Review 297. Miriam Forster – City of a thousand dolls.

12084278Title: Miriam Forster.
Author: City of a thousand dolls.
Pages: 359.
Published: February 5th 2013 by Harper Teen.
Sort: Bhinian Empire #1.
Goodreads.

Nisha was abandoned at the gates of the City of a Thousand Dolls when she was just a child. Now sixteen, she lives on the grounds of the isolated estate, where orphan girls apprentice as musicians, healers, courtesans, and, if the rumors are true, assassins. Nisha makes her way as Matron’s assistant, her closest companions the mysterious cats that trail her shadow. Only when she begins a forbidden flirtation with the city’s handsome young courier does she let herself imagine a life outside the walls. Until one by one, girls around her start to die.

Rating:

It’s very important that you go into this book with the right expectations. After some reviews I found out that this book is pitched as ‘fantasy,’ but there are not many fantasy elements. This gave me the chance to read this book for what it is: an entertaining story that made me curious for more.

Mel in Movieland | Percy Jackson: The lightening thief.


Welcome to my new feature, where I will be combining books and movies! I bet you can guess how I came up in the name, but in case you aren’t; Alice in Wonderland. You can find my inspirations in this post Fairytale news: other content.


Information: Director: Chris Columbus.
Released: on February 11th 2010.
Length: 118 minutes.

Storyline (IMDB): A teenager discovers he's the descendant of a Greek god and sets out on an adventure to settle an on-going battle between the gods. Zeus's lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect. Even more troubling is the sudden disappearance of Percy's mother. As Percy finds himself caught between angry and battling gods, he and his friends embark on a cross-country adventure to catch the true lightning thief, save Percy's mom, and unravel a mystery more powerful than the gods themselves.

Rating:
 

Review 296. Ransom Riggs – Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children.

17162156Title: Miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children.
Author: Ransom Riggs.
Pages: 352.
Published: June 4th 2013 by Quirk Books.
Sort: Part #1. Miss Peregrine’s peculiar children.
Source: I received a finished copy for review purpose from the publisher.

A mysterious island. An abandoned orphanage. A strange collection of very curious photographs. It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow—impossible though it seems—they may still be alive.
 Rating:

This book was perfect for this month, where I decided to pick up some books to get in the Halloween mood. It started out very creepy and those pictures completed the book. I'm really starting to fangirl about books where they include pictures, like In the shadow of blackbirds and The cure for dreaming.

Personal | Finding a balance.

You might have noticed something. Normally, I post something every other day, but lately I’ve been slacking and that’s all because of my internship. Before I got started I had a lot of free time. School was laid back with hardly any homework (or it was so easy it was done within a couple of hours) and I had short school days. I also had a long summer vacation + an extra free month. Now I’m working full time from 9 to 5 (and two weeks ago ‘til 6) and I need some time to adjust to this change.

To be honest, I have no idea why I post this.. It’s my blog after all and I don’t have to excuse myself for cutting back on my posts, but at the same time I want to let you know what’s going on. You guys are friends after all and I want to keep you up-to-date about changes on the blog. That being said, I’m still here and I will figure this out! I might have to do something I haven’t done before and that’s: making a schedule or point out one day as ‘blogging day.’

This also means that I won’t be commenting as often as I used to. I will still try to visit your blog as often as I can, but I won’t be able to sit behind my computer every day for hours. I’m sad that I have to cut down on this, but I have to be realistic and I know this isn’t achievable. I’m happy I worked my butt off a while ago, because now I have a lot of concept posts waiting to be published. At least I have enough to keep posting without stressing out.

So, bear with me while I’m trying to find a new balance between life, work + school and blogging! And if you don’t:

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;) Just kidding.

If you have any tips about how you schedule (or if you have any useful links) I would love to hear about it in the comments! Thanks guys.

Review 295. Natalie Parker – Beware the wild.

13639182Title: Beware the wild.
Author: Natalie C. Parker.
Pages: 336.
Published: October 21st 2014 by HarperTeen.
Sort: Stand-alone.
It's an oppressively hot and sticky morning in June when Sterling and her brother, Phin, have an argument that compels him to run into the town swamp -- the one that strikes fear in all the residents of Sticks, Louisiana. Phin doesn't return. Instead, a girl named Lenora May climbs out, and now Sterling is the only person in Sticks who remembers her brother ever existed. Sterling needs to figure out what the swamp's done with her beloved brother and how Lenora May is connected to his disappearance -- and loner boy Heath Durham might be the only one who can help her.
Rating:

I’m not sure what to think about this book.  The beginning was great. I liked the set-up and the direction from the story, but it made a strange turn that came out of nowhere.. Which was interesting, but also a little disappointing.

Review 294. Sara Raasch – Snow like ashes.

