Review: Stalking Jack The Ripper by Kerri Maniscalco

stalkingjackTitle: Stalking Jack The Ripper
Series: Stalking Jack The Ripper #1
Author: Kerri Maniscalco
Genre: Historical Fiction, Young Adult
Publication Date: September 20th 2016
Publisher: Jimmy Patterson
Source: Waterstones Amsterdam
Rating: ★★★★☆4.5/5

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SYNOPSIS: This story revolves around the seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth. Having been born a lord’s daughter Audrey has had a life of wealth and privilege but beneath the surface of her social class, frilly dresses and the tedious social activities her aunt forces her to go to, Audrey has a deep and somewhat dark fascination for the gruesome world of forensic medicine. Sneaking out at all hours of the day to her uncle’s laboratory Audrey, unbeknownst to the outside world takes on the role of his apprentice. However, after a string of brutally murdered and mutilated corpses end up at her uncle’s laboratory, it seems a serial killer is on the loose and Audrey, being dragged into the investigation has to walk a fine line between on one hand her dangerous involvement in trying to catch the killer and on the other, the societal conventions that try and prevent her from going anywhere near the danger that is about to come her way.

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THOUGHTS: As you can see from my rating i had a great time reading this book! I don’t think i’ve actually every read something similar to this story and it exceeded my expectations in a way i did not expect. I know that a lot of YA readers usually do not read pure mystery novels so I think this book is exactly the right mix between a mystery or thriller and a YA story. While the murders of Jack the Ripper are the main events this book revolves around, it is much more than just that. The book also gives light to the position of a young woman, Audrey Rose, in victorian society and describes her struggle to keep her fascination with ‘unladylike things’ such as forensic science hidden from everyone else. The book details not just her search for the killer but it also describes her struggling to be taken seriously despite of her gender in a natural and believable way. Audrey’s perceptions on gender might be a bit ahead of her time, but she was written in a way that it was still a natural and believable thing for her to be living in victorian times. Audrey is a strong girl who does everything in her power to achieve her goals, but she also fails, she gets scared and gets emotional which makes her relatable and not just a stereotypical ‘strong feminist’ main character.  I especially fell in love with the way Kerri Maniscalco wrote this book in such a detailed way. She described Audrey Rose’s fascination for the world of forensic medicine in sometimes gruesome detail and it was clear a lot of research of forensics went into writing this story. All the way from anatomical descriptions of intestines to Audrey Rose being vividly described as being elbow down into someone’s ribcage, this book is absolutely gruesome, creepy most of the time but extremely fascinating.

Whereas i can be a bit apprehensive to the romantic sides of most YA books, the ever evolving relationship between Audrey Rose and Thomas Cresswell, a young man who becomes Audrey’s uncles’ second apprentice and later joins them in a quest to find Jack The Ripper, was executed perfectly. The best way i can describe it is, cliche but not cliche. Thomas is a bit self-obsessed, arrogant and is clearly fascinated by Audrey from the get-go but their relationship is fun and evolves in a natural and believable way instead of going from hating one another to falling in love from one chapter to the other. It is pretty clear from the beginning that this is Audrey’s love interest, but that doesn’t make reading their dialogues and their adventure together any less enjoyable. I also want to note that there’s actual value to the side characters in this book, in Stalking Jack The Ripper I felt like the side characters were interesting and meaningful instead of tools for the progression of the main characters.

The only reason I gave this book 4 and not 5 stars was because about half-way through i correctly predicted the identity of Jack The Ripper, which did bother me a little but i’m not sure if that is because i have read and watched too many crime related stories or just that it was increasingly easy to guess. To be fair though, it definitely did not bother me that much for me to not read all the way to the end because the way it all went down I could have never guessed and I immensely enjoyed racing through those last couple of pages. I would definitely recommend this book to anyone who enjoys reading murder mysteries and to those who enjoy the setting and atmosphere of the victorian era. Kerri Maniscalco since writing this book has also released a 2nd and 3rd part in this series called “Hunting Prince Dracula” and “Escaping from Houdini” which I will definitely be reading this fall!

