Monday, 30 April 2012

Giveaway: Spring Fling Hop

As some of you might know, my last giveaway hop wasn't that successful, so I'm trying this thing again. The Spring Fling Giveaway Hop lasts from May 1st to May 7th, and is hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and Eve's Fan Garden.

So what's the cause of celebration? The truth is, I haven't given anything away in a little while, and I like giving away things! As always, the only requirement for entering my giveaways is being awesome, but following and/or tweeting about it is very much appreciated <3

There is one book up to $10 from the Book Depository of your choice up for grabs. As long as TBD ships to your country, it's open internationally. If I reach 600 GFC followers during the hop, I will add another prize for a second winner. (Extra prize has been added!) To enter in the giveaway, simply fill in the Rafflecopter form below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa

The Immortal Rules by Julie Kagawa
(Blood of Eden #1)
4 out of 5 stars

Published April 24th 2012 by HarlequinTEEN
ARC received through Netgalley

This is the first book I read by Ms Kagawa, and I have to say that I'm impressed by her writing. After finishing The Immortal Rules I picked up another book and I just had to stop reading it because the writing felt way too choppy in comparison. Not only does this book boast wonderful writing, it also has an interesting plot.

Allison, or Allie, is a Fringer. She has to fight to survive as starvation is a real threat on the borders of a Vampire city. But then Allie is turned in the one thing she hates most - a vampire. She will have to choose what kind of monster she wants to become.

To sum it up, The Immortal Rules is a dystopian vampire story with zombies called rabids. I was really glad to see that it didn't feature the lame sparkly kind of vampires, but super strong killing machine vampires that can suck you dry in a few seconds. Ms Kagawa found the right balance between monstrous and human in her vampires, especially Allie.

When Allie is turned, she leaves the city and comes across a band of humans searching for the vampire-free city of Eden. The major part of the story revolves around this band of humans and their interactions with Allie. They don't know she's a vampire and she has to do everything to hide her nature. For me the journey to Eden had a bit of an epic fantasy feel - a string of small interactions that will later unfold into a much bigger picture. I personally wasn't bored by this, but I can see why some people might call this part slow.

I really liked the story, but I felt it was a bit lacking in some parts. The rabids felt inconsistent. At one point Allie is afraid she has turned a human into a rabid person because she has bitten him, and at another point she bites someone and it doesn't even cross her mind. Maybe there was a reason for this and it wasn't an inconsistency problem, but it was most definitely under explained. Sometimes there are rabid animals, sometimes there aren't. Rabids can't cross water, but Allie still considers rabid fish.

This is a long book, and there is more than enough room for world-building, but for me there wasn't enough. The whole Red Lung virus thing gets rushed over and there is no explanation at all how, if pretty much every building is crumbling, the vampires were able to make massive towers. Did they put the stones on top of the other themselves? I highly doubt that. I hope there will be more insights into how this world works in the next book of the series.

I did like all the interactions between the characters, and Zeke was one of my favourites. I'm looking forward to see how his and Allie's relationship will develop in the next book. I'm getting a double point of view vibe from the end of this one. Or maybe Ms Kagawa has something completely different for them in mind.

The Immortal Rules is a great book that I would certainly recommend for vampire/dystopian lovers, but I do hope that the second book in the Blood of Eden series will contain more explanations on how this world came to be. Still, a big thumbs up for Ms Kagawa's amazing way with words.


In a future world, Vampires reign. Humans are blood cattle. And one girl will search for the key to save humanity.

Allison Sekemoto survives in the Fringe, the outermost circle of a vampire city. By day, she and her crew scavenge for food. By night, any one of them could be eaten.

Some days, all that drives Allie is her hatred of them. The vampires who keep humans as blood cattle. Until the night Allie herself is attacked—and given the ultimate choice. Die… or become one of the monsters.

Faced with her own mortality, Allie becomes what she despises most. To survive, she must learn the rules of being immortal, including the most important: go long enough without human blood, and you will go mad.

Then Allie is forced to flee into the unknown, outside her city walls. There she joins a ragged band of humans who are seeking a legend—a possible cure to the disease that killed off most of humankind and created the rabids, the mindless creatures who threaten humans and vampires alike.

But it isn't easy to pass for human. Especially not around Zeke, who might see past the monster inside her. And Allie soon must decide what—and who—is worth dying for.

Other reviews you might be interested in
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Sunday, 29 April 2012

In My Mailbox - Why I'm Not Having One

As most of you know by now, there is massive drama going on in the YA blogging community once again. This time it concerns one of the biggest bloggers: Kristi from The Story Siren. Long story short: she has been accused of plagiarism, tried to sweep it under the rug, it came out anyway, she half-apologised, everyone got very angry, she apologised again, this time better. If you want more information about what happened and the evidence of plagiarism, there are a lot of blogs that have this information and are easy to find by searching for "The Story Siren" + "plagiarism".

I'm not joining the "did she do it or did she not" discussion here, this post is only meant to explain why I personally decided not to participate in the In My Mailbox meme any more. Everyone can decide for themselves where they stand on this.

