Top four favourite couples in books

Because it’s almost Valentine’s Day, the theme of this Tuesday has something to do with love. Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. Today’s topic is favourite couples in books.

Top four favourite couples in books

1. Zuzana & Mik from Night of Cake and Puppets
We first meet Zuzana and Mik in Daughter of Smoke and Bone as side characters. In Night of Cake and Puppets we can read about their fantastical first date. This is an adorable love story that never fails to make me smile. Zuzana and Mik are both great characters and together they are amazing!

2. Kady & Ezra from The Illuminae Files
At the start of Illuminae, Kady and Ezra recently broke up. During a big part of the book they are separated. However, it didn’t took long before I started to ship them. They are both so sarcastic, but also would sacrifice everything for each other.

3. Simon & Blue from Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda
Just like Simon, we only know Blue from his e-mails. At the end of the book we “meet” him and find out who he really is. Despite the minimal “screen-time” I love Simon and Blue as couple. In their mail conversations they seem to understand each other so well.

4. Harry & Ginny from Harry Potter
I always thought Harry and Ginny are a good match. Ginny has a crush on him since the first time she saw him. Harry basically is part of the family from the moment he becomes friends with Ron. Harry and Ginny have common interests like Quidditch. But when they get a relationship, they still have their own life. Harry still decides to leave and Ginny doesn’t try to stop him. Even better, she restarts Dumbledore’s Army at Hogwarts. I can’t think of a better girlfriend for Harry!

Bonus: Caleb and Adam from The Bright Sessions, my favourite podcast!

What are your favourite couples in books (or in podcasts)? Tell me in the comments!

Should I read these books?

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. This Tuesday we are invited to write about books we need help deciding if they are worth adding to our TBR-lists. (It’s actually about upcoming releases, but I rather write about books that are already published.) Because I read quite a lot of books I usually know what I like. It’s rare that a book I buy feels like a waste of money. But I do have my doubts about some books. Here are three books that could become new favourites or disappoint me:

Should I read these books?

1. La Belle Sauvage (The Book of Dust #1) by Philip Pullman
When I first heard about La Belle Sauvage, I was eager to read it. As child His Dark Materials was one of my favourite trilogies. This book is set in the same world, but with another main character. This means I can read more about Lyra’s world! At the same time I don’t really need to. The two novellas set in the same universe, Once Upon a Time in the North and Lyra’s Oxford, weren’t that great. And The Golden Compass movie was just terrible…

2. The Shadow Hour (The Girl at Midnight #2) by Melissa Grey
In 2015 I read The Girl at Midnight. I wanted to read the sequel, but had to wait until it was published. By now I still haven’t bought it. I also can’t remember much about the first part. But if it’s a good trilogy, I could reread the first part and then continue reading. But I can’t decide if it’s worth it.

3. Leah on the Offbeat (Creekwood #2) by Becky Albertalli
Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda was one of my favourite books of 2018. I was surprised how much I loved it! I would like to read more about the characters. But while some people were enthusiastic about Leah on the Offbeat, others were disappointed. It’s said that the characters become one-dimensional. Now I don’t know if I should read the book…

Did you read any of these books? Would you recommend them to me? Tell me in the comments!

Warcross in review – an exciting story about a virtual reality game

Warcross + Wildcard

“Everything’s science fiction until someone makes it science fact.” 

When I found out my library had ordered Wildcard, I immediately reserved it. When I got the book, I finished it in one day! Wildcard is of course the exciting sequel to Warcross, written by Marie Lu. Here is my spoiler-free review about the duology.

Summary
In the first book we are introduced to Emika Chen. She makes money by chasing down players who bet illegally on Warcross.  This is a virtual reality game with players all over the world. Emika takes a risk when she hacks herself in the opening ceremony of the international Warcross Championships. The consequences are unexpected…

The characters
The book is told from Emika’s perspective, a rainbow haired bounty hunter. The rest of the cast is diverse: one Warcross-player is in a wheelchair and two boys are gay. Because a big part of the book is about the Warcross Championships, we get characters from various countries and of different colours. I liked most of the characters, but no one really stood out for me.

World-building
Emika’s world seems not far in the future. I can totally imagine that playing a game like Warcross will be possible in about thirty years. I would love to! The world-building is definitively a strong point of the books. Warcross itself can be played in different virtual worlds. It reminded me of The Hunger Games, but just a little.