Quotes

 “I promise. I’ll be as silent as the dead.”
“Ah,” Uncle said, putting a hat on and tugging it low, “the dead speak to those who listen. Be quieter than even them.”

“Roses have both petals and thorns, my dark flower. You needn’t believe something weak because it appears delicate. Show the world your bravery.”

If you like this, you might also enjoy

Hunting Prince Dracula by Kerri Maniscalco x

Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children x

 

Adapting my study routine to Japan

Since I’ve gotten to Japan I have experimented quite a lot with my study schedule, figuring out how to adapt what I usually do to a different environment, different goals, and a different class schedule. As classes have now been going on for a couple of weeks, I feel like I’ve nearly perfected my study/daily routine and i’d like to share it with you in this post.

A New Environment: One of the big things I’ve noticed over the past couple of weeks is that I can handle the massive amount of people, less well than I thought I could. I live in a busy city myself back home, but it’s not at all comparable to Tokyo. I can get overwhelmed quite quickly with such crowds of people, especially during rush hour. The way I incorporated dealing with this aspect of a new environment into my schedule is the following; Lucky for me I’ve found a way to organize my class schedule in such a way that I have Monday’s and Friday’s off! Because of this I try to use these two days to do all things that require me to be in the busiest parts of Tokyo such as shopping in Shibuya, strolling around Harajuku, relaxing at Shiba-Koen park and hanging out with friends. Of-course some places are busy no matter what day of the week you go (aka Tokyo station) but generally it’s still not as busy as it is in the weekends.

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Tokyu Plaza, Harajuku

Optimal Use Of Time: Because I have Mondays and Fridays off the rest of the week is quite busy for me when it comes to classes. My Tuesday’s, Wednesdays and Thursday’s are packed and one way I try to reduce the workload on these days is to complete all my homework and assignments for these classes on Friday, the week before they’re due. On Friday morning, I have been waking up at 6am to take the train to Shibuya where there is a Starbucks located on the top of a skyscraper connected to an amazing terrace with a view of the city. I order a cup of coffee, take a seat and get to work. The reason I like doing this is because by waking up early, I increase the hours i’m actually productive as I tend to be more productive in the morning instead of the evening. Waking up early means that there aren’t that many people around which makes my work environment much more peaceful as the Starbucks isn’t as busy and in the early morning usually attracts people that are there for the same reason as I am, to get some shit done. Not only is it more peaceful and creates a better work environment, working in the morning is a good IMG_3296option for me because I usually manage to get all of my work done by noon and actually, since i’ve started waking up this early i’ve been getting more stuff done before noon than i sometimes did during the entire day! Not only is that incredibly motivating, it also means I still have half of Friday and the entire weekend to do what I want and not having to stress about any assignments coming up the next week. This can be relaxing and watching a movie but it can also mean reading a book I didn’t have the time for or working on that one project i’ve been putting off. I’ve also noticed that my sleeping pattern has improved a lot since I started waking up this early. I feel like i have more energy, get better sleep and have a better and organized day even though i don’t actually sleep more. It’s just that I’ve changed my bedtime to a time that was actually right for me and allows me to get the most hours of productivity into my day.

Weekends: In the weekend, I try to spend a large chunk of the day studying for the JLPT that is coming up soon and I usually remain in the area of my dormitory. Because I usually get all of my homework and assignments for the upcoming week done on Friday morning, my weekends are JLPT only study wise. I try to specifically focus on my JLPT

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Coffee at Tully’s

textbooks with vocabulary, grammar, kanji and practice exercises in order to kick ass and hopefully get that certificate in a couple of months. Lately I’ve also been trying to pick up the habit of going for a run in the early morning to improve my endurance and get into a more healthy lifestyle which is something I like to do during the weekends. One of my absolute favorite things I like to do in the weekend every once in a while is to wake up at 6 or 7 am on a Saturday, get dressed, walk to the station for a 2 minute train ride and get my favorite breakfast at the station which is the toasted salmon cream cheese bagel at the bagel & bagels cafe. This motivates me to get up early in the morning and next to this gives me a good start of my day since i’ve already been walking around and getting some movement and fresh air. Then I go back to the station closest to my dorm and either go to Tully’s to do some work for a couple of hours, or i go back to the dorm’s cafeteria to study.