The worst offence here for me isn't the plagiarism itself. No, she shouldn't have done it and she should have known better. But if she had just said "Oops! I'm so sorry! I'm adding your name as an inspiration to these posts right now!" that would have been fine with me. The fact that she tried to hide it made it worse for me. She consciously lied about it to thousands of her readers. I do not accept this, and refuse to support her blog. She has tons of ads on there, and I don't want her to make money off me after all this. I'm not going as far as some bloggers, who are not only boycotting The Story Siren but all products and publishers that are associated with her (for example - they're not buying Insurgent). I'm just not considering myself one of her readers and will not act like one.

There are tons of alternatives to show of your mailbox springing up, including memes hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits & Tea and Tynga at Tynga's Reviews, and I'm sure more will follow later today. I hope over time these memes can be united to one again (:

Update: Another substitute is hosted by Kimberly over at Kimba the Caffeinated Book Reviewer.

Friday, 27 April 2012

Review: Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wither by Lauren DeStefano
(The Chemical Garden #1)
3 out of 5 stars

Published March 22nd 2011 by Simon & Schuster

Set in a world where girls die when they are twenty years old and boys when they're twenty-five, Rhine is abducted and sold to be one of the three new brides of Linden. There is only one thing on her mind - escape. But as the months fly by, the luxurious life she's leading now begins to ensnare her.

I was drawn to Wither by the premise. A dystopian where people don't age above puberty? Sounds like a good ground for an action packed novel! I was sorely disappointed by that aspect. Absolutely nothing happens. At the start, when Rhine is getting kidnapped, I was very excited, but after that she just sits around. She jumps on a trampoline with fellow brides. Rhine goes to a party. Rhine eats sweets. Rhine reads a book in the library. Wither is almost four-hundred pages long, but it could just as well been one hundred. Ms DeStefano has a very distinct writing style, often called "haunting" and "beautiful". For me it felt more like "lifeless". Every page is written in the same way. There is no speeding up, no slowing down.

I get what Ms DeStefano was trying to accomplish in Wither. The big action isn't important, it's the little details. It's in the little ways the brides rebel against their captors. On me, all this detailing was completely lost. That only works when you're invested in the characters, but I never felt that sorry for Rhine. She sits around for months doing absolutely nothing but eating and sleeping and having fun. The reason she wants to escape so bad is her twin brother, but as he only gets mentioned by Rhine herself, he feels more like a convenience than an actual character.

Even the ending, for which I was hoping that it would shock me and make me go, "Whoa, this is awesome!" was a huge anti-climax. They waited a year to do that? Really?

One last thing I would like to point out is Ms DeStefano's extreme love for her country. I quote from page 55 of the paperback version:
"All we were taught of geography was that the world had once been made up of seven continents and several countries, but a third world war demolished all but North America, the continent with the most advanced technology."
Most advanced technology?! Ha, they wish! The continent with most advanced technology is clearly Asia. Ever seen a documentary on Japan? If there is a country with advanced technology, it's Japan. Unless Ms. DeStefano calls weapons of war "advanced technology", then I guess she's right. The whole book is filled with remarks towards America's superiority over the other continents. As a European, this rubbed me completely the wrong way.

I know a lot of you have loved and will keep on loving Wither, but this wasn't for me. I think that if you go in expecting a subtle novel, you will very much enjoy this one. I will read Fever (mostly because I already bought it) and see if I like that one better.


By age sixteen, Rhine Ellery has four years left to live. She can thank modern science for this genetic time bomb. A botched effort to create a perfect race has left all males with a lifespan of 25 years, and females with a lifespan of 20 years. Geneticists are seeking a miracle antidote to restore the human race, desperate orphans crowd the population, crime and poverty have skyrocketed, and young girls are being kidnapped and sold as polygamous brides to bear more children. 

When Rhine is kidnapped and sold as a bride, she vows to do all she can to escape. Her husband, Linden, is hopelessly in love with her, and Rhine can’t bring herself to hate him as much as she’d like to. He opens her to a magical world of wealth and illusion she never thought existed, and it almost makes it possible to ignore the clock ticking away her short life. But Rhine quickly learns that not everything in her new husband’s strange world is what it seems. Her father-in-law, an eccentric doctor bent on finding the antidote, is hoarding corpses in the basement. Her fellow sister wives are to be trusted one day and feared the next, and Rhine is desperate to communicate to her twin brother that she is safe and alive. Will Rhine be able to escape--before her time runs out?

Together with one of Linden's servants, Gabriel, Rhine attempts to escape just before her seventeenth birthday. But in a world that continues to spiral into anarchy, is there any hope for freedom?

Other reviews you might be interested in
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Thursday, 26 April 2012

Book Favourites: Sookie Stackhouse series by Charlaine Harris

In a perfect world, reviewers would be able to review every single book they read. But as most of you know, you can't. Sometimes it's because you simply don't have the time. Sometimes it's because you just can't find the inspiration. And sometimes the book you're reading is so awesome that you can't describe it without turning into a blubbering fangirl. Every week I will be highlighting one of such books in Book Favourites.