The plot
Both books are full of action. I guessed the plot twists in Warcross, but those in Wildcard were unexpected. In the first book the game plays a central role in the story. In the second book  the focus lies on the consequences of something that happens in part one. It’s a current dilemma with lots of possibilities. Marie Lu doesn’t really use them. The discussion stays superficial. I did like the ending. It was satisfying and suited the story.

Final judgement
I give both books an 8 out of 10. In my opinion some characters as well as the plot had more potential. But if you don’t expect too much, you will like this book. The story is exciting, the main characters are likable and the world is interesting.

My thoughts about the Liveship Traders

Liveship Traders

“Look forward, not back. Correct your course and go on. You cannot undo yesterday’s journey.”

I just finished part three of the Liveship Traders by Robin Hobb. She is a female fantasy writer from the United States. This is the first time I read her books. Here is spoiler-free review in bullet points about the series.

Summary

Only a ship made from wizardwood can sail over the Rain Wild River. So just families who own a liveship can negotiate with the Rain Wilders. A liveship will come alive when three members, from successive generations, have died on board. Vivacia, the liveship of the Vestrits, is close to coming alive. Although this means the death of Altheas father, Althea cannot wait for the ship she loves to awaken. But then Vivacia appears to be signed away in her father’s will to her brutal brother-in-law, Kyle Haven.

Liveships are rare and faster than normal ships. Others wan to steal or win one for themselves…

The trilogy has triggers for rape and quite graphic violence.

Things I like

  • Multiple POVs: The books are told from about ten different point of views. That seems like a lot, but it is never confusing or boring. It was rather interesting to see situations and characters through different eyes.
  • The character development: It was amazing to see how almost all characters changed during the series. Due to the length of the books I really got to know them. Especially the character development of Malta was interesting. She started out as a spoiled and naive child. She changed in a way I came to like her as a character.
  • Rain Wild: I loved this part of the world! In Ship of Magic it is only a small part of the story,  but we learn more about Rain Wild as the trilogy continues.
  • The plot: I read the last 300 pages in one sitting. The end was amazing, everything came together!

Things I didn’t like

  • The pacing: I don’t mind big books, but this trilogy could be shorter! In the second book and in the first part of the third book there is too much talking between characters. This slowed down the story for me.
  • The chapters about the serpents: At the end they make sense, but in the first two books they were kind of boring.

Final judgement

Ship of Magic: 8/10
The Mad ship: 7,5/10
Ship of Destiny: 8/10
In the end the Liveship Traders trilogy was totally worth my time. The characters are complex and well-written and the plot is strong. I would recommend it for people who like character-driven books and don’t mind a slow pacing.

Five books I want to read in 2019

Linking up with Top Ten Tuesday, I am going to talk about my small TBR-list for 2019. This weekly meme is managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. The actual topic is ‘most anticipated released for the first half of 2019.’ As you see, I cheat a little bit: this post is not only about new releases and about the whole year. So rebellious…

Five books I want to read in 2019

A Darker Shade of Magic by V.E. Schwab
This book was also on my TBR-list for 2017. I still need to read it! The story is about Kell, one of the last magicians with the ability to travel between different versions of London. The setting sounds amazing!

The Poppy War by R.F. Kuang
This book is recommended by multiple book bloggers. It is a brutal fantasy book based on the second Sino-Japanese War. The story is about the war orphan Rin who gets into the most elite military school in Nikan. There she finds out she has shamanic powers. While she explores her gift she discovers the gods aren’t dead.

Want by Cindy Pon
This book is set in a future where the place Taipei is plagued by pollution. Rich people can wear special suits, but the rest gets sick and dies early. The main character, Jason Zhou, will do everything to change this. The role of the climate in this book sounds so interesting!

Aurora Rising by Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The Illuminae Files was incredible, so I really want to read the new book from these two amazing writers! Aurora Rising is set in the year 2038 and also set in space. I am so excited to read this book! It will be released in May.

