. All the women have potential love interests (or multiple ones), which I didn't mind. I really enjoyed this show and I hope you will too!

Have you watched Las Chicas del Cable or are you planning to? Leave your thoughts down below!

Sunday, 14 May 2017

Review: A Court of Wings and Ruin by Sarah J. Maas

Looming war threatens all Feyre holds dear in the third volume of the #1 New York Times bestselling A Court of Thorns and Roses series.

Feyre has returned to the Spring Court, determined to gather information on Tamlin's maneuverings and the invading king threatening to bring Prythian to its knees. But to do so she must play a deadly game of deceit-and one slip may spell doom not only for Feyre, but for her world as well.

As war bears down upon them all, Feyre must decide who to trust amongst the dazzling and lethal High Lords-and hunt for allies in unexpected places. 

In this thrilling third book in the #1 New York Times bestselling series from Sarah J. Maas, the earth will be painted red as mighty armies grapple for power over the one thing that could destroy them all. 

-- description --

A Court of Wings and Ruin was probably my most anticipated book this year and I can't help but feel a little bit disappointed. My overall reading experience of this book was different than my beloved second one. I couldn't put down A Court of Mist and Fury, and I kept thinking about it till the third book came out. 

I wasn't as gripped by the third book, and to be honest, I actually put the book down for a couple of days and didn't even think about it once. I just got to around page 150 and in my opinion the next 200 pages were sooo boring. There is no action and barely any character development, it seriously could have just been let out of the book entirely.

Boredom was not something I would have expected from this book after reading acomaf, and that was the first thing which made me feel disappointed.

Secondly, I would have liked to see Feyre's powers developing and being used in dramatic ways. However, when the big fights arrive, she just mostly keeps busy doing other things, okay, I'll grant you, those were important too, but I expected a really epic battle in which you could see Feyre's full fighting potential.

Thirdly, I kind of feel that the relations between all the characters were not as tight as in the second book, for some reason (Feyre's sisters excluded). I didn't feel like they were all a tight family, which could have been completely my fault and probably is, but I expected more of those heartfelt moments we got in the second book.

I don't want to give any spoilers, but there were quite a lot of plot holes in this novel, and I really didn't care for those. I'll blame it on the fact Sarah J. Maas wants to write other stories in this world, but still, especially things with Vassa should have been explored more.

Lastly, it has been a week since I finished A Court of Wings and Ruin, and I never catch myself unconsciously thinking about, which was something I couldn't help doing with A Court of Mist and Fury. I think the book overall just felt flat to me. In the end I gave this book 4 stars, but I may still lower this rating. The overall feeling this book gave me was disappointment.

I will definitely read the other books Sarah J. Maas is writing in this world and I really want to read a book about Azriel, Cassian as well, but I feel there is so much more to know about Azriel, it could definitely become a great book.

Have you read A Court of Wings and Ruin? Or are you planning to? Leave your thoughts down below!

Saturday, 13 May 2017

April Wrap Up

This is my (late) April wrap up. I read six books and three comics last month! 

1. Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

5 stars! I love Anne and I'm so ready to watch the Netflix show! Can't wait!

2. Strange the Dreamer (Strange the Dreamer, #1) by Laini Taylor

5 stars! This was the first book I finished during the Tome Topple Readathon and it was amazing! It's very likely this book will end up in my top ten favourite books of the year. I highly recommend this one!

3. Blankets by Craig Thompson

4 stars! This is a graphic novel over 500 pages and I also read this during the Tome Topple Readathon. I was a bit surprised it talked about religion that much but I really enjoyed it. 

During the Tome Topple Readathon I also started reading Ship of Magic by Robin Hobb but I only got 100 pages into it. Due to a busy schedule I decided to pick up a couple of shorter e-books instead:

4. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett 

5 stars! Loved this one! Perfect summer read! You can find my review here.

