16 Jul

I will be back with more reviews after 21st of July. 🙂

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What’s Left of Me – Kat Zhang (Review)

11 Mar

Description

Eva and Addie started out the same way as everyone else–two souls woven together in one body, taking turns controlling their movements as they learned how to walk, how to sing, how to dance. But as they grew, so did the worried whispers. Why aren’t they settling? Why isn’t one of them fading? The doctors ran tests, the neighbors shied away, and their parents begged for more time. Finally Addie was pronounced healthy and Eva was declared gone. Except, she wasn’t…

For the past three years, Eva has clung to the remnants of her life. Only Addie knows she’s still there, trapped inside their body. Then one day, they discover there may be a way for Eva to move again. The risks are unimaginable-hybrids are considered a threat to society, so if they are caught, Addie and Eva will be locked away with the others. And yet…for a chance to smile, to twirl, to speak, Eva will do anything.

My thoughts

Let’s see … Did I love this book? The answer would be no. The first 30% of What’s Left Of Me almost made me give up on reading it. The plot was very slow and I just couldn’t get into the story. I don’t know exactly why because the characters were OK and the idea was somehow original: every person is born with two souls. One of the souls will become dominant and will control the body, while the other will slowly fade away and eventually disappear.

The main character of this book is Eva (she also narrates the story), a recessive soul, who shares the same body with her sister, Addie. Most children begin settling in kindergarten, some during middle school, but those two sisters never settled at all, which makes them a hybrid. Here is the problem: everyone thinks that the hybrids are a danger to the society, so when one is discovered it’s taken away by police and maybe institutionalised in order to be “helped” to settle.

In order to live a normal life with their family, Addie and Eva had to learn to lie, to pretend that they settled and that everything was normal about them. Addie was the only one in control, Eva being just trapped inside the body, with nothing else to do but just speaking with her sister and practically being a spectator to everything that happened in her life. Everything is going “well” until they meet two other hybrids – Hallie and Lissa; Devon and Ryan – who promise to teach Eva how to talk and walk again. Thinking this is a great opportunity, Eva convinces her sister to accept the offer, but this decision will soon change everything. All of them will be discovered and taken to a hospital where they should be helped to settle.

Like I said, the idea of the book was original, but at the same time I had a hard time trying to believe that that could actually happen in the real world. There was no explanation for how the world got that way, for how the hybrids first appeared. Also, I’m not sure exactly when the story takes place: in the near/far future or the present, in an alternate world? Since this is a trilogy, maybe the author will explain everything in the next books.

Eva is the main character and I know I should have felt sorry for her for being trapped inside a body and practically being dead to everyone, but there were a lot of moments when she got on my nerves. There were times when I just couldn’t sympathize with her because she acted in a selfish way, without thinking about the repercussions of her actions and decisions. In the end, I think I liked Addie more because she was more cautious.

I think I would have given What’s Left of Me 4 stars if I hadn’t previously read Unwind and The Darkest Powers trilogy. This book reminded me a lot of the books that I just mentioned, a good amount of the plot taking place in a hospital where the doctors made experiments on the children. With that being said, I will give this book 3 stars. So, did I love this book? No, but I admit it was a worthwhile read. I still recommend it and I hope you, guys, will like it more than I did!

Thanks to Netgalley.com and HarperCollins Publishers UK for sending me this e-book.

My rating cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

March TBR…(sort of)

10 Mar

This month I really want to read and review all the following books, but I’m not sure I will succeed in doing so. I received some of them months ago and I am mad at myself for not reading them yet. Oh well…

Received from Netgalley:

  • “Fog” by Caroline B. Cooney
  • “Tales of the Macabre” by Edgar Allan Poe – I only read the first story.
  • “What’s Left of Me” by Kat Zhang – I’m currently reading it and I think I’ll finish it tomorrow.
  • “Two and Twenty Dark Tales” – I started it, but I only read around 10%.
  • “If You Find Me” by Emily Murdoch –
  • “Dance of Shadows” by Yelena Black
  • “Mila 2.0” by Debra Driza
  • “Warm Bodies” by Isaac Marion

Received from the author

  • Things Unseen by Sarah Maddox – I’ll start reading this book as soon as I finish “What’s Left of Me”.