Morning Routine: One of the things I’ve been trying to get better at is maintaining a steady morning routine. For me this mostly means that I try to organize and clean up my room before I go off to class so I don’t have to come back home to a garbage dump. It also means I try to eat breakfast every single day before I leave the dorm because it’s something i’ve been struggling with since I got here. It’s not that I intentionally don’t eat any breakfast, it’s more-so that getting ready takes me more time than I anticipate and then before you know it i’m rushing to get to the station while realising I haven’t eaten anything yet. And while there are lots of people who function perfectly fine without breakfast, I am not one of them. These are just a couple of the things i’ve been adapting to and changing with regards to my study routine in Japan but i’m hoping on making a post soon that details more comprehensively how exactly I study for my courses, what I do in terms of managing home work and how I organize a regular day at university.

One key to success is to have lunch at the time of the day most people have breakfast. – Robert Brault

 

Tokyo 2018 : March/April In Review

As I’m writing this, it has been nearly a month since I’ve left the Netherlands and have been living in Tokyo, Japan. This past month has been wild. While I’ve lived in Japan before, Tokyo is a whole different story when compared to living in the beautiful but slow-paced country side.

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Pastel Donuts in Shibuya 109

I spent the first week or so mostly unpacking, getting used to the dormitory,  decorating my room to be a little bit less impersonal and getting to know the other international students in my dorm. Next to exploring the area around my dormitory, I re-visited my favorite spots in Tokyo which mainly consisted of endlessly strolling around/shopping in Shibuya, stuffing myself with Korean BBQ in Shin-Okubo (Tokyo’s Korea-town) and Sakura viewing at Harajuku’s Yoyogi Park since I arrived just in time for the Sakura to be in full bloom! I stuffed myself with sushi, strolled around Shinjuku at night admiring the view of the entire city from the top of the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building and ate Okonomiyaki to die for. Needless to say my first couple of weeks were busy and chaotic but definitely in a good way.

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Shinjuku at night

I feel like when it comes to Tokyo, there’s too much to see and do to ever get tired of it, and I am discovering new places every single day. The biggest difference between the country side and Tokyo is just the sheer amount of people. In Tokyo it doesn’t really matter what area you’re in or at what time you’re there, there are always people around. Life is fast-paced, fun and upbeat but also rushed and chaotic which is something I did not experience as much in the country side. I have to say, there’s nothing you can experience that comes close to being in a packed train in central Tokyo, commuting to campus during rush hour with people squeezed into every possible corner of the train imaginable. I can tell you that’s not the most relaxing way to arrive at your 9AM lecture

For me, classes have started and I am enjoying every minute of it! The main reason for me to put everything on hold back home academically and go to Japan again was to improve my Japanese and obtain the N2 certificate of the JLPT in July and I am absolutely ready to crush it! Now that I have a concrete goal in mind, I feel motivated and energized to improve my Japanese even more and to get the most out of my classes possible. With regards to traveling, my next big trip will be to Seoul for a couple of days at the end of May, which I could not be more excited about! In a nutshell, that was it for the end of March and beginning of April. If you have any suggestions of places I should visit in either Tokyo or Seoul, definitely let me know in the comments down below!

“Travel makes one modest. You see what a tiny place you occupy in the world.” – Gustav Flaubert

 

Travels: Japan 2018 — Studying in Tokyo

As of late March 2018 I will be studying another semester abroad in Japan (Tokyo) at Keio University through the (K.I.P) Keio International Program! In this post I will explain first of all why i’ve decided to do this, how I managed to arrange it for anyone interested in going to Japan themselves and I will explain a bit about the visa application process and how you should prepare before you go.

1. Why? As you might have read on my about me page, I have been studying Japanese language and culture at the University of Leiden in The Netherlands full-time for about 2.5 years now and I have lived in Japan before for three months as mandatory part of my bachelor degree. Personally however, I felt like three months was too short to be able to improve my proficiency in Japanese to an advanced level before I finish my bachelor and move on to my masters degree. So I started looking towards options to study abroad some more.