After featuring The Fever series, I thought I'd share another of my urban-fantasy favourites. My reviews seem to be dominated by YA books lately, even though I'm not a purely YA reader. So this is what I read when I'm sick of angsty teenagers: the Sookie Stackhouse (True Blood) series by Charlaine Harris! It's one of my guilty pleasures that I love to indulge in when I'm in the mood for something fast and fun. I've stopped at book four a few years ago, and am rereading them all now. So no spoilers for later books! *frowns*

Why this series is awesome:
  • The heroine, Sookie. She can read people's minds, which is an awesome power, but she's a very realistic person too. I love how she struggles with accepting there are paranormal creatures in a much more believable way than almost any other main character
  • The books are incredibly quick reads - perfect to read in between review books
  • They have all kinds of paranormal creatures, without it making too confusing
  • Viking vampire Eric. He's hot
  • The fact that she doesn't sleep around while she's single. Seems like a strange thing to say, but I'm quite happy when paranormal romance doesn't have that much sex in it
  • The mystery isn't predictable
  • I want to know who Sookie ends up with!
  • If you're not in the mood to read you can also watch the True Blood TV series. It's not the same, but it's fun

I recommend this series if you like:
  • Urban fantasy
  • Paranormal romance
  • Realistic heroines
  • Vampires
  • Shifters
  • Family drama
  • Long ongoing series

Wednesday, 25 April 2012

Bout of Books Readathon: Sign Up

In about two weeks it's that time again; the Bout of Books readathon! This is the third Bout of Books readathon I'm participating in, and the second one where I'll be hosting a challenge.

For those of you who haven't heard about this yet, the Bout of Books readathon is a week-long casual readathon. The only goal is to read more than you usually do - no pressure. Every day there will be a little challenge to keep things interesting, and some us are even giving away cool stuff (pssst - I'm giving away stuff!). There will also be a lot of Twitter talking (which usually keeps us from reading *sigh*) and if you decide to participate, I'm sure you'll meet a lot of new awesome people (:

To sign up you simply go to the Bout of Books blog, where you can fill in the form for the master list. You're not required to have a blog! Twitter or Goodreads or any place you can post your updates is fine.

I'll post my to-read list closer to the actual readathon, because I'll just keep on changing it otherwise. I hope some of you will sign up too! Leave a comment if you do (:

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Review: Cinder by Marissa Meyer

Cinder by Marissa Meyer
(The Lunar Chronicles #1)
5 out of 5 stars

Published January 3rd 2012 by Puffin

I loved it! When I hear "fairy-tale retelling" I'm not on my chair jumping up and down of joy, but Cinder surprised me in its ingenuity.

Cinder is a cyborg mechanic, living with her stepmother and two stepsisters in New Beijing. A mysterious plague claims thousands of victims, and there are people living on the moon. One day the Prince stops by Cinder's shop to repair an android. This android contains crucial information for the well-being of the whole Empire.

Like every child from the Disney generation I grew up with the story of Cinderella, but I never liked the movie. I was always appalled by how unfair she was treated, and that she didn't fight back. Enter Cinder. I loved how Ms Meyer took the story of Cinderella and made it her own, though keeping the essence of it, and keeping the suspense of the ending. She has changed some things - for the better in my opinion. One thing I loved was that one of the stepsisters was actually Cinder's friend. It was good to see that she had a person to confide in.

In the beginning Cinder doesn't fight her abusing stepmother, but she grows throughout the story into a stronger person. I loved following her growth, anticipating with joy the moment she breaks free. It does happen, but not in the way I was expecting.

There is so much going on this book that I have a hard time describing it. I've read a lot of rave reviews of Cinder, but I never understood what it all was about. Let me summarize it for you: there is political intrigue, threats of war between earth people and lunar people, Lunars can mind-control, Prince Kai is awesome and swoon-worthy, it's all set in a futuristic world, some science talk now and then, mysterious plague, Cinder's secret heritage.

I absolutely love the cacophony of Cinder's world. For once, the Prince is a good guy that would do anything for the well-being of his people. After reading so many dystopians this was a breeze of fresh air. Yes, there is a plague that's killing people. But it's not so bleak and hopeless as many other YA books seem to be lately.

The only problem I had was with the ending. Argh, cliffhanger alert! I know this is going to be a series, but I wanted it to end like the real Cinderella story, with a perfect happy ending. Sadly, this wasn't the case. I want the next book in the series now! I need to know how the story of Cinder continues!


Humans and androids crowd the raucous streets of New Beijing. A deadly plague ravages the population. From space, a ruthless lunar people watch, waiting to make their move. No one knows that Earth’s fate hinges on one girl. . . .

Cinder, a gifted mechanic, is a cyborg. She’s a second-class citizen with a mysterious past, reviled by her stepmother and blamed for her stepsister’s illness. But when her life becomes intertwined with the handsome Prince Kai’s, she suddenly finds herself at the center of an intergalactic struggle, and a forbidden attraction. Caught between duty and freedom, loyalty and betrayal, she must uncover secrets about her past in order to protect her world’s future.