Oferte/Offers

8 Mar

elefant.ro

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nemira.ro

Pentru ca in luna martie sarbatorim femeia, Nemira te invita intr-o calatorie plina de mister, alaturi de unul dintre cele mai faimoase personaje ale literaturii politiste romanesti, Melania Lupu.

Numai in acest weekend, Nemira iti ofera o reducere de 45% pentru seria de autor Rodica Ojog Brasoveanu. 320 de pisici negre, Intalnire la Elysee, Poveste imorala, Cutia cu nasturi si multe alte titluri alese te asteapta in format hardcover. Vor arata perfect in biblioteca ta.

Pentru cei ce nu sunt familiari cu stilul inconfundabilei Rodica Ojog Brasoveanu va oferim, pentru un timp limitat, posibilitatea de a citi gratuit povestirea “O baba originala“, publicata de Nemira in volumul “Grasa si proasta“. citeste povestirea “O baba originala” pe blog .

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bookdepository.co.uk

 

15 Feb

2 exams down, 3 more to go!
P.S. I always find this photo funny!

As the picture says: Finals are here! This means that I won’t be able to read anything (except my textbooks) and I’m not going to post that much on the blog during this period. My last exam will take place in the first week of March, so until then: studying, studying and more studying….

Song of the day (5)

4 Feb

Well, this isn’t really a song. It’s just a cute animated short movie created by Walt Disney Studios, but it has some background music in it. 😀 I hope you like it as much as I do.

Books made into Movies – The Silver Linings Playbook – Matthew Quick

3 Feb

Paperback, 289 pages
Published April 27th 2010 by Sarah Crichton Books (first published 2008)

Description

Why did NPR’s popular librarian Nancy Pearl pick The Silver Linings Playbook as one of summer’s best reads for 2009?

“Aawww shucks!” Pearl said. “I know that’s hardly a usual way to begin a book review, but it was my immediate response to finishing Matthew Quick’s heartwarming, humorous and soul-satisfying first novel . . . This book makes me smile.”

Meet Pat Peoples. Pat has a theory: his life is a movie produced by God. And his God-given mission is to become physically fit and emotionally literate, whereupon God will ensure him a happy ending—the return of his estranged wife, Nikki. (It might not come as a surprise to learn that Pat has spent several years in a mental health facility.)

The problem is, Pat’s now home, and everything feels off. No one will talk to him about Nikki; his beloved Philadelphia Eagles keep losing; he’s being pursued by the deeply odd Tiffany; his new therapist seems to recommend adultery as a form of therapy. Plus, he’s being haunted by Kenny G!

As the award-winning novelist Justin Cronin put it: “Tender, soulful, hilarious, and true, The Silver Linings Playbook is a wonderful debut.”
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About the movie

Synopsis

Life doesn’t always go according to plan. Pat Solatano (Bradley Cooper) has lost everything — his house, his job, and his wife. He now finds himself living back with his mother (Jacki Weaver) and father (Robert DeNiro) after spending eight months is a state institution on a plea bargain. Pat is determined to rebuild his life, remain positive and reunite with his wife, despite the challenging circumstances of their separation. All Pat’s parents want is for him to get back on his feet-and to share their family’s obsession with the Philadelphia Eagles football team. When Pat meets Tiffany (Jennifer Lawrence), a mysterious girl with problems of her own, things get complicated. Tiffany offers to help Pat reconnect with his wife, but only if he’ll do something very important for her in return. As their deal plays out, an unexpected bond begins to form between them, and silver linings appear in both of their lives.

My thoughts

I watched the movie last night and overall I enjoyed it. The acting was great, the actors were perfect for their roles, but I wanted more
from the story. I know it’s supposed to be a dramedy movie and it was filled with funny moments, but I just expected more drama. I know that sounds crazy since one of the main characters was just released from a mental institution and is bipolar and the other’s husband just died, her life is not easy at all and is also bipolar, but those weren’t enough for me…I wanted more tension between the characters.