2. How? I would recommend everyone interested in studying in Japan for an extended period of time (anywhere from 6 months to a full 3 years) to visit the website of the Japanese embassy in your country as they usually have multiple scholarships available, for both graduate and undergraduate students. While I have applied for a scholarship (文部科学書 scholarship) in my second year, I unfortunately did not get the spot and for me, this is not how I ended up arranging my second stay in Japan. I chose to go to the study abroad center that my university has and I would recommend everyone to visit theirs if your university has something similar to this. Sometimes there are great opportunities out there that can pass you by because of insufficient advertising on part of your university or because you didn’t know where to look for the right information. As it turns out, my university has a significant amount of connections in Japan and occasionally has spots to fill for humanities students to study at selected sister universities. After an intake conversation I had at the study abroad center I got an email a couple of weeks later from a staff member detailing how she thought the K.I.P program at Keio University would be perfect for me to apply to, which I consequently did. I went through an extremely long selection process which meant proving I had the required grade average, getting recommendation letters from my professors, sending in a CV, proof of health, language proficiency and a motivation letter. Be mentally prepared to put a lot of effort in your application! In the end, I was accepted as an exchange student. Apart from university exchanges and embassy scholarships you could look into going to a language school which is a good option especially for those wanting to follow an intensive course and make a jump in ability quite aggressively. Language schools can be a great option for students who like the variety of the courses these schools offer and the fact that unlike scholarships and university programs you can opt for a long or quite a short stay if you have a lot of responsibilities back home or don’t have the capacity to pay for such a long stay. If you’re interested in this I would recommend taking a look at GaijinPot’s collection of language schools over here as it has some great options to choose from.

3. Visa procedures After the application procedure the number one thing you need to take care of is your visa application. Most often, the university you are studying at will guide you through this procedure, but just so you know what to expect I will give some details to give you a sense of the process. Your university of choice is going to ask you to send in a certificate of eligibility application in which you have to fill in your personal details and information such as how your stay is being funded which they will then process and if okay, based on this information send you a certificate of eligibility which you need to apply for your visa at the embassy. Why do you need this? Because it proves the university wants you in Japan and will be your inviter to Japan. All that’s left then, at least in the Netherlands is to fill in the visa application form that can be found on the site of the embassy, bring a passport approved picture of yourself, your passport and COE hardcopy in order to apply for your visa. This doesn’t take long, in my case it was four days between the submission of the application and the date I could pick up my documents again. The only thing you need to be aware of is that once your visa is issued, you need to enter Japan within three months or your visa will not be valid anymore and you will have to apply again.

4. What to arrange before you go Next to your visa, some things you should take care of or look into before you leave are the following. If you live in a country where the government offers free commuting or a discount on commuting for students, you should look up if you can get a compensation for this when you study abroad. In my case, the government gives me 90 euros a month to pay for my commuting in Japan because I am a student. While this might not cover all your travel expenses, something is better than nothing right? You should of-course also take care of housing, make sure you do this well in advance because.. you don’t want to come to Japan having nowhere to stay right? Most universities offer their international students places in their dormitories (make sure you apply in time!) but you could also look for an apartment yourself. Be aware that finding an apartment yourself can be quite a bit more expensive and difficult to arrange than using dormitories, as you will have to get the university to be your guarantor. In addition, getting your own apartment might be difficult to do when you’re not already in Japan as you will have to rely on the internet and pictures only and will have to pay a significant amount in key money, security deposits, furniture etc. in short I would recommend to stick with using dormitories unless you have a serious objection against it. Next to this, if you don’t already speak Japanese I would recommend you at least learn hiragana and katakana before you come and if possible basic words and sentences to help you in your first couple of days. This will allow you to at least read the most basic things and will help you make that trip from the airport to your dormitory without having to point at everything and being frustrated and anxious because no-one knows what you mean. While Japanese people are generally extremely nice when you ask them for directions etc if you don’t speak Japanese this might be quite the task as Japanese people are not renowned for their English abilities and even in Tokyo it might be difficult to find someone who can comprehensively tell you where to go in English.