Children of Virtue and Vengeance by Tomi Adeyemi
This sequel is released in March. I cannot wait! I love to get back to Orïsha. In Children of Blood and Bone we got to know the fierce warrior Zélie, princess Amari and crown prince Inan. Zélie tried to bring back magic, while Inan tried to stop her. In Children of Virtue and Vengeance we will start reading where part one ended.

Did you read any of these books? What books are on your TBR-list? Tell me in the comments!

Favourite books of 2018

2018 was a good reading year! Usually I make a top five. This year I have no less than seven favourites of the year! But before we go to the list, first some stats:

  • I read 54 books! Of course the number doesn’t matter, but I am still quite proud of the amount of books I managed to read this year.
  • 38 books were written by female writers and 15 books by male writers.
  • In total I read 21552 pages. On average a book had 400 pages. The biggest book I read was Winter by Marissa Meyer with 838 pages.

Graph - Number of pages

  • The writers of the books I read are from 16 different nationalities. Almost half of the books I read are written by an American writer.

Graph - Nationalities of the writers

  • 10 books have main characters of color and 2 books have main characters that fall in the LGBQIA-spectrum. So I could definitely improve in this area…
  • Just like last year most books I read were fantasy:

Graph - Genres

  • I read 21 YA-books and 4 middle grade books.
  • 7 books were re-reads:

Blue - The Hundred-Year-Old Man Who Climbed Out of the Window and Disappeared White Oleander Phase 9 - Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future? Phase 9 - Thinking about the future: A book or series you know you will re-read many times in the future?
Dreams of Gods and Monsters Strange the Dreamer Night of Cake and Puppets

Now we arrive at my top seven. Linking up with the weekly meme Top Ten Tuesday, here are my seven favourite books of 2018:

Favourite books of 2018

1. Muse of Nightmares – Laini Taylor
This is the incredible sequel to Strange the Dreamer! It was so interesting to read how every character changed throughout the duology.  My favourite character from the books is still Lazlo, but I ended up liking every one of them.

2. The Travelling Cat Chronicles – Hiro Arikawa
I adore cats, so it isn’t a surprise that I also adored this book. It’s about a road trip through Japan with a cat playing the leading part. This book starts as a feel-good story, but soon it becomes more than that. Nana is an amazing character.  If I could talk to a cat, I think he would sound like Nana.

3. Children of Blood and Bone – Tomi Adeyemi
I am sure this book is on a lot of best books of the year-lists. For a good reason, because it is an amazing story! It is set in a wonderful world, the story is full of action, and also has good characters. I am looking forward to the sequel!

4. Obsidio – Amie Kaufman & Jay Kristoff
The ending of a great trilogy! I basically love everything about The Illuminae Files!

5. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society – Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Barrows
Such a lovely book! Just after WWII Juliet gets a letter from a man living on Guernsey who found her address in a book. He appears to be a member of the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. After this first letter, Juliet starts to exchange letters with members from this book club.

6. Words in Deep Blue – Cath Crowley
Another book about books. This one is partially set in a secondhand bookshop. This bookshop has a letter library: a bookcase in which people can leave messages and letters between the pages of the books. A wonderful idea! The perspective alternates between Rachel and Henry. They were best friends until Rachel moved Now Rachel is back and they meet again.

7. Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda – Becky Albertalli
I didn’t expect to love this book so much. But I couldn’t stop reading and finished it in one morning. Simon is an adorable character and so funny. I also thought that I knew who Blue was, but I was wrong. So surprised to discover his identity!

Sunshine Blogger Award

Cade @ cadeunderbooks tagged me for this award. Thanks a lot!

The rules

1. Thank the blogger who nominated you by linking their blog
2. Answer the questions
3. Nominate 11 blogs with 11 questions
4. List the rules as well as display the Sunshine Award Logo on your post

 

sunshine.png

The questions

1. If you weren’t blogging about books, what would be the next best thing? Or, another angle, do you have any other blogs/social media/internet hangouts?
On my tumblr I like to blog about art. I reblog beautiful illustrations and sometimes share my own art.