Other reviews you might be interested in
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Monday, 23 April 2012

London & The London Book Fair

I know some of you were hoping to see some pictures from my trip to London, and here they finally are! I didn't take that many photos, but it's enough to give you an idea. For those of you only interested about the London Book Fair, you can scroll down for a bit! All of the LBF related pieces of text are made purple for your convenience.

As I live in the Netherlands, it's pretty easy to get to London. Basically you jump on one of the high-speed trains (mine leaves from Aachen in Germany, as that one is closest), switch to another high-speed train in Brussels (Belgium) and zoof through the tunnel under the sea to the UK. All in all, it takes about five hours. Here's me and the Eurostar, which goes through the tunnel.

Going through a tunnel underneath the sea was pretty scary the first time, but if you take the train you barely notice it. These trains can go about 250 km/h and you're at the other side in no time.

When we arrived in London (after putting our bags in the hotel & eat lunch) we decided to visit the Book Fair. My first impression? Overwhelming. To give you an idea, we made a picture of me in front of the information board. You see all those teeny tiny names? They're all individual stands. Yeah. That many.

So we just walked around aimlessly for a bit, trying to take it all in. If anyone dares to tell you that there is no money to be made in books, force them to go to the LBF. There are hundreds and hundreds of company professionals walking around, sitting at tables, trying to get book deals. I stopped reading name tags after a while after seeing CEOs and directors of so many big companies. A note should also be made towards all of the different countries represented at the Fair. This year there was a big focus on China, but I also saw stands from the Netherlands, Germany, Hungary, Sweden, and dozens more (not only just European countries).

After trudging through the Fair for two hours, we did some shopping. We went to Westfield, which is the biggest shopping mall in Europe (after going the the second biggest shopping mall in France, we wanted to see this one too). I snatched a picture from the internet to show you how big it is (click it to go to the source).

It's huuuge! I know you Americans are used to things being gigantic, but for us Europeans it's shocking. I went to Foyles, a bookstore, where all LBF attendees got a 10% discount (*happy dance*) and got some new books. We also checked out The Village, a part of Westfield that houses brands like Dior and other shops we obviously haven't bought anything. Here's a picture of its marble glory.

The second day we went sight-seeing, visiting the Tate Modern museum and Covent Garden. We discovered that not everything at the Tate Modern is modern, as when we ordered a coke (expecting a bottle of Coca Cola or Pepsi), here's what we got.

A fermented botanical cola drink with ginger and herbal extracts! Yummy!

I saw on the map that the Globe Theatre (the famous copy of Shakespeare's theatre) was a five-minute walk, so we brought ol' William's dwelling a visit too. It's squished between redbrick buildings, but it's quite pretty nevertheless.

We also visited Trafalgar Square and Piccadilly Circus, and went to my favourite bookstore in the world, Waterstones! The combined effort of my Waterstones & Foyles & Fair visit can be found at my In My Mailbox post.

The third day I did a full Book Fair experience. I visited two seminars, collected catalogues & promotional books, and attended the interview with Anthony Horowitz. The first seminar I visited was called New Young Adult Lists: Representatives of Three Major Publishers Discuss their Lists, Launched in 2011. It's a mouthful, but it was very interesting. There were representatives of Razor Bill, Electic Monkey and Hot Key Books, and they talked about what they look for in young-adult submissions, the current market and their goals as publishers. I think this seminar was quite interesting both as a blogger and a wannabe-writer. 

The second one I visited was more casual; Mal Peet & Moira Young in Conversation. I haven't read Moira's book, Blood Red Road yet, but it still was very interesting to hear about her story, and how she has written her book. Mal Peet was awesome too, but I'm afraid that I won't be reading his books, they don't sound like something I would enjoy. They were both very nice, and signed books from people in the audience before the interview and answered their questions.

The last event I visited was Anthony Horowitz's interview. That man can talk! I was a bit disappointed that it was only half an hour, I would have loved to listen to him a little while longer. There were some questions in the audience about violence in books, and it was very interesting to hear his views about this. Here is a picture of his interview.

As a blogger, is the LBF something you want to attend again? Definitely yes. Even though you don't really belong to the "in" crowd (all the publishers seem to know each other) if you attend seminars and author talks, it's very educational and interesting. You can probably find some publishing contacts here too, but I was way to shy to walk up to the publishing people and give them my business card. I would love to visit the Fair with some fellow bloggers sometime.

So that's my London story. After that it was back to the cold and rainy Netherlands. (: A massive stack of cookies for everyone that read the whole story!

Sunday, 22 April 2012

In My Mailbox - Post-London Edition

It's time for In My Mailbox, a weekly meme by The Story Siren!

So, you know I went to London this week, and erm, I went a little crazy on the buying books thing. All of the Book Fair attendees got a 10% discount at a bookstore called Foyles (I never heard of it before) and of course I went to my favourite Piccadilly Circus store: Waterstones! I also got two freebies at the Fair itself.

Click on the cover to go to the Goodreads page.