Lastly I’d like to say that even if you don’t manage to get a scholarship position, that doesn’t mean you should give up. Embassies only have a limited amount of positions to give away which makes it extremely competitive especially in countries with universities that have extended Asian Studies programs. Embassies have different preferences and requirements they would like scholarship applicants to have. Some embassies give absolute beginners in Japanese preference over those already at a higher level or the other way around or might be more critical about your study plan or motivation for going to Japan and pay less attention to your level of Japanese. Don’t get discouraged! There’s no limit on applying for these types of scholarships so if you don’t get it now, you can always try again next year and look for ways to get to Japan through different means and take things into your own hands. Just know that not getting these types of scholarship positions doesn’t really say anything about you or your level of Japanese.

Feel free to send in any questions you might have about studying in Japan or abroad generally ~ Lots of love

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February 2018 TBR — Getting out of the reading slump

While I realize we are already halfway through February by the time I have finished writing this post, I have been in a bit of a reading slump between juggling my part-time job and handling my study abroad application. I still want to set myself some goals for February however and thought I would update on what books I realistically plan on reading for the remaining two weeks.

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A Court of Thorns and Roses(A Court of Thorns and Roses, #1) by Sarah J. Maas This one has been on my to-read list for quite some time now and with one of my friends generously offering me to borrow her copy of the first book in this series I am hoping to find out this really is as good as everyone says it is. I am thinking this might be a bit like Victoria Aveyard’s Red Queen, but I might be completely off. I honestly do not know what to expect from this one but hey, i’m sure there’s a reason why this book keeps getting recommended to me all the time.

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East West Street: On the Origins of Genocide and Crimes Against Humanity by Philippe Sands From the fantasy genre straight to genocide and crimes against humanity. I have always been fascinated by the second world war but also law and the role the second world war has played in establishing international law with the Nuremberg trial. This story combines an exploration of how the crimes against humanity sentence came to be with the detective like story surrounding what happened in the Ukrainian town of Lviv. If you are a history junkie like me, interested in international law and up to read a non-fiction book I think this might be a good fit for you.

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The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra ClareI have read all the books from the original mortal instruments series and I have completely fallen in love with Magnus Bane as a character. This book particularly explores a bit more of the life of the wonderful gay warlock Magnus Bane and has been said to give Magnus’ perspective on the happenings surrounding the shadow hunter world. Due to Magnus’ longevity we have not heard about his life before Jace, Clary and Alec came into play so I am excited to read about his adventures that do not center around them. Even though I have had this book for quite a while I never really got around to reading it. It has quite a lot of pages but I am hoping to at least get half-way by the end of this month.


Summed up: 
A Court of Thornes and Roses by Sarah J. Maas
East West Street by Philippe Sands
The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare

Review: Trapped In Silver by Emily Sowden

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Title: Trapped In Silver
Series: The Eldryn Chronicles
Author: Emily Sowden
Genre: Fantasy/Young Adult
Publication Date: February 7th, 2017
Publisher: Oftomes Publishing
Source: Oftomes Publishing
Rating: ★★★★☆4/5

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SYNOPSIS: To seventeen-year-old Ava, wild woodcats, hungry stragglers, and simple-minded townsfolk are the evils she’s grown accustomed to. But when Ethan, an unusual man with eyes of smoke and fire opal, enters her world she quickly understands that there are worse things out there than drunken men and carnivorous forest creatures. Ava is a specialised liar and a hell of a fighter, but against a group of animalistic men called Berserkers she struggles to survive the encounter as the desperate swing of a dagger is all it takes to change her life for good. Ava escapes the pursuit in an unfamiliar land full of impossible creatures, unlikely allies, and the man she doesn’t know whether to kiss or kill. Quickly Ava becomes involved in a centuries-long war and begins to unravel the reasons behind her relentless nightmares, discovering truths long-buried in a violent history of love, loss and betrayal.