17399160Title: Snow like ashes.
Author: Sara Raasch.
Pages: 432.
Published: October 14th 2014 by Balzer + Bray.
Sort: Snow like ashes #1.
A heartbroken girl. A fierce warrior. A hero in the making.
Sixteen years ago the Kingdom of Winter was conquered and its citizens enslaved, leaving them without magic or a monarch. Now, the Winterians’ only hope for freedom is the eight survivors who managed to escape, and who have been waiting for the opportunity to steal back Winter’s magic and rebuild the kingdom ever since. Orphaned as an infant during Winter’s defeat, Meira has lived her whole life as a refugee, raised by the Winterians’ general, Sir. Training to be a warrior—and desperately in love with her best friend, and future king, Mather — she would do anything to help her kingdom rise to power again. So when scouts discover the location of the ancient locket that can restore Winter’s magic, Meira decides to go after it herself. Finally, she’s scaling towers, fighting enemy soldiers, and serving her kingdom just as she’s always dreamed she would. But the mission doesn’t go as planned, and Meira soon finds herself thrust into a world of evil magic and dangerous politics – and ultimately comes to realize that her destiny is not, never has been, her own.
Rating:

I sort of liked it and disliked it at the same time. It’s hard to point out how I exactly feel about it. This book had crazy potential to be amazing, but instead it falls back into clichés and unoriginal storylines. I was mad after finishing it, but at the same time: I did finish it and it reads very quick.

20 things you probably didn't know about me – tag.

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I wasn’t tagged, but I really like these questions so I'm going to answer them anyway. This is also the moment where I tell you that I tag everyone who wants to do this tag too. Are you ready for some Mel information? Here we go:

Review 293. Bethany Griffin – The fall.

18241263Title: The fall.
Author: Bethany Griffin.
Pages: 400.
Published: October 7th 2014 by Greenwillow.
Sort: Stand-alone.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Madeline Usher is doomed. She has spent her life fighting fate, and she thought she was succeeding. Until she woke up in a coffin. Ushers die young. Ushers are cursed. Ushers can never leave their house, a house that haunts and is haunted, a house that almost seems to have a mind of its own. Madeline’s life—revealed through short bursts of memory—has hinged around her desperate plan to escape, to save herself and her brother. Her only chance lies in destroying the house. In the end, can Madeline keep her own sanity and bring the house down?
Rating:

“I am the one the house speaks to, the one the house flirted with, the one the house won’t let go.”

Madeline Usher is cursed, just like everyone before her in the family. Her twin brother was send away by their mother in the hope to break free from the curse. Both of their parents die and Madeline is locked in the house together with her doctors. They are monitoring everything and take daily blood samples. The house is a nightmare. It changes and shifts. It talks to Madeline and threatens her, but also protects her in a certain way. It’s a very strange sort of relationship to read about.

Then the time comes where Madeline gets her fits. It’s the first sign of the madness that slowly creeps into the heirs from the house. It’s an illness that slowly takes over and always ends in an early death. Madeline sees only one way to escape before it claims her life: she must destroy the house, but that’s not an easy task. The house is alive and not ready to let her go.

The book started out all right. I liked the setting and the overall creepiness of the story. The idea of a living house that changes around you and seeps into your body was scary. Madeline sees how it takes her parents away from her and now she is waiting, because she is next in line. Doctors are fascinated by it and she gets daily tests to follow her progress. The thing is; with a setting that takes place in one location, things do get a little boring. This book would have benefited from less middle part and a better, longer ending. It was a bit abrupt and left me unsatisfied and confused at first. It took me a couple of minutes to realize what happened.

The thing that gave me mixed feelings were the chapters. They switch between different points in Madeline's life. Every chapter tackled another age and sometimes even a diary entry written by a woman called Liz. It was sometimes confusing to follow the ‘now’ story and I could have done with a little less hopping around. It made me feel disconnected from Madeline and what was going on in the present story line.

After finishing the book I hunted down a free (legal!) copy of the original story, Edgar Allan Poe - The fall of the house of Usher and I must applaud Bethany for the way she created her own story. It's influenced by Edgar's version, but it has it's own voice and that was nicely done. I only wish she had handled the jumps in timeline a little better.

Fairytale News | Fairytale retellings.


This is a 'new' feature I came up with. I will be talking about everything that has to do with reading. From pretty new covers to discussions about books. I will post them randomly.

The trend of fairytales and retellings is still going strong! You can imagine how happy it makes me to find new books every day. Goodreads is my main source and today I want to spotlight some of my most anticipated fairytale retellings. Some of them don’t have covers, but they deserve the attention anyway. I have some other posts, like retellings from 2013, another retellings from 2013 and upcoming fairy tales 2014.

Review 292. Elissa Sussman – Stray.