A Close-Up of the Left Stack:

The Freebies:

I have no idea what these books are about, but they had little signs saying "Please take one!" so just to be polite, I took one of each


I'm so excited to read all of them! The Name of the Star is signed, and the Charlaine Harris box looks absolutely gorgeous <3. What do you have in your mailbox this week? Leave a comment! (:

Saturday, 21 April 2012

Dewey's Readathon

I made a very last-minute decision to join the 24-hour Readathon! I've been in a bit of a reading slump this month, and going to London didn't really help getting through my big stack of books. I hope joining the readathon will help, and it also fits in nicely with the April Page Count Contest.

I haven't participated in this readathon before, but I heard it's a lot of fun (: I won't be doing the no-sleep thing, but I'll try to fit in as much reading as I can. I'll try to update this post every few hours.

Here are the books I hope to read:

- Wither by Lauren DeStephano
- Ashfall by Mike Mullin
- Fallen Grace by Mary Hooper
- The Earthquake Machine by Mary Pauline Lowry

Introductory Questionnaire:
(You can find the original post here)

What fine part of the world are you reading from today?
I'm reading from the Netherlands!

Which book in your stack are you most looking forward to?
Hmmm, I'm very much looking forward to read Ashfall. I heard some people found it too apocalyptic, so I'm curious to see how bad it is.

Which snack are you most looking forward to?

Tell us a little something about yourself!
I'm an almost-literature/cultural sciences student (I'm starting next year) from the Netherlands who absolutely loves to read. I collect books like a crazy person, and all of my shelves are overflowing. Next to reading I love to play computer games, watch movies, listen to music and go out with friends. Oh, and travelling is awesome too; my favourite city is London with Rome as a close second.

If you participated in the last read-a-thon, what’s one thing you’ll do different today? If this is your first read-a-thon, what are you most looking forward to?
Well, this is my first time participating in this particular readathon, but I've participated in a few others before (: I hope to get quite some reading done and maybe meet some other awesome readathoners.

Turn to Page Challenge:
(You can find the original post here)
"I would rather read than own the goddamn city any day!" Taken from Wither by Lauren DeStefano

Wrap Up:
Soooo, turns out I have slept 10 hours of the readathon. Oops. I only finished one book, which is a bit beneath the goal I was going for, but at least I finished something, right? I hope I'll do better in the Bout of Books readathon that's coming up in a few weeks. Dewey's was quite fun though, so I think I'll participate again in October (:

Review: LoveLife by Rachel Spangler

LoveLife by Rachel Spangler
3.5 out of 5 stars

Published April 17th by Bold Strokes Books
ARC received through Netgalley

I was rather surprised when Bold Strokes Books invited me to read this title on Netgalley. I have reviewed one of their books before,, a contemporary LGBT young-adult novel. LoveLife is a contemporary lesbian romance novel, which seems a far stretch from my usual genres, but I decide to give it a try.

When the beautiful Elaine comes walking into her coffee shop, Joey is immediately drawn to her but she's too insecure to ask her out. After some meddling by her best friend Lisa she gets an appointment with the stunning life coach. But will this help them to get closer, or will the scheme ruin their chances of ever having a relationship?

I wasn't very much impressed by the premise of LoveLife. It seemed like such a cliché to me; the pretty young girl falling in love with the older graceful woman who she watches from afar. Add an obstacle to overcome (they are life coach & client) and you've got yourself a romance novel. Because of this I almost gave up on the book a few times.

Another thing that struck me as odd while reading the book is the share amount of lesbians in their town. Joey's best friend Lisa is a lesbian, Joey gets hit on by a number of girls, Elaine is conveniently gay. Wikipedia tells me that approximately 2.6% of US population is a lesbian. I have no idea, but it looked like all the lesbians in LoveLife had some kind of gay-radar that assured them the other person was into girls too.

The actual life coaching sessions were a miss for me. At one point it looks like Joey is fixed and a whole different person in just four weeks. If your problems can be fixed in a few weeks, then your problems are not that big to begin with.

The first half of the book had a "meh" feeling to it for me. Everything was just not as I would like it to be, everything was too easy and convenient. Only when I arrived to the second half of the book I started enjoying the story.

What saved LoveLife for me is Elaine. Later in the book you find out she's the damaged one in the story. As a life coach, she can't coach her own life. She has been in therapy for years, yet she isn't a happy person at all. Except from her professional life, everything is a big mess. Her faults made her human to me, and made me believe that she could fall in love with someone 14 years younger than her.

In the end I did enjoy LoveLife, but it took a long while coming.


Life coach Elaine Raitt is educated, elegant, and dedicated to her profession. Blue-collar boi Joey Lang is too insecure to even approach her; that is until her well-meaning but meddling best friend Lisa decides to break the ice and makes Joey a life-coaching appointment with Elaine. A session meant to bring clarity only leaves them both feeling more confused about their purpose in life and love.

Will Joey be able to find the strength to chase the woman of her dreams, and even if she does, will Elaine be willing to risk the life she loves for the woman who could be the love of her life?

Other reviews you might be interested in
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Friday, 20 April 2012

Should Authors Comment on Reviews?

Hosted by Reading Romances, in the Authors on Reviews: To Comment or Not to Comment? event bloggers discuss whether or not they think authors should comment on their reviews. You can read more about this event on their site, where you can also find other bloggers participating in this hop.