THOUGHTS:
When I started reading this book I wasn’t sure what to expect, I thought it had potential to be a great story if written right, and it definitely was! It was obvious from the beginning of the book that a lot of thought had been put in the world-building of this trilogy, consisting of detailed myths, background stories, odd creatures and an interesting history the story was going to build on.

The thing that stood out the most for me however was how well the characters, in particular Ava, were written. I thought Ava was such an interesting character, portrayed as a stubborn and loud-mouthed girl but not in an over exaggerated and annoying way. In addition to the characters being well written, they were also very much real. Ava was, as she should be, written as a real person with flaws, a girl who comes from an incredibly difficult background. As Ava works on their families farm to pay for their expenses while her father is away, having to switch between herself and her alter-ego Cedar and dealing with her brother who’s closed off and seems to have several secrets of his own, life is not easy. On top of that, even though Ava has to come to terms with a lot of terrifying and overwhelming information in a short period of time, she doesn’t become the fantasy cliche of the girl turned into warrior within the first 20 pages. Ava is much more than a one dimensional character consisting of oneliners, even though hers could be incredibly funny at times. Likewise I enjoyed all the other characters just as much as I got to know more about them and their quirks each chapter, their different background stories and relationship with each-other makes the world-building aspect in this book come to life even more.

I have to admit that I thought the start of the book was quite difficult to get into, as it is a pretty slow paced book in general but as soon as I really started to understand the story, which took me some chapters, I just flew through the pages. Something I didn’t like too much about this book however were the visions and dreams Ava had especially in the beginning. I thought they were usually too long and didn’t really add to the story that much. I also need to add that I hope the next book in this series, doesn’t put too much focus on the relationship between Ava and Ethan, as this is something that fantasy themed stories usually do and I don’t often enjoy when it starts to become the overwhelming story line of the book. In the end however, I thought this was a well written original addition to the fantasy/young adult genre and I would definitely recommend this to people who want to read a new take on a fantasy cliche, and to everyone who appreciates thorough world-building.

If you like this you might also enjoy:
Lost In Darkness (Eldryn Chronicles 2) by Emily Sowden
Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard
The Last Magician by Lisa Maxwell

(NOTE: this book has been given to me by Oftomes publishing in exchange for an honest review.)

Why I didn’t finish ‘When Dimple Met Rishi’ (A Semi-Review)

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Title: When Dimple Met Rishi
Author: Sandhya Menon
Genre: Young Adult, Romance
Publication Date: May 30th 2017
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Pages: 380
Source: Bol.com
Rating: ★★☆☆☆ 2/5

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Synopsis:
This book revolves around Dimple Shah, an Indian girl who’s about to head off to university. When her traditional parents, who are obsessed with finding the perfect Indian husband for Dimple find out about a summer program for aspiring web developers they decide to pay a lot of cash for Dimple to go. Only to set their own plan in motion: To introduce Dimple to Rishi, the perfect Indian guy they want their daughter to marry. Dimple however, doesn’t know any of this when she arrives at campus and this guy who she’s never met introduces himself as her future husband..

Thoughts:
I was actually pretty excited to read this book when I came across it on my recommended list of books on Goodreads. I thought that finally someone had gone and written a book that was going to twist the arranged marriage trope into something readable again, but in reality I barely got halfway through the book before I pretty much realized that there wasn’t anything about the story I actually liked.

First of all, I felt like it was WAY too cliche. I can appreciate a good cliche story every once in a while. In this case however it just seemed to irk me. I think the “I hate my (sort of) arranged marriage but oops I fell in love with the guy anyway” trope is just too overplayed at this point. It felt like the author in addition to using that trope tried way too hard to make it original in some way by throwing in this competition at a university where (of course) Dimple ends up partnering with the guy her parents want her to marry. I didn’t feel like it was believable and I didn’t enjoy reading the story after I started realizing this was going to be one of those books where they’re going to end up together anyways. It got so many good reviews on Goodreads and I honestly don’t understand why. Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think this book is disastrous. I actually think the writing style was quite pleasant and I loved a lot of the references the author made to nerd/pop culture but other than that I could not enjoy this at all.