2. Name one dream casting for a character from a book you love if it was ever adapted to film or TV.
I don’t know. It’s not really a thing I think about while reading

3. What’s one object you would like to have from a book? Would you use it for its intended purpose?
I immediately told of the Harry Potter books. There are so many magical objects in the series. It was hard to choose, but the thing I most want is a ticket to the Hogwarts Express. That would give me the opportunity to visit Hogwarts! Maybe I can apply for a job as teacher in Muggle Studies, so I can stay there…

4. Have you had any book accidents in your life? (Dropped in the tub, accidentally flown out a car window, stepped on it and slid like a cartoon character, etc.)
Sadly yes. One of my books got wet because I left it in the rain. Another book got wet because the bottle in my bag leaked. Poor books!

5. Have you ever been given a book or bookish item as a gift? Who gave it to you and do you still have it?
Books are my favourite gifts! For my last birthday I got The Travelling Cat Chronicles from my parents. An amazing book! I share my birthday with my aunt. The funny thing is that I gave my aunt the same book, without knowing my parents also bought it for me 🙂

6. Do you like to find inscriptions in books? What’s the best or most unusual one you’ve read?
Besides names at the start of the books, I can’t remember finding inscriptions in books. I do like the idea.

7. Chilly winter nights in front of a crackling fire or soft summer evenings by a sighing ocean? Or what’s your reading locale aesthetic?
I can basically read everywhere. But I especially like long train journeys and reading in the garden on a warm summer day.

8. Would you like immortality?
Well, it would give me lots of time to read… But it would be really sad to see everyone around me die.

9. How many books have you read this year and do you like to set reading goals?
I read 52 books and hope to read a few more before the year ends. I like to set reading goals, because they motivate me to read more books. Though, it’s important the goal is realistic.

10. Do you like spicy foods?
Yes, but not too much and not too spicy.

11. Do you have a book that helped you through a tough time in your life? Or that had very relatable character(s) for you?
I can’t remember a specific book. I do think books helped me (and still do) to both escape from my life and to better understand it.

Nominations

I tag you to answer my questions, but don’t feel obliged to do so 🙂

My questions for you

1. Which book are you currently reading?
2. Do you prefer a hard-cover, paperback or an e-reader?
3. What is your favourite quote?
4. What do you think about writing and highlighting in books?
5. In which language(s) do you read?
6. What language would you like to speak fluently?
7. What is a topic you enjoy learning about?
8. What is your favourite non-fiction book?
9. Which book character do you identify with the most?
10. If you were able to visit a place from a book, where would you go?
11. What place in our own world would you like to visit?

Top five favourite quotes

I can’t believe I missed the Top Ten Tuesday topic Favourite Book Quotes. I love to collect quotes! Because today is a freebie I can make it up. Here are some of my favourite book quotes:

Orange - Muse of Nightmares

1. “Wishes don’t just come true. They’re only the target you paint around what you want. You still have to hit the bull’s eye yourself.” – Muse of Nightmares

This is my current favourite quote from Laini Taylor, but I could make a whole list with only quotes from her books! Wishes play an important role in most of her stories. Just like in real life, the characters always have to work (and usually suffer) to obtain what they want.

The Name of the Wind

2. “It’s like everyone tells a story about themselves inside their own head. Always. All the time. That story makes you what you are. We build ourselves out of that story.”
– The Name of the Wind”

There is so much truth in this quote. As people we (unconsciously) make up a stories about our past. In retrospect we decide that some  things that happened to us were a mistake, a lesson or a success. I believe that what we tell ourselves really matters. If you think you cannot do something, you probably won’t succeed. But if you change your thoughts – the story you tell yourself – you can change your life.

A Million Worlds With You

3. “Our destiny isn’t some kind of mystical prophecy. Our destiny is what we do with that chance.”- A Million Worlds with You

This quote describes my thoughts about destiny beautifully. I don’t believe in an inevitable fate. However, I sometimes feel like things are meant to be in a certain way.

The Shadow of the Wind

4. “Books are mirrors: you only see in them what you already have inside of you.”
– The Shadow of the Wind

So true! Your opinion about a book says more about you than about the book. And just like a real mirror, what you find in a book can change over time.

Words in Deep Blue

5. “But I love you, and before you say it words do matter. They’re not pointless. If they were pointless then they couldn’t start revolutions and they wouldn’t change history and they wouldn’t be the things that you think about every night before you go to sleep. If they were just words we wouldn’t listen to songs, we wouldn’t beg to be read to when we’re kids. If they were just words, then they’d have no meaning and stories wouldn’t have been around since before humans could write. We wouldn’t have learned to write. If they were just words then people wouldn’t fall in love because of them, feel bad because of them, ache because of them, stop aching because of them, have sex, quite a lot of the time, because of them.” – Words in Deep Blue

A beautiful quote that describes the importance of words.