As most of you know, there have been quite some kerfuffles the last few months where authors left aggressive comments on reviews of their book - sometimes even their agents joined the discussion. In some extreme cases authors even called upon their author friends on Twitter, mobilizing them to systematically upvote only good reviews on Goodreads, making sure the lesser-star reviews disappear from the front pages.

Because of all this, the question arises what the proper etiquette reviewer/author is - should an author comment on a review or not?

First things first: never ever should an author make a negative comment on a review. Not in public. Not online. They can complain about it to their friends, their family. But never on the internet, where a tiny rumour spreads like wildfire. Don't even try to talk in code or try not mentioning names, most people know what you're talking about regardless.

If you want to clarify something, do so in a personal email. For example, if the reviewer is confused by some part of your book, you can explain why you wrote it that way. I've got a few of those messages, and I very much appreciated them. They won't change my review, but it helps understanding the author's choices. There are a few things you'll have to pay attention to when sending such an email:
  • It must be an email. Don't send a message on Facebook, Goodreads, Twitter or another social networking site. Most bloggers have their contact info on their blogs; take a moment to find it there
  • Always, always be polite in your commentary
  • The blogger took the time to read your book. A little bit of appreciation goes a very long way
If you just want to send a little thank you towards a reviewer, feel free to shoot them a comment or Tweet. If you just want to thank me for my time, you don't have to write a full letter to me. You can, if you want to, but you don't have to. I've also gotten comments from writers on three or even two-star reviews, saying that they could use the criticism in their further works. I absolutely love it when I get these comments - doesn't matter if they're on my blog, through a personal Goodreads message or anywhere else.

All of the bookish drama lately has put author commenting in a very bad light, but the thing is that we bloggers still like to get a little compliment. Who doesn't. Therefore I think authors should be careful, but if you stay polite there should be no problem if you comment on a blog. Try to stay away from bloggers that have caused drama before. Otherwise, go for it (:


I'd love to hear your opinion on this! If you're an author, do you comment on reviews? If so, where and how? And if you're a blogger, do you like to get a comment from an author on one of your reviews?

Monday, 16 April 2012

Notice of Absence... I'm in London!

In case you're wondering why Nyx Book Reviews hasn't been updated for a few days... That's because I am attending the London Book Fair!

I'm away until April 20th. I'll post a few updates about the #lbf12 on my Twitter profile, but I won't be able to keep up my usual posting schedule. When I get back I will have tons of stories, new books and awesome stuffs to give away!

So while you're here anyway, here are some things you can do:
Or you can click on the picture of this adorable doggy and be amazed by pages of pages of cuteness. I won't hold it against you.

See you again soon!

Sunday, 15 April 2012

In My Mailbox

It's time for In My Mailbox, a weekly meme by The Story Siren!

This is my last mailbox before I'm going to the wonderful city of London, so next week's IMM will probably be overflowing with new books. This week was pretty great too, with a nice hardback copy, courtesy of Tanglewood (thanks! <3) and another book from the awesome Flux people through Netgalley.

Click on the cover to go to the Goodreads page.

For Review: 

Silver sounds like a very fun paranormal YA book, with the typical hot guy that only has eyes for the heroine. It can turn out really well or absolutely awful, so I'm looking forward to see which one it'll be!

In last week's mailbox I got Ashen Winter, the second book in this series from Netgalley. So I requested the first book too and the people at Tanglewood sent me a beautiful hardback copy which makes me a very happy blogger. In Ashfall a super-volcano explodes and covers the world in ash. It's YA post-apocalyptic, so I'm quite sure I'll enjoy it (:

What do you have in your mailbox this week? Leave a comment! (:

Saturday, 14 April 2012

Illumine's Wish Giveaway Winner!

The Illumine's Wish giveaway has ended, and it's time to announce the winner! This lucky person is getting a signed copy of Alivia Anders' book Illumine and three signed bookmarks to go along with it. A big thank you to all of you that helped spreading the word through Twitter, I'm sure Alivia very much appreciates it (:

And now for the winner...

Congratulations Christina Kit!

I will forward your contact information to the author. Enjoy your prize!

Friday, 13 April 2012

Review: Linger by Maggie Stiefvater

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
(The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2)
5 out of 5 stars

Published by Scholastic
This review may contain spoilers for the previous books in the series

Ms Stiefvater is steadily becoming one of my favourite authors. As I said in my review of the first book of the Wolves of Mercy Falls series, Shiver, I liked it. This liking is slowly turning into something more, something that is reserved only for my all-time favourites.

Now Beck is gone, Sam has to take his place. With the three new wolves he is feeling the burden of responsibility. With every single day Grace becomes sicker, and he doesn't know how to help her. Isabelle is falling for Cole, one of the new wolves, but he is even more broken than she is. There is a lot going on in Mercy Falls, and not all of it is good...

Reading Linger felt like returning to old friends. I read it during the hectic mess that are my review books. I read it when I went to sleep and wanted something comforting. The dreaminess of Ms Stiefvater's writing draws me in so effortless. I can pick up her book after a long stressful day and within a few words get transported to her world.