I also felt like the way their relationship was portrayed wasn’t very exciting to read either just like Dimple’s parents or Dimple herself who didn’t feel dimensional to me. As a core character Dimple came off as way too whiny and it seemed like the author was trying way too hard to make her authentic and edgy by constantly stating every 4 or 5 pages she doesn’t wear make-up and that’s she’s oh-so strong and independent. Even more so a lot of the aspects of this story, such as the app contest, came across as forced and in reality all the book pretty much discussed was Dimple and Rishi’s relationship.

All in all, I think that if the author would’ve committed herself to drastically and honestly modifying this trope I would have enjoyed it way more than I did now.

September 17′ TBR

In which I talk about what books I plan on reading in September!

I have big plans in terms of what i’m wanting to read this September! These are actually all books that I only recently got. Surprisingly I had a bit of a reading slump in at the beginning of August but i’m back!

23437156First of all, I got Six of Crows and Crooked Kingdom by Leigh Bardugo as the duology book set from Book Depository a couple of weeks ago! Everyone seems to absolutely love it so I can’t wait to find out if it’s really that good or just overhyped. I’m actually setting myself on a time restraint with this one as well because i’ll be reading and discussing Six Of Crows on Goodreads with a friend this month!

11362175Then, I got The New Ghost by Robert Hunter from Book Depository as well. It’s this amazingly beautiful graphic novel that I saw in one of Sanne’s (booksandquills) video’s some time ago. It’s a story ghost and his first day presiding in the afterlife.

31117620I also go the hardback version of Gather The Daughters by Jennie Melamed which I’m probably the most excited about among all the other books I got! I’ve never heard of Jennie Melamed before and to be honest the first thing that drew me to this book is when I saw the beautiful cover! This is one of those books where you only have to read the synopsis to know it’ll be a great read. It’s about this island, in the middle of nowhere, with the only inhabitant all being members of some sort of cult who in the middle of the summer have some kind of ritual where all the young girls run free and explore the island. So one night, one girl sees something she isn’t supposed to see which changes everything from that day forward. I’ve never read any story like it before and I must say my expectations of this one are sky high!

24120519I’m also planning on reading A Library Of Souls by Ransom Riggs which is the last book in the Miss Peregrine’s Peculiar Children series. I absolutely adored part 1 and 2 (I actually ended up seeing the movie before reading the books which doesn’t happen to me often). I don’t have any worries about not finishing this one because the last book had a horrible cliff hanger so I can’t wait to pick this up!

Summed up: 

 

Review: He Said/She Said by Erin Kelly

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Title: He Said/She Said
Author: Erin Kelly
Genre: Thriller
Publication date: April 20th, 2017
Publisher: Hodder & Stoughton
Pages: 416
Source: Bol.com
Rating: ★★★★☆ 4/5
Flower

SYNOPSIS: In the hushed aftermath of a total eclipse, Laura witnesses a brutal attack. She and her boyfriend Kit call the police, and in that moment, it is not only the victim’s life that is changed forever. Fifteen years on, Laura and Kit live in fear, and while Laura knows she was right to speak out, the events that follow have taught her that you can never see the whole picture: something, and someone, is always in the dark.

THOUGHTS:  I really enjoyed reading this book! I was hesitant at first because I don’t read thrillers often as it is mostly a hit or miss genre for me. This however was an amazing read and very often reminded me of the Millennium series by Stieg Larsson. This book is THE ultimate mix between betrayal, lies, guilt and trauma if that wasn’t clear from the synopsis already. All of this takes place in a time frame of about 16 years, between 1999 and 2015.

This was an incredibly unique story. I loved that the entire book connects around the theme of eclipses and so-called eclipse chasers. I think that made it intriguing and clever to me (and i’ve actually learned quite a lot about eclipses.) I also have to say that I was really impressed with how this story was structured. Because of the large period of time the book covers the plot jumps from the ‘now’ period which is 2015, back in time to when this traumatic event happened every 3 or so chapters. It was done in a way that made the story built up a lot of tension. The author really makes your opinions on these characters who you think you know, drastically change by the time you’re halfway through. In a sense, you’re peeling of layers of their personalities as you go along and right when you think you know what’s about to happen or how Laura or Kit will react, she changes up the entire plot without making it unrealistic in any way.