17617617Title: Stray.
Author: Elissa Sussman.
Pages: 384.
Published: October 7th 2014 by Greenwillow books.
Sort: Four Sisters #1.
Princess Aislynn has long dreamed about attending her Introduction Ball, about dancing with the handsome suitors her adviser has chosen for her, about meeting her true love and starting her happily ever after. When the night of the ball finally arrives and Nerine Academy is awash with roses and royalty, Aislynn wants nothing more than to dance the night away, dutifully following the Path that has been laid out for her. She does not intend to stray. But try as she might, Aislynn has never quite managed to control the magic that burns within her-magic brought on by wicked, terrible desires that threaten the Path she has vowed to take. After all, it is wrong to want what you do not need. Isn’t it?
Rating:

Let me say this right away: this book isn’t going to be for everyone. It’s slow-paced and character- driven, the world-building needs more work and you have to deal with old, traditional ways that suck. I liked it, but there were moments I wanted more. This book feels more like a step-up for the real story, but my overall opinion is that it’s enjoyable.

Review 291. Cat Winters - The cure for dreaming.


Title: The cure for dreaming.
Author: Cat Winters.
Pages: 368.
Expected publication: October 14th 2014 by Amulet Books
Sort: Stand-alone.
Cat Winters – In the shadow of blackbirds.
Source: ARC copy from the publisher, thanks!
Olivia Mead is a headstrong, independent girl—a suffragist—in an age that prefers its girls to be docile. It’s 1900 in Oregon, and Olivia’s father, concerned that she’s headed for trouble, convinces a stage mesmerist to try to hypnotize the rebellion out of her. But the hypnotist, an intriguing young man named Henri Reverie, gives her a terrible gift instead: she’s able to see people’s true natures, manifesting as visions of darkness and goodness, while also unable to speak her true thoughts out loud. These supernatural challenges only make Olivia more determined to speak her mind, and so she’s drawn into a dangerous relationship with the hypnotist and his mysterious motives, all while secretly fighting for the rights of women.
Rating:

I had high expectations for The cure for dreaming, because I fell in love with In the shadow of blackbirds. I love how her work is combined with pictures to make the atmosphere complete. The art and photographs match with the story. There is something haunting about the things she writes and Cat has found the perfect way to create an interesting setting.

Mel in Movieland | Disney - Snow White.

Welcome to my new feature, where I will be combining books and movies! I bet you can guess how I came up in the name, but in case you aren’t; Alice in Wonderland. You can find my inspirations in this post Fairytale news: other content.

I’m currently watching all the Disney movies together with my blogging friends, called ‘Disney Journey’ and that's how this idea was born. This is also partly inspired by Project Disney from Picture us reading - you should check out their artwork in the trading cards!

tumblr_inline_n1hcihgmfA1rg0g8sBackground.
Today it’s up to the first Disney movie, Snow White. It is based on the German tale by the Brothers Grimm numbered as Tale 53. It is one of the most famous fairy tale across Europe. The version from the Brothers Grimm was actually an adaptation from an earlier story called 'Little Snowdrop' by Raphael Tuck & Sons.  Differences are mostly in the riddles and how the Queen dies (chokes on the wedding)

"Tell me glass, tell me true!
Of all the ladies in the land,

who is the fairest, tell me, who?"

In the first edition from Grimm there is an evil, jealous mother instead of the stepmother. The queen never ordered a servant; she takes Snow with her to gather flowers and abandons her. They believe the changes were done to tone down the story for children.

"You, my queen, are fair so true. But the young Queen is a thousand times fairer than you."

Review 291. Heather Demetrios – Exquisite captive.

18106985Title: Exquisite Captive.
Author: Heather Demetrios.
Pages: 480.
Published: October 7th by Balzer + Bray.
Sort: Dark Caravan #1.
Source: Edelweiss & Publisher.
Forced to obey her master. Compelled to help her enemy. Determined to free herself. Nalia is a jinni of tremendous ancient power, the only survivor of a coup that killed nearly everyone she loved. Stuffed into a bottle and sold by a slave trader, she’s now in hiding on the dark caravan, the lucrative jinni slave trade between Arjinna and Earth, where jinn are forced to grant wishes and obey their human masters’ every command. She’d give almost anything to be free of the golden shackles that bind her to Malek, her handsome, cruel master, and his lavish Hollywood lifestyle. Enter Raif, the enigmatic leader of Arjinna’s revolution and Nalia’s sworn enemy. He promises to free Nalia from her master so that she can return to her ravaged homeland and free her imprisoned brother—all for an unbearably high price. Nalia’s not sure she can trust him, but Raif’s her only hope of escape. With her enemies on the hunt, Earth has become more perilous than ever for Nalia. There’s just one catch: for Raif’s unbinding magic to work, Nalia must gain possession of her bottle…and convince the dangerously persuasive Malek that she truly loves him. Battling a dark past and harboring a terrible secret, Nalia soon realizes her freedom may come at a price too terrible to pay: but how far is she willing to go for it?
Rating:

I was so disappointed by this book. It had all the potential to be a very good story inspired by the Arabian nights. Instead I was thrown into a horrible love-triangle and a confusing world-building that would have been amazing if it was handled with more care.