5. First Grave on the Right (Charley Davidson, #1) by Darynda Jones

I usually love books from this genre but I was strangely disappointed by this one. I love the Kate Daniels and Mercy Thompson series but sadly I was kind of bored throughout this book. Not sure yet if I will continue with the series. Does it get better? 3 stars.

6. Wonder by R.J. Palacio

This was wonderful! 5 stars! This book is also getting adapted into a movie this year and I'm curious to see if the movie will live up to the book. This is a book for readers of all ages, I feel like you'll never be too old to read this.

7. Wires and Nerve, Volume 1 (Wires and Nerves, #1) by Marissa Meyer 

I'm a huge Lunar Chronicles fan so I just needed to read this comic continuation. I enjoyed it but I definitely prefer her novels (I have yet to read Heartless though). 4 stars.

8. A Conjuring of Light (Shades of Magic #3) by V.E. Schwab

The Shades of Magic trilogy is a series I came to love this year! I loved this ending but I still want to read more of these characters and these different Londons. 5 stars! This is now one of my favourite series, highly recommend it!

9. Giant Days, Vol. 1 (Giant Days, #1) by John Allison

I loved this comic! Can't wait to read the sequel! I actually went to my comic book store but they didn't have it in stock, I hope bookdepository will deliver this one soon. 5 stars!

Which books have you recently read? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? Leave your thoughts down below!

Sunday, 7 May 2017


These are the books I hope to read in May. May is going to be a very busy month, so my TBR is going to be small.

1. A Court of Wings and Ruin (A Court of Thorns and Roses #3) by Sarah J. Maas

I'm currently reading this one, I'm hoping to post a review next week. I will mention that I enjoyed the second book a lot more than this one. 

2. Flame in the Mist (Flame in the Mist #1) by Renee Ahdieh 

I really enjoyed Renee Ahdieh's previous duology and I can't wait to read her next one!

3. Ship of Magic (Liveship Traders #1) by Robin Hobb 

I started this during the Tome Topple Readathon but only got 106 pages read. I do definitely want to continue this trilogy.

4. Red Rising (Red Rising, #1) by Pierce Brown

I'm borrowing this book from a friend of mine and I've read a couple of pages but I'm not that into it yet. I hope it gets better soon!

Which books are you planning to read in May? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? Leave your thoughts down below!

Saturday, 6 May 2017

Stacking the Shelves: April Book Haul

Stacking the Shelves is hosted by Tynga's Reviews. Each week bloggers post the books they purchased or received. These are the books I got in April:

1. The Emperor's Blades (Chronicles of the Unhewn Throne) by Brian Staveley

I've heard great things about this book and I can't wait to read it!

2. The House of Mirth by Edith Wharton

3. Far From the Madding Crowd by Thomas Hardy

4. Wives and Daughters by Elizabeth Gaskell

5. North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell

North and South is one of my favourite classics and so I decided to get this pretty edition. I also love the BBC adaptation and I highly recommend both of them!

6. Evelina by Frances Burney

I also got a couple of e-books this month:

7. Alex, Approximately by Jenn Bennett 

I already read and reviewed this book, really enjoyed it!

8. The Girl of Fire and Thorns Complete Collection (Fire and Thorns 0.5-3) by Rae Carson

I found this on for less than 9 euros, so I just couldn't resist getting this trilogy and all the novella's. I haven't read anything by Rae Carson yet, but I'm looking forward to starting this series!

Finally, I went to one of my favourite bookstores in Ghent, called Limerick.

9. In Cold Blood by Truman Capote

I've heard a lot of great things about this classics and I've wanted to read it for quite some time, so when I saw it in the bookstore, I decided to get it without hesitation.

10. The Arrival by Shaun Tan

Yes, I already read this one, but I need it for an assignment and the copy of my local library has been unavailable for some time now, so I decided to get it and 

Which books did you get this month? Have you read any of the books mentioned above? Leave your thoughts down below!