Another thing I love is how realistic her relationships are. Sam and Grace are still an amazing couple and I was very glad that she didn't insert petty fights to make it more exciting. The only issues they had were things outside of their doing. A big issue in Linger are Grace's parents. Now Grace and Sam have been together for so long, eliminating their oh-it's-just-a-fling attitude, they are getting in the way of their relationship. The whole situation is so life-like. I can imagine parents all over the world reacting the same way.

The budding romance between Isabelle and Cole is awkward and adorable. I think one day they will make a great couple. They are absolute opposites to Grace and Sam, yet awesome all the same. I'm looking forward to see what happens to them in the next book.

One thing I didn't like - the cliffhanger! Argh, now I have to read the last book in the trilogy, Forever. I heard a lot of people are disappointed with the conclusion. I just hope reading Forever is just as enjoyable as reading Linger.


In Maggie Stiefvater's Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past . . . and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabelle, who already lost her brother to the wolves . . . and is nonetheless drawn to Cole.

Other reviews you might be interested in
More links

Thursday, 12 April 2012

Review: Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves

Ripper by Amy Carol Reeves
4 out of 5 stars

Published April 8th by Flux Books
ARC received through Netgalley

As the title suggests, Ripper is about the infamous serial killer Jack the Ripper. But it's not you average historical young-adult novel; it has a paranormal twist.

After the death of her mother, Abbie Sharp moves from Dublin to London to live with her grandmother. Because she is quite rebellious, her grandmother orders her to work at the Whitechapel Hospital. The hospital is located in one of the poorest parts of London and treats prostitutes and their children for free. But then the former patients start to get brutally murdered - and Abbie is getting disturbing visions.

I really liked the creepiness factor of Ripper. The ending really freaked me out - I didn't dare to continue reading it at night. Of course there is the gruesomeness of the murders itself. It isn't very much focussed on, for which I was glad. For those of you that aren't very familiar with the Whitechapel Murders; these women weren't just killed, they were butchered. There are pictures out there, if you have a stomach for it. I was glad there wasn't that much detailing going on about the murders, otherwise this book wouldn't possibly be rated as young-adult.

Ripper basically is an alternate history kind of thing featuring Jack the Ripper. I loved how the paranormal interwove with the actual events, how the victims had the same names as in reality but different stories and characters. I did a little background research to see how close the happenings in the book are to the real ones, and I have to give Ms Reeves a big thumbs-up. The victims are killed in the same places, yet somehow it fits perfectly into the story. I loved these little details.

Abbie is a great character, but I couldn't always identify with her emotions and actions. Sometimes I felt as if she was too kick-ass, and sometimes too much of a damsel-in-distress. One of my biggest issues was the love-triangle. The triangle in itself was okay, but she choose the wrong one. I hate it when that happens! I was completely rooting for the other guy.

Overall Ripper is a very enjoyable read, and I would recommend it for the historical mystery fans. It starts out very light on the paranormal, but it gets a bit heavier throughout the story. If the love triangle is scaring you off a bit; romance isn't the focus of the story. If the mystery of who Jack the Ripper is sounds interesting to you, give it a try!


In 1888, following her mother's sudden death, 17-year-old Arabella Sharp goes to live with her grandmother in a posh London neighborhood. At her grandmother's request, Abbie volunteers at Whitechapel Hospital, where she discovers a passion for helping the unfortunate women and children there. But within days, female patients begin turning up brutally murdered at the hands of Jack the Ripper.

Other reviews you might be interested in
More links

Wednesday, 11 April 2012

Guest Post: Advice for Aspiring Writers by Liz Reinhardt (Blog Tour)

This guest post is a part of the Forgiving Trinity Tour hosted by Amanda over at Letters Inside Out. I asked Liz whether or not she had some advice for all of those aspiring authors out there, and here is her wonderful answer (:

The Guest Post

Advice for Aspiring Writers

I’m actually super glad Celine asked me to write this one, because every author I know gets this question. A LOT! There are huge numbers of aspiring writers, and here’s the cool thing…a few years ago, you could have the most amazing book around, and if you couldn’t get an agent or publishing house to sit up and take interest, it wound up sitting on your hard-drive forever. And ever!

Today there is a revolution in indie writing. More and more authors are opting to self-publish their work, and they’re reaching more readers than ever. So say you maybe have the writing bug? What should you do?! I’ll totally give my advice FOR FREE, and you can read it or ignore it or disagree with it…but I’m sincerely glad you’re on your way. The world needs more awesome books!

  1.   Finish your book.
  2. This is funny! You can totally buy the shirt and wear it…but ironically. Because YOU WILL FINISH YOUR BOOK! You will. I know you can do it.
  3. Finish your book. You might say, “Hey, Liz! That was rule number one!” It is. It’s so important, it could be one, two, and three. It could even be four and five. And maybe six.

    Here’s the thing. I’m not saying you HAVE TO finish every single book you start. Take the book you’re passionate about. Sit down. WRITE IT. ALL. TO “THE END.”

    Maybe you’re not totally happy with it. (It’s really normal to not be in love with it…in fact, you should be kind of stumped about some things.) Maybe it’s riddled with missing commas and flat characters and plot holes. ALL. TOTALLY. OKAY! Why? Because you’ve got a FINISHED BOOK to work on!