Three YA-books with good parents

Parents seem to be quite seldom in YA-books. Often the father and mother are dead, absent, busy or apparently not interesting in their children? In a Dutch magazine about books, some writers from children’s books say it just works better. Parents will solve all problems for children. I agree that the absence of parents works very good in Harry Potter and Pippi Longstocking. But I also like books where a good father and/or mother play an important role in the story. I have two lovely parents. Only when making this list, I realized how uncommon it is in YA-books!

This post was inspired by Top Ten Tuesday. The Broke and the Bookish created this weekly meme, but That Artsy Reader Girl now manages it.

Three YA-books with good parents

The Hate U Give – Angie Thomas
This book learned me a lot about institutional racism in the United States. It also features two great parents. At the start of the story, Starr witnesses how her childhood friend is shot by a police officer. He was unarmed and did nothing wrong. Starr knows that speaking out is the right thing to do. She also is afraid for doing so. Her family is incredibly supportive. Starr’s parents talk with her, help and protect her. They really try to do what is best for their children.

Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe – Benjamin Alire Sáenz
This beautiful book is about the special friendship between Aristotle and Dante. Ari has great parents. He is very close with his mother. This is described in a beautiful way: “I could feel my mom listening to me. She was always there. I hated her for that. And loved her.” Ari’s relationship with his father is complex. He fought in the Vietnam War and still suffers from it. But Ari as well as his father make a genuine effort to understand each other.

A Thousand Pieces of You – Claudia Gray
Although love plays a major role, also family is important in this trilogy. The parents of Marguerite, are physicists. They invented the firebird, an instrument that can be used to travel to other universes. The murder of her father prompts Marguerite to chase his killer into other universes.  Her parents play a role in every universe she visits. Each time her relationship with them is different.

Did you read any of these books? Do you know other YA-books with good parents? Tell me in the comments!

Looking back at my TBR-posts

The topic of this Top Ten Tuesday is backlist books. This weekly meme was created by The Broke and the Bookish, and now managed by That Artsy Reader Girl. Just like every other blogger, I have a huge list of books I want to read! Now and then I also make posts about books I want to read during the coming year. Although I usually do read a part of these books, I tend to forget some. This week seems like a good moment to look back at my TBR-posts from the last years.

In 2016 these five books were on top of my TBR-pile:
5 books that are on top of my TBR list

During that year I read Americanah and Gone with the Wind. In 2017 I also read Aristotle and Dante Discover the Secrets of the Universe. This year I finally read 1984.

I still haven’t read The Paper Magician. This book is about Ceony, who just graduated from the Tagis Praff School for the Magically Inclined. She becomes a paper magician who is able to animate paper creatures and bring stories to life. It still sounds like a book I want to read!

In 2017 I wanted to read these books:
Books I want to read in 2017

During 2017 I read Gemina, Strange the Dreamer and Every Heart a Doorway. Three books I really loved! This year I also read Cress.

I haven’t read A Darker Shade of Magic. I feel like I am the only one! There was/is quite a hype about the trilogy. For people who missed it, this story is about Kell, one of the last magicians with the ability to travel between different versions of London. I don’t know why I haven’t read this book yet, but I still want to.

At the start of 2018, I was looking forward to these books:
Books I want to read in 2018

By now I read four out of the five books from this list. Most of them became new favourites! The only book I haven’t read yet, is The Girl from Everywhere. This story is about Nix and her father. They live on a time travelling pirate ship and use maps to navigate through time and space. This is a book I still hope to read this year.

Books I inteded to read for the Memoir Reading Challenge 2018:
Memoir Reading Challenge 2018 - timefortalesandtea

Sadly enough I only read one book for this challenge… I read Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World. I probably won’t be reading the other four books in 2018, but also won’t forget about them. I actually did start with Paula, but wasnt’ really in the mood to continue the book.

I am clearly more a mood-reader. However, I also like to plan out my reads as long as the plan isn’t too specific. Tell me in the comments: Do you rather read by mood or by plan?