I know that almost everyone is raving about this movie and it also has tons of Oscar nominations, but when the movie ended it left me asking myself: That was everything? even though it was 2 hours long. Speaking of Oscars, I don’t really understand why Jacki Weaver was nominated for “Best actress in a supporting role”. I mean, I’m not saying that her acting was’t good, it’s just that she didn’t have much to say and her role was quite forgettable. Her role was important for the movie, but she wasn’t given much… I think that Chris Tucker had more lines than her.

I know that from what I said it seems that I didn’t like the movie, when in fact it’s quite the opposite. I liked it very much…I just didn’t love it, and I think that’s because of the storyline. I think that was the weakest point since the interaction between the characters was great, it was real and the dialogue was also good.
Excelsior!

Director: David O. Russell
Writers: Matthew Quick (novel), David O. Russell (screenplay)
Stars: Bradley Cooper, Jennifer Lawrence, Robert De Niro, Jacki Weaver, Julia Stiles.

Haunted Places: True Encounters with the World Beyond – Hans Holzer (Review)

2 Feb

ebook, 52 pages
Published September 25th 2012 by Black Dog & Leventhal Publishers

 

Description

Join paranormal expert and ghost hunter Hans Holzer as he investigates the most famous haunted locations around the world.

Ghosts have been known to haunt not only houses but other locations as well—such as dark forests, trains, ships, and even airplanes. Professor Hans Holzer looks at several of the most menacing of these cases, from the ghost bride of Nob Hill in San Francisco to the “gray man” of Pawley’s Island in South Carolina and the haunted organ at Yale University in New Haven, Connecticut.

My thoughts

I could compare “Haunted Places: True Encounters with the World Beyond” with “A Haunting”, a paranormal TV series which I used to watch from time to time on Discovery Channel. This book contains several stories about haunted places which the author visited alone or with a psychic friend of his.

The author described very well the locations and he also presented the history of all those places as well as people’s experiences, their encounter with ghosts. Even though the provided information was interesting in most of the stories, some of them contained too much history and tended to be quite boring.

What I liked:
-Some of the stories were quite spooky.
-In several cases, the author presented the identities of the ghosts.

What I didn’t like:
-The history parts were boring sometimes.
-I wish certain locations were analyzed in more depth.
-Some of the stories were accompanied by photos, but I wish more of them were included for us to be able to see the haunted locations.

All in all, I found this book interesting and I will continue to read more books written by Hans Holzer.
Thanks to Netgalley.com and Open Road Integrated Media for sending me this e-book.

My rating:  cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

Hysteria – Megan Miranda (Review)

23 Jan

Paperback, 272 pages
Expected publication: February 14th 2013 by Bloomsbury Publishing PLC (first published February 5th 2013)

 

Description

Mallory’s life is falling apart.

Her boyfriend was stabbed. He bled to death in her kitchen. Mallory was the one who stabbed him. But she can’t remember what happened that night. She only remembers the fear…

When Mallory’s parents send her away to a boarding school, she thinks she can escape the gossip and the threats. But someone, or something, has followed her. There’s the hand that touches her shoulder when she’s drifting off to sleep. A voice whispering her name. And everyone knows what happened. So when a pupil is found dead, Mallory’s name is on their lips.

Her past can be forgotten but it’s never gone. Can Mallory live with that?

My thoughts

Thanks to Netgalley.com and Bloomsbury Publishing Plc for sending me this e-book.

I was somehow disappointed with this book, not because it wasn’t good, but because I expected so much more from it. Seeing the cover and reading the description, I thought Hysteria was going to be a little bit creepy and full of suspense. Unfortunately, for the most part it was another “girl goes to another school, encounters some mean girls and falls in love with a nice boy” story. Don’t get me wrong, there were some suspenseful scenes and some mysteries that needed to be solved, but for me those weren’t enough. I think the plot should have been more focused on those aspects than on the teenage drama or romance.