    Some people moan and groan about edits. I LOVE edits! LOVE EM! I don’t want you guys reading my soggy, messy, mistake-riddled crap. I want you to see the book I buffed to a glossy shine. So let’s say you and I wrote a book and it’s DONE!

    Well, it’s not done at all ;)! 

  4. Cause it will have holes and problems and issues…but you’ll solve them! How? So glad you asked. See number three, directly below this terrible picture!
  5. Get help! GET HELP!!!!

    Thank Kali for the internet! The internet is where I met every single one of my amazing critique partners. One I met through a YA Writers’ club we were both in. One I met through the comments of a blog we both followed. One I met because we’d read each other’s books and loved them. All different ways, all different styles of critique partners, all amazing!

    You may think, “No one understands my vision! This is my baby! My words are precious!” Get over it…right now! If you choose critique partners who love you and adore you, they will help you so much. They will tell you what they love about your writing and encourage you to do more. They will point out inconsistencies, mistakes, plot wholes, character weakness, funny wording, and bad dialogue. And then? You go back and fix it all!! WOOHOO!!

    Choose wisely. Your book IS amazing (correction: your book WILL BE amazing!), and if you don’t give it to people who will love/cherish/beat-it-up-for-your-own-good-but-sweetly, it will NEVER BE ITS BEST!!

    Doesn’t Rosie just make cleaning up whatev feel like futuristic fun?! Maybe writers of the future will have sassy cyborgs to help them edit!
  6. You don’t have to do this alone!!

    There are so many people who can help you…and at first you might be poor and can’t afford it all. But get what you can for free/cheap/barter. I have a bunch of awesome friends who do read-throughs for typos. I have beta readers and crit partners who do their thing for my love and support. I would love to one day hire top notch editors, just so I can stop making my friends scream over my missing words and incorrect colon usage.

    Cover artists range in price. Find one you like who’s in your price range, and see what you can do! Remember, if you’re indie, you can change your cover/price anytime, so there’s room to play around with any decision you make!

    Contact book bloggers and ask them (politely) if they’d like to read a copy of your book (IF your book matches their submission guidelines AND they’re taking books on). Book bloggers are the gods and goddesses of the writing world. Authors swoon over them! And why not?! They are amazing people who READ BOOKS AND WRITE ABOUT THEM JUST BECAUSE THEY LOVE BOOKS!! WHAT?! That’s passion I can get behind!

    You don’t need to have a big, shiny publishing deal to find a whole crew of people who will love and help you!
    I think my main point here is that writing a book is a ton of work…but it’s tremendously fun and thoughtful work, and you have so many lovely people to connect with and make it happen! Find those people! Make them your village!! Oh, and that brings me to my last, most important piece of advice:

  7. Find other writer friends.

    Do not make connections with authors and immediately tell them how much they’d love your book. Actually, one of the ways I made quite a few of my friends was by reading their books! I sent them notes telling them how much I loved their work (and I meant it!), and sometimes we really hit it off! Writing can be kind of lonely and confusing, It’s hard to put your work out there and have other people talk about what they don’t like or what they think you did badly. It’s nice to have a shoulder to cry on, especially if that shoulder GETS IT! My greatest happiness is the amazing writer friends I’ve met and grown close to on my journey!

    True that, Calvin. When you find your Hobbes, hold on tight!

Thank you so much for having me on and letting me share my tips, Celine!


Liz Reinhardt was born and raised in the idyllic beauty of northwest NJ. A move to the subtropics of coastal Georgia with her daughter and husband left her with a newly realized taste for the beach and a bloated sunscreen budget that exist right alongside an intense longing for the bagels and fast-talking foul mouths of her youth. She loves Raisinettes, even if they aren’t really candy, the Oxford comma, movies that are hilarious or feature zombies, any and all books, but especially romance (the smarter and hotter, the better), the sound of her daughter’s incessantly wise and entertaining chatter, and watching her husband work on cars in the driveway. You can read her blog at, like her on Facebook, or email her at

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

Release Day: Blue Asylum by Kathy Hepinstall

Put on trial by her slaveholder husband and convicted of madness by a Virginia judge, Iris Dunleavy is sent to Sanibel Asylum to be restored to a good wife. But Iris knows her husband is the true criminal; she is no lunatic, only guilty of violating Southern notions of property.

A pompous superintendent heads this asylum populated by wonderful characters, including his self-diagnosing twelve-year-old son, a woman who swallows anything in sight, and Ambrose Weller, a Confederate soldier whose memories terrorize him into wild fits that can only be calmed by the color blue, but whose gentleness and dark eyes beckon to Iris.

The institution calls itself modern, but Iris is skeptical of its methods, particularly the dreaded water treatment. In this isolated place, she finds love with Ambrose. But can she take him with her if she escapes? Will there be anything for them to make a life from, back home?

Blue Asylum is the rich, absorbing story of a spirited woman, a wounded soldier, their impossible love, and the call of freedom.

> Read my review of Blue Asylum

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