I thought the characters were written with a lot of depth. They were real, authentic and complex in the way they were depicted in dealing with their traumatic experiences, even the side characters. I felt as if in this book it was even more so about the unravelling of these characters, their experiences, regrets, secrets and especially the break-down of Laura and Kit’s relationship than it was about the actual event that set the story into motion.

The only thing I disliked about the book is that I think some parts just dragged on too long for my taste and weren’t really necessary to put in the book at all. Especially since it’s already quite a lot of pages (416!). Because of this I would not recommend this book to people who like their thriller books to be fast-paced all the time. I definitely think this is a great story but it takes a while for the plot to come through properly and really start making sense. However if you don’t mind being confused every once in a while and like me are a patient reader and thoroughly enjoy being put on the wrong path, this is definitely a book for you.

QUOTES:

“Leibniz said, Music is the mind counting without being conscious it’s counting. An eclipse is maths; it’s the most beautiful maths there is.”

“That’s the thing with secrets. They’re leaky; you can’t decide to share the bits that suit you without a million questions oozing out. You have to solder a part of yourself shut.”

If you like this book you might also enjoy:
The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson (#1 of the Millennium series)
Final Girls by Riley Sager
Watch Me Disappear by Janelle Brown

Review: A Monster Calls by Patrick Ness

a monster callsTitle: A Monster Calls
Author: Patrick Ness
Genre: YA, Fantasy, Horror
Publication Date: 2011, May 5th
Publisher: Walker Books
Pages: 216
Source: Waterstones
Rating: ★★★★★ 5/5


SYNOPSIS: The monster showed up after midnight. As they do. But it isn’t the monster Conor’s been expecting. He’s been expecting the one from his nightmare, the one he’s had nearly every night since his mother started her treatments, the one with the darkness and the wind and the screaming… This monster is something different, though. Something ancient, something wild. And it wants the most dangerous thing of all from Conor. It wants the truth.

THOUGHTS: 
I enjoyed reading this book so much more than I thought I was going to when I picked it up from Waterstones as an impulsive buy. Not that I didn’t think I was going to enjoy it, it was just at a level of amazing I did not foresee!

First of all, I absolutely loved the artwork in this book! I’m not ashamed to say that I am someone who loves pretty books and sometimes falls into the trap of buying a book just because of it’s cover.. I thought the artwork really gave an extra dimension to the story, made it more real for me and gave me that kind of fairytale book vibe even though it isn’t quite the typical fairytale. Going on that, I loved the way the story was told and portrayed in a fairytale like way with this magical but also pretty terrifying tree telling three old tales while the story at the same time takes place in a reality where these kinds of things do not or at least should not happen.

When it comes to the plot I thought it was very heartfelt. Conor, the main character whose mom is battling cancer and is dealing with all sorts of problems ranging from bullies at school to the absence of his dad, was written very convincingly. I really did empathise with him and it definitely was an original take on depicting grief, loss and anger. The stories told by this magical tree in Conor’s backyard are not your typical fairy tale stories. They show how not everything is simply black and white, right and wrong. How loss doesn’t necessarily equal death and that is is necessary to let go and forgive those you love. At this point you might think you’ve got this book all figured out but I promise you that this is one of those books where you simply cannot predict what’s going to happen next.

I won’t spoil the ending but I will say it made me cry which I didn’t expect in a million years. I’m not the emotional type when it comes to reading books but this definitely struck a cord with me. I think it’s one of those books that will stay with me for a long time and that I would recommend both children and adults to read.

QUOTES:

“There is not always a good guy. Nor is there always a bad one. Most people are somewhere in between.”

“You do not write your life with words…You write it with actions. What you think is not important. It is only important what you do.”

If you like this book you might enjoy:
Tinder by Sally Gardner
Fire Colour One by Jenny Valentine
The Last of The Spirits by Chris Priestly
Hunting Monsters by S.L. Huang

Sidenote: you can check out the website of the illustrator Jim Kay over here