Mallory is a 16-year-old girl who killed her boyfriend-Brian. Though she can’t remember what exactly happened, the evidence points to self-defense, so she is cleared from the accusations. Since her parents think that she is in danger because Brian’s mother is stalking her, they decide to send Mallory to a boarding school (I don’t really understand what they were thinking: that once she gets there she will forget everything and have a happy life?). Unfortunately her life doesn’t become easier. Everyone knows about the incident and is judging her, she is still haunted by the event and on top of that she thinks that someone is after her. Mallory has a sleeping disorder, every night she has the same nightmare and in the morning she finds bruises on her body. Even though she knows this is wrong, she never tells anyone about it, and she refuses to seek help. At the boarding school she also meets an old friend, Reid, who eventually becomes her boyfriend.

I liked the fact that we don’t know from the beginning why Mallory decided to kill Brian. Throughout the story there are some flashbacks about her past and little snippets that help us understand what happened that night. Then, there are the nightmares and the marks that appear every morning on her body. I am still a little bit confused about how she got them, but those two elements were actually what kept me interested in Hysteria and made me finish reading it in a few hours. Even though those were my favourite parts of the book, I still think they could have been more developed and that the author should have written more about the psychological aspect of the book instead of romance or teenage drama. I wanted the book to be more dark and more focused on Mallory’s struggle to fight Brian’s memory. Also, I found some things a little bit predictable (I am mostly talking about the person who was stalking the main character at the boarding school).

All in all, I think Hysteria was better in premise than execution, but I still recommend it. It is a good teen thriller.

I ran away. And only when I was a good ways past the diner and the gas station did I realize I was running toward something. No, not something. Someone.

You may not be able to outrun your past, but you can sure as hell try.

My ratingcute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400

Unwind – Neal Shusterman (Review)

11 Jan
Paperback, 335 pages
Published June 2nd 2009 by Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (first published November 6th 2007)

Description

Connor, Risa, and Lev are running for their lives.

The Second Civil War was fought over reproductive rights. The chilling resolution: Life is inviolable from the moment of conception until age thirteen. Between the ages of thirteen and eighteen, however, parents can have their child “unwound,” whereby all of the child’s organs are transplanted into different donors, so life doesn’t technically end. Connor is too difficult for his parents to control. Risa, a ward of the state is not enough to be kept alive. And Lev is a tithe, a child conceived and raised to be unwound. Together, they may have a chance to escape and to survive.

My thoughts

After reading tons of positive reviews and watching a lot of Youtube videos in which people recommended this book, I finally decided to add this book on my “have to buy soon” list. Then, while browsing on BookDepository, I saw it and I couldn’t resist the impulse to click on the buy button. I’m glad I did. This book was GREAT, FANTASTIC, EXTRAORDINARY etc. but at the same time quite disturbing. I had high expectations for Unwind and I’m glad to say that they were not only met, but also exceeded.

The plot is set in the future, where parents can choose to have their children between ages of 13 and 18 unwound, or in the case of kids without parents, the orphanages take this decision just to cut the costs. After the unwinding process, all the parts of the body are used for transplants “needed” by other people (some of them just want new eyes or hair because they don’t like the color of theirs). As the doctors say, since 99.44% of the body is being reused, unwinds do not technically die, because the individual parts live on.

The story focuses on Connor, Risa and Lev- three children that are supposed to be unwound- and their efforts to survive. This is a third person narration told from different points of view (mainly Connor, Lev or Risa, but there are also some additional perspectives which helps the reader to see and understand the whole picture). All the characters, even the supporting ones are well developped, are three-dimensional, complex and have a special story.

I recommend this book to everyone, but I also want to warn you that Unwind is not an easy book, it’s quite disturbing (not in a graphic way) and it will leave you asking yourself a lot of questions.

P.S. I think the 61st chapter is the most shocking thing in the whole book. I still can’t get it out of my head!!!

“…One thing you learn when you’ve lived as long as I have-people aren’t all good, and people aren’t all bad. We move in and out of darkness and light all of our lives. Right now, I’m pleased to be in the light.”

“I’d rather be partly great than entirely useless.”

My ratingcute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400cute_flower_smiley_face_sticker-p217285791912455194